Monday, January 26, 2015

On a Birthday Far, Far Away

A hundred billion galaxies in the universe we know, each with at least that many stars.

For the sake of simplicity, and so as not to confuse his friends with degrees from schools not called Ole Miss, the Colonel will limit the discussion to one not involving multiple parallel universes.  Just this universe, with it's trillions of possible worlds, will suffice.

Chances are, in a single trillion instances, there exists at least a thousand other worlds like this one.

Chances are, on at least one of those thousand worlds there teems billions like us.

Chances are, that life is like all life on our planet -- competitive for survival's sake.

Chances are, life on that planet is organized in competing societies -- warring societies.

Chances are, one of those warring societies has achieved superiority and maintained it by force of arms and a preeminent warrior class.

Chances are, thousands of that warrior class are living out their peaceful retirement in the heartlands.

Chances are, that planet revolves around its star much slower than does ours.  

The retired centurion living at the shallow northern end of the deep southern nowhere on a land mass on that faraway planet just turned 35 today.

The Colonel thinks he'll celebrate that man's birthday today, instead of his own...

Friday, January 23, 2015

Season of Seasons Assessment

The Colonel's annual season of seasons is rapidly coming to an end. As annual season of seasons go, the 2014/2015 edition ranks (in preliminary assessments) as one of the best all time.

The Colonel must admit, however, that his season of seasons assessment standards may have slipped somewhat, coincident with his slipping into advanced age.  What he means is that twenty years ago, his preliminary assessment of this current rapidly ending season of seasons would have no doubt been that it was a far less satisfying one. 

That's the beauty of notching more years in your belt -- the more seasons of seasons the Colonel experiences, the more he has with which to assess comparatively.

Season of seasons relative measurements allow the Colonel to positively assess seasons of seasons heretofore considered negatively and thereby achieve contentment and satisfaction in assessment of seasons of seasons at the end of which the Colonel may have been discontented and dissatisfied.

The Colonel will provide examples forthwith.  But, first, the Colonel feels the pressing need to explain what he means by "season of seasons."

A season of seasons begins each year with the kick-off of the college football season. Dove season, deer season, and duck season nest within, and compete with, the season of sojourns to the Colonel's season ticket seats in the hallowed confines of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. 

A season of seasons ends with the last day of duck season and the commencement of the Colonel's endurance of the worst month on the calendar.  The month in question is so horridly loathsome that the Colonel refuses to recognize it by name; instead, referring to it as "after January" and "before March."

A season of seasons includes the Colonel's celebration of Thanksgiving and Christmas -- tightly regulated to the actual days on which those two holidays occur.

Season of seasons assessments are subjective exercises.  This is not to say that they are bereft of objective data points.  In fact, seasons of seasons assessments are replete with objective measurements.  Said measurements were once the only variables considered in a season of seasons assessment.  Not so, no more. 

The Colonel, even as unempathetic, insensitive, and unfeeling as he is, senses the frantic boredom creeping up on the two dozen of you who irregularly waste rod and cone time perusing posts here on. So, he will get to the point -- as blunt as it is. 

A season of seasons primary assessment is derived, in the Colonel's case (and, since he's the one posting hereon for your perusal displeasure, the case that matters), primarily by the gridiron success (or lack thereof) of the Colonel's football Rebels.  

No doubt most of Rebel Nation's retrospective of Ole Miss' 2014 campaign is tempered by the stinging loss to TCU in the Peach Bowl.  The Colonel's assessment also includes that data point, but views it relative to the near half century of his experience with Rebel football.  

It was a GREAT season!

Of course, the Colonel would be fine with a three-win season, as long as the wins were against LSU, Bama, and TSBU. 

Secondary season of seasons assessments rely on the Colonel's experiences throughout the hunting season components of the season of seasons.

The Colonel's game bag was more often empty than not at the conclusion of each hunt this season, and yet he assesses each season this year to have been rousing successes.  Time afield has become a far more important measurement.  That's the Colonel's story and he's sticking to it.

One a scale of one to ten, the Colonel ranks this season of seasons an A- ...

At any rate, the Colonel will be posting more regularly now that there ain't nothing more entertaining to to do with his time... 

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Bring it, Punks!

A cowardly group in the Middle East, using the tactic of terrorism to further their strategic aim of reestablishing an Islamic caliphate, has threatened to attack U.S. military members and veterans here in the homeland.  The FBI has responded by encouraging America's defenders to scrub their social media accounts of military mention.

Think about that for a minute.  

The greatest, most valorous, best trained, and most loyal military in the history of civilization is being told by their government to run and hide due to a dubious threat from a bunch of cowardly, amateur, warrior wannabes. 

The Colonel, who has skin thicker than the frontal armor on an M1A1 tank, takes great offense at that notion.

The Colonel is reminded of an early September day, thirteen years ago.  After he sat transfixed by the televised terror attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon for the better part of an unbelieving hour, the Colonel was jolted by the question from one of his subordinates, 

"Sir, what have we heard from higher headquarters?"  

It dawned, slower than sunup in late December (the Colonel ain't smart and you can't make him),  on the Colonel that the better question was: what had our subordinate commands heard from their higher headquarters?

The Colonel ordered a conference call with his subordinate commanders, ASAP.

Following an insane year heading up Current Operations for U.S. Forces, Korea, 2000 to 2001, the Colonel had leaped from the frying pan to the fire, taking command of the 6th Marine Corps District -- responsible for Marine Corps enlisted and officer recruiting in the Southeast in early July of 2001.  (Anyone who has ever served as a recruiter or commanded recruiters knows that it is the most intense job you'll ever have outside of combat.) The 6th MCD then had eight subordinate commands (Recruiting Stations) spread over Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.  Each of those commands (small battalions in their scope of responsibility and impact) was led by a major, each with upwards of 50 to 60 Marine NCOs spread over their territories in 2 and 3 man offices.  

When all of the Recruiting Station C.O.'s were on the line, the Colonel joined them and told them everything he knew at the time.  Wasn't much.  He still had heard nothing from higher headquarters.

The Colonel then asked for reports from the field.  The first major reported that his subordinate NCO's in charge of recruiting offices across his area of responsibility were reporting that the other services' recruiters (the majority of military recruiting offices are collocated) were being told by their higher headquarters to change into civilian clothes and go home.

The Colonel opined that some local commander must be over-reacting.  

Many of the rest of the majors quickly disabused him of that opinion.  It was happening all over.  The other services, in a greatly misplaced (in the Colonel's not-so humble opinion) sense of heightened "force protection" (a term that still sets the Colonel's teeth on edge), had sent their soldiers, airmen, and sailors running home when their nation most needed them visibly on the job.

The Colonel was dumbfounded and, for only one of a very few times in his career, speechless.  

One of the majors spoke up, "Colonel, I told my Marines to stay in uniform and stay very visible.  Should I have done different?"

That was the best military decision the Colonel had heard in the past couple of hours (if not his previous two decades + of service) and he told the major so.

"Gentlemen," the Colonel commanded, "stay in uniform and stay visible.  I'll be back in touch as soon as I hear anything from higher headquarters."  

It was a no-brainer command.  

The Colonel made a career out of 'em.

The Colonel is quite certain that the vast majority of U.S. soldiers, sailors, and airmen were disgusted at the order to get out of uniform and go home that day.

So, back to the present.

The Colonel is quite certain that the vast majority of U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines share his disgust with the suggestion by the FBI (in particular) and their government (in general) that they should hide from an enemy of their nation.

We will not hide.  

We will not cower.

We will not run.

Not from China; not from a resurgent Russia; not from a drug cartel; and certainly not from that passel of punks, ISIS.

Two words: