Saturday, March 31, 2007

Mississippi Moved

Miss Brenda and I spent the week remarking over and over again on the ease of our move from the Redneck Riviera up to the Free State of Tallahatchie. We should have kept our mouths shut.

Everything did go very smoothly--Praise God--Monday through Thursday of Move Week. The movers packed all of our worldly belongings on a moving van Monday without incident, closing on the house in Florida went very quickly Tuesday morning, the drive to Mississippi Tuesday evening was uneventful. Well..., we did take 2 hours longer than I normally make the trip by myself, but I was pulling a boat, and Miss Brenda was following in her car and needed to stop and get her daily mandatory nap in.

Closing on the house in Mississippi went just as smooth as the other in Florida--USAA is simply the BEST! We made our way from the closing attorney's office up into the hills and onto our property, finding it very hard to believe that we were at last realizing our dream of nearly 36 years. We happily slept on the floor in our new home Thursday night, secure in the knowledge that the moving van would arrive on Friday and bring our bed and everything else that has made houses homes for us for three decades.

Friday morning, the moving van driver called and I drove out to the highway to escort him the last 5 miles of winding twists and turns on country roads. We got him to the last turn onto the last stretch of county road and then the problems started. The last turn is a tight 131.3 degree (by my calibrated eyeball) hairpin turn to the left and the big ole semi and trailer just couldn't make it. A short jaunt on up the road, a three point turn on a gravel driveway and the truck came back in a direction to navigate the turn with ease. Now our stuff was only a mile and a half from home. The next 1.4 miles was easy enough--the last tenth of a mile took another 32 hours to complete.

Our gate at the road was plenty wide enough, but the sharp right turn just inside the gate to navigate around the lake proved our undoing. The trailer (gross weight exceeding that of a main battle tank) centerlined on the edge of the gravel road and became a very effective road block. Six hours later the tow truck showed and, with some Rebel Ingenuity, managed to yank the trailer back out the gate. The final conclusion of 15 further minutes of head-scratching and rock-kicking was that unloading our stuff up at the house was going to have to wait one more day and would require a smaller van to shuttle our belongings from the front gate up to the house. For the second time in 4 days we watched our worldly goods and chattel drive away on a truck.

Saturday morning the semi-trailer and a U-Haul moving van showed up at the gate and general unloading began. I couldn't help but think that this reminded me of the last leg of ship to shore movement of equipment and supplies from a ship to a landing beach, complete with Miss Brenda acting as Beach Party (for you non-naval types, there is no beer or bonfire at that kind of beach party) directing traffic at the front door.

By 1700, unloading (to include successful reassembly and positioning of Miss Brenda's baby grand piano) had been completed and the movers departed the Amphibious Operations Area.

As promised, I spent my unpacking supervision time thinking of a name for our new place. Under final consideration by the selection committee (Miss Brenda, of course) is (appropriate drum roll and cavalry bugle fanfare here): Eegeebegee, MS (Unincorporated).

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Run, Fred, Run

Finally, someone I wouldn't have to hold my nose in order to vote for, has thrown (or is at least winding up for the pitch) his hat in the ring for the race to see who will face off against Hillary Clinton in 2008. Former Senator, and off-again, on-again television and movie actor, Fred Thompson could not be a more clear anti-Hillary candidate. He is pro-life (calls Roe v. Wade, "bad law and bad medical science"), pro-gun ownership, pro-marriage (one man, one woman), and pro-victory in Iraq. Nobody else on the Republican side reminds me more of Ronaldus Magnus (pardon me while I come to the position of attention and salute in the direction of Reagan's final repose.)

Thompson and Hillary have lined up once before on opposite sides of the partisan divide. During the Watergate Hearings, Thompson served as minority (Republican) counsel (he doesn't just play a lawyer on TV--he is one), and Hillary was a lawyer for the democrats.

Picture this Republican ticket: Fred Thompson and Condoleezza Rice.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Geaux to Hayul, LSU!

Did something last night I haven't done in nearly twenty years. I watched a televised basketball game from start to finish. My Ole Miss Rebels were picked to finish at the bottom of the SEC this year (as they have for several years now), but a new coach, a new attitude, and a winning season have them seeded high in the SEC tournament. Last night they played and beat LSU. No, let me rephrase that. Last night they STOMPED LSU!

Stomping LSU is the most satsifying experience in the life of an Ole Miss Rebel. We hate LSU with a passion a mile long. Mississippi State is our in-state rival, and is detested accordingly, but LSU is a hated enemy. A measure of this hatred is summed up in the following reocurrance. Go to any Ole Miss football game against any other team and wait for a time when the crowd is relatively quiet. Inevitably, whether the foe on the field is Georgia, Vandy, Bama, or State, a lone voice in the stands will take advantage of the quiet opportunity to yell with well-liquored lungs, "Go to h***, LSU!"

As much as I hate basketball, it was worth the pain of watching an entire basketball game just to see the cajun cats sent packing back to the bayou.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Some Perspective, Please...

Having been a beneficiary of the US military medical system my entire life--as the son of a career Air Force man and as a career man myself, I feel compelled to weigh in (perhaps with all the force of a gnat fart in a hurricane) on the current controversy surrounding the state of veterans' health care in general and the care given our wounded warriors returning from Rumsfeld's Folly. First, let me say that a young man or woman who volunteers to fight our nation's wars (for pay equal to that of an assistant manager at McDonald's) deserves every honor and benefit a nation as wealthy as ours can bestow. Despite all the applause and ribbon waving, we fall woefully short in that department.

That said, I must point out that in my fairly wide-ranging experience, the American military medical system is the BEST IN THE WORLD. I challenge anyone to pick a country, any country, and go check out their civilian medical system. Then, go check out their military medical system. I have seen the best Europe has to offer and it is downright medieval. Don't get me started about the Asian medical systems I have witnessed.

The hysteria in the press and outrage in congress over peeling plaster in showers and hospital rooms infested with fruit flies would be laughable if it were not so monstrously hypocritical. I bet if the ten of you who subject yourself to this random rant go look in your shower, chances are more than 2 of you are going to find some mold and peeling plaster. I'd love to take a video camera into the shower of some newsy or congressmen and put that on the nightly news, wouldn't you?

On second thought, I wouldn't want to be anywhere near the shower of most of them.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Tara's Taken

The Colonel and his Lady are in the middle of what is hoped (but somehow can't be believed) will be the last time they ever pack up all of their worldly possessions, strike the tent, and force march to another battlefield. Fifty-seven acres at the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere is the march objective, and they anticipate establishing our hilltop patrol base there by the end of this month. Although the designation, "Landing Force Objective Alpha," strikes the Colonel's fancy as the perfect name for the new property, the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda has exercised her seldom used, but nonetheless authoritative, veto power, and they are mulling over names from a somewhat less martial genre.

Tara is already taken, dear.

Rebel's Roost has a nice ring to it. Though, in that neck of the woods (on the same 1:50,000 map sheet as Ole Miss), the name Rebel is not exactly unique.

Nana's Place is out! What's next, dear? Quilting Bees on the front lawn? The Colonel thinks not!

The Colonel's Corner ( Tract, Holding, Land, etc. suffixed to the prefix descriptive possessive "Colonel's") doesn't pass Miss Brenda's "less martial" test.

Halcyon Hill? Nope, they would spend way too much time explaining that word to the kids and neighbors.

The Colonel likes "Argentina." For a long time now, he has threatened to emigrate to some foreign land to escape all of his... (bet you thought he was gonna say "family" here...but he'll let you fill in the blank). The emigration threat acquired Argentina as a convenient target several years ago, but the Colonel has always maintained that Argentina was a metaphor. Of course, then he had to explain to family and friends the meaning of that word... If the Colonel hung a sign over the gate with Argentina on it, he would probably cause a lot of consternation amongst the Tallahatchie Tribe, so that's probably not gonna make the cut.

An acquaintance of the Colonel's calls his country place "The Dirt." Miss Brenda just grabbed her veto pen.

Can't call the place, "Eden." That's a bit too presumptuous.

Rebel's Retreat is out--"retreat" is not a word jarheads hold in much esteem.

Guess we'll just have to put naming the place on the back burner for now. Something will probably come to to him while the Colonel is supervising Miss Brenda's unpacking chores.