Saturday, May 23, 2009

Memorial Day Memo

Obama's speech writer didn't get the memo. I'm certain there's a Department of Homeland Insecurity briefing circulated daily in D.C. that warns about the dangerous activities and treasonous thought expressed in the content of the regularly irregular posts to this blog. Had Obama's speech writer seen that briefing, he would have learned the difference between Armed Forces Day, Veterans Day, and Memorial Day, and would have saved his boss the embarrassment of confusing the three in his radio address today.

While he, at least, said some good things about how to support currently deployed servicemen and women and how to thank and honor veterans, his use of a Memorial Day address to do so demonstrated the most glaring lack of respect for America's history and traditions the Colonel has ever witnessed in a Commander in Chief. The ONLY purpose of Memorial Day is the remembrance of those men and women who gave THEIR LIVES in service to our nation during time of war. Surely we should honor those who have served and currently serve, but Veterans Day and Armed Forces Day, respectively, are the two days set aside by Congress for that purpose--not Memorial Day.

The Colonel knows this is beginning to sound like a broken record. But, like the preacher said, whose chairman of deacon's complained of the same sermon preached four Sundays in a row, "when people get the message, I'll move on to the next topic."

Friday, May 15, 2009

Get Your Days Right

When it comes to honoring those whose service has, and continues to, defend our nation, its people and their Constitution, and our nation's interests, there are three distinct days set aside for three distinctly different groups of honorees. Two of them occur in May.

The first, this Saturday, is Armed Forces Day. Prior to the reorganization and establishment of a unified Department of Defense following the end of the Second World War, the people of the United States honored those currently serving in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps (the Air Force did not exist as a separate entity) on separate Federally recognized Service Days. In 1949, following the 1947 establishment of the Department of Defense (and the creation of the Air Force) Congress established one Day, Armed Forces Day, on which to honor all serving members of all of our military branches. The operative phrase the Colonel wants you to remember, for future reference in this missive, is "serving members."

The second, and to the Colonel's mind most important, opportunity in May to honor a distinct class of military men and women is Memorial Day. Formerly known as Decoration Day, and begun by the kind ladies of Columbus, Mississippi who placed flowers on the graves of both Confederate and Union soldiers buried in Friendship Cemetery (the resting place of the mortal remains of many of the Colonel's forebears, as well), Memorial Day was established by yankee politicians and credited to some northern city's womenfolk whose grave decoration activities post-dated that of the belles of Columbus (pardon the Dixie defensive digression). Memorial Day's sole purpose, rooted firmly in the grave decoration activities of ladies on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line (if Dixie describes the south, should Masie describe the north?), is the honoring of those who died in all of the wars in which this nation has participated since its founding. The operative phrase the Colonel would have you recognize is "those who died." It is one of the Colonel's petest of peeves that well-meaning, yet none-the-less ignorant, folks insist on applauding all serving and veteran military men and women on Memorial Day. The memory of war dead is the ONLY reason to celebrate, as inappropriate as that word sounds, Memorial Day. The Colonel appreciates those who wish to honor serving military men and women--this Sunday, Armed Forces Day is the day to do that.

Finally, Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day are not the days set aside by our nation to salute those who have honorably served (yet, did not give the ultimate sacrifice in time of war) in the uniformed services of our great country. Veterans Day, (which subsumed Armistice Day, celebrating the end of World War I) in November, is the day for that.

To recap:

This Sunday, Armed Forces Day, honor those currently serving.

On Memorial Day, honor those who died during our wars.

On Veterans Day, honor veterans who served.

Don't be a disrepectful boob and try to lump them all in together--give honor to whom each day is dedicated and none other. Each, but particularly our war dead, deserve that much at least.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

First Congress of the Tallahatchie Free State

The 1st Congress of the Tallahatchie Free State, a government in opposition formed as much hand on wallet as tongue in cheek (disclaimer provided to deflect the attention of agents from the Department of Homeland Insecurity), met yesterday evening on the front porch of the Big House at Eegeebeegee. The following legislative matters were addressed and resolutions regarding passed rapidly and unanimously--an accomplishment made possible by the fact that due to the measured (read: slow) population growth of the TFS, the Colonel remains the sole voting representative of the people.

Resolved: Nullus Liberum Prandium (No Free Lunch) is hereby and forthwith established as the motto, and operating principle, of the Tallahatchie Free State. Said motto shall be displayed prominently on the great seal, currency, proclamations, and all official correspondence.

Resolved: The Gadsden "Don't Tread on Me" Flag is hereby adopted as the interim official standard of the Tallahatchie Free State, pending design and production of an original and appropriately representative flag. It is further resolved that any proposed official flag shall not include the following: a flower; a color other than red, white, gold, or blue; a bulldog; a tiger; a pig; an alligator; or an elephant.

Resolved: The speed limit within the confines of the boundaries of the Tallahatchie Free State's capital, Eegeebeegee, shall be at the discretion of vehicle operators and shall be consistent with the operator's skill and appropriate to surface conditions. The Minister for Safety (in Perpetuity), the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda, shall exercise sole authority for determination that operators have exceeded their skill and/or demonstrated disregard for surface conditions, and shall issue warnings, stern, regarding same.

Resolved: The taking of fish and game within the confines of the boundaries of the Tallahatchie Free State's capital, Eegeebeegee, shall be allowed only with the approval of the Colonel. Lake Brenda is hereby established as a "catch and release" inpoundment--if the Colonel catches you fishing without permission, he shall release the hounds on you.

Resolved: Gun control being critical for accurate target engagement, the people of the Tallahatchie Free State shall be required to own and demonstrate proficiency with a firearm(s) of their choice.

Resolved: The freedom of speech within the confines of the boundaries of the Tallahatchie Free State's capital, Eegeebeegee, shall be limited only by the stricture that any profane language within earshot of the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda will not be tolerated.

Resolved: The definition of marriage shall be the life-long union of one man and one woman.

Resolved: The definition of life-long shall not be at the discretion of either partner in the above defined union.

Resolved: In recognition of the inviolable natural order of things, the definition and privileges of union partnership shall be at the discretion of the woman.

Resolved: Congresses of the Tallahatchie Free State shall be convened at the discretion of the Colonel and representatives shall not be compensated beyond the provision of food and drink.

Resolved: No taxation of any kind (monetary, goods, or services) shall ever be allowed by the people of the Tallahatchie Free State.

Resolved: Complete enfranchisement as a citizen of the Tallahatchie Free State shall only be enjoyed as a right earned by honorable military, law enforcement, or firefighter service. As their job is universally recognized as tougher, spouses of citizens shall be so enfranchised.

The First Congress of the Tallahatchie Free State was adjourned and disbanded immediately upon the Colonel's detection of the microwave alarm signifying that the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda had completed preparation of the evening meal.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Mill Manhandling

The sawdust production capability aboard Eegeebeegee, capital of the Tallahatchie Free State--a government in opposition, established as much hand on wallet as tongue in cheek--increased exponentially this week. A Wood-Mizer LT15 sawmill has joined the Colonel's collection of retirement enriching man toys and provides the heretofore missing link in the timber to fine sawdust production system here at the northern end of southern nowhere.

The Wood-Mizer LT15 is advertised as "portable," a description with which the Colonel's infantry-abused back takes no small amount of umbrage. The entire sawmill package was shipped from the Wood-Mizer plant in Indiana on one "pallet." I've had more than a modicum of experience with pallets over the years and if the edifice-in-it's-own-right shipping foundation on which my sawmill came is a "pallet," it is the Mother of All Pallets. FedEx was even intimidated by this monster and sub-contracted a heavier-haul freight company to deliver it. When the freight driver contacted me and told me he was headed my way with an eighteen wheeler, I waved him off and vectored him to downtown Abbeville--the road infrastructure aboard Eegeebeegee, despite my best efforts moving gravel with Semper Field and a box blade, was not up to that sort of traffic.

Downtown Abbeville on a Friday afternoon is a hopping place. While the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda and I sat at the side of the road, city center, waiting for the freight truck to arrive, we observed a veritable parade of traffic--"parade" defined, for the purpose of this post, as five pick-up trucks and two four-wheelers passing by in the space of 15 minutes. When the trucker arrived, he parked on the side of "Main Street," took a quick look at my Toyota Tacoma (aka: Semper Fillit) and utility trailer, cocked his head to the side to clear Marlboro smoke from his good eye, and asked, "Where's yore forklift?"

"Forklift" has now been added to the lengthening list of "gotta get me one of those."

"I was told you were bring a lift-gate truck," I countered.

"Yessir, ah did. But this pallet weighs near a ton. We ain't gonna move it by hand. The bad news is it's eight feet long and ah ain't sure it'll fit on the lift gate."

An hour and a half, and a trip to a friend's for a "come along" (another item added to the "gotta get me one of the those" list) later, we managed to coax the behemoth off the truck and onto my utility trailer. At a timid ten miles per hour, all the while expecting the tiny tires on my trailer to give up the ghost, it took us nearly another hour to drive from Abbeville back to Eegeebeegee. The long trip gave the Colonel ample time to consider and discard several courses of action regarding the unloading phase of Operation Sawmill. In the end, getting the mill pallet off of the trailer was infinitely easier than loading it had been. I backed the beast-burdened trailer up to a sturdy pine tree in the vicinity of my planned mill location, chained the pallet to the tree, and pulled the abused trailer out from under the pallet.

It took the Colonel the better part of this past week to break down the pallet and assemble the new sawmill. Yesterday, three pine logs surrendered a treasure trove of lumber--the whine of blade through timber declaring my independence from local lumber yards at which Eegeebeegee building projects have heretofore been materially supported at considerable expense.

As the sun beat down on the Colonel at the helm of the mill, a new edifice's concept took shape in the flimsy cognitive connections in the paltry collection of grey matter cells in my heat-addled noggin and rapidly ascended to prominence on the Eegeebeegee building project list--my new mill needs a sun and rain shielding roof. The Colonel's near-term lumber needs are growing faster than the Google campus bandwith requirement. Lucky for me, there's plenty of large, mature pine trees ripe for harvest on the property.

I think I need a bigger chainsaw...

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


It was one of those comments that a young man makes and instantly regrets when he sees the reaction on his mother's face.

Thirty or so years ago, I was a hot-blooded, jingoistic lieutenant of Marines, convinced that, sometime soon, I would be sent into combat by and for my nation. I was leaning forward in that expectation--ready, willing, and able. There was not much else on my mind--certainly not any real concern for the distant future. My mother, one of those women for whom a special place in heaven is reserved for having raised nothing but sons, noticed that her fair-skinned first-born was getting way too much sun and commented that if I wasn't careful, I would get skin cancer.

My response, to my mother, stand by to cringe, was: "I'm going to be killed on some battlefield before I'm thirty; skin cancer is the least of my worries."

Yep, I'm an insensitive idiot.

She was right and I was wrong. Big surprise there. If I could give one tiny bit of advice to all of the young men in the 15 to 25 age bracket it would be, "Listen to your mother and keep your mouth shut!" Unfortunately, my quite extensive experience leading young men has convinced me that most suffer reversible brain damage beginning at about age 15 and don't begin to enjoy complete use of their faculties again until they near the 30 year mark. Some of us take even longer...

I've now reached the age at which the only prospect of any more battlefield experience is Armageddon. I've also reached the age at which men become acquainted with a whole new cast of characters with ologist at the end of their job titles--proct, ur, optham, and... derma.

A couple of months ago, I asked my family doctor for a referral to a skin doctor who could take a look at some rough spots on my scalp. My newest ologist friend diagnosed the problem as actinic keratosis and prescribed a cream to be applied three times weekly at beddy bye time. Said cream, he promised, would, in six weeks time, give me a new headbone covering "as smooth as a baby's butt." Oh, and by the way, he warned that this cream would cause the pre-cancerous spots on my scalp to inflame angrily before leaving me with my new baby butt head--both prospects not to be found on my list of things I necessarily want to have happen to my hat rack. But, the alternative was an even less desirable outcome.

Yesterday, the Colonel reported dutifully back to the dermatologist for my after-treatment check-up. I had faithfully followed the prescription to the letter for four weeks, but it turns out that the Colonel (and I take some perverse pride in this) is a tough skinned ole bird whose system is more robust than the cream. The Colonel does not yet have the doctor-desired baby butt head. I now must apply the noxious chemo cream every night for the next six weeks.

If my head melts, I'm not gonna be happy.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

It Ain't About You

The Colonel is fed up to about a micron short of my overflow valve with politicians who don't "get it." They don't get that "it" ain't about them. Three prominent pols provide my cases in point.

Our Apologist in Chief leads the hit parade of politicians whose comments and actions demonstrate that they are keenly in tune with the needs of their own narcissism and completely out of touch with the fact that they represent something much, much larger than themselves. President Obama's need to self-aggrandize via the device of bad-mouthing his own nation is perhaps the most disappointing attribute of the man. To be sure, these re-United States have not always operated faultlessly in our activities around the globe, but I defy anyone to pick any other country in the history of man that has done as much good for the rest of the globe. We have nothing to apologize for! We have sacrificed an unmatched measure of blood and treasure for the well-being and freedom of oppressed people starting at almost the beginning of our trek through history as a nation. What H doesn't get is that when he says he is glad not to be blamed for things America did when he was four years old, he is trashing the memory of American soldiers who died, giving their all with the best of freedom-loving intentions, in those actions. What's next Mr. President, making yourself look good by apologizing for our bombing Dresden and Tokyo? It ain't about you!!

Not to be outdone in the self-aggrandizement effort, Obama's Vice President for Blowhard Blathering demonstrated this past week (seems to do so weekly) that it is more important for him to make himself sound important and smart by running his mouth, regardless the impact his words have on the rest of us. I happen to agree that if there were an epidemic of a virulent influenza (such as the current version of the H1N1 virus percolating down ole Mexico way) extant in our general population, cramming oneself into cramped public transportation along with the snot-nosed, sneezy great unwashed would be a course of action I would personally decide against and vociferously recommend that my friends and loved ones avoid as well. But I'm not Vice President! Even the Colonel, relying on the scant collection of atrophied cells passing for brain matter in my skull, knows that when you're the boss (or vice boss) your every word carries the weight of all the authority of your office. But Joe Biden obviously feels the need to make up for some self-perceived inadequacy by offering advice as if he were only a well-respected sage on a street corner and not the second-most important (well, maybe third, behind Rahm Emanuel) voice in the executive branch of the most important nation on the planet. He doesn't get it--it ain't about him!

Rounding out our trio of self-proclaiming trumpeters, is the paragon of self-service himself, Senator Arlen Specter, whose justification for switching political party affiliation was (and I have to wonder if he was really listening to what he was saying) that he was not willing to put HIS career in the Senate in the hands of the people who put him there to begin with. Senator, it ain't about you! It is about the people whose constitution you took an oath to support and defend.

Think I'll move to Pennsylvania, register Democrat, and vote against him in the primary.