Sunday, December 01, 2013

Cowbell Fever

The final regular season weekend of college football has ended in a paroxysm of rivalry games tearing the nation's collegiate fanbase weave down the middle and leaving two halves separated in joy and despair.

So it is, in Mississippi.

Thursday night's battle for the golden egg between the University of Mississippi and the former Mississippi A & M was typical of the family-splitting, friendship-straining, billboard-prompting, grudge-match that is the annual end of the playing season, beginning of the trash-talking season in Mississippi.

And while the Colonel, as the half-dozen or so of you who regularly waste precious rod and cone time perusing the irregular posts hereon will no doubt remember, does not harbor hate for State -- too much hate invested in LSU and Alabama to have any left for the Bulldogs -- he does hate losing to TSBU (the school beneath us).

For the Colonel, however, losing to State is more like losing a game to his little brother.

In fact, it is exactly like losing a game to his little brother.

To his eternal shame, the Colonel's little brother is a State grad.

But, when one loses a game to a little brother, there is always a solace of self-delusion on which to fall back:

"... I felt bad for him, so I let him win one..."

Yeah, that's what happened.  Little Brother got a mercy win.

The Colonel often wonders at his lack of pure unadulterated hatred for Mississippi State -- like that displayed by so many of his fellow Ole Miss Rebels.

Maybe it's the fact that although his parents' Mississippi blood flows through his veins like a warm, muddy, time-bending backwater, his claim to Mississippianism is only as deep as a plant's roots that have been uprooted and rerooted in so many disparate fields and only recently finally planted for good in the kudzu clad hills here at the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere.

With the exception of one year -- the fifth grade -- while his father went to war in Vietnam, the Colonel didn't grow up in the nurture of Mississippi.  Oh, he went to Ole Miss for four years -- instead of college -- but, he never lived long enough in the state during his formative years to be infected with the virulence of the rivalry.  Wandering the world for two military careers (the Colonel's and his father's before him) provided inoculation that protects him to this day. 

Of course, the bulldog boasting and trash-talk that the Colonel will have to endure for the next twelve months may serve to weaken his immunity.

He might just become a real Mississippian and start hatin' State.   

Monday, November 04, 2013

Biblical Bunches

One of the Colonel's favorite Marine Corps memories is from time spent at the training area nestled on the slopes of Mauna Kea on the "Big Island."  

Field training there always involved lots of overnighters and, at roughly seven thousand feet, necessitated sleeping bags and "snivel gear" not needed overnight back in the tropical, sea-level  training areas on Oahu.  

Sleeping out "under the stars" takes on a whole new meaning when it's done at altitude and away from the lights and air pollution of civilization.  Starlight, up there in the clear air, rivals that of a full moon.

The view of the Milky Way is breathtaking!    

Astronomers tell us that our galaxy contains a couple hundred billion (with a "B") stars.

That, in the Colonel's Mississippi math, is a bunch.

More than a "take off your shoes to count" bunch.

Even more than the number of Bama Bandwagon Boors who have never been in a classroom in Tuscaloosa.

It wasn't until early in the last century that astronomers' telescopes revealed that what we previously thought was the universe was actually just one of a bunch of galaxies.  What we call the Milky Way is actually just our view of one of the outer spiral arms (in which our insignificant solar system resides) of our galaxy.

The more powerful telescopes got, the more galaxies astronomers were able to see, and now they say that there are at least a hundred billion galaxies in the known universe.

That's a bunch of stars.

More than the number of all the mardi gras beads on all the strings around all the necks of all the LSU fans packed into their corndog-smellin' stadium over there in that third world nation masquerading as a State.

The "Big Bang" theory, popular for the moment in the equation-filled noggins of astronomers and astro-physicists, postulates that all of those stars -- billions trillions quadrillions bunches of them, clustered in hundreds of billions of galaxies -- originated from a singularity of infinite mass that exploded a bunch of years ago and spewed out the still-expanding and still-star-birthing universe.

The Colonel ain't got no equation-filled noggin.  He ain't smart, and you can't make him.

But, he can accept the "Big Bang" as plausible.  Even possible.  Heck, even probable.

You see, the Colonel's God is big enough to have made all of that happen.

If there was a "Big Bang," there was the Colonel's God speaking its ignition.    

The Colonel doesn't believe in coincidence or happenstance.

Everything that occurs -- that was, is, and will be -- was, is and will be by and for a reason.  

The reason is God's Will.

Allow the Colonel to tell you just how great his God is.

That same God that spoke the universe into being -- by whatever means is the popular theory of man at the moment -- is still active in the swirling masses of stars in the the swirling masses of galaxies that make up the universe he spoke speaks into being. 

And yet, that same God's omnipotence and omnipresence allows Him to maintain watch over every cell and free radical in the Colonel's rapidly decomposing carcass.

The Colonel's God is not some non-resident landlord.  He is present and personal

But there's more.  

The Colonel's God is not only omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.

He is omnitemporal.  

The Colonel will digress for a teachable moment to benefit the stray Bama and LSU fans whom may have stumbled upon this post while searching for tree-killing herbicides or corndog recipes, respectively. 

The prefix omni comes from the Latin word meaning all or everything.

The word prefix has nothing to do with the mixing of herbicidal chemicals or corndog ingredients.

To be omnitemporal, in the Colonel's admittedly limited understanding, is to exist at once at all points in time.

Say what?

Okay, here's how the Colonel wraps his meager collection of cognitive cells around the concept:

God -- as the Colonel types this missive --  is present at His creation of the universe (via Big Bang or whatever device); is present, in the present with the Colonel; and is present with the Colonel's grandson as he quarterbacks the Ole Miss Rebels to victory over Bama some time in the early 2030's. 

God's omnitemporal omnipresence is what allows Him to be present at the crucifixion of His son, Jesus, for the eternal remission of our sins; and then be present to tell Moses a bunch of years previous to lay out the Tabernacle's elements in the shape of a cross. 

And because Jesus is God, that same omnitemporal omnipresence allows Him to be present as the Commander of the Armies of Heaven at His return (See Revelations 19:11) and to be present with Joshua a bunch of years previous, as Joshua "fit the battle of Jericho" (See Joshua 5:13).

Ain't God Great!?!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Magnolia Bowl Miracle

With just a few minutes left in the game last night, the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda, at home babysitting the Hope of 21st Century Civilization, Dashes 1, 2, & 3, called the Colonel as he stood in the hallowed halls of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium frantically anticipating another heartbreaking football finale, to remind him that, "It's just a game."

The Colonel's SEC brethren and sistren will have to excuse the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda for holding that blasphemous opinion.  She can't possibly be expected to understand.

She went to Memphis State.

The Colonel will admit that he allows the gridiron fortunes (more often, misfortunes) of his beloved Rebels to govern his attitude far too much. 

But he feels safe in the knowledge that he is in very large, if not necessarily good, company.

Ole Miss Rebel fans are a long-suffering bunch.  But what keeps us coming back to fill the stands and fill the air with rebel yells, is the occasional instance when our young men play way above their heads, defy all the odds, snatch the roaring lion by its mane and roar back in teammate-loving ferocity, and win

Last night was one of those amazing and all-too-rare instances.

Made even more amazing by the fact that a very capable Rebel defense that began the season full of promise, limped into the stadium to face one of the finest offenses in the country with more than half of its starters not available, and the other half playing hurt.

It was going to be a rout.

Should have been a rout.

The Colonel was resigned to a rout.

As the pre-kick-off cheers faded into the kudzu-clad distance, the Colonel remarked to those sitting near him,

"Whelp, that's probably the last cheering we'll do tonight."

Oh, he of little faith.

When his Rebels took an impossible 10 - 0 lead to the locker room at half-time, the Colonel still lacked even the smallest shred of faith, and remarked to those sitting near him,

"Seen this movie before."

Incredibly, a Rebel D composed of many still digesting high school cafeteria chow, held the mardi gras escapees long enough in the third quarter to allow the Rebel O to extend the lead to 17 - 0.

The Colonel's faith was still missing-in-action, but a small voice began to whisper, in his tinnitus-ravaged ear, the rumor that his faith might still be alive somewhere in a remote POW camp in Manchuria.  

And, just as the Colonel began to believe in miracles, the LSU Tigers came roaring back to life. 

With three minutes left in the game and the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda's misunderstanding reminder echoing in his tinnitus-ravaged ear, the score was 24 all and the Colonel's Rebels had the ball 75 yards away from the most implausible of victories.

He couldn't watch.

He couldn't not watch.

The Colonel was in intestinal agony.

It could have been the barbecue and jalapeno nachos he wolfed down at half-time...

And then a game-winning field-goal sailed serenely through the uprights.

Pan. De. Mo. Nium.

Mind you, the Colonel ain't much of a hugger.

But, for the next five minutes he hugged everybody in sight.

He even hugged a bewildered LSU fan to whom some traitorous Rebel season ticket holder had sold his ticket.

The Colonel and his sons (and a couple of their friends considered sons) stood in celebratory amazement as delirious Rebel fans rushed the field.

Finally, Son #2 turned to the Colonel and asked, "Hey Dad, wanna go down onto the field?"

"Well..., yeah!"

The Colonel and his son squad made their way down the steps from their seats in the nosebleeds and arrived breathlessly at row 1.

What they saw next caught their breath.

What used to be a four foot high chain-link fence around the playing field had been replaced recently by a very impressive, and much higher, brick wall. 

Son #1, true to his "throw caution to the winds" motto, hesitated not one second and vaulted over the wall to the playing surface.

Son #2, true to his "keep caution under lock and key" motto, turned to the Colonel and asked, "Want me to lower you down to the field, Dad?"

The Colonel looked down at #1, way down on the field, beckoning his progenitor to join in the frolic.  The Colonel looked up at #2 standing attentively at his elbow and considered his offer.

Then a picture formed in the empty recesses of his brain-housing group -- a video of the Colonel, being lowered to the field, running every 14 minutes on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, ESPNU2, ESPNUFO...

You get the picture...

The Colonel gave a hoarse rebel yell and vaulted over the wall.

Somewhere in the 37.3 seconds it took him to fall to the turf, the Colonel simultaneously reached both terminal velocity and the conclusion that he was still going to go into ESPN video history as the old man flailing and screaming to his death at the end of the Ole Miss -- LSU game.

In the latter half of his plunge, the Colonel cobbled together enough widely separated brain-cells to remember something called a PLF -- parachute landing fall.  With feet together, knees together and bent, the Colonel executed a flawless ground contact roll and sprang to his feet with arms raised in what, on ESPN4 & 1/2, probably looked like a celebration of victory, but what was in honest fact, thanks to God for His miraculous protection.

The Colonel turned to encourage #2 to follow and came nearly eye to eye with him -- still standing behind the wall.

"Dad, what are you doing!?!  The wall ain't that high!"

The Colonel glared back and growled,

"It'll look a lot higher on ESPN37HD!" 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Purple Hate

Were you able to view his visage this morning, you would most certainly quickly ascertain by the temporary negative enhancement to the permanent scowl planted on his puss that it is LSU week for the Colonel's Rebels.

There is probably no more anticipated game on the schedule each year -- outside the tilt with our in-state brethren at TSBU (The School Beneath Us, aka, Mississippi State) -- than the century-long grudge match with the purple people from the third world nation masquerading as a state to the south and west of us. 

As any of you who have wasted precious rod and cone time perusing posts hereon will no doubt remember, the Colonel has no hatred for the misguided second-citizens of the great state of Mississippi who matriculated at TSBU.

Slight disdain, perhaps.  But certainly no hatred.

It's just not possible for the Colonel to hate TSBU.

All of his hate is invested in LSU and Bama.

And, for quite different reasons.

The Colonel hates Bama because most Bama fans are in fact Bama Bandwagon Boors -- folks who have never set foot on the campus in Tuscaloosa.

A Bama Bandwagon Boor wears his Walmart-bought "Ninety-Nine National Championships" T-shirt everywhere.




Family Reunions

High School Reunions (even though most tri-B's never even graduated from a bonafide high school).

Probably the greatest reason for the Colonel's hatred of Bama is the insistence by tri-B's that everyone else should love them.  The SEC officials certainly do.

Look, we Ole Miss Rebels don't expect you to love us, or even respect us.  Frankly, we couldn't care less what you think about us. 

The temp-help currently serving as the University's administration and faculty care, but real Ole Miss Rebels don't.

As for why the Colonel hates LSU...

See the word "obnoxious" in the dictionary.           

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Silent Lesson

Forty years ago this week the Colonel learned several lessons that forever changed the way he looked at the world.  It was a fall that destroyed his naivete and ignited a flame that drives the Colonel's boilers to this day.

In October of 1973, the Colonel was scarcely a month into his senior year in high school.  His pedestrian progress through school had finally hit somewhat of a stride, thanks to two most memorable teachers -- Mrs. Sydney Corbett and Ms. Marcia Semans.

Both were primarily English teachers at the now-closed Balboa High School in the then-U.S. controlled Panama Canal Zone. 

The Colonel had Ms. Semans for 11th grade English and she, despite his lackluster performance in her class, saw something hidden in the Colonel and recommended him for Advanced Senior English (a primarily writing course).  Ms. Semans' praise and encouragement was strong fertilizer on the tender shoots of prose poking up from the grimy results of the Colonel's otherwise slovenly educational effort.

Mrs. Corbett was the Colonel's Speech teacher.  And while it has dawned on him since that the Colonel wasn't the only speaker receiving her appreciative chuckles and encouraging smiles, for those moments when the Colonel stood before his ruthless peers, stood down his rampant fears, and bared his soul in spoken tears, her approval was all his. 

The Colonel was never once afraid to address any audience large or small since.  It served him very well in his career and afterwards.

Credit to Mrs. C.

What fires those synapses of memory this week is the fortieth anniversary of the Yom Kippor War.

When the Colonel arrived in Ms. Semans' class on Monday afternoon, the 8th of October 1973, he was struck by two strange anomalies -- a somber look on Ms. Semans' usually smiling face and a short-wave radio on her desk, tuned to a continuous world news broadcast.

Over the previous weekend, the armies of Egypt and Syria had attacked Israel. 

And things were not going well for the Jewish state.

Dang the Arabs!  The Colonel was enjoying school for the first time in his life and one of his favorite teachers, whose seemingly irrepressible light-heartedness was one of the primary reasons, was at the point of tears.  

As any of you who are at all acquainted with him know painfully well, the Colonel ain't smart and you can't make him.  He was infinitely not smarter forty years ago. 

Here's how the Colonel attempted to lighten the mood:

"Hey, Ms. Semans!  What's the big deal?  A bunch of third world nations beating up on each other.  Who cares?

Yeah, cultural awareness and empathy weren't (still aren't) the Colonel's strong suits.

To Ms. Semans' credit, she didn't deliver the tongue lashing the Colonel so richly deserved at that point. 

The look on her face was punishment enough, however.

The Colonel feels his face redden in shame at the memory all these years since.

Suffice it to say, the Colonel's world view broadened significantly over the next couple of weeks.  He hadn't paid particular attention to world events, previously -- it became one of his passions, following.

Over the next several decades the Colonel studied, in detail, the strategic geo-political background, the events leading to, and the operational conduct of that war.  It's lessons shaped his personal concepts regarding war at every level.  And every time he read a recounting or studied an assessment of it, the Colonel remembered the look on a teacher's face.

Some of life's most important lessons are taught in silence.             

Friday, October 04, 2013

Hate Running

The Colonel's alma mater, Ole Miss, is in the national spotlight again this week.  And, as usual, it ain't a good thing.

Seems a crowd of students -- which allegedly included approximately twenty freshmen members of the football team -- attended a campus theatrical production, the "Laramie Project," and allegedly heckled the performers with anti-homosexual epithets.

The hyperventilating reaction in the media and from the jack-booted gender-hustlers leading the political correctness parade has ranged from outrageous to idiotic, with no sane, sensible reactions in between.  

Disappointing, boorish behavior on the part of the hecklers?  Absolutely!

Hate speech?  Absolutely not!

There is no such thing as "hate" speech.

There is ignorant, uncouth, insensitive, impolite, biased, prejudiced, spiteful speech -- all protected under the very first, and most important amendment to the Constitution of these re-United States.

To those who would begin drawing lines beyond which constitutionally protected free speech is no longer protected and, further, illegal, the Colonel would pose the following question:

What makes you think that your currently-considered "politically correct" speech might not one day soon be considered not only politically incorrect but, further, illegal?

Once the precedent has been set by outlawing certain speech deemed "hateful," there is no stopping the slippery slide to absolute Orwellian thought-control.

(For the 'Bama and LSU grads reading this missive and confused by the reference in the paragraph above -- see the book "1984" by George Orwell.  You might have to come to Mississippi to find a library book not already colored in...) 

And while he is on the subject, the Colonel maintains in all sincerity that there is no such thing as a "hate crime." 

All crime is based on hate -- hatred for either God's Law or man's.

The hyperventilating political correctness crowd is calling on Coach Freeze to suspend the errant members of his football team, to "send a message."

Suspension may very well be the appropriate punishment for the boorish, anti-social behavior exhibited by his players, but Coach Freeze must carefully weigh his disciplinary action.

If he suspends the players, the race-hustlers will have a field day.

The Colonel would recommend a far more effective punishment used to great effect by the legendary Coach Vaught and his assistant coaches.

In his book, "Walk Carefully Around the Dead; Ole Miss Football...When the Coaches Held the Players by the...Throats," Page Cothren -- himself a player at Ole Miss and later an NFL standout -- relates in detail the high standards of personal conduct to which the players in the late 40's and 50's were held and the iron-fisted discipline by which they were held to those standards.

Cothren's accounts of players' antics and coaches' responses nearly always end with the same punishment -- running numerous laps up and down the stadium steps.  

If you don't think that's much of a punishment, then you've never had to do it.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Don't Join

By the time the Colonel was barely into his teens, he knew his calling was to serve his nation is uniform.

For much of his young adult life (the term "adult" used in the age-defined sense, not necessarily denoting any particular maturity in the Colonel's case), he self-identified with terms such as "patriot," "warrior," even "jingoist."

For the Bama bandwagon boors who have stumbled upon this post in search of a life beyond ponderous pachyderms, hound's tooth print toilet paper, and tree-killing herbicides, the term "jingoist" does not refer to one who sings jingles.

Nope, the Colonel's favorite song -- Mr. Key's poem, "The Defence of Fort McHenry," set to the tune of a popular, if difficult to sing, British social club anthem -- ain't a very catchy tune. 

In fact, the Colonel has rarely sung the National Anthem.

Hard to sing with tears in your eyes and a large lump in your throat.

Suffice it to say that you'd be hard pressed to find anyone in the land of the free who loves the ideals for which our nation stands more than the Colonel.

As many of the two dozen of you who subject yourselves to the drivel posted hereon will recall, the Colonel spent a goodly portion of his career commanding a goodly portion of the Marine Corps' recruiting apparatus.

No one believed in the high calling of the cause of filling our ranks, nor took to heart the slogans and ideals with which we challenged the youth of our nation, more than the Colonel.

The Colonel considers membership in the American veterans' community in general, and in the fellowship of the Marine Corps in particular, to be the second greatest collection of men and women to which anyone can aspire -- a Christian Church being the first, of course.   

So it was with a particular sense of bewilderment and personal loss that the Colonel recently answered a young man's question about joining the military with: "Don't."

The Colonel can no longer in clear conscience recommend uniformed military service to our nation. 

The leaders of our military -- civilian and uniformed -- have lost any semblance of moral authority, let alone direction, having succumbed shamefully to the siren song of political correctness.

"Atheist" chaplains?

Women in the infantry?

Persecution of professing Christians?

Open acceptance of "anything goes" sexuality?

Mistreatment -- downright neglect -- of veterans' suffering?

Failure to address -- with strong caring leadership -- the plague of suicide symptomatic of a huge moral leadership vacuum?  

The Colonel could go on and on...

The Colonel used to respond positively to those who -- often flippantly -- expressed gratitude for his service.

This is how the Colonel now answers those perfunctory platitudes -- particularly from politicians:

"Don't insult my intelligence.  If you appreciated my service even the least little bit, you would not so willfully trample the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution for which I pledged my life and for which so many of my brothers and sisters have given theirs."

Friday, September 06, 2013

Thinking the Unthinkable

The Colonel is thinking the unthinkable these days.

Not hard to go there; not with all of the dithering, denial, and double-speak coming from the Obama Administration.

Referring to this administration's fecklessness as "amateur hour" offends all amateurs everywhere.

Let's look at a real possibility -- the Congress of the United States, the constitutionally empowered war-declaring branch of our federal government may very well tell the President, "No, we do not approve of military action against the Syrian regime."

What then?

Does the President disregard express congressional disapproval and direct the United States' military to prosecute an act of war, anyway?

The White House, as have nearly all administrations in American history, claims that the President has the authority to act without Congressional approval.  Precedent says so.

The Constitution?  Not so much.

While Article II, Section 2 names the federal executive as the "Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States," the clear intent of the Constitution's framers -- found in their writing in support of the Constitution's acceptance and  ratification -- was that the role of Commander in Chief in war was to be as a result of Congressional authorization of that war in the first place.  

There was NEVER intent to give the President latitude to attack other sovereign nations as he saw fit, no matter how "moral" the cause.   

The Constitution DOES give the President latitude -- moreover, responsibility -- to act in defense of the United States pending Congressional declaration of, and funding for, war against the enemy attacking the United States, its property, its citizens, and its critical national interests.

The current situation in Syria does not meet that test.

Most commentators the Colonel has heard pontificating on the subject seem to assume that our military, given an order contrary to the express will of Congress, will obediently salute and execute.  

And, that is what has the Colonel thinking the unthinkable.

To what authority does the military of the United States owe ultimate obedience? 

The Constitution, of course! 

The Colonel posits that a presidential order contrary to the express will of the Congress of the United States is an unconstitutional -- an illegal -- order.

Commanders should -- must -- refuse it. 

Would that cause a Constitutional crisis?

You betcha!

One brought on by none other than the executive, himself.

He would, of course, fire the refusing commander(s).

What could happen then?

Lots of "unthinkables."              

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Damascus Falls Again

As the Colonel pens this missive, we are minutes away from an announcement from H regarding the next step in his administration's feckless plan (the Colonel apologizes for diminishing the terms "feckless" and "plan") for influencing the "Arab World."

His projected "shot across the bow" will do little more than give ammunition and excuse to those who live and accumulate power by the promotion of hatred of the West, in general, and the United States, in particular. 

Even if the coming missile strikes were somehow to shift the battlefield balance in favor of the Syrian rebels -- an amorphous accumulation of anti-western and anti-secular forces -- the resulting fall of Damascus will do no more for regional stability and Western interests than when that critical capital fell to Lawrence and his Arab legion ninety-five years ago.

Young British army officer, T. E. Lawrence, assigned as liaison with the Arab forces loosely cooperating with the British against the Turks -- allied with Germany in the War [that didn't] End all Wars -- went "native", as they say, and filled a leadership vacuum among the disparate Arab clans and tribes seeking independence from Turkish rule.  Lawrence united them with promises he couldn't, and his superiors wouldn't, keep, and led them in a series of improbable victories against the Turks which served to rally the Arabs in their drive to capture the most important capital in the Arab world at the time -- Damascus.

Ever the dreamer, Lawrence thought that particular and spectacular victory would be sufficient to cause the Arabs to cease their millenia-long internecine squabbling and unite in such a way that Britain would have no choice but to grant pan-Arab independence and autonomy. 

Neither the Arabs, nor the British shared his dream.  The Arabs failed to unite and the British acted as they had always acted in their Imperial history to that point.

Damascus and the Arab world went from Turkish domination to British domination.  The current Arab political boundaries -- and the resultant incessant turmoil -- are, for the most part, the creation of British politicians possessing not the first clue of Arab culture and history. 

The fall of Damascus this Fall will have the same result -- except Iran will dominate the region this time around.       

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Jim Crow Ain't Dead

The Colonel takes this opportunity to commend the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors for jealously guarding the reputation of Mississippi politics for rampant cronyism, self-serving pandering, and blindness to the rule of law.
As a 1978 graduate of the Ole Miss Naval ROTC program,  the Colonel spent the better part of the next three decades as an infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps.  As such he remained ready to defend the United States against its enemies.  As a proud Mississippian, he was also ever ready to rise in the defense of the reputation of his state – occasions for which the Colonel found ample opportunity throughout his travels across the nation and around the globe.

Upon retirement from the Marine Corps and a full score of household moves, the Colonel had the means to make anywhere in the world his permanent home.  He had seen most of the world and the corner that appealed to him most was  in Lafayette County, Mississippi.  The Colonel  believed, as he had so vehemently maintained in the face of its many detractors, that the new Mississippi was no longer crippled by those who used the crutch of racial animus to amend for their poor leadership ability, or employed the crooked device of cronyism to line their pockets.  
Imagine the Colonel's chagrin to discover that his always ready defense of the wisdom and righteousness of the leaders of the new Mississippi was misplaced.

Case in point is a recent public meeting of the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors, wherein a small businessman, operating completely within the ordinances of the County, was denied permission to construct berms on his private property to mitigate noise from his firearms range -- the obvious intent being to prevent his expansion of his firearms sales business to include a much needed, safe firing range.   The stated reasons for denial of the earthmoving permit have no basis in any current county ordinance, but are instead based on misplaced passion and pandering politics.
Jim Crow ain’t dead; it has just replaced equal protection under the law with free market capitalism as its target.

Instead of doing their duty, as employees of the people of the county, to enforce the ordinances of the county, the Board sought to impose their will and implement restrictions not found in the current law.  Instead of considering facts, the Board was swayed by mistruths, innuendo, and misrepresentations. 

Despite representations to the contrary, before the board and in sensationalist media, the range is not in a “neighborhood.”  In fact, the two homes adjacent (1/4 mile distant) to the proposed range are a small fraction of the number of homes adjacent to the County Sherriff’s range. 
Despite representations to the contrary, the current noise level from the range is actually measurably lower than that of the traffic on Highway 7 (on which 7500 vehicles pass daily) to which the two homes are also adjacent. 
Addition of the berms for which permission was asked of the Board, would, in fact, further reduce firearms noise significantly, as well as provide for more than adequate safety.
Never mind the fact that there is no county noise ordinance, to begin with.  The Board certainly didn’t let that fact stand in their way of standing in the way of business expansion.

Unable to defend their denial on any legal basis, the Board employed a delaying tactic -- sending the small business owner's request back to the subordinate County Planning Commission (who had already recommended approval of the project) to consider whether a six-foot high, razor-wire topped fence should be constructed around the proposed range for "safety."
Never mind the fact that the steep walls of the project's planned 20+ foot earthen berms (with appropriate safety signage) would provide far more "safety" than the County Sherrif's range (which has no fence).  The Board's intent was clearly to make the project "cost-prohibitive" to the young entreprenuer.
Could it be that the Board was protecting the interest of far richer local gun shop owners whose long-term plans for shooting ranges had yet to come to fruition? 
No, that would be naked cronyism and that could never happen in the new Mississippi.         
In full disclosure, but in no way diminishing the point, the small business owner in question is the Colonel's son.  He was raised to respect the property of others, to be a good neighbor, and to deal honestly and fairly with all others.  In particular, he was raised to trust and abide by the law; that, by doing so, he could count on the law to protect his freedom to live and earn a legal living.

The Colonel fears he may have misled him.
Doubtless many of these same Board members rant and rave about the Federal government's trampling of the Constitution and the erosion of the liberties upon which, and for which, the nation was founded. 
They themselves are doing just as much.  

Monday, July 22, 2013

Black Hawg Down

Among the many scourges brought to the North American continent by European explorers, settlers, and colonizers in the post-Columbian era, one particular porcine pest presents preeminently.

The Colonel refers, of course, to the pig. 



Bacon on the hoof.

Ham hauler.

Americans have a serious love – hate relationship with swine.

We love our barbecue, bacon, and ham.  The mouth waters in want at the mention.

We hate the habits of a hog.  The nose winkles in disgust at the thought.

A hog will eat anything.

A hog will seek out the foulest mud hole in which to wallow.

A close-up whiff of a grown boar’s scent will put the hungriest man off his feed.

Throughout the American South feral hogs (farm escapees) crossed with Russian Boars (game fame escapees) are undergoing a frightening population boom.  Fed by large scale agricultural practice, and blessed with an amazing fertility rate (a grown sow can begat three litters of pigs a year), wild hogs now rival whitetail deer in numbers in many areas.

Deer can put a serious dent in a farmer’s row crop. 

Wild hogs will put him out of business.

Hogs aren’t content to graze on greenery.  They root up the whole plant.

Like deer, wild hogs have become increasingly nocturnal. 

And, a hog is much smarter than a deer – attempts to control porcine population through trapping is futile.

Enter the Colonel’s Number One Son – firearms enthusiast and serial entrepreneur.

Number One owns a gun store (, specializing in what is popularly known as “tacticool.”

He builds custom tactical rifles – equipped with cutting edge optics (night vision and thermal imaging) and suppressors.

Ideal for night pig population control patrolling.

Serial entrepreneur that he is, once he figured out how to ensure a relatively high success rate, he began taking paying customers on guided hunts in fields of local farmers who were all too happy to give him free rein to kill as many of the crop marauders as possible.

The Colonel and Number Two Son went along on one such adventure last night.

Equipped with bike-helmet mounted PVS-14 night vision monoculars and night vision-scoped rifles, we eased onto a half-mile wide soy bean field and scanned the upwind far tree line. 

The Colonel couldn't help but remember other nights peering intently through night vision equipment -- but this new stuff was light-years better than the gear he'd had back in his infantry days.

Soon enough, we spotted hogs emerging to forage on the foot-high bean plants.  But, a deer down-wind of us blew a warning and the hogs retreated out of sight in the thick underbrush of the tree line.

A move further down the field put us in just the right position to catch a small hog shuffling out to feed and the Colonel ended his crop depredation days with a quick shot.

Number Two Son complained loudly that the Colonel hadn’t given him a chance to shoot.

The Colonel was his usual understanding self:  Tough.”

We sat in the dark for another hour while every mosquito in North Mississippi dined on our blood – ignoring the liberal coating of Deep Woods Off.

We began to feel woozy from the blood loss and decided to call it a night.

As we trooped across the field in the dark, Number Two, who has a sense of direction rivaling a ten-year old Canada goose, made a beeline for the corner of the field beyond which the truck was parked.

The rest of us drifted off to the right, looking at hog sign and marveling at how much damage the hogs were doing to the beans. 

Less than a hundred yards from the edge of the field, we heard a rustle in the tree line and looked up to see in the light green light gathered in our monoculars the unmistakable bulk of a very large hog hustling straight at us on to the field to feed.

The Colonel dropped to one knee, flipped the night vision monocular up and out of the way on its helmet mount, shouldered his rifle and immediately acquired the target in the night vision scope.

Wasn’t hard.  The hog was in a hungry hurry and was quickly closing the distance between himself and his favorite patch of bean sprouts.

The Colonel was kneeling in the hungry hurrying hog’s favorite patch of bean sprouts.

The hungry hurrying humongous hog was rapidly filling the rifle scope’s field of view.

The Colonel squeezed the trigger and the rifle scope filled with a thrashing hog and flashing tusks and for a second the Colonel wondered if he were about to have a close encounter with said flashing tusks.

But the hog was down and Number One Son finished him off with a quick follow-up.

Number Two Son complained loudly from a hundred yards to the left, “Hey!  You guys didn’t even give me a ‘CaCaw’ to let me know there was a hog to shoot.”

The Colonel was his usual understanding self...,


Thursday, June 06, 2013

D-Day Salute

Sixty-nine years ago, this morning, 156,000 very young men from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Free France, and Norway landed on the coast of Normandy.  Disembarking from landing craft on some of the landing beaches, thousands were killed before even reaching dry land.

June 6, 1944 was the day that the Allies entered the European continent on foot and began ground operations aimed at the destruction of Nazi Germany.

Air operations with that aim had been ongoing for at least two years, with tens of thousands of very young men engaged in an aerial war of attrition to terrorize the German people, destroy their war-making capacity, and achieve the air superiority necessary for the cross-channel invasion.

By the end of the war with the Axis powers -- Japan, Germany and Italy -- the United States lost nearly a half-million very young men.  A million more returned home irreparably scarred in body or spirit.

But they were the Greatest Generation.

Men, and women, inculcated with a rare character trait -- virtue.

They went to war, not necessarily so willingly as tradition holds -- the best kept secret of the Vietnam War is that the percentage of true volunteers (not drafted) was higher than during the Second World War -- but, with a grand sense of collective duty and purpose.  

And when they returned home, they went quickly and quietly back to work and built the strongest economy the world had ever seen, then or since.

Most of the men who left buddies in eternal rest on the battlefields of Europe and the Pacific, are they themselves now resting in hallowed ground across our nation.  A few still stand, rising reverently to salute the flag of their nation under which they fought and under which their buddies were buried.

The Colonel has no words with enough adequacy to convey his appreciation and respect.

So, he'll just say:

Semper Fidelis           


Friday, May 31, 2013

Livin' in the Country

It's barefoot time here at the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere and the Colonel is relishing the muggy warmth of late Mississippi springtime.

Of course, in a couple of weeks, the Colonel will be complaining about the heat as spring gives way to full onset summer.  But, for the time being, the Colonel's carcass is appreciating the winter-long-coveted caress of southern solar sympathy.

Short trips out of doors are more often sans footwear, and while the the bottoms of the Colonel's dogs are beginning to toughen up, they still haven't regained the shoe-leather insensitivity required for care-free shoeless operation.

Yesterday afternoon, as the Colonel corralled his two oldest grandsons and the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda for a leap off the dock and a soak in the pond, the Colonel was padding about on the parking pad between the big house and the Man Toy Storage and Sawdust Production Facility and stepped squarely and not-so gingerly upon a rock which, in size and shape, felt like a not-so-miniature replica of the Great Pyramid.

The Colonel leapt skyward and howled so loudly that neighbors throughout this part of the county mistook the wail for that of a tornado siren and took to their storm shelters.

You'd think they would have gotten used to the Colonel's wailing by now...

Grandson #1, the Hope of 21st Century Civilization, Dash 1 (H21CC - 1), stood to the side with head cocked and eyebrow raised watching the Colonel's pyramid-stomp hop and wail give way to a post-traumatic limp and whimper.

"What happened, Pop?  Did you get bit by a snake?"

Snakebite is the current concern 'round these parts -- a neighbor suffered a copperhead bite on a bare foot recently.  The neighbor is fine.  The snake, not so much.

"No, it wasn't a snake! I stomped on that big sharp rock right there!"

H21CC - 1 knelt down to examine the size and weapons-grade dimensions of the rock in question.  The boy is at the age where such rocks are collected for future offensive operations.

"What rock, Pop?  All I see is this little pebble."  The rock was clearly not pocket armory-appropriate ammo in his estimation.  

"Little!?!," the Colonel exclaimed.  "That boulder nearly crippled me!"

H21CC - 1 straightened and appraised his grand-progenitor with the sort of look that the Colonel has heretofore only seen on the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda's face.

"Pop, you need to toughen up.  I step on rocks all the time in my bare feet."

And then, the sagacity of youth:

"That's livin' in the country."       

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Faded and Tarnished

The Colonel has had eagles pinned on his uniform twice in his life.

The last time toward the end of his career in the Marine Corps; the first thirty years earlier, toward the end of his time in the Boy Scouts of America.  

The walls in the Colonel's office are covered in memorabilia, plaques, flags, certificates, and photos from his time in the Corps -- but none is more dear to him than the smallest and least significant looking.

On the wall behind him as he types this missive, in a tiny frame, is the certificate attesting to his achievement of Eagle rank in the Scouts.  

The certificate bears the signature of the President at the time, Richard M. Nixon.

In a cutout in the matting next to the certificate is the Eagle ribbon and pendant that was pinned to the Colonel's scout uniform over forty years ago. The ribbon is a bit faded and the eagle pendant somewhat tarnished with time -- a shadow of the glorious award for which the Colonel was, and still is, as proud of accepting as any promotion or medal he received in the Corps.

And so it is with the Boy Scouts of America, today.  By the Colonel's estimation, Scouting is a far cry from the organization to which he belonged in his youth.

Mind you, this is no screed on the recent decision by the Boy Scouts of America to allow boys who profess to be homosexual.

Frankly, that decision was a forgone conclusion, given the Scouts' decades-long slide in standards, and reorientation from a rustic training ground for gentlemen to an urban survival laboratory.

In the process of "modernizing," Scouting lost its bearings.

The Colonel can still proudly recite the twelve points of the Scout Law:

"A scout is:


He has tried to continue to live his life by the Scout Oath:

"On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight."

A homosexual lifestyle is incompatible with the Scout Law and Oath.  And so is a lifestyle full of heterosexual sin and other forms of dissipation.

The Colonel is no homophobe.  If he is any kind of "phobe" it's a sin - a - phobe.

The Colonel fears sin, because it so easily entangles him and diverts his eyes from Jesus' teaching.  The Colonel takes no pride in admitting that he has violated every single one of God's Commandments -- either in thought or deed.  The Colonel ain't no saint -- except by the marvelous grace of God through Jesus.

But, the Colonel keeps trying to maintain the standards.

When the Colonel was active in Scouting, he was fortunate to have adult leaders who held him, and his peers, strictly accountable to every point of the Law and each of the standards in the Oath recited at every assembly of two or more.

Every point of the Law and every standard of the Oath meant something. 

Being a Boy Scout meant something.

Unfortunately, the Colonel believes it no longer does.

But, the Colonel's opinion of the current status of Scouting didn't change with the recent decision.

The Colonel's opinion changed a long time ago, when Scouting's internal compass fell captive to the magnetic allure of the false religions of pacifism, feminism, progressivism, and political correctness.  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

More Than Life, Their Country Loved

Teaching His disciples, Jesus told them this, “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for another.”
Monday, America observes Memorial Day – a day specifically set aside for the sole purpose of remembering those who marched off to war under the flag of our nation,
... and returned covered by that flag.
Memorial Day is not the day to say thank you to living veterans.  Veterans Day is for that.
Memorial Day is the day we honor the memories of men and women, who, in the uniform of our nation, laid down their lives for others.
Federal law declares that on Memorial Day, all U.S. flags are to be flown at half mast until noon, and that at 3 P.M. all Americans should pause for a moment of solemn remembrance.
Monday, most will be too busy celebrating a day off to stop and remember our fallen.  So, let’s do that now.
Almighty Father, we worship Your holy name.  We thank You for Jesus, the commander of the armies of heaven, who laid down His life for us.  We thank You for blessing our nation with selfless men and women, who more than life their country loved.  Grant that we, who enjoy the liberty and freedom for which they died, may live our lives in such a way as to be worthy of their sacrifice. 
In Jesus' name we pray. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Discipline's Harvest

Thirty-six years ago, as the Colonel (then an NROTC Midshipman) was in final physical and mental preparation for a summer of fun and sun at Marine Corps Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia, a member of the little country church to which he and his new bride -- the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda -- belonged, approached the Colonel...

"You're headed for OCS in a few weeks, aren't you?"  T. K. Moffett was a graduate of the United States Military Academy who had served his post-graduation obligation in the Army and was now back in his native Mississippi attending Law School at Ole Miss.

"Yes, sir!"  The Colonel was raring to go.

"Got any scripture to meditate on each day?"

"Uh..., no, sir."

"Try Hebrews 12:11."

"Yes, sir."

The Colonel was (is) a scatter-brained knucklehead and he promptly forgot the advice. 

He did carry the pocket New Testament that had belonged to his Methodist preacher great-grandfather (and namesake) Thomas Edwin Gregory along with him to OCS and during a rare free minute one evening during the first week or so of the ordeal he thumbed it open looking for some comfort and inspiration.

The Word fell open to the 12th chapter of Paul's letter to the Hebrews and the Colonel's eye caught the word "discipline." He began to read...

"1. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.    
2. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  
3. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.    
4. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
5. And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: 'My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,  
6. because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.'
7. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?  
8. If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.  
9. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!
10. Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness."

And then, there it was, the verse that had been recommended:
"11. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. "

The Colonel quickly committed the verse to memory, making room for it in a wrinkle of brain-matter not yet crowded with the Marine Corps "knowledge" his drill instructors were requiring him to memorize.

Throughout the remainder of his career in the Corps, the Colonel referred often to Hebrews 12:11.  Early on, the Colonel leaned on the promise of "righteousness and peace" as he endured hardship and the discipline of others.  Later in his career, he sagely passed on the verse to subordinates.

That was good, as far as it went.  But, the Colonel was misappropriating God's Word for a secular purpose.

Recently, the Colonel has been participating in a study of Hebrews, chapters 11 and 12, with several other men in his church.  Chapter 11, with Paul's recounting of the Heroes of Faith, provides examples of men and women of God who exercised faith in God's promises and provision in times of hardship and want.  

Interesting and inspiring, and all, but the Colonel was really looking forward to Chapter 12 -- the "discipline" chapter.

The Colonel had a lot of experience with "discipline."  

But then, as he read Hebrews 12:11 in context with the rest of the chapter, and Chapter 12 in context with Chapter 11, a dim light of a new understanding began to glimmer in the gloom of the Colonel's cavernous cranium.

The Colonel's attention was drawn to Paul's exhortation in verses 3 through 7.  In particular, verses 3 and 7.

"3. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart... 7. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?"  

The example of Jesus' suffering is what must be considered as one "endures hardship."

And, our hardships here on earth are God's way of disciplining us.

Just as the Greek language, from which our English language versions of New Testament scripture are translated, has different meanings (agape, eros, philios) of the English word "love," so it has several different meanings that are all translated "discipline."

It's not just God's "punishment" for sin.

It's also God's "training" for greater and harder tasks.

And, it's "correction" aimed at bringing us into closer fellowship with Him.  (Verse 10: "...God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness." )

So, when we are in the midst of a particular trial, suffering some hardship, perhaps we should not ask, "Why me, Lord?"

Perhaps we should ask God, "Where have I failed to measure up to your expectations?"

Or, "Show me my sin."

When, early in his time in the Corps, the Colonel learned to apply the discipline of "immediate and willing obedience to commands and orders," he displayed a form "righteousness" in the eyes of his trainers and seniors and harvested the "peace" of their approval.

To paraphrase the Apostle Paul in Hebrews 12: 9, how much more should the Colonel submit to the Father of his spirit and live!