Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Coma

Shortly after taps last night the Colonel lapsed into a post-Christmas chow coma rivalled only by that in which Washington's troops found the Hessians at Trenton.

Had Carlos the Terrorist decided to assault the Colonel's defense-in-depth overnight he would have easily breached all but the last line of defense -- the heavily-armed and steely-eyed Miss Brenda.  Luckily for Carlos, he passed on the chance to test the Colonel's defenses.  


Christmas at the Colonel's is all about the chow.

Comfort chow.

No sissified sauteed samples and drizzled plate garnishes allowed -- just heaps of ham, potatoes, bacon-covered green beans, sweet potato pie, and fruit salad; washed down with sweet tea.  

Christmas dinner at the Colonel's is a raucous affair replete with loud retelling of family stories, the truthful kernels of truth at the core of which have shrunk to insignificance and been replaced with inflated lore more beloved for the fun of telling than for any attempt at historical accuracy.  

And, once the story-telling subsides, desserts are served.

No tradition is observed with dessert -- just huge slices of sugar and carb-loaded cake or pie, or both.

As the last of family and guests departed, and darkness fell over the pine-studded and kudzu-clad clay hills here at the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere, the Colonel and his Lady smiled to each other in recognition of another holiday gathering with no familial bloodshed and breathed deeply in the sudden silence.  The comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda turned to the Colonel and sweetly admonished him,

"Don't you do it."

"Do what?"

"You know what!"

But, it was too late.  The Colonel's conscious systems were in full safety shutdown mode.

The comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda was going to have to finish kitchen clean-up without the Colonel's supervision.

Sometimes a leader must trust his subordinates. 

Okay ladies, the Colonel hears you grinding your teeth.  In the Colonel's defense, his last words to the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda were permission to leave some of the clean-up for this morning.

So, if you will excuse the Colonel, he must beg your leave to head to the kitchen.

He hears the clattering of dishes and needs to assume his supervisory duties.                 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Tad Pad Takedown

One surefire way to limit readership is to bloviate at length about one's sports team.

It's a padlock guarantee to glaze the eyes of even the thirstiest reader.

The Colonel knows this.

But he ain't smart and you can't make him.

Besides, the readership of this blog would have to be measured in negative integers if it were to get any smaller.

Thanks, Mom, for hanging in there.

Yesterday afternoon, the Colonel attended an Ole Miss Rebels basketball game.  He last attended a Rebel basketball game over 40 years ago.

Let's be clear right up front.  The Colonel loathes the game of basketball.  At five - six and three quarters (and, never forget the three quarters) he never saw much future in pursuit of the sport. 

The Colonel loves football.  His diminutive stature never seemed to be the bar to playing football that he allowed it to be with Naismith's invention.  The Colonel's football instincts were far too ingrained in his sports psyche long before he ever tried to play basketball -- in his short roundball career, he once fouled out without ever leaving the bench.

The Colonel would rather watch purple and gold paint dry while suspended by his thumbs from hooks in the ceiling, than to watch an entire basketball game.  

The Colonel's number two son, who inexplicably excels at the game, reminded the Colonel a couple of weeks ago that yesterday's basketball game was going to be significant well beyond the importance of the non-conference match-up with a team whose RPI (the Colonel doesn't know what that is, but it adds a little basketballism to this treatise, does it not?) would matter less to the post-season tournament hopes of the Rebel roundballers (more gratuitous sport slang for authenticity sake) than the color of their socks. 

The game against Troy would be the last ever played in the Tad Pad.

C. M. "Tad" Smith Coliseum, named for a Rebel sports great from early in the last century, was built 50 years ago.  It's round, domed profile mimicked that of more well-known sports domes of the era.  A Rebel frat rat, fueled by a flask of Rebel Yell, could squint through his swimming double vision as he stumbled across the parking lot of the Tad Pad and imagine that he was about to attend a game, or a concert, in the Super Dome.  

With respects to the architects and builders of the edifice in question, the Tad Pad was -- and the Colonel is searching for the most delicate language possible -- a dump.

The Colonel apologizes to any dumps he may have just slandered.

The Tad Pad was supposed to be a multi-use arena, and it was.  


In the old analog days, students filed into the coliseum to line up at tables in hopes of finding a seat in a too-quickly filled class for the next semester.  The pain of this contributed, in no small way, to the Colonel's antipathy for the building.

For the last two years of his matriculation at the Harvard of the South (by reciprocal agreement, Harvard is allowed to call itself the Ole Miss of the North), the Tad Pad was the second thing he saw every morning on his way to class.  The first was the sight of the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda -- the Colonel and his bride lived in an efficiency apartment in married student housing across the street for the even then crumbling coliseum.

The Tad Pad is finally being replaced.  Next to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, a beautiful new multi-use arena is set to open for business next month.  The Pavilion at Ole Miss (to be renamed in honor of the next rich Ole Miss alum to shell out several million for the honor) will vault Ole Miss basketball into regions of recognition the team's play could never reach on its own.

So, the Colonel felt honor-bound to participate in the send-off of the venerable venue.  He joined several thousand likewise lured to the otherwise avoidable game by one dollar general admission tickets.  

The crowd, aged from 90 to 9 months, was missing a critical component.  Weren't many students in attendance -- they are home for the holidays.  

Nevertheless, the home crowd managed a modicum of meaningful, it not necessarily raucous, support for the Rebel B-ballers as they took to the Tad Pad court for the last time.

Did the Colonel mention that his consideration of the game of basketball ranks in the range of his appreciation for root canal surgery?

Near the end of the second period, Number Two noticed the Colonel's uneasiness and leaned over to reassure him.

"Don't worry, Dad.  It will be over soon."

He lied.  

Must get that from his mother.

In typical Ole Miss fashion, in the waning minutes of the game, the Rebels surrendered a 10 point lead to a team they should have dominated by twice that.  At the buzzer, the score was tied.

If the Colonel believed in mythological sports gods, he would have been convinced that the basketball gods were high-fiving and pointing gleefully at the look of absolute horror on his face.

The Colonel, who would rather play touch football with a pack of porcupines than watch thirty seconds of basketball, was in his own personal version of sports hell.  Overtime at a basketball game. 

Then, the unimaginable happened.

The Colonel found himself on his feet.

The Colonel heard his own voice screaming appreciation for the sweet swish of ball through net.

Filing out of the Tad Pad, the Colonel heard himself ask,

"Hey, when's the first game in the new Pavilion?"

Well..., the Colonel needs to be there for history's sake, doesn't he?                                     

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Is this what you want, America?

Tarawa, November 1943
The earliest memories of his childhood in the Corps, at the very beginning of the Colonel's career as a U.S. Marine, are the reminders from the Marines whose service predated his own that the Marines from their generation were tougher, had it harder, than the Marines from the Colonel's generation.

At the time, the Colonel will readily admit, that was entirely the case.  The Marines who trained the Colonel's generation of Marines were veterans of vicious combat in Vietnam, Korea, and, in some cases, World War II.

The Post-Vietnam force was a hollow one, and for the most part it's members were coddled compared to the generations that preceded it.  

The Colonel finds himself in the curious position of proclaiming that the generation of Marines that followed his own are far tougher and far better trained.

The Colonel's generation saw limited combat throughout the 80's and 90's.  Grenada, Lebanon, Panama, even the first Gulf War were cakewalks in comparison to the wars fought by the generation of Marines who have been in action for the last decade and a half.

Thirty-seven years ago, this month, the Colonel graduated from the Marine Corps' Infantry Officers Course (IOC).  In 1978, IOC was a six-week course that "qualified" its graduates for assignment of the Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), 0302 (Infantry Officer).  All Marine lieutenants, regardless of eventual MOS (aviation, logistics, artillery, armor, etc.) must first graduate from the Basic Officer Course at The Basic School (TBS) at Quantico, Virginia.  TBS, in theory, prepares all Marine officers to serve as infantry platoon commanders.  In fact, prior to establishment of IOC in 1977, Marine officers assigned the 0302 MOS went straight from TBS to their infantry platoons.

Over the years, IOC has incrementally raised its standards and increased its rigor to the point that today it is arguably one of the  physically toughest and most mentally challenging schools in all the world's militaries.   Thirty-seven years ago every lieutenant in the Colonel's IOC class finished the course.  Today, a not-insignificant percentage fail to even pass the initial evaluation.  The Colonel would like to be able to say that they fail because they aren't as tough as the Colonel's generation.

He can't.  Not by a long shot.

The Colonel took, and still takes, pride in being as hard as a set of woodpecker lips.  There weren't many in better shape, nor as inured to hardship as he was.  But, he has serious doubt in his super-confident military mind that he could have passed the initial evaluation for today's IOC.   Oh, and the course is now ten weeks long -- each and every day as challenging as the most challenging day in 1978's six-week course .

The Colonel thinks that is a very good thing.

For the past 14 years, young infantry Marines have fought in battles that compare favorably in terms of ferocity and deprivation with any of the most famous battles of our Corps -- Samar, Belleau Wood, Iwo Jima, Chosin, Khe Sanh, to name but a few of the many absolutely horrendous fights from which U.S. Marines emerged victorious and the lore of which animate our Corps today.  The fight for Fallujah in Iraq a decade ago will go down in history and be held in the same awe as any battle of the Pacific war against Japan.

Those young Marines, volunteers all, deserve the very best battle leadership possible.  Their officers should be the most qualified our nation can afford to place at their head.  And, we should never stop increasing the quality and ability of those officers.  To do otherwise is a treasonous disservice to those young Marines they will lead and to the mothers and fathers who give their children to the Corps' care.  

In the current fight, Mom and Dad can rest in the assurance that the officer leading their son into battle is so physically and mentally capable that he will continue to operate and make sound battlefield decisions under the most demanding conditions imaginable (and even conditions far more demanding that most can imagine).

The Colonel credits the superior American political leadership of the 1980's to the world-class military America fields today.  Today's U.S. Armed Forces are without peer -- as it should be.  

The political leadership 30 years ago set the priority of quality of force and military prowess over political correctness and social engineering.   

Today, the reverse is the case.

For the first time in its proud history, our Republic, which used to pride itself on its moral and ethical superiority, will now consciously send women into combat as infantrymen, er... persons.  

To quote the current temp help in the Oval Office, "That's not who we are, as Americans."  

The Colonel cares not that other nations have women in their infantry formations.  Our nation should not be in the business of adopting other nations' practices.  

We are better than they are.  

Just because the Israelis have women in their infantry units doesn't justify American women serving likewise.  The Colonel has trained with the Israelis -- they are good against Arab armies; they wouldn't last a day against most western armies.

No other infantry fighting force on the planet can stand toe-to-toe with American infantry.  

No. Other. 


End. Of. Discussion.

Our physical fitness and training standards are unmatched.  

Of two dozen who have tried over the last couple of years, no woman has even made it through the first grueling week of IOC.  

Neither did lots of men.

But, mark the Colonel's words, the physical standards for IOC will be gender-normed before the next year is out.  

The result will be an Marine Infantry Officer Course whose standards will be lowered to allow women to pass.  The argument, by men and women who have never served in combat, will be that the standards are unreasonably high today.  

Oh, and the women who pass the course under lowered standards will step in front of 40 enlisted Marines who know.  Not fair for those young ladies -- a brand new infantry second lieutenant has a hard enough job gaining the trust and confidence of his men. 

Is that what you want, America?  Do you want America's premier force in readiness -- the world's finest combined arms battlefield dominator -- reduced in effectiveness against the enemies of our Republic and the freedoms its Constitution enshrines?

It will be.

Don't say the Colonel didn't warn you.  

Friday, December 11, 2015

Saving Christmas

There are two times of the year for which the Colonel's disdain-o-meter pegs.

One is that foul-breathed, runted dragon of a month, February, whose wanton waste of space on the Colonel's calendar drives him to rabid mental and physical excess, seeking a minimizing temporal distortion.

The Colonel has never been convinced -- and many have tried -- that the month of February holds any redeeming value.  It is the desert wasteland on the annual landscape through which one must traverse, maddening inexorably with thirst for something -- anything -- of intellectual or manly pursuit with which to sustain one's self.

If February was a man, the Colonel would challenge him to a duel.   

Every stinkin' day. 

The other time of year that wrings the Colonel's rag is Christmas.

Yeah, that's right.  The Colonel hates Christmas.   

Well,... it's not so much that the Colonel hates Christmas.  The reason for the season is his raison d'etre. 

The Colonel hates what everybody else has done with Christmas.

The Colonel hates the artificial amplification of cheer pumped into every human activity, and the subsequent disdain in which anyone is held who doesn't routinely sidle up to the helium tank to have his balloon bloated with faux spirit.

The Colonel doesn't mind being told to "have a Merry Christmas."  He just doesn't appreciate the cheerful condescension from most whose demeanor in the other eleven months of the year bordered on sullen with a side order of disgruntled.

The Colonel ain't no hypocrite -- he'll remain sullen and disgruntled all year long, thank you very much.

The Colonel hates the ubiquitous donation hustlers, parked outside Sam Walton's ultimate expression of capitalism, ladling out guilt for not responding to their call to give.  Oh, don't think the Colonel didn't notice the subtle quickening of bell-ringing pace as he brushed by.  And, telling him "Merry Christmas?"  Might as well have yelled out "Scrooge!"  

The Colonel hates that Christmas has become in many minds the counter-attack campaign season in the cultural long-war.  Keep Christ in Christmas?  The Colonel didn't take Him out.  Seems to the Colonel that anyone who needs to be reminded to keep Christ in Christmas many not have ever had Christ in their hearts.

It just might be that anyone who feels the duty to not-so gently remind others to keep Christ in Christmas, or who respond with crusader-like outrage at perceived assaults on Christianity, may need to do a little recentering of their lives on Jesus' teaching. 

In the Colonel's not-so humble opinion, keeping Christ in Christmas starts and ends in his own heart.  If he does what Jesus would have him do, the Colonel is convinced, without a shadow of a doubt in his military mind, that the Spirit that animates his faith will do the rest.

He might even start to like February.

Christmas doesn't need men to save it.  Christmas is salvation.               

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Centurion Logic

The Colonel has far more books than shelf space, and loves each as a personal treasure.  For a child who attended 12 different schools before he even started high school, books were the Colonel's educational salvation.

And he was in dire need of salvation.

His favorites are histories; particularly the ones that dive deep into the waters of connection and causation.  Names and dates are important as milestones, but the clash of motives and means are the critical components to understanding the arc of history.

The Colonel swims constantly in the sea of history.  Its mineral rich waters permeate his being and enrich his understanding...

Well..., as much as the understanding of an Ole Miss grad and knuckle-draggin' Marine can be enriched...

The Colonel will readily admit that he ain't smart and you can't make him.   But, it doesn't take a particularly bright person to read and comprehend most of the books from which the Colonel derives his understanding.

We're not talking quantum physics, here.  This treatise is about history; and, while the treatment of historical topics is subject to the world view of the historian and must be evaluated with that in mind, at least there ain't no stinkin' equations to solve.

In his life-long study of the history of nations, one theme constantly jumps off the pages and slaps the Colonel across his frown-framed jowls:

     -- The single most important motivation is survival, followed closely (upon survival's guarantee) by prosperity. -- 

It is not the duty of any nation's leaders to care about the survival and prosperity of any other nation, particularly to the detriment of their own.

This old centurion has lived by one code the entirety of his adult life:  

     -- All geo-political decisions boil down to one question:  What is best for the Republic?  All other nations DO NOT matter. 

When the president of our Republic says, and the Colonel quotes him verbatim, 

      "What I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning or whatever other slogans they come up with that has no relationship to what is actually gonna work to protect the American people and to protect people in the region."..., 

....then it is time for that man to go.  He no longer places the survival and prosperity of the United States in a place of supremacy in his thoughts and actions.  

The rest of the world DOES NOT matter, Mr. President.  You are the President of the United States of America; not the world.

When we start annexing other parts of the world (the Colonel recommends we start with Latin America), THEN you can start "protect[ing] people in th[at] region."

It's Centurion Logic. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Return on Investment

The Colonel isn't a conspiracy theorist -- when it comes to this republic's national government, he just doesn't think it is competent enough to pull off the kinds of convoluted secretive plans with which it is often credited.

What the Colonel does believe our republic's national government is very capable of is taking the path of least resistance and punishing its citizens instead of the nation's enemies.

For the past fourteen years, the U.S. federal government has done just that -- justifying restrictions on constitutionally protected rights in the name of security, while conducting little more than what professional military thinkers and planners would regard as "limited objective" operations.

To be sure, that sort of governmental reaction to outside threats is not a new phenomenon.  One can find federal reactionary restrictions in every "emergency" since the founding of the Republic.  They all amount to accumulation and consolidation of power in the hands of the national governing elite at the expense of the individual and State rights explicitly "guaranteed" in the Constitution, and justified as necessary for the safety and security of the individuals and States.

Here's the rub -- the citizens of the Republic already pay an exorbitant price in blood and treasure for their security. The American people fund and field the most effective security apparatus the world has ever seen -- the United States Armed Forces.  American taxpayers field an all-volunteer force, equip it with state-of-the-art weapons, supply it like no other force in the history of warfare, train it like no other force in the history of armies, and compensate its members on a scale way beyond any other on earth.   And yet, instead of seeing a return on their most costly investment, the American people watch the most effective bulk of their military sit idly in their barracks as threats to their security gather in plain sight.

Mark the Colonel's words, another major attack on U.S. soil is coming.  The Colonel harbors not one shred of doubt in his military mind that another attack is coming -- and you don't either.

When it does, (in the Colonel's version of a perfect world -- BEFORE it does), the citizens of this great republic deserve a rich return on their investment -- not a doubling down of restrictions on their rights.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Place Jihadism on Life Support

A common refrain among the squeamish, spineless, neo-hippies dominating American political thought today is that "an ideology can not be destroyed solely through the application of military force."

That belief is as wrong as it is common; brainlessly mimicked by mellifluous minas with no more idea of the true cost of liberty than a toddler coddled in a cocoon of child-proof protection from even the slightest physical harm or mental over-stimulation. 

Ideas may never die, but they can be placed in an iron-lung of immobility from which they can be studied and pitied for their irrelevancy.

Malevolent ideologies only gain relevancy when people grant those ideas power over them -- either through weakness of mind and spirit, apathy, or slovenly greed.  

Malevolence must always be met with force, early and often, or later and always it will seek to strip all within its ever-widening scope of influence of every means to resist until it is undisputed lord and master.  

Force.  Overwhelming, unflinching, decisive force.

The kind of force these re-United States used to win the two most important wars in its history -- the War of Southern Secession and the War with Germany and Japan. 

The ideology that drove Japanese Imperialism still exists in the minds of men.  The idea was not destroyed.  But, the nation that attempted to enslave Asia under that idea's banner was destroyed.  Peace with the Japanese people has been a multitudinous blessing for the world for the seven decades since.

Ditto Nazism and Germany.

George W. Bush failed to lead a crushing crusade like that in which his father participated in his youth.  Paris suffered yesterday as a result.

Clearly, there will never be a war to end all wars.  War is the ceaseless responsibility of the righteous; a requirement of good men until the Perfect Man returns.    


Monday, November 09, 2015

Thanks for the Memories

Veterans Day observance at church yesterday morning included a video of Bob Hope entertaining troops overseas, and set the Colonel's memory machine whirring back 30 years.

In 1985, the Colonel, then a captain, was in the middle of an assignment at The Basic School (TBS) -- the Corps' basic officer training school through which all brand new Marine second lieutenants pass before going on to their primary military occupational specialty school.  After serving as a staff platoon commander in two student companies his first year, the Colonel spent his second year in the Command and Leadership instructor branch teaching Drill and Ceremonies and overseeing the Unarmed Combat Course; not-so perfect preparation for his final assignment on the staff -- Chief of Student Support.

The Colonel isn't sure how the position got that title, or if the position and title still exists.  The Chief of Student Support (CSS) at the Basic School in 1985 wasn't "Chief" of anything, and there was little in the actual day-to-day that involved supporting students.
CSS was a catch-all job of disparate responsibilities.  

As the school's protocol officer, the Chief of Student Support orchestrated the steady stream of VIP (generals, congressmen, foreign dignitaries, etc.) visits to the world's premier basic military officer training ground.  

Each student company -- eight or nine per year -- had a formal Commanding General's Reception, a formal Mess Night, and a formal graduation ceremony -- CSS was responsible for teaching the corresponding preparatory classes and supervised the conduct of each. 

A handful of foreign military officers (FMOs) were members of each Basic Officer Class -- CSS was responsible for tracking their comings and goings and official correspondence with their respective embassies. One particularly interesting requirement was to take all twenty-five or thirty FMOs to a pre-season Redskins game -- that experience, alone, is gist for several blog posts!

CSS was also nominally charged with purview of the administrative section that maintained each second lieutenant's nascent record book -- the Officer Qualification Record.  The Personnel Officer, a crusty old warrant officer, invited the Colonel into his office for a cup of coffee right after he was assigned the CSS job and told him that he had an open invitation to come drink a cup of joe anytime.  Otherwise, he'd let the Colonel know if there was ever a problem.  

There never was.

The Basic School had a flag football team that played in the Quantico base league.  After a disappointing start to the season, the Commanding Officer called the Colonel into his office and commissioned him "Coach."  The Colonel played more than he coached, and the season remained in the "disappointing" category. 

But, perhaps the duty for which the Colonel was most unprepared was supervision of the Basic School Chorus.  The Chorus, 40 or 50 lieutenants with more ambition than skill, performed at formal events -- mostly Mess Nights at which they..., ahem..., excelled at bawdy drinking songs.  And, that leads us back to Hope.

Bob Hope was one of six honorees at the 1985 Kennedy Center Honors.  For Hope's portion of the evening, the producers of the show invited each service's choral group to perform in a uniformed ensemble salute.  

There was only one problem with that.

The Marine Corps ain't got no dedicated choral group.  

We got a band.  Even got a Marine of two in that band who can sing a drinking song solo.  But, we ain't got no bunch o' singin' Jarheads...

When the Commandant of the Marine Corps was told that the Corps wasn't going to be represented on the stage that night, he remembered a recent Mess Night at TBS for which he had been the Guest of Honor.  

The Basic School Chorus sang that night for the Commandant.

The next morning, shortly after the CO of TBS got off the phone with the Commandant, the Colonel was called into his office and told that The Basic School Chorus was going to sing for Bob Hope.

And, oh, by the way, President Reagan was going to be sitting next to Hope. 

The Colonel remembers a lot of trips to a lot of bosses' offices to receive a lot of off-the-wall assignments, but he remembers none for which he felt so completely unprepared.

The Colonel must have blanched at the assignment, because the C.O. quickly reassured, "Don't sweat it, Ed, the other services will do the singing.  The lieutenants will just be there to be seen."    

So, on December 8th, 1985, the Colonel and the Basic School Chorus bussed up to D.C., spent a long day in rehearsal, and then provided Marine window dressing for the event.  

If you check out the video of the 1985 Kennedy Center Honors program -- particularly the part honoring Bob Hope -- you'll see Marine second lieutenants on stage lustily lip-synching "Thanks for the Memories" for Bob Hope.  What you won't see on that stage is Captain Gregory lip-synching -- lustily or otherwise.

You see, the Colonel was one of approximately eighty hard-chargin' Marine captains assigned to teach brand new second lieutenants at TBS.  By and large, the Colonel being one of a few notable exceptions, the captains assigned to teach at The Basic School were "the best of the best."  There was no little egotistical chest-bumping among that crowd, as you can well imagine.  

There wasn't about to be photographic evidence of the Colonel singing.  There would have been no end to the grief from his fellow captains.

So, instead, the Colonel (in his dress blues, mind you) stayed backstage during the show.

But, backstage was where the action was!

The Colonel (thanks entirely to the aforementioned dress blues) was the center of attraction.  Lucille Ball gave him a hug.  Michelle Lee gave him a hug.  Carol Burnett gave him a hug. The Colonel shook hands with Walter Cronkite, Jimmy Stewart, Chevy Chase, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rex Harrison, and Kirk Douglas.

Did the Colonel mention that Lucy gave him a hug?

Thanks for the memories, Bob!  

Thursday, November 05, 2015

And Then There Were Five

A little over thirty years ago, the Colonel and his Lady, the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda, conducted an after-action review of their attack to achieve life goals they had set not long after they had become a steady couple.  

Their early attraction had turned to addiction and instead of attempting to kick the habit, the Colonel and Miss Brenda had decided to make a life of it.  They dreamed together, and the longer they dreamed the more those shared dreams became shared goals.  Anyone who is blessed with the extreme good fortune of knowing the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda knows that once she sets her heart and head on something the world just needs to get off the tracks and let the Brenda train roll on through.

By the time they had been married eight years, the Colonel and Miss Brenda had pretty much put checks in all of the goal boxes on the Gregory Family timeline.

Finish college. Check.

Start a career.  Check.

Actually, those were Miss Brenda's personal goals.  The Colonel didn't really go to college -- he went to Ole Miss -- and serving as a Marine infantry officer wasn't as much a career as it was perpetual play time with rather dangerous activities and a more than likely opportunity for loss of limb or life.  

Good times...

The Colonel digresses.

So, thirty years ago, the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda reminded the Colonel that there was a rather large box still to be checked on the timeline for the Ed and Brenda Show.

See, as far as the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda was concerned the early goals were set in concrete by now and the Brenda Train was barrelling down the track...  

Oh, did the Colonel mention that the goals included three children -- two boys and a girl?

Yeah, well, the Colonel will proudly state for the record that he is incapable of producing anything but male progeny (and, so far, male grand-progeny).  Two boys joined the family in rapid succession and it became clear that if the Colonel and the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda were going to include a little girl in the gang (per the set-in-concrete life goals), it was going to require actions outside of the traditional birds and bees route.

The Colonel and his Lady decided to adopt.

A year later, 29 years ago -- today, a precious four and a half-year- old little girl joined, and completed, the family.  

Her Chinese name was unpronounceable, so the four voted on a 'murican name for the fifth.

Jessica Ann.

The Colonel likes to think that God had that planned all along.     


Monday, November 02, 2015

Finding Soldierly Solace

The Colonel has been officially retired from the United States Marine Corps for an even dozen years now. 

After spending the better part of three decades immersing himself completely in the role and mindset of a warfighter, the first several years out of uniform were..., well..., difficult.

The Colonel spent the first year -- the entire year, everyday -- fishing.

He was living in Panama City, Florida.  What else could anyone expect the Colonel to do?  The Colonel and his boat, SemperFish, became as one.  They glided the bays and bayous in self-imposed solitude, seeking elusive finned quarry and finding a measure of solace the need for which the Colonel was initially unaware.

In fact, as excited as he was to finally take off the pack, the Colonel grieved for several years after leaving active duty.

He grieved loss of daily contact with Marines -- men and women with whom the Colonel shared bonds unfathomable to the uninitiated.  

He grieved loss of a worthwhile mission.  There was nothing in his new civilian life that provided the meaning and adrenal gland workout of preparing young men for battle -- on any battlefield. 

He grieved loss of identity.  The Colonel had achieved rank and authority far beyond his wildest dreams and further beyond the wildest imagination of anyone who knew him in the less-than-stellar early years of his career.   When he put in his papers, the Colonel was commanding a regiment of Marines recruiting a new battalion of young men and women for service as Marines every month.  The Colonel went from the dead sprint of that challenge to the slovenly loaf of a fisherman overnight.  He soon began to wonder who he was.   

And, then, when he got most of the way through the grieving process, the Colonel re-engaged.  He was too old and set in his military ways to learn to be a true civilian, but he figured he could mold and shape enough of his military mind and mindset into acceptable thought and behavior for success in the civilian world.

It worked.  To a point.

But, the strain of adapting to the slovenly thought and behavior widely acceptable in the civilian sector, and the constant stress of navigating the minefields of political correctness and others' "feelings," proved too much for the Colonel's self-discipline, and when the cracks began to appear they rapidly widened into chasms from which toxic anti-social molten ejecta spewed and set fire to so many of the Colonel's carefully crafted military to civilian bridges that no retreat back to normalcy was possible.  
So, the Colonel withdrew from the civilian battlefield.

And, now, he finally thinks he's found his place.  He doesn't fit in anywhere and he doesn't care.

Don't pity the Colonel.  Or do.  He doesn't care.

The Colonel doesn't hate you.  He just doesn't care.  He hopes and prays the best for you, but he doesn't care what you hope and pray for him.

The Colonel doesn't even care what you think about what he writes...

...just don't stop reading, okay?   


Monday, October 26, 2015

One of Those Mornings

It's one of those mornings.

It's Monday, but the Colonel has never hated Mondays.  His (semi) adult career was actually so much fun and most often so rewarding that the Colonel really looked forward to getting back together post-weekend with some of the greatest people, and finest story-tellers, on the planet.

No mistake, the Colonel loved him some weekends.  All Marines live for the weekend...; well..., Marines live to FIGHT -- anywhere, anytime, against anybody -- but, making it to the weekends (or any break in training for that fight) was always the unspoken goal of the week.

The Colonel liked Mondays because many of the Marines with whom he worked always had great weekend liberty stories to tell with great relish and little regret.

Since he retired, and then re-retired to the farm here at the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere, the Colonel has come to view Mondays as pretty much the same as any other day of the week.

In fact, what DAY of the week it happens to be matters so little to the Colonel anymore that the only reason he even has a calendar  is to keep track of hunting and college football seasons.

More than anything else nowadays, the weather determines the Colonel's daily activities.  

This morning it's raining -- for the first time in what seems like a month of Mondays.  It has been so dry here aboard the Colonel's vast holdings that Lake Brenda has passed quickly through the pond and puddle stage and is bordering on the stage for which the appellation "mudflat" is most appropriate.  The Colonel's catfish are growing legs and heading north -- with or without documentation.

Rainy mornings didn't used to be any deterrence to the Colonel's mission of preparing young men to travel to exotic lands, meet new people, and... win hearts and minds.  The Colonel was raised by hard men whose mantra was "If it ain't rainin', we ain't really trainin'."

But the Colonel is no longer in the business of preparing young men for deployment abroad and employment in the manly art of breaking things and wreaking havoc in the homeland of the Republic's enemies.  If it's rainin', the Colonel's writin'.

And so, he has. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Force Slept

In case you might have missed the biggest news in years, the Colonel will let you in on one of the worst kept secrets of all time...

A new Star Wars movie is coming out.

The Colonel remembers, vaguely, watching the first movie in the summer of 1977 -- 38 years ago.

Thirty-eight years!

There's been a lot of gravel crunched under the Colonel's boots since that summer.  And, a lot of mud squished, sand squenched, and dirt disturbed into great clouds of choking dust.

But enough about the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda's housekeeping...

The summer the first movie came out the Colonel was participating in a six-week sleep deprivation study on the banks of Chopawamsic Creek at Marine Corps Base Quantico, closely supervised by a score of sanctioned sadists skilled in the fine art of mental manipulation and menial task motivation.  

A year later, the Colonel and the 250 other rising college seniors participating in this right of passage would be commissioned second lieutenants in the United States Marine Corps.  But, for now, the title was "Candidate" and it was not a particularly prestigious title.

Toward the end of that not-so delightful detour in what had been an otherwise carefree college career, the candidates of Bulldog 77 were granted 18 hours of liberty.  Most found a quiet place to eat a leisurely meal and then spent the balance of their free time catching up on their sleep.  A few came back to the barracks raving about a science fiction movie for which they had sacrificed three hours of their precious free time.  

The Colonel knows, the movie was only two hours long.  But, this was in the days before multiplexes and the line to see this movie on the one screen in the theater was around the block.  So, seeing Star Wars that summer was a three-hour experience.

That night, after lights-out in the 50-man squad bay, one of the candidates who had seen the movie announced in his best Obi-wan voice, "use the force, Luke," and switched on his flashlight. Another candidate switched on his flashlight, and breathed hoarsely, "the force is strong with this one."

The two candidates leaped from their bunks and closed on each other swinging their flashlight beams with a low hum.  As they swung their beams together they both made a crashing noise...

You get the picture.

The squad bay filled with low laughter.  Most of us weren't sure what we were laughing about.  Some of us were laughing because we knew what was about to happen next.

Suddenly the lights blazed on and the flashlight duelists froze as a gravelly voice boomed from the now wide open double doors at the end of the squad bay.  

"What kinda fairy dance are you two fools doing!  C'mere!  Front leaning rest position, move!"   

The two candidates scampered front and center and dropped into the push-up position.


Obi-wan and Darth began four-count push-ups, counting each move of the exercise and each repetition out loud.

The Marine gunnery sergeant who had been the bane of our existence that long hot summer stepped between the two exercising candidates and strode a half dozen steps further into the squad bay.

"I heard laughing!  Who was laughing at my two fairy dancers!"  

From the far end of the squad bay, a candidate, erroneously emboldened with the knowledge that graduation was only a few days away, let out a loud and obviously fake snore.

Forty-seven candidates, save the snorer and the still counting exercisers, lay tensely still and quiet in their racks, anticipating the command to "Get on line!"  

Seconds ticked by.  


"One, two, three, twenty-eight..."

The command to get out of the rack and line up in the center of the squad bay never came.

Instead, our demonic drill instructor only quietly commanded Obi-wan and Darth to "recover."   The lights went out, and a voice that was far too human bid, "Goodnight, candidates.  Reveille is 0330."  

Four days later, the Colonel and four of his Ole Miss NROTC (Marine Option) buddies were headed back to Mississippi leaner and meaner than ever.  Stopping overnight in Knoxville, the five decided to take in a movie.  

The Colonel fell dead asleep somewhere shortly after "these are not the droids you're looking for."    



Sunday, October 11, 2015

Calling Out Rebel Nation

The announced attendance was just north of sixty thousand, but if you can prove there were any more than two-thirds that number actually in the stands at Vaught-Hemingway Saturday to watch Ole Miss take on New Mexico State, the Colonel will give you a free swing at his scowl and jowl-shrouded jaw and give you fifteen minutes to drum up a good crowd to watch you take your best shot.

The Florida Gators chomped down hard on the Colonel's Rebels' special season hopes last week and their teeth did more deflating than the ball-boy in the Patriot's locker room.  On the way to Gainesville last week, Rebel Nation was feeling the rare high of a top five ranking and liking their chances to represent the SEC West in the title game.  Late Saturday night, a week ago, those dreams crawled mauled from the Swamp and limped back to Oxford like the remains of Pickett's division retreating from Cemetery Ridge.

But, holy apocalypse, Batman, the world didn't end.  The season's not over.  The Rebels are still 5 and 1.  A trip to Atlanta is still possible...  

...might be to play in the Peach Bowl, but, the good news is TCU will likely not get left out of the final four this year and take out their frustrations on us, again.   

Rebel Nation is quite possibly the most cynically fickle collection of fair-weather fans in the history of collegiate sport.   Our football team is playing some of the best ball that has been seen here at the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere since Johnny Vaught won four National Championships, and we can't be bothered to show up and cheer for 'em on a glorious fall day with which God specifically blessed Oxford.  

Yeah..., we were pouty-face disappointed our boys didn't defend their there-to-fore undefeated season against Florida any better than the French army defended Paris in the summer of 1940.  And, yeah..., it was a truly terrible New Mexico State team that made the trip from several thousand square miles of kitty litter to several thousand square miles of kudzu to be the Homecoming hors d' oerves.   

But, true fans SHOW UP.   And, true fans STAY.

Okay, the Colonel will admit that he left the Tennessee-Martin game early.  But, the Colonel is old and it was 157 and 1/2 degrees in the stands.  He was sweating like an old, bald Marco Rubio, and grandson #2 had a belly ache that might have had something to do with rapid ingestion of four pounds of cotton candy while sitting in a sauna.

The Colonel will have you know, however, that he and the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda stayed to the end of game yesterday -- even if it was about as exciting as a Spring Game.

The Colonel takes that back.  Seeing Archie Manning catch a football thrown up to his sky box from the student section was pretty exciting.  Students caught a ball that the PAT net didn't and the most noise all game came from the game of "keep the ball away from security."  Archie threw the ball back to the students -- wonder who it was that was last person to catch a pass from a Manning in the Vaught...       

Speaking of Archie...  Rebel Nation loves to recount the glories of his tenure under center, and how fans faithfully filled the stands to watch his exploits.  We fail to remember, however, that Mr. Manning's Rebels only won seven games his senior season.

Of course, playing with a broken arm might have contributed to the loss column significantly, but you get my point.

Or, maybe you don't.  The Colonel knows there are at least a few readers of his barely literate swill that are rabid Bama Bandwagon Boors, or equally rabid and just as pitiable bandwagon LSU fans, and are so used to win-filled seasons (even if you won't admit that is the only reason you are a Bama or LSU fan) that you can't conceive of not going to a game if you had season tickets.    

At any rate, loyalty ranks right up there with integrity in the Colonel's character estimation.  

See you in the Vaught, Rebel Nation.       

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

The Colonel Ain't Modern

There's a foul, simpering creature masquerading as an American man nowadays.  The Colonel calls 'em YUCKs -- Yankee Urban Civilian Knuckleheads.  Recently, a YUCK gained some wildly undeserved attention by opining on the attributes of "the modern man" in the New York Times.  Said YUCK's opinions are enumerated below, interspersed with the Colonel's not-so humble ripostes.

1. When the modern man buys shoes for his spouse, he doesn’t have to ask her sister for the size. And he knows which brands run big or small.

-- The Colonel doesn't buy shoes for the Comely and Kind-hearted Miss Brenda.  But, he does know she wears a size 6 in muck boots.

2. The modern man never lets other people know when his confidence has sunk. He acts as if everything is going swimmingly until it is.

-- The Colonel's confidence never sinks.  He sinks other's confidence.

3. The modern man is considerate. At the movie theater, he won’t munch down a mouthful of popcorn during a quiet moment. He waits for some ruckus.

-- The Colonel rarely subjects himself to the enhanced interrogation technique that is attendance at a movie along with the flotsam and jetsam of modern American society; and, when he does, he ain't paying three bucks for ten cents worth of popcorn.

4. The modern man doesn’t cut the fatty or charred bits off his fillet. Every bite of steak is a privilege, and it all goes down the hatch.

-- Filet?  It's T-bone for the Colonel; and, standby to watch him gnaw on the bone.  

5. The modern man won’t blow 10 minutes of his life looking for the best parking spot. He finds a reasonable one and puts his car between the lines.

-- Car?  The Colonel's rusty red pick-up, Semper Fillit, gets jealous if the Colonel even looks at a car.  

6. Before the modern man heads off to bed, he makes sure his spouse’s phone and his kids’ electronic devices are charging for the night.

-- The Colonel ain't got watch, nor cell phone.  You have no idea how liberating that is.

7. The modern man buys only regular colas, like Coke or Dr Pepper. If you walk into his house looking for a Mountain Dew, he’ll show you the door.

-- The Colonel drinks Mountain Dew.  Dr. Pepper is a girl's drink.

8. The modern man uses the proper names for things. For example, he’ll say “helicopter,” not “chopper” like some gauche simpleton.

-- The correct military terminology is "helo" or "bird."  Stupid YUCK.

9. Having a daughter makes the modern man more of a complete person. He learns new stuff every day.

-- Daughters are great, but not necessary for manhood completion. Uniformed service to the Republic, on the other hand, is the most surefire way to become a well-rounded American.

10. The modern man makes sure the dishes on the rack have dried completely before putting them away.

-- The Colonel calls this MOTO (mastery of the obvious).  Did this YUCK not have a mother?  Or, did he have to find an ap to tell him this?

11. The modern man has never “pinned” a tweet, and he never will.

-- Tweet?

12. The modern man checks the status of his Irish Spring bar before jumping in for a wash. Too small, it gets swapped out.

-- What, no foo-foo body wash?  Poser.  YUCK.

13. The modern man listens to Wu-Tang at least once a week.

-- Wu-Tang?  Explains a lot.

14. The modern man still jots down his grocery list on a piece of scratch paper. The market is no place for his face to be buried in the phone.

-- Grocery list?  Seriously?

15. The modern man has hardwood flooring. His children can detect his mood from the stamp of his Kenneth Cole oxfords.

-- The Colonel's progeny never had to judge his mood by the sound of his boots striking the deck -- his mood was always bad.

16. The modern man lies on the side of the bed closer to the door. If an intruder gets in, he will try to fight him off, so that his wife has a chance to get away.

-- Skip down to 25.  Nuff said.

17. Does the modern man have a melon baller? What do you think? How else would the cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew he serves be so uniformly shaped?

-- Melon baller?  Pervert.

18. The modern man has thought seriously about buying a shoehorn.

-- To go with your 20 pairs of shoes, YUCK?  Girl.

19. The modern man buys fresh flowers more to surprise his wife than to say he is sorry.

-- Well, even a YUCK can get one out of twenty-seven right..

20. On occasion, the modern man is the little spoon. Some nights, when he is feeling down or vulnerable, he needs an emotional and physical shield.

-- C'mon, grow a set...

21. The modern man doesn’t scold his daughter when she sneezes while eating an apple doughnut, even if the pieces fly everywhere.

-- Apple doughnut?  Guess they ain't got Krispy Kremes way up there at the North Pole, huh?

22. The modern man still ambles half-naked down his driveway each morning to scoop up a crisp newspaper.

-- "Half"-naked?  The Colonel's vast holdings here at the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere allow for full nudity whenever he is so inclined, it just isn't real smart -- what with the abundance of ticks, skeeters, and chiggers.      

23. The modern man has all of Michael Mann’s films on Blu-ray (or whatever the highest quality thing is at the time).

-- Snob.  YUCK.

24. The modern man doesn’t get hung up on his phone’s battery percentage. If it needs to run flat, so be it.

-- See 6.
25. The modern man has no use for a gun. He doesn’t own one, and he never will.

-- The Colonel finds firearms to be some of the most useful tools in his kit -- he has many, many firearms.  The Colonel also has seven different hammers, two dozen screwdrivers, four chainsaws, two table saws, three utility trailers, and a tractor with five different implements.  See 16 above -- this YUCK probably thinks he'll have time to discuss Marquis of Queensbury rules with an intruder...

26. The modern man cries. He cries often.

-- The Colonel hasn't cried since he found out his mother was a civilian.

27. People aren’t sure if the modern man is a good dancer or not. That is, until the D.J. plays his jam and he goes out there and puts on a clinic.

-- The Colonel don't paint; the Colonel don't sing in public; and the Colonel don't dance.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Fumbles, Interceptions, and Breaks

Saturday was one of the longest days of the Colonel's life.

There have been longer days.

The last few days of shipboard deployments come to mind -- sailing slowly westward across the Atlantic, crossing time zones and setting the clock back an hour every other day.  Time truly warps at sea -- the Colonel remembers looking at his watch and the time would be 0700.  Eight hours later he would glance at his wrist and the time would be 0705.

Those were longer days.

Still, Saturday seemed to stretch laconically, each minute bending time and winding the Colonel's dysenteric bowels into ropes of tension so tight he could taste the friction.

Many of you, faithful readers and wasters of rod and cone time, may have missed the fact that there was a college football game of some import played in a small college town in Alabama Saturday night.  The Colonel's Rebels played the Tide. 

And, because Bama Bandwagon Boors comprise one of the largest demographics in the South (fairweather football fans who couldn't find the city of Tuscaloosa on a map of Tuscaloosa County, yet use the term "we" incessantly when talking about Alabama football), the game was reserved by ESPN for it's prime time slot -- kick-off at 9:15 ET.

9:15 ET in the PM.

That's a few hours past the Colonel's bedtime!

Has the Colonel mentioned that Saturday was a long day?

The Colonel tried everything he could think of to make time pass quickly.  

He asked the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda if she had any small projects that needed doing.  The Colonel's Lady maintains a list of "quick" projects.  Her definition of the term "quick" and the Colonel's definition vary wildly -- one of Miss Brenda's "quick" projects can easily consume the better part of a growing season.

The Colonel's best friend rattled off half a dozen projects from memory and the Colonel set off in pursuit of rapid time passage.

Forty-five minutes later, all of the quick projects on Miss Brenda's list were completed.

Awww, Come On!

The Colonel tried taking a nap.  He fell into a deep slumber, dreaming fitfully of fumbles and interceptions.  

Ordinarily one of the Colonel's naps would make ole Mister van Winkle jealous.

Five minutes after assuming the supine position, the Colonel woke refreshed and wide awake.  

The Colonel could continue to bore you with the minute by minute   minutiae with which he attempted to abbreviate an interminable day, but he will be merciful instead.  Suffice it to say that by sundown, the Colonel was exhausted.  

The only thing keeping him awake was the gnawing reality in the acid-filled pit of his cast-iron stomach that no matter how good of a football team the Colonel's Rebels put on the field that night; no matter how well they played; no matter how masterfully the coaching staff orchestrated alignments and assignments; there was just no way Ole Miss was going to escape T-town undefeated.

It was going to take all of the above AND take more breaks than a worker on a union contract.

Ole Miss doesn't get breaks against Alabama.

Any Ole Miss fan (and, we are admittedly a small band) can recite year by year, game by game, quarter by quarter, more than a century of the breaks going in favor of Alabama.  

To be sure, most years Alabama was clearly the better team -- but this year...  This year... felt different.  Last year was miraculous, beating top-ranked Bama at home; and magical, tearing down the goal-posts and parading them through Oxford.  But, this year's team looks even better than last years.

Still, Saturday night's game was in Bryant-Denny stadium, where Ole Miss had won only once before.  Visiting teams don't get breaks in Bryant-Denny.  They get broken in Bryant-Denny.

But, as the Colonel watched in stunned unbelief punctuated with manifold losses of military bearing, the breaks fell lightly into the Rebels' outstretched hands like manna from heaven. A recovered fumble here, an interception there, and the boys in powder blue helmets had a two-touchdown lead.

In the second quarter...

In Tuscaloosa...

But, time and the Alabama Crimson Tide wait for no man -- they came storming back and the Rebels took a flimsy 17-10 halftime lead into the visitors' dungeon.

The Colonel has seen this game countless times before.  Defeat snatched from the jaws of victory is a Rebel tradition.

Someone forgot to let Freeze and the boys in on that particular Rebel tradition.

The score was 30 to 10 late in the third quarter and the Colonel was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. With good reason.  Alabama hadn't gotten any breaks all game -- they were way overdue and way underpaid.

With time slowed to an inexorable crawl late in the waning minutes of the game, the Rebels clung to a slim 43 to 37 lead.  Ole Miss had hung forty-three points on the vaunted Tide defense -- in Tuscaloosa -- and still had not been able to put the game away.  

The cold, shrunken, flinty cinder that passes for the Colonel's heart was on the verge of exploding from his chest and filling the room with shrapnel... when, wonder of wonders, the inevitable game-winning Tide comeback faltered in a fast flurry of incompletions.

The Colonel sank into the warm embrace of his over-stuffed leather chair and pinched himself -- surely, he was still dreaming.

The dream endures.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Free Laremy Tunsil

It's a theme as old as conflict itself.

Gideon had the Midianites.  David had Goliath.  Moses had Pharoah.  Leonides had Xerxes.  Gandalf had the Orcs.  The AFL had the NFL.

Ole Miss has Alabama.

Free Laremy Tunsil.

The Colonel's Ole Miss Football Rebels hold a winning record, or at least a respectably close record, with every team it plays regularly.

Except Alabama.

In the half century the Colonel has been a Rebel, he has seen the boys from Oxford defeat the Tide...

Wait for it...

Seven times.

Seven.  Even using Common Core, counting to seven is pretty stinking simple.

Free Laremy Tunsil.  

If you include the years before the Colonel became a Rebel -- all the way the back to the inauguration of the series in 1894 (contrary to popular belief in the Colonel's family, he wasn't around back then) -- the record against Alabama, and the refs (yes, the Colonel went there; and will again, just wait), looks even worse.

Nine wins total.


Common Core still doesn't make the accounting difficult.

Free Laremy Tunsil.

Needless to say, as rare as a win against Alabama (and the refs) is for Ole Miss, back-to-back Rebel victories over the Tide are rarer still.

How rare, you ask?

Put down the Common Core manual.

Ole Miss has never beaten Alabama two years in a row.

N. e. v. e. r.

Not even including 'Bama wins vacated by the NCAA.

Free Laremy Tunsil

Last year, as delirious fans rushed the field and tore down the goalposts, the Colonel hugged everyone still standing in Section H of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

The Colonel ain't a hugger.

But..., his Rebels had just beaten Alabama, and the refs, and the Colonel lost his military bearing for a few minutes.

Sue him.

Oh..., and if the Colonel's Rebels pull off the UPSET OF THE CENTURIES (19th, 20th, and 21st) this coming Saturday in Tuscaloosa, the Colonel is going to open up a booth in the Grove the following Saturday and post a sign saying "Free Hugs."

Free Laremy Tunsil.

Ole Miss has opened the 2015 season with an offensive explosion not seen in Mississippi since Grant took Vicksburg.  The men in red and blue have out-scored their first two opponents 149 to 24.

Take away the three defensive touchdowns and the Rebels have scored...

Pick up that Common Core manual and turn to page thirty-seven...

... eighteen touchdowns.

E. i. g. h. t. e. e. n.  

Or, in Common Coreese:  Ten tens, minus two twos, plus eight eights, circle the fours, enter the number six and draw a line through it... 

Or, in Coloneleese:  Count all the fingers on both hands, take off your boots and count all the toes not missing feeling from that long winter in North Norway thirty-five years ago...

The Colonel doesn't mean to brag (well, he does, but for instructional purposes only), but... no SEC team has ever scored 73 or more points in back-to-back games.  

E. v. e. r.  

Well..., now one has.

Free Laremy Tunsil.

Granted, their first two opponents weren't exactly SEC calibre foes like, say, Jacksonville State or Toledo, but the Ole Miss offense has lit up the scoreboard without the services of one of the best offensive left tackles to ever play the game -- Laremy Tunsil.  

Thanks to an NCAA violation fishing expedition made possible by a humiliated step-father's claims (Laremy decked the clown for pushing his mother, and the deckee retaliated by claiming Tunsil broke some rules regarding contact with agents), Laremy Tunsil has not played in the last two games -- held out by an overly cautious Ole Miss athletic administration.  

And, we're not talking Johnny Football - level allegations.

Not even close.

Johnny MONEY Football was proven to have done far, far worse.

Half game suspension.  

Free Laremy Tunsil.  

So, perhaps the most potent offense, and defense, Ole Miss has ever fielded, heads east this Saturday to Tuscaloosa, where they have won...

(Excuse the Colonel while he does the Common Core math...)



Here's where even the most die-hard, Walmart-bought "197 National Championships" T-shirt-wearing Tide fan has to admit...

You want Laremy Tunsil on the field for Ole Miss.

If only to shut up the Rebel Nation "the whole world hates us and stacks the deck against us any way they can" conspiracy theorists when the Tide (and the refs) send the Rebels back to Oxford with another loss in Tuscaloosa on the record.

Free Laremy Tunsil.   

Oh..., and...