Friday, May 26, 2017

Check Your Privilege, Height People

The Colonel hates a bully, and has discovered the cause for the anti-social behavior.

If you are reading this and you stand taller than 5' 10", check your height privilege.  (If you are reading this, you might also want to check your IQ -- reading posts hereon has a tendency to decrease intelligence.) 

Because of your inordinate height, you are predisposed to be a bully.  You can't help it.  It's in your genes.

But that's beside the point.  You're tall and that gives you an unfair advantage. 

Those of you who know the Colonel personally are tempted at this point to draw yourselves up to every inch of your privileged heightness and deride the Colonel for his self-pitying plunge into the deep end of the victimhood pool.  Let's be clear -- the Colonel ain't a victim.  Further, he ain't scared of nothin' nor nobuddy ('ceptin' the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda).  The Colonel stands a healthy 5' 6 and 3/4" (don't ever forget the 3/4).  He'd be lying if he tried to tell you that it never bothered him.  

But, he never let it stop him, either.

You have to admit the Colonel's point about height privilege has merit, though.  And, the entire world is not just socially biased against short folks. There's a glaring economic bias in place as well 

Tall people, are you required the extra expense of a step ladder in your kitchen, closets, and garage to reach items on top shelves?

No?  Check your height privilege.

Tall people, do you always have to pay extra to have trouser legs shortened -- even for off-the-rack?

No?  Check your height privilege.

Tall people, do you need a running start and vault to get into your pick-up truck?

No?  Check your height privilege.

Tall people, have you ever been the permanent man in the middle in a daily game of "keep away" every single day of the fifth grade?

No?  Check your height privilege.

Look, the Colonel will admit that there are some advantages to his short stature.  He was always (he says again, always) underestimated.  When you start out at the back of the pack, there is a delicious rush to passing everyone on your way to the front.

Then there was that locker room incident in the 9th grade.  Jim Parthenais (exercising his new-found height privilege) grabbed the Colonel and unceremoniously dumped him in the dirty towel bin.  Yeah, funny stuff.  Yuk, yuk, yuk. The Colonel came rocketing out from under a pile of wet towels like a wolf released from a leg hold trap.  Okay, it was more like a coon scrambling out of a garbage can, but the end result was a full-scale assault on the Colonel's tormentor.

Coach Stromberg emerged from his office in time to see the Colonel latched on to Parthenais' back like an alien on the back of a Star Trek red-shirter.  The height-privileged one was screeching and spinning in place trying to unlatch the Colonel, and the Colonel was growling and gnawing on an ear (or a nose -- the Colonel's memory is fuzzy at his advanced age), and Coach Stromberg thundered,

"What in hell is going on out here!" 

The Colonel executed a dismount that would have a made a bull-rider give up his belt buckle, and...  Okay, Parthenais finally got a grip on the Colonel and slung him off his back like a sack of grain into the back of a pick-up truck.  The Colonel scrambled to his feet, spit out the piece of flesh in his jaws, and...  Okay, it might have been a clump of wet towel lint...

Coach Stromberg grabbed the bull and rider by the scruff of the neck and dragged us into his office, slamming the door behind him.

"Who started it?"

The Colonel just tilted his head and looked up at Parthenais and then back at Coach.

"Hit the showers, Gregory!"

With height privilege comes responsibility.



Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Don't Drain the Swamp; Pull the Weeds

Washington, D.C., and the federal government for which the District of Columbia is the national headquarters, ain't a swamp.

Calls to "drain the swamp" trivialize the effort required to correct the trajectory of an overbearing, out-of-control government that no longer represents the best interests of the people for which the Constitution established it to serve.

The Colonel believes the federal government, and the myriad onerous regulatory apparatus lying camouflaged beneath its facade, is more like the expansive lawn and gardens surrounding the Big House here at the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere.

From a distance it looks green and pleasing.  Closer examination reveals an infestation of weeds that, left unchecked, will eventually choke and destroy the Colonel's intent for a lush, dark green, bare feet-cushioning carpet of proper turf. 

Weeds camouflage themselves, hiding in plain sight.  But, when a bare foot comes in contact with them, that bare foot knows the difference.  Weeds are coarse and prickly.  Weeds run counter to the purpose of a lawn.  Weeds are, as Marines would refer to a fellow not pulling on the same end of the rope as the rest of the team, "on their own program."

The Colonel has been fighting a "long war" of attrition against the weeds that annually invade his lawn.  He has employed nearly every weapon known to grass in this effort.  

He has "carpet bombed" the yard with weed-killing chemicals, encouraged the growth and expansion of the "good grass" with liquid and nitrogen stimulus, and manicured the result with care and attention rivalling that of the greens keeper at Bethpage Black.

The weeds persist.

The Colonel has come to the conclusion that persistent "boots on the ground" will be required to eradicate the scourge.

This fight will have to be a hands-on affair.  The Colonel will have to get up close and personal with each individual weed, interrogate for authenticity, and prosecute with extreme prejudice.  

This will be an infantry fight. 

Just the other day the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda stepped out onto the front porch of the Big House and addressed the Colonel,

"Hey, knucklehead.  Whatcha doin'?"

"Pullin' weeds, Sweething."

"Isn't that your 'marine' knife?"

"The title 'Marine' is capitalized, dear."


"You didn't capitalize the title 'Marine' when you spoke it."

"Knucklehead, you are seriously one strange man."

"You mean 'one dangerous man' don't you, Sweetie?"

"No.  The word 'strange' is the best description for a an old man dressed in camouflage crawling around the front yard with a knife."

"It's not just any 'knife.'  It's the Colonel's K-Bar.  Standard issue for combat Marines."

"Okay, knucklehead.  Whatever.  You just keep crawling around the yard stabbing the grass with your knife and referring to yourself in the third person.  I'm going inside.  I'll have the first aid kit ready."

Removing counterproductive, socialist, anti-freedom government agencies and their apparatchiks is like that.  The effort will be derided and opposed. 

But, like noxious weeds, they are best removed one at a time -- up close and personal.               


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Shared Sacrifice

The Colonel was invited to speak at his adopted hometown's (Abbeville, Mississippi) Veterans Memorial unveiling on Saturday.  Text of remarks below:

"Mayor Fricker, Aldermen, distinguished guests, residents and friends of Abbeville, I am honored and humbled to be allowed to speak on this occasion and I thank you all for your attendance.

Our great Republic owes its greatness to its people.  Generations of Americans have thrived under the rights and freedoms granted by our Creator and guaranteed under our Constitution.  And, in each generation, a small percentage of men and women step forward and pledge their lives to the defense of that Constitution and our Republic’s freedom.

That there have been and continue to be young men and women who voluntarily answer their nation’s call to service in its military is an amazing and uniquely American phenomenon.  In my nearly three decades in uniform, I had the opportunity to work and train with the soldiers from dozens of other nations.  Almost all were conscripted.  Almost all, while performing their duties competently, served not so much out of a sense of loving obligation to their countries but more because they were forced to serve – almost like a sort of prison sentence.  

Now, don’t get me wrong, American service men and women are consummate complainers. The Marines with whom I served elevated this complaining to the status of a high art.  But, of all of the soldiers of all of the nations with whom I have served, none rise to a challenge like Americans.

Small towns like our own seem to provide a disproportionate share of these patriots.  And small towns like our own seem to take a greater pride in the service of our patriots.  Small town Mississippians stand particularly tall in the military history of our nation.

One hundred years ago, our nation was gearing up to send a million men to fight in France.  A Mississippian from Slate Spring, then Colonel Fox Conner was the man in charge of putting together the plan that, from a standing start, would eventually field fifty American divisions in France and break the stalemate against the Germans.  Fox Conner would go on to be the mentor of three great American generals – Patton, Marshall, and Eisenhower.

Seventy-three years ago, another great small town Mississippian, then Marine Captain Louis H. Wilson, was leading his rifle company against Japanese defenders on the island of Guam.  His courageous front-line leadership earned him grievous wounds, and the Congressional Medal of Honor.  Wilson became the Commandant, the four-star general in charge of the Marine Corps, in the early ‘70s and is credited with leading the the fight to modernize the Marine Corps.

Fifty-two years ago, during the fierce battle in Vietnam that was depicted in the book and movie “We Were Soldiers Once and Young” a soldier from Neely, Mississippi bravely flew his helicopter into a buzz saw of enemy fire, not once or twice, but fourteen different times to deliver ammunition and evacuate critically wounded soldiers.  Ed Freeman was credited with saving the lives of scores of soldiers and awarded the Medal of Honor.

But here’s the thing about those three great American military men from Mississippi: they were all career soldiers.  In a way, their service was easy.  I can say that because I was a career Marine. I don’t view my three decades in uniform as a sacrifice.  My family might, but I don’t.  From the moment a man or woman decides to make the military a career, the military becomes home.  The military becomes your life.  I believe that it is a far greater sacrifice to put your life on hold for four years, serve in the military, and then go home and start all over again.  Those men and women are the real heroes.

Among us today, are some of those unsung heroes.  Men and women who swore an irrevocable oath to place their lives on the line.  But, also among us are those whose job, while maybe not as dangerous, was just as sacrificial.  Among us are mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, friends and neighbors, of those who went off to fight.  

We gather today, certainly to honor our veterans, but also to recognize every sacrifice in the name of freedom.

Thank you." 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Frauds, Criminals, and Buffoons

For the record:  The Colonel detests Donald Trump.

The man has neither an ethical foundation nor a philosophical center aside from the thirst for wealth, fame, and power.

His nomination by the Republican Party (after decades as a liberal Democrat), and his election with the support of the (supposedly) most conservative voters, cements the Colonel's long-held assertion that "low-information voting" is not the exclusive province of the Democrat Party.

The Colonel's disdain for Trump is eclipsed only by his disdain for the Clinton Crime Family and for the electorate that put one of the most unqualified candidates in the history of the Republic in the Oval Office based solely on the color of his skin and with complete disregard for the content of his character.  

Last year the Colonel opined that regardless who the American citizenry (and a couple million illegally voting non-citizens) elected President in November we would be replacing one fraud with another in January.

All that said as preamble, allow the Colonel a moment to strike straight to the heart of the current matter.

The present media and Democrat hysteria over President Trump's shenanigans is -- read carefully -- racism.

That's right, Donald J. Trump is not black.

His predecessor's constant anti-American behavior (the content of his character as admitted in his own book) lifted not one eyebrow and garnered immediate and constant support from his party.  That's racism.

A portion of the Colonel's many friends and acquaintances considered his opposition to most things President Obama did, the things for which he stood, an indicator of the Colonel's southern-fried racism.  

They were wrong.  

The Colonel's opposition of President Obama was based entirely on the content of his political character and his expressed belief that the American Republic was the greatest source of discontent and misbehavior around the globe.

President Obama was a fraud.

Hillary Clinton, and her husband, are unindicted criminals.

President Trump is a self-aggrandizing buffoon. 

And, the vast majority of the media are racists.  

There!  That should completely wipe out the Colonel's meager readership of posts on this blog.  That might actually be a good thing.  The Colonel grows increasingly weary of the task of educating the world.          

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Colonel G's Trees

Those of you in the meager readership of posts on this blog (numbered little more than the amount of letters in the phrase "meager readership") may remember the Colonel mentioning that in the first half century of his ride around ole' Sol he moved around the globe with more frantic frequency than a honey bee visiting a field of clover blooms.

If your memory is as faulty as the Colonel's, allow him to remind you that the Colonel established a new permanent residence every 18 months, on average, for fifty-one years, before finally coming to rest on 107 acres (plus or minus an acre) here at the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere ten years ago.

Perhaps the greatest joy the Colonel has discovered over the last decade, now that he has stopped flitting from flowered duty station to flowered duty station, is watching a tree grow.

With 107 acres (plus or minus an acre) around him, the Colonel has literally thousands of trees to watch push skyward.

His daily security patrols of his vast holdings are filled with long observation halts, particularly in leafy late spring, as the Colonel enjoys ample opportunity to observe arboreal vertical change.

The Colonel, when not gaping in open-mouthed wonder like a 'Bama football fan on his first visit to the Grove, also takes time on his patrols to catalog the diversity of his personal forest.

His property, known affectionately as Egeebeegee, (and not-so affectionately recognized as the headquarters and training camp of the Army of Northern Mississippi), is home to a wide variety of pines and hardwoods.  

The pines are the Colonel's money trees.  

The hardwoods are his love.

Oaks -- Red Oaks, White Oaks, Black Oaks, Post Oaks, Blackjacks, Shumards, Water Oaks, Willow Oaks, and uncategorizable (at least in the Colonel's limited taxonomic ability) hybrids -- abound aboard Egeebeegee.  Even as slow-rowing as an oak is, the Colonel has been rooted here at the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere long enough to observe significant growth; particularly in young trees either transplanted from hidden corners to places of prominence along the long winding drive up to the Big House, or left untouched in the middle of fields during semi-annual bushhogging. 

Along the watercourses ("creeks" to you 'Bama grads) that traverse the property, and around the several ponds, Black Willows, River Birches, and Sycamores predominate.

Huge Beeches, with smooth trunks greater in circumference than the reach of a Marine and his three grandsons, rule over several draws on the property's drainage.

Two monstrous Cypress trees, testimony to the former perennial flooding prior to the Corps of Engineers' god-playing flood control canalizing, stand centuries-long sentinel in one of the fields along the now deeply-eroded banks of the large creek that forms the northern boundary of the Colonel's land.   

That creek, named Lee Creek on the map, used to be a slow-moving, oft-flooding, shallow-banked meander until man's interference.  It is now a steep-walled abomination whose inability to naturally overflow its banks causes it to continually erode its channel deeper and wider, claiming swathes of fields it once nourished with floods.  The Colonel's disdain for the Corps of Engineers knows no bounds.

Pardon the Colonel's rants.  Now back to plants.

A trio of towering Green Ashes anchors the northwest corner of Egeebeegee, opposite the Cypresses at the northeast corner.  Incidental symmetry certainly, but delightful nonetheless.               

Throughout the property Honey Locusts, bristling with three-inch dagger-like thorns, have sprung up.  Former owners of the land waged war on them -- their thorns easily puncture tractor tires -- but, the Colonel is fascinated by them and lets them thrive.

A solitary Southern Catalpa, provider of excellent fish bait, lurks in an overgrown pine thicket.  The Colonel needs to clear the pines out to provide access -- maybe next winter.

A brace of Bois d'Arc trees frame one of the paths along which the Colonel daily dallies, littering the way late each summer with fruit the size of softballs.

Speaking of fruit, scores of Persimmons are extant aboard Egeebeegee.  One stands easily 60 feet tall and is covered each year with pucker-producing green fruit that turn dull red in winter and are relished by the Colonel's critters.   

Sassafras stands are scattered throughout, whose mitten-shaped leaves, when crushed, produce a fragrance that sends the Colonel back to his root beer-loving childhood.

Wild dogwoods and wild plums fleck the spring woods with snow-flurries of white blooms, and break the green monotony that itself as just so recently broken the gray monotony of winter. 

Eastern Red Cedars, some as large as oaks, give their name -- Cedar Top -- to a trail that runs south from the middle of the Colonel's territory upwards along a ridge that climaxes at one of its highest points.   The Colonel's saw mill -- Semper Filet -- has converted dozens of cedars to lumber (and red snot-causing sawdust) that has become shelves and such in the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda's closets, trim for his study (the Colonel's Knotty Room), bird houses for the Eastern Bluebird, and other projects as commissioned by the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda.  

One of the Colonel's favorite trees is the Tulip Poplar.  Back in a hard to reach creek bottom, one particular specimen towers over the rest of its forest fellows, and produces seedlings the Colonel collects and transplants in highly visible locations that will benefit from their future fall yellowing.  

Ornamental Crepe Myrtles line the drive up to, and dot the gardens surrounding, the Big House at Egeebeegee.  The Colonel does not whack 'em back, as is the habit of the suburban heathen, but allows them to flourish upwards and outwards as the trees they were meant to be.

There are more trees to tippy tap about, but the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda has run out of patience with the Colonel's blogging chore avoidance.  

To the trees!