Saturday, February 17, 2018

I want to share this article...

The Dark Side of Glory

An early glimpse of PTSD in the letters of World War I aces.


The following is possibly the most true thing I've ever read, it's a man who is losing it, and he knows that he's losing his grip on's sad, it's poigniant and it's a glimpse into something that I hope none of us has to deal with:

“It’s only a question of time until we all get it. I’m all shot to pieces. I only hope I can stick it out. I don’t want to quit. My nerves are all gone, and I can’t stop. I’ve lived beyond my time already. It’s not the fear of death that’s done it. It’s this eternal flinching from it that’s doing it, and has made a coward out of me. Few men live to know what real fear is. It’s something that grows on you, day by day, that eats into your constitution and undermines your sanity. I have never been serious about anything in my life, and now I know that I’ll never be otherwise again. Here I am, twenty four years old. I look forty and feel ninety. I’ve lost all interest in life beyond the next patrol.”

Friday, February 09, 2018

Rest in Peace

In 2005 I received my Pharaoh Hound.  I named him Xerxes.  He was young, energetic and playful.  Smart does not begin to describe him. His intelligence was uncanny, his ability to outsmart other dogs was only matched by his ability to out run and out "agility" other dogs as well.

Well, that was almost 13 years ago.  Today I will be taking him to a veterinarian and watching him die.  This is possibly the hardest thing I will ever have to do.

Up until late December, this dog was healthy.  Then one day he suddenly started limping.  We went to the vet, got Xrays and got some pain meds and went about our normal routine.  The only indicator that he was in pain was the limping.  He never whined or showed pain...Even if I was massaging his back legs...never even a slight flinch.  Last night he spent the night screaming in pain, his hind legs were cold to the touch and he didn't even try to walk.

I wanted to take one more walk to the river with him.  One more time watching him get excited on a car ride.  One more of everything.  I'm going to miss him so much. 

Xerxes died at 11:10AM EST.  The house seems so empty.


Sunday, December 10, 2017

3 Important dates...

3 dates in history...short summary of a larger paper I intend to write.

In July of 1776 A document created a rogue country.  This country was born with fire, rebellion and a search for the concept of freedom from oppression.  The wording of that document was fussed over, fretted over, edited, rewritten and scrapped several times over.  The words that were left are haunting, and should be familiar to every citizen of these United States.

"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

This opening is tantamount to treason of the highest order, and the wording is strong and succinct.  It tells us that from this point in time, there is no return to the past.   And from this moment a new nation was conceived, fought for and born, as it emerged it broke the boundaries of what a nation could be and what a nation was formed from.

December 7, 1941 was a day that lives on in infamy.  The attack on Pearl Harbor wasn't just a call to war, it was a call to industrialization, to militarization and the end of the separate peace that had been tantamount to national policy.

Just days prior to December 7, there were many political factions with different ideas on how to best handle "the War in Europe" and "the War in the Pacific."  But after the attack the consequences were certainly not what the Japanese rulership expected.  The US became resolved, steeling themselves to the task of a war footing.  Production of war materiel, combat vehicles and preparation of a massive armed forces followed.    As Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy also declared war, the die was cast and the US was  left no choice but to abandon any thoughts of isolationism.

The call to war by the USA also taught American industry that war, in and of itself, is profitable.  As corporate profits throughout the country almost doubled during the years between 1941 and 1945.

The third impactful date is September 11, 2001.  This date was the date of a well orchestrated attack by a terrorist group labeled "Al Qaeda" by the US government.  The attack consisted of coordinated hijacked airliners crashing into the World Trade Center's building 1 and 2, as well as the Pentagon.  The 4th hijacked plane crashed in Pennsylvania, with it's intended target possibly being the White House, or the US Capitol building.

The net result in this event was the creation of a worldwide electronic surveillance state, the voluntary and systematic loss of freedoms for the American public, and of course several wars in the middle east.

At the moment, this is a working thesis and will be researched and discussed in later posts.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

So this is how it starts...An early November night, cold rain and a chill in the air.  The leaves have turned, almost painfully slow, from green to shades of yellow, gold, red, and purple in preparation for the browning of the landscape.   It's this change from life to dormancy that marks a strong contrast from the spring and summer, when nature seems pure and new, playful and lively.

I feel lucky to see the seasons.  There are so many in various parts of this world that never get the chance to see them, to understand them, to live through them.  There are people that don't know the stillness fo a snowfall, the breathlessness of a windchill, or the short daylight hours of a winter's day.  No matter how one tries to explain it, they will never understand.  They will never be of the knowing.

It is chilly nights like these, when the darkness stays long and the drizzle falls steadily, that contemplation arises.  The long nights give us reason to question ourselves, and our focus, and to think about the future and the past.  We examine our weaknesses, our strengths and our very reason for being.  We listen to old music and try to find some comfort in the familiar words...which we can only recall as the song is playing.  We remember old parties, times we spent with friends and family.  We seek comfort in our memories.

In a few short weeks, real winter will be here...and after that Spring and Summer will follow.  But until that time has passed, we need to be happy to have the experience to be cold, to be wet, to experience the snow.  Life is too short and we are too fortunate to be alive.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Flight 19 a mystery? Not so much...

The discussion of this particular missing flight actually piqued my curiosity enough to do just a tad bit of research, and once one wades through all the "woo" and can get down to some basic information, the only thing mysterious about the disappearance of Flight 19 is that it happened in an area known as the Bermuda Triangle.

First and foremost on the list one must investigate the flight commander;  Lieutenant Charles Taylor,  the flight commander on this training flight, and as ranking officer he would have had the final say in any navigational course changes.  By all reports Taylor was unorganized, very poor at navigation and had already "ditched" two airplanes due to being lost.  Given Taylor's history, it is a wonder why he was assigned a supervisory role on this mission, but overall it must have been his flying hours compared to the other pilot's hours in planes of this type.  It is even reputed that Taylor arrived late for this training evolution.

The aircraft themselves were Grumman TBM1C  Avengers.  Not quite an advanced aircraft by today's standards, but very serviceable in the day and time it flew.  Flight 19's Avengers had no clocks, which raises a red flag to me, due to the type of mission which they were flying...a mission that was meant to teach "dead reckoning" in which one of the most important factors is calculating time. Dead Reckoning (per wikipedia)" is the process of calculating one's current position by using a previously determined position, or fix, and advancing that position based upon known or estimated speeds over elapsed time and course."  Also from the same Wiki:  "Dead reckoning is subject to cumulative errors."  Meaning that if time is measured in a haphazard way, or variations in speed or heading are not accounted correctly, one's plotted course and one's actual position may have nothing in common.

Why is this important?  It's important due to communication that another flight received from Taylor stating that "he was sure he was in the Keys" and was attempting to find Ft. Lauderdale.  Even one of the members of Flight 19 was heard on the radio to say "Dammit, if we could just fly west we would get home; head west, dammit."  
This leads me to believe that even Taylor's subordinates did not trust his judgement, but in keeping with decorum and chain of command, they followed orders.

Even after the location of Flight 19 was triangulated and broadcast to Taylor, he refused to believe the land based radio operators and did not adjust his course as requested by them.

To me, the only mystery is where the 5 Avengers ditched, and where they are to this day.  Yes, the weather rolled in during the last hour or so of their flight, and obscured attempts to locate the wreckage, and rescue the pilots.  Had there been no weather, it's possible that all of the crews would have been found.  

While there is some room for conjecture and speculation in the matter of Flight 19, I don't think there is enough room to label it a "mystery" or to include it in the lore of the "Bermuda Triangle."  I think we have a case of a flight commander who was disorganized, a poor navigator and who refused to listen to subordinate officers who may have understood navigation principles much better than he did.  Call it pride or bravado or genuine panic, but I blame Taylor for the loss of those planes and the loss of those men.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

In this latest election we have seen fact free politics from both sides. We have seen the worst of both candidates. But what I find the most appalling is that we have seen the worst sides of the very people that are supporting one candidate over another.

This divide cannot continue. There has to be a way to unite the people to a common cause. To forge ahead in ways that allow the USA to once again push to the forefront of the world in terms of democacy, in terms of health and welfare of it's citizenry, and in terms of real peace both within and without our borders.

There comes a point in time in which two warring factions must put aside their swords and rather than face each other in combat, walk side by side and truly understand each other. It seems impossible now, but making the impossible a reality has always been something Americans have done.

This country has enough wealth in it's citizens, enough food in it's cupboard and enough water in it's jar for everyone to exist peacefully. It's time we cast away our swords and get to work. Pushing forward in such a way that we don't just benefit the ruling class, but we benefit ourselves. Pushing forward in a way that we don't alienate ourselves from the world at large, nor the smallest village within our borders.

We need to stop our foreign policy of threatening anyone that disagrees with us. We need to put away our ideals that every country should be like us. We need to find a healthy middle ground where our healthcare is affordable, our borders are more secure, and our minorities feel a measure of safety. And we need to do this while still allowing our working class a measure of income security.

Sorry for this ramble. But I am sick of the vitriol of right vs left vs everyone else. I may not agree with everyone about how things are to be done, but I will agree that things must be done.