Whom the gods destroy, they first make mad

July 31, 2010

Mad, as in insane, not mad as in angry.

A sign of insanity is failing to get angry at appropriate times.

Some person using the handle “globalpeace” posted this in response to another knee-jerk whine about Obama (see comment #2):

You didn’t get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.

You didn’t get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.

You didn’t get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed.

You didn’t get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.

You didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.

You didn’t get mad when we spent over 600 billion(and counting) on said illegal war.

You didn’t get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.

You didn’t get mad when you saw the Abu Grahib photos.

You didn’t get mad when you found out we were torturing people.

You didn’t get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.

You didn’t get mad when we didn’t catch Bin Laden.

You didn’t get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.

You didn’t get mad when we let a major US city drown.

You didn’t get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark.

You finally got mad when.. when… wait for it… when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all ok with you but helping other Americans… well [expletive deleted] that. That about right? You know it is.

Not getting angry at appropriate times can indeed be a sign of madness.


Live webcast, Boy Scout Centennial Celebration – NOW

July 31, 2010

By the way, you can pick up a live webcast of the Boy Scouts of America Centennial Celebration, here.

The broadcast is already an hour old; Scouts are taking their seats, show due to start in less than an hour.

On Saturday, July 31, 2010, at 8 p.m. EST, the Scouting family — past, present and future — will be able to take part, in a special nationwide broadcast. A Shining Light Across America will bring the Centennial Celebration Show from the 100th Anniversary National Scout Jamboree in Fort AP Hill, Va. to communities across the country via Webcast and satellite transmission.

Go see.

Here’s action in Times Square, earlier today:

Times Square, BSA Centennial, July 31, 2010

Times Square, BSA Centennial, July 31, 2010 - BSA caption: "It isn’t every day that visitors to New York’s Times Square can canoe down Broadway, climb a rock wall, or practice virtual archery … but it isn’t every year that we celebrate our 100th Anniversary! Here’s a look at the excitement and adventure happening in Times Square today before the “Shining Light Across America” broadcast of the jamboree’s Centennial Celebration Show this evening."


Chuck Yeager in Dallas

July 31, 2010

Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager, C. R. Smith Museum, Ft. Worth Texas,  July 25, 2010

Can you tell at what angle his airplane was, at this moment of the story? Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager, C. R. Smith Museum, Ft. Worth Texas, July 25, 2010 - (photo by Ed Darrell - use permitted with attribution)

Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager accepted a donation of an old footlocker related to an old friend for the American Airlines C. R. Smith Museum, on Sunday, July 25, 2010, at the Museum in Fort Worth.  He spoke for nearly two hours, showing a film biography, and taking questions from the audience of nearly 300, including about 80 other pilots.

Do we need to introduce Yeager? He’s recognized as the first man to break the sound barrier in level flight, a veteran of flying in U.S. wars from World War II to Vietnam, and one of the most storied and respected test pilots ever, flying for low pay for the Air Force.  His exploits open the story of the Mercury Astronauts in Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff, and the movie that followed.

I’ve heard him speak briefly before, but this was a great treat.  I’m sure he can be caught sometime without a smile, but not on this day.  Yeager spoke about his great love, flying.   He minced no words — you won’t find an unedited video of this speech, I’ll wager.

Enthusiasm for a topic goes a long way to make a great speaker.  Yeager has enthusiasm.

In our family, we’ve always enjoyed laughing about our fighter pilot, Wes.  When he drove the delivery truck for my father’s furniture and appliance store, he’d vocalize the way he wished the engine sounded in a five-speed racer, and not the three-speed manual, six-cylinder 1955 GMC he was driving.  It was charming way back then, in the GMC.

We suspected he did the same thing when he was flying jets.  His co-pilots would never deny it.

I think all great pilots do little things they are not aware of when they really enjoy the flying, or the story about the flying.

See Gen. Yeager’s left hand in the photo above?  He’s talking about flying.  From his hand, you can tell the attitude of the airplane at that point of the story.

And in the photo below?  I think that’s the one where he’s explaining a dog fight.

See the story in his hands?

Yeager, explaining a dogfight - photo by Ed Darrell, use permitted with attribution

Chuck Yeager explains a dogfight to a DFW audience - photo by Ed Darrell, use permitted with attribution


Dan Valentine – Pink cigarette lighter, part 6

July 30, 2010

By Dan Valentine

THE PINK CIGARETTE LIGHTER – Part 6

When my bestest friend and I first moved into our new one-story home in Friendswood, TX, the fellow next door, who owned a nice three-story house, came over and said how happy he was to have a nice couple such as ourselves now living next door as neighbors.

The couple before us, he said, were “f**king faggots!” and used to host poolside orgies in their backyard. It disgusted him. That, he informed us, was the reason for the extra-high security fence separating his back property from ours.

I met him again while getting the mail shortly after Hurricane Ike. He asked me if I had gotten my $500 check from the government. They were handing out checks to those in need with property damage.

Hurricane Ike had missed us. There WAS no property damage. But his kind, they know how! His grandfather had developed the neighborhood and, as a result, the fellow next door was living the good life. He spent the majority of his time at his beach house on the Gulf.

Shortly afterward I read a story in the Houston Chronicle telling of how the poor were finding it almost impossible to collect that much-needed check.

A few months later, I met him for a third time walking out to get the mail. He told me: “That sure is a purty little gal you got there.”

Only a fat f**k (and I’m speaking of his head, though, his body was a monument to the god of saturated-fats) could make such a remark sound perverted as all-get-out. It made my skin crawl just to type the phrase and hear his voice again inside my brain.

Extra-tall security fence or not, he obviously had been peeping out of his third-floor window when she was sunbathing by the pool–oftentimes topless, thinking she had the privacy to do so, unaware a pervert was watching, gleefully. He may very well have been doing something else, gleefully, while watching. I picture him snacking on pork rinds.

She never felt comfortable poolside again.

We sold the home a couple of years later to a NASA project manager for a future manned-flight to Mars.

I had left a couple of things behind in the confusion and commotion of moving and one afternoon I returned to retrieve them. I knocked on the door and the new owner answered.

His male companion stood close beside him, wearing tight-fitting speedos! Not that there is anything wrong with tight-fitting speedos, as they would say on Will and Grace, but he might as well have been wearing assless chaps. They were obviously lovers.

I went off to Austin, then Provo, then Nashville, and many parts in between, and when my bested friend bought a home close by to NASA, I flew back to Texas, and I’m walking down the street one day, stop at a “Don’t Walk” sign, and a fat fellow behind the wheel of a somewhat familiar-looking SUV, waiting to make a right turn, waves me over through the darkened windshield.

I thought I must still have that look of homelessness and the fellow wanted to give me a quarter or so to help himself get into heaven when the time came to fill out the application. (List any or all good deeds: “Gave 37 cents to a homeless person once.”)

It turned out to be our former fat-f**k of a next-door neighbor in Friendswood. He rolled down his window and said, “Y’know, I think that couple you sold your home to are goddamn queers.”

It made my day. “Oh, yeaaaaah!”

And pickled pink, I went on my way, picturing him in my mind peeking out of his third-story window, cursing under his breath, while two fellas playfully in the pool next door below splashed water at each other–him, the fat-f**K, crunching on a pork rind and thinking to himself, “I sure do miss that purty little gal.”


Waist deep in Wichita Falls

July 30, 2010

Those falls at the end?  They’re artificial.  Residents of Wichita Falls got tired of explaining what happened to the falls, and built artificial falls over a decade ago.

The unveiling of the falls was a big event — NBC’s Willard Scott covered the story, which shows you how big the event was, and how long ago it was.

I’ve eaten barbecue at the Bar-L Drive In, under the wise tutelage of Joe Tom Hutchison.  It was lunch, though, so we did not sample the Red Draw.

This short film, by Daniel Holoubek, was an entry in Texas Monthly’s “Where I’m From” Short Film Contest.  Amazingly, it did not win.  “Beaumont Stinks” took the Grand Prize.

Texas is that big, and that unique.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Mary Almanza.


They’re all our kids

July 29, 2010

Which kid is yours?

Scouts at the Arena Show, Day 3, 2010 National Jamboree

Scouts at the Arena Show, Day 3, 2010 National Jamboree - "Scouts carry in American flags to start the opening arena show in Ft. A.P. Hill, Va., Tuesday July 27, 2010. Photo by Daniel Giles" (from Flickr stream)

All of them.


Travel is an education of itself

July 27, 2010

It’s a tough place to go to school, but somebody has to do it.

Kenny Darrell in Chania, on the island of Crete

Kenny Darrell in Chania, on the island of Crete, becoming a teacher - photo by Stacy Grace


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