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


Mike Rowe proposes an amendment to the Scout Law

July 27, 2010


New stamp honoring Scouting — buy some today.

July 27, 2010

Show your support of Scouting — get the commemorative Scout stamp for your important letters.

USPS stamp honoring Scouting Centennial

USPS stamp honoring Scouting Centennial

The stamp is available for sale at your post office, starting today.  Press release from USPS below.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service today awarded scouting its ‘stamp of approval’ to celebrate 100 years of the U.S. scouting movement. The 44-cent first-class Scouting stamp, available nationwide today, was dedicated at the National Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, VA, where more than 30,000 scouts from around the nation set up camp for 10 days of premier scouting fun during the organization’s centennial anniversary.

“Scouting showed me the importance of protecting the environment,” said former Boy Scout Sam Pulcrano, who, as the vice president of Sustainability, oversees the Postal Service’s green initiatives. “That is why I am proud of the work we are doing at the Postal Service. We have a long history of environmental leadership and innovation. We were testing electric mail delivery vehicles during the horse and buggy days, and we were recycling long before there was a universal symbol for it. Just as the scouts are famous for serving others and helping their communities, our sustainability efforts are benefiting our families, friends and neighbors in the communities where we live and work.”

Joining Pulcrano in dedicating the stamp were Robert Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America; Terry Dunn, 2010 Jamboree chairman; and Lt. Colonel John Haefner, U.S. Army Ft. A.P. Hill Garrison commander. Emceeing the event was 15-year-old Eagle Scout and Bloomington, MN, native Jeremy Biedny, who earned his stamp collecting merit badge shortly after becoming a scout and discovered a personal passion for stamps.

“We are appreciative that scouting’s centennial will have a place in history with the many great people and events that are commemorated on U.S. stamps.” said Mazzuca. “It is truly an honor to receive the distinction of a commemorative stamp, and we hope that it provides the entire country the opportunity to share in the milestone of our 100th anniversary.”

The design, created by illustrator Craig Frazier of Mill Valley, CA, depicts the spirit and outdoor adventure of scouting through a backpacking scout and a large silhouette of a scout surveying the landscape.

The Boy Scouts of America celebrated its 100th anniversary Feb. 8, 2010. To mark this milestone, the organization has undertaken celebration efforts nationwide that reintroduce the organization to today’s young people and families, reinforcing the value of scouting and reconnecting with the millions the organization has affected. For more information visit www.scouting.org. The Scouting stamp recognizes the contributions to society made by all U.S. scouting organizations.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office, at The Postal Store website at www.usps.com/shop, or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others, and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

Scouting Stamp
Postmaster
117 Milford Street
Bowling Green, VA 22427-9998

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark. All orders must be postmarked by Sept. 27, 2010.

Ordering First-Day Covers
Stamp Fulfillment Services also offers first-day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-STAMP-24 or writing to:

Information Fulfillment
Dept. 6270
U.S. Postal Service
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014

Philatelic Products
Four philatelic products are available for this stamp issue:

  • 465461, First-Day Cover, 82 cents.
  • 465465, Digital Color Postmark, $1.50.
  • 465491, Ceremony Program, $6.95.
  • 465499, Digital Color Postmark Keepsake, $10.95.

# # #


Making Boy Scouting a political football — shame on those outlets

July 27, 2010

When President Barack Obama met with a group of outstanding Boy Scouts in the Oval Office a few weeks ago to discuss policies affecting Scouting, and especially policies affecting children, teen agers and young adults in the U.S., very few conservative sites thought it important to cover.  Let’s be more precise:  No conservative Obama critics, nor much of anyone else, bothered to cover it.  I’d love to see links even of local media in the Scouts’ hometowns that printed a story or photo.

To the credit of the White House, neither did the press promote the meeting as a political point.  Scouting prefers not to be a political football, and Scouting policy asks that Scouts avoid even looking like politicking while in uniform. (Scouts are encouraged to participate in the political process, including through the three citizenship merit badges, which encourage Scouts to communicate their concerns about policy to elected representatives, while working for the merit badge and in the future as participating citizens.)

2010 is a grand year for Scouting.  It’s the centennial of Scouting’s coming to the United States.  There’s a special Scout Jamboree, being held at Fort A. P. Hill in Virginia (the last time the Jamboree will be held on federal property — that’s another story for another time).   It’s always fun when presidents come to the Jamboree and speak, but it’s not always possible.

But today, news comes that President Obama will send a video speech to the Scouts at the Jamboree, as has been done sometimes in the past.  Many of us are disappointed that President Obama will not appear in person; but some of us who have experience scheduling such things know that elected officials cannot make every appearance they would like to.  Presidential schedules in the modern world are particularly difficult; for an appearance at Fort A. P. Hill security must be imposed (even on a Scouting event), aircraft landing sites need to be arranged and secured . . . dealing with more than 30,000 Scouts becomes an onerous task.

Still, we’re disappointed.

Adding to that disappointment, comes now a group of harpy Obama critics, no friends of Scouting that I can determine, but anxious to claim this scheduling decision as some sort of snub to Scouting, and to the American flag.

Media Matters has the facts, and puts the scheduling stuff into perspective, “Overhyped conservative nonsense of the Day:  Obama hates the Boy Scouts.”  UpdateBlue Wave News has it in perspectiveWonkette’s satire, unfortunately, goes awry, but her heart and brain are in the right places.

The snub is by those critics who attempt to turn Scouting into a political football.  The insults are all from them.

Shame on them, collectively and individually:

Update: We’re going to have to add on a wing to accommodate the Wall of Shame:

Hmmmm.

I’ll wager none of those authors bothers to volunteer for Scouting.  I’d be surprised (and disappointed) to discover any were Scouts.  Scouting wouldn’t revoke their citizenship merit badges, but they’ve forgotten them, if they ever earned them.

Scouting faces severe hurdles these days, some of them I would say were placed by poobahs at the top of Scouting; these guys listed above are not helping.

Here are some tests to see which of these blogs and pundit outlets is friendly to Scouting:  Which of them covered the award, this morning of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award to Tuskegee Airman Charles McGee?  Which of them covered the dedication of the U.S. Postal Service’s stamp honoring the Scouting Centennial, today?  As of this moment, I can find no media coverage of these things at all, even by local media.

Why do these pundits cover Scouting only when it gives them a chance to make an unfair shot at a politician they don’t like?  Seriously, who is doing disservice to Scouting, and the nation?

Good news about Scouting’s 100th Year, and the Jamboree:


Warming deniers surprised by winter

July 27, 2010

Were you writing fiction, you couldn’t make this stuff up.

Another bastion of people misled by the lack of a Hemingway-brand Solid Gold Sh*t Detector™.

Another person proud as heck of her denial of global warming, points to cattle freezing in South America in July as proof that the Earth’s atmosphere is not warming.

At a blog called Frugal Café Blog Zone, “Where it’s chic to be cheap… Conservative social & political commentary, with frugality mixed in,” blogger Vicki McClure Davidson headlined the piece:

“Remember Al Gore’s “Global Warming” Hoax? People & Cattle in South America Are Dying from Extreme Cold in July”

Gee, how to break this news to her?

Vickie, sit down.  This is something you should have learned in geography in junior high:  In the Southern Hemisphere, winter starts on June 21It’s cold in South America in July, because it’s winter in South America in July.

Cold in winter.  They don’t expect it.  These warming denialists provide the evidence those crabs need, who wonder whether there shouldn’t be some sort of “common sense test” required to pass before allowing people to vote, or drive, or have children.

Oh, it gets worse:

Another site picked up the post.  No, seriously.  (Has Anthony Watts seen this yet?)

  • Voting Female [I am convinced that is a sock puppet site designed to insult women; no woman could be that stupid, could she?]
Earth at northern solstice

Earth at northern solstice - Wikimedia image


Kudos to Glenn Beck (oops)

July 26, 2010

Van Jones, who is a reliable source, said that Glenn Beck refused to jump on the bandwagon of those calling for Shirley Sherrod to step down — Jones said Beck had doubts about the story told by the video tape Breitbart and Fox ran.

Is that true?

Jones talked about the flap caused when Andrew Breitbart and Fox News teamed up to spread the false story that Shirley Sherrod had acted in an illegally racist fashion:

In an interview with NPR’s Michele Norris, Jones said that, although his background is “much more colorful” than Sherrod’s, he can empathize with what it is like to be at the center of a media firestorm.

According to him, “we are in an age where people can absolutely engineer false stories and inject them into the media blood system in a way that we just don’t know how to deal with very well.”

Jones said that dirty tactics — selective editing, smear campaigns and a lack of reportorial due diligence — damage American society as a whole.

“One of the things that I think we’ve got to be clear about is that these kinds of attacks are not just attacks on individuals,” he said. “They’re attacks on the democratic system.”

Listen to the NPR interview — Jones credits Beck with doing the right thing near the end of the interview.

See!  (If Jones is right about Beck) It just shows that there is hope for the temporal and secular salvation of all humans.

Good on Glenn Beck.

That’s one small step for a conservative, leading — we hope — to a giant leap for Glenn Beck, coming back from the Dark Side.

Update:  Snatching a smear from the jaws of ethical behavior:

Beck couldn’t just do the right thing and leave it there — he worked to find ways to attack the reputation of Shirley Sherrod.

Damnation!  If one of these Tea Party conservatives does something right, ethical and just, they get itchy, and have to go find a cat to throw, a dog to kick, and an old lady to push down in a mud puddle.  They are just congenitally incapable of virtuous action.  Van Jones caught Glenn Beck doing something right, so Beck, hating Jones, America’s future and the left so much, retracted it.


If you get pulled over in Arizona . . .

July 26, 2010

Has Arizona’s legislature thought about this question?

Si un policia me dice “papeles” y yo le digo “tijeras” . . . gano yo?


Last photos of President McKinley — who are those people?

July 25, 2010

Chamblee 54 carried this photo of President McKinley, the “last portrait” before his assassination the following day (there were other, later photos, but no later portraits).  The picture was taken on the afternoon of September 5, 1901, in Buffalo, New York.

The photo comes from the American Memory Collection at the Library of Congress.  It was taken by Francis Benjamin Johnston (1864-1952).

I am curious:  Who are the other people in the photo, especially that tall guy?

Last portrait of President William McKinley

Last portrait of President William McKinley

To the left of the photo, the fellow peeking out from between the dignified-looking woman and the guy with the really droopy, white walrus moustache, is the president of the Buffalo Exposition, John Milburn.  Who is the woman?  Who is the guy with the white moustache?  Is there any chance the guy with the dark moustache to the right could be McKinley’s vice president, Theodore Roosevelt?  (We should be able to figure out where Roosevelt was that day.)  More likely, he’s George B. Cortelyou, later the first Secretary of Commerce and Labor.

People in the picture are:  Left to right: Mrs. John Miller Horton, Chairwoman of the Entertainment Committee of the Woman’s Board of Managers; John G. Milburn; Senor Asperoz, the Mexican Ambassador; the President; George B. Courtelyou, the President’s secretary; Col. John H. Bingham of the Government Board.

More, including a larger version of the photo, below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »


The real story: Shirley Sherrod’s speech, in full — an inspiration

July 25, 2010

Shirley Sherrod’s story inspires.  Take the time and watch the entire speech.

More:


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