Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Open Mic Night (Sort Of...) Part Deux


I am very pleased to present, for your reading enjoyment, Andrew's very first guest post. Coming to you "live" from The Chant's Pacific Headquarters on Kwajalein Atoll*. Sort of like the Open Mic Night thing like I did with Tuna's very first post.

Yes Paul, that Andrew...

So, without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I give you our very own Andrew Wetzel!




Ahem...

That Whole if You’re not a Liberal at 20 Thingy

(standing up) Hi, my name is Andrew, and I’ve been a recovering liberal for 46 years. (“Hi.” “Hello.” “Hi-lo.” “Go f#%k yourself, you commie bastard!”)

Whoa, turn down the hate, okay?  Let me explain.  It goes back to the days of my childhood… (cue music and light effects…)

So, my mother, at least, was a strong FDR democrat.  Oh, she wasn’t like totally open about it, due to my Dad being a serving Air Force Officer until ’73,  and after that she got involved in local projects and the DAR (yeah, my mom’s one of Those people, even a member of the Mayflower society and all that.) Dad?  Dunno what his political bent was, seems he took that whole ‘officers do not meddle openly in politics’ thingy about as hard as he took the ‘this is Classified or higher, shut your gob for eternity plus 20 years just to make sure’ thingy.  Though he was a southwest Louisiana Cajun, politics in LA (the state) were/are/will be weird, ‘nuff said about a state I’ve only visited or passed through.

So, growing up on Air Force bases and an Army base, until my dad’s retirement (“Bob, you want an active commission and a job at the Pentagon, or do you want to retire as a reserve officer?”) I lead a sheltered life.  Sure, watched “Combat” and “Rat Patrol” on the tv, but also watched “Sesame Street” and “Romper Room” so no idea what the heck was going on.  I really didn’t know about Viet-nam until, well ’76 or so, and only really learned about it in the early ‘80’s.  But, boy, did I know about the Cold War and how every base I was ever at or near was involved in either nuclear fire or protecting us from nuclear fire.  And that the Soviets were one day going to bomb us all into oblivion.

I first noticed Politics when Nixon won his second term, and got somewhat aware of all the foo-fer-all over Watergate.  And I bought into all the media hype about “The Worst President Ever!” and how lame Gerald Ford was.  And I thought Jimmy the Dhimmi Carter was like the best thing since boiled peanuts, you know?  I bought into all that Greenpeace garbage and Save the World stuff and No Nukes except I liked nukes and knew how well they saved the world by the time I was 10.  I liked the war section of every library I was ever in and read books and looked at pictures as much as I could, so War for all the right reasons was fine with me, as long as we saved the green planet and all that hokum.

But all this time my mind was collecting little bits of information.  Like, oh, say, never watching a Minuteman missile blow up, but watching several get launched.  Awesome.  And then reading about Mutually Assured Destruction and the Nuclear Triad and understanding it at 10yoa.  And knowing the difference between 1st world (Kwajalein) and 3rd world (Ebeye) which was only a couple miles north of Kwaj.  And understanding why we had to wipe out the Japs in the Pacific and why we dropped the bomb, twice, from my father who actually stood a couple times on the concrete dome that covered all the radioactive stuff they buried on Bikini.

But all my teachers taught me to be a good liberal.  And I supported the history expanding to include non-whites and non-males because I was a good liberal. 

But, unlike most liberals I knew, I actually saw no color or sex, other than a descriptor and a growing interest in girls.  Seriously.  Absolutely color-blind.  I did understand that there were some things guys did better than ladies, and vice-versa, but that we were basically equal.

And all this time my mind was slowly collecting facts, and forming opinions.

The first time I got in trouble for leaving the tribe was a 7th or 8th grade Social Studies class where we did that whole ‘model UN’ thing.  I got Israel. What the heck?  I knew nothing about Israel or Jews other than there were a lot of them there and they did an 8-day Christmas thing and the Dreidel song and so I took myself off to the school library and learned of dark secrets, some of what I have heard of before but was starting to make connections.  This was at the time in the late ‘70s where the USSR was trying to put a nuclear sub base in Cuba, and Carter was thinking about giving up Guantanamo to stop it.  My big input that got me into trouble with the class and the teachers was I correctly pointed out that unless the USA destroys completely, like setting off a nuke or something, Guantanamo, then giving the big G up for a non-existent Russian sub base would end up with Russia having a mostly built sub base.  America must stand firm against the quiet aggression of the Soviets (and I included some real fire-breathing quotes from various bad-assed Israeli Prime Ministers.)  The reception was… cold.  No need for air conditioning that day.

Fortunately Renaldus Magnus won in ’80, though at a school election I voted for Carter.  And the stupidity of what was being taught in high school vs what I had already been taught was becoming evident.

Then I got a job, a real paycheck pay taxes and stuff job.  Remember my mom is Mayflower Society, which makes me eligible for that group also?  Well, being all proud of my Puritan heritage I read up on those whacky communist bible-banging townies who got kicked out of England and then frowned upon in Holland (what the heck do you have to do to get frowned upon in Holland?) and then left to set up an agrarian society (by townsfolk) in the New World, as a communistic community.  And they almost all died off, until discovering that CAPITALISM works and makes money and encourages most people to get off their duffs and it was Goood.  So, here I am, I work 39 hours in a 2 week period behind the counter at Eckerd Drugs and I get my magnificent paycheck, head full of dreams of D&D books, Avalon Hill games and Trojans (see, I told you I was interested in girls) and I look at my check and I see Gross Amount and I go “YAY ME” and I see Net Amount and the Hand of God smote me betwixt the eyes and comprehension occurred and I go “Those GAWSHDARDED LEFTIST BASTARDS!” 

That’s how I became a conservative.

And the rest is history.


Well done Andrew! Bravo!





And thanks to our technical crew for all the cheap sound effects, don't blame those on Andrew.



* We don't really have a facility on Kwajalein, Andrew can vouch for that, he's been there.

RIP Gunny Ermey, still can't believe you're gone...

40 comments:

  1. Welcome aboard, Andrew.

    The path to enlightenment is long and twisting, ain't it?

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    Replies
    1. Yup. And painful. But it occurred much earlier in me than many in my generation. It really was a critical turning point.

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  2. But, who gets to pay for the toys we got to play with? Conservative philosophy says the poor. What was wrong with the rich helping to pay for the toys? We got more toys to use. Better toys, and an infrastructure. Guess that must be evil.

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    1. How is it that the poor pay for the toys when most of the "poor" have little income which explains why they are "poor" and hence pay little or no tax and many even receive benefits designed to help them during their unfortunate periods of "poorness" thus reducing the ability to pay for the toys. Sorry, I must be misunderstanding your comment regarding conservative philosophy, that is a description of conservative philosophy that I have never heard before.

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    2. Hmmmm. All the conservatives I know and have studied want the toys 'we' play with to be paid by tariffs and taxes, equally and fairly, across the board. The same conservatives that believe 'social' programs were and are best handled by faith-based organizations, not the government.

      Remember, the name of the scaled-tax system we have is 'progressive'. As in a socialistic concept. As in Karl Marx and Engels and all those crazy-haired freaks who leached off of rich people while talking about 'the poor.' (Thoreau was a parasite who sponged off all the rich folk around Walden's Pond.)

      Conservatives are quite willing to pay for defense, roads, other public work projects that enhance the nation. They aren't quite willing to pay for projects for free-loaders to live in, for payoffs to foreign governments (the Iran Deal being a perfect example) that are contrary to the continued existence of this nation.

      When I was working at the local PD in the anti-drug unit, it was interesting that at the time I could afford a 27" CRT tv, the 'poor' people had 60" flat screen tvs (multiple tvs, each room in their gubmint housing had a big-assed flat screen tv, and expensive cars (a lot of them rented cars by the week) and this is just the regular non-drug selling poor folk. All those stories about eating steaks and crab legs? Totally true. While I, who was working, was eating beans and cornbread for 4 nights a week, making chili out of the rest of the beans for 2-3 days, and then eating chili dogs on the weekend. Sooooo.... Poor folk? Pay taxes? Urh, nah, man. But I, who was 'middle class' was getting raped by the tax man to pay for the poor folk. I would have loved a fair tax, or a national sales tax, vs the 'progressive' tax that was and is full of loopholes for special people on either spectrum of the tax bracket.

      Grrrr. Progressive. It isn't. Spent time as a kulak. Got punished for it.

      Delete
  3. Well done Andrew. Yes, I have already taunted LUSH with this post and told her that she needs to come up with something soon or I shall taunt her a second time.

    And no, her father does not smell of elderberries. I want that on the record.

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    1. Having tried elderberry wine, I don't understand who first decided to harvest the testicles of old people and try to make alcohol with it. I found it to be fruity, but not worth seeing all the old men bent over walking with crutches or walkers...

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    2. Wha.. what is that thing? A conch shell?

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    3. Well, it's supposed to be a ROTFLMAO emoji. Internet Explorer can't render it (IE sucks in SOOO many ways) and it looks slightly funky in Chrome, looked great on my cellphone. I should stay away from the fancy stuff in the future. But for the sake of argument, yes, it's a conch shell. If you put your ear up next to the screen you can hear the ocean.

      Provided of course that you are actually near the ocean.

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  4. You just beat me to the catty comment I was going to make about how Andrew now has a post count that is one higher than LUSH. Andrew's story reminds me of the comment attributed to Winston Churchill, "If you are not a liberal at 20 you don't have a heart. If you are not a conservative at 40 you don't have a brain."

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    1. The e-mail exchange between me and our noble host during the submission process of this article actually had a subtle hint (okay, not too subtle, I do subtle like an elephant tap-dancing through a field of toe-poppers and wine glasses) as to the aforementioned LUSH.

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    2. I had that in mind, but when researching the quote found it to be supposedly attributed to WC, and not actually proven to be from WC.

      I was debating putting it in. Not finding it totally attributable to someone specific kind of threw me off, thus the fact that I got the 'years recovered' off by 10 years. Uh-huh. And that's the story I am sticking to.

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  5. That runway in the picture is over a mile long (6668') and it's an Army airfield.

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    1. Did not know that, puts things into perspective. Thanks Rob!

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    2. Yes, yes it is. And it is all an Army base, it (Kwajalein) and Meck (where they used to fire Sprint ABMs and Spartan ABMs at incoming reentry vehicles from Vandenberg AFB, beautiful site. Sprint go VAROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM and reach Mach 10 in 6 seconds, Spartan go whooooooooosh and hits things down down range. I've seen direct hit intercepts. Very pretty)(And I've been to Meck, too. Giant concrete slab where only STOL aircraft can land (DeHavelland Buffalo.)) And Roi-Namur, where I got to tour Jap bunkers with 14" and 16" AP holes from battleships firing point blank, and the nose cone of a droop-snoop RC-135 that fell off one day...)

      An Army Base. Resupplied by the Navy. With an Air-Force Liaison Officer and some other blue-birds running around.

      My dad got to play with the Perry Cub-Marines that the Navy and Army ran to pick up the pieces-parts of falling stuff.

      And I got to watch bored radar operators using the phased-array radar shoot down seagulls.

      By the way, if you look at the island, there's the hook of King's Wharf. That's about even with all the base PX and Commissary and Hospital and stuff. Go a little NE and there's an angled line of 3 big concrete buildings, that is the later elementary school. East of that is a somewhat blue-ish blob on the edge of the island. That's the regular pool for everyone to use (sea-water filled, and not full of Portugese man-of-war for 3 months like the beach) and right across and slightly NW, like right across the road, is a duplex, the eastern half is where I used to live from '70 to '73. (Just NE of the pool is a big open field, and then the Base Commander's palatial house (well, palatial in '60s base standards, there were at least 2 bathrooms - wow!)

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    3. Oh, and that runway is the main source of fresh water for the island (the space between the two runways is actually a large retention pond, with the 'way portion slightly tilted towards the pond itself.

      Backed up by a large desalination plant.

      Fresh water was for drinking and washing only. Salt water was used in the toilet system (which made it easy to fill the aquariums from home.) So, during the 'dry' season, we did 'Navy' showers. During the 'wet' season, we could have longer showers but were encouraged not to delay. A full 'Hollywood' shower? Ahhhhhhhh, one of the best reason for vacationing in Hawaii, the showers... the fresh-water chlorinated pools... the baths... the showers.... All the water you could waste. Yay.

      When they had a 'drought' in the mid-70's, the powers-that-be had to search for the hidden Japanese lens-well. Seems that if you dig a hole, a big hole, that fresh water will collect on top of salt water. Weird little trick, ain't it?

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    4. Rob. On my family's way to Kwajalein in '70, we stopped off at scenic Johnson Atoll and the island of same name. More famous as the only place the USA accidentally bombed. Now that place is small. All the buildings line the side of the airfield, which is from one end of the island to another.

      How scenic was Johnson? Dunno. They didn't let us look out the windows, and we travelled in covered busses to a windowless room, and then back to the plane. So, maybe, possibly, I never visited Johnson after all. Except my dad confirmed it. I guess it was no secret that we were there, it was a secret we couldn't see.

      Lots of islands like that in the Central Pacific. Often built up the same way as the ChiComms are currently doing in the Western Pacific. (Kwajalein had some added to the west end and a lot more added to the east end, basically the section that looks like a very orderly trailer park, which at one time it was.)

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    5. Carp. I mean "More famous as the only place the USA accidentally bombed with a friggin NUKE!"

      I blame it on the pork schnitzel for dinner inducing a momentary food coma. Me missing the whole nuke thing, not the USA nuking the island accidentally.

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    6. My brother had that closed windows on the plane, windowless room overnight experience on an unscheduled divert of the Reeve Aleutian Air Lockheed Electra to Shemya AFB in the Aleutians when NS Adak was socked in. Adak wasn't so strict, but you had best not be caught snapping pics from the plane on approach.

      Delete
  6. Andrew ( or so he would have us believe ):

    Boy, are you going to be in trouble when the REAL Andrew shows up.

    Ok, no kidding, good job. For a kid, you're ok.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I still want the bullet and shrapnel collection that the other Andrew managed to lose during packing. Man, I had Jap bullets, American bullets, cartridge casings from both, and all sorts of mangled chunks.

      I... I am okay. But I'm not a lumberjack nor do I wear high heels like my dear old dad.

      Thanks for the encouraging words.

      Delete
  7. "...and I see Net Amount..."

    LET ME SEE YOUR WAR FACE!

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    1. I think what actually happened was I went, "WTF, Where's my money, show me my money!" And then I looked at all the deductions and started wondering what "Federal Bend-Over We Don't Use Vaseline Withholding" which I then found out I stood no chance of ever seeing again, in fact, due to my predicament, I might actually have to pay more "Bend Over" money.

      I think I've actually managed to get a reasonable (like over $100.00) 'refund' maybe 10 years out of my tax-paying existence.

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  8. Ah, Crap in a Hat!!!! All my smartness and I've only been a recovering conservative for 36 years. Shoulda used my fingers and toes rather than trying to be all cute and stuff. Sorry for the math error, y'all.

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    1. I was wondering about that...That would have put you right up there with OLD Sarge! Man...now THAT's old. Well, I mean not OldNFO old, but still.

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    2. My wife, the lovely Mrs. Andrew, has called me an "old man" from day 1.

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  9. I want to thank our noble host for the audio-visual effects.

    Betcha you kill power-point slides, don'tcha?

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    1. Whoa! Did you just accuse me of being a PowerPoint ranger? Them's fightin' words!

      (But yeah, I do a killer PP presentation.)

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    2. I was never a PPR, but did really good PPs. There's an art to putting just enough on a slide, not too much, not too little. Proper font selection, proper color selection, proper effect selection. Just enough pictures to keep the slope-heads from administration or marketing interested.

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    3. General Pace, when he was the CJCS J-3, had an IRON rule, no more than 3 bullets per slide, no more than 6 words per bullet. If you couldn't make your point for that slide in 18 words, that it wasn't a point worth making.

      I liked him!

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    4. I'm late getting here, and I don't have time to read it yet, but I'm hooked!- and I will!

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    5. General Pace was a smart man.

      The PD I worked for had monthly admin meetings that only existed to justify Power Point. Or at least that's what it seemed like. I ginned up more BS and justifiable garbage than even my penchant for fantasy could handle. They didn't want the truth, they wanted information presented to justify what they wanted to believe. Or so it seems. I was just a staff ass. Not even a normal ass. What do I know about the inner workings of the criminal justice world...

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  10. Ok, so how long before the blogger count increases by one?

    Paul

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    Replies
    1. Andrew said not to modify the mast head as he didn't want to tax my artistic skills. Which are woeful at best. LUSH gets to be up there even though she has never posted. Nepotism, it's everywhere.

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  11. Andrew, welcome aboard. Just so you know, we treat contractors no different from the active duty folks, but you do have to make the coffee. The pay ain't all that great, but you can get plenty of overtime if you need it. Sarge, I barely remember that post. 5 years. Didn't realize I was due for that anniversary raise.

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    1. Glad to be here. I figured since OldAFSarge has been stealing my thoughts, I might as well write a whole page.

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    2. 'Bout time...

      As for the five year thing Tuna, we should have a virtual 5 YEAR pin or something...

      Delete

Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)