Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Stuff That Spills Out


Life.  It seems to have caught up with me and I can't break free.  While not quite tearing me apart like some zombified person on The Walking Dead, it does keep me from sitting down in front of the computer and writing something for this fine site.

I've been distracted somewhat by those "walkers," or "biters" as the show calls them, since that show has recently become a guilty pleasure of mine.  No matter how prepared Sheriff Rick Grimes and his group are, armed to the teeth with their head on a swivel, those zombies always find a way to sneak up on the characters and bite them in the...leg, neck or shoulder usually.  Life can do that too.

Those of  you who've had a child closing in on the end of their last year of Free Public Education, will understand how busy life can get.  It's not just the teenangster that's busy with her Senior year, it's the whole family.  "Yesterday was the last day to order my cap and gown!" my daughter yells in a panic. "Thanks for telling us" I think sarcastically to myself. While I can't pretend to understand the logic of a school sending me multiple emails/texts/robo-calls about a lock-down (when some homeless guy drops a bag in the parking lot), yet only sends a single email to her only about something so important as graduation attire, I do understand my daughter and her ability to get spooled up.  While that deadline has come and gone, a quick call to the school led me to the OEM - which in Navy parlance is the Original Equipment Manufacturer.  They were perfectly willing to take my money and send us the required uniform.

I had a backup plan however, as my wife, her sisters, a niece, and two of my brother's kids are all alumni of Grants Pass High School.  That fine institution sports not only the same colors as the teenangster's San Diego High, but the same mascot- the Caveman. Caps and gowns of Royal Blue abound in the closets of my relatives. 

There's a lot more for us to do than than just applying for college and her taking final exams. There's AP exams and IB program final projects, Senior Portraits, Prom planning, and scholarship essays.  There's also the FAFSA- the wonderful Federal Application for Student Aid which to me is a HUGE waste of my time.  My daughter will be attending college using the almost criminally generous GI Bill.  Not that Veterans don't need or deserve it, but the fact that I get to transfer it all to my kid to attend a private college out of state seems almost too good to be true.  The waste of time stems from the fact that this is a benefit available to me that I earned, not a federal grant or a loan from the government.  And the FAFSA is irrelevant to that situation imho.  Based on my salary, I already know that the result of the application will be that she's ineligible for any loans or grants.  But even if she is, we don't need, nor will we use them.  I've picked up the form twice and still haven't finished it, frustrated over the uselessness of the effort.  It makes my brain hurt.  

Fortunately my wife is handling any prom-related issues.  However, my ever-artistic daughter can't make it easy.  I'd gladly shell out the money for a prom dress, shoes, dinner, the whole thing, but she wants to make her own dress.  An effort which I know from experience will result in our dining room turning into a sewing room for at least a month, fabric remnants and sewing pins all over the house, just waiting to impale a toe or the ball of my foot, and last minute stress coupled with a short temper as she frantically tries to finish it the night before the event.

Scholarship applications?  That's my job.  Sure, it's really her job, but it's in my best (financial) interest to ensure those essays sound like something a super smart high school senior, with a compelling life story I might add, would write.

Trying to keep the schedule for all of this in my head or on my phone, all the while deconflicting it with the other 9 lbs of stuff I'm cramming into the 10 lb sack of life, is challenging at best.  That too makes my brain hurt. 

Did I mention that I'm busy.  Yeah, yeah, you're tired of hearing it.  But that leads me to the premise for this post.   I think my brain is full and I really don't feel like compressing what's already in there to fit more in with it, so somethings gotta give.  I've been jotting down mental notes for potential blog posts for a month or so, but none of them are fleshed out enough to make a full post.  There's no room left up there so the rest of this post is the stuff that's spilling out.  I won't attest to how interesting or useful the following info is, but as your pithy political part-time blogger, that's not in my job description.

Source is listed
Eric Melrose Brown, a renowned British Navy test pilot who shattered records and made history with exploits that advanced Allied fighter power in World War II and quests for jet propulsion and supersonic speeds in postwar aviation, died on Sunday in southern England. He was 97.
Captain Brown’s test flights established the North American P-51 Mustang as the fast and maneuverable fighter-escort that smothered the Luftwaffe in dogfights over the Continent late in the war and gave top cover for Allied bombing runs into Germany.
He was also the most decorated pilot in the history of the Fleet Air Arm, Britain’s naval aviation service.                                                                                 Source

I thought that was significant enough to share as his contributions to the war effort definitely helped end it.  A Commander of the British Empire he was.

How about this?


The targeting crosshairs are focused on a dark building, tucked in the trees, when a missile dropped from the wings streaks down and the suspected terrorist base explodes in a fireball.
Nigeria thus joined the small but fast-growing club of countries — six so far, including three since September — using armed drones for targeted killing by remote control.                                                                         Source
That's quite an exclusive club.  While far from "Skynet" going active, and Sarge and I may disagree on the usefulness or ethics of drone use, I do like how we can take out baddies without risking the lives of our SpecOps guys.  No gals currently, although that sure has been a discussion item of late- if combat arms are open to women, shouldn't the selective service be as well?  I am positive America is not ready for our daughters to be drafted into the front lines of a war, but the equality mongers didn't foresee that side effect.  They might actually have to admit there's a double standard! 

Speaking of politics, what do you think of Trump?  While I might like the idea of Trump, a guy not beholden to the special interests or overly concerned with being PC, I don't like Trump.  I don't trust his conservative creds, which are really non-existent.  And he's so absolutely unpresidential.  C'mon dude, have some dignity and decency towards women and minorities.  On a long list of reasons why we need Trump, there was the point about Congress doing nothing since the GOP took over.  In their defense, they've sent a dozen bills to the President and he's vetoed every one of them.  It's not all Congress's fault and much of the do-nothing nature of the Legislative Branch will end if a conservative gets into the White House.

I like Cruz for his strict constitutional stance, but I think the youthful Rubio has the best chance of stealing some votes from the libs, gaining some undecideds and those in the Dem party who see Hillary for the liar and crook that she is. 

If it was Trump vs the crazy socialist?  Ugh, please God, don't let that happen.  Bernie wants to give everyone free college.  You want me to pay for it?  Then I get to pick your major.  No more Erotic Prussian Finger-painting degrees, or the like.  Telling our kids they can be anything they want and to do what makes them happy just doesn't prepare them for today's world.  The problem is you often end up.with lit majors, art majors, women's studies majors who can't use their degrees to find jobs in that real world once they been ejected from the coddled womb of academia.   I don't want to pay for someone to go to school to get a degree in something so narrow, I won't get a return on my "investment". If we ever do get to a point where we fund college for students, I would want it with the caveat that it will only be for certain degrees which have high job placement rates, and if you don't finish -- you are on the hook for the bill, government won't pay for it. 

By the way, check out this article.  Some wise words from someone at the ripe old age of 29.

All right, I've successfully cleared out some cobwebs from my brain.  Not the most concise or salient post I've ever put together, but like a walker after Rick's axe cracks open his skull, stuff sometimes spills out and it's not pretty.


  1. You need to clean the cobwebs and stuff out more often. Great post.

    Hhmm, now you've made me think about drones...

  2. One of the coolest things about Captain Brown was that he was stationed at Pax River for two years, in an exchange program. So, he was qualified as a Naval Aviator in both the Royal Navy, and the United States Navy! Plus, he was a fellow 5'/7"er!

  3. Love it. Thanks. I concur on Trump: I think that deep down he believes he can browbeat, bully or buy anything or anyone.I don't browbeat, sure don't bully worth a damn and am not for sale at any price. Go Marco!

  4. Winkle Brown. We'll not see his like again.

    What are the odds that any of the front runners can be trusted with execution by drone?

  5. Never thought about that college thing. You are right on. If we are going to help with education, it should be in areas where the country needs, teachers, doctors...except as I type this it starts to sound too much like communism...hmmm how do we determine what subjects should be supported? Love the idea, not sure how government will be able to implement. Come on smart people figure this out because Tuna is right, we do not need more experts in Albanian Dance, or Navajo Basket Weaving.

    1. The way I would handle that is We don't tell them that you are going to be a doctor, He is going to be a engineer, she is going to be a computer scientist. We tell them the only degrees paid for by the gubmint are... If you want to study Lesbian Literature from Lithuania, do so on your own dime. Oh, and by the way, any other gubmint subsidies, such as welfare, are not available to you either. You've got to make your way on your earnings with a MA -LLL

    2. What we desperately need is a whole boatload of history teachers and civics teachers.

      We are criminally ignorant of our own history, the world's history, and beyond ignorant of how our Founding Fathers set up this government. And so, no one knows who Joe Biden is, but everyone knows who Kim Kardashian is.

      Rome is looking at us in wonderment thinking, didn't you pay attention to us?! And, no, we didn't.

      STEM classes are important. But not as important as preserving the republic.

    3. I don't disagree. My history and Government teachers were phenomenal but I rarely see that now. We have to figure out how to fix that problem.

  6. Wait a sec. What kind of GI Bill did you get? All they offered me was VEAP and that totally completely sucked. I wouldn't give it to my daughter. Hell, it's worse than a social disease!
    I decided to stop worrying about creds and degrees of wrong with this election. Trying to vote for the least unpalatable lying scumbag to don a republican coat has been a waste of time. I'll be satisfied to send to Washington anything that ires republicans as much as democrats ire me.

    1. The Post-911 GI Bill covers approximately up to the highest in-state tuition, $1000 stipend per year for books, and E-5 Housing Allowance in that location. That's almost 60K in some parts of the country, in states that charge far to much for their state colleges in my opinion.

    2. I heard from a good friend that if you did your VA right, CA would pay for your child's tuition at UC or CSU if one had 10% disability. Interesting but I no longer live in Cali.

  7. Replies
    1. Oh dear, and I've been told that this material is on the final...

  8. Wow! You covered a lot! And you have daughters - and still having time to think? Interesting about the GI Bill - didn't know it was transferable. Used a bit of mine to attend a computer programming school in San Diego.

    On Trump, I have undergone somewhat of a change. Thought he was great when he first arrived on the political stage. Here was a guy who was refreshingly "un-PC" and said things that are on the minds of millions.

    But as time wore on I'm wondering what in his life's past would tell me that he would actually govern in the way he says he will?

    As the old ad from Wendy's hamburgers asked, "Where's the beef?"

    Then when reporters question him he gets belligerent and "in your face".

    Promised people he's be transparent (ever remember that before?) and show people his tax returns.

    Now he's reneging on that.

    The WSJ yesterday had a great op-ed on this; it is a shame everything is subscription based or I'd link it.

    The way he denigrates his opposition is worthy of a Don Rickles stage act; not a Presidential candidate.

    Trump is wearing very thin on me.

    I don't really have a favorite; I can see problems with them all.

    And look at what our country is facing both domestically and overseas.

    God help us.

    Didn't know Eric Brown had anythiknkg to do with the Mustang - but I think he might be the greatest test pilot of all.

    His story of test flying the rocket powered Me163 is legendary.

    1. I suspect Trump will grow on us.
      I believe that the greatest test pilots died unknown to us. They were incredible men who died unmourned and unlamented in a smoking hole in the ground. It was the lucky ones who came after that we all remember. Lot's of men went faster than the speed of sound in Spitfires or Thunderbolts, but none ever lived to tell about it.

  9. Oh, on the Stephanie Williams Article it reminds me of something about R. Lee Ermey. Just saw (again) Full Metal Jacket and just marveled at his portrayal of the Perris Island DI. Me having somewhat OCD, had to then get one of his books to learn more about him, in which he basically tells about his life and his philosophy.

    He certainly wasn't born with a lot of privileges; you could say he was born poor. Enlisted in the Marines at an early age and 11 or so years later due to an injury given a medical discharge.

    He didn't have a lot of formal education but he had (and has) a great work ethic and the desire to take advantage of any opportunities he sees that might come his way.

    Not afraid to take any job no matter how humble but always on the lookout for something better.

    Like Stephanie in the linked article.

    Doesn't whine about "how unfair life is".

    I'm still towards the beginning of his book but learning how he learned in Okinawa (where he started and built a successful bar off base) that they are making a movie about Vietnam in the PI - he sells the bar, hops on a C-130 to the PI to see if there might be anything for him. Imagine, they don't know him but he is just going on the chance that there might be something for him.

    The movie being made, of course, is Full Metal Jacket and while I haven't gotten to this part in the book I know that he originally got a gig as a consultant but was so convincing he became the DI on set. The guy who was **supposed** to be the DI - the profewssinoal actor - got a consolation prize of being the door gunner on the helicopter.

    My Dad used to always say that the losers in life always have someone to blame - and it is true. You have tot to grab those chances that come your way.

    Ermey's book:


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