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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Amazing Grace . . is . . . Amazing!

If you don’t get goosebumps watching and listening to this, someone should call the coroner. You’re dead.

Amazing Grace - from the Andre Rieu orchestra......
(about three minutes in length - and you will wish it were longer!)

It begins with the leading notes being played on a pennywhistle (an instrument which comes to us from Ireland)

The Christmas Can Can . . .

This is really pretty good. The lyrics are original and the young singers put together a entertaining few minutes. I think you’ll enjoy. Happy holidays…

Monday, November 29, 2010

Economics 101: California vs. Arizona


The Governor of California is jogging with his dog along a nature trail. A coyote jumps out bites the Governor and attacks his dog.

1. The Governor starts to intervene, but reflects upon the movie "Bambi", then realizes he should stop, the coyote is only doing what's natural.

2. He calls Animal Control. Animal Control captures the coyote and bills the state $200 for testing it for diseases and $500 for relocating it.

3. He calls a veterinarian. The vet collects the dead dog and bills the state $200 for testing it for disease.

4. The Governor goes to hospital and spends $3,500 getting checked for disease from the coyote and for getting his bite wound bandaged.

5. The running trail is shut down for 6 months, while Fish & Game conducts their $100,000 survey to make sure the area is free of dangerous animals.

6. The Governor next spends $50,000 in state funds, implementing a "Coyote Awareness" program for residents of the area.

7. The State Legislature spends $2 million to study how to better treat rabies and how to permanently eradicate the disease, throughout the world.

8. The Governor's security agent is fired for not somehow stopping the attack and for letting
the Governor attempt to intervene.

9. Additional cost to State of California : $75,000 to hire and train a new security agent with
additional special training re: The Nature of Coyotes.

10. PETA protests the coyote's relocation and files suit against the state.


The Governor of Arizona is jogging, with her dog, along a nature trail. A coyote jumps out and attacks her dog.

1. The Governor shoots the coyote with her state-issued pistol and keeps jogging. The Governor has spent $0.50 on a .45 ACP hollow-point cartridge.

2. Arizona buzzards eat the dead coyote.

And that, my friends, is why California is broke.

This is pretty cool . . .

Let Me Help You To Your Flight . . .

Have fun with this!

Hallelujah in a Food Court

Turn up the sound for a fantastic video:


Teacher: Why are you late?

Student: There was a man who lost a hundred dollar bill.

Teacher: Were you helping him look for it?”

Student: No, I was standing on it.!

As my husband, the county highway commissioner, was driving to the hospital for treatment of his painful leg, he decided to use the valet parking service so he wouldn’t have to walk far. Staring at his official looking vehicle, one of the valets asked my husband if he was driving a government car.

“why yes,’ my husband replied, surprised by the question. “In fact, its an unmarked police car.”

“Wow!” the young man said, sliding behind the wheel. “This will be the first time I’ve been in the front set!”

Cathy: I have the perfect son

Betty: Does he smoke?

Cathy: No, he doesn’t

Betty: Does he drink whiskey?

Cathy: No, he doesn’t

Betty: Does he ever come home late?

Cathy: No, he doesn’t

Betty, “I guess you really do have the perfect son. How old is he?”

Cathy: “He will be six months old next Wednesday.”

There’s an old sea story in the Navy about a ship’s captain who inspected his sailors and afterward, told the chief boatswain that his men smelled bad. The captain suggested perhaps it would help, if the sailors would change underwear occasionally.

The chief responded, ‘Aye, aye, sir, I’ll see to it immediately!”

The chief went straight to the sailor’s berth deck and announced,”The captain thinks you guys smell bad and wants you to change your underwear” He continued, “Pittman, you change with Jones; McCarthy, you change with Witkowski; and Brown, you change with Schultz. Now GET TO IT!!”

The Moral of the story is:

Someone may come along and promise “Change,” but don’t count on things smelling any better.

A Train Laying Its Own Tracks


A Train Laying Its Own Track

If only the first rail road people could see this!

A Well Reasoned Argument


The Gun is Civilization

by Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret)

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that's it.

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force.

The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gang banger, and a single guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.

There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we'd be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a [armed] mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger's potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat--it has no validity when most of a mugger's potential marks are armed.

People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that's the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.

Then there's the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser.
People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don't constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level.

The gun is the only weapon that's as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weight lifter. It simply wouldn't work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn't both lethal and easily employable.

When I carry a gun, I don't do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I'm looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don't carry it because I'm afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn't limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation... and that's why carrying a gun is a civilized act...and why the greatest societies are those where citizens are equally armed, and therefore subject only to peaceful persuasion.

Leslie Nielsen, R.I.P.

From Mark Evanier's blog ""

There was a time when, if I'd told you the number one film comedy star in America would soon be Leslie Nielsen, you'd have had men with nets come and get me. Mr. Nielsen was the serious (too serious) star of TV shows like Bracken's World and The Bold Ones, and movies like Forbidden Planet and Tammy and the Bachelor.

But as it turned out, Mr. Nielsen had a wonderful, largely undisclosed sense of humor. Folks who knew him knew it but the public didn't. As I learned the few times I met him, that sense of humor was vast and rich, though it did have a special flair for fart gags. At the time, he was apparently never without a little plastic cylinder called a Handi-Gas. This is (or was — I don't think they still make them) a noisemaker that could emit the sound one is apt to make after a major feasting on Van Kamp's Pork and Beans followed by a Chili Malted. You kept the Handi-Gas casually concealed in your hand and then you squeezed it at just the right moment, simultaneously making some sort of body movement to suggest that the sound came from your orifice. (It would probably be simpler to just fart but that wouldn't be much of a trick now, would it?) The idea, I guess, was to see how much you could embarrass people around you by making them think you'd embarrassed yourself.

Or something like that. I'm not big on fart humor but I found Leslie to be a very funny gent in spite of his ominpresent Handi-Gas. I especially liked the deadpan way he'd carry a joke to the wall in Airplane or the "Naked Gun" movies. And I really enjoyed the short-lived TV series that came between them...Police Squad. I was working on another ABC show at the time and I witnessed a curious occurrence: Everyone at the network — or at least, everyone I knew — was simultaneously saying, "Boy, that's a funny show" and "God, we've got to get rid of that thing as soon as possible." The initial ratings were pretty bad but somehow, I guess because it was so different, there was an inexplicable urgency to terminate the series. It was like they had to get it off the schedule immediately...and they did.

An agent I knew whose firm represented Nielsen told me that, at least on a financial basis, it was the best thing that could have happened to him. If it had just been a successful TV show running a few sewasons and then being cancelled, that's probably all Leslie N. would have done for the rest of his career. As it was, its cancellation led to the "Naked Gun" movies and their high grosses led to him being offered a steady stream of leads in comedy films, often for huge sums of money. He struck me as a man who was very, very happy with the bizarre left turn his career had taken.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Beautiful Story . . .

True story.

It is not known who replied, but there is a beautiful soul working in the dead letter office of the US postal service.

Our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4 year old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey.. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so she dictated these words:

Dear God,
Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.

I hope you will play with her.. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her You will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.
Love, Meredith

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it.. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, 'To Meredith' in an unfamiliar hand.. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies..' Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,

Abbey arrived safely in heaven.

Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away.
Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by..

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I'm easy to find, I am wherever there is love.


Don't say you're too busy to forward this. Don't you know the phrase 'stop and smell the flowers'?

For Military Aviation Buffs . . .

Fascinating look at some of the weird inventions during wartime:

Pappy Boyington's Memorabilia Donated . . .

Fascinating article:


Here is a video that shows just some of the horrors going on in Iran. Thanks to Paulette Donellon and Bob Niderost for showing me how to convert a Power Point presentation to video.

WARNING: Extremely graphic video!

Four old retired guys are walking down a street in Escondido.

They turned a corner and see a sign that says, "Old Timers Bar - all drinks 10 cents"

They look at each other, and then go in, thinking this is too good to be true.

The bartender says in a voice that carries across the room, "Come on in and let me pour one for you!  What'll it be, Gentlemen?"

There seemed to be a fully-stocked bar, so each of the men ask for a martini. In short order, the bartender serves up four shaken iced martinis, not stirred, and says, "That'll be 10 cents each, please."

The four men stare at the bartender for a moment.

Then look at each other...they can't believe their good luck.

They pay the 40 cents, finish their martinis, and order another round.

Again, four excellent martinis are produced with the bartender again saying, "That's 40 cents,  please  ..." They pay the 40 cents, but their curiosity is more than they can stand.  They have each had two martinis and so far they've spent less than a dollar. 

Finally one of the men   says, "How can you afford to serve martinis as good as these for a 10 cents each?"
"I'm a retired tailor from New York," the bartender said, "and I always wanted to own a bar. Last year  I hit the Lottery for $25 million and decided to move here where it's warm, and opened this  place. Every drink costs ten cents - wine, liquor, beer, it's all the same."

"Wow! That's quite a story," says one of the men.
The four of them sipped at their martinis and couldn't help but notice seven other people at the end of the bar who didn't have drinks in front of them, and hadn't ordered anything the whole time they  were there.
One man gestures at the seven at the end of the bar without drinks and asks the bartender, "What's  with them?'
The bartender says, "Oh, they're all old retired Kiwanians waiting for happy hour when drinks are half price."

Turf Toe

San Diego Charger star Antonio Gates and Nebraska Cornhusker Quarterback Taylor Martinez are both out of action due to ‘turf toe.’

I had heard this term but wasn’t sure what it was. So I looked it up on Google.

Here’s what turf toe is and what it looks like:

So now you know.

A neat love story . . .

A fascinating story sent to me by an expatriate friend of mine who lives in San Antonio del Mar (near Rosarito Beach, both kinda suburbs of Tijuana, Baja Mexico):
Cut and paste the link below to read the very well written, and sometimes surprising, story from The Reader, San Diego's really great weekly magazine/newspaper:

Sent: Saturday, November 27, 2010 2:24 AM
To: undisclosed recipients:
Subject: San Antonio del Mar love story

Conrad and Eunice fell in love, married, and moved to San Antonio del Mar. They are great neighbors and have nice children. They enjoy taking their puppy for walks on the beach.

Their story is here:

Siobhan Braun "How a Trip to Tijuana Changed My Heart." San Diego Reader 23

November 2010. 26 November.

Pat Mullen

“Remember upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all.” -- Alexander The Great, Greek king of Macedon, 356 BC-323 BC

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Man invents machine to convert plastic back to oil

Plastic back into the oil it came from not surprised at this at all, just a case of Japanese ingenuity and perseverance.

What is more important would be the marketing and very low cost to make it mandatory to have one of these in every home.

Better yet, find a way to stop packaging everything in plastic. Sound is all in Japanese. Just read the subtitles and watch.

What a great discovery!Turning plastic containers, bottle caps, bags, all plastic waste BACK into usable oil (where it came from originally), back into gasoline, kerosene, etc . . . leave it to the Japanese!

Consider also, all the plastic floating in our multiple oceans. If a trawler went out and captured all this and processed it . . . how much cleaner would our oceans be? How much marine life, including corals, be saved? Add in the reduction to landfills . . . the mind boggles. What a great invention!

You have to see this.

Check it out:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Russian Beer #2

Russian Beer #1

Asking for Directions

What a bladder!

Catching Bambi . . .

Purportedly, an actual letter from a rancher who tried this:

I had this idea that I could rope a deer, put it in a stall, feed it up on corn for a couple of weeks, then kill it and eat it. The first step in this adventure was getting a deer. I figured that, since they congregate at my cattle feeder and do not seem to have much fear of me when we are there (a bold one will sometimes come right up and sniff at the bags of feed while I am in the back of the truck not 4 feet away), it should not be difficult to rope one, get up to it and toss a bag over its head (to calm it down) then hog tie it and transport it home.

I filled the cattle feeder then hid down at the end with my rope. The cattle, having seen the roping thing before, stayed well back. They were not having any of it. After about 20 minutes, my deer showed up-- 3 of them. I picked out a likely looking one, stepped out from the end of the feeder, and threw my rope. The deer just stood there and stared at me. I wrapped the rope around my waist and twisted the end so I would have a good hold.

The deer still just stood and stared at me, but you could tell it was mildly concerned about the whole rope situation. I took a step towards it, it took a step away. I put a little tension on the rope .., and then received an education. The first thing that I learned is that, while a deer may just stand there looking at you funny while you rope it, they are spurred to action when you start pulling on that rope.

That deer EXPLODED. The second thing I learned is that pound for pound, a deer is a LOT stronger than a cow or a colt. A cow or a colt in that weight range I could fight down with a rope and with some dignity.

A deer----- no chance.

That thing ran and bucked and twisted and pulled. There was no controlling it and certainly no getting close to it. As it jerked me off my feet and started dragging me across the ground, it occurred to me that having a deer on a rope was not nearly as good an idea as I had originally imagined. The only upside is that they do not have as much stamina as many other animals.
A brief 10 minutes later, it was tired and not nearly as quick to jerk me off my feet and drag me when I managed to get up. It took me a few minutes to realize this, since I was mostly blinded by the blood flowing out of the big gash in my head. At that point, I had lost my taste for corn-fed venison. I just wanted to get that devil creature off the end of that rope.
I figured if I just let it go with the rope hanging around its neck, it would likely die slow and painfully somewhere. At the time, there was no love at all between me and that deer. At that moment, I hated the thing, and I would venture a guess that the feeling was mutual.

Despite the gash in my head and the several large knots where I had cleverly arrested the deer's momentum by bracing my head against various large rocks as it dragged me across the ground, I could still think clearly enough to recognize that there was a small chance that I shared some tiny amount of responsibility for the situation we were in.

I didn't want the deer to have to suffer a slow death, so I managed to get it lined back up in between my truck and the feeder - a little trap I had set before hand...kind of like a squeeze chute. I got it to back in there and I started moving up so I could get my rope back.

Did you know that deer bite?

They do! I never in a million years would have thought that a deer would bite somebody, so I was very surprised when .... I reached up there to grab that rope and the deer grabbed hold of my wrist. Now, when a deer bites you, it is not like being bit by a horse where they just bite you and then let go. A deer bites you and shakes its head--almost like a pit bull. They bite HARD and it hurts.

The proper thing to do when a deer bites you is probably to freeze and draw back slowly. I tried screaming and shaking instead. My method was ineffective.

It seems like the deer was biting and shaking for several minutes, but it was likely only several seconds. I, being smarter than a deer (though you may be questioning that claim by now), tricked it. While I kept it busy tearing the tendons out of my right arm, I reached up with my left hand and pulled that rope loose.

That was when I got my final lesson in deer behavior for the day.
Deer will strike at you with their front feet. They rear right up on their back feet and strike right about head and shoulder level, and their hooves are surprisingly sharp. I learned a long time ago that, when an animal--like a horse--strikes at you with their hooves and you can't get away easily, the best thing to do is try to make a loud noise and make an aggressive move towards the animal. This will usually cause them to back down a bit so you can escape.

This was not a horse. This was a deer, so obviously, such trickery would not work. In the course of a millisecond, I devised a different strategy. I screamed like a woman and tried to turn and run. The reason I had always been told NOT to try to turn and run from a horse that paws at you is that there is a good chance that it will hit you in the back of the head. Deer may not be so different from horses after all, besides being twice as strong and 3 times as evil, because the second I turned to run, it hit me right in the back of the head and knocked me down.

Now, when a deer paws at you and knocks you down, it does not immediately leave. I suspect it does not recognize that the danger has passed. What they do instead is paw your back and jump up and down on you while you are laying there crying like a little girl and covering your head.

I finally managed to crawl under the truck and the deer went away. So now I know why when people go deer hunting they bring a rifle with a scope to sort of even the odds.

All these events are true so help me God...

An Educated Rancher
An interesting day . . . this day before Thanksgiving.

We who have so much . . . a nice warm home, plenty of food, nice clothes, nice cars . . . and good family and friends . . . tend to forget other folks who are less fortunate than we. We talk about them . . . but, sadly, all too often, we don’t do anywhere near what we should be doing to help make their life a little more manageable, if not enjoyable.

There are exceptions to this,fortunately.

Several weeks ago we had an Army veteran, Chris, his wife, Jamie, and five year old daughter, Emily, attend our Hidden Valley Kiwanis Club and its Operation Hero program. Chris has been out of the Army for two years but continues to have medical problems, principally with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) due to combat injuries suffered in Iraq. He has deep depression, memory problems, is unable to work. We learned that, for one week, the family was homeless. Further, there were four other kids at home. When Evelyn heard this family had been homeless, it hit her hard. Typical of Evelyn, she decided to do something about it.

She recommended we adopt this family for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. The club enthusiastically agreed with Evelyn’s suggestion.

Phase one was Thanksgiving, Phase two is Christmas. We will provide for this family.

Today, Evelyln and I drove to Oceanside, about 15 miles west of us, and took umpteen boxes of food over to the family. We met the rest of the kids.

Beautiful. Every single one of them. Kids you would be proud to call your own . . . or to call your grandkids, as they case might be.

The apartment was in a tidy apartment complex . . . but it was small. Too small for seven people. The living room was tidy but had only one couch. They don’t have enough beds. Dave Geary, one of our super Kiwanis members, is arranging for bunk beds for them.

The kids helped the old man (me) carry the boxes from the car upstairs to their apartment. When all the food was delivered, we stood around chatting. I pulled some one dollar bills from my pocket and gave each of the kids one . . . except for Emily. I turned to Evelyn and said, “well, grandma, I think we have covered everybody. I don’t think I’ve forgotten anybody have I?” I looked at Emily and she had a smile on her face and her eyes were gleaming . . . “Did I forget anyone, Emily?”

“Yes, me!” she giggled. I gave her her dollar and she was ecstatic. (I fell in love with Emily when she accompanied mom and dad to the Operation Hero event. She and I flirted with each other all morning).

I gave Jamie a $20 bill and told her to do whatever she wanted with it. Buy a trinket, a bottle of wine, whatever she wanted. I noticed the three boys all needed haircuts. We’ll have to arrange for that.

Dick and Marcia Jungas, members of our Hidden Valley Kiwanis Club, will be holding a Christmas party on December 7th and each of us will bring gifts for this family. Evelyn and I (and anyone else who wants to tag along) will deliver them in plenty of time for Christmas. Today’s gift was food; the next gifts will be clothing, shoes, toys, all kinds of neat things. We’ll probably set some gifts aside to be “from Santa.”

As we drove back home to Escondido, my thoughts turned to a late lunch conversation we had yesterday with Dave Geary. Many of you will recall that about a year and a half ago we featured an Army Sergeant, Ryan Kahlor, as our guest at Operation Hero. You can read about it here:

This kid had gotten banged up pretty badly in Iraq. Again, our Dave Geary stepped in and assisted Ryan with rehabbing this fixer-upper house had had just purchased. Dave arranged for plumbers, roofers, painters, kitchen appliances . . . probably around $20,000-$30,000 worth of rehab work to his home. He and his girlfriend were able to settle in and begin to recover from the lingering battle wounds he had sustained . . . chief of which was, again, BDI (Brain Damage Injury). I remember at that time Ryan told me he had to have a special parking spot at Balboa Naval Hospital because if he didn’t, he’d forget where he parked his vehicle. Depression, memory problems, flashbacks, nightmares . . . they are all part and parcel of BDI. Ryan looked the picture of health . . . but he was still hurting inside, and badly.

Then came yesterday’s lunch . . . at which Dave Geary told me Ryan had to go back into the hospital and had been there for the past six months. He had been having nightmares . . . frequent flashbacks . . . waking up and screaming in the middle of the night . . . and he had to be treated in hospital rather than at home.

It hit me right in the gut to hear that. I thought Ryan was well on his way to recovery.

I suggested to Evelyn, as we drove home from Oceanside, that we should drop by Ryan’s house and see his girlfriend, see if there was anything at all we could do to help.

We arrived at the house, knocked on the door, and who appears at the door? This big, handsome Sergeant named Ryan Kahlor. Turns out he had just been released from the hospital and had been home for only a week. He told me had continued to have nightmares, flashbacks . . . he was back in Iraq, watching his buddies being blown to bits . . . finally, one day, while attending a college class, he noticed another student who was texting while the professor was lecturing. Ryan thought the other student was disrespectful so he picked up a table and threw it against the wall next to the texting student. He did not hit the student but scared hell out of him.

Naturally, the school could not allow that and Ryan was asked to leave the school program. It was this violent reaction the caused the medical teams from Balboa Naval Hospital to bring Ryan back into hospital for a series of psychiatric and psychological counseling, group therapy, training in how to deal with trauma, how to recognize it, how to compensate for it, how to overcome the side effects. Apparently, the hospital felt Ryan was now ready to come home again.

We gave him our phone number and email address and asked him to call anytime he wanted to talk. 3am . . . that’s fine. We’re here. Midday? That’s fine. I told him I was not a trained therapist but I’d be happy to just shoot the breeze with him . . . or to listen to whatever was troubling him.

When we got home I had an email from Ryan, thanking us for visiting him and saying he felt well enough that he would like to volunteer to help us on any cause we thought worthwhile. Perhaps we’ll have him help us help another veteran. Nothing like someone who has experienced the hurt and pain of combat to help another vet through it.

We had one more task to complete on this day before Thanksgiving. We delivered a load of food to the Interfaith Community Services Center. Suzanne Pohlman, who runs the Center, told me they had fed 69 people before noon today. It was their Thanksgiving Dinner . . . a day early. Evelyn and I had noticed a lot of folks enjoying pumpkin pie and all the fixings . . . I went into Suzanne’s office and collected a hug and had a brief chat with her. Suzanne is another of those fine people who see people suffering and does something about it. She’s a Saint in my book.

Our tasks done for the day, we returned home, were greeted by squeals of delight and lots of kisses from our puppy, Trixie. We enjoyed the affection . . . and then, as usual, I headed back into my office. I had some time to reflect, however . . . and thus this little essay.

Blessings to my lovely Evelyn for caring so much about people and helping . . . not just today, but year in and year out. She’s always doing something for others . . . and never getting the recognition she so richly deserves for her charitable work. Blessing to Dave Geary, a guy who moves heaven and earth to provide for the military . . . orphans . . . anyone who needs help. (Dave is the computer guru who bailed me out of a major computer jam on the night we were supposed to go to press. We did go to press, but only because of Dave’s service above and beyond the call of duty). Dave, not incidentally, has all three of his kids serving in the military. Blessings to Sonja Dugan and Steve Vargo . . . the two movers and shakers who work with and select our candidates for Operation Hero. They know these heroes and their families and know their wants and needs.

They are truly dedicated and compassionate people whom I am proud to call my friends.

And, finally, blessings upon my Hidden Valley Kiwanis Club. A club of which I’m proud to be a member. They just plain give a damn about what is happening in the community and they do something about it. They donate money, food, clothes, time, energy, volunteer hours . . . and, through it all, we manage to have one helluva grand time. Our meetings are filled with laughter and good fellowship . . . and a whole lot of love.

With so many people hurting in the world, and needing help, it is good to have groups such as Kiwanis to help meet the need.

Here’s hoping for a warm, happy, and joyful Thanksgiving for you and your family.

Love and warm hugs to all . . .


Panguin goes shopping . . .

This 10 year old King Penguin was rescued from a fisherman's line and refused to leave after he was healed. He was adopted by a family in a small town in Japan and became a beloved pet who has his own personal air-conditioned cold room.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Stupid Questions With the Smart Answers

SHARON : Have you ever had a hot passionate, burning kiss??
TRACY : I did once. He'd forgotten to take the cigarette out of his mouth.

MAN : You remind me of the sea.
WOMAN : Because I'm wild, romantic and exciting?
MAN : NO, because you make me sick.

WIFE : You tell a man something, it goes in one ear and comes out of the other.
HUSBAND : You tell a woman something: It goes in both ears and comes out of the mouth.

1) Girlfriend: "...And are you sure you love me and no one else?"
Boyfriend: "Dead sure! I checked the whole list again yesterday."

2) Teacher: "Which is more important to us, the sun or the moon?"
Pupil: "The moon".
Teacher: "Why?"
Pupil: "The moon gives us light at night when we need it but the sun gives us light only in the day time when we don't need it."

3) Teacher: "What do you call a person who keeps on talking when people are no longer interested?"
Pupil: "A teacher."

4) Waiter: "Would you like your coffee black?"
Customer: "What other colors do you have?"

5) My father is so old that when he was in school, history was called current affairs.

6) Teacher: "Sam, you talk a lot !"
Sam: "It's a family tradition."
Teacher: "What do you mean?"
Sam: "Sir, my grandpa was a street hawker, my father is a teacher."
Teacher: "What about your mother?"
Sam: "She's a woman."

7) Tom: "How should I convey the news to my father that I've failed?"
David: "You just send a telegram: Result declared, past year's performance repeated."

8) Teacher: "Now, children, if I saw a man beating a donkey and stopped him, what virtue would I be showing?"
Student: "Brotherly love."

9) Teacher: "Now, Sam, tell me frankly: do you say prayers before eating?"
Sam: "No sir, I don't have to, my mom is a good cook".

10) Patient: "What are the chances of my recovering, doctor?"
Doctor: "One hundred percent. Medical records show that nine out of ten people die of the disease you have. Yours is the tenth case I've treated. The others all died."

11) Teacher: "Can anybody give an example of COINCIDENCE?"
One Student: "Sir, my Mother and Father got married on the same day and at the same time."

12) Teacher: "George Washington not only chopped down his father's Cherry tree, but also admitted doing it. Now, do you know why his father didn't punish him ?"
One Student: " Because George still had the axe in is hand."

I live in Tulsa , Oklahoma , and recently asked my friend’s little girl what she wants to be when she grows up. She said she wanted to be President someday. Both of her parents, liberal Democrats, were standing there, so I asked her, 'If you were President what would be the first thing you would do?'

She replied, 'I'd give food and houses to all the homeless people.' Her parents beamed with pride.

'Wow...what a worthy goal,' I told her, 'But you don't have to wait until you're President to do that. You can come over to my house and mow the lawn, pull weeds, and rake my yard, and I'll pay you $50. Then I'll take you over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward food and a new house.'

She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, 'Why doesn't the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?'

I said, 'Welcome to the Republican Party.' Her parents still aren't speaking to me..


I saw a Radical Muslim fall into the icy Ohio River this morning about 8:20 A.M. As a responsible citizen, I informed the local office of emergency services.

It's now 6:00 PM and they still haven't responded!

I'm starting to think I've wasted a stamp.


It is a slow day in the small Nebraska town of Pumphandle, and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody is living on credit.

A tourist visiting the area drives through town, stops at the motel, and lays a $100 bill on the desk saying he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs to pick one for the night.

As soon as he walks upstairs, the motel owner grabs the bill and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher. The butcher takes the $100 and runs down the street to retire his debt to the pig farmer. The pig farmer takes the $100 and heads off to pay his bill to his supplier, the Co-op. The guy at the Co-op takes the $100 and runs to pay his debt to the local prostitute, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer her "services" on credit.

The hooker rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill with the hotel owner.

The hotel proprietor then places the $100 back on the counter so the traveler will not suspect anything.

At that moment the traveler comes down the stairs, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, picks up the $100 bill and leaves.

No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now out of debt and looks to the future with a lot more optimism.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how a Stimulus package works.


A man brought his wife a glass of water and two aspirins.
She looked surprised and said, 'I don't have a headache!"

He said, Aha!"
. . . .


"Please be advised I am sick to death of receiving questions about my dog who mauled threee radical Muslims sitting on a rug next to my back wall, six illegals wearing Obama t-shirts, four Democrats wearing Pelosi t-shirts, two rappers, five phone operators who asked me to press #1 for English, nine teenagers with their pants hanging down past their cracks, eight customer service desk people speaking in broken English, ten flag burners, and a Pakistani taxi driver.


Pfeiler's Pfolly?

We have been following the ongoing discussions, both public and private, about the proposed new ballpark for Escondido with more than a modicum of interest.

From the outset, we have been dead set against it and have said so, several times.

We love Lori Holt Pfeiler. She has been a great member of the Escondido City Council and an excellent Mayor. She will be remembered as a great mediator, a consensus former, a moderate voice in sometimes heated discussions.

We would hope that is the legacy for which Lori is remembered. We would hope further that she is not remembered as the moving force for what is likely to become known, if it goes forward, as Pfeiler’s Pfolly . . . and that would be the ballpark.

The ballpark simply makes no sense at all. We’re all but broke as a city.

Now that the Escondido election is over, we have a new makeup on the council. Mayor Pfeiler and Councilmember Dick Daniels were the driving forces behind the ballpark idea. Now that they are out of office, will the viewpoint change?

“I think so,” said Councilmember Olga Diaz. “As much as I love Dick Daniels and Lori I think they were so enamored of the project that I think they didn’t take a really hard look at it. Mr. Moorad is going to have to work hard to earn the support of the new council.”

“I still have an open mind on the issue,” said Mayor-elect Sam Abed. “But we have to have a cap on our costs. We have to have a firm, binding contract that will ensure the ballclub would stay in Escondido for 35 of 40 years.” How would the terms of such a contract be enforced, he was asked: “Well, we’d have to enforce it with severe penalties if they broke the contract. We’d have to emake it not easy to walk away.

Olga Diaz: “ The Reno example is of more concern to me. Their level of economic activity puts ours to shame . . . all the tourism, the surrounding businesses, commerce and industry . . It’s a lovely facility . . . yet they can’t make it? That troubles me. (The Reno ballpark is estimated to be worth about half of what the development costs were and the city is subsidizing the team to the tune of $1 million per year).

“The theory is we would draw from all of N. County, as well as San Diego County in general . . .would be source for fan base. Unlike Reno, our risk is using all the redevelpment money and not generating enough revenue to make sure we can cover our expenses. According to our City Manager, we would never generate enough revenue to recover our investment; he says the the purpose of the ball park is to stimulate development. There could be a social benefit, but I don’t see a financial benefit. We are not setting up a business or taxing district . . . we don’t control the possibilites for development. Moorad has been quietly buying up land in the proposed areas for the ballpark. It is he that owns land for ancillary develpment . . . he’ll help himself, not the city. It is not my job to develop a sports mecca, but to protect taxpayer dollars.

Councilman-Elect, Ed Gallo: We considered a similar idea five years ago; that was when times were good and we have money. Now we’re all but broke and it’s a good idea? How does that work? If it was a bad idea then, it’s still a bad idea; even worse, given our financial condition.

Look, Tucson moved to Reno, and now the Tuscon stadium has been empty for two years. I don’t see anything to keep Moorad from walking away. This could be a very successful deal for the owners . . . but not, in my judgment, for the city of Escondido. Moorad wans ust to pay for everything. I don’t like it. I don’t see development coming because of the ballpark. Riverside didn’t have it, Elsinore didn’t have it . . . we won’t have it. Studies show consistently that there is no appreciable commerical industrial development as a result of having a ballpark in a city the size of Escondido..

Abed: I believe there as some success stories about ballparks and cities working together; we have to look carefully. We have an M1 and an M2 zone that will take a long time to develop. . . we can’t wait a long time. We want to increase jobs.

I could support the idea if we had reasonable development. I have an open mind on the issue but I will not support a $50 million payout with no financianl benefit to the city.

Marie Waldron: It is difficult to compare Escondido and the ballparks in other cities. I think everyone needs to see the final deal points and then make a judgement. That is what I am doing. The Beavers apparently announced they were moving and the article said it was difficult to judge whether their low attendance was due to fans being upset. However, the estimate of population for the Escondido park is about 700,000. That is because it is a AAA team of the local pro-team, the San Diego Padres, and it is a regional draw, not just Escondido. Reno is a completely different issue from Escondido. That redevelopment agency was set up to fund the ballpark and the scheme is completely different from ours. Escondido has a redevelopment area that was created some decades ago and is financially sound with or without the ballpark.
You really need to speak with some business owners that might have an interest in expanding or redeveloping, such as the swap meet owner, the Westfield mall, and many commercial brokers. In addition, the Marriott Hotel project is most certainly going to benefit in its financing capabilities if there was a ballpark project planned.

All that said, we must see the final plan, to make a judgement. I have urged the city staff to wrap it quickly, so that the details can be made public.

No firm commitments one way or the other yet. That will likely happen on December 15th when the votes will be cast as to whether to proceed or not.

For the sake of the legacy of a very nice lady, I’m hoping it will be a No vote loud and clear.

I would hate to see Pfeiler’s Pfolly become a reality; for her sake as well as the city of Escondido.

Mae in November

The legendary 'n' naughty Mae West died thirty years ago today. Here's what the Los Angeles Times printed that day about her.

136 NFL Cheerleaders for Breast Cancer Fundraiser

Hi Everyone,

About 136 former cheerleaders recently got together to do a dance routine to benefit "Susan G. Komen for the Cure" (Breast Cancer) Each time someone views the video, United Healthcare will make a $.10 donation to the Komen organization. Their goal is to get a million hits, which will lead to $100K raised.

Please take a moment to watch the video - and, just as important, pass this link onto your network of friends, family and colleagues? It benefits a very important cause!

Thanks for helping!
(Cut and paste the following):

Hilarious Photo Booth . . .

Cut and paste:

From the South . . .

A guy walks into a bar in Arkansas and orders a white wine.

All the hillbillies sitting around the bar look up, expecting to
see some pitiful Yankee from the north.

The bartender says, "You ain't from around here, are ya?"

The guy says, "No, I'm from Nebraska."

The bartender says, "What do you do in Nebraska?"

The guy says, "I'm a taxidermist."

The bartender says, "A taxidermist? What in tarnation
is a taxidermist? Do you drive a taxi?"

"No, a taxidermist doesn't drive a taxi. I mount animals."

The bartender grins and hollers, "It's okay boys. He's one of us!"

Hong Kong at Dusk

Hong Kong at Dusk
(I haven't a clue how this can happen!)
Place your cursor at the top of the photo. You will notice it is 6:10 PM.

Bring the mouse down slowly over the photo without pressing the button on the mouse. Do not right or left click.

Night time appears, the lights come on, and at 7:40 PM, it's dark!
I think this is photo technology at its best!

Cut and paste the following into your browser:

Ponderous Thoughts

Ø Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

Ø The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Ø To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

Ø A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.

Ø Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish.

Ø I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted pay checks.

Ø I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

Ø Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

Ø Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

Ø Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.

Ø A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

Ø You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

Ø The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!

Ø Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won't expect it back.

Ø A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.

Ø Hospitality: making your guests feel like they're at home, even if you wish they were.

Ø Money can't buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.

Ø I discovered I scream the same way whether I'm about to be devoured by a great white shark or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot.

Ø Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go.

Ø There's a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can't get away.

Ø I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure.

Ø I always take life with a grain of salt, plus a slice of lemon, and a shot of tequila.

Ø When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.

Ø You're never too old to learn something stupid.

Ø To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

Ø Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

Ø Some people hear voices. Some see invisible people. Others have no imagination whatsoever.

Ø If you are supposed to learn from your mistakes, why do some people have more than one child?

Ø Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine

Three young Italian Tenors. Wow!

Even if you don't speak Italian these three kids will knock your socks off. You will know the song when you hear it. This is apparently from an Italian talent show.

Gianluca Ginoble Age 14
Piero Barone Age 15
Ignazio Boschetto Age 14

All I can say is wow!

CLICK on this link

A Tidy Round of Golf

Sometimes the old guys have their way and enough of “ we’re just having fun” ain’t so much fun. Have a look…

Use sound but be careful. RIOT!

To all my old friends---Have a great thanksgiving & enjoy a round of golf-------this snippet is a pisser.

Every golfer and non-golfer should watch this, don't mess with old golfers that made it to the green. Very funny.

Monday, November 22, 2010

They Patted Me Down. I liked it.

I'm not a big fan of Gloria Allred; but this was funny. Good line:


The Shetlands

I love it!

An Incredible Weapon!

Why Men Need Large Tool Boxes . . .

The Tree Trimmer

And Still More Tools . . .

More great tools . . .

An Amazing Community Effort

Watch as a herd of elephants come together to rescue a baby elephant:

Great Tools

Freedom . . .

Here's a quote from a government employee who witnessed a recent inter-action between an elderly woman and an antiwar protester in a Metro station in DC.

"There were protesters on the train platform handing out pamphlets, on the evils of America . I politely declined to take one."

"The elderly woman was behind me getting off the escalator and a young (20-ish) female protester offered her a pamphlet, which she politely declined. The young protester put her hand on the old woman's shoulder as a gesture of friendship and in a very soft voice the young lady said, "Lady, don't you care about the children of Afghanistan?"

The old woman looked up at her and said, "Honey, my father died in France during World War II, I lost my husband in Korea, and a son in Vietnam. All three died so you could have the right to stand here and badmouth our country. If you touch me again, I'll stick this umbrella up your ass and open it."

~God Bless America ~

Have to Love those Seniors......

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Barber Shop

George Bush and Barack Obama somehow ended up at the same barber shop.

As they sat there, each being worked on by a different barber, not a word was spoken. The barbers were even afraid to start a Conversation, for fear it would turn to politics.

As the barbers finished their shaves, the one who had Obama in his chair reached for the aftershave. Obama was quick to stop him saying, 'No thanks, my wife Michelle will smell that and think I've been in a whorehouse.'

The second barber turned to Bush and said, 'How about you sir ?' Bush replied, 'Go ahead; my wife doesn't know what the inside of a whorehouse smells like.'

Forgiveness . . .

We could all learn so much from Nancy Reagan, an elegant and gracious lady. You might recall that John Hinckley was a seriously deranged young man who shot President Reagan in the early 1980's. Hinckley was absolutely obsessed with movie star, Jodie Foster. In his twisted mind, he loved Jodie to the point that he was willing to assassinate President Reagan in order to make himself well known to her.

There is speculation Hinckley may soon be released, as it is believed that he has now been rehabilitated. Consequently, you will appreciate the following letter from Nancy Reagan to John Hinckley:

To: Mr. John Hinckley
From: Mrs. Nancy Reagan

My family and I wanted to drop you a short note to tell you how pleased we are with the great strides you are making in your recovery. In our country's spirit of understanding and forgiveness, we want you to know that we bear no grudge against you for shooting President Reagan.

We're fully aware that mental stress and pain could have driven you to such an act of desperation. We're confident that you will soon make a complete recovery and return to your family to join the world again as a healthy and productive man.

Best wishes,
Nancy Reagan & Family

P.S. While you have been incarcerated, Barack Obama has been banging Jodie Foster like a screen door in a tornado. You might want to look into that.

How to Put a Bra On . . .

Though Men are traditionally supposed to be more interested in removing Bras, I offer this humble example of "How to Put on a Bra!"

Now THAT'S How To Put A Bra On!

How Long Will You Wait?

A grand surprise for you!


How long will you wait?

I choose to have good days everyday - how about you?

Will you brighten someone's day today - or will you wait?

Will you share your product and opportunity with someone
today - or will you wait?

Will you tell your spouse, your family, your friends that
you love them today ... or, will you wait?

How long will you wait to share your talent and abilities with
the world?

How To Pick Out a Dog

Saturday, November 20, 2010


What a great idea! We should do this in every city in America!

Here's a HUG for you.

Notice that it makes everyone smile.

The Older Crowd


A distraught senior citizen
Phoned her doctor's office.
'Is it true,' she wanted to know,
'that the medication
You prescribed has to be taken
For the rest of my life?'
'Yes, I'm afraid so,' the doctor told her.
There was a moment of silence
Before the senior lady replied,
I'm wondering, then,
Just how serious is my condition
Because this prescription is marked

An older gentleman was
On the operating table
Awaiting surgery
And he insisted that his son,
A renowned surgeon,
Perform the operation.
As he was about to get the anesthesia,
He asked to speak to his son
'Yes, Dad, what is it? '
'Don't be nervous, son;
Do your best
And just remember,
If it doesn't go well,
If something happens to me,
Your mother
Is going to come and
Live with you and your wife....'
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (I LOVE IT!)

Eventually you will reach a point
When you stop lying about your age
And start bragging about it. This is so true. I love
to hear them say "you don't look that old."
The older we get,
The fewer things
Seem worth
waiting in line for.

Some people
Try to turn back their odometers.
Not me!
I want people to know 'why'
I look this way.
I've traveled a long way
And some of the roads weren't paved.

When you are dissatisfied
And would like to go back to youth,
Think of Algebra.

You know you are getting old when
Everything either dries up or leaks.

One of the many things
No one tells you about aging
Is that it is such a nice change
From being young.

Ah, being young is beautiful,
But being old is comfortable.

First you forget names,
Then you forget faces.
Then you forget to pull up your zipper.
It's worse when
You forget to pull it down.
Long ago
When men cursed
And beat the ground with sticks,
It was called witchcraft...
it's called golf.

Two guys one old one young
Are pushing their carts around Wal-Mart
When they collide.
The old guy says to the young guy,
'Sorry about that. I'm looking for my wife,
And I guess I wasn't paying attention
To where I was going.
The young guy says, 'That's OK, it's a coincidence.
I'm looking for my wife, too...'
I can't find her and I'm getting a little desperate'
The old guy says, 'Well,
Maybe I can help you find her..
What does she look like?'
' The young guy says,
'Well, she is 27 yrs old, tall,
With red hair,
Blue eyes, is buxom
wearing no bra,
Long legs,
And is wearing short shorts.
What does your wife look like?'
To which the first old guy says, 'Doesn't matter,
--- let's look for yours.'

Today Is A Proud Day In Marine Corps History

On this date in 1947, the Marine Corps Reserves started the Toys For Tots program.

Toys for tots Began in 1947, when Major Bill Hendricks, USCR and a group of Marine Reservists in Los Angeles collected and distributed 5,000 toys to needy children. The idea came form Bill’s wife, Diane.
In the fall of 1947, Diane crafted a homemade doll and asked Bill to deliver the doll to an organization, which would give it to a needy child at Christmas.
When Bill determined that no agency existed, Diane told Bill that he should start one.
He did.
The 1947 pilot project was so successful that the Marine Corps adopted Toys for Tots in 1948 and expanded it into a nationwide campaign.
That year, Marine Corps Reserve units across the nation conducted Toys for Tots campaigns in each community in which a Marine Reserve Center was located.
Marines have conducted successful nationwide campaigns at Christmas each year since 1948.
The initial objective that remains the hallmark of the program today is to “bring the joy of Christmas to America’s needy children”.
Bill Hendricks, a Marine Reservist on weekends, was in civilian life, the Director of Public Relations for Warner Brothers Studio.
This enabled him to convince a vast array of celebrities to support Toys for Tots. In 1948, Walt Disney designed the Toys for Tots logo, which we use today.
Disney also designed the first Toys for Tots poster used to promote the nationwide program.
Nat “King” Cole, Peggy Lee and Vic Damone recorded the Toys for Tots theme composed by Sammy Fain and Paul Webster in 1956.
Bob Hope, John Wayne, Doris Day, Lorrie Morgan, Tim Allen, Kenny Rogers and Billy Ray Cyrus are but a few of the long list of celebrities who have given their time and talent to promote Toys for Tots.
First Lady Nancy Reagan served as the national Spokesperson in 1983.
First Lady Barbara Bush served as the national Spokesperson in 1992 and in her autobiography named Toys for Tots as one of her favorite charities.

From 1947 through 1979, Marines collected and distributed new and used toys.
On Reserve drill weekends during October, November and December, Reserve Marines refurbished the used toys.

From Christmas 1980 through the present, Marines have collected and distributed only new toys.
Three factors dictated this change.
First, the Secretary of Defense’s Total Force Program, introduced in the 1970’s, assigned Reserves a greater role in America’s defense posture.
As a consequence, Reservists had to dedicate every minute of weekend drill time to honing and polishing combat skills.
No time was available to refurbish toys.
Second, public awareness of the health and safety aspects of toys that developed during the ‘70s made distribution of used toys legally inadvisable.
Third, distributing “hand me down” toys does not send the message Marines want to send to needy children.
The goal is to deliver a message of hope, which will assist in building self-esteem and, in turn, motivate less fortunate children to grow into responsible, productive, patriotic citizens and community leaders.
A shiny new toy is the best means of accomplishing this goal.

A touching story . . .

This one was worth sending.......brings tears to your eyes.

A hunter and his friend were sitting in a tall tower stand near Highway 6 early one cold December morning. Suddenly, a huge buck walked out over the corn they had spread in the low shrubs. The buck was magnificent, a once in a lifetime animal. His rack was huge. The hunter's hand shook as his mind was already counting the Boone and Crockett points. Moving quickly, the hunter carefully aimed the Leopold scope on his .300 Win Mag at the unsuspecting buck. As he was about to squeeze the trigger on this deer of a lifetime, his friend alerted him to a funeral procession passing slowly down Highway 6. The hunter pulled away from the gunstock, set the rifle down, took off his hat, bowed his head and then closed his eyes in prayer.

His friend was stunned, "Wow, that is the most thoughtful and touching thing I have ever seen you do. You actually let that trophy deer go to pay respects to a passing funeral procession. You are indeed the kindest man I have ever known, and I feel lucky to call you a friend."

The hunter shrugged. "Yeah, well, we were married for 37 years."

Lyle has his ears back!

Went back to the VA yesterday, following their morning phone call telling me my hearing aids had come back from the factory and ready for pickup.

To the great joy of Ms. Madison, I now have my ears back and she can once again turn the tv volume down to reasonable limits. For the last three weeks she says she could hear the tv from the driveway when she’d return home. (And, yes, I now put those hearing aids into a puppy proof container by my bedside).

Just learned that tonight’s Nebraska/Texas A&M game is not on tv, at least here on the Left Coast; not on the computer channels either. There is a Husker Gathering at the Q Restaurant and Grill in Carlsbad . . . a joint meeting with Husker and Aggie fans. Sounds like fun but I probably won’t go. Game time here is 7pm I think and I don’t drive in the dark. May have to just listen to it on the Husker network on my computer. Can’t imagine why ABC wouldn’t televise the game nationwide instead of regionally. Two top rated teams? Should be a real barn burner . . . as some great sportscaster once said.

Cold and rainy in San Diego County. Good day for a nap.

As those of you know who read my earlier screed about my nightmare . . . I was up for half the night . . . so it is, officially, now naptime.


It's Magic!

Richard Wiseman does books and videos that test your powers of observation and perception. Most of them remind you that what you see may not be so. Here's a video that may have you guessing until he shows you how it's done...

What to buy . . . and not buy . . . at Costco

Fascinating article:

The Nightmare . . .

We have a small incline of a road in front of our home that leads up to a fairly large cul de sac.

Lately, I’ve been taking Trixie for her walk up this small hill, past the next door neighbor’s house; the one with an elderly couple living there. The guy is okay but his wife is a nut case. She doesn’t like Evelyn for some reason and has been harassing her for years; one time turning her hose on new telephone books that had been left on the ground next to our mailbox, intentionally wetting them down. Stunts like that. Evelyn was furious with her for that and other tricks. They don’t talk to each other. Neither likes one another and I don’t know what brought on the mutual enmity.

I’ve never met the gal but she doesn’t like me either. The other day, one of Evelyn’s friends attended a funeral of an older fella who had just died. At the post funeral gathering, this old biddy asked Evelyn’s friend if she knew Evelyn Madison. “Sure do,” she said. “Evelyn’s a good friend.”

“Well she’s no friend of mine,” the old biddy said, “they’re living together you know. And they’re not married.”

Evelyn’s friend responded . . . “Yes, well that’s all right. I’m sure they have separate bedrooms.”

Evelyn and I just chuckled, shook our heads, and went on with our lives.

Anyway, I walk Trixie up past the old biddy’s house, hang a left and there’s another house on the left; don’t know who they are, never met them. Just west of their house is a huge vacant field where Trixie loves to go exploring and, we hope, does her business. After our visit to the vacant field we return and there are about three or four houses on the left side of the street, most of them well covered with foliage and masked by trees. Evelyn knows some of the folks there, I don’t.

On this day, however, we were approaching the vacant field when I saw an infant . . . I suppose about a year old. Old enough to walk, though unsteadily; still in diapers, and wearing some nondescript tee shirt. The child seemed fairly comfortable but there was no adult in sight.

As I approached the child I said something like . . . “Hello there, sweetheart. Where’s your mommy and daddy?” I got a pleasant smile in return but no answer.

At this point, Trixie, a rather jealous puppy, began to bark at the child and it startled the youngster. She began to pout, then the face wrinkled up and the child began to cry. I looked sternly at Trixie and in my best command voice I said . . . “Trixie, NO! NO BARK!” Bad decision on my part. My booming voice startled Trixie and she ran away, tugging on the retractable leash I held in my left hand. It also startled the child and it began to cry even louder.

Quickly, I changed my voice to a nice, calm, soothing voice and leaned down to pick the child up and comfort it. Trixie now made a mad lunge away and, in so doing, yanked the retrievable leash out of my hand. The leash, being spring loaded and retrievable, began to wind up the 16’ cord and bounced along after Trixie . . . frightening Trixie even more. She would run faster and this crazy blue retrievable leash would constantly keep chasing her, bouncing along the pavement, making a racket. It was funny the first time it happened, in a hallway at home, with the leash “chasing” Trixie all the way into the kitchen. Wasn’t funny now, with her running away, outside, frightened, and nothing to keep her from running in front of the cars that often pass by our home.

And now I had a crying infant on my hands to boot.

I held the child and talked to it, trying to calm it down. Its diapers were wet and I could smell the urine. The dampness of the diaper also began to soak into my polo shirt. “Let’s find mommy and daddy, ok? Is this your home?” pointing to the house in front of us. “Mama? Daddy?” No response from the child other than she had settled down a bit and was now more whimpering than crying. I walked to the front door and knocked. No answer. I waited a few minutes and decided to try the house across the street. A square, box-like house, clean, well formed, orange in color, looked just like a home out of New Mexico. I started to walk across the street to that house to see if that’s where the parents were when a police car pulled into the cul de sac.

I waved at them and the patrol car came to a stop. Two officers got out.

“Boy, am I glad to see you,” I said.

“Just stand right there, sir. Don’t move.”

They had their guns drawn.

What was going on?

“What’s the deal?” I said. “I have this baby and I . . .”

“Put the baby down on the ground, NOW!” barked the officer.

“What is this? Why do you have your guns drawn? There’s no problem here.”

Out of nowhere a third officer reached in, grabbed the child out of my arms. I turned to see who the officer was and why she had grabbed the child . . .

“Get on the ground, NOW!” the officer commanded.

“But, wait . . . wait a minute. Listen, there’s a huge mistake going on. Get a hold of Lt. Craig Carter or Chris Wynn . . . or Chief Maher. They all know me. They’ll tell you . . .

“I said get on the ground, NOW . . . or we’ll put you down . . .!”

Before I had a chance to do anything one of the officers grabbed me, slammed me into the asphalt. A searing pain hit my left hip that had only recently begun to recover from a painful bout of sciatica. My right shoulder had a similar pain . . . the shoulder that is frozen due to arthritis. The right side of my face was slammed into the asphalt and now I had one of the officers knees on my head, pressing my face further into the pavement . . . and the few pebbles between my face and the asphalt began to feel like boulders.

The officers grabbed my left hand and twisted it behind my back . . . “Watch my right arm,” I shouted, “I have a frozen shoulder. It’s arthritic!” They didn’t care . . . they twisted my right arm into my back and threw on a set of handcuffs. Pain coursed through my body like red hot pokers.

“All right, stand up,” one of the officers commanded. The other officer brought me to my knees and helped me into an upright position.

I spit the dirt and pebbles out of mouth and sputtered . . . “I don’t know what’s gotten into you! Why are you doing this? Call Craig Carter or Chris Wynn . . . or Jim Maher . . . they’ll tell you you’ve made a horrible mistake.”

Just then another patrol car pulled into the cul de sac and out stepped Lt. Craig Carter.

Thank God!

“Craig! Gawdalmighty, am I glad to see you. Will you tell these officers who I am and have them get these cuffs off me?”

I saw that Craig had his ‘game face’ on. Something didn’t feel right.

“What’s going on, Lyle?”

“I have no damned idea, Craig. I was walking my dog . . .”

“What dog is that, Lyle?”

“Trixie . . . she’s run away. She pulled the leash out of my hand and ran away because I startled her. She barked at the baby . . .”

“How big of a dog is it, Lyle?”

“Oh, it’s just a pup, maybe 15 lbs at most.”

"And you weigh how much?”

“Probably about 225 lbs. Why?"

“You’re 225 lbs, the pup is 15 lbs and you couldn’t control the pup, on a leash?”

“Well . . . yeah. I didn’t have a tight hold on the leash and was concerned about the baby . .”

“What is this baby to you?”

“I have no idea who the baby is or who it belongs to. It was just out here walking around, and I, . . . . ”

“Do we know who the parents of this baby are?” asked Craig of another officer.

“Yes sir, they’re over there in that house behind the trees. They’re the ones who called in the missing persons report. . . “

“See, Craig? I told you . . . now will you have them take these damned cuffs off? I just want to go home, track down my dog . . . and besides, I have to pee.”

“Afraid not, Lyle. We’ll have to take you downtown for questioning. Just routine but where children are involved . . .”

“Craig! C’mon! This is ridiculouse . . .

My bladder, which had been making mild suggestions that it needed to be relieved now became quite insistent . . . .

“Craig, I need to go home. We’re only 30 yards away. Evelyn’s there. She can help straighten this all out . . . I can hit the bathroom and we’ll sit down and have a cup of tea and . .”

I glanced over at the house to the right of us . . . and there she was. The old biddy, looking out her window, cackling like an old hen . . . delighted that I had gotten my comeuppance . . . ‘that’ll teach that nasty old Evelyn Madison,” I could imagine her saying.

Now my bladder was bellowing for attention.

And, then, finally, it was over.

I awakened . . . drenched in sweat, bladder bursting . . . but terribly, terribly relieved.

I had been dreaming. It was all a horrible nightmare.

In spite of my great relief at knowing this was all a nightmare . . . my bladder continued to demand my attention. I got out of bed, walked to the most welcome rest room, put my bladder to rest and came back to bed, not believing how realistic the dream was . . . and amazed at how much I had sweated through this ordeal.

I remembered stories of people being in the wrong place and the wrong time and the wrong set of circumstances . . . and having been accused of crimes . . . and of having been convicted! Later, they were (perhaps) exonerated and released from jail/prison . . . but in the meantime, their lives, their reputations that they had worked so hard to build . . . had been totally ruined.

Imagining what would happen to me had a scenario as described above really happened made me fret all the more. I’ve been in this community for forty years, am well known, and mostly well liked and respected . . . though I’m sure I have an enemy or two. I know a goodly number of senior officers within the local police department . . . even coached a couple of them in Little League and Youth Soccer. (That’s when you know you’re getting old . . . when Lieutenants and Captains on the police department are “kids” you used to coach; or who went to school with your kids).

It was just too frightful to imagine. All those years of building a reputation as an outstanding citizen, founder of several major organizations, editor of the local weekly newspaper . . . gone. In an instant!

I could not get back to sleep. I looked at the clock and it was 3:15am. That was an hour ago. Couldn’t get back to sleep so decided to get up and document this horrible nightmare while the details were fresh in my now beleaguered mind.

I usually sleep well. I usually have wonderful, sometimes marvelous dreams. I seldom have nightmares. Tonight, I did. And I have no idea why.

I don’t want anymore like this one.

I think, from now on, I’ll ask Evelyn to walk that doggone pup!

Semper Fi Society Sppech by Lt. General Kelly

Please read this exceptional speech. Keep in mind, General Kelly lost his son (combat KIA) only days before giving this speech.


Nine years ago two of the four commercial aircraft took off from Boston, Newark, and Washington. Took off fully loaded with men, women and children—all innocent, and all soon to die. These aircraft were targeted at the World Trade Towers in New York, the Pentagon, and likely the Capitol in Washington, D.C.. Three found their mark. No American alive old enough to remember will ever forget exactly where they were, exactly what they were doing, and exactly who they were with at the moment they watched the aircraft dive into the World Trade Towers on what was, until then, a beautiful morning in New York City. Within the hour 3,000 blameless human beings would be vaporized, incinerated, or crushed in the most agonizing ways imaginable. The most wretched among them—over 200—driven mad by heat, hopelessness, and utter desperation leapt to their deaths from 1,000 feet above Lower Manhattan. We soon learned hundreds more were murdered at the Pentagon, and in a Pennsylvania farmer’s field.
Once the buildings had collapsed and the immensity of the attack began to register most of us had no idea of what to do, or where to turn. As a nation, we were scared like we had not been scared for generations. Parents hugged their children to gain as much as to give comfort. Strangers embraced in the streets stunned and crying on one another’s shoulders seeking solace, as much as to give it. Instantaneously, American patriotism soared not “as the last refuge” as our national-cynical class would say, but in the darkest times Americans seek refuge in family, and in country, remembering that strong men and women have always stepped forward to protect the nation when the need was dire—and it was so God awful dire that day—and remains so today.
There was, however, a small segment of America that made very different choices that day…actions the rest of America stood in awe of on 9/11 and every day since. The first were our firefighters and police, their ranks decimated that day as they ran towards—not away from—danger and certain death. They were doing what they’d sworn to do—“protect and serve”—and went to their graves having fulfilled their sacred oath. Then there was you Armed Forces, and I know I am a little biased in my opinion here, but the best of them are Marines. Most wearing the Eagle, Globe and Anchor today joined the unbroken ranks of American heroes after that fateful day not for money, or promises of bonuses or travel to exotic liberty ports, but for one reason and one reason alone; because of the terrible assault on our way of life by men they knew must be killed and extremist ideology that must be destroyed. A plastic flag in their car window was not their response to the murderous assault on our country. No, their response was a commitment to protect the nation swearing an oath to their God to do so, to their deaths. When future generations ask why America is still free and the heyday of Al Qaeda and their terrorist allies was counted in days rather than in centuries as the extremists themselves predicted, our hometown heroes—soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines—can say, “because of me and people like me who risked all to protect millions who will never know my name.”
As we sit here right now, we should not lose sight of the fact that America is at risk in a way it has never been before. Our enemy fights for an ideology based on an irrational hatred of who we are. Make no mistake about that no matter what certain elements of the “chattering class” relentlessly churn out. We did not start this fight, and it will not end until the extremists understand that we as a people will never lose our faith or our courage. If they persist, these terrorists and extremists and the nations that provide them sanctuary, they must know they will continue to be tracked down and captured or killed. America’s civilian and military protectors both here at home and overseas have for nearly nine years fought this enemy to a standstill and have never for a second “wondered why.” They know, and are not afraid. Their struggle is your struggle. They hold in disdain those who claim to support them but not the cause that takes their innocence, their limbs, and even their lives. As a democracy—“We the People”—and that by definition is every one of us—sent them away from home and hearth to fight our enemies. We are all responsible. I know it doesn’t apply to those of us here tonight but if anyone thinks you can somehow thank them for their service, and not support the cause for which they fight—America’s survival—then they are lying to themselves and rationalizing away something in their lives, but, more importantly, they are slighting our warriors and mocking their commitment to the nation.
Since this generation’s “day of infamy” the American military has handed our ruthless enemy defeat-after-defeat but it will go on for years, if not decades, before this curse has been eradicated. We have done this by unceasing pursuit day and night into whatever miserable lair Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and their allies, might slither into to lay in wait for future opportunities to strike a blow at freedom. America’s warriors have never lost faith in their mission, or doubted the correctness of their cause. They face dangers everyday that their countrymen safe and comfortable this night cannot imagine. But this has always been the case in all the wars our military have been sent to fight. Not to build empires, or enslave peoples, but to free those held in the grip of tyrants while at the same time protecting our nation, its citizens, and our shared values. And, ladies and gentlemen, think about this, the only territory we as a people have ever asked for from any nation we have fought alongside, or against, since our founding, the entire extent of our overseas empire, as a few hundred acres of land for the 24 American cemeteries scattered around the globe. It is in these cemeteries where 220,000 of our sons and daughters rest in glory for eternity, or are memorialized forever because their earthly remains are lost forever in the deepest depths of the oceans, or never recovered from far flung and nameless battlefields. As a people, we can be proud because billions across the planet today live free, and billions yet unborn will also enjoy the same freedom and a chance at prosperity because America sent its sons and daughters out to fight and die for them, as much as for us.
Yes, we are at war, and are winning, but you wouldn’t know it because successes go unreported, and only when something does go sufficiently or is sufficiently controversial, it is highlighted by the media elite that then sets up the “know it all” chattering class to offer their endless criticism. These self-proclaimed experts always seem to know better---but have never themselves been in the arena. We are at war and like it or not, that is a fact. It is not Bush’s war, and it is not Obama’s war, it is our war and we can’t run away from it. Even if we wanted to surrender, there is no one to surrender to. Our enemy is savage, offers absolutely no quarter, and has a single focus and that is either kill every one of us here at home, or enslave us with a sick form of extremism that serves no God or purpose that decent men and women could ever grasp. St Louis is as much at risk as is New York and Washington, D.C.. Given the opportunity to do another 9/11, our merciless enemy would do it today, tomorrow, and every day thereafter. If, and most in the know predict that it is only a matter of time, he acquires nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons, these extremists will use these weapons of mass murder against us without a moment’s hesitation. These butchers we fight killed more than 3,000 innocents on 9/11. As horrible as that death toll was, consider for a moment that the monsters that organized those strikes against New York and Washington, D.C. killed only 3,000 not because that was enough to make their sick and demented point, but because he couldn’t figure out how to kill 30,000, or 300,000, or 30 million of us that terrible day. I don’t know why they hate us, and I don’t care. We have a saying in the Marine Corps and that is “no better friend, no worse enemy, than a U.S. Marine.” We always hope for the first, friendship, but are certainly more than ready for the second. If its death they want, its death they will get, and the Marines will continue showing them the way to hell if that’s what will make them happy.
Because our America hasn’t been successfully attacked since 9/11 many forget because we want to forget…to move on. As Americans we all dream and hope for peace, but we must be realistic and acknowledge that hope is never an option or course of action when the stakes are so high. Others are less realistic or less committed, or are working their own agendas, and look for way sot blame past presidents or in some other way to rationalize a way out of this war. The problem is our enemy is not willing to let us go. Regardless of how much we wish this nightmare would go away, our enemy will stay forever on the offensive until he hurts us so badly we surrender, or we kill him first. To him, this is not about our friendship with Israel, or about territory, resources, jobs, or economic opportunity in the Middle East. No, it is about us as a people. About our freedom to worship any God we please in any way we want. It is about the worth of every man, and the worth of every woman, and their equality in the eyes of God and the law; of how we live our lives with our families, inside the privacy of our own homes. It’s about the God-given rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable right.” As Americans we hold these truths to be self-evident. He doesn’t. We love what we have; he despises who we are. Our positions can never be reconciled. He cannot be deterred…only defeated. Compromise is out of the question.
It is a fact that our country today is in a life and death struggle against an evil enemy, but America as a whole is certainly not at war. Not as a country. Not as a people. Today, only a tiny fraction—less than a percent—shoulder the burden of fear and sacrifice, and they shoulder it for the rest of us. Their sons and daughters who serve are men and women of character who continue to believe in this country enough to put life and limb on the line without qualification, and without thought of personal gain, and they serve so that the sons and daughters of the other 99% don’t have to. No big deal, though, as Marines have always been “the first to fight” paying in full the bill that comes with being free…for everyone else.
The comforting news for every American is that our men and women in uniform, and every Marine, is as good today as any in our history. As good as what their heroic, under-appreciated, and largely abandoned fathers and uncles were in Vietnam, and their grandfathers were in Korea and World War II. They have the same steel in their backs and have made their own mark etching forever places like Ramadi, Fallujah, and Baghdad, Iraq, and Helmand and Sagin, Afghanistan that are now part of the legend and stand just as proudly alongside Belleau Wood, Iwo Jima, Inchon, Hue City, Khe Sanh, and Ashau Velley, Vietnam. None of them have every asked what their country could do for them, but always and with their lives asked what they could do for America. While some might think we have produced yet another generation of materialistic, consumeristic and self-absorbed young people, those who serve today have broken the mold and stepped out as real men, and real women, who are already making their own way in life while protecting ours. They know the real strength of a platoon, a battalion, or a country that is not worshiping at the altar of diversity, but in a melting point that stitches and strengthens by a sense of shared history, values, customs, hopes and dreams all of which unifies a people making them stronger, as opposed to an unruly gaggle of “hyphenated” or “multi-cultural individuals.”
And what are they like in combat in this war? Like Marines have been throughout our history. In my three tours in combat as an infantry officer and commanding general, I never saw one of them hesitate, or do anything other than lean into the fire and with no apparent fear of death or injury take the fight to our enemies. As anyone who has ever experienced combat knows, when it starts, when the explosions and tracers are everywhere and the calls for the Corpsman are screamed from the throats of men who know they are dying—when seconds seem like hours and it all becomes slow motion and fast forward at the same time—and the only rational act is to stop, get down, save yourself—they don’t. When no one would call them coward for cowering behind a wall or in a hole, slave to the most basic of all human instincts—survival—none of them do. It doesn’t matter if it’s an IED, a suicide bomber, mortar attack, sniper, fighting in the upstairs room of a house, or all of it at once; they talk, swagger, and, most importantly, fight today in the same way America’s Marines have since the Tun Tavern. They also know whose shoulders they stand on, and they will never shame any Marine living or dead.
We can also take comfort in the fact that these young Americans are not born killers, but are good and decent young men and women who for going on ten years have performed remarkable acts of bravery and selflessness to a cause they have decided is bigger and more important than themselves. Only a few months ago they were delivering your paper, stocking shelves in the local grocery store, worshiping in church on Sunday, or playing hockey on local ice. Like my own two sons who are Marines and have fought in Iraq, and today in Sagin, Afghanistan, they are also the same kids that drove their cars too fast for your liking, and played the God-awful music of their generation too loud, but have no doubt they are the finest of their generation. Like those who went before them in uniform, we owe them everything. We owe them our safety. We owe them our prosperity. We owe them our freedom. We owe them our lives. Any one of them could have done something more self-serving with their lives as the vast majority of their age group elected to do after high school and college, but no, they chose to serve knowing full well a brutal war was in their future. They did not avoid the basic and cherished responsibility of a citizen—the defense of country—they welcomed it. They are the very best this country produces, and have put every one of us ahead of themselves. All are heroes for simply stepping forward, and we as a people owe a debt we can never fully pay. Their legacy will be of selfless valor, the country we live in, the way we live our lives, and the freedoms the rest of their countrymen take for granted.
Over 5,000 have died thus far in this war; 8,000 if you include the innocents murdered on 9/11. They are overwhelmingly working class kids, the children of cops and firefighters, city and factory workers, school teachers and small business owners. With some exceptions they are from families short on stock portfolios and futures, but long on love of country and service to the nation. Just yesterday, too many were lost and a knock on the door late last night brought their families to their knees in a grief that will never-ever go away. Thousands more have suffered wounds since it all started, but like anyone who loses life or limb while serving others—including our firefighters and law enforcement personnel who on 9/11 were the first casualties of this war—they are not victims as they knew what they were about, and were doing what they wanted to do. The chattering class and all those who doubt America’s intentions, and resolve, endeavor to make them and their families out to be victims, but they are wrong. We who have served and are serving refuse their sympathy. Those of us who have lived in the dirt, sweat and struggle of the arena are not victims and will have none of that. Those with less of a sense of service to the nation never understand it when men and women of character step forward to look danger and adversity straight in the eye, refusing to blink, or give ground, even to their own deaths. The protected can’t begin to understand the price paid so they and their families can sleep safe and free at night. No, they are not victims, but are warriors, your warriors, and warriors are never victims regardless of how and where they fall. Death, or fear of death, has no power over them. Their paths are paved by sacrifice, sacrifices they gladly make…for you. They prove themselves everyday on the field of battle…for you. They fight in every corner of the globe…for you. They live to fight…for you, and they never rest because there is always another battle to be won in the defense of America.
I will leave you with a story about the kind of people they are…about the quality of the steel in their backs…about the kind of dedication they bring to our country while they serve in uniform and forever after as veterans. Two years ago when I was the Commander of all U.S. and Iraqi forces, in fact, the 22nd of April 2008, two Marine infantry battalions, 1/9 “The Walking Dead,” and 2/8 were switching out in Ramadi. One battalion in the closing days of their deployment going home very soon, the other just starting its seven-month combat tour. Two Marines, Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter, 22 and 20 years old respectively, one from each battalion, were assuming the watch together at the entrance gate of an outpost that contained a makeshift barracks housing 50 Marines. The same broken down ramshackle building was also home to 100 Iraqi police, also my men and our allies in the fight against the terrorists in Ramadi, a city until recently the most dangerous city on earth and owned by Al Qaeda. Yale was a dirt poor mixed-race kid from Virginia with a wife and daughter, and a mother and sister who lived with him and he supported as well. He did this on a yearly salary of less than $23,000. Haerter, on the other hand, was a middle class white kid from Long Islaned. They were from two completely different worlds. Had they not joined the Marines they would never have met each other, or understood that multiple America’s exist simultaneously depending on one’s race, education level, economic status, and where you might have been born. But they were Marines, combat Marines, forged in the same crucible of Marine training, and because of this bond they were brothers as close, or closer, than if they were born of the same woman.
The mission orders they received from the sergeant squad leader I am sure went something likfe: “Okay you two clowns, stand this post and let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.” “You clear?” I am also sure Yale and Haerter then rolled their eyes and said in unison something like: “Yes Sergeant,” with just enough attitude that made the point without saying the words, “No kidding sweetheart, we know what we’re doing.” They then relieved two other Marines on watch and took up their post at the entry control point of Joint Security Station Nasser, in the Sophia section of Ramadi, al Anbar, Iraq.
A few minutes later a large blue truck turned down the alley way—perhaps 60-70 yards in length—and sped its way through the serpentine of concrete jersey walls. The truck stopped just short of where the two were posted and detonated, killing them both catastrophically. Twenty-four brick masonry houses were damaged or destroyed. A mosque 100 yards away collapsed. The truck’s engine came to rest two hundred yards away knocking most of a house down before it stopped. Our explosive experts reckoned the blast was made of 2,000 pounds of explosives. Two died, and because these two young infantrymen didn’t have it in their DNA to run from danger, they saved 150 of their Iraqi and American brothers-in-arms.
When I read the situation report about the incident a few hours after it happened I called the regimental commander for details as something about this struck me as different. Marines dying or being seriously wounded is commonplace in combat. We expect Marines regardless of rank or MOS to stand their ground and do their duty, and even die in the process, if that is what the mission takes. But this just seemed different. The regimental commander had just returned from the site and he agreed, but reported that there were no American witnesses to the event—just Iraqi police. I figured if there was any chance of finding out what actually happened and then to decorate the two Marines to acknowledge their bravery, I’d have to do it as a combat award that requires two eye-witnesses and we figured the bureaucrats back in Washington would never buy Iraqi statements. If it had any chance at all, it had to come under the signature of a general officer.
I traveled to Ramadi the next day and spoke individually to a half-dozen Iraqi police all of whom told the same story. The blue truck turned down into the alley and immediately sped up as it made its way through the serpentine. They all said, “We knew immediately what was going on as soon as the two Marines began firing.” The Iraqi police then related that some of them also fired, and then to a man, ran for safety just prior to the explosion. All survived. Many were injured…some seriously. One of the Iraqis elaborated and with tears welling up said, “They’d run like any normal man would to save his life.” “What he didn’t know until then,” he said, “and what he learned that very instant, was that Marines are not normal.” Choking past the emotion he said, “Sir, in the name of God no sane man would have stood there and done what they did.” “No sane man.” “They saved us all.”
What we didn’t know at the time, and only learned a couple of days later after I wrote a summary and submitted both Yale and Haerter for posthumous Navy Crosses, was that one of our security cameras, damaged initially in the blast, recorded some of the suicide attack. It happened exactly as the Iraqis had described it. It took exactly six seconds from when the truck entered the alley until it detonated.
You can watch the last six seconds of their young lives. Putting myself in their heads I supposed it took about a second for the two Marines to separately come to the same conclusion about what was going on once the truck came into their view at the far end of the alley. Exactly no time to talk it over, or call the sergeant to ask what they should do. Only enough time to take half an instant and think about what the sergeant told them to do only a few minutes before: “…let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.” The two Marines had about five seconds left to live.
It took maybe another two seconds for them to present their weapons, take aim, and open up. By this time the truck was half-way through the barriers and gaining speed the whole time. Here, the recording shows a number of Iraqi police, some of whom had fired their AKs, now scattering like the normal and rational men they were—some running right past the Marines. They had three seconds left to live.
For about two seconds more, the recording shows the Marines’ weapons firing non-stop…the truck’s windshield exploding into shards of glass as their rounds take it apart and tore in to the body of the son-of-a-bitch who is trying to get past them to kill their brothers—American and Iraqi—bedded down in the barracks totally unaware of the fact that their lives at that moment depended entirely on two Marines standing their ground. If they had been aware, they would have know they were safe…because two Marines stood between them and a crazed suicide bomber. The recording shows the truck careening to a stop immediately in front of the two Marines. In all of the instantaneous violence Yale and Haerter never hesitated. By all reports and by the recording, they never stepped back. They never even started to step aside. They never even shifted their weight. With their feet spread should width apart, they leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could work their weapons. They had only one second left to live.
The truck explodes. The camera goes blank. Two young men go to their God. Six seconds. Not enough time to think about their families, their country, their flag, or about their lives or their deaths, but more than enough time for two very brave young men to do their duty…into eternity. That is the kind of people who are on watch all over the world tonight—for you.
We Marines believe that God gave America the greatest gift he could bestow to man while he lived on this earth—freedom. We also believe he gave us another gift nearly as precious—our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines—to safeguard that gift and guarantee no force on this earth can every steal it away. It has been my distinct honor to have been with you here today. Rest assured our America, this experiment in democracy started over two centuries ago, will forever remain the “land of the free and home of the brave” so long as we never run out of tough young Americans who are willing to look beyond their own self-interest and comfortable lives, and go into the darkest and most dangerous places on earth to hunt down, and kill, those who would do us harm. God Bless America, and….SEMPER FIDELIS!