Saturday, March 22, 2008

Where were you?

When I woke up this morning, my mind was wandering again, and took me back forty years.

This was the month I reported to Third Marine Division, Republic of South Vietnam, in Danang. As we deplaned, there was a line of Marines waiting to get on the "Freedom Flight". Over, and over, I heard someone say as I walked by, "Welcome to the land that God forgot, BNG". Then someone made that comment, "I'm going home, but you won't be rotating until they have finished the bridge between Danang and California."

To a boy from Colorado, the heat and humidity were unbelievable, fortunately we had received our gamma globulin shot in Okinawa before we left and our blood was sufficiently thinned to help us accomodate, or acclimate.

I remember, shortly after stowing my gear, I was walking around checking out the area when I heard some funny sounds that sounded really strange to me. When I asked someone what the noise was, he yelled, "That's incoming, stupid! get into a bunker.

Well, being brand new, I had no idea where the bunkers were located. I did find one, and when I stepped in someone said, we are full, you need to find another bunker. As i ran to another bunker, I could hear rounds impacting near, and as i ran head first into the bunker, I learned my first good lesson; some bunkers have upright poles in the middle of the entrance.

I suppose I looked pretty funny bouncing off the pole, but then, I suppose there were those in the bunker, who had done the same thing at some point.

Fortunately, I only had to spend one or two nights at Danang, and then was put on a transport plane that stopped in Phu Bai, and then delivered some of us to Dong Ha. From there transportation was available that brought me to Cua Viet.

Unfortunately, I had not been forwarned to bring along a swimming suit, nor a beach blanket. Cua Viet was right on the beach. It cornered between the Dong Ha river and the Gulf of Tonkin. Well, at least I was home, and beginning the course of training that would assist me in making it through thirteen months.

So, forty years ago, I was living in a place far from home, and learning to cope in a new way. Where were you?

Global warming follow up

Well, it is Saturday morning; the day before Easter, and it is snowing...

I am trying with extreme difficulty, and prejudice, to understand how global warming is creating all the cold weather and snow.

The Canadian Clipper's are still just as cold as I remember them, and snow is still cold and wet.

I understand the ice at the poles is melting, but, how can that be when the weather coming down from the north is so cold? Shouldn't we be getting warm winds instead of cold?

Seems to my military mind that today is filled with cognitive dissonance [I really like that term] from the people who are supposed to keep us up to date on events and activities.

Thirty or forty years ago, I might have attributed this cognitive dissonance to the items being eaten or smoked; but what is happening today? I kinda wonder if the Weather Channel has taken the place of test patterns on the TV.

Ooops, that brings up another thought, there really is a lot of junk on the television today that could be a replacement for the test pattern. In order to watch TV anymore, seems like a person needs to be blitzed...

May God have mercy on our souls.


Mamacita at comes through with another reminiscence of the good old days...

Thanks Mamacita for keeping my mind stretching.

I do recall, that I didn't go to the movies every Saturday, there were occasions when I would go to the roller rink and spend the day long as they didn't call couples only or ladies only.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Never Failing Promise

my heart cried out, "i'm all alone,"
and my neighbors all agreed;
the skies were brass, as hard as stone,
i found no answer for my need.

my body wasted,
my heart was pained;
i longed for the peace i once had tasted
and sought for the grace i once had gained.

my heart cried out both night and day
"my God, my God, where are you please?"
my strength has left me along the way,
and brought me to my knees.

then, like mighty thunder, in the blue,
i heard the voice of God so grand,
"I have not forgotten you,
you are engraved on the palms of My hands."

When Mamacita ain't happy no body b happy

Mamacita at is hot this morning with her thoughts about the shallowness of people... you go girl!

Love it when you talk like that.


Kim du Toit at has a good piece about the "compromise" position on guns.

Like so many other things liberals want, the rest of us are asked to compromise; which is spelled, "bend over and grab your ankles".

I stand with Kim, when you are willing to give a little, I might consider giving a little also...
Drudge Report links to,2933,339589,00.html regarding a call by Michigan congressman Dingell, Democrat to increase gasoline taxes by fifty cents.

When will it all end?

Newspaper poll

The Yankton Press & Dakotan is running a poll asking the question: "Which political party do you think can better handle the economy?"

In all honesty, I believe the Republican party is better equipped to handle the economy...however, in the past ten years or so it appears the Republican party is no longer concerned about the economy.

Perhaps, our elected members of the Republican party have finally realized what the Democrats have known for eons...want to keep your office, fight for money to be given to your state.

Every new tax, is a bane to the economy. And apparently the Republican elected officials are right there ready to enact new taxes; and support giving mediocre tax rebates to make us think they are concerned about the economy and the citezenry.

How sad to find the small government Republican leaders are more interested in big government.

To my military mind, corruption in government is not a result of the lobbyists, per se, as much as it is the desire of elected officials to demand more money from the people they are supposed to be governing for.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bravo Zulu to the Marine Corps

Perhaps I am a little prejudiced, but I did spend sixteen years in the Marine Corps, and have a pretty good idea what Laura is talking about. This article was found at which is a really good newsletter for anyone to read,

Dear Marines,

I worked nights as a waitress, paying my way through college, in Honolulu during the early 80s. Between work and school, I didn't have much time to meet other people, and my family was thousands of miles away. Several Marines frequented the bar, and one GySgt. of a Marine sniper platoon, Larry Hatfield, sensed my shyness and invited me to participate in a lot of Marine recreational events. We became close friends, but I could never understand how a person could look through a scope and willingly kill another human being. As a Quaker, the very concept of a sniper troubled me. I was raised that killing is always wrong - period. I often told him, and the other guys in the sniper platoon, my opinion on this. They usually remained silent on the subject.

As time went by, I lost contact with the Marines I knew from that sniper platoon, but I was privileged, later on, to be invited to produce tours as a volunteer (USO/AFE) for Marines on various bases overseas. Those of you who have met USO/AFE entertainers know that we are nowhere near the combat zones, and are in fact well-insulated from the horrors of war. We have fun entertaining you; we love eating with you at the mess halls or sitting out in the dirt and hearing your crazy jokes; we do our handshake tours of hospitals and PR tents and feel good and then are lucky enough to go home while you stay behind.

But Iraq was different. For the first time I found myself weeping at night after I came back from doing handshake tours. I couldn't adopt the USO maxim of looking the Marines in the eyes and shaking hands on the hospital tours, because there were teenage Marines with no hands and no eyes. A bomb at a well while I was there on my last tour left 200 women and children dead or injured at the hands of their own countrymen. The image of a Marine, badly wounded, struggling to carry a small 3 yr old girl to safety is forever seared in my mind.

I wondered - a lot - about the kind of sacrifice that it takes for a person to volunteer in the Corps and experience this kind of tragedy on a regular basis.

Iraqi women refugees would tell me, through translators, about how the Kurdish women would throw their infants from trucks on their way to being executed by Saddam Hussein in the hope that strangers would raise the soon-to-be-orphaned children, and how often it was only the U.S. Marines and military units who would help them get medical care if they did survive the terrors inflicted upon them.

This is what I have learned about war and the Marines: that I have never seen a U.S. senator cry while telling me about holding a dying friend in his arms, and there's precious few senators who come home from work missing a leg or two.

That I have never heard a U.S. congressman tell me what it's like to pass out soccer balls and writing paper to children who have been denied an education since birth.

That I have never heard any politician or corporate leader describe to me, as one Marine did after a show, that she wanted a better life for her child back home but wanted better lives for the children of Iraq, too.

Marines are living - and sometimes dying - for democracy, not just talking about it for the CNN cameras. They do their jobs, and come home, quietly, to go back to farming in Iowa or driving trucks in Kentucky, and, for the most part, don't talk about it. And God knows we civilians don't get an accurate picture back home of what is going on.

I still think killing is wrong, but I have come to understand that sometimes it is necessary and that lack of intervention, especially in humanitarian missions in oppressed nations, is tantamount to pulling the trigger on innocent civilians who only want what we want: a safe home for their children and food on the table and the right to be who they are.

I'm not naive enough to think that most of our political leaders go to war for compassion (I think most of them want to protect corporate interests), but I do believe, from knowing the Marines I have been lucky enough to know, that Marines act from compassion, decency, and with hearts bigger than most people will ever experience.

I understand now that a sniper - or any Marine, in any job supporting the ideals of the Corps - does what he or she does because the Constitution of the United States is not some remote piece of paper; the idea of freedom is real to a Marine.

As one young lance corporal told me, as he guarded us during a show set-up in a particularly volatile area (after our show had been cancelled the day before because terrorists had blown up another 27 children nearby), "Don't worry - we got your back."

It shames me to think that I had to leave my country on these tours in order to understand what precious gifts I have as an American, that every day, somewhere in the world, a Marine is watching my back. I never considered that a sniper, or any Marine, may be asked to kill in order to save innocent lives but now I understand.

So to all of you Marines out there, please accept this heartfelt thanks for what you do. To the guys from the sniper platoon in Kaneohe - this is a late apology for questioning you, and a thank you for what you have taught me, but I hope some of you read this. In our American culture, we don't talk much about being noble, decent, loyal and honorable. I have yet to meet a Marine who did not possess all of those qualities. You are the big kids in high school who didn't let the bullies hurt the little kids. If you are reading this from Afghanistan or Iraq or Camp Lejeune; if you are reading this from a V.A. facility; if you are reading this from your home, know this: that what you do is important. When you are feeling weary and discouraged, remember that there are people in the world living in freedom because of you. Not only the refugees from war - but me, too.

Sincerely,Laura Minor

Signs of the times

The prophet Isaiah quotes: "For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:'In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength'" (30:15, NKJV).
What a statement to look at in this day when all around we are being called to heightened security, and awareness of troubles and problems that affect this old world.

We are told the ice is melting at the poles, and we will be inundated with sea water and we will all die.

We are told we must give up our food in order to provide fuel; but fortunately all the food we eat is bad for us, and is going to kill us.

We are told that there are too many humans walking on this terrestrial ball, and so we must terminate pregnancies to prevent over population.

We are told that the ozone is going to break open and the sun will cook us all and no life will be left unless we stop eating beef and driving our poluting vehicles.

Again, Isaiah calls us to return to the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: and why should we do that? That is where true rest and quietness may be found.

The things of this earth are all created just like us: and not a one shall see eternity...all are destined to be destroyed.

But, by returning to the Great Creator, we may find the peace and quietness that we have not been able to find in this life.

So what if this world is going to be destroyed...we have the Creator's promise that He desires for us to be with Him throughout eternity...that, to me, is security, and within that security is peace, and rest with quietness.

news link

Thanks to Drudge Report for this item:
Helping to keep em close.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Eating on the town

Cassy at has a post up about eating out, and awareness of servers.

I think she has laid out her case very well, and spoken well of both sides of the table in a restaurant...

I have no problem with her ideas, nor her rounded up tip suggestion.

I would only add that when a server walks by my table and sees my coffee, or tea, is empty, I appreciate it when they ask if I would like a refill. So often they walk by, and I never see them again until it is time for the bill or the desert tray. Yes, it is frustrating to get up in a restaurant and walk over to the servers area to get a cup of coffee. If I have to take care of that myself, then what do I need a server for?

Aside from that, I always tip my server, unless they have been nasty with me, and ignored me.

Thanks Cassy for the input.

Favorite female blogger

Time to go and provide info on your favorite woman blogger...

Do it now, because you know you want to...

Stimulating Stimulus

A few days ago, I received an email from Senator Thune, one of our congress people from the state of South Dakota:

"March 11, 2008

Sioux Falls, SD 57101

Dear :

Because you have previously contacted my office about immigration issues, I thought you might be interested in an update on recent developments in the U.S. Congress.

On February 6, 2008 the U.S. Senate passed an economic stimulus package (H.R. 5140) with important improvements to the bill that was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on January 31st. The economic stimulus bill, which was signed into law by the President on February 13, 2008, will put money back in the hands of families and consumers while at the same time providing tax relief to small businesses across South Dakota and the country.

Under the original House-passed version of the bill, some illegal immigrants would have been eligible to receive tax rebates. However, the Senate adopted an amendment, which I supported, that prevents illegal immigrants from receiving rebates. I was pleased to see that this dramatic and necessary improvement was included in the final version of the bill. Like many South Dakotans, I believe that we must strengthen our immigration policies to prevent undocumented aliens from crossing our borders and should not unjustly reward them with taxpayer dollars.

I hope you found this legislative update helpful. If you would like more information on my activities in the Senate, please feel free to visit my website,

Kindest regards,

United States Senator"

To begin with, I supported Mr. Thune in his run for the Senate. I have met him, and have had discussions with him on many subjects. I love him, as a brother in Christ.

I responded to his email with an email basically saying I did not approve of the stimulus package, because it did nothing to reduce taxes or congressional spending. To my military mind, it would be more of an economic stimulus to reduce taxes, leaving more money in my pocket over the year, than to give me a meager check in the middle of the year hoping it will cause a boom economically, before the end of the year.

I guess Rush was right, again, when he explained that something happens to people when they get elected to offices in Washington, DC. Something about the beltway, apparently seeps into their being and leads them away from the conservative bent they started out with.

I ended my email with the thought: I guess something Senator Daschle said to me once, is still clear in my mind, and seems to be appropriate here: "We will have to just agree to disagree."

Sunny South Dakota

I have spent lots of time in the sunny south. South Denver, South Vietnam, Mississippi, southern California; and now South Dakota.

As I look out the patio window, I can see the leftovers of our snow storm on Monday. And the weather report looks like more snow on Easter Sunday. I can't help but wonder if this is truly an after effect of glow bull warming. "Spring is sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the birdies is..." I see some of the trees have already started budding. I thought it was not nice to fool mother nature.

My thoughts switch to the passage found in the gospel of Matthew chapter 5: "For [God] makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust" (NKJV). In my military mind, I believe it is impossible for us to be able to affect the weather... we are created beings, and in my lifetime, I have not seen a creation affect the creator or the created. I am sure it can be said, well, we did create axes and saws, and they can have a profound effect on us... well, sure, but not by themselves.

In spite of our obsession with extraterrestrial life and mutated animals; I have yet to see any machine, of its own accord, get up and attack someone. I know the news people like to herald their articles with words like, "SUV attacks crowd on busy street" or "SUV drives into neighborhood swimming pool" or "handgun kills youth at russian roulette party".

Sixteen years in the Marine Corps, and I never once saw any type of firearm, get up and shoot somebody, without another person aiming and firing. Eight years of owning an SUV, and not once has my SUV ever pulled out of where I parked it; nor has it gone somewhere, while I am driving it, other than where I steered it.

So, where is this thought going?

We control the things we have created; they can do nothing without our involvement. In the same way, we have been created, and we can do nothing without the involvement of the Creator. We can try to do good things for others, but if God is not involved in what we do, and our reason(s) for doing them, quite often they can become problems rather than benefits.

As I sit here and look at the leftover snow, and contemplate the probable additonal snow coming this weekend, I am grateful that God knows where I am, and in spite of the nasty weather, He keeps my heart warm. And I know that He is willing to do that with anyone who desires to trust Him.