Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. That Type of Guy

 

The only thing wrong with masculinity is its absence.

This is not a popular position, but it’s true even if the cultural surrender class would have us believe otherwise. Oppose them, because they’re dangerous. Men by nature are as God designed them: Capable of frightening strength, coupled with a capacity for tenderness. The perversion of either asset creates something foul — a monster on one hand, the paralysis of inaction on the other. Nobody needs that type of guy.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Why Study War?

 

An astute observation by Victor Davis Hansen, supported by an excellent quote from J. S. Mill:

Western societies have often proved reluctant to use force to prevent greater future violence. “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things,” observed the British philosopher John Stuart Mill. “The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse.” [Read more here.]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Congrats to Gary Woodland

 

This is Gary Woodland, this year’s US Open champion together with Special Olympian, Amy Bockerstette from earlier this year. Congrats on your win, Gary. You’re a champion in more than just golf!

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Life and Death: A Balancing Act

 

Death, or the specter of death, has been weighing on my life lately. It feels like a weight that I am able to carry, but one that is sometimes oppressive.

I first noticed it around D-Day. Normally I try to take these events in stride. After all, life and death are inextricable partners, no matter how difficult they may seem. But the thought of soldiers dying in huge numbers, and their leaders knowing that they would likely be sacrificing their lives, was a sad awareness that still lingers.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Pride Month and Father’s Day

 

Sunday was Father’s Day and June is Pride month. Until a few years ago, I’d have found nothing particularly incongruous about that conjunction: there is nothing about the celebration of one’s sexual preference, however odd it may be to call that “pride,” that precludes, obfuscates, or undermines an appreciation of the role fathers play in the lives of their children and their value to society.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Is the Pope Catholic? Or, is he a Gaiaist?

 

It used to be that a witty way to say “yes” was to instead answer “Is the Pope Catholic?”. Funny stuff, because there was nothing more certain than that. But after Friday’s speech on global warming, I am really starting to wonder.

Global warming alarmism is a religion. It has a deity (Gaia); it has a shared collection of transcendental beliefs; it has an apocalyptic end-times story; and it has many fervent believers, converts, and adherents. It also has non-believers (skeptics) and heretics (deniers) that are condemned by the virtuous. “Don’t you believe in climate change?” is how they challenge outsiders.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Where are the Whistleblowers?

 

As high-tech companies prepare to help the political Left dominate pre-election rhetoric, they will likely ramp up their efforts to silence the Right, especially on controversial issues like abortion. One young man decided not to stand by and immediately lost his job as a result.

Eric Cochran was a technical employee at Pinterest. He contacted Project Veritas when he saw that a staff member of Pinterest had listed an anti-abortion site, Live Action, on the Pinterest pornographic list:

I did this because I saw wrongdoing and the normalization of censorship within Big Tech companies right now is downright un-American. And I saw this as the fight for abortion. I saw a Big Tech company saying … behind closed doors that they believe that Live Action shouldn’t have a platform to speak, and the big thing is: I want them to have to … say this publicly instead of behind closed doors.

Cochran shared his thoughts with Tucker Carlson after Carlson learned that Cochran was fired without notice and escorted from his office.

Facebook and Twitter have already been called out for censoring posts from people on the Right. We’ve seen our own Ricochet members suspended or removed from those sites without explanation. Twitter won’t sell advertisements to Live Action, who apparently has experienced “detrimental treatment” from Google and YouTube.

After Project Veritas contacted Pinterest regarding Live Action’s being placed on their porn list, they were removed from that list. Hours later, though, Live Action’s Lilah Rose got an email saying it had been suspended:

‘Your account was permanently suspended because its contents went against our policies on misinformation,’ said the email provided by Rose. ‘We don’t allow harmful misinformation on Pinterest. That includes medical misinformation and conspiracies that turn individuals and facilities into targets for harassment or violence.’

I realize that Eric Cochran has made a personal sacrifice. We don’t know how difficult a time he will have finding another job; I doubt that he’ll find one in the tech companies who are politically Left, or any company that might be leery about whistleblowers. I hope that there are other courageous people in the tech world who are seeing these attacks on free speech and acts of censorship who will be willing to speak up. If enough of them took action, it would be difficult to fire all of them!

Cochran called out to his colleagues who might be willing to speak up:

Cochran said he believes this is a ‘watershed’ moment,’ and that he hopes other pro-lifers at tech companies will come forward, forcing their employers to explicitly say they are pro-abortion so the public knows their political stances.

‘Now they are in full cover-up mode as they try to protect their pro-abortion stances,’ he said. ‘Now with YouTube doing Pinterest’s bidding by removing the Project Veritas video, you’re seeing that they are going to do whatever it takes. They are 100 percent in to protect the abortion lobby.’

I’m skeptical about companies’ willingness to show their true stripes, but I still hope that their employees will call them out.

Let’s hope that others answer Eric Cochran’s call.

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This week, our intrepid correspondents from across the pond take on the increasingly controversial race for Prime Minister in the U.K. (including a few thoughts about long shot Rory Stewart). Also, Parkland survivor Kyle Kushov is un-admitted to Harvard, and Oberlin College loses a big court case.

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. June Group Writing – Dads are Hot

 

Dads get little respect today. The foolish father is a stock element in sitcoms, the government treats fathers like the disposable element in families, even as dangerous. Your male buddies, especially the unmarried ones, razz you: you are no longer a free man, they say, you are tied down for the next twenty years, they say.

Yet, dads are vital. Boys need men around to grow into men. There is a difference between a man who knows how to use his strength to protect others and one that knows how to use it only to get what they want. It is the difference between a wolf and a guard dog. The example set by an engaged, caring father is the best way for a boy to learn what it is.

Daughters, too, learn from the example set by their father. A girl without a father often grows up never learning what a good husband is. They often never learn how to relate properly to men unless they have a non-predatory adult male (that’s you, dad) in their lives when they were growing up.

Dads rarely get compliments from their kids, and often get static. That is because dad has a different role than mom. Fall off your bike and skin your knee. Mom kisses it and holds you until you feel better. Dad slaps a bandage on the scrape and tells you to get back on the bike.

Mom provides the family mercy. Dad provides the family justice. “Just wait until your father gets home!” Everyone is wary around the judge.

Mom’s love and admiration is unconditional. Dad’s love is unconditional, too, but you must earn dad’s respect. Children strive for that respect as they are growing up and after they grow up.

You get a raise and promotion. You win an award or get a book published. You call up the folks to let them know. You tell mom because it will please her. You tell dad to earn his approval. The world is a little better, every time children achieve meaningful accomplishments to earn dad’s approval.

Dad is the one the kids come to for help and advice. Dad has the answers. As long as my dad was alive, I still called my dad for advice – because he still had answers. As for my kids?

A few years back, when I was still in my 50s, my youngest was working on his Eagle Scout project – shelving for a library. He and older brother (then college age) pick up a pallet of material delivered to the library. They need to take it to granddad’s home wood shop. They have the family van.

The pallet weighs 420 pounds. After ninety minutes of futile effort, they call dad at work. “Can you help?” Dad takes personal time and drives down to the library. When he arrives, dad assesses the situation.

Fifteen minutes later, with no other tools than the muscles of an out-of-shape fifty-something male and two young adults, the pallet is in the van. Dad knew how. That’s what makes dads hot.

Happy father’s day, dads.

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Recommended (and Not) Viewing on Prime

 

I thought I’d do you the favor of listing some more quick Amazon Prime Video recommendations so you don’t have to waste your time wading through mediocre productions. This is assuming our tastes align, but have I gone wrong before?

You’re welcome.

I sifted through the mountain of Dickens productions to find these gems:

Dickensian– 10-Episode Series- Highly Recommended. I kept scrolling past this one, and then decided to try it. Dickensian, for me, was one of those transporting, elevating pieces of entertainment. It brings together a number of Dickens’ characters for an original story arc, a murder mystery, but so much more than that formulaic genre. It’s really about people, about human nature and what individuals will do to get what they want, at others’ expense. Some pursuits are petty, some are avaricious, and unfortunately all feel true to life. It’s also about sacrifices and the remarkable lengths that some will go to ensure that right wins in the end. And there is another truth explored: that real honesty–difficult reality brought to the light–is loving and cleansing, even to those who do not want to be reached.

Although sometimes dizzying with its carousel of plots and characters, and at times lacking subtlety in final resolutions, this is a beautifully filmed, scripted, and acted series. It is also great fun to recognize Dickens’ characters, made to live again in new stories that are nonetheless respectful of their original source material. And the men and women I don’t know–Jaggers, for instance, and Honoria–have sparked my curiosity so that I will have to look them up. Bucket of the Detective, who might be an original Dickensian creation, is odd, clever, and warm-hearted enough to be one good reason I revisit the series every few years.

Oliver Twist-(1985) 12-Episode Series-Recommended. Because this is more than three decades old, I was skeptical about the production value. But while it does somewhat have the feel of being filmed on a stage, and costumes and sets are not always convincing, the acting and script are solid, and I found myself getting absorbed in spite of myself. I realized that this Oliver is one of my favorite Dickens TV adaptations to date.

David Copperfield (1999) 4-Episode Miniseries- Recommended. This is colorful, well-acted, and well produced, with funny and kind, evil and tragic characters. The actors are appealing, and the film sets beautiful. I would watch it again just for the wallpaper at the great aunt’s house–just splendid.

Our Mutual Friend 6-Episode Series- Recommended. Yet another Dickens adaptation, this production is a little hard to follow at the beginning, and actually more than a little creepy. Yet the story is not without hope, and the engaging, compelling actors won me over.

Movies with some real historical context that I enjoyed for their unusual settings and production values: Thousand Pieces of Gold and The War Bride. Both have their coarse, gritty details, but made me appreciate the predicaments of the characters.

Next, here are some that are okay picks if nothing else is on:

The Indian Doctor– This series, featuring an Indian couple in the 1960’s who took the doctor’s post in a small Welsh town, is a great concept, with charismatic main actors and beautiful filming. I got mostly through the third season, but have not yet returned to finish it due to over-the-top humor and obnoxious, cliched story arcs.

The Special Needs Hotel: This reality show about a hotel set up to train young people with autism, Down syndrome, and other special needs impresses the viewer with the effectiveness of the program and the kindness of the staff. There are some segments that are gems, such as one resident supported as he plans his big birthday party while practicing phone communication. But it is a reality show, so some awkward love scenes are clearly staged, to the detriment of the actors, perhaps, and for sure the discomfort of the viewers. In another big puzzler, the residents are offered alcohol at their dance parties. However, should a second season be offered, I would watch it.

Home Fires: This series about families left at home in an English village while World War II raged abroad had me electrified. I was delighted to discover a second season, to live again with characters who loved their families and struggled through physical and emotional challenges. Later, however, it felt like the stories burned less brightly, their moral core dampened by BBC writers once again. The series was then consumed in an abrupt blaze, a cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers that was never resolved due to cancellation of the show. Watch at your own risk.

Aristocrats: Six episodes cover the lives of four sisters, English nobility from the 1700’s who make disappointing choices and still have to live with themselves. The series attempts to capture the long sweep of their lives, and so makes a jarring turn at the end, when main actors are replaced by older ones in order to more convincingly show these men and women in their dotage.

BBC’s Emma (2009 miniseries, currently offered through Britbox): I thought I would love this production, featuring Romola Garai. Every time I started watching it, it seemed superfluous given all the current Emma movies out there. It does have its charming, aesthetically pleasing, engaging side, good for dark winter evenings. However, I thought Garai came across too pouty and spoiled, making her Emma not likable enough to carry the scenes with Knightley.

Here are some to not bother with, in my opinion:

The Darling Buds of May: Cute concept, beautiful setting, and engaging acting, but the series celebrates excessive drinking and nontraditional living arrangements with lots of winks and merriment.

Lorna Doone: This was just meh for me. Two young people from opposing sides–one a daughter of a violent clan of outlaws–meet and carry on a dangerous connection. I stopped watching it, so I can’t tell you much else. It didn’t offer much depth to keep me watching.

Wild at Heart: Although some reviewers loved the series, I never finished the first episode. It sounds interesting: a family in England goes to South Africa and ends up staying to run a game reserve. But I thought the story details a little shallow and more suited to younger viewers.

What’s your list? Help us out and save us time by recommending your favorites and steering us away from less worthy material.

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Sunday Morning after the Storm

 

My mother started the decline with her memory at the early age of 68 and died at the age of 74 from Alzheimer’s.

Trouble started brewing between my sister and I at this time, not only were we losing our mom, but we were also losing our husbands, emotionally. We both ended up divorcing only a few years apart.

This weekend after not seeing each other since Christmas, a rarity we go that long, nevertheless, we found ourselves at a peace with each other for the first time in years. We were back to not only being sisters but each other’s best friend.

We spent every evening on my front porch, introducing each other to new music, playing the music that reminded us of our mother and our youth. We shared stories of our mom. A fond memory of my mom was late night country rides she loved taking.

My mom was that person that could get my daddy to do most anything, such as waking my sister and I up after midnight and the four of us going driving on long country roads listening to whatever was playing on the radio. I distinctly remember Squeeze Box by The Who, watching her sing to my daddy, bouncing around, upper body dancing, whilst my sister and we’re in the back seat (of our royal blue Chevy station wagon that was built like a tank) observing this love between them. The greatest reward to these late night rides was stopping at the corner gas station that was closed but had an outside bottled Coke machine and my dad buying us all Yahoos for the late night drive.

Having three days with my little sister, she left this morning. I sit here on my East Texas front porch after an early morning thunderstorm, cool breeze blowing; I reminisce about the awesome visit we had together, it’s peaceful and inspiring.

It’s a wonderful day after the storm.

Nasser Weddady is an American of Mauritanian origin. (Mauritania is a nation in northwest Africa.) He is a human-rights activist, and strategist. He works for the Human Rights Foundation, in New York. He grew up in various countries, having a diplomat for a father. As a boy, he was in Moammar Qaddafi’s tent (literally). He also met Hafez Assad. Weddady speaks Hebrew (which is a very interesting story). For years, he has helped people spring their loved ones from prison. That’s what he does. Now he is faced with his own case: His brother, Abderrahmane, is a political prisoner, in Mauritania.

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Awesome Dads of Ricochet

 

Happy Father’s Day to all the Members. I have been impressed by the many Dad members, who write about their family lives, and their kids. We Ricochetti tend to know what a good Dad is, and how not having one in the home can adversely affect the children. How many societal problems could be ameliorated by having a resident father? A great Dad is always attentive to his kids and their Mom. A great Dad is Masculine, Male, and never “toxic.” A great Dad is chivalrous toward his wife, and appreciates everything she does for the family. My list of Awesome Dads:

@bossmongo I love his stories about his family, and how he describes Mrs. Mongo, who is a very lucky lady.

@drbastiat I am impressed with how he supports all his kids through adverse circumstances.

@seawriter He has been Strong through all his troubles, and always sings the praises of all the members of his family, especially his late wife.

@iwe In spite of being a globetrotting CEO, he has raised a fantastic brood of kids, and I look forward to the Dad Tales he posts here. It also can’t hurt that he has added Ricochet members of his family, too!

@ryanm (Hammer, The) He must have one of the most beautiful families anywhere (we have met). And his tales of the characters he encounters on his job have been very instructive

@ejhill We have followed the trials and tribulations of Sons number One and Two, knowing they will be well taken care of.

Here’s a Cheer for all the Ricochet Dads! Hip, Hip, Hooray!

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day – The Meaning of Laws

 

“Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure.” – Thomas Jefferson

The good news for woke activists judges and the Living Constitution advocates is that Thomas Jefferson was a slaveholder and therefore anything he says that disagrees with their viewpoint can be disregarded. And certainly they will disagree with this – that the plain wording of the law is the plain meaning of the law. It was the foundation rock of this republic; the rock Progressives are trying to dissolve to sand.

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Misusing School Resource Officers

 

You have reached 9-1-1 Emergency Services. Please listen carefully as our menu has changed.
Please press 1 if you want us to raise your children for you.
Please press 2 if you are a school administrator and you want us to restore order in your school.

There is no reason that police officers assigned to schools should be used by school administrators and teachers to enforce code of conduct rules on the school campus. Assaults are a different matter as is trespass by non-students. Parents and their children that cannot behave should be told that they are to leave the campus by a school administrator, not by a police officer.

Refusal to leave the campus that results in a criminal trespass charge should require an administrator to agree to prosecute, a signed written statement, not verbal, as well as a written agreement that the school district will expel the student if a police officer has to physically remove an individual from the campus.

Administrative laws or rules are not the same as statutes passed by a state legislature concerning offenses – violations and crimes. Police officers on a campus if necessary should concentrate on protecting the premises, and students and staff from outside threats. They should not be used to enforce discipline by teachers, or staff that are unable, or unwilling to provide a disciplined school environment.

From Second City Cop:

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday renewed her threat to remove police officers from public schools on the heels of a blistering audit that accused the Chicago Police Department of continuing to operate the program without oversight and training.

Lightfoot’s transition report recommends “encouraging Chicago Public Schools to work with individual schools to define the mission, goal and scope” of school resource officers and tailor that role “to the needs of each school’s student body.”

But months after a confrontation between police officers and a student at Marshall High School, Lightfoot hinted again Thursday that the days of having Chicago police officers stationed inside Chicago Public Schools may end on her watch.

We’ve been advocating to get out of schools for at least a few years now. Even McCarthy toyed with the idea. But we don’t think Lori has the [redacted] to do it, especially after twenty-eight parents and students went to jail the other day.
I’m not sure what the “mission, goal, and scope” and “to the needs of each school’s student body” means other than it’s admin speak. I do agree with Second City Cop that it’s time for the Chicago Police Department to pull out of Chicago schools and place the discipline responsibility on school administrators where it belongs.

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. A Hot Mess: Climate of Confusion

 

Our betters had better get a grip on their narrative. We have been assured that the science is settled. Wicked men have offended Mother Earth and she is getting hot under the collar. To deny this is heresy. Heretics must be cast out, silenced, deplatformed, unpersoned. We must unite to denounce and deny the deniers…at Newsweek!

Newsweek is certainly a member in good standing of the church of correct thinking. So how could it possibly be that they would blaspheme Anthropogenic Global Warming? Yet here is the evidence that they have transgressed [emphasis added]:

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Heisenberg Was Right About the Theology of Frightened Warts

 

When I learned how to scare warts, my view of the whole world changed. The procedure is pretty simple. A patient comes in and asks me to remove a wart from his hand. I’m busy or don’t want to deal with cryo or surgery that day, so I frown at the wart, stroke my chin, and say, “Yeah, well, sure, but to remove that is a very painful procedure that takes a long time. We don’t have sufficient time in the schedule today for it. Come back in six weeks. We’ll do it then.” The patient comes back in six weeks, and the wart is gone. It’s called scaring a wart. I was taught this in my post-graduate training, and I used the technique (It often works!), I just didn’t understand how it worked. Because what that means, is that if your brain really wants to get rid of that wart, it can. But how?

One of my board certifications is in Clinical Lipidology, which is sort of the study of the underlying biochemistry, genetics, and molecular biology of atherosclerotic plaque deposition and rupture. I was at a Lipidology conference some years ago when a researcher brought up scaring warts. This seemed like an odd topic for a cardiovascular conference. But he had been researching the scaring of warts for years. (He must have been fun at cocktail parties: “…no, I don’t actually scare warts, I study the molecular biology which allows for the scaring of warts…” * …pretty girl slowly backs away with a frozen smile on her face… *)

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. How Many Times Have You Died, and Of What Causes?

 

Seems like there have been at least half a dozen times we were all going to die since Trump assumed office. Net Neutrality? Pulling out of the Paris Accords climate boondoggle? Etc. But the immediate destruction of the world is hardly new to having Trump as PotUS. I was trying to count all the times I have died and of what causes during my lifetime, but with all the goalpost moving, it can be so hard to keep up.

OccupantCDN’s Ice Free Montana had a video the other day that went through the timeline of when Montana’s glaciers were supposed to all be melted starting with the first prediction of 1941, if I remember correctly. They just removed signs that said they would all be gone next year. (Surprise! They’re still there!) That is hardly the only one of the many, many dire predictions that have had to be moved back because the predictions did not come to fruition.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. The Number One Song When You Were Born

 

As we know, in the study of Astrology the positions of the celestial bodies at the time of birth shape the rest of one’s life.

Pseudoscience? Perhaps. I’m not going to be judgmental here.

However, I will take the opportunity to offer my own, alternate, theory. Dare I say, an improvement on Astrology. That the number one song in the charts at the time of birth shapes the rest of one’s life. I mean, if planets 100’s of millions of miles away should have an influence, why not something much closer?

So, let’s give it a try. Post the song that was number one at the time your were born.

Wikipedia makes the process easy: List of Billboard number-one singles

Some of you might be hesitant, might not want to reveal your age. I understand. Feel free to substitute somebody else’s birthday, we won’t check.


I’ll go first. Elvis Presley, “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear”:

I never actually liked Elvis’ music. So, like with Astrology, there is some interpretation required.

(That beautiful guitar he never actually plays is a Gibson J-200.)

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Reincarnation

 

Upon the news that Washington state passed a bill to allow the composting of human remains this poem came to mind:

Reincarnation, by Wally McRae

“What does Reincarnation mean?”
A cowpoke asked his friend.
His pal replied, “It happens when
Yer life has reached its end.
They comb yer hair, and warsh yer neck,
And clean yer fingernails,
And lay you in a padded box
Away from life’s travails.”

“The box and you goes in a hole,
That’s been dug into the ground.
Reincarnation starts in when
Yore planted ‘neath a mound.
Them clods melt down, just like yer box,
And you who is inside.
And then yore just beginnin’ on
Yer transformation ride.”

“In a while, the grass’ll grow
Upon yer rendered mound.
Till some day on yer moldered grave
A lonely flower is found.
And say a hoss should wander by
And graze upon this flower
That once wuz you, but now’s become
Yer vegetative bower.”

“The posy that the hoss done ate
Up, with his other feed,
Makes bone, and fat, and muscle
Essential to the steed,
But some is left that he can’t use
And so it passes through,
And finally lays upon the ground
This thing, that once wuz you.”

“Then say, by chance, I wanders by
And sees this upon the ground,
And I ponders, and I wonders at,
This object that I found.
I thinks of reincarnation,
Of life and death, and such,
And come away concludin’: Slim,
You ain’t changed, all that much.”

McRae lives in Rosebud, Montana. After Baxter Black, he is probably America’s best-known cowboy poet.

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. An Individual Outstanding in His Field

 

My father sent me this photograph some time back. It must be from late 1964 or early 1965. The smaller young fellow is a very young me. The lean young man is my father. Mother must have taken the picture. It is a good place to start in reflecting on my father. As his story on this earth is not yet done, any account must be limited by some organizing principle. What follows are snapshots of early days, family, fitness, and faith.

We are obviously on an Army flight line. My father joined the Army after medical school, took the old direct commission charm school, learning to wear the uniforms, march, and talk basic Army speak. Then he went off to Fort Rucker, Alabama, then and now the home of Army flight training. He qualified as a flight surgeon, preparing him for his assignment at Fort Riley, Kansas. Fort Riley was home to the First Infantry Division, the “Big Red One.”

I have no memory of those first few years, but the family story over the years is consistent. Dad had bought a pair of sturdy steel frame Schwinn bicycles. His daily task, on getting home from the day’s duty, was to strap me into the child seat mounted over the rear tire and take me for a ride. This gave my mother an hour’s quiet and break from a small boy’s energy. Reportedly, I would often arrive home asleep, clutching a stalk of bottlebrush grass in my little fist.

My first memories with Dad come from the early years after he left the Army, having done a three year tour, and began his residency. The two things that most impressed a young boy were one day at an outdoor gun range and a visit to a near-by naval air station. Now, we made multiple visits to both, but I carry two impressions.

The range:

Dad was deadly serious about gun safety. We children would sooner have grabbed a cottonmouth than touch one of his firearms without his immediate permission and supervision. So, there I was with him, sitting at a shooting bench on an outdoor rifle range. The range was “red” with people down range finishing up changing or marking targets. A shot rang out. I saw a man frantically duck for cover behind a large old tree part way down the course. The entire firing line erupted in men, including my father, shouting “CEASE FIRE!” I assume that the offender was cashiered from membership, never to return.

We did not stop going to the range. When we moved to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Dad took both me and my eldest sister up into the hills, where he would supervise selection of a safe shooting site. There he encouraged our development of rifle handling skills and an enjoyment of shooting.

With all the slightly damp and rotting deadfall, there was no real risk of ricochet. So, after we had, between us, expended the first little cardboard box of .22 ammunition, we would set the first empty box on top of a log. We were shooting an already well-used pump action rifle, fed by a tube magazine under the barrel. The drill was to shoot just under the box, kicking it up into the air. As the box flew, we would pump the action, while following the box, and shoot under it again, just as it landed. The game was to see how many hops in a row you could get before you missed or the box disappeared behind something.

Through the years, Dad taught us, by example, an ironclad commitment to gun safety as well as a basic appreciation and competency with long guns and handguns.

Willow Grove Naval Air Station:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c1/First_F-8D_Crusader_in_flight_in_1960.jpeg/1024px-First_F-8D_Crusader_in_flight_in_1960.jpegWhile I do not recall the early Army days and helicopters, I do remember the cheap entertainment, which a medical resident with children could afford, of going to watch Navy jets take off and land. We would be standing just outside the chain-link perimeter fence and wearing hearing protection, always wearing hearing protection.

Dad has always been deadly serious about taking care of your hearing and sight. I took that seriously enough to wear foam earplugs to loud parties in college. As a consequence, I still have more of my hearing than most of my peers, and perhaps only a hint of tinnitus in one ear, despite many an evening in loud country dance clubs and the occasional rock concert.

So there we were. The big grey Navy F-8 Crusaders flashed by with a roar. These early supersonic-capable jets had a large air intake under the nose, like a giant gaping mouth. The early engines, relatively inefficient, were all raw power and noise. It was glorious fun.

Family:

The stories of Dad coming home to get me out of Mother’s hair, and the memories of time spent with him shooting or enjoying watching aircraft, are pieces in the mosaic of his commitment to family. A few years after residency, he found himself consumed with work in a hospital, where his department juggled two specialties at the same time. He had spent many evenings after work and supper studying to qualify for the new field. Now he was not getting home for dinner regularly.

This was an important factor in his decision to rejoin the Army. If that seems odd to you, understand, as his Army friends always said, “you’re not in the real Army.” That is, he was coming back into service as a field grade doctor, who would usually work a regular clinical schedule. Sure, there was a schedule for on-call evenings and weekends, but it was just that: a schedule.

It was always expected, enforced by my father and mother, that dinner was family time. We all were expected to be there, to bow our heads in prayer, then to pass the food around before diving into our plates. Our parental unit was a real unit, a team at the two ends of the table. Dad made the decisions, throughout his working life, to put family ahead of chasing status symbols that would demand hours, days, months and cumulative years chasing the things we cannot take with us when our bodies go back into the ground.

At the same time, he certainly stuck to work that was not always a joy to him, steadily providing material sustenance and a consistent example. My father was not silent about work but made clear that it was only a part of life. We had music, art, gardening, and generally a well-rounded life. Dad made a point, with Mother, of not having parties filled with shop talk. Friends were cultivated in a life beyond the thing that paid the bills, while Dad steadily practiced medicine with quiet competence (such competence as to draw unsolicited compliments from peers).

Fitness:

When Dad left his rural childhood home for college, he made the decision that he needed to stay in shape and that a college student of modest means could best do that by lacing up a pair of tennis shoes and running. This was two decades before the running fad, and long before real running shoes. He ran, rain or shine, through the years until wear and tear led to him downshifting to a daily walk. We all kid him about wearing shorts year round, yet he has a point: he still has cannonball calf muscles. No old-man chicken legs there!

For many years we lived on a large military base shared by a Ranger battalion. Dad always ran after work and before dinner, except on weekends when he tended to run in the afternoon if memory serves. He would put in 3 or 4 miles a day. You could always tell when he, a man in his forties, had encountered a young Ranger. Dad would arrive home flushed and a bit out of breath, as he just could not resist running the younger man down. After all, Dad had been running for more years than that kid had been alive.

While his friends kidded him about the medical corps, he took exception to knuckleheads who thought they were in MASH. He shined his low quarter shoes each day and wore the uniform properly. He also insisted on meeting the Army standards for physical fitness, not expecting any slack for doctors.

The Army had a three-event periodic physical fitness test, with push-ups, sit-ups, and a two-mile run. Now we have already established that Dad was going to smoke almost everyone on the run, even if they were half his age. When it came to push-ups and sit-ups, he took a certain old-fashioned officer attitude: do the number required. Every morning, when he got out of bed, he dropped to the floor, did his push-ups, rolled over and did his sit-ups, then went about his day.

Dad never had to think about the periodic test, and never had to prepare, as he was always maintained the standard. All of us children carried this lesson with us, to one degree or another, so have not had avoidable cardiac health or related fitness problems so far.

Faith:

Mom and Dad met in the context of a church, and have lived their lives in the Christian faith. I mentioned prayer before dinner. Actually, prayer was something practiced before every meal. Aren’t you grateful for this food? Then say thanks. It was so ingrained that I was startled when a college classmate asked what I was doing when I sat down at the cafeteria table. Was I not feeling well? No, I was just giving thanks, despite the lousy cafeteria food.

Besides prayer, Sunday mornings were worship and bible study. One evening a week would be a home bible study, rotating around homes. There was usually some Bible reading after dinner and before we got down to noisy family talk over a big pot of tea. When I went off to college, I was sent out with my father’s college pocket watch and a finely bound Bible printed on India paper. On a flyleaf in the front, Dad gave me fatherly advice, quoting poetry and scripture.

These days, Dad has taken to writing sonnets to my mother. Yes, that is quite romantic and a fine example to us younger folk. He also carefully set pen to quality paper and laid out his personal statement of faith, a credo in his own words. A day may come when I will have the duty to read them aloud. For those who have seen my father’s life, who have known him through the years, the words will not be surprising.

The title of this reflection evokes a classic Sandra Boynton cartoon, captured on this coffee mug. As it happens, my father has always liked cows, incredibly large yet peaceful creatures. He retired from the Army after over 12 years as a “full bull” colonel. Through all the years, and life’s endeavors, he has indeed been an individual outstanding in the field.

Contributor Created with Sketch. Father’s Day Without a Father

 

This was originally posted on the now-defunct Acculturated website. I’m reposting it today in honor of Father’s Day:

 

In the classrooms of my childhood, almost every other kid around me was crafting something for their dads in June. Painting photo frames for desks, decorating hammers and making pretend ties; all pretty cliché objects for kids to create in order to hand over to their Dads on Father’s Day. With one or two other kids, I would be self-consciously making my mother her second craft in as many months. Despite how ubiquitous single-parent households are now, they were far more uncommon in my neck of the woods in the mid-1990s. Teachers didn’t have alternative plans for kids like me; my mother sent me with a few ideas, and soon, just let me play hooky on the days my friends would be crafting for their dads.

Somehow, my single mother managed to turn Father’s Day into something fun. On hooky day from school I chose the activity: usually a movie and a lunch out. On Father’s Day itself, she chose the agenda, out doing girly things like getting manicures so that we wouldn’t run into other families who were celebrating Father’s Day. We remade it into our own day: Mother-Daughter Day.

But as anyone who has bought a knock-off purse in Chinatown can tell you (we did that one year for Mother-Daughter Day too on a trip into New York City), a Prada bag is very different from a Praza bag. In this analogy, Father’s Day was the Prada bag, and Mother-Daughter Day was the Praza. Just because the day was remade into something fun doesn’t mean I was happy being without a Dad, or that I didn’t notice what I was missing out on.

What was I missing? Now that I’m married and have three children of my own, I know. My husband is the parent who lets our kids crawl and climb all over him. He’s the parent who spends an entire Saturday trying to make an elaborate track throughout the apartment so they can play with Matchbox cars. He’s the parent who boxes with our son and plays house with our daughter (he’s always the husband). In so doing, he’s teaching our son about being a man, and our daughter about the kind of man we want her to bring home one day. That’s the role of a father: to model appropriate male behavior for kids.

Don’t get me wrong: My mother did an amazing job as a single mother, and I was served far better being away from my father than having him in my life. She knew that by isolating me from his influence, the chances of me bringing home a man like him were drastically reduced. That was a good thing. Her hard work doing the job of mother and father the best that she could paid off: I became a strong woman like she was, and I married a man completely the opposite of my father. For that I’m grateful, and my kids should count themselves among the lucky ones.

As uncommon as single-parent households were in my hometown growing up, they’ve now become the norm. Most of my childhood friends have had children and perhaps a handful ended up marrying the father of their child. The relationships usually fizzled out and now the vast majority of their kids are being raised by their superhuman single mothers. The odds of these children perpetuating the cycle of out of wedlock births, in addition to poverty and poor education outcomes, are now greatly increased. The data is clear: having a dad in the home increases a child’s chance of success as an adult in all areas of their life. Personally, professionally and educationally the children of two-parent homes perform better than their single parent household peers.

Every year, fewer American kids are celebrating Father’s Day in their homes. Sadly, we refuse to recognize this as the tragedy it is. As the child of a single parent household and a parent in an intact family currently, I know what a difference having a Dad in the home makes for the happiness and well-being of the kids inside it. Despite being glad that in my particular circumstance we were celebrating Mother-Daughter Day in my home growing up, I’m grateful beyond measure my children never will.

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. A Robot Can Only Take So Much

 

In the accompanying video below, the Corridor guys describe how they created the video above.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Arrrmy Training!

 

Yesterday was the United States Army’s 244th birthday, 14 June 2019. For a brief background on how the Army came into existence, and the tie to Flag Day, also celebrated each 14th of June, see “Celebrating the Flag and the Army on June 14th.” On this occasion, consider the Army through the lenses of recruiting slogans and a song. What’s with the photograph? Wait until we get to the song.

Recruiting Slogans in the All-Volunteer Force:

As the Vietnam War dragged on, with abysmal political and senior military leadership until far too late, it became clear that we needed a new solution to military manpower demands. For most of our nation’s long history, we had a very small professional army. In this regard, we were similar to our parent nation, with its “thin red line.” Yet, that very small force, occasionally reinforced with militia and temporarily authorized volunteer units, won the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurgency, and the near-century-long dusty slog of the American Indian Wars. Those are just the highlights and do not include the Marine Corps’ illustrious history, the story of our other elite infantry force. Now we needed a force that would be entirely professional, and yet far larger than the old Regular Army.

Enter the ad men. Here, in a series of one line slogans, is the history of our efforts to build and sustain a larger professional Army, starting in 1971:

1971: “Today’s Army Wants to Join You”

1973: “Join the People Who’ve Joined the Army”

1978: “This is the Army” [Not to be confused with the 1943 Irving Berlin musical, This is the Army, whose cast included Ronald Reagan.]

These three slogans map the decade-long struggle to find the right message. Recruiters had to both solicit a large number of applicants for a large number of positions, and attract the right applicants. The Army needed people who would embrace the Army way for at least several years, the time needed to train and fully integrate professional soldiers.

You can see the start point was an Army desperate to overcome the old image of dragooning men into short term, involuntary service. That first pitch fell flat, leading to the correction in tone, suggesting that the Army was a great community that you should desire to join. “This is the Army” was about narratives in images inspiring young people, still almost exclusively men, to join an attractive organization.

All the recruiting slogans and Madison Avenue wizardry could not, in the long run, overcome the message of neglect from Congress allowing equipment to age. With the great infusion of new generation equipment, in the Reagan buildup, came a new wave of messages to potential recruits, their families, and communities.

1981: Be All You Can Be

This slogan, and its earworm jingle, was so successful that it was rated the number two jingle in the 20th Century by Ad Age. Inside the long “Be All You Can Be” campaign, a subordinate message was very popular with the troops: “we do more before 9 am than most people do in a day.”

With our victory in the Cold War, there was a slight turning back to the idea of a peace dividend and a significantly smaller professional military. In that context, nine months before 9/11, a new slogan was launched:

2001: “Army of One”

This slogan was hooted at by soldiers. After all, in its plain sense, it contradicts Army culture. You most certainly were not going to get to be your own special self, unless “your own special self” conformed to the big Green Machine. All military entry training is about transforming recruits, so the slogan became an instant joke. Nevertheless, it was allowed to linger until 2006. Finally, common sense prevailed.

2006: “Army Strong”

Here, the message is about individuals gaining power, growing in strength, through membership in the Army. Yet, “Army Strong” does not come close to the message power of “Be All You Can Be.” Whatever the ad slogan, people were making up their minds and volunteering in the near certain knowledge that they would be sent in harms’ way. Now, as we experience a lull in the long war, the powers that be have rolled out a new Army recruiting pitch to Generation Z, the generation after the Millennials (Gen Y):

2018: “Warriors Wanted”

This aligns with what desirable recruits are expecting, based on the past 18 years experience. Aligning with this slogan, the Army announced, and started enforcing, tougher physical qualification tests. The challenge will be for small unit leaders, backed by Big Army, to carry through on the promise of meaningful, challenging training, to not have “Warriors Wanted” become a cynical joke for the troops.

This matters to you because the Army has been, and always will be, the largest land force, the 800-pound guerilla facing both large predator states and guerrillas. It is simultaneously truth that the Army vitally depends on the other services and that the other services cannot impose our nation’s will for long against significant armed land opposition without Army involvement.

So, the Army Birthday is worth celebrating. On this occasion, currently serving members and veterans gather and sing the Army Song. Each of our armed services has a good organizational song, fitting each service’s culture. A 2006 article, “Army recruiting messages help keep Army rolling along,” evoked the Army’s theme song: “The Army Keeps Rolling Along.”

Wait, that can’t be right. The song goes: “the caissons keep rolling along.” Well, yes and no. Yes, the original song was an unofficial official theme for the Army. Caissons are the ammunition carriers of the horse-drawn era. The lyrics paint a picture of actual drills, maneuvers or “plays” that would be called to move and position artillery during a battle. The score is a bouncy tune, calling to mind the pre-pneumatic tires and shocks wagon experience. Listen to a recording of “The Caissons Go Rolling Along” and the picture above comes into new focus.

“The Caissons Go Rolling Along.”

Over hill, over dale
As we hit the dusty trail,
And those caissons go rolling along.
In and out, hear them shout,
Counter march and right about,
And those caissons go rolling along.

Refrain:
Then it’s hi! hi! hee!
In the field artillery,
Shout out your numbers loud and strong,
For where e’er you go,
You will always know
That those caissons go rolling along.

–Edmund Louis “Snitz” Gruber, et al.

The traditional Army culture was dominated by infantry and artillery, before the mechanized era of armor. Indeed, infantry is still at the center of the Army identity, the “Queen of Battle.” Artillerists have long cited Frederick the Great:

Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl.

The truth, of course, is dependent on your perspective. More precisely, it depends on which end of the gun tube you are facing. This classic George Finley caricature, frequently seen as a framed print in officers’ homes or offices, shows both sides:

It was, perhaps, inevitable that the brass would mess with tradition. The caissons gave way to “the Army.” But why is the Army “rolling” instead of “marching” along? Well, to quote the mechanized infantry:

Why march when you can ride?

So, those of us who celebrate today will sing:

“The Army Song”

Verse: First to fight for the right,
And to build the Nation’s might,
And The Army Goes Rolling Along
Proud of all we have done,
Fighting till the battle’s won,
And the Army Goes Rolling Along.

Refrain: Then it’s Hi! Hi! Hey!
The Army’s on its way.
Count off the cadence loud and strong (TWO! THREE!)
For where e’er we go,
You will always know
That The Army Goes Rolling Along.

Yes, this omits the awkward introduction added in 2013 that some senior sort added for a bullet on his or her resume. Yes, there are two more sort of clunky verses. But, brevity is best, and one verse with a refrain tells the story best. Naturally, a June 14th birthday boy also wished the Army a happy birthday:

Presidential Message on the 244th Birthday of the United States Army
Issued on: June 14, 2019
As Commander in Chief, I am pleased to join our grateful Nation in celebrating the 244th birthday of the United States Army.

For nearly two and a half centuries, the United States Army has been synonymous with duty, honor, and discipline. As part of the most elite fighting force the world has ever seen, our soldiers fiercely defend our national security at home and abroad. From the Revolutionary War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States Army has been instrumental in ensuring that America remains a shining beacon of hope and freedom around the world.

Last week, we commemorated the 75th anniversary of D-Day. The United States Army’s role was paramount to the success of Operation Overlord on that day and our subsequent victory in the European Theatre of World War II. Seventy-five years later, the men and women of the United States Army continue to fearlessly execute their roles as the guardians of freedom. Today, we commend our brave soldiers, both past and present, for their steadfast resolve, their vigilant defense of the values we hold dear, and their love of country.

May God watch over all the men and women of our Armed Forces and their families, and may He continue to bless the United States of America.

Why, thank you, Mr. President, and a happy birthday to you as well! May you and America’s Army prosper for many more years, and may our flag fly over a free people living in a land of ordered liberty for many more seasons! Let the Army go rolling along under that grand old flag.

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