May 28, 2011

"Showing Appreciation" - Memorial Day

The following blog was written by yours truly and posted on a good friend’s blog approximately 2 years ago. I welled up as I wrote it back then. I well up every time I read it now.

Also, it's a blog that rings true 365 days of the year. Not just on Memorial Day…

"Showing Appreciation"

This past holiday weekend I spent 2 days in Tallahassee and seemingly twice that amount of time on an airplane. As a result, I witnessed many things throughout my travels both good and bad. Everyone knows that you can see a little bit of everything while sitting and waiting in airports.

One event that stuck out happened not in the terminal but on the airplane itself. Behind me sat a young man, maybe 23 years old, and dressed in fatigues. He exuded poise and confidence yet underneath his camouflaged exterior he drowned in shyness and humility.

He had been “going home for the first time in a year” and had been away for 2 of the last 3 years in Iraq. After speaking with his chin held high you couldn’t help but notice the harsh reality of the last several years when he lost eye-contact for the first time and uttered “It’s weird to be going home...”

It was as though he was no longer talking to a stranger in 19A but to his journal back in Baghdad.

As the plane landed and the seat-belt lights went dark everyone immediately stood up as though they were a part of a Pavlov experiment. Evidently they all had somewhere better to be than he did. Only this time the stewardess put that unnecessary frenzy to an immediate halt.

She had something more important in mind…

“Ladies and Gentleman before everyone gets ready to leave the plane I’d like to ask a favor. We have a young gentleman back there who is returning from overseas and it would be our honor to let him depart the plane first to get to his family. Thank you very much sir. We appreciate everything you do. Have a great weekend and Happy Memorial Day.”

Cue the standing ovation from everyone on the plane…and yours truly fighting back the tears…and you have Staff Sgt Montgomery reluctantly leaving the plane as if to say, “Thank you very much…but I’m no better than any of you.”

Yet we all know he is.

Fast forward to the terminal and you have his significant other and their infant son waiting for him with a sign that reads, “Welcome home Staff Sgt Montgomery/Daddy!!”

Stick a fork in me. I’m done.

Some people’s definition of Memorial Day varies. To most people it’s an invitation to enjoy lack-of-sleep and a lot of partying. The true meaning of Memorial Day is intended to honor American soldiers who have fought and died for the country.

Something tells me his Memorial Day was a lot more significant than ours.

So when we’re all pissed that our flight is delayed and we forgot to set up the DVR we can all think of what a delayed flight means to people like Staff Sgt Montgomery.

May 20, 2011

Give Her The Chair

I’m sorry but someone can not sit here and defend this woman not being killed for this crime...

Life sentence for Ohio mom who microwaved baby

...Instead shes going to go to prison for the rest of her life on the taxpayer’s dime.

Also, I do not want to hear anyone’s argument against the Death Penalty. The fact of the matter is that this woman, after being proven guilty in the court of law, should be taken to the back room and have her life taken from her.

Put a “Death Row” in every courthouse in America. That will eliminate long lines (a typical defense for people arguing against the Death Penalty), red tape and costs involved.

Its so outrageous it forced me to blog twice in one day. That should tell you something.

I'd Fake Death If I Were Him

Those familiar with this blog know there are, ahem, just a few things in this world that drive me crazy. One of which happens to be Oprah Winfrey.

Society's fascination with this woman is mind-boggling so you can imagine my reaction upon reading this article: Man fakes robbery in attempt to score Oprah tickets

I began to imagine what the article might look like had it been written about me? I think it might look something like this...

Man fakes death in attempt to avoid Oprah’s final taping

New Jersey Police Dept.

Hundreds of thousands hoped to score one of the 13,000 tickets to Oprah Winfrey's final shows, but only one man (as far as we know) staged a death in an attempt to be no-part of the "Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular" on Tuesday.

NJ Police say the man spun a tale to police claiming he was pleading for someone to take his show tickets and had the scrapes to prove it. NBC News reports that officers say he "allegedly tried to leap to his death off the side of the GWB and if that didn't work he was prepared to bury himself alive," and told police he was begging to die, then later admitted it was only his dream for this to happen.

Apparently, the whole world really wanted tickets, and he told police he didn't want the world to be unhappy, and believed he could sell the tickets at the local Shop-Rite, where the shows fans tend to congregate. The tickets, in fact, were given away via a lottery. Harpo Productions, Winfrey's production company, received more than 154,000 requests for seats to Tuesday's taping.

He was charged with having common sense.

May 19, 2011

Making Good Time - A Guest Blog

The following contribution is from a loyal reader and past guest blogger. Everyone's Entitled to My Reader's Opinion as well. For the sake of anonymity she is now Charley from Charlotte. Enjoy....

What is it about travelling that makes us obsessed with "making good time"??

And let's be honest....when we say making good time, we mean it in the literal sense of down to the very minute!! We don't round up or down, we say we were on the road at 9:10am exactly and pulled into the driveway at 10:59am!! Great time!! Excellent time!

So what's with the obsession?

Does someone care? Is someone giving us an award at the end of the trip? Is there a finish line where people cheers us as we cross? Or is it the simple satisfaction of knowing we "made great time"??

And while we're being honest, if we didn't make good time you can damn well be sure to hear WHY we didn't make good time.

Traffic. Some jackass in the fast lane. Damn kid had to stop to go to the bathroom (oh wait...a good driver would stop the time-clock due to kids...UNLESS they still made great time with the clock running...then you would hear all about it"!!)

It’s annoying.

For the record, the other day, I made "great time" driving to my friend Cheryl’s!!! Both there adn back!

Take that you jackass in the fast lane!!

May 17, 2011

A Man

Every now and again you come across a photo that evokes a particular reaction. Be it fear, anger, sadness, regret or something entirely different, there is always an initial reaction.

This particular photo is one of many for me but its one that tops the list.

I’d be surprised if there is anyone who isn’t familiar with this photo or at least doesn’t find it recognizable. 

I’m not sure there is a 9/11 news story or documentary produced that I have not seen. Personally, I make an effort to watch as many as I can and I'd say 90% of them end up including this photo in some terribly sad montage.

My reaction?

I don’t cry. At least not initially.

I don’t get angry. At least not initially.

I don’t get scared. At least not initially. 

I do, however, find my heart skips a beat. I feel as thought I may get sick for that brief flash in time.

No photo of a complete stranger evicts such a reaction in me quite like this one. Just look at this picture. Look at his eyes. Check that. Look into his eyes.

What do you see? Here’s what I see…

A man shrouded in fear and shock. I see a man running into an unknown. Running towards an unimaginable hell only those present could possibly fathom.

A man with, I imagine, a wife and kids back home. A man who doesn’t do what he does because he’s asked to but a man who does what he does ‘cause his instincts guide him.

A man who knows death is knocking on the door yet finds the strength to keep the door shut long enough to save not himself but others.   

The next time you see someone complain about long lines at the airport, or tight stadium security or any other "invonvenience" in your precious little life think about the man in this picture.

You won't be the only one.

I could go on and on. And I’m quite certain he could’ve as well…

May 16, 2011

The Visor That Launched a Blog

Listen, I fully support all things Gucci. Do I currently own anything Gucci? No. Do I wish I owned a Gucci watch? Yes. Does my wife want a Gucci handbag? Yes. Does my wife want to own the entire Gucci accessory line? Yes.

So why all this random talk about my desires regarding this fine Italian luxury brand?

I’ll tell you why. Some people take it a little too far and it’s aggravating. There is a big difference between having some expensive fashion taste and being a complete label whore.

People need to tone it down. You Louis Vuitton handbag owners (85% of New Jersey Female Residents) know what I’m talking about as well. Don’t act like you don’t. Why else would you spend that kind’ve money on a handbag that isn’t even leather? Is the hardware that ritzy?

Again don’t get me wrong. I support the luxury brands. I’m not an Anti-Luxurite.

Anyway, veered off the track there. Back to Gucci…

I was at a local diner yesterday and a guy walks in with 2 of his friends. They’re dressed very casual. As in, they could’ve just went to the gym. One of these morons was wearing gym shorts, a sweatshirt…and a tan Gucci logo-imprinted visor.

Really, pal? Don’t be a schmuck.

Not only is it hideous but it screams you went to the Gucci store and that was the only thing you could afford so you went for it. Otherwise, there is no point in owning that visor…

None whatsoever.

May 13, 2011

OBL's Final Diary Entry Published

You read it hear first, everyone. Osama Bin Laden's final Diary entry. A look into the mind of the most wanted terrorist in the world. This is fascinating...

Diary Entry No. 2,476

It’s now been over 9 years since I had, strike that, since Allah had the great idea of playing jockey with a bunch of 747’s and reigning terror on those bastard westerners I am so jealous of, strike that, hateful of.

I have to admit, however, I did not anticipate I’d be isolated in this dreary compound back when I was in the luxury of my Tora Bora caves. Those Afghan mountain winters were for the birds though.

To start, the whole 3 wives route was a decision I made rather hastily. I knew the Big Love kick would come back to haunt me. Damn you, Allah. Not to mention the 387 kids as a result. Aah, to be single and wealthy again. Have you seen the cost of tuition at those colleges in the states? Some of my great terrorist leaders studied there. But that was when it was affordable. Hopefully I live to see my youngest graduate from Abbottadad Community College. Go ACC Cougars! If they don't beat those rich kids from the U of Islamabad in this year's "Battle of the Bands" I'm going to be pissed.

There I said it. Those spoiled Islamabad kids drive me crazy. Anyway, to continue...

I’m still annoyed at the Pakistani Phone Company (PPC) for not connecting my service. Not to mention the fact whenever I have a courier go to their HQ’s they get the shaft. What happened to old fashioned customer service? I guess it’s all well and good since the Evil West is trying to tap my phone’s anyway. They can be so annoying.

I’d also like to make note that if I see another Wal-Mart pop up on my Holy Land I’m going to take my sandals and throw ‘em at the first Capitalist I see.

I probably shouldn’t keep complaining because at this point many thought I wouldn’t even be alive but I can’t help it. Between you and me, Diary, I am getting pretty sick of having chickens every damn day. I do appreciate the fact we raise them organically but you’d think one of my couriers would take it upon themselves and leave the compound and bring back Chinese or Italian food one of these days. Would it kill him? If it didn’t, I may that’s for sure.

What’s funny is that I actually hear some rustle outside as we speak. Maybe I spoke to soon and my trusted courier has flown in some authentic Indian? Don’t tell my Pakistani friends at the nearby Military Academy of course. They'd go crazy if they knew!

I've said it before but I'm saying it again, Allah has a way of surprising you when you least expect it doesn't he? Yup. Sounds like the food is here, with great fanfare might I add?! 

A lot of excitement out there! I wonder if they know I'm in my ro

May 12, 2011

Mogadishu Music Festival

I’ve received some flack of late regarding a slight blip in the Blogging Roll I was on. My defense was that society had been lacking of late in providing me with topics (quality topics worthy of writing about – we all know I have an opinion on everything).

And then I read this…

American jihadist leads pro al-Qaida rally in Somalia

Surprisingly I’m not even sure where to begin with this one. I could go the obvious route and talk about how this guy is obviously a certified lunatic.

I could say that I hope the man dies a slow and tortured death much the same way I hoped Bin Laden did…to the dismay of some of my loyal readers of course.

I could say people like him and terrorists like him are the reason the “War on Terror” will never end and anyone who thinks it will is as clueless as he is. We’ll be fighting Al-Qaeda and other Professional Psychos for as long you and I are on the planet.

Or what I could say is that I find it hysterical that he held a rally in Somalia and I couldn’t help but picture the scene. A Woodstock like atmosphere. A grassy field with your garden variety AK-47-wielding militia members celebrating the greatness of Allah. I bet there is a banner hanging somewhere that say’s “The 2011 Mogadishu Music Festival”

I just find it hysterical to picture. If you look at the photo in the article it looks like the four men at the table behind the podium are thinking to themselves,

“How is this American higher ranked then we are? This is ridiculous and another example of the West keeping us down…We tried for over a year to get permits to hold this rally and he comes in here and has it all set up in just a few weeks....Next year when he’s killed by the CIA and we get to run this thing we will do it bigger and better. I swear, if Allah is my witness, we’ll have cotton candy and maybe even get Hootie and The Blowfish to perform!”

Now, after looking at the picture of this bearded and dirty American standing at the podium in a Mogadishu park, am I the only one that thought all of this?

May 3, 2011

Cheering Death

It's been about 48 hours since we announced the killing of Bin Laden. That's 48 hours longer than I usually need to form an opinion...

I’m getting sick and tired of hearing people get annoyed at others who say they cheered the death of someone. I’m sorry but you are allowed to cheer the death of a man who planned and executed the deaths of thousands and whom would kill you if he had the opportunity.

Enough of this holier than now bullshit. The man got what he deserved – death at the hands of those he wanted dead.

It should be cheered. The death of this man should be cheered. We should make a holiday out've the damn day and make fancy dinners and eat lots of dessert and drink lots of wine on this day from here on out.

I’m glad he died. I hope the 40 minutes in the compound were spent slowly torturing the man and then making it look clean by putting a bullet in his forehead. Hence, why they quickly dumped his body out at sea.

And another thing…

If I hear one more person say there is “closure” now that he is dead I may jump off the GWB.

I’m sorry but there is no such thing as “closure” when it comes to things like this. If you lost a loved one in 9/11 or as a result of the ensuing wars, the fact that Bin Laden was killed does not change the fact you have lost a loved one.

Does it help? Maybe. Depends on the person. But it does not close that chapter in your life. It never will. It’s just another in the long line of ridiculous statements people make regarding death. Emotions don’t just “close.”

Death is an open book of emotions with no ending…End of story.