25 June 2006

Is it Just Me?



I'm sorry........
When I look at this picture,
all I can think of is "Sid the Sloth" from "Ice Age".

23 June 2006

Do Not Pass Go!

A while back, I had one of those shifts that make you grind your teeth.
I published a blog-post that might have gotten me in trouble with my company,
or with the victims involved.

This is a slightly revised version of that post.
The passage of time makes it less traceable, but the thrust and emotion of the post remain. Here's a review of that shift:


Our first flight was to a hospital 15 minutes from our base.
A van loaded with 7 people, 4 of them kids, left the highway at 70 miles per hour and rolled over several times, ejecting children like popcorn out of a commercial popcorn machine.
Our patient was a 2 year old male with multiple traumatic injuries. We transported him to one of the Children's hospitals in Bigtown, where he'll recover after an extended period of care.
He'll have casts on both arms and one leg.
Bumps, bruises, and lacerations are gonna make this tiny guy sore for quite a while.
His 5 year old brother and 6 month old sister were also transported by helicopter to Children's hospitals.


How is it possible these kids were ejected? Did their carseats/seatbelts fail?

Ha!

We all know the answer to that question........
these parents failed at Parenting 101, but bred anyway.

The kids were all playing in the cargo space behind the seats.
When the van started it's 70 mph tumble, the kids were in God's hands.
It's a miracle the van didn't roll over and crush any of them.

The phone rang again 30 minutes after we had completed our paperwork on this flight.
We were dispatched in exactly the opposite direction of our first flight, to another hospital just 17 minutes away by helicopter.

Our patient was a 30 year old male, also involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident.
State Troopers tried to stop his car for suspicion of drunk driving.........he ran from them.


Upon arrival, we find a 25-ish Hispanic Male who cannot speak English. He has nothing in the way of documentation.
He left the roadway at a high rate of speed and struck a tree.
He was wearing his seatbelt, but on arrival at the ER he's going in and out of conciousness so the Doctor worries he might have a head injury. He reeks of "the scent normally associated with the consumption of alcoholic beverages".....(inside joke).


The two State Troopers that tried to stop him are hanging out in the ER.
I walk over and ask them about my previous flight:

"When parents don't secure their children in automobiles, and the kids are injured in an accident,
why don't those folks GO TO JAIL?"

"Prosecutors won't pursue those cases. They feel the parents are punished enough watching their kids suffering."

What?
Pardon me?
That's Male Bovine Excrement!


Driving around with your children unsecured in your car is called "parental neglect".
Those parents should go to jail.......
their kids, seriously hurt because of lack of parental care, should be handed over to someone that values them as human beings.

In my view, the only way we are gonna protect children and convince parents to abide by the seatbelt/carseat laws is to put those that break the law behind bars........
after a few high-profile cases make the news, obeying the law will make more sense for the rest!

And isn't it timely......with all the marches and attention devoted to illegal invaders crossing our borders on the news these days, we had an undocumented subject here in the middle of the U.S., breaking the law, putting our law enforcement personnel and others on the road at terrible risk.

I think DUI is one of the offenses that results in quick deportation, so this guy probably got a free trip home when he was released from the hospital.

Please don't ask me who paid for his hospital care,
(and the huge bill for the EMS helicopter!)


All in all, it was an interesting, albeit frustrating, night.



15 June 2006

Just Sayin'......(Revised!)


(Updated 18 June, at 2035 local time.)

Boy, this didn't turn out as I had planned at all!

I guess I was a little too cute for my own good.
Only TWD, who had seen my analogy before, picked up on my theme.
So let me illuminate the actors in my play, and see if you have anything to add:

The part of "The High Risk Neighborhood" will be played by Planet Earth.

"My Family" will be played by the US of A.
"Area Gangs" will be ably played by Islamic Fundamentalists.
The part of "The Neighbors" will be played by Iraqis, Afghanis, and Israelis.
My "wife" will be played by The Democrat Party.
The local news media will be played by CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, and The New York Times.

Now, re-read my analogy, and give me your comments, please.




I've used a similar analogy before, in comments over at THIRDWAVEDAVE.
I think it's fitting to use it again here, hopefully to prod a little discussion.

Starting off, let's assume I live in a "high risk" neighborhood.
Crimes are committed around my home frequently, but mostly it's stuff that damages my home in a minor way, and I ignore it.....accepting it as "dues" to live in the area.
But I begin to hear rumors that area gangs are planning something that will hurt me or my family. These rumors come often, and are serious enough that I am moved to call my neighbors together to form a "neighborhood watch".
I also put an excellent security system in and around my home.

My plans attract enough attention to bring the news media around for interviews. They interview my whole family, and the neighbors, to get a feel for how we are all affected by the stress of living in this area. We all agree that the neighborhood is worth saving, but it's comforting that neighbors seem to have coalesced into a unit that will help resolve the problem. We like the area, and would like to stay.

Gangs watch the news. They identify us as the leadership that may cause them to lose their power in our neighborhood.

The next night, a brick is thrown through our picture window. The act is caught on one of our security cameras.......the perpetrator is identified and arrested......one less thug to cause problems!

The following week, a fire bomb is thrown against our house. The neighborhood watch does it's job.........the Fire Department is quickly alerted, and the fire is put out with only minor damage to our home.

The following day, the news media shows up again, and in an interview, my wife admits that she has doubts about being able to withstand the stress of staying in our beloved home if this vandalism continues.

I'm flabbergasted.
The neighbors express dismay, and are fearful we, who exposed them by getting them involved in the watch program, will leave them behind in an extremely dangerous situation.


Of course the attacks escalate. Although I plead with my wife not to show weakness, the news media follows her and does an ambush interview at the Supermarket. To them, she then states that if the attacks don't stop soon, she will force me to move our family at the end of the month.
This story airs over all the local news outlets.

How do you think this story will end?

10 June 2006

"She's Real Fine....."

I'll bet many of you reading my title finished that sentence, didn't you?
I bet also that you finished it by singing it to yourself!

"4-0-9".....
Not
one of my favorite Beach Boys tunes.
It was catchy and fun.
You still hear it now and then,
not because it was a great song, but because it was done by a great group.

"The Beach Boys" were, and are, one of my favorite groups.
I think they're underrated by many.........
Not the Beatles, who were motivated to produce "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" after hearing "Pet Sounds" by the Beach Boys.
During turbulent times growing up, the Beach Boys took what was in my head and put it on the radio.

Brian Wilson, Beach Boy #1, was a genius.
The harmonies he molded, using his brothers, a cousin, and a friend, were fabulous. Combined with a simple but well written verse, you've got music that will stand up for years.

Go back now and listen to "In My Room".
What a great song:

"In this world I lock out all my worries and my fears,
In my room."

Did your room ever feel like sanctuary when you were growing up?
Mine sure did. And the harmonies on the song are breathtaking. Brian put my thoughts to simple, wonderful, words and music.

A couple posts ago I wrote about the "Oldies" DJ I used to listen to on Monday nights. One of the love songs I used to request and dedicate to Sara Jean was "God Only Knows":

"If you should ever leave me,
My life would still go on, believe me.
The world could show nothing to me,
So what good would living do me?
God only knows what I'd be without you!"


Wow.
All my adult life I've envied Brian Wilson's ability to not only write those words, but put them to music that brings tears to my eyes.

On a more upbeat note, musically, there's
"Wouldn't it be nice?"
I think these words illustrate the huge change that has taken place in our attitude towards sex, marriage, and relationships:

"Wouldn't it be nice if we could wake up
In the morning when the day is new
And after having spent the day together
Hold each other close the whole night through?"

A catchy, upbeat tune........ but as a young man with hormones beginning to rage, I could easily identify with the accompanying words!
Part of my attraction to the song is the fact that it sprang in what seemed to be a simpler, more structured time, when there were unwritten rules about what was, (AND WAS NOT) supposed to happen when "Boy meets Girl."

Music from the mid-60's through the mid-70's tells much of the story and mood of our time. I think some of it is truly classic, and will still be getting airtime when many of us are motivating from point A to point B on our "hover-rounds".

Late 60's Beach Boys stuff, when Brian began to experiment with drugs, confuses me. No longer simple, the music is strange....more complex, and doesn't stay in my head. But the early stuff, when he was still thinking like a teenager and writing for them/us, is unforgettable!

07 June 2006

8 Jun 69

Morning...
Hot.
Humid.
Sticky.

We had electric fans hung on the walls over our heads, and they were the only thing that made sleeping possible when the Monsoons ended in Viet Nam.

I was the standby pilot.
Being on standby meant you likely would not fly, but had to be ready at a moment's notice.
Whether I was scheduled to fly or on standby, I always got up early and hit the mess hall to get my fair share of reconstituted eggs.
YUCK!

Sitting on the edge of my bed, wiping sleep out of my eyes, I heard a strange sound......
shyoo................shyoo.............shyoo, shyoo............shyoo, shyoo, shyoo, shyoo, shyoo, ........shyoo!
The sound was a little like popping the top on a can of soda, only from far away.

Puzzled, I looked over at "Snag". He was scheduled to fly and was also getting dressed for his fair share of eggs.

"What the heck was that?"

"I dunno."


WHOOMP!
WHOOMP, WHOOMP, WHOOMP!

Without question, these were the loudest explosions I had EVER heard,
close enough to suck the air from your lungs.
I sprang from the bed, still undressed, and ran for the back door of the hooch hoping to reach the safety of our bunker, just in time to see a bright orange explosion hit the South China Sea.
The explosion sent a spray of water 100' into the air.

I laid down just inside the back door, covered my head, and waited for the fireworks to stop.

I have no way of knowing how many 122 mm. Katusa rockets they launched at us that day...
Too many, whatever the number.
When they quit falling we surveyed the local damage:
Slight schrapnel damage to three helicopters,
A jeep gas tank ruptured, which promptly caught fire.
Our flightline latrine knocked off it's foundation and onto it's side, carrying Specialist Carmichael along with it.
Miraculously, he is shaken but unhurt.

We later get the news:
The 312th Evac Hospital took a direct hit.
Two are dead there... one is a Nurse.

The picture you see above is Lt. Sharon Ann Lane.
Trying to bring comfort and healing,
she is the only woman killed due to enemy fire in the Viet Nam war.There is a nice tribute to Lt. Lane
at this site.
Go and read it.
Nurses... all of 'em... are Angels.

8 June 1969...
The most terrifying day of my life.

06 June 2006

The End is Near!

Are you upset about Global warming?

Take a look at this:

"To scientists, these seemingly disparate incidents represent the advance signs of fundamental changes in the world’s weather. The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth’s climate seems to be cooling down."

Huh?

That was in April, 1975! You can read the whole article about how scientists were sure Floridians would be breaking icicles off their roofs here:

http://denisdutton.com/cooling_world.htm

The long and the short of it?
Don't worry, Be happy!

02 June 2006

WOLD

"I am the morning DJ, on WOLD!"

Harry Chapin was one of my favorites.
He's the subject for a whole 'nother post......at another time.

But I do want to talk about radio......
Big Bubba is a DJ at the local radio station.

We are literally close enough to go out in the back yard and see the top of the antenna, about a mile away.

It used to be an AM/FM station.
The ownership is sucking it dry.....they sold off the FM frequency to a Christian broadcasting outfit. The station is beginning to look rundown. They're not putting money back into the business, and I can't imagine the doors still being open in 10 years.
And what a shame!
A few years ago, they lost one of the things I loved most about this little town.......

For several years there was a guy that worked part-time as a DJ at dances and special events. He had an Oldies program on this station from 7 P.M. to 11 P.M. on Monday nights. He'd arrive at the station and back his Van up to the front door so he had easy access to his incredible collection of "Oldies". He concentrated on music from the 50's, 60's, and 70's, and he took requests.

The hour from 10 to 11 P.M. was always devoted to love songs.
(Sometime during that hour, I always called and dedicated "The Air That I Breathe" by "The Hollies" to Sarah Jean.)

During the Summer, I planned my Monday nights around sitting on the patio with the radio turned up loud, beer on ice, and cordless phone within easy reach.

I'd pop the top on the first beer at 7.
Each hour, I allowed myself one beer and one request.
In mid-Summer you'd be facing two hours of daylight at the start of the show, so Beach Boys music was in order.

Mood, weather, and current events would affect my requests,
but he never failed me:
Johnny Rivers,
The Buckinghams,
The Electric Prunes,
The Association,
The Easybeats,
Beatles, Rolling Stones, Moody Blues.
I'd request it.......he'd play it within two songs......like clockwork!

By the time 11 P.M. rolled around, I was always melancholy-happy.
ALWAYS!

In this little town, it was like having a personal DJ who could play every song you ever wanted to hear.
Unbelievable.

Oldies stations still abound......
That's no problem. But for the most part they have a "playlist" they follow.
If I call and request a tune, they don't always have it.......
and even if they do, it may take them half an hour or more to play it.

No more lookin' forward to Monday nights......
They're just a fond memory now,
like "Too Much Talk, and Not Enough Action"
by "Paul Revere and the Raiders"!