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  • There are few things in life more relaxing than sitting on a porch swing, listening to a hard rain fall on a lake, and reading a good book.
  • Either teenagers or raccoons raided the cooler we left on the cabin porch last night, because I awoke to find all of our beer gone.
    • I have a mental image of a couple of fuzzy masked bandits sitting up against a tree, a pile of empty Leinenkugel bottles at their feet, just talking about how great life is.
  • Canned, iced coffee just isn’t a very good substitute for fresh brewed.
    • But, in the words of one of my grandmothers, it’s better than nothing.
  • For a weekend at the lake where we tried to not haul a bunch of our camping stuff there and back, we sure seemed to haul a lot of stuff there and back.
  • Irish Woman and I have decided that we really like the little two room cabins at the state park we visited. If we were going to construct something like it for ourselves, thought, we’d add a bathroom and a kitchen.
    • I don’t mind cooking outside, but the 15 minute walk, in the dark, to get to the restroom was less than optimal.
    • I know, I know, bear, woods, whatever.
  • At the end of these weekends, when everyone is trying to get out of the campground at the same time, I always wonder if the temperature and chemistry of the lake changes as a couple hundred coolers are either drained or emptied into it.

Repost – This We’ll Defend

When someone wants to protest the government, whether we agree with them or not, this we’ll defend.

When a citizen wants to vote, no matter for whom or what, this we’ll defend.

When a mother wants to buy a gun to protect her children, this we’ll defend.

When someone wants to worship, or chooses not to, this we’ll defend.

When someone wants to write, or sing, or draw, or paint, or dance, whether it be for the joy of it or to send a message to the rest of us, this we’ll defend.

When our people want to live in peace, in security, in freedom, this we’ll defend.

Today is the 243th anniversary of the establishment of the United States Army.   It’s been made up of larger than life heroes and ordinary folk.  Our ranks have included Douglas MacArthur, Andrew Jackson, Audie Murphy, and Nathan Hale.  They have also included the quiet men and women who go to do their duty and then come back to build up that which they have defended.  Our places have names like Valley Forge, Omaha Beach, Pusan, Ia Drang, and Antietam.  They also have names like Grafenwohr, Camp Red Cloud, Hood, Riley, Carson, and Lewis, and all the other cold, hot, dusty, wet, and whatever-else they-can-throw-at-us places around the world where quiet professionals train and prepare.

To my brothers and sisters around the world, I’ll be raising a toast tonight.  If you can, please join me.




Climb To Glory

Iron Soldiers!

Toujours Pret

Always Out Front

This We’ll Defend


  • Sometimes, there isn’t a trick to doing something.  Sometimes, you just have to pay attention to what you’re doing and execute.
    • Following directions never hurts, either.
    • Neither does a bit of practice.
  • Nothing  brings a couple of neighbors together like seeing a third neighbor doing trauma care on a labrador retriever on his porch at nine o’clock on a Friday night.
  • Our blueberries are coming on strong this year.  Irish Woman has done everything except sit in a blind with a shotgun to keep the birds off of them.
    • She did not seem surprised to find out that Crash the Psychotic Feline was less than helpful when harvesting blueberries.
  • Having a few hours of mandatory training that needed to get done soon gave me something to do between conference calls.
    • I tell ya, there’s never a dull moment around here.
  • Either the whitetails are doing really well this year, or I almost hit a tan wildebeest on the way home from work on Saturday evening.
  • Is it a sign of old age when you find an old scar and can’t remember where you got it?


  • We were about ten minutes out from the vet’s office when the doggie downers hit Moonshine.  He slowly turned his head away from the view of the countryside whipping by and looked at me as if to say, “We can’t stop here.  This is cat country.”
    • He’s fine.  He just slept for about 8 hours after we got home.
  • Strategic thinking – Waiting until you’ve taken both dogs to the vet before doing the summer vacuum and scrub of the truck.
  • There’s just something so romantic about walking up behind your wife and wrapping your arms around her, then bringing your lips close to her ear and softly whispering, “I bought you a new weedwhacker.”
  • I’m not saying that we put out a lot of stuff out on the curb this week, but I’m pretty sure the garbage man put an ancient and powerful curse on the next few generations of our family.
  • New house rule – If a book exists for a given movie, Boo must read said book before he is allowed to watch it.


  • Every time we use it, the pressure washer becomes more and more of a good investment.
    • Of course, since it was Irish Woman using it this afternoon, it seemed like an excellent investment to me.
  • Irish Woman has exquisite timing.  She finished planting the last plant in the garden just as the first peal of thunder broke the afternoon quiet and the first drops of rain splatted down upon her head.
  • In related news, there’s nothing like trying to grill hamburgers during a thunderstorm.
    • If you came to my cookout during the Louisville NRAAM a couple of years ago, it was a lot like that.
  • What does it say about me that I was happier about a new pair of high-top Chuck Taylor Converse tennis shoes than a new iPad today?


  • Before the rumors start to spread, I need to make a few things clear:
    • Yes I climbed a tree.  I used a ladder to get into the branches and then went up about ten feet.
      • I was trying to bring down a fallen branch that was hooked up there so that it didn’t fall and impale somebody.
    • Yes, I fell out of the tree.  It was about 8 feet and I slowed my descent by catching the last branch and holding on for dear life.
      • I may or may not have bounced against several other branches on the way down, but that’s beside the point.
    • Yes, I landed on my feet and did not fall over.
      • I even remembered to flex my knees, for which I am proud of myself.
    • No, I did not injure my right shoulder.
      • I injured that shoulder decades ago.  The correct word to use is “re-injured”.
    • No, I did not go to the hospital to get checked out.
    • Yes, I have full use of my arm.
      • No, I am not gritting my teeth to do so.  Not much, anyway.
    • Yes, I did some self care.
      • Two Aleve and a grapefruit seltzer
  • In totally unrelated news, Irish Woman has started casting “Banish to Urgent Care” at me every fifteen minutes or so.  Thus far, I’ve made my saving throw against it, probably because of my +2 Amulet of Pigheadedness.
  • I watched my little brother graduate from college over the Internet this afternoon. To nobody’s surprise, they mispronounced his name.
    • Oh well, his degree’s just as good with or without an announcer who can be arsed to find out how to say a name that’s not Hispanic or Anglo-Saxon.


  • The defining feature of an excellent vacuum cleaner is not in how powerful it is, nor is it in its variety of attachments and capabilities.  No, dear reader, the truly defining feature of an excellent vacuum cleaner is the ease of dismantling it so that a clog the size of a small raccoon can be cleared.
  • The little area that includes the place where New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut come together is quite pretty. I got an excellent chance to appreciate its beauty when we took a wrong turn on our way to the airport and didn’t realize it for thirty miles.
    • Since my previous experience with New Jersey was Newark and Monmouth, I was pleasantly surprised to spend a week surrounded by woods and pleasant people.
  • One good part of flying from a small airport is the speed at which you can get through it.  It only took about fifteen minutes to turn in the rental car, check my bag, get through security, and have a seat at my gate.
  • Chicago O’Hare, on the other hand, is a sprawling mess that really just needs to declare its independence and hold elections so that the poor souls trapped there for eternity can at least get a bit of representative government.
  • After finishing a long, rather tense couple of days worth of work, I decided to reward myself with a recorded German soccer match on TV, a cold Shiner, and a Dove chocolate bar.
    • I may be a bit of a redneck, but I’m a cultured redneck.

Derby Rumblings

  • Kentucky Derby coverage in Louisville started just about the time most of the folks who celebrated the Kentucky Oaks last night were prying their bloodshot eyes open and trying to figure out what happened to their pants.
    • The local coverage wasn’t too bad, but I’ve been advised by legal counsel not to comment on the folks NBC sent to Louisville.  What I have to say might be considered a hate crime.
  • It’s been raining off and on all day.  Racing officials have changed the track conditions from “sloppy” to “snorkel”.
    • Looking at the conditions, track veterinarians have decided that the biggest risk to the horses today is trenchfoot.
  • Irish Woman broke out the funny money to teach Boo about odds, win/place/show, and how much it sucks when you take the grocery money to the track.
    • Apparently, it’s a family tradition.  Her uncle, the Jesuit priest, used to take her to Churchill Downs all the time.
  • One of the local news critters says that people at the Derby will consume approximately 60 barrels worth of Woodford Reserve bourbon today.  That’s only slightly more alcohol than the average Army division consumes after it returns from its latest deployment.
  • By 3 PM, I was ready to send Boo to stand out in the rain until he stopped singing “My Old Kentucky Home”.
    • It’s a beautiful song, but I am sick unto death of it.
  • Irish Woman has announced that she wishes to attend the Derby next year.  If I start auctioning off redundant organs now, I’ll only have to take out one additional mortgage to make this happen.
  • The roses for the winner were carried and escorted across the track by Navy folks in their summer whites.
    • Nothing says “military logic” like having a bunch of folks walk across a muddy, nasty horse track in clothing that has to be perfectly white in order to be worn.
  • The Irish gentleman who is here with Mendelssohn is looking around as if he were thinking “Look at all those drunk bastards!”.  That says a lot.
  • The horses and jockeys looked so clean when they left the paddock, but that didn’t last long.
    • If Audible can get in on this, Tide should be able to really get their advertising hooks even deeper.
  • We decided to get a treat for dinner from Claudia Sanders tonight.  I have never been so loved as when I ran the feline gauntlet between the truck and the house.


  • Contrary to popular belief, I am not allowed to ask a Cub Scout, who is advancing from one den to the next, if he would like ‘Blood Rank’.
  • We took Boo to Churchill Downs this morning before school.
    • He got to see the sunrise over the haze wafting up from the city, the Derby and Oaks horses getting their morning exercise, and his father before coffee.
    • Speaking of which, I’m refraining from commenting on the coffee the Downs serves its paying customers.  I may be old and weak myself someday.
  • Another idea flew across my mind today: The tale of a mysterious stranger who walks into a North Dakota town during a February blizzard.  He brings with him an iron will, a fast gun hand, and a coffeecake.  He is… High Plains Lutheran.
    • It’s ideas like this that kept me out of the officer ranks.
  • How many calories does chasing your tail, or a wild goose, burn per hour?
    • If I have many more days like I did today, I’m going to be back to my ideal weight in no time.


  • I’m about to make the characters in the three stories I’m trying to write an offer they can’t refuse.
    • Either their dialogue or their brains are going to be on the written page by the time I’m done.
    • I can be their best friend and let them live happily ever after, or I can be a real mean sumbich.
  • I have been informed that I am not allowed to heckle while watching a mini-series about the Bible.
  • It’s not often that I can pinpoint, years later, the exact person who messed up and the exact moment they demonstrated their incompetence, but when I can, it is oh, so very satisfying.
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