I find most jobs interesting. Realtor, truck driver, UPS delivery guy- these do not bore me in the slightest. What does not sound interesting: working on Wall Street. I am far from an Occupy type, but the thought of working the stock market in a formalized structure such as that found on the Street does not grab me. The same with brokerages, commodities trading, all that. I could imagine enjoying it if I was some rogue trader living in the wilds of Idaho, connected to the markets through the miracles of the internet. But stuffed in an office, working 16 hour days, no thanks. One more to add to my no-no list is working for the Postal Service remote encoding center in Salt Lake City. I’d go mentally postal. The common denominator in these observations on work is workplace environment. That where I work is as important as the job itself. And the Navy satisfies all those concerns.
I must salute Police officer Brandon O’Neill. Either he ripped the flag off the side of his (or someone else’s) house or he bought a new flag and left the attachment on the bottom. Although it is, as my conscience is loudly reminding me, not the time for humor. Or is it?
Did we, as a country, over-react to the situation in Boston this last week? Did we brand it terrorism too quickly? I don’t think so, but some folks do:
The actions allegedly committed by the Boston marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, were heinous. Four people dead and more than 100 wounded, some with shredded and amputated limbs.
But Londoners, who endured IRA terror for years, might be forgiven for thinking that America over-reacted just a tad to the goings-on in Boston. They’re right – and then some. What we saw was a collective freak-out like few that we’ve seen previously in the United States. It was yet another depressing reminder that more than 11 years after 9/11 Americans still allow themselves to be easily and willingly cowed by the “threat” of terrorism.
After all, it’s not as if this is the first time that homicidal killers have been on the loose in a major American city. In 2002, Washington DC was terrorised by two roving snipers, who randomly shot and killed 10 people. In February, a disgruntled police officer, Christopher Dorner, murdered four people over several days in Los Angeles. In neither case was LA or DC put on lockdown mode, perhaps because neither of these sprees was branded with that magically evocative and seemingly terrifying word for Americans, terrorism.
A seemingly terrifying word? Gimme a break. . .
To the surprised lady in the grocery-store parking lot this afternoon. When someone brings their hand up quickly in the manner that you did, I assumed (incorrectly) that you were saluting. Every now and then I get salutes from civvies. Mostly from kids, who I always salute back. That said, I gave you a nice, crisp one. How was I supposed to know you were shielding the sun from your eyes? I am either well-trained or stupidly robotic. Or both.
To the also-surprised lady, trailing twenty feet behind the first surprised lady. No, the Navy is not desperately recruiting insane people. I was chortling and giggling to myself because, ah well, just read the above story like everyone else. . .
To the two prior linguists, now Navy Lieutenants (one of whom I briefed this morning and the other whom I ran into after my brief): pretty neat they let linguists do what we do, eh? To the first, a Somali linguist, how do you like me calling you out and asking how you were in the middle of my brief to twenty-five folks? And incorporating your experience to answer a question? And we’ve not spoken in nine years! And to the second, sorry I thought you were a Chinese linguist. You were my next-door neighbor in the barracks, you would think I would remember you were an Arabic linguist. Marahaban, ya ach!
To my gym buddy, the retired Marine Corps Sergeant Major whom I chatted with early this morning. It is sad we face suicide in military. And you are right, it is not an epidemic. That story you told me about seeing a guy hanging by his bedsheets out the window, in 1950, really saddened me. As did the story of the Army private who shot his rifle cleaning-rod through the back of his throat.
To the owner of that Argentinian restaurant, I did not know that Pope Francis had a connection to the Peróns. I do, however, feel terrible about singing that song in your place of business. It was a natural response once you said Perón. (For context: please read the first story about me saluting. I am like a trained dog. You say Perón, I try not to cry.) Thanks for the comped garlic fries. I’ll never hum that tune in your restaurant again. (Prometo solemnemente no volver a cantar. La verdad es que nunca te dejé A lo largo de mis días salvajes. . .)
There is more to this story then the teaser: Cynthia May Chessman and Michael Morton met after a church meeting, but she had been praying for his release from prison for years.
I’ve held between 35 and 40 jobs in my life. I started working when I was 14 and have maintained a job steadily (with the exception of a semester in college and six weeks during a move to another state) since then. Most of my life, I’ve had two or three jobs at once. Only by joining the Navy have I been able to focus on one career.
When I read the story of Jhaqueil Reagan of Indianapolis, Indiana, I knew the details before I reached the end. I’ve been blessed by a couple of Art Bouviers (from the restaurant Papa Roux) like Jhaq has. These are great Americans. We work in this country.
On a related topic, I serve with a Navy civilian who started interviewing for weekend retail jobs. If the furloughs happen (due to sequestration), she will not be able to weather the 20% pay cut. And she must sell clothes to make ends meet.
Oxnard Union High School has a bunch of patriotic students on their hands. God forbid that kids these days might actually love their country. Not that Gabe Soumakian cares:
Four California high-school students were reportedly suspended for chanting “U.S.A! U.S.A!” and wearing American flag bandanas during a basketball game. While their punishment has since been rescinded, school administrators said “the incident is far from over.”
Oxnard Union School District superintendent Gabe Soumakian told Fox News Radio that “we need to pursue this further” and “work with teachers and students and the community about the concept of cultural proficiency.” Soumakian and Camarillo High School principal Glenn Lipman felt that the students’ actions might have had racist undertones since the schools have large Hispanic student populations.
“We wanted to make sure [their actions weren't] racially motivated, and I told the kids I just want to be sensitive to the feelings of everybody,” Lipman said. “If we’re doing it for patriotism, that’s fine. But if we’re doing it for something else that’s racially motivated, I’m not going to allow that.”
We can forgive Cali-land, right? This would never happen in Texas:
A Texas school district has filed a complaint alleging that students from a rival school engaged in racism by chanting “USA, USA” at a basketball game. The students involved in the incident were reprimanded and forced to apologize.
The San Antonio Independent School District filed the complaint with the University Interscholastic League, the governing body for athletics in Texas.
They allege that students at Alamo Heights High School began chanting “USA, USA” after they defeated Edison High School to win a region basketball championship.
Edison’s team is predominantly Hispanic, said Leslie Price, a spokesperson for the San Antonio ISD.
Nevermind. . .
Tony, some loving advice from the person who cares for you most in the world, Oriales García Rubio said in Spanish. Don’t mess with the immigrants, my son. Please, don’t mess with them.
Trending in the news this morning are two notable deaths. James Hood was one of two students (along with Vivian Juanita Malone Jones) that George Wallace faced down at the University of Alabama. I respect James Hood, for his calls of forgiveness and moderation. Like this picture with George Wallace much later in life. Robert Chew was an accomplished actor who played Proposition Joe on the HBO series The Wire. Which I’ve never seen. Although some of the Sailors at an old Navy command (three commands ago, yikes) could not stop talking about it. (Note: old Navy, not Old Navy. My old Navy. Not the clothes store Old Navy. Or the British offshoot Olde Shiver Me Timbers Navy.)
Navy Times is offering a free I Served (in) Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, or Desert Storm sticker for all those who have served.
I’ll bet I know of one person who does not want the sticker, the Chapin High School English teacher (South Carolina) who repeatedly stomped on the flag in class to make a point.
Please ignore my pet peeve of folks misspelling or misidentifying Berkeley in the comments. Like Sergeant First Class Brice Harris who calls it UCLA-Berkeley. C’mon SFC, I expect better. Two separate schools, Berkeley and UCLA. Separated by almost 400 miles!
Whatever you do this Christmas, please do not add fertilizer to your Christmas tree water. Patrick Kruger, who lives in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood, found out the hard way that adding Miracle Grow could have disastrous consequences:
Ever wonder where the Rockefeller Plaza Christmas tree comes from? This year it was felled from the home of Joseph Balku in Flanders, N.J. And driven over to the Big Apple:
A day ago Joseph Balku’s Norway Spruce stood 80-feet tall outside his home in Flanders, N.J. Today it is 50 miles away, the new holiday centerpiece of New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza (also home to NBC News).
Over the next two weeks, the tree will be decorated with more than 30,000 multi-colored lights on 5-miles of wire. The 80-year old tree has added meaning, it has been dubbed a “Sandy survivor,” coming from an area affected by the recent storm that wreaked havoc across the Northeast. According to AP:
Balku says he watched the tree, which weighs 10 tons and is 50 feet in diameter, as it swayed in the backyard of his Mount Olive property. Balku says it had been bundled for protection. He lost two other trees and just got electricity back over the weekend.
Good idea bundling the tree. Let’s hope he did the same with his mother-in-law.
The word Latif means nice in Arabic (لطيف.) I wonder whether Yunus Latif is living up to his name by hoarding gas. Or is it another crime he is guilty of:
Police arrested a 47-year-old New York man accused of filling up 30 five-gallon Home Depot buckets with gasoline on Saturday night.
According to investigators, Yunus Latif, of Richmond Hill, collected money from his neighbors, bought gas at a Valero station almost 80 miles away in Orange and planned to bring it back to his neighborhood, where they had no power and gas.
The real crime of Mr. Yunus Latif is transporting gas in buckets in the back of his car, not hoarding the fuel. After all, he was going to be latif and pass it out, no?