Flock of Seagulls…

I was feeling fine when I went to bed last night, but woke up around 3:30 with a cough and sinus stuff going on. All very unpleasant. Even more unpleasant, of course, is that once I’m awake, the chances of actually going back to sleep hover between slim and none. So, reaching for the book I have been working on, I decided to prop myself up with a cup of coffee and read a bit. I don’t get the uninterrupted time to read that I use to, so I am still plowing through Castles of Steel, a really well-written analysis of British versus German fleet action during World War I.

Apparently, during the Great War, the Brits were working on a program that was supposed to train seagulls to poo on U-boat periscopes, preventing them from making torpedo attacks on commercial vessels making the run between England and the Americas. I’ve been working in government for a while now and we hear a lot of dumb ideas, but I’m having a hard time figuring out how someone could walk into a room of senior admirals of what was then the world’s most well-respected navy and recommend that enemy submarines could be defeated by having a flock of seagulls drop a duce right on their eyepiece. I haven’t decided if that was wishful thinking or just plain disturbing.

Oh, and for the record, I think I’ll be staying home today. I’m a half-dozen pages into Jutland and want to see how it turns out… well, that and every time I move my head I can actually feel my brain banging around. Sinus pressure blows.

Snarl…

Here’s a breakdown of three recent charges on my debit card…

– DirecTV = $170.15
– Direct Insurance = $168.75
– AT&T prepaid cell phones (3) = $87.93.

The problem is mainly that none of those charges was actually mine. So, currently I have $1 in my wallet along with a debit card that is deactivated. I have a police report that I can pick up tomorrow afternoon, and Bank of America looking into the situation. Fortunately, they were nice enough to credit my account after I filled out an affidavit and faxed it back to them this morning.

I talked to a “fraud specialist” with AT&T this afternoon who was able to tell me that the charges were made by someone using the name “Jackie.” They declined to give me any more information about the individual until I fax them a copy of the police report. So, Jackie, hear this… I’m coming for you. And when I find you, I’m going to latch on like a bulldog and make your life absolutely miserable. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to loose months of frustration on a singularly deserving target.

The Glorious Fourth…

We live in troubled times. Love of country is seen as the exclusive province of the closed-minded and Patriots are derided as jingoistic bombasts. The good that America has done and continues to do in the world is swept under the rug in favor of discussions on where our steps have faltered. The long list of our national accomplishments are pushed aside and only our mistakes are held up to the light of public scrutiny.

Two hundred thirty one years ago, 55 patriots, working under conditions of secrecy and in contravention of the instructions that had brought them together, voted for independence from Great Britain. Those colonials, mistreated and abused by the king’s government, launched the world’s greatest experiment in representative democracy. We fought a great civil war to determine if such a nation could endure. In the century just passed, we fought two world wars to ensure that this legacy of freedom did not perish and a long cold war that pitted America against the forces of an evil empire. Now, America’s bravest sons and daughters stand post in places with names like Kabul and Tikrit, just as their predecessors held the line in the la Drang Valley, at the Chosin Reservoir, in the snows of Bastogne, and the muddy trenches of the Marne.

Today is Independence Day and I remain committed to the proposition that our country, warts and all, remains the last, best hope of earth; that, as it was at the beginning, it is a shining city upon a hill.

A Sunday Driver…

Good morning, Mr. Minivan Driver. I know what you were thinking this morning just before you heard my breaks lock up and screech as I swerved to avoid plowing into the left rear quarter of your lovely late model suburban nightmare: “Oh my goodness… We’re going to be late for church so I’d better cut across three lanes of traffic to get into the turn lane.” I don’t want to bring up the fact that you were turning from a side street when your signal was red, so you would have had plenty of time to observe my distance to the intersection you wanted to cross closing rapidly. And still, you, Mr. I’m proud of my Cub Scout, bravely dismissed onrushing traffic as not even an inconvenience to your plans. Apparently, there is no connection between being proud of a Cub Scout and having a clue how to drive the family truckster. That’s too bad, really. You could obviously use as much luck as you can find.

I don’t know if you noticed, but I honked and waived at you when I passed. I’m pretty sure your wife noticed, though I’m not sure if she was annoyed with me or you. Probably it was me, because I’m sure you don’t do anything wrong, what with your hurrying to get the family to church and all. Just so you know, I usually wave with my whole hand, but I made an exception for you and the kids this morning. One finger seemed sufficient to express this particular greeting.

I know it’s probably unseemly to pray for yourself… kind of like telling friends what to get you for your birthday… but maybe while you’re communing with the Almighty, you could slip in a small request from me that he send you a some small semblance of a clue. Asshat.