Large groups and pigs…

Receiving guidance from on high is always exciting… Especially when no one is asking for it. Guidance on how to deal with the impending arrival of the swine flu is even better, if only for the comic value of the United States Government cowering in the face of something that caused fewer deaths this week than drunk drivers have this afternoon. After vast sums spent on Defense and Homeland Security, the best we’ve come up with is an advisory for personnel to “avoid large crowds and pigs.” Give me a roll of duct tape and a few plstic sheets and we should be good to go.

Prep work…

There are some who would call me a bit of a neat freak. It’s a habit that with the exception of my brief residence in a run-down apartment on Center Street in Frostburg, I’ve had all my life as far as I can remember. It’s probably a mild form of OCD, but it works for me. The real reason for the pull out the stops cleaning and straightening extravaganza this weekend is the impending visit from my mother… Who is probably the root cause of my neatnik tendencies. Seriously, the lady keeps a house straight like nobody’s business. In an effort to keep her from spending the entire visit cleaning, I’ve kicked it into overdrive this weekend. The living room didn’t get dusted, though, and there’ll probably be hell to pay for that, but overall the place looks to be in good shape and is probably cleaner than it’s been since the last time she was here.

Of course the dining room that is now home to two ridiculously large wire dog crates (and no dining room table) will probably get a look or two. It’s hard to believe that with me and two dogs living here, a three bedroom house doesn’t seem to have enough room… In a pinch I guess I could forgo the home office, but other than the kitchen, it’s probably the room that gets the most use.

I suppose that’s my round about way of saying that after all the prep work my mom will be visiting for the week… I’m sure you can expect a story or two as two seriously hard-headed people live once more under one roof and as she works through first time jitters of flying without someone else along with her. Do you suppose it’s inappropriate to through out the “my house, my rules” line at least once? But seriously, I don’t make it home nearly as often as I’d like to… so sometimes it’s nice when home comes to me.

Interviews…

The federal hiring process is FUBAR, that’s a given. It takes months to hire a single position which basically ensures your first pick candidate will have had another offer by the time you’ve made a selection. This basically sets the stage for wading into the middling candidates to make a selection. I’m sitting on six interview pannels between 8 and 12 tomorrow… And not even for my own positions. If there was ever a case for being driven to drink your lunch, tomorrow would be it.

It’s not “Remember the Maine,” but on short notice it’s the best I could do…

I’m over the quaintness of there being 21st century pirates. It was high drama for a week, but going into week two with stories of their attacking more American vessels has ceased to be entertaining at any level. The US government needs to call these “pirates” what they are: terrorists. With that understanding clear, the president must then deploy an American fleet to blockade the ports of Somalia and provide sufficient air and surface assets to escort American and allied shipping through the area. We’re not unfamiliar with such operations and successfully escorted tankers through hostile waters in the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq war.

Since the dawn of the age of sail, the responsibility to maintain and protect the sanctity of free-travel on the high seas has fallen to the great powers. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the British Navy held the wolves at bay with wooden walls and hearts of oak. In the 20th century, the US Navy projected its power across the seas and far inland. In the 21st century, we must send the message with clarity of purpose that America and its allies will not quietly abide disruption of the free flow of free men. Simply stated, we must close with and destroy the enemy. Failure to carry out this program, sends a tragic signal that the free nations of the world have grown so soft and so willing to compromise the essential elements of freedom that they would rather pay millions and tribute to petty gangsters than engage in the difficult work of preserving and extending the liberty that so many have already sacrificed to establish.

The gray flannel suit…

For someone who has always valued the solidity of a good plan, I’m actually a little disturbed at how competent I’ve become in the art of just winging it. I wouldn’t say I was unprepared for the project that I was working on today, as I helped put most of the groundwork for it in place three years ago… But as far as any actual special prep work for today’s session, I hadn’t spent a lick of time preparing or even thinking about it. Maybe it’s some kind of auto-pilot for career bureaucrats. Whatever the case, I’m pleased to report that it almost sounds like we have half a plan put together and that we are closer now to the future than we’ve ever been before. Now all I need to do is survive three more days with the contractors without bludgeoning myself into unconsciousness. In all seriousness, they’re good at what they’re doing, but it’s a tune I’ve heard before and it seems the further I get along into my career the less I’m interested in how people are going to do things and the more I just want to see them getting done on time. Color me a man in a gray flannel suit.

To be determined…

This is usually the time of year when I turn my attention and this blog toward the uncertainty I feel when tackling issues of organized religion. In the spirit of not repeating myself more often than is necessary, however, I’ll limit myself to wishing each and every one a happy and safe Easter, or Passover, or spring fertility rite, or whatever it is you’ve been celebrating. As for me, I’ll stick with keeping my own counsel.

Hanging fire…

I’ve been holding off on saying anything in the hopes that the overwhelming force of the US Navy would resolve the pirate issue. Alas, it appears four guys in a rowboat and a couple of AK-47s is enough to hold off the Navy, the FBI, the Department of State, and everyone except the French special forces. I’ll bet the Russians feel silly for spending all that money keeping up with us in nuclear weapons for all those years. Can someone tell me why this has been allowed to go on… And on… And on. Just for re record, if I’m ever being held hostage in a rowboat, let the SEALS do their thing. I’ll take my chances, thanks.