I wrote this in June of 2010, not long after the published apology from Britain. It was a hard time in those days, and the events and the handling of those events have only made the chasm wider over the years. This apology, I think, was a good first step in the right direction for both countries to come to a peaceable impasse. It was however, several years late in the coming. – BS

 

Bloody Sunday Monument

Broken bottles under children’s feet
Bodies strewn across the dead end streets
But I won’t heed the battle call
It puts my back up, puts my back up against the wall

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

U2, Bloody Sunday

January 30, 1972
The Bogside area of Derry, in Northern Ireland.
On one side over 15,000 civil rights protesters against British rule.
On the other, British Para’s, the cream of the British Army.

In the outcome over 27 people shot, and 14 dead.

This was the time of Troubles in Ireland.

“… it is expedient that a Tribunal be established for inquiring into a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely the events on Sunday 30th January 1972 which led to loss of life in connection with the procession in Londonderry on that day, taking account of any new information relevant to events on that day”

Resolution of the House of Commons, 30th January 1998,
and of the House of Lords, 2nd February 1998

The world has changed since those days. Do not take this apology lightly my peers. Let us not return to those days of Belfast and yon. There need be no violence on this day. The point is made. They have admitted their errs. Use it to your advantage and push, politically, diplomatically for the freedom you have fought for.

But if we’ve learned one thing in these past years, is that bloodshed never washes away bloodshed.

Be better than that.

Be Irish.

A tribute to the victims:

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National Famine Memorial Cuimhneachán Náisiúnta ar an n Gorta Mór in Murrisk, Connacht, in County Mayo

(I first wrote this March of 2011. I’ve reposted it this month for our Irish Heritage celebration. Enjoy! – BS)

Coffin Ships are a rather sad part of Irish history. Originating during the Great Irish Famine, and of course the prison ships to Botany Bay. The first vessel with Irish convicts for Botany Bay arrived in Port Jackson on 26 September 1791.

They were called “coffin ships,” because so many poor souls had been dying on them as of late, leaving behind widows and orphans and broken families. Typically untrustworthy vessels, these ships were purchased literally from salvage yards (where they awaiting dismantling) by unscrupulous owners who had no intention of repairing them. Sailors who agreed to serve on board these floating wrecks typically knew nothing of the dangers until they were well out at sea, vagabonds, and those desperate for work (of which there were plenty) quickly volunteered.

Concerned only with profits, these same ship owners heavily overburdened the ships then insured them against expected losses of cargo. They were quite literally worth more at the bottom of the sea than upon it.

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(I first wrote this March of 2012. Each year I try to add at least one new story to my Irish History Celebration posts. I’ve reposted it this month for our Irish Heritage celebration. Enjoy! – BS)

The Famine began quite mysteriously in September 1845 as leaves on potato plants suddenly turned black and curled, then rotted, seemingly the result of a fog that had wafted across the fields of Ireland. I have been told that the cause was actually an airborne fungus originally transported in the holds of ships traveling from North America to England. Somewhat ironic then if you consider how many Irish families in turn fled to North America because of it. Let no one say we Irish have not had a sense of humor in the annuals of history.

In Any event, The Great Famine was a period of mass starvation, disease and emigration between 1845 and 1852. Outside of Ireland it is more commonly called The Irish Potatoe Famine. Within Ireland, and amongst my own family it was referred to as an Gorta Mór or great hunger.

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I wrote this in March of 2012 once it had finally settled in to my brain on the passing of Neptunus Lex. Brother in Arms, Brothers in Ink, Milblogger, and a man I’d like to consider a friend. I think it needs to be reposted as its that time of the year again.

It is Ireland’s sacred duty to send over, every few years, a playwright to save the English theatre from inarticulate glumness.
Kenneth Tynan, Observer, 27 May 1956

We didn’t send him to England. But really, for an Irishman there really isn’t much difference between death and Ireland.

For me, it didn’t really click until this morning.I had an eval with my current employer, I sat in front of my laptop at 4 o clock this morning with my coffee, and on impulse clicked Lex’s blog link from my bookmarks. My nerves akimbo. I wanted some peace.

Over the years the people I have known via websites have waxed and waned. When I first started writing on line back in 1995, there was one other site I visited with regularity. In 2000, there was eight. In 2002 twenty two. In 2007 almost 52.

Now? 17…and of those fully half are inactive links. Its a testament to my love for Lex’s work that I kept him on my book mark list. The others I liked and I keep hoping that they will update. I have been reluctant to remove the inactive ones from my bookmarks for this reason.

As I clicked his link, and the page loaded the hot coffee turned cool against my lips as I was reminded by whisper…he’s gone. His words will not grace us any longer, save for works in days gone by. His thoughts of previous days left to haunt us in the present.

I set my cup down and wondered. This digital snap shots in to our lives. Where will they go? What will happen to them. For many, when the costs come due our families will shut them down, turn off the lights, and our words will vanish in to the ether at some point.

Our words left unread by those in the future whom may read them. It is one advantage our print and media brethren have over us. Our archives are only around as long as someone wishes to pay for it. There are no libraries whom receive our subscriptions, no history scribes whom will hallmark our work and words. It is up to us to find ways to back up these works, save them, and distribute them in some fashion for others to hold dear.

Our children may not come of age knowing our works, or what motivated us without these very lines I type. How we thought and the people we sought to be, in the end are portrayed here, in black and white and sent to you in hi definition on 1,024 x 768 pixels through a OC48 pipe from one coast to another.

Lex is gone. That much is final. His words may one day slip in to obscurity. Like my other blog friend triticale whom we lost in 2007, or Acidman whom we lost in 2006, their websites stand testament to their sentiments, themselves, and their values. Digital monuments.

But one day those digital monuments can and will fail. Companies get sold, servers crash, people move on, costs become exorbitant. For me a culmination of almost two decades of writing belong on two websites…the thought crosses my mind…what will happen if? I have no regular blog partner with keys. My wife has no interest in these things, and no interest in voicing her own ideals. It will simply become like my coffee, cold, and one day to vanish in to the electronic ether.

Maybe I am bleak because a little light has left this world. Because one who continued, with others fell to the way side, to provide us with measured, rational doses of words, wisdom and work. Who shared with us his day to day experiences, struggles and life.

Maybe I am bleak because how many of us, in that former profession, had those narrow misses? Those brief glances in to our future? that feeling that all we knew and had was about to change in a single instance….and once he was past that point he chose to go back to it, willingly, knowing the costs at stake? Only to be snatched at the last possible instance mere feet from safety?

It seems incomprehensible really. But the Banshee does not care about prose, wit, or talent and at some point when she calls to us to warn of us of An Bás, the time to prepare will be over.

I prefer not to think that those engines final whine were the cry of the Banshee for Lex, although fitting it may be.

When An Bás came calling, I choose to think that someone, up there….just wanted a good debriefing on how life is down here these days. And to keep it interesting he picked the best writer we had.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam
May he rest on peace

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(Editors Note: I first published this at the beginning of 2012. For March, I thought it was a good story to bring back up and republish. Enjoy!)

The Irish and the British will always have issues because the British never remember, and the Irish never forget.

It’s a hot button issue in Ireland.

At the time, and now to an extent, many feel that the over 5,000 Irishmen who left Ireland to fight against Nazi Germany in World War II were  and are criminals, or deserters.

They left the Irish Army, leaving Ireland who was neutral, to fight to stop the Nazi’s in World War II.

Today, there is a possibility they may be pardoned.

The Starvation Orders were the orders to blacklist those 5,000 troops upon their return. They could not get jobs, welfare, pensions or any assistance what so ever, some of them made a go at it. Others left the country yet again. Whats more the orders extended beyond just the individuals, but their families as well. It’s how my own family ended up in America.

Five thousand Irish soldiers who swapped uniforms to fight for the British against Hitler went on to suffer years of persecution. They were formally dismissed from the Irish army, stripped of all pay and pension rights, and prevented from finding work by being banned for seven years from any employment paid for by state or government funds.
One of them, 92-year-old Phil Farrington, took part in the D-Day landings and helped liberate the German death camp at Bergen-Belsen – but he wears his medals in secret. Even to this day, he has nightmares that he will be arrested by the authorities and imprisoned for his wartime service.

“They would come and get me, yes they would,” he said in a frail voice at his home in the docks area of Dublin.
And his 25-year-old grandson, Patrick, confirmed: “I see the fear in him even today, even after 65 years.”

Mr Farrington’s fears are not groundless.

 

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The blog is green once again. The quote is changed as it will do so each week this month for something that I feel is witty, applicable or entertaining. Your mileage may vary of course.

A recent conversation reminded me of the dangers of doing my historical work each year on Ireland. We Irish are romantics, we even romanticize our revolutions, and it can be easy to fall sway under the ideology through that silver tongue. I say we, but at the heart of the issue is I am whats usually known as a Plastic Paddy, born in America and accepted by neither. So it is.

My grandfather supported independence, but not the method by which it was attempted or achieved. That’s a serious fence to straddle, especially in Irish politics.  I think due him I am of the same. The methods were brutal, ugly, horrible and little more than terrorism. The basis for the action can be understood, even appreciated, but not the extremes to which it was taken. Having never been in that position myself, I find it hard for me to judge any stronger than that.

No side was correct in the conflict and troubles. Both sides did wrong, gave wrong, and escalated wrong. No side was in the right, and it was all painted in shades of gray.

The cease fires are important. Because only by stepping away from the conflict can we see how far down the path we go in losing our humanity, ability, and basic human concern for our fellow man. If one stays in the furnace too long all they see is fire, and everything needs to burn.

I hope by this way of explanation I have somewhat eased my friends’ mind in regards to my own position, complex though it may seem.

The works I have written that are military in nature and gathered may sometimes seem to support one side, or the other, but its not the case. Rather I am attempting to bring perspective, a chance to view for a moment through another eye as best I can. A glimpse behind the curtain if you will.  The intent is to explain to my fellow Americans that we are not as insulated as we think we are from terrorism, and all it takes is one action, one straw for the camel that we could be thrust in to a similar corner. At which point only studying history such as Ireland do we find peaceful ways out of that corner, without entering the furnace ourselves.

 

 

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I confess an above normal level of obsession with this Russia/Ukraine incident. I make no excuse for it.

Truth be told its little more dynamical than the Georgian incident.

But for some reason this feels different. A vibe in the air. A vibe I haven’t felt or seen since the 1970′s and 8-’s during the Cold War

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I’ve been posting about weather stuff here and on Facebook for a number of years.

With that in mind here is the prep list I keep in my own storm shelter and a retailer you can find it from. I’ve also broken this down in to 2 categories: Necessities and options. The former are must haves. The latter not so much.

There are tons of people who have ideas as to what you need. Do not take my word as gospel. Look around. Conduct some research. There are several books that I can strongly recommend. This list should get you started at least.

Minor items are to put reflective tape on the door to your shelter so it can be more easily seen at night. Use red and white so it can be seen in day time as well. Tell friends and neighbors where your shelter is located.

I am also assuming you already have a weather radio. If you do not, I strongly suggest you make it part of your list.

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Just exhausted.

Trying to finish my Masters program and I’m working on a research proposal to pursue my doctorate.

All while holding down a job, being a husband and father and doing my stormchasing,  dream home modifications. I also have an idea for a book in my head and have written a short story but have no friggin clue what the hell to do with them now. Thinking I might hit up John DuMond for advice, as all my published work is in a Sports magazine and I have never done a book before.

Any rate Some days I want to crawl under my bed.

Others I just want to sit on my porch and stare.

Recently I discovered that new SWEPCO Route 109 ruling is practically going to run through my backyard. That hasnt made my blood pressure any lower and I’m trying to see what legal options are available to me. I have filed complaints with both the Arkansas and Missouri Public Service Commission

I’m not burned out, but I am tired.

Just got to make it to May 9th without losing my cool.

Then life will slow down. For a while anyway.

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With The Armorer finally going dark there aren’t too many folks from the heydey of blogging still around.

 

So whose left?

Well John DuMond of Nobody Move is still writing, and doing so with much more regularity than myself. I’m a frequent lurker there and rarely comment but I still like his work, especially his true crime pieces.

Harvey too, is also still running over at Bad Example. Again I lurk but do not comment often. Mostly because I have a hard time finding time to do much more than quickly read any more with work and school.

Laughing Wolf has been much more creative than I posting quite regularly.

Stephen Sherman aka The Commissar still runs his Ace Pilots page, but his Politburo Diktat is long gone.

Teresa and Technicalities is still alive and kicking

Doc at DocInTheBox also posts occasionally.

T1G of Drunken Wisdom is another sporadic like myself.

EricSWG of StraightWhiteGuy also writes sporadically, and well as always when he does.

The Conservative UAW guy last posted in May.

Nidonemo is still active thankfully.

The Ministry of Minor Perfidy is another who has not posted since May

Slobokan has been silent since April

All of the Northwest Arkansas Bloggers are gone save for myself.

With the exception of a few holdouts such as Blackfive, Grims Hall, This Aint Hell and Murdoc Online most of the old groups are gone.

Since I started writing online back in 1997 I have seen the web undergo a lot of social changes. From mIRC to OTC sites such as Tripod and Geocities, to the MySpace and Blog Heydeys.

All the folks I have listed above, for the vast majority I interact with via Facebook with regularity. They get tired of the spammers, the Chinese hackers, the internet drama, and the “Take this down or we’ll sue you!” crowd.

Its hard to blame them. I’ve been threatened with at least 4 lawsuits in over 15 years of writing on line. I’ve gotten more hate mail than I can shake a stick at. Its one reason I have rarely if ever used my real name online: the fact is there are just some plain old fashion sick people out there.

But I have also met some fabulous people, made great connections. Been introduced to some legends, and people who I consider friends today.

Blogs may be going to the way side, and one day it is entirely possible that this site too may go dark (though I have no immediate plans to do so) but until that time its much like digital cave drawings. People have evolved, maybe not for the better, but their digital social culture has definitely swung towards the instant gratification world of Facebook and G+. Even I use them.

But I can’t put down my keyboard, not entirely. I feel like if I do, a little piece of me might die with it.

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I’ve been going hunting again.

I have not been in years. Up until about 1999 I was an avid hunter. But traveling as much as I did after that point made hunting a logistical nightmare and practically a impossibility.

So I quit and just did fishing instead.

I do some walking, and and some deer stand work. Nothing fancy. I’m not in to outdoor channels nor do I drool when the next camo pattern shows up in stores. I usually wear jeans when I hunt. Its more about being quiet, good and the creature not smelling you. Everything else falls in to place after that.

However truly I don’t care about the hunting.  I prefer the peace.

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I made some folks who I think highly of, and respect pretty angry today on Facebook.

I’m not happy about it. I’m hoping they’ll forgive me. Or at least understand where I am coming from. I mean no ill will.

I respect their position. They are just one of the countless folks who are directly suffering from the government shut down. The one that the rest of the population, myself included, are unaffected by.

I know that folks are out of work. I know that they don’t want to lose their homes or not pay their bills. I also know that the rest of the country doesn’t care.

Make no mistake, I do care.

But I also know that until the rest of the population is affected, until the people who make the policy are affected, then those folks who are going without a check will continue to be used as political pawns in a game that none of us have skin in.

I know that the American people have become, well, simply put, lazy. Our government knows this. They won a Presidential election on it. The American motto should be “What handout can I get today?” John F Kennedy had it all wrong. “Ask what your country can do for you!” He obviously had a teleprompter foul up. 

I don’t want my friends to lose their home. I truly don’t.

Hell, I don’t want to lose my own home.

But neither do I want the status quo to continue. Earlier today I wrote

“Let me clarify my position on this. Until it hurts, and I mean truly hurts everyone involved, these types of political games will continue. Until the “ruling class” is affected because the populace refuses to fund a government that is nonoperational, until the “ruling class” doesn’t receive a check, until the streets stop being paved, and the system teeters on collapse these types of grandstands will continue to occur and interrupt our lives. Because, from my view, they want us dependent upon them. They want us to need them. They want us unable to get by without feeding it, the machine, the bureaucracy. So I want it to hurt. I want a black flag policy. Jackson once said “If the general government should persist in the measures now threatened, there must be war. It is painful enough to discover with what unconcern they speak of war and threaten it. They do not know its horrors. I have seen enough of it to make me look upon it as the sum of all evils” referring to the Civil War. This is really no different from my point of view. The government threatens, it soothes, it shakes its fist, but it has no impact on the makers of the policy. Until those policy makers feel the pain, until they stop being served their coffee, stop having the Secret Service to protect them, and stop having their world catered to them on our dime, then the status quo will never change. And I mean never.”

That’s pretty much my thought in a nutshell.

Right or wrong. Lambast me. Hate me. The fact is I have little hope for America anymore. I don’t believe we will ever see a populace rising to meet the challenges of our future the way we have seen in the past. I see our rights being stricken what seems like daily. I see our dependency on our government quadrupling almost daily.

So no, I don’t want anyone to lose their home. But neither do I want our world, our country to continue the way it is. I can’t pick a position and win in this gambit. A wise man would keep his mouth shut, and probably I should. I’m royally sick of seeing folks like my friends being used as Yo-Yo’s in political strategy however. I’ve never been happier to be out of the US of military until these last few years, and I could never dream of a day saying that prior to this.

Will this shutdown change anything? Probably not. It never has before.

Most likely before the week is out they’ll have a budget passed, the Healthcare program will be included, no one will lose their home, and this chance to make a notable change will vanish in to thin air. Folks will rant and rave about Obamacare and post angry pictures on Facebook deriding our current government, President and their ilk. None of it will change.

Because the ones who make the policy don’t care. The ones who argue and write the policy don’t care. The ones who make the red-tape don’t go through it. They will  just generate another few thousand dollar per plate fundraisers and get reelected on misinformation and political lies like they did the last time.  So until their lives are interrupted, until their lives are affected, none of this matters. Until Amendment 28 is ratified and passed, this is all just parlor games. A New Orleans street card vendor trick.

They just want to show us, what happens when they don’t get their way.

Over at The Armorer’s place they are celebrating their Anniversary of have their web doors open.

Over 10 years, and frankly given how many website’s I have seen come and go that’s pretty impressive.

Calimus and I started blogging back about 1995 under the heading of Techography.com. We had a major database crash in 2005 roughly, and we split the sites by opening this one in 2008 due to a change in focus of my own and what I blog versus the content at Techo.

We’re limping along, but much as The Armorer says, I’m not looking to do anything phenomenal, not that I ever did online. It’s been a hobby for me, and a study in social as I watch how the technological world changes from m-IRC, to forums, to websites, to blogs, to Facebook and Twitter. Watching as the people move from one system to another.

In any event having a website for 10 years is a pretty big deal and should be celebrated accordingly.

Go drop him an “Atta Boy!” will ya?

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A long time ago my grandfather gave me a piece of advice regarding the world. I have kept it near and dear, and recited it often.  I have referred to it regularly and I find it on my mind a lot as of late.

There are folks out there who will take advantage of the kindness of others. To be clear this isn’t any group I am currently involved in, as I am involved in several, but rather an interpretation of our worlds state of affairs.

While a youngster in school I asked my grandfather about buying stuff for my school fundraiser. He refused and explained at the time”

“Offer sweat when required of you, blood when demanded, and money never.”

He later explained what each meant. You can volunteer your time, you can work hard and sweat to benefit society. Sweat is free. It’s easily generated. It’s your time.  Blood is for wars, and defense of the things you believe in. Money however is reserved for the safety and well being of your family, and your families future.  Money can be earned by those in need. Money should never be freely given. He explained it with wild life.

If you make it to easy for animals to get food, they come to expect it. Like bears raiding garbage cans.  One day when they don’t find it, they’ll come demanding it from it’s source.

We’ve been pushed pretty hard here at An Dun.  Critter under went surgery and that set us back on what little savings we had after doing a tremendous amount of work here at the house. In fact we don’t have any, now.  My truck required some repairs to have it meet the state inspection standards, and my wife’s vehicle has another 4k in repairs I have to do to it. But I simply don’t have it.

This isn’t a beg. Or asking for money.  Just me rambling some thoughts in my mind to clear my head.

I know no one currently who is not in hard times. I find myself focusing on seasons, concentrating on getting our house and land ready for winter, preparing to build a woodshed, and chop firewood. I see myself slipping back somewhat to my youth in watching the tree’s ,the skies and the land for changes of season. It’s not a unpleasant feeling. But it is a sobering one.

We have offered our time and our blood to a number of affairs over the years. It’s been enjoyable. We feel we have made a difference. But it is harder and harder to recognize that difference as more and more people come from the wood work needing assistance through the various charities we have done work in.  I find myself growing disgusted with people in general.

I want to find them, shake them, and demand them: Find Work. McDonald’s pay sucks but it is work. A job is a job is a job. Take responsibility for yourself. Stop blaming the world. Handle your life. Raise yourself, and your family. At age 32 when I first moved to Arkansas versus being on unemployment, and after being a Project Manager for one of the largest telecom firms of the last decade I took a job cutting grass at a marina for barely more than minimum wage. Because it was a job, and I had a responsibility, and I had no time for the foolishness of saying a job was beneath me.

I’m currently examining taking a second job, possibly even teaching. Most likely online given my work schedule and load. But I can’t pursue it until I graduate. Thus time is not on my side at current.

Now Critter is experiencing adversity in her school. I have a very different interpretation of the intent by the staff. We offer our sweat, our time, and our efforts. But we don’t participate in sending money or fundraisers. We already spend  a large sum for tuition. We pay our school taxes on top of that.  Maybe it’s my families raising but asking for more just seems greedy. My interpretation of the adversity she is experiencing I feel is a direct result of our lack of spending.  I see no other basis. I confess to being a sarcastic cynic as well, however. My wife disagrees but has no other theory to offer. However, that is why she is at the parent teacher conference this morning and I am home playing Nurse Dad. I am known to be….abrasive…when riled…and make no mistake, when it comes to my daughter I will rile easily.

In short it has been hectic around An Dun these days, and my grandfathers words have been tested. In good news, we fixed the leaks, replaced all the doors but one, repaired the foundation and have made a lot of headway. Now I fear my daughters birthday and supplying a Christmas.

They are first world problems. I do not argue this.  I always keep in mind the places I have been. The things I have seen. There are others who are much worse off than us. Who would trade what little they had to be us in an instant.

But it does not make it an easy thing, just the same. In a little more than 6 months I will graduate with my Masters degree. I don’t know that I be fiscally able to continue with my current employer, and that bothers me as well. I have not shown loyalty to a single employer since my time with the Army, it could be said I have commitment issues. But I like my job, I like the company, I like the people. I just don’t know that I will be able to continue in such vein by the time my first student loan payment comes due.

As in all things, time will tell. And in that time the leaves will change, the snows will come, and the wind will blow. But in that I will be ready. The wood will be cut, the house will be warm, the roof solid. My grandfather taught me well.

The man who survived World War II, who survived the Great Depression, who lived off the land, who ate not from a store but from the woods, and drank from streams who did his best to pass on to us how to be the best people we could be, and showed us how to speak and act with intent, and integrity.  It often leaves me confused in my interactions often around others who speak from the side of their mouths as to why they feel the need to do such things.

In her adversity, I try to teach Critter what was passed to me, and how to watch the seasons, the land, the leaves, and prepare.  People who demand money will always be there. Vehicles always need fixing. Adversity at school is a constant. But one’s home is one sanctuary, and one’s family is a responsibility that can not be denied.

And in that, it can be said that no matter how technology driven our society becomes, how professional I may be seen to be, or business oriented,  I learned my lessons from my very Appalachian oriented family well: My grandfather taught me well.

We will persevere.

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If you are wondering what the difference is between all the different types of cigar wrappers out there, this guide will help to bring you up to speed.

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Thats right folks.

On a happier note you can now order Rocky Top Tennessee – The Magazine! 2013 edition!

Featuring articles by the likes of Brad Shepard, Will Shelton, the rest of the gang from RockyTopTalk.com including yours truly!

You better hurry, cuz I hear they are going fast!

 

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So why aren’t I blogging more?

Well, honestly I’m fed up. I’m tired. I’m worn out.

With the knowledge that the Federal government is looking to do the largest land grab regulation since the aquisition of Alaska, I’m forced to ask some hard questions. Especially since it directly affects me

Is this the Union for which five generations of my family including myself, went to the Army for?

The answer is decidedly no.

The country we joined the service for did not use drones or spy on its citizens, and certainly not for profit.  Something that the British citizenry are rapidly begining to dislike in their own country.

The country we served, did not lambast religious education systems of any form, especially while its own education system is continually outperformed by that same criticized system daily.

The country we served did not violate the rights of a land owner….something that I thought we straightened out in 1776, but apparently some folks have forgotten.

The country we served, encouraged people to earn their way, to make something of themselves, and to work for success not create a leach class that sucks the financial ability from all of the others.  You earn it.

The country we served, did not allow others to determine thehealth care one got. It was up to the individual. You got what you could pay for. It wasn’t given. You earn it. Like everything else.

The country we served allowed anyone to go to college, provided you earned it. Not cut funding for college for soldiers who have been fighting, dying and getting injured to earn their degree versus sneaking across a border, illegally at night.

The country we served did not reward criminals, or those who knowingly broke the law.

In short I don’t know this country any more.

And I’m not sure I like it anymore either.

But sadly until folks decide to do more than “Like” a silly status on Facebook, it’s all just words.

The American people have become lazy. Sloven even. With no desire to change anything. The antipathy is a cancerous disease of self preservation that prevents any action by anybody. Instead we stand like lemmings in the room each staring at the other wondering who will make the first move.

Meanwhile the bulldozer just keeps coming.

The fact is, we embarass our forefather. We have shamed them. We are willing to let everything go, just so we can have our highspeed internet and high definition television programming. We are willing to subjugate, so that we can get a government check, a government benefit, a government handout because of all the things we could fear, the country that put a man on the moon….suddenly fears work.

Sadly, I fear this ideaology may be right….at least to some poor bastard.

 

We have politically corrected ourself in to oblivion. We can’t accept an apology and move on with our lives. We have to have blood for some social injustice while our government trashed our other social rights behind our backs.

We have become a nation of television, sound byte fed attention defecit children with no desire or care for the larger picture if it doesn’t meet some latest fad thats been identified as Good for the Children ™.

And frankly, it all makes me want to vomit.

So will I be blogging with any regularity?

Possibly. Maybe. Doubtful.

But I moved into the boondocks for peace and quiet.

I don’t intend to be spied on by a government that I once worked for under some silly notion of “Greater Good.”

Do your damn job more effeciently and stop passing laws to make it  harder to put the bad guys behind bars or in the ground. Novel concept. The fact that Nidal Hasan is still breathing air in the same time zone I am is proof enough that this country has lost its marbles, and its balls.

But thats too hard. Its much easier to pass the buck than it is to be responsible. Everyones worried about some bullshit legacy or history book consideration. Everyone ants to be a star.

And nobody wants to do their fucking job.

 

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By now, the media has updated everyone on the events of the weekend. I wanted to share a thought this morning with one of the groups of people I work to try to keep appraised on the side, and whom I thought could appreciate the scenario.

If you own a weather radio or read the NOAA updates, you have probably heard or read the end tag “Spotter Activation will not be needed” at the end of a report. Or the ever worrisome “Spotter Activation will be needed at…..” and wondered what it all meant.

Those are the lines that put me and other spotter/chasers in to action each night on a alert level. Without muddying the waters I get called for other items but those lines are a “Heads up!” alert for all the spotter organizations in an area to be ready, we think it is serious. These individuals, groups, and teams- all volunteers, will spring in to action and spend their day, evening and often nights trying to keep the various NWS offices appraised with scientific data, visual cues, and imagery to help us send alerts, balloons, and warnings to the national media and direct systems like weather radios.

The price was heavy in keeping folks appraised over the weekend. Three men whom I have had the pleasure of working with since my start in the weather industry Paul Samaras, Tim Samaras and Carl Young residents of Colorado and California, died while trying to plant a measuring device in front of the Canadian County tornado. http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/06/02/the-stunning-tornado-videos-of-storm-chaser-tim-samaras-who-has-died/

It is one reason I seldom directly chase anymore. The storms are getting more unpredictable in the last 2 years (from my perspective anyway), and the influx of what we call “storm lice” or folks who are not professional storm chasers but throw themselves in front of storms recklessly because they think it fun, or cool has increased three fold. So you no longer are simply concerned with just a storm, but with endangerment of those around you. It’s a nightmare scenario, personally. However, I do chase, and did that night from Tulsa, through Bella Vista, Exeter, Cassville and in to Springfield and past in to Marshfield. We were spread too thin, with too many storms, and too little chasers.

I know how many folks will react, pointing out that storm chasers take risks. I wanted to say that Tim did not take risks. Tim was as cautions as they come. The storm made a hard jog north as Tim tried to place instrumentation in its path and his safety zone became a danger zone. One, that with a tornado that spun up as rapidly as this one did, he could not escape. Even with 4 weather centers, and over 12 people watching the storm, and the radar, myself included, none of us could contact Tim fast enough to have him change course…the storm moved that fast.

These were folks I have shared coffee with, talked with, swapped E-mails with and spoke with. They were not nameless entities on a computer or celebrities on a TV screen. What they did saved countless lives in other places and their information that night went directly to NWS Norman to call for the cover of at least 3 cities before they were struck. In any occupation, you have the risk takers…from snowboarding to boating. I just wanted to set the record straight that they was none of these, as they were good people trying to do something good to help others.

Moreover, the fact of the matter is the casualty rate was much lower than it could have been in OKC, people were prepared despite the mass chaos and dangerous storm going through a heavily populated metropolitan area. All of that is directly because of people like Tim, Paul and Carl. Because of them, we could coordinate, identify damage, and send out warnings to the places that needed them. We received measurements, visual identification, pictures, video, and calculations. None of which we would have without boots on the ground in a dangerous environment.

We have more storms coming this week. Starting tomorrow night most likely and again at the end of the week. As we measure the back build I’ll let you know what’s coming. Right now, count on hail, and high winds. And Spotters being in the field

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