14 November 2012


by Andy Weddington
Wednesday, 14 November 2012

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on." Robert Frost
Today's comment is on the lighter side - mostly. And is mostly events and thoughts from last week that just did not fit in planned commentary. For readers new to this forum, I do have a less serious mindset; at least once in a while. The advice for effective public speaking applies today - make them laugh, cry, and think. I shall try.

First loose end...

The election...

I was dead wrong. Embarrassed? No. Disappointed. Sure. Lessons learned? None really, but some observations: 1) The election was bought - voters paying, through the president, other voters. And the apathetic (GOP) payers who opted not to vote responsible for all the payers paying the payees more tomorrow and the next day and the day after, etc.; 2) something troubling is happening to the American psyche that I know - once taught at home and reinforced in schools and churches and youth groups and so on is obviously fading away; 3) 50% of the United States adult citizenry, legal and illegal, is incapable of solving the poser, "What weighs more, a ton of feathers or a ton of bricks?"; and 4) that same 50% of the citizenry could not describe our national ensign as thirteen stripes (much less how many of each color) and 50 stars and what each element represents. There's more but enough for now, in the aim to remain light.

As offered to a friend (father and uncle Marines who served during WWII) last week, there is an inextinguishable Marine fire in me. That coupled with rabid optimism and a compelling urge to fight on gives me hope for America. Our colors are under great stress but will endure. The day after re-electing President Obama, I wrote commentary titled 'Onward!' - macro perspective is not just important it's necessary. I received more than a few kind notes saying, 'this was worth reading.' Appreciated. Micro to come down the road.  http://acoloneloftruth.blogspot.com/2012/11/onward.html  

The goings on of states moving to secede from our Union is a bit bewildering. Citizenry frustration, disappointment, and anger understandable. As is the yearn for freedom vice government intrusion and oppression. But the move to secede resonates, to me, as flee rather than fight. That is not the Marine ethos. Our Union has paid a heavy price for its current design. Quit? And that's without addressing the complexities and unintended consequences of secession. It's challenging to keep it light today, but moving on.  

Next loose end...


Though raised in North Carolina and not all that far from race car country, the sport has never been of interest to me. I've never sat and watched a race - at a track or on television. And most likely never will. However, I did catch something on the news Sunday about a fisticuffs brawl that broke out after a race because one driver, Jeff Gordon, deliberately wrecked another, Clint Bower - neither of whom I could pick out of a one-man lineup. Then a couple of days later I read an Associated Press article by Jenna Fryer that contained the following quote by driver Kevin Harvick (could not pick him out of a one-man lineup, either), "The sport was made on fights. We should have more fights. Fights are what made NASCAR what it is."

Then a great idea struck - instead of holding qualifying days, times, for racers to compete for spots just have fights between the drivers. The winners race and the losers continue training for fights - maybe to race one day. Oh, of course, make the qualifying fights a public event. Sell tickets. And beer, popcorn, peanuts, and nachos. Or whatever the fans want. After all, the idea is to make money. And to integrate that fighting spirit of hockey, make the track ice for the race. No doubt it'd make for a more entertaining sport. Hell, I might even watch.  

In full disclosure and in fairness, I am not picking on NASCAR. Professional sports no longer interests me. Why? Because the word "professional" does not mean much. I remember something tennis champion, a professional, Jim Courier said when asked to define 'sportsmanship' - he said, "Sportsmanship for me is when a guy walks off the court and you really can't tell whether he won or lost, he carries himself with pride either way."

Were I a coach, Mr. Courier's philosophy would be attached to every athlete's locker. And, less swimmers, stitched on the front shirt tail of every jersey and jacket and garment of any sort worn when competing.

For too long I believed "sportsmanship" and "professional" to be synonyms. Some athletes are. Some athletes are not. Unfortunately, it is the ones that are not that stain the arena. And it is for their antics, I choose not to watch. 

Next loose end...

An off-beat meal...

A friend called last Wednesday evening around the dinner hour to check in post-election. "Bacheloring" it, I offered I was in the middle of solving the dinner menu - searching the pantry and fridge - and promised to call back. The menu: Salad (a bowl of Capn' Crunch Peanut Butter cereal); Main course (two leftover cold barbecue pork chops); Vegetable side (handful of bread and butter pickle chips); and half a cold beer. Ah! No complaints. Many suffering hunger in this world would consider it a feast. I did. And forgot to call my friend back.

Next loose end...

Politics, sort of...

Just before the election, I caught a segment of a Harry Reid, Senate majority leader, interview. Though I do not care for him - as politician nor person, I watched just out of idle curiosity. His reply to a question about the ineffective Senate, "The Senate is a virtual morass." Though not in the camera shot, it sounded like someone, the mental leap was Bill Clinton, excitedly asked, "Where?" Then the segment suddenly ended. Marines, ever gentlemen, know "morass" to be a swamp or marsh - an area for great training.

Last loose end and speaking of Marines...

U. S. Marine Corps Birthday follow-up...

Saturday past, 10 November, was the 237th Birthday of the U. S. Marine Corps. It was a great day! I wrote Birthday commentary and thanks to a Twitter retweet by conservative journalist Michelle Malkin (www.michellemalkin.com) it went a bit viral - thereby introducing this forum to a new audience. Unexpected and Wow! Thanks, kindly, Michelle.

Anyway, that same morning I made a trip to the post office to mail a package to a Marine friend (it was delivered yesterday). At the counter, I warmly greeted the clerk, asked how she was doing, and told her there was rumor going around free postage was being extended to Marines today. She paused, looked at me curiously, smiled, and said, "Sir, that's tomorrow." I laughed and replied, "Figures, there's always one Marine who does not get the word." And as we finished our business she smiled and said, "Happy Birthday!"

Next stop was the grocery store for basic staples (more Capn' Crunch cereal, pork chops, and pickles). At the express checkout, I told the woman about the free postage rumor and exchange with the clerk. She looked puzzled and asked, "But isn't the post office closed on Sunday?" I said, "Exactly." She was silent and then while bagging my items burst out laughing and said, "Now that's funny. Made my day." And smiling, bid me farewell. Want to bet she retold that story?!

A painting problem solved...

What do Marines do? Attack! A couple of years ago I painted a still life of thumbtacks (also painted a paperclip). Though titled after completing the painting, I was never completely satisfied with the name. This past weekend, thinking much about Marines, it finally hit me. The painting's title: 'A Tack Attack!' (Note: regret the electronic image does not pulsate like the painting.)

'A Tack Attack!'
22 x 28 acrylic on canvas

A word about attacking...

Attitude counts. Had Marines quit, our colors would have never been raised atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima. Our colors were raised because Marines attacked. And they kept attacking. A dumb luck photograph, among the most famous in the world of all time and one for the ages, our reminder. And there is victory after victory throughout Marine Corps history attributable to attacking. Giving up is not an option. Keep the faith!


When opining anything politics or Marine, I submit to a Marine friend for review and consideration to post to his blog site. He notes in red "Worth Reading" when posting at the top of his daily. Recently, I sent a submission and offered he need not so denote as a priority if not merited - for he posts first-rate work from some well-known journalists. He replied, "I like your stuff. Besides, jarheads go to the front of the line." Made me smile - Marines, the best.

That Marine, Robert A. Hall, is a great American - serving country in uniform and elected to office time and again without defeat. And he's a thoughtful, masterful writer and published author. I own a book of poems - nice work - I read late in the evenings; good for the Marine soul.

Visit Mr. Hall and stay abreast of what's going on in the world, 'Old Jarhead's Political SitRep': www.tartanmarine.blogspot.com

Post Script

As predicted in Monday's commentary, 'Atop the Petraeus Flagpole' - it's getting uglier. No surprise but sorely disappointing. More to come. But it's important to not let flag officer misconduct overshadow the real story and the administration's efforts to coverup - the murders of four Americans, on duty, in Benghazi, Libya. For them there must be truth and justice.


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