Monthly Archives: May 2017


By lex, on September 3rd, 2009

For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return. — Leonardo Da Vinci

I was walking across a footbridge from one cube farm to another yesterday with a co-worker and I couldn’t help but notice the towering cumulus clouds billowing over the Cuyamaca mountains east of the county. Hovering like jovial gods in the thermals that gave them birth. Bright faced, but changeable. Concealing an inner darkness that reveals not their truth. Waiting only for an updraft to hurl them through the freezing level and turn their smiling faces to wrathful frowns. Placid valleys and echoing canyons in the skies between them like hallways. Athwart them the hall bullies, edging in. Uncommitted.

Was a time, I remarked to her, when I could put the blowers in, climb up in the vertical and touch their faces. Rolling over on my back over the top all but whooping with delight. Gather speed down the back side to try it again. Play pretend atop a $40 million fighter that the cloud is a mountain and how low can you go?

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Woefully Ignorant

By lex, on September 3rd, 2009

Glenn Greewald (et al.) may or may not be an exceptional constitutional lawyer – I’m ill equipped to judge – but he really ought to steer clear of military history. The leading sentence to his most recent jeremiad * really says it all:

There was a time, not all that long ago, when the U.S. pretended that it viewed war only as a “last resort,” something to be used only when absolutely necessary to defend the country against imminent threats.

I’m trying to imagine what era Greenwald is thinking of: Our revolution was a war of choice, with one-third of the country in arms against tyranny, one-third supporting the ancien regime, and the remainder more or less on the sidelines as interested observers.

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Turning and Turning in the Widening Gyre

By lex, on August 29th, 2009

Found myself regularly checking the oil temps on the moto, on account of the furnace-like blasts coming up. It’s a good bike, but it is air cooled. Temps were in limits though. Just a hot day for two wheels. A hot day down at the aerodrome too. We’ve four wee circular vents in our greenhouse canopies and when the sun is beating down they’re nothing like enough.


We had an empty back seat for the first go ’round, and there’s a retired USAF type that works with me looking to get back into the flying gig for pay. Flew F-16s, lots of previous civil time, a commercial rating and a recent Biennial Flight Review. He went along for the ride and demonstrated that some things – formation flying, to name just one – stick with you.

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Agitprop II

By lex, on August 26th, 2009

I was half-listening to NPR on the way in to work this morning, and of course the main topic of discussion was the late senator from Massachusetts. The senator fought many fights in his time, and one of them was against a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning.

Now, as inspiring as I find our national ensign, the history, land and people it represents, and as personally repugnant as I find its desecration, I happen to agree that the Constitution is too precious a document to be trifled with on merely symbolic grounds. And I accept without endorsing the notion that such displays are a form of constitutionally protected speech.

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In the Mail

By lex, on August 23rd, 2009

If you grew up with a martial mindset in the late 70s and early 80s, it was impossible not to be aware of the magazine “Soldier of Fortune.” A quick perusal of the subject matter revealed a fixation on military weapons and tactics at the unit level, and opportunities to be had the world over – there was always trouble brewing somewhere. That was during the Cold War of course, when wars were fought by proxy. If anything, things got more chaotic after the Berlin Wall came down.

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The Box Office

By lex, on August 20th, 2009

Got this through the email pipe.


While the C-5 was turning over its engines, a female crewman gave the G.I.s on board the usual information regarding seat belts, emergency exits, etc. Finally, she said, “Now sit back and enjoy your trip while your captain, Judith Campbell, and crew take you safely to Afghanistan.”

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You Can’t Judge

By lex, on August 15th, 2009

Three flights today with the Barnstormers. The first with a couple of young men from Southwest England, sponsored by their parents while (whilst?) on holidays. My man was 12 years old, his brother a couple of years older. Mum and dad looked on with a pride generously admixtured with apprehension. This was a lovely gift for the young men. Would they ever come back, at all?

My guest pilot won two bouts out of three, because his staff pilot doesn’t care much for getting gunned. Mum and dad were pleased as punch to see them in the break after we came back. Off you go, after we’d landed. We done our paid work and brought the boys back safe and sound. The ‘rents clapped us on the shoulders, like. And went on their merry. I told chief pilot Bronco Chuck that it wasn’t a surprise, not really. Europeans aren’t much given to doling out gratuities.

They give at the office, and how.

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