By lex, on October 11th, 2008
Things are starting to heat back up over at The Flight Deck * these days. That’d be a great place to continue some of the protracted – and, increasingly, off topic – conversation threads we occasionally find ourselves involved in. All in accordance with the community’s standards of behavior, of course.
Every once in a while someone will sign up on The Flight Deck whose handle I don’t recognize. As a matter of prudence, I won’t give anyone editorial privileges until I know them a bit. There’s all kind of downsides to letting complete strangers root around inside your webserver, your correspondent cherishes both his good reputation and his liberty, and some of those who have attempted to get writing privileges come from very dubious domains. Regulars of good repute will be upgraded instantly, of course.
Very few of you may be aware that occasional reader Paul (V5 in comments here, at Matt’s and at Da Buckethead’s among other places) is a 100% service disabled veteran, who is, essentially, paralyzed by a spinal cord injury. Not having been dealt quite enough in they way of adversity by life’s vicissitudes – or, more probably, declining to view his life in quite that way – Paul is embarking upon a new adventure:
My goal is to travel North America alone and unsupported for a full year.
While I have a several personal reasons for making this trip, the biggest is about setting the bar for other disabled veterans.
After I was first paralyzed I stayed at home, in bed, a lot. Unless someone took me somewhere I never got out…
While I am still paralyzed, that physical therapy was crucial in getting back a lot of movement and self sufficiency. Enough so that I now travel routinely to Ohio (from Washington DC, where I live) and back by myself. Now I find myself on the cusp of this great adventure.
This blog is not about left or right politics, nor is it about anti or pro war. This blog is about one disabled veteran on a mission to prove to other disabled veterans that we do not have to lay in bed hating life. That if you’re willing to reach out and grab ahold, you can still Seize Adventure.
Good luck, Paul – we’ll be reading.
Sent in by an occasional reader who cannot vouch for its authenticity:
In addition to communicating with the local air traffic control facility, aircraft are required to give the Iranian Air Defense Radar (military) a ten minute “heads up” that they will be transiting Iranian airspace. This is a common procedure for commercial aircraft and involves giving them your call sign, transponder code, type aircraft, and points of origin and destination.
I heard from a commercial pilot who overheard this conversation on the emergency frequency 121.5 Mhz while flying from Europe to Dubai. It’s too good not to pass along. The conversation went something like this …
Air Defense Radar: “Unknown aircraft at (location unknown), you are in Iranian airspace. Identify yourself.”
Aircraft: “This a United States aircraft. I am in Iraqi airspace.”
Air Defense Radar: “You are in Iranian airspace. If you do not depart our airspace we will launch interceptor aircraft!”
Aircraft: “This is a United States fighter. Send ‘em up!”
Air Defense Radar: (no response … total silence)
I don’t know if it’s authentic either, but I do know one thing: It’s true.
To file under the “We prefer our women as victims” category, the very same folks who would gladly fight for the liberty of some poor, beaten wretch in a trailer park that had set her abusive husband afire while he slept in his bed are in full throat calling for the head of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. The tale of the day is that a state committee has accused her and her husband of abusing her power by agitating for the job of a cartoonishly boorish police officer that had been married to the governor’s sister. A violent lout who would threaten to shoot Palin’s father, drink in his patrol car, shoot a moose out of season and taser his 10-year old stepson would seem to make for but a clay-footed plaster saint for the women’s rights movement and their allies.
The lesson herein is that those who claim to be fighting to put women in positions of power and authority are choosy about which women get that power and authority. Because only the right sort can be trusted to properly abuse that authority. The others?
Not so much.
Here’s the thing about the service, and it doesn’t matter what service, and it doesn’t even really matter whether it’s peacetime or wartime: There are a very few moments of dramatic excitement surrounded by crushing hours of monotony. Most folks PT, but even youngsters can’t do that all the time. Some play video games or watch DVDs, but many of those in the world’s best and smartest military realize that there’s a certain amount of intellectual wastage there. A lot of folks improve their minds in those off hours by reading books – I read the entirety of William Shakespeare’s oeuvre on one eight-month deployment. But, if you’re stationed somewhere outside a FOB or the Green Zone means that you can’t exactly run down to the corner Barnes and Noble to pick out the latest. And there’s only so much Amazon.com a combat corporal can afford to spend his hard earned on, even if he could get an Internet connection. Which might be dicey on a combat outpost.
A charity exists dedicated to providing books for soldiers. It’s called, with a certain element of deadpan earnestness, “Books for Soldiers,” and they’ve done amazing work satisfying the intellectual and entertainment needs of those deployed forward. They’re also in need of a little help, if they’re to remain open. Grim has the gouge, over at Matt’s house. Do what you can, if you’re so inclined. It’s a good cause.
Here’s a look at what a quarter million dollars could do for your house. I’d be so in if, 1) the Hobbit would let me, and 2) I had a quarter of a million dollars. Laying around. That wasn’t dedicated to sponsoring the endeavors of the All-Girl Spending Team. Or putting SWMBO V2.0 and 3.0 through school. Themselves declining any notion of doing it on the federal, alas.
Speaking of which, a hearty tip o’ the tam to occasional reader Chunk, who saw fit to throw us a fin whilst we were on travel back east, saying that he thoroughly enjoyed the blog. I thanked him in return, telling him that I thoroughly enjoyed his beer. Guinness, as it turns out. For strength!
Which, in comments to this post *, BullNav remarked: “Damn, Lex, you should take this writing thing professional…folks would PAY you to write.”
Which sentiments I appreciate and thank him for, while pointing out that – and considering the merit of the previous charity, this is probably a poor time to point this out – for those inclined to benefact these our scribblings, they ain’t nothing stopping them.***
If I ever get that pub built, contributors will all be welcome!
Have a good weekend!
* 08-26-2018 Link Gone; no replacements found (referred to a comment at neptunuslex.com) – Ed.
** 08-26-2018 Original link gone; replacement found – Ed.
*** 08-26-2018 Link Gone; no replacement found – Ed.