Author Archives: Bill Brandt

A Fourth of July Message for These Polarized Times

As I was reposting so much of Carroll “Lex” LeFon’s work, I came to realize how timeless some of it is. Even though he has been gone from us for 9 years, he can still be in the national conversation. As I was reposting his work, I thought it would be nice to time a few of his posts for the days long ago that he originally posted.

This is one of them that just popped up today, 14 years ago from the time he originally sent it to the blogosphere. I must have told WordPress a few years ago to (re)post it today.

I had forgotten about it.

I was just re-reading it, and felt that he could have written this today.

Think this polarization is something new to this country?

Two of the country’s founders, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, one an aristocratic Virginian and the other an established New Englander, had different ideas as to the direction the country should take.

Sound familiar?

The 2 didn’t speak for 15 years.

Lex wrote about this with more eloquence than I could offer…

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Happy 231st, America!

Posted by lex, on July 4th, 2007 Three holidays define the summer months, with Memorial Day at the beginning, Labor Day at the end and the Fourth of July angling towards the middle. The outer markers “belong” in some sense to constituencies of their own, but the Fourth belongs to all of us.

And if we are today deeply divided, dissatisfied even in unprecedented prosperity and always eager to find fault, we can at least take some solace in the fact that it was ever thus: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were co-signers of the Declaration of Independence, both sat on the committee that drafted it and Jefferson himself it was who turned the document of American independence from a laundry list of imperial grievances into a work both eloquent and startlingly radical:

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, History

Go Like Hell

The Ford-Ferrari War

Ever since I saw the movie Ford vs Ferrari, I had a curiosity about Shelby-American. The more I delved into its history, the more I felt that it was an amazing little company. I made a few posts of it here.

In less than 4 short years, they developed a car – The Cobra – that ended up winning the manufacturer’s world championship, beating the likes of Ferrari and Jaguar. And the Cobra could have gone even further, but for the fact that Shelby was under tremendous pressure from Ford to refine the GT-40 prototype and make the Mustang GT 350 (30,000 ended up being produced). .

Factory efforts to campaign the Cobra ended in 1965, but that is another story.

So I just finished the book Go Like Hell, by A.J. Baime. The movie relied heavily on this book.

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80 Years + 2 Days Ago

They are all probably long gone now. It is funny, as a 23 year old stationed in Germany, I considered them at the time, old. And now I am far older – by at least 20 years – than them.

When I wasn’t under the ground in the NATO bunker in Germany, I was more often than not in the photo lab by my barracks. The man who ran it, Willi Schubert, became a friend. Besides teaching me the art of developing and printing my film – and Agfa 8×10 paper was $2! – we talked a lot. If you look at my post Europe in B & W, that was just a small portion of those 8 x 10 prints.

As I have mentioned before, in my travels I remember the people I have met along the way as much as the sights.

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COVID-19 and Employment

I just had an interesting experience today. I’ve seen it in regards to others, but this is the first time that it hit me. I managed to hit a traffic cone in the middle of a freeway onramp a few weeks ago, and decided to pay for the damage out of pocket. I knew of this body shop 50 miles south, in Stockton. Over the years they had done some things for various cars of mine – I believe I came to know them through their affiliation (at the time) of the Stockton Mercedes-Benz dealer.

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Father’s Day, 2021

Growing up, my father and I had a strained relationship. He was fanatically neat and organized, I was (and am) content to live in “controlled chaos”. We were never close, nor did we do things many sons and fathers do. I can count maybe a half dozen things we did together in all those years from seeing a 49er game to my going with him on a trip to Las Vegas in the early 80s to attend a Mobil Oil Convention.

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Happy Birthday, Army!

Posted by lex, on June 14, 2006

Two hundred and thirty one years, and still going strong. I tell you it’s an inspiration to us younger services.

Boots on the ground indeed. All over the place, these days. Good on ‘ya.

 

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Filed under Army, Carroll "Lex" LeFon

Congratulations are in order!

Posted by lex, on June 12, 2006

 

For himself. Alas, for her ladyship: Condolences.

Today marks twenty-four years of married bliss. Well, not minute for minute, but you know: Close enough.

Last night I took the girls out to the bookstore. Which was nothing but a convenient fiction – with the added benefit of being true – enabling me to sneak in my dozen roses, bottle of champagne and anniversary card. The lady at the check out counter smiled approvingly: “Well, you’re on the right track,” she said.

I know, I thought to myself. After nearly a quarter century, I was bound to eventually get it right.

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, SoCal

The Ones Who Didn’t Return

I have been doing more reading these last few years, and a book recommended by a fellow Lexican is almost finished. Chickenhawk, by Robert Mason, tells of the author’s journey from Army Helicopter training at Ft Wolters, TX to some of the biggest battles, such as Ia Drang, of the Vietnam War. All from the prospective of an Army UH-1 “Huey” pilot. His story begins with the start of the massive build up, in 1965.

He wrote about everything from the difficulty in training at Wolters, to the stupid stuff like not having any flak jackets – causing the deaths of friends – for months while a neighboring unit 100 miles away had more than they knew what to do with.

And no, the book title is not about what you may think it is.

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Filed under Army Aviation, Books, Heroes Among Us

Another Loop of America

“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world, you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you.” — Anthony Bourdain

I have always loved to roam. Might be in my genes, as I had a grandmother who, in her 60s, took it upon herself to roam the world on her own.

The last “Loop Around America” I did was 15 years ago. Then, I could on the spur of the moment, decide that I wanted to see New Orleans post-Katrina and drive 800 miles from Oak Ridge, TN. I covered 7,500 miles in 14 days, and that included stopping in MN to see my niece get married, and visiting my cousin in Virginia.

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