Friday, November 14, 2014

Happy Birthday to the Willys MA Jeep





Happy Birthday to the original Jeep of world war II!  This video has great scenes of pre-war testing of the prototype Bantam Jeep model prior to the final pattern as made by Willys and Ford.  In several of the scenes the driver almost tips his Jeep over from over enthusiastic driving.

My father said that he and his AAF comrades were going to get two things after the war;  an M1 carbine and a Jeep.  He had to wait until I came along to be reacquanted with both of those items.

The contract for the Jeep was issued in November of 1940 and has Paul Harvey used to say "...and that is the rest of the story!".

Short reading list for junior leaders, military and civilian

I recently completed a leadership master's degree and as part of the process we had many texts and articles that we read as part of the program.  I was thinking about leadership, junior military officers, and book knowledge on leadership and realized that pretty much all the leadership wisdom needed can be found in a total of four books.  Two are fiction, two are fact and between them, they cover a time span of several thousand years.

Read these four books and you will entertained and enlightened.

"Gates of Fire"  fiction by Steven Pressfield   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gates_of_Fire

"Bugles and a Tiger

"The Road Past Mandalay  non fiction autobiography both my John Masters  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1739219.Bugles_and_a_Tiger#other_reviews
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/198452.The_Road_Past_Mandalay

"Starship Troopers"  fiction by Robert A. Heinlein (not the horrendous movie adaptation!)  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starship_Troopers

Some may complain about military fiction and non fiction as leadership guides.  Let me assure you that these four works will give you the framework that any successful leader needs: empathy,  courage, honesty, selflessness, sacrifice, decisiveness, technical knowledge, team work, humor, dedication to duty, and initiative.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Guilty Pleasure: "The Paradise" on Masterpiece Theater

I stumbled on "The Paradise" on Masterpiece theater the other day.  It is a story of a department store in England sometime in the 19th century post the Indian Mutiny.  It is a soap opera hiding in a gorgeous period piece.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/programs/paradise/

I was instantly hooked by the characters, the vibrant colors, and musical score.  The storyline is compelling too.  It didn't help things at all that I picked up the story in the middle of season two but I was able to deduce certain pieces of the plot to figure out the dynamics of the story.  I then went to the PBS website and watched the 30 second previews of the season I episodes as well as the first and second episodes of season II so I now have a solid idea of what the heck is going on.

I'm a sucker for this type of show having watched many of the original Upstairs/Downstairs episodes and then the follow up Upstairs/Downstairs that was on a year or so ago.

If you get the chance, watch the episodes on the website but hurry, apparently when the season ends, so does the online access to the complete shows.



Happy Veteran's Day

Happy Veteran's day to all of the veterans in my life both living and deceased.

 "All gave some, some gave all".

Between the Missus family and mine we have veterans from the Civil War, WW1, WW2, Vietnam, the Cold War, Iraq I and Iraq II

Someday we as veterans hope that as the traditional spiritual goes, the world " ain't going to study war no more"

I'm gonna lay down my sword and shield
Down by the riverside and study war no more
Down by the riverside I'm gonna lay my burden down
Down by the riverside I'm gonna lay my burden down
Down by the riverside I'm gonna lay my burden down
And I'll study war no more
I ain't gonna study war no more, study war no more
I ain't gonna study war no more
I ain't gonna study war no more, study war no more
I ain't gonna study war no more
Down by the riverside I'm gonna walk with the Prince of Peace
Down by the riverside I'm gonna walk with the Prince of Peace, Hallelujah
Down by the riverside I'm gonna walk with the Prince of Peace
And I'll study war no more
I ain't gonna study war no more, study war no more
I ain't gonna study war no more
I ain't gonna study war no more, study war no more
I ain't gonna study war no more
I'm gonna beat my sword into a cloud down by the riverside
I'm gonna beat my sword into a cloud down by the riverside, yes it is
Beat my sword into a cloud down by the riverside
And I'll study war no more
I ain't gonna study war no more, study war no more
I ain't gonna study war no more
I ain't gonna study war no more, study war no more
I ain't gonna study war no more


Friday, November 7, 2014

Interstellar - the Movie

Young Son and I saw "Interstellar" today at the Imax.  It is a great movie, reminiscent of "2001-A Space Odyssey" but with an ending that is unambiguous and neatly wrapped everything up.  This film was visually beautiful and had great themes such as the importance of family and a father's love for his children, exploration, and sacrifice.  My only problems with the movie were two:  1. It was LOUD; and 2. the music was so loud that it sometimes drowned out dialog although Young Son with his young ears did not have that complaint.

https://interstellar.withgoogle.com/

I like movies with admirable themes; "Oblivion" from 2013 was full of them: courage, sacrifice, loyalty, devotion to a loved one.  A classic line from the movie: 'Everyone dies...the thing is to die well".  While we waited in line for "Interstellar" I reminisced about seeing '2001' in the theater when it was a first run movie and the overwhelming experience of the movie for me.  I looked it up on the internet tonight (everything is on the internet) and learned that the showing that I saw was one of a select group shown in advance at Cinerama equipped theaters to create buzz for the movie.  For some the buzz was induced by smoking MJ during the extended ending but that is another subject for another time.  For me it was the incredibly realistic effects and the overall story of exploration.

http://cinematreasures.org/blog/2013/4/2/2001-a-space-odyssey-45th-anniversary-the-cinerama-engagements

I saw it at the Warner theater in Pittsburgh which is sadly history now.

http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/4368

I remember being offered the program of the movie but rebuffed it when I learned I had to pay $5 for it!  Wish now I had kept it.  The Warner was the scene of the infamous "Carrie" movie incident on Halloween that involved the Missus ( we were dating), an umbrella, and the hand coming from the grave in the movie, simultaneously. It is a miracle that she married me after that.

Young Son asked me what other movies that I saw first run gave me the same "wow" feeling as '2001' did when I was young so I told him five movies:

"Star Wars"
"2001"
the original "Planet of the Apes"
"Wind and the Lion"
"Robinson Crusoe on Mars"   Ok this one is cheesy but as a 10 year old it blew me away. I still enjoy watching it on DVD and pine for the Mars that hasn't existed for millions of years.  But still...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robinson_Crusoe_on_Mars

Back to "Interstellar".  See it, and see it on the big screen.  Your TV is way too small to capture the grandeur of this flick.  I give it 4 out of 4.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Goodbye Roscoe

Roscoe took his last walk today with the Missus and Young Son before passing away peacefully while laying in the backyard with Young Son by his side.  Roscoe was a loyal friend, steadfast hiking partner, and champion agility competitor.  We called him the fun police because of his insistence that all dogs and humans be safe when running around in the yard.  He would show his concern by barking and trying to get everyone to slow down and be careful.


Roscoe loved to go on walks and hikes in the mountains.  He walked with me in the hills the day my father passed away as I sought comfort with Roscoe and Molly by hiking and thinking about my times with my Dad.   Today I walked with Roscoe on the day of his passing as I carried his limp body wrapped in a wool Army blanket to his final rest.

We will all remember Roscoe with great love and sadness at his passing.  

He will be forever young in dog heaven.