Monday, June 29, 2009

Great Music Monday-Only God Could Love You More

This past weekend, I had the great joy of going to the St. Louis suburbs for a very special wedding. You see, I have a small family; one brother, and each of my parents only has one sibling (Dad has two other siblings who died in childhood). Dad's sister is married and has three kids, and Mom has a sister. Outside of that, it goes to 2nd and 3rd cousins.

That is until Saturday afternoon. My aunt married a great guy. Now, my aunt is the same age as my Dad (I'm 26, almost 27, ballpark an age from there, cause I won't tell out of respect) and has never been married. They dated for almost 5-1/2 years, and waited until he finished his Master's Degree (graduated a week before the wedding). He also has a 9-year old son from a previous marriage.

This is an awesome union. Truly, a match ordained by God. And the ceremony reflected that their faith is the center of both their lives. Really, it was inspiring.

So this week, the Great Music is a song played at the reception that really describes their marriage and is in honor of my aunt and new uncle and cousin. Welcome to the family.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Great Music Monday-People Are Strange

I don't really think this particular piece is all that great of a song. It is one that you can't help but sing along with.

This morning sitting in the office, we got a call that one of our drivers had missed a stop on his curbside route. The exchange between our staff member and the resident left all of us doing a *facepalm.*

We called the driver to make sure he made the stop.

His response, "I haven't even done that street yet!"

People are so freaking strange.

So in tribute to the people that cost me so many brain cells, a little ditty.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Last summer, I mentioned that I hadn't gotten some new guns shot. Well, I got one of them shot for the first time during dove season, the Stoeger Uplander. But the problem was that out of the four shells that I put through the gun, one didn't fire. I never thought much about it.

Then New Year's Day rolled around, and there was an extended range session that combined about 1,500 rounds of 12 gauge, 20 gauge, .45 ACP, and .40 S&W. One of the several firearms used that day was the Uplander. But it didn't take long for all of us there that day to get very frustrated when one barrell of the Uplander repeatedly didn't fire. It seemed to be every shell or every other shell through the right barrell (which is the first to fire) would not actually discharge. The primer in the shell was dimpled, but no discharge. Needless to say, I was pissed. Over $600 for a gun and it doesn't freaking work! But it is still under warranty.

I took the Uplander back to Gander Mountain, where I purchased it. When I walked up to the gunsmith counter, he took one look at the gun and said "Oh, it's a Stoeger. I get so many of those in I don't even work on 'em, I just send 'em back to Benelli."


So at the end of January (it took me a month to get to Peoria since it is an hour drive), the Uplander was sent to Benelli. I finally got it back in early April. The day I got it back, I took it out to make sure it worked. First shell in the gun: CLICK!!!!!!!!!!!! DAMNITDAMNITDAMNIT!!!! I put 8 more shells through that barrell and had a total of 2 mis-fires. Even more pissed than before. I just spent two months without my shotgun and paid $25 in shipping to get an unfixed gun. So I call Benelli and complain that it is not fixed and that I am NOT paying shipping again to fix the same problem. They tell me to go back to Gander again, and they can bill Benelli for the shipping. So back to the Gunsmith, and as I walk up to the counter, he recognizes me immediately (I've been told I leave and impression on people). He asks what do I have this time.

"Same gun, same problem" I tell him.

"Well, we can send it in again."

Another month of waiting, and the gunsmith calls. Benelli sent it back and said they found no problems.

"They're lying to ya," I respond. So the gunsmith suggests that I bring in a box of the shells I was having problems with and he can test fire it before I take it home.

So when I go to pick up the Uplander, I carried in two boxes of shells. The gunsmith took 4 to his test range and fired, with no problems. I am simply dumbfounded. And he could read it on my face, I am sure. So he suggests, let me try four more. This time, the first shell in the the right barrell doesn't fire. So the gunsmith comes out and calls Benelli to tell them that he had the same problem I did. They ask what shells he used. After he read off the label, the Benelli rep said "Oh, we recommend you don't shoot anything lighter that an 1-1/8 ounce load."

"Well why does that matter on the first barrell?" (and it wouldn't matter on the second barrell either, since the Uplander does not require recoil to set the trigger).

But the gunsmith humors the rep, and says he'll try an 1-1/8 oz load. First shell, CLICK!

Back on the phone to Benelli. This time, he gets the return authorization.

Finally, we have a resolution.

A little over a week ago, the gunsmith called me. "Benelli sent you a new gun."

So the next time time I am in Peoria, I get to go pick up a new Stoeger Uplander. Hopefully, without the problems.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Great Music Monday - Ballad of Ira Hayes

Yesterday was Flag Day. A day to honor the adoption of Old Glory.

Last year, I posted one of the greatest songs about the flag ever, and this year, we will focus on one of the men who was a part of one of the most famous flag raisings ever in American History, the raising on the top of Mt. Suribachi on Feb. 23, 1945.

This one photo, of the second flag raised on top of Suribachi (see Flags of our Fathers).

This same image is immortalized as the United States Marine Corps War Memorial, located near Arlington National Cemetery.

The person on the far left in the picture, is PFC Ira Hayes, USMC. Ira Hayes was a Pima Indian from Arizona.

Following the War, Hayes came home to much unwanted attention. He would be arrested more than 50 times for drunkenness. In 1949, Hayes, along with the other two men who raised the flag in the picture who survived the war, joined John Wayne on the silver screen for the classic "Sands of Iwo Jima." In the film, Hayes, along with John Bradley and Rene Gagnon, played themselves and were handed the same flag raised in 1945, from John Wayne, to raise it again.

But Hayes was never able to regain normalcy in his life. In January 1955, following a card game Ira Hayes was found dead, laying face down in his own vomit and blood. Official cause of death was exposure and alcohol , but his brother believes an argument following the card game was a factor.

Ira Hayes is an American Tragedy. An American Hero who was never able to resume a normal life, and died far too young, at age 32.

Folk Singer/Songwriter Peter La Farge wrote a ballad about the life and tragic end of Ira Hayes. By far, the most popular recording ever was by Johnny Cash.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

History foretelling the future.

Just saw this video and had to post it.

I remember hearing about Alexis du Toqueville's Democracy in America when I was in high school or college, but have never read it. Obviously, I need to.

Andrew Klavan: On The Culture

Monday, June 8, 2009

Great Music Monday-Somewhere In Kentucky

Well, last week I missed posting some Great Music, I was out of town at a conference for work.

But this week, I have something very special for you. A reader suggestion.

My good friend, Wil, suggested several great songs last year. And I kept a list of them, and have been looking for decent videos to use.

This week, I found such a video for one of the songs. Somewhere In Kentucky.

Tom T. Hall is one of the classic country and bluegrass artists of the 20th century, recording cult classics I Love and I Like Beer.

Somewhere In Kentucky is written by Tom T. and his wife, Miss Dixie, and was recorded on the album Tom T. Hall Sings Miss Dixie and Tom T., a compilation of songs written by the couple, selected by Miss Dixie as part of a Christmas present from Tom T., and recorded live.

The song is the story of a man working in an Ohio mill, who wants to go home to his love, who is waiting in Kentucky.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

D-Day + 65

I had planned to right a long post of reflections on this incredibly important day, and then watch the greatest D-Day movie I've ever seen, The Longest Day.

Unfortunately, I had to work 13 hours today, after a 16 hour day yesterday, and more tomorrow. A pitiful excuse, but it is what I have.

So I will simply say this:

65 years ago today, over 150,000 Allied troops undertook one of the greatest military operations in the history of the world, as they began Operation Overlord, and the beginning of the end of WWII. The Allies suffered over 10,000 casualties that day. over 2,500 would never leave the beachheads. No words can acurately describe the sacrifice, the courage, determination, and spirit of all those who landed on the beaches, jumped from the planes, dropped the bombs, and piloted the planes who moved the Allies that next step closer to victory. We owe everything we have to these men, and to all Veterans, who have stepped up to the plate, willing to give the 'last, full measure of devotion."

Thank you.