Posts Tagged with "nostalgia"

Veterans’ Day 2009

November 11th, 2009 at 8:46 pm by Mark
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aka  Before It’s Over, I Have to Say Something

     I usually write a post on Veteran’s Day.  Last year, I couldn’t.  I’d watched a friend get shipped off and returned a few days later, and had quite a lot of subsequent conversation with him that left me dry.
     He had really high expectations of himself.  He went through his education and training with honors.  He knew where he wanted to be, what he wanted to do.  He’d planned his entire life around his career in the military, and everything was going to be okay.
     When he finally got to Iraq, however, anxiety took its toll.  Sent home, he felt like a failure, like he hadn’t lived up to the expectations his family had.  Though all of them were supportive, he felt that they didn’t, even couldn’t, understand.  
     More than that, even, he wanted the respect of the people with whom he’d served, and knew that he’d let them all down.

     Through the course of the conversation with him, I tried to put it in real-life terms, hoping he could get his perspective back.  I told him to think of it as a job, and nothing more. 
     It was a job he was trained to do, and, many times, trained through repetition.  His job, a lower management position, was to manage and train others, often by repetition, as well.  Sometimes, no amount of training can prepare you for the reality of the job.
     I explained that it was like going to McDonald’s and training to be a run the drive through, and being thrown into it busy as Hell on the first day.  Things will happen, mistakes will be made.  People will be upset at you.  Some will even hate you.  But you do the job until you either get better, or you’re laid off, or you quit.  At either of the last two points, you find another job.
     “But you know,” I told him.  “What you tried to do carried with it a lot more prestige than some crappy job flipping burgers, or even selling advertising a company who’ll never last two years.  You were part of something bigger than yourself, and went duty-bound into something that most people are terrified to even think about.  And that, right there, is why you haven’t lost anyone else’s respect.  Not even the guys you served with.”


     It’s one of the things I always enjoyed about Military.  Guys who worked together consider one another friends.  Sometimes, they only see each other in an aeon, but will still have a clandestine beer, perhaps even in silence for the friends they knew and lost.

     That fact was driven home for me even more over the next few months.  Pretty much all of my uncles were in the military, and I just never was cut out for it.  But I’ve worked with and around them in a civilian capacity for quite a while.
     In December last year, a few of them looked for me, found me, and all but twisted my arms.  “Mark, what?  Man, you were right there with us.  Get your ass out of that damn house!”
     I was going through a really rough time a year ago.  If it hadn’t been for them, I was so stressed I might never have left the house again.  I never really told them what was going on, and just took the opportunity to get away, to get out of Knoxville, even, if only for a little while.
     Almost exclusively, it was just a bunch of us sitting around in a hotel bar.  We told stupid stories about each other, making sure to exaggerate as much as possible, smoked cigars, bitched about politicians, drank copiously and laughed a lot.  And then, there was always the silent drink to the ones who weren’t there…
     Philip, Joe, Terry, JD, Nate, John, Larry, Joel, Paul, Tony, Dennis, Neal… and I know there are more, but I just can’t remember right now…  You guys don’t even know what you did for me.  And I thank you all.

     Those little road trips always ended the same.
     “It was great to see you again, man.  If you ever need anything, you give me a call.  I mean it!”
     There’s an unspoken rule of mine, and that is that I respect them too much to ever ask them for anything.

     To my surprise in January, “Mark, I’m shipping out for Afghanistan.  You fixed this Xbox for us, so, uh, we won’t need it, figured you’d want it?  And give me your address… we’re gonna send you some games when we get tired of them.”
     So now you know the root of my other time-waster / stress-reliever…


     And so, back to Lt. Cpl. Jared…

     Jared, you didn’t get to serve your entire time, but you were let out honorably.  You did your job as best you could, and I seriously think it was just bad timing.  But for all that worry, all that being down on yourself, and all that crazy shit you were thinking back then… look at how you’re doing now. 
     You’ve got everything together, just like I told you would. ūüėČ

     And those people you crawled through mud and walked on sand with, even the ones you sat at a computer next to, or sat around all night in the barracks playing Xbox with, they are the salt of the earth.

     And I’ll guaran-damn-tee, after they’re back, given a little time, they’ll call you up and wanna go out for a beer…

     Jared … and everyone else … Happy Veterans’ Day, my friends.

Communing with Carson

October 23rd, 2009 at 7:16 pm by Mark
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Johnny Carson

¬†¬†¬†¬† On October 23rd, 1925 in Corning, Iowa, Johnny Carson was born.¬† It’s strange how the life such an interesting character like him can go virtually unknown.
¬†¬†¬†¬† Neat little tidbits… Like…

¬†¬†¬†¬† The fact that he was an Ensign in the US Navy, and reported for duty on the USS Pensylvania on August 25th, 1945?¬† Yep, the last day of World War II.¬† On the Pacific front, no less, a mere two weeks after the ship had been torpedoed.¬† His first job?¬† Superivising the removal of twenty dead seamen as the carrier made its way to Guam for repairs… After that, he went on to become a communications officer, decrypting encoded messages…

¬†¬†¬†¬† He graduated from college in 1949 with a minor in Physics, he worked really hard to pay for his physics tuition singapore.¬† That makes it even less surprising that he was an amateur Astronomer who owned several telescopes, including a¬†grossly-superior¬†Maksutov-Cassegrain Reflector Telescope by Questar.¬† The Maksutov-Cassegrain shows about three time the light of other reflectors (I’d almost kill for one).

¬†¬†¬†¬† In the 1950’s, Carson filled in for Red Skelton, who’d¬†managed to knock himself unconcious before one of his shows.

¬†¬†¬†¬† In the early 60’s, Carson was considered for the leading role, Rob Petrie,¬†on the show that eventually became “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”¬† He was a regular on several game shows as a panellist and host.

¬†¬†¬†¬† Throughout the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, he regularly rubbed elbows with the rich and famous on The Tonight Show.¬† There are plenty of stories, some of which were proven untrue.¬† Especially the one about Zsa Zsa’s cat… In answer to her question, no, he didn’t reply, “Sure, if you’ll get that cat out of the way.”

Your chances of getting struck by lightning go up if you stand … you stand under a tree, shake your fist at the sky, and say “Storms suck!”
— Johnny Carson

¬†¬†¬†¬† In the 1980’s, Carson was a major investor in DeLorean Motor Company, the failed auto company of John DeLorean.¬† It’s too bad, too … It was a great looking car.¬† All stainless steel, and¬†especially cool when tricked out with a 1.21 jigawatt flux capacitor.
     He also had a moderately successful clothing line.

¬†¬†¬†¬† Probably one of the best known facts is that Carson didn’t care for Leno, who inherited the Tonight Show in 1992.¬† He’d actually asked that David Letterman fill his shoes, but the network chose Leno instead.¬†¬†There was a lot of animosity on all sides.¬†
     Carson reortedly continued to send Letterman jokes for his monologue until his death in 2005.
¬†¬†¬†¬† Interestingly, that’s about the time Letterman started to suck so vehemently…
¬†¬†¬†¬† It’s amazing the crap we get stuck with on TV…

¬†¬†¬†¬† After this evening’s seance with Johnny, attended by another dead friend, I had the opportunity to ask Carson what he thought of this whole David Letterman and Stephanie The-One-Who-Shall-Be-Called-Vicky Burkitt affair.¬† Pun not intended, but there it is.

     The obviously disappointed Carson furrowed his brown and dead-panned (again, pun not intended, but there it is):

¬†¬†¬†¬† “When turkeys mate, they think of swans.”

     So, Happy Birthday, Johnny. 

¬†¬†¬†¬† You’re sorely missed.

     *Golf swing in your general direction!*

Robinhood: Free Stocks for your Referrals!

Daddy! The top came off!…….

January 28th, 2009 at 5:33 pm by Glenn
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“I’m gonna bar-b-que your ass in molasses!!!!”

Sorry – I removed the video as embedding wasn’t allowed.


It Always Starts Innocently Enough

December 29th, 2008 at 10:42 pm by Mark
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¬†¬†¬†¬† “Hey, you should come over Wednesday night.¬† Plenty of food!”
¬†¬†¬†¬† “So, what, you’re havin’ a party?”
¬†¬†¬†¬† “Well, I hadn’t thought of it like that, but lots of food, a few friends, drinks…”

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Yeah, I remember those days… I’ll bet Mr. McCaughan¬†does, too…

¬†¬†¬†¬† Just a “few friends,” indeed…

¬†¬†¬†¬† Then the next morning,¬†you’re trying to figure out who shat in the cat’s litter box and why all the deck furniture from Ivy and Wilde¬†is in the¬†trees.¬†¬†The VW Microbus sitting in the den can never be easily explained.

¬†¬†¬†¬† Exasperated due to many futile attempts, I’d usually just scream, “Those damn raccoons!”

     I mean, what the hell was I supposed to say?

¬†¬†¬†¬† It’s not like anyone ever actually¬†believed me when it was so clearly the work of Sebastian Cabot and his evil horde of winged monkies…

     Damn evil hordes of winged monkies!

Stock Photos

Mushy Writes Another Book

January 4th, 2008 at 10:24 am by Mark
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¬†¬†¬†¬† “Dude, you’re like Forrest Gump,” someone told me a few years ago.¬† “You should write a book!”
¬†¬†¬†¬† It’s funny… For all my devil-may-care, seat-of-my-pants adventures —¬†all the while incessantly telling people to “Quit planning and do it” — writing it all down was the one thing I never did.¬† I’ve always toyed with the idea, and even written a few chapters here and there, but never decided to go all out and do it.

     Mushy, on the other hand, did.

¬†¬†¬†¬† Unfortunately, the plan is also to close up shop at Mushy’s Moochings, which, in a word, blows.¬† I love that blog, as it reminds me of why I decided to move back to East Tennessee — Mushy presents his various adventures and misadventures, and still manages to come off as “down to earth,” “good people.”¬† The best thing, of course, is that when you know him, you find that he actually is that person, and someone I’m proud to call a friend.

¬†¬†¬†¬† Buy the book.¬†¬†And while you’re at it, be sure and check out his work of fiction, as well.

     And, of course, check out his R-Rated humor blog, The Silverbacks.

¬†¬†¬†¬† Congrats, Mushy. ūüôā