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Showing posts from 2006

Baytown ready to fight back!

Baytonians are fed-up with violent and senseless crime and are waking up. Baytown Sun reporter, Kirk Ehlig reported crime has risen 7%, but it feels like 70% to most of us who read the police reports and the local news. The online forum, Baytown Talks, sponsored by the Baytown Sun has numerous posts every day about the crime and what is happening around town. We Baytonians are taking notice. We are watching.The heinous serial rapist at large is something most of us thought would never happen here. Now little Baytown, turned big city, has big city crime. Armed robbery has become commonplace. Abductions in broad daylight, shotgun-wielding robbers, burglaries, beatings and as many as four hit and run accidents are reported daily in the police reports.Honest hard-working citizens are buying guns and taking the concealed handgun course out of desperation. I regularly travel around town with one of my handguns, something I used to do only when I hiked. When my wife and daughter leave…

Strong Leadership in America

Folks say Donald Rumsfeld went out in disgrace.I don't see it that way. I applaud the man for attempting to win the war on terrorism mainly on strategy and technology while minimizing the unnecessary loss of life.

The old way of aerial warfare was carpet bombing and even though some may believe it is still the strategy we should embrace, I beg to differ.For every “bad guy” killed by saturation bombing, non-combatants fell in droves.With a few exceptions, targets are now annihilated where they set and often by a single bomb.This leads to spectacular demoralization of our enemies. Don’t think for a second that it doesn’t.There's no telling how many lives on both sides are spared by fighting this way. Donald Rumsfeld is the main force behind this philosophy.Rumsfeld has been a very strong leader, especially to our enemies, as has Bush.No one bats one hundred percent in the decision making department.An old rule of warfare says “make plans for everything and then toss them out afte…

The Perfect Christmas gift

When I was a kid, I thought the perfect Christmas gift was something having to do with toy guns and the Army.My generation was the baby-boomers of WW2 and the Korean conflict and we watched Movie Stars save America from the Axis countries on TV, most every night.My brothers and I wanted to join the effort to fight the bad guys, so we all asked for toy guns so we could practice.As I entered Jr. High School and “Stingray” bicycles came onto the scene, I wanted one of those real bad.Real bad.The high handlebars and banana seat on a 20 inch frame was the coolest thing I had ever seen.A couple of boys down the street had mini-bikes, but that was out of the question.All I wanted was one of those bikes. It was the perfect gift.Along the way, gifts came and went.Baseball gloves, penny-loafer shoes, varsity-style jackets, dart boards, board games, and “groovy” school clothes.Christmas was all about what I received and I took little thought to what I gave.It was about me and “the perfect gift” …

The Gift of Knowledge

I just survived 5 days adrift in the Philippine Sea with the crew of the USS Indianapolis and I must say, it is good to be back on dry land. The constant threat of shark attacks along with the absence of fresh drinking water had me gulping down gallons of the precious liquid as I turned the pages of: “In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis”This was quite a change after last weeks jaunt around Europe as I traveled with Saddam’s bomb-maker. We were buying up components to make Iraq a nuclear bomb. Thank goodness, Dr. Hamza saw the insanity involved and defected before the program came to fruition. It’s all documented right here: “Saddam’s Bombmaker: The Terrifying Inside Story of the Iraqi Nuclear and Biological Weapons Agenda”.2006 has been a busy year book-traveling, but one I wouldn’t trade for all the Plasma TVs China can produce.Why, back in November, I got a first hand look at the trouble in Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Vietnam through the eyes of war correspondent P…

The Greatest Gift

Every day at work, I wash down the bird droppings from the pigeons and dove that nest in my area. I’ve thought about ways to keep them out of the covered areas and really want to do it in a way that isn’t harmful to them. Their droppings are surely a health hazard and I get aggravated when each day, I drag out the water hose to flush it into the Plant sump.

Yesterday, I saw a pigeon all fluffed up, sitting on the ground and I instinctively knew it was sick. Instead of feeling justified, I felt nothing but pity. Under my breath I whispered a short prayer for its recovery. I guess I’m getting old, or mellow, or something. In my earlier days, I wouldn’t have given the poor bird much thought, as sad as that sounds.

Each day in the media and the online forums, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan is tossed back and forth with a detachment that is as bad as my former aloofness concerning sick birds. We complain about the war and the way it’s being handled and all the while “our boys” are in the th…

Hunting Texas style

Hunting, firearms, reloading, rifles and shotguns used to be a passion I enjoyed every hunting season. The nine months leading up to it was used to sharpen my skills. I voraciously devoured hunting journals, magazines and books by great hunters and firearm experts. Skeeter Skelton, Dan Wesson, Bill Jordon, Peter Capstick and Elmer Keith all taught me, through their hunting and firearms books.

My three brothers and I bought RCBS reloading equipment with its famous Rock-Chucker press and before long we were building rifle, revolver and pistol loads tuned to the firearms they were intended for. We built special life-sized antelope targets and took them to Turners range, where we punched precision holes in them at 200 yards.

I obsessively studied ballistics and could argue bullet drop compensation; the effect wind velocity has on a 150-grain boat-tail bullet at 300 yards. I could tell you in no uncertain terms why the .30-06 is THE rifle to buy, if you can only afford to buy one gun. I…

America takes one on the chin

Back in December 1941, America was deep into isolationism. Hitler was rolling across Europe with ease, swallowing up whole countries with his lightning war offensive. It was Europe’s problem was the common consensus; why should we be bothered with it?

Japan had been building its war machine compliments of American steel exports (mainly our junk cars, which Americans found hilarious) since it invaded Manchuria in 1931, then China in 1937 and although analysts warned of Japan’s war intentions, Americans were in no mood for “fooling with them”. We saw ourselves as invincible and a self-sufficient “island”.

We took one on the chin, when Japan wiped-out the U.S. Navy fleet at Pearl Harbor and forced America into the war.

At the Tehran Conference, Winston Churchill warned Franklin Roosevelt that placating Joseph Stalin would have repercussions impossible to correct. FDR chose to ignore that excellent advice and we entered into 40 years of contention with the Soviet Union, “The Cold War”…

Failing to launch

I’m told there is a movie about a 30-something year old son, failing to leave the nest. He not only doesn’t “launch”, but also according to my slim research, doesn’t plan to. The parents have to take subversive and subliminal action to make the almost middle-aged man…get out and join adulthood.

This is probably a hilariously funny movie and I would most likely enjoy watching it, if it were not for a sneaky suspicion that it is a sad American reality. Kids aren’t leaving when they turn eighteen, or nineteen, or even twenty. Why should they? Mom and Pop give them plenty of spending money, set them up in a new car with all the do-dads, and pay their monthly credit card bills.

Every kid out there is toting a mobile communication device with features Captain Kirk wished he had (thanks Dad!). As their late model cars and trucks zip around town, heavy pounding bass rumbles out (thanks Mom!). New X-Box or PS3 just hitting the market? Don’t worry kiddos (18 to 30 age bracket), there’ll be one un…

Casting Bread

I received an email from a lady who didn't understand why she hasn't received a reply for the numerous packages she's sent to G.I.'s overseas. As far as I know, she is not referring to anyone in particular and she was questioning me, because she knows I am strong on Veterans issues and follow the war in Iraq closely.

This is what I told her and if anyone reading this has wondered the same thing, maybe this will help you understand the unique predicament of our troops in combat areas. Please keep in mind that the war on terrorism is completely different than WW2, or even Vietnam. In this war, there are few boundaries and all military members are potentially a prime target for violence.

Concerning the soldier’s apparent apathy and non-existent replies, I offer this:

One day, while talking to my son on the phone, I explained how important it was to reply and thank people who took their precious time and money to send an email, letter or package. His response surprised a…

Not all DJ’s are created equal

On my way to work this morning, I surfed the FM radio stations, trying to decide if I wanted Talk-Radio for a heady blast of political commentary, or music. I usually find my way over to Houston’s smooth Jazz station, KHJZ 95.7 and if Donna McKenzie is at the microphone, I know I can find just the right mix of smooth, relaxing Jazz music and soft dialogue. To be fair, KHJZ is replete with good DJ’s.

Let’s back up a bit. I grew up literally hating AM radio and so many disc jockey’s on air today reflect the AM DJ mentality. They call themselves “On-Air Personalities” as if the average lone commuter is starved for company. “Hey, BB! Mind if I ride along with you and blab senseless nothings while you wait for me to play actual music”? I know I could put in a CD or get Satellite radio, but please bear with me, while I plead my case.

If the song starts or ends and the DJ is talking, I brand them as an AM DJ.

Maybe I am being too hard on today’s DJ’s, as many did not experience AM radio and the…

My American flag

Call me a dumb redneck, but I love the flag of the United States of America. I own a good-sized flag and I like to fly it on patriotic holidays and whenever I want to show support for our country. Sometimes, I fly it when one of our soldiers is captured, or dies. Sometimes I fly it just because I want to. It means a lot to me.

“I Pledge Allegiance to the flag”

A couple of years ago my wife and I drove to Washington DC, so we could see “The Star Spangled Banner” in all it’s antiquity and glory. While we were there, we took in all the monuments also; the Lincoln Memorial being the most magnificent.

For the life of me, I can’t understand why any citizen of this country would want to deface our flag. I don’t even want to debate it and I love a good solid educational argument. Someone may say it is a symbolic gesture of protest when they put a match to the edge of “Old Glory” and I can see that. Someone may argue it is really just a piece of cloth that over the history of our country …

Thanksgiving Holiday 2006

Well, here we are, another holiday and for some, a 4 day weekend, compliments of our obsession with stacking days off when a holiday falls on a Thursday, or a Tuesday. The true meanings of our traditional holidays are falling one by one, to the delight of those who capitalize on our desire to purchase more earthly goods. Black Friday here we come!

With new “special recognition” days being pushed on us all the time, we need to stop a minute and think about what days like Memorial Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Veteran’s Day and Independence Day meant to our forefathers and why they set them aside as special. “Talk like a pirate day” can wait.

Many of us present day Americans think sacrifice is skipping an ice cream late-night snack, or not getting a new automobile every three years. We are the most self-rewarding generation in the short history of this country. We want our “goodies” now and danged if we will wait. We truthfully have never really lacked for anything essential and the…

Longhaired Hippies

I remember the first time I saw real hippies. If I remember correctly, the year was 1968 and the band calling itself “Canned Heat” was on an afternoon music program. They were playing a song that was hitting the AM radio stations called "On the road again". This particular song was nothing like the later version Willie made famous. Canned Heat’s version was untamed and hypnotic, as was their appearance. They had long straggly hair. I mean real long and they dressed funny. It was disgusting and invariably “cool”.

*”Almost cut my hair
It happened just the other day
It's gettin kinda long
I could have said it was in my way”

It’s commonly reminisced that longhaired hippie types were common in 1968 and maybe they were in some small parts of the country, but mainstream America viewed the Beatles cutesy hair over the top of the ears, as real hippie fodder --- and it wasn’t. Long hair on young men didn’t really catch on across the country until the 70’s. I know, becau…

The truth is stranger than fiction

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction and I would like to share some personal experiences, some good, some, well, read on.

I saw a dog with a broken back walking around on its front legs, like a human. It would even stand still while it waited to cross the road.

Back in 1975, while working for Brown and Root at the Mobay Plant construction site, I witnessed 3 millwrights inflating a cherry picker tire when it suddenly popped. 15 seconds later, an orange hardhat came floating down and landed on the ground. It had been blown about 100 feet straight up.

I watched a man plow his pick-up truck into the side of a Volkswagen Beetle on a construction site parking lot, because the other fellow hadn’t followed the normal protocol of every other car.

I witnessed a little boy sitting in the crook of a tree holding a monkey. The monkey jumped out of the boy’s hands onto a passing cat and before the cat could react, jumped back into the boys lap holding the cat. I even took a picture of it. I…

Bring back the Commies!

I miss the good old days when a person could hate a Communist and everyone felt like it was good for the country. These days we’re stuck with hating terrorists and it’s just not the same. Man! Bring back the Commies! They were easy to prepare for. All you needed was a bomb shelter, a good supply of K-rations and daily nuclear fall-out drills and you were good to go.

I miss the good old days of escorting a guidance control canister for a Minuteman missile into the vault at Malmstrom AFB, Great Falls Montana. Yes sir! Security Police stood around me with locked and loaded M-16s while I punched in my part of the code. As soon as I finished the Officer of the Day entered his code, then the Policeman and finally the Maintenance officer. We knew we were under the Commie Threat and we took this business serious. It was great and it was satisfying.

The Commies were easy to hate. They were sneaky and had secret agents who worked for the KGB and the Politburo. They were taking over the…

Up in smoke?

I think everyone agrees inhaling smoke of any kind is bad and detrimental to ones health, but should it be regulated and penalized into a criminal act? I say no. Smokers know they are under attack and old habits are hard to break. Most smokers would quit on a dime if they could, with success.

We Americans (and I say we) want everything and we want it right now. It’s almost a curse. Stemming the tide of new tobacco users and helping long-term smokers quit is going to be a war of attrition and that war is going to be won by education and programs that help smokers quit, but only when they are ready.

I have to say, in this entire anti-smoking furor what really irks a smoker and should irk most ex-smokers is the self-righteous indignation non-smokers exhibit toward the smoking problem and it IS a problem that all smokers already recognize without constant reminder. Smoking is not illegal, but smokers are becoming labeled as social criminals and most smokers fear eventually, they wil…

Let's join the crowd!

Years ago, back in my formative years, I wanted a pair of hopsack pants. I wanted them real bad. They were becoming very popular and I whined that “all the kids were wearing them”, which as any parent knows, is fodder for objection, resistance and parental instruction. My Dad was (and still is) an expert at bringing fuzzy thoughts into focus. He was fond of explaining to me at times like this that “if everyone was eating mud sandwiches, would you want to eat one too?”

His actual version is a tad graphic for my more sensitive readers, but the point is, he had a way with words that always left me thinking and of course, I didn’t let on at the time, but I was ‘getting it”, albeit slowly.

I went on to get a pair of burnt brown hopsack pants anyway and I was so proud of them. I just knew my Dad didn’t have it right this time.

One memorable day, my really hip and cool-looking britches openly betrayed me and although I was horrified at the time, it is quite funny now. Hopsack is this rou…

Baptist Convention told: Muslims 'are here to take over our country'

I think there is going to be a groggy, but steady awakening in this country of tolerance that something is really, really wrong and is not going to go away.

Radical Islam has declared Jihad, or holy war against the world with the intent to dominate and enforce its brand of radical religion.

These radical Muslims plan to use our freedoms against us with no intention of assimilating into American culture. They are actively recruiting malcontents inside our country.

Many believe it is all caused by the Bush Administration, even though angry and violent Muslims have been killing and blowing up people for 30 years and is literally happening in every country including Muslim states. See the timeline here.

I remember a few months ago I posted an actual scenario where Muslims out-numbered everyone else in a Michigan city and instituted daily calls to prayer over a loud speaker system. I asked if people in Baytown would vote it down or what they would do if it came here and I was called a bigo…

Technology and Capitalism

I set out to buy a digital camera and came home with something only a distinguished member of MENSA could fully operate. I wanted a Microwave to heat up my food, bought one and to this day only use about 3 buttons, even though it will decipher advanced mathematics and quantum physics, whatever that is. Remote controls? I got a whole herd of them and they are as much of a mystery to me now, as they were the day I unwrapped the plastic they came in. Gawd forbid I actually hit the wrong button!

K.I.S.S. is an acronym for “keep it simple, stupid” and its one manufacturers of electronics have long forgotten. Every company is attempting with success to pack as many features into their gadgets as is humanly possible and we, like the techno-geeks we think we will become, throw down our hard earned money like a crazed gambler at the horse tracks. It beats all logic I can muster, to figure out how we got in this predicament.

I recently decided I did not want to pay for cell phone features …

Iraqi Freedom and the price of Freedom

On October 15th, my son, Sgt. Nicholas Marshall was wounded in Iraq by an improvised explosive devise, commonly called an IED, while commanding a 60 vehicle convoy south of Tikrit. This same day, the Baytown Sun ran a column I wrote on the meaning of being a Veteran, which included this quote: “my son is a U. S. Army Korean War/Iraqi Freedom/War on Terror Veteran and is most likely running convoy escort as I write this, in the Country of Iraq”.

The explosion sent fragments through the side of the vehicle, injuring all three soldiers and through training and fortitude; they were able to drive to a safe area where they exited the heavily damaged M1117 Guardian Armored Security Vehicle. All three will be awarded the Purple Heart “Red Badge of Courage” for the injuries sustained and will fully recover.

The Army M1117 Guardian ASV is armored to withstand a blast equivalent to 12 pounds of dynamite.

We greatly appreciate the prayers and outpouring of support, as I'm sure my son does.