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Showing posts from October, 2006

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.


What exactly is a Veteran?

I was born in 1952 during the “Forgotten War” commonly called “The Korean War” or “The Korean Conflict”, a war that never ended. My aging Dad is a World War 2 U. S. Navy Veteran, I am a U. S. Air Force Vietnam Veteran and 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.

Both of my Grandfathers served in the U. S. Army, one helped chase Pancho Villa across the Rio Grande River and the other as a soldier fighting in France, where he was wounded and walked with a cane the rest of his days. My sister is a U. S. Air Force Veteran and was a Communication Specialist at NORAD during the Vietnam War. Too many uncles and cousins to mention wore the uniforms of the Navy, Coast Guard and Army to list here. My father-in-law served in the U. S. Army on the island of Biak in the South Pacific during World War 2 and three of my wife’s distant aunt’s captured Yankee soldiers and turned them over to Re…

Baytown: Pros or Cons? Nope; just Pros!

Lately I’ve had my ear to the ground and I must tell you good Baytown folks, I find the entire pro and con talk about our area to be stimulating. Some claim real living is somewhere other than here. The reason for this is many of us see life from the inside of our car as we rush to work and then back to our couch. Throw in all the extra activities we are involved in and we can effectively steal the enjoyment out of our lives. We haven’t learned what Europeans learned years ago and that is to truly live, you must savor the moment.

Home is that place where you hang your hat and for some, where you hang your head. Home, that place you go to relax, where family is, where friends congregate, where you raise or welcome your children. My home is in Baytown and it is by choice.

There is so much history in this area, but most do not recognize it. My bride of 29 years great grandmother was Amanda Barber and I remember years ago seeing the “Barber House” on the far side of Barber's Hil…

The day I learned humility from “an old man”

Ever since I was a teen reading Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Pellucider series, I wanted to study martial arts. I finally got my chance in 1972 in Thailand under a hard case Korean black belt. Mr. Burroughs’s character was a Judo man and my instructor was a Taekwondo man fresh from Vietnam where he taught guerrilla tactics to soldiers. Training was realistic in the tropical heat and we frequently sparred full-contact with bamboo-reinforced pads covering our arms, legs and chest. In my first rank test, I ‘chopped’ a real brick successfully with the open hand.

With an honorable discharge in my pocket, I left the Air Force and having the usual long term plans of most 22 year old Veterans, I moved back in with my parent’s right here in Baytown while I got my feet on the ground. My 3 younger brothers were all active in Kim Soo’s ChayonRyu in Houston and my number two brother was now living here in Baytown also, so we located a ChayonRyu school and joined.

The Baytown Karate School was located in …

Did you hear what happened?

“Didja hear that our local Chemical Plant had an explosion in a unit that makes some kind of bad stuff and a bunch a people were taken to the hospital”? “Yea, I hear they make all kind of poisons and stuff out there and they’re telling folks its no big deal and not to worry”!

I’m being deliberately vague, not to make light of the trauma and injuries, but to make a point. I pray each person involved will make a speedy recovery.

The very next day after the above incident, a Dallas law firm jumps in with a full-page advertisement to help injured people (read: sue the ‘dickens’ out of a chemical company). It was a good Ad and I’m sure they paid plenty for it.

That said I want to make a suggestion. If this or any Chemical Company is found guilty of needlessly endangering lives and livelihood, then I sure as heck-fire hope the injured would use a local Baytown lawyer to represent them, like my brother did when he was seriously injured by a Chemical plant that was proven to neglect the s…