Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Unforgettable Road

You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget.
~ Father to son

There are two main characters in “The Road,” Cormac McCarthy’s shattering novel of a gray and perilous post-nuclear world. The reader never learns the names of “the man” and “the boy,” but rarely has such a primal, personal connection with main characters been so deftly forged by an author’s pen.

The story of a father and his son, traveling along a road often strewn with horror and fraught with danger, is gripping from the first page. When the story opens, the nuclear Armageddon that blasted the world to ashes is already years in the past. The particulars are not dwelt upon, nor do they matter. The heart and soul of the story is the fierce love and devotion shared by these two lonely survivors.

As they struggle together on their journey, constantly encountering new and daunting problems, the father and son share short, terse rounds of conversation that reveal, in bare-bones understatement, the depths of their emotions. The son is full of questions and worries; the father answers in a calm and neutral manner. Creating dialog that rings true in such an unimaginable setting is the hallmark of McCarthy’s brilliance. So, too, are his vividly poetic, often breathtaking descriptions of an ashen earth, fading to dust.

The father is a full-blooded hero, vigilant, resourceful, unforgiving of himself, driven to preserve his son at any cost. The son is a marriage of vulnerability and strength, adoring of the father who protects him and terrified of losing him. The characters are clearly drawn with stark and simple lines. To convey so much with so few words is genius.

Any parent can relate to the terrifying responsibility of trying to care for and protect a child in the anarchy of such a world, just as any child can relate to the paralyzing fear of losing a guardian in such circumstances. As you travel “The Road,” you come to know and care deeply for these two lost souls as they surmount each difficulty and journey onward to their ultimate fate.

I can not remember the last time a book’s closing pages moved me so powerfully. I’ll say no more, except to note that Cormac McCarthy’s “Road” certainly is one worth traveling--every painful, emotional, unforgettable inch of it.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

On Guard

...probably the most proactive response to a domestic event that I have seen in my 40 years in uniform...and we continue to be flexible and agile to meet the needs of Gov. Schwarzenegger and the citizens of California.

~ Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau.

Everyone I've talked with about it is annoyed.

There was no mention of politics in the midst of California's disastrous wildfires last week, until both John Garamendi and Barbara Boxer grabbed the mikes.

They both proclaimed that the Iraq war has depleted California's National Guard to the point of dissolution. Garamendi made a particular jackass out of himself on Neil Cavuto's show, insisting that the war in Iraq had absorbed all of our National Guard "resources." If either of these ax grinders had bothered to check the facts, they would know that 17,000 California Guardsmen are at the ready, right here in state.

Initially, Gov. Schwarzenegger requested 1,500 Guardsmen to respond to Southern California's firefighting and relief efforts. By week's end, the number had risen to over 2,500 California National Guard troops, who seem to be everywhere; San Diegans have seen them on the news, at the evacuation points, on the roads.

Political grandstanders like the lieutenant governor and the senator, we don't need them at our time of crisis. They know nothing about the people of San Diego who are suffering as a result of these devastating fires, and they care even less. They certainly don't have enough decency to keep politics out of natural disaster. And they realize even less how stupidly self-absorbed they are, touting their own political agendas at a time of great personal tragedy for so many Californians.

Never let the real story get in the way of a good sound bite. I'm glad I never voted for either one of them--and never will.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Fireman's Prayer

The Fireman's Prayer

When I am called to duty, God wherever flames may rage, give me the strength to save some life whatever be its age

Help me embrace a little child before it is too late or save an older person from the horror of that fate,

Enable me to be alert and hear the weakest shout and quickly and efficiently to put the fire out,

I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me
to guard my every neighbor and to protect their property

And if according to your will I have to lose my life,
Please bless with your protecting hand my children and my wife.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Another Window to the World

I've been plugged into this link to Arts & Letters Daily for a fair chunk of the afternoon. Many thanks to my cousin Robert for sending it along.

The site is chock full of very readable goodies. Although content lists quite noticeably to the left, it's reasonably central. I didn't find the nasty, far left ranting so often encountered in web surfing. The first thing I clicked on was the "Columnists" link, and there is a robust representation of center types and conservatives.

I can overlook the inclusion of Maureen Dowd. Any website that provides links to Mark Steyn, Victor Davis Hanson, David Brooks, Christopher Hitchens, Thomas Sowell, the Weekly Standard, and National Review has some major mojo going for it.

You're right, Bobby, this site is one to watch. It's always beneficial to find another window into our world that's intelligently presented. I'll be visiting it as often as I do The News Right Now. If it remains as interesting, informative, and high quality as it is today, Arts & Letters Daily will soon earn a link in my sidebar.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

An Unreported Outrage

Hillary Clinton has chosen three "national security advisors."

They are: Madeline Albright, the good-time champagne gal of North Korea; Richard Holbrooke; and none other than old Stuffed Sox himself, Sandy Berger.

Can you imagine the media meltdown if Alberto Gonzales or Dick Cheney had smuggled documents out of the National Archives, hidden in their foundation garments? And "lost" them? The story would be a screaming headline for months on end. Conspiracy theorists would be lined up at The Leher Hour. Hanes and Fruit of the Loom would make public announcements to distance themselves from the Bush administration.

However, there wasn't much MSM fuss over Sandy's self-proclaimed "mistake" at the time. Even news of his conviction was muted and soft-pedaled until it died a quiet death.

Read Ronald Cass's piece, "Sandy Berger and the Real Hillary Clinton," and see if you don't feel the fury building. Lord help us if this crowd gets control of our "security." Is it possible that the U.S. will put these...these...people back in charge of the country during a time of war?

We're going to find out sooner than I like to think about.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mom Was Right

Wash your hands!
~ Everymother

Just when you thought there was nothing to worry about beyond terrorist attacks, global warming, ongoing war, assorted diseases, and another Clinton presidency, here comes MRSA, the killer Staph infection.

Actually, it's been around for a while (discovered in 1961). But the U.S. infection rate has risen into the mid-90,000's in recent years, with a death toll approaching 20,000. And with this week's death of an American teenager due to MRSA, we can expect to hear a lot more about it. Bird flu will have to take a back seat for now.

Having watched the unyielding march of fatal diseases against friends and family over the years, I understand that, often, there isn't too much we can do in the way of prevention. But if something as simple as hand-washing will stop a deadly disease, we're crazy not to do it.

Heed the maternal wisdom that rang daily in our childhood ears--wash your hands.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Heroic End, Personal War

It wasn't political at all. It was personal to him. He was there fighting the people who'd attacked the city he loved.
~ Dan Murphy, father

An iron-souled warrior ~ Marcus Luttrell, friend

I’ve tried to find the story several times.

Scanning the newspapers, surfing the net, all the screaming headlines seem devoted to the fawning accolades being heaped upon Nobel Laureate Al Gore for his work in the politically correct field of global warming.

That’s fine. Good for Al. Now, what about our heroes?

The late Lt. Michael Murphy is the recipient of a posthumous Medal of Honor, as announced by The White House on Thursday, October 11, 2007. Lt. Michael P. Murphy, aged 29, willingly braved open fire on the battlefield in Afghanistan to save his fellow Navy SEALS and died fighting in June 2005. He is the first SEAL to receive the honor since the Vietnam War.

There is little coverage of this important story of American courage in action. I found this article in the Murphy family's local newspaper, and this link, as well as this link. You do have to hunt for Lt. Murphy's story; Gore and global warming are the words of the day.

That’s a disgrace.

It makes me concerned for the future of our country that Lt. Murphy’s inspiring story of true courage, complete selflessness, and dedication to duty is deemed unworthy of wide coverage by MSM. This is an American story. Murphy was a young man who grew up not far from my own childhood neighborhood on Long Island, NY, trained as a SEAL near my San Diego home, and recognized the attacks of September 11, 2001, for what they were—acts of war against the United States. More specifically, Murphy understood that the Islamo-fascist violence was not aimed against some nebulous concept of “country,” but against our own family, friends, neighbors—fellow Americans.

Dan Murphy, Michael's father, declared that for Michael, "It's all very personal."

All of this nobility and honor has been smothered in the greenhouse gas of hot air being spewed over Al Gore’s “achievements.” Just what global warming has to do with world peace, I don’t quite know. However, an organization that bestows “peace” prizes to a premier world terrorist (Yasser Arafat) and to the most anti-American president this country has ever had the misfortune to suffer (Jimmy Carter) is largely suspect and unworthy of attention, in my opinion.

Al Gore is galloping along on the apocalyptic horse of global warming, preening as he gathers his trendy brass rings and pompously accepting cult hero status, all from within the comfort and safety of a nation made free and secure by the blood of true heroes.

As I previously stated, good for Al. But if you want to learn about true “achievements” or “accomplishments,” the story of Lt. Michael Murphy is the one to read. As the lone survivor of that doomed mission, Murphy's friend Marcus Luttrell, recipient of the Navy Cross, states, "They need to make more men like him."

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Break Time

I'll be offline for about a week, taking a travel break. I always like to leave you with something worthwhile to read, so I've linked Mark Steyn's pithy summary of the Columbia University debacle. That disaster was beyond words for me.