Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Did Sleeping Beauty sleep on duty?


It's never good to sleep on duty; but it's better than sleeping on doodie.
Too bad he was in the steam shovel.  If it was an earth-mover then he'd be a bull-dozer.  Get it?
 To be able to sleep on the edge of a fully lit Times Square has got to be some kind of accomplishment.
What kind, I don't know.  But a word to the wise.  If you don't want your picture taken while you catch some Z's (and possibly posted for the internet's enjoyment), don't snooze in an elevated glass enclosure on the edge of Times freakin' Square.

Maybe he's some kind of blue-collar narcoleptic exhibitionist?  Anybody got any better guesses?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

He needs money for weed


-and isn't the least bit shy about asking for it either.

I work late nights at my Times Square office, and take a break to go out and have a cigar at midnight.  There's still plenty of tourists and others around at that time.  As you'd expect, you see more than a few weird things in the square at midnight.  What you wouldn't expect is a blatant plea for drug money in full view of dozens of cops.  There's a police station in the square and this dude regularly goes past it with his sign in full view for the 1-3 dozen officers milling about at any given time.  Nobody bothers him as he gets money for getting his picture taken.

I guess it's only illegal to buy or sell weed, but not to panhandle or scam with a funny sign that claims that's what the money's for.  He wasn't smoking anything at the time.

I took this as somebody else (the fat man in pink) took his shot.  The guy spotted me and jingled the plastic change-cup he had dangling around his neck and called "Hey buddy."  without a smile or even the slighest attempt at charm or humor.  "No cash." I answered and walked away.  I've got my own dirty habits to support!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Don't tell ME it could be worse

-because it just might happen!





I don't much like that "It could be worse" platitude.  It either sounds like they're devaluing your tragedy, or noting that it might be about to actually GET worse.  Like, if you're hanging by a fingernail they'd be saying "You know, human fingernails are not meant to support your body weight, it'll probably tear off any second so not only are you about to fall to your death, it'll be incredibly painful on the way down (what with the fingernail being ripped out and all).

If somebody were in a car accident and stumbled away cut and bruised would you say "It could be worse" to them?  Why?  Because it could?  How does that help them deal with whatever they're going through?  What if fate is bored that day and hears that crap and decides to explore the possibilities?

"It could be worse."  Well, yes, true, it could be.  They could be pinned under the car with broken ribs.

One could go on "It could be worse."  True; the car could be dripping gasoline on them.

"It could be worse."  True; the gas could ignite.

"It could be worse."  True; this could be happening during an earthquake.

"It could be worse."  True; the quake could have been triggered by a nuclear attack.

"It could be worse."  True; this could all portend the imminent apocalypse.

"It could be worse."  True; one of the four horsemen storming by could trample your hand as you reached out for help.  So not only do you enter the afterlife with crushed ribs and horrific burns, but now your hand's all fucked up and you can't even self-apply the burn cream.  If they had any.

"It could be worse."  True; they might charge for the burn cream in the afterlife (it might be a republican afterlife) but you lost your wallet and cash in the car fire that deformed you for eternity.  So now you have to sit there steaming (figuratively and literally) while the trust fund babies saunter past you to buy up all the burn cream on the way to their tanning salons.  (If it's a republican afterlife all the country clubs there will have tanning salons)

Could it be worse NOW?  Yes, dear soul, it could.  It could've happen to ME.  (and I thank Me that it didn't!)

[Inspiration for this post came from one of Angie's, who's always worth a read]

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A year from the flood but, no longer a mud hut


Isn't my rebuilt home beautiful?  Ok, I'm not actually at this stage of reconstruction yet...
but you can see I've got plans!  There's also going to be a helipad and a bunnycave 'round the back.

So it's been a year to the day that mother nature saw fit to send her bitchy daughter Irene to drown my home  -for no good reason whatsoever.  I did used to date her, but frankly speaking; bitch be crazy.  So I was very careful when we parted ways, and it was so long ago that I thought I was safe.  Some dishes are said to be best served cold.  And believe me, it was.

I guess it goes to show you, you've not only got to be careful how you break up, but also who you break up with!  Now I feel like I should've done it with a shovel and tarp rather than flowers and a break-up dinner at the Olive Garden.  (No, not the crappy restaurant.  The very first olive grove, in Galilee.  duh)

But when life hands me lemons, I make a lemon orchard, and then I make a drought at neighboring orchards so as to drive up the price of my produce.  (Who settles for making lemonade?  Really?  What are you, a mortal?)  Well, each to his ability.

In any event, as you can tell from the un-retouched photo above I've really done wonders with the place.  Or will, when I'm completely done.  (I fantasize in 14-meg HD full color images.  Don't you?)  And why not?  Even gods get to dream.  Especially wanna-be's. <sigh>

Monday, July 30, 2012

A TOOL of the Lord


I don't care what I look like;
chicks dig me!
I can remember eavesdropping on a series of talks my parents had with my older sister regarding not smoking, not drinking, not hanging out with the wrong crowd and absolutely not being one of ‘‘those types of girls”.  They might seem cool and popular, they cautioned, but it was an illusion.  Boys only wanted them for one thing, then they’d throw them away like yesterday’s newspaper.
I ignored most of it because like all young teens, I knew it all and my parents were dopes.  But they did pique my interest with all that talk about 'those types of girls'.  I wanted desperately to meet some.  Or at least one.  And one would do because I didn't accept their disposability theory.
Their “yesterday’s newspaper” analogy sounded purposefully misleading.  To a hopelessly horny virgin teen sex was like gold.  If I found a goose that laid golden eggs and was willing to give said eggs to me? -I would never never throw that goose away.  Years went by before I got to test my theory.  But it was worth the wait.  And I was proven correct.  And it was worth the wait.  Did I mention how much the wait was worth it?  If not let me reassure you, it was.

When I found a girl like that I didn’t treat her like yesterday’s newspaper.  Not one bit.  I treated her like yesterday’s dinner plate.  Sure she’s all sloppy and covered with crumbs, oily stains and whatever other detritus from yesterdays fantastic meal.  So what if that plate was now a little crusty and beginning to smell?  You don’t throw out a good dinner plate.  You wash it off and use it again.  
And the same goes for easy girls.  Wash, rinse, repeat.  The great thing though was unless she was a real skank you could count on her to do her own washing and rinsing.  The repeating was, heh heh, up to you.

Still on a doomed mission to save my eternal soul, the folks tried to convince me I was hurting girls like this.  I was prolonging their suffering by giving them a cheap substitute for love, when love was what they really needed.  As I pondered this I'd sometimes hear them talk about somebody who'd hit rock bottom by sagely stating "Best thing for them. Now the only way is up.  I think god set that up."  If it was a drunk driver hitting a tree, then that tree was a tool to stop them dead in their tracks.  If it was a punk getting arrested and doing some time, it was god who dropped a dime on them.  Whatever it was, the misfortune was deemed a blessing in disguise.  I tried calling them on it once and all I got was a lofty "The Lord works in mysterious ways.  That *whatever* was his tool."

And that ended any doubts I had about 'using' any of 'that kind of girl'.  Yes, she may have felt cheap afterwards, and lost even more self esteem.  Especially if I only called her when I felt like it, and only for sex.  I'm just helping her hit rock bottom, so she can rebound and find her higher self.  It's kind of a public service if you think about it.  The Lord does work in mysterious ways.  And me?  I was happy to be the tool.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I Rule the Night

Or so I imagine.

As I walk through Times Square to get to my office I also imagine the city as somewhat like this.  All manor of night creatures skulking about on business best left unquestioned.


This was found appropriately enough at DeviantArt after I googled
"I rule the night"

Actually it only feels like this, like I'm some creature unfit for the light of day, but empowered by the glow of the moon.  Anybody can walk the Square at noon.  Try it at midnight.  Try it again at 3 or 5.

But I don't out in the Square.  My office is clean and safe.  It's actually quite nice; temperture controlled, well lit, and regularly patrolled.  They keep the vending machines well stocked too and the bathrooms are always clean. 

I'm starting to adjust to my new slot.  It suits me well.  There's no distractions in the office at all and I get plenty done.  After I get home, sleep and wake again it's early afternoon and I have hours to enjoy the sun, the pool and get things done before my family gets home to find I've made dinner.  Then a few quality hours with them before hopping a quiet bus back.  Back to my realm.

My realm.

Where I

RULE


...my cubicle.  (let's be real)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Celebrating 5 Years -with wood?


Not that kind of wood, perverts!  (Well, maybe a little after dinner and a nightcap)
I am actually referring to the traditional gift for a 5 year anniversary.  A googled listing says it’s wood.  Wood.  Perplexing.
After sealing our love with 5 years of marriage, one new house, two adopted dogs, one child (my finest work ever), and one new family SUV (to safely transport my finest work ever), one devastating flood, and one endless rebuilding process -I should mark the most important half-decade of our lives with the momentous gift of
So many to choose from! -but which pair of Klompen (good
for stompin') says "Happy 5th Anniversary" the best?
...toothpicks?
...chopsticks?
...Dutch shoes?
Seems a little underwhelming.
IF I were God… I could gift her that which she’s working so hard for lately; a remade body.  I’d wave my, uh, wood (to be traditional) and just give it to her.  Afterwoods of course, I’d give it to her.
But since I’m (regrettably) not god, what should I give her?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday the 13th, TEST DAY


It’s here again; the day those of us with mental means -rich of reason, if not actual riches- gets to separate ourselves from the mentally meager, the logically lacking, the steeped in superstition.  Yes, there are still some people even in this, the 23rd century, who hold superstitions (or as some would mock ‘stupidstitions’) like a second religion.  

These are the kind of people who take great care in not stepping on any cracks in the sidewalk, lest they cause traumatic spinal injuries to their female parent.

They will turn away and change direction if they spot a feline with black fur about to cross their path.

Friday 13th Black Cat Walk Under Ladder Mirror Break Cross Your Path Unlucky Lucky Happy Killer Weekend Icon Icons Emoticon Emoticons Animated Animation Animations Gif Gifs
They’ll believe they’re screwed -and not in a good way- if they break a mirror.


They won’t walk under a ladder not because it’s inherently unsafe, but because it’s ‘bad luck’.


It gives me an idea for a ethnic-neutral IQ test I could sell the government; a ladder made of black cats and broken mirrors, placed over a path riddled with cracks, -and we’ll see who walks under without a problem, who hesitates, and who refuses.  It can be timed and graded accordingly.
In fact I think they should have this set-up at the front door to all standardized testing facilities; the SAT’s, MCATs, and LSATs.  Kind of a pre-screening if you will.  Only those who pass under should be allowed to take those standardized tests.  Do you realize what we’re all risking by not?

You could be on the table for emergency brain surgery when your superstitious surgeon comes across the blackened blood clot.  It’s shaped like a cat.  He runs screams from the operating theater.  You on the other hand, never scream.  Or run.  Or go to the theater.  Ever again.

You could be facing a double homicide charge, on trial for your life, and your superstitious lawyer decides on a ‘bad luck’ defense; “Your honor, although we concede my client chased the two deceased for blocks and fired a total of 27 shots -after reloading twice- we feel it is of paramount importance to note that the victims not only ran under a workman’s ladder, but collapsed between the Black Cat dress shop and a Friday’s eatery, ON 13th street!  And though several of the shots passed through their bodies, exactly 13 slugs were found still lodged inside them.  THIRTEEN, your honor.  Thirteen.  It’s obvious these two were inherently and profoundly unlucky.  Something bad was bound to happen to them.  And since we all know luck is part of the natural order of these things, it really just makes my client a tool of fate, of nature even.  I move that all charges be dismissed as the victims clearly died of natural causes!  Defense rests.”

So beware the menace of the superstitious.  They should not just be mocked, but carefully avoided.  The risks are too great.

It wouldn’t even be a bad idea to have the mirrorcat ladder at the emergency room entrance.  If somebody is badly injured, but still doesn’t want to enter under it then we don’t force them.  Do we really need them surviving and diluting the gene pool?  Isn’t the shallow end dangerously low enough at this point?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Night Stalker Again


 


This is not my job, though I do like the hat.
 It's been four years since I was a creature of the night, and in two weeks I'll return to that life.  No, I'm not going vampire.  My working hours are changing, going back to 9 to 5.  PM to AM -as in through midnight and into the next morning.

With my wife at her normal-houred job and child at daycare my 'home alone' time will triple.  This does not mean I'll be playing video games and net surfing.  I'll be able to put more time into setting my house right, like a good boy. :o)

So how did this come about?

My firm's an international outfit with offices in nearly every time zone.  Any one of them can need my research specialty at any time, so there I'll be.  All alone.  Working diligently.  Unsupervised.  Not writing or drawing any cartoons or graphic novel ideas I've been mulling forever.

So don't look for any of that here.  But if one (or 50) happen to pop up now and then, rest assured they were done on my free time.  Possibly in my sleep.

Frankly, I can't wait.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

And it kept getting worse

This is the ridiculously true story of Hugh Glass, possibly the unluckiest lucky bastard who ever lived.


That's a big claim, but I'll let you be the judge.  Allow me to explain.

It was August 1823, and the sorry bastard in question was part of a 100 man party exploring the wilds of what is now South Dakota for the government.  Though there were hostile natives in the territory as well as large predators, it could have been worse.  He could have been alone.

So he found himself alone, scouting for game, when he got surprised by a mother Grizzly and her cubs (not Sarah Palin but an actual momma grizzly).  It could have been worse.  He could have had too little time to grab his rifle.

I never said it was a fair fight.
So he had too little time to grab his rifle before the charging bear (let's just call her Sarah) was on him in a furious rage.  It could have been worse; he could've had just a knife instead of a pistol.

So all he had was a knife instead of a pistol.  He fought like hell and scored some hits, but getting in a knife fight with a grizzly is every bit as unlucky as it sounds.  It could have been worse; Sarah could've ripped the hell out of him before help arrived.

So Sarah ripped the hell out of him before this comrades arrived to finish her off.  Hugh Glass lie unconscious at their feet.  It could have been worse; his back could have been ripped open right down to exposed ribs.

So Hugh's back had been ripped open right down to exposed ribs.  It could have been worse; his expedition leader Andrew Henry could've assumed he'd die shortly and decide to move on, leaving only a pair of men behind to dig a grave for him.

So Andrew Henry assumed Hugh would die shortly, decided to move on, and left only a pair of men to dig a grave for him and wait for him to die.  They dug the grave and simply waited, but at least he had company.  It could have been worse; hostile indians could've scared the two into abandoning him while he was still alive.

So approaching hostile indians scared the two into abandoning him while he was still alive.  Eventually he regained consciousness, back ribs still exposed, with nothing for company save the open grave intended for him.  It could have been worse; they could have taken his knife, rifle and other equipment when they fled -leaving him with nothing.

So they had taken his knife, rifle and other equipment when they fled -leaving him with nothing.  He know the closest white settlement was over 200 miles away, at Fort Kiowa on the Missouri River.  It could have been worse; Hugh could've found out that on top of his other devastating injuries, his leg was broken and he couldn't walk.

So Hugh found out that on top of his other devastating injuries, his leg was broken and he couldn't walk.  It could've been worse; he could've found himself without food either and having to subsist on berries and roots.

So he found himself without food either and had to subsist on berries and roots.  On one occasion he came across a freshly killed bison calf loaded with fresh meat.  He had no way to cook it.  But it could have been worse; there could have been a pair of wolves eating it at the time.

So there were a pair of wolves eating the bison at the time.  Hugh had to drive them off before he could get a bite.  He ate heartily and it gave him strength to go on.  Soon he reached the friendly Cheyenne who gave him what aid they could.  It could have been worse; their idea of medicine could've been so primitive that they'd sew a bearskin onto his back to cover his still-exposed ribs.

So their idea of medicine was so primitive that they sewed a bearskin onto his back to cover his still-exposed ribs.  Taking his chances on a makeshift raft he got down river and eventually to the safety of Fort Kiowa.

He recovered and lived another ten years, working as a trapper and still daring the frontier.  Had he lived in this day and age he'd be an instant celebrity with a book deal, a movie deal, probably a reality show,  possibly a sex tape, and all the millions that go with it.  But he lived in the early 1800's, so he had to go back to work and take his chances on the frontier.  It could have been worse; he could've been out trapping game with a few others and got attacked and killed by hostile natives.

So in 1833 Hugh Glass was out trapping game with a few others when they got attacked and killed by hostile natives.  I did mention that he was the unluckiest lucky bastard ever, did I not?

The whole of this tale was recounted in Lord Grizzly, a 1954 finalist for the National Book Award.

This marks the end of the 30 days of writing, a creative challenge so grueling the participating writers may feel like they've been mauled by Sarah Palin, abandoned by friends, starved in the wild and eventually killed by hostile nativ- but really, what a bunch of whiners!  Our 30 days in the wilderness are over and after posting ever single day and not shirking a single challenge I do feel like I've accomplished something.  What exactly I'm not sure...

Such is life.  Thanks for dropping by.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Thou Shalt Do What I Tell You, Damnit!



It was a very long time ago, even for me, when my parents gave me my first universe kit.  I was only four or five millenia at the time so naturally not yet possessed of all the skills or maturity I have today.  It really was a wonderful present for a developing deity; it came semi-assembled with 'gravity spray' already on all the matter, a vial of anti-matter labeled 'use with care', (an envelope of star seeds -just add neutrons) a fully stocked "bag o' planets" and two big jars of creation clay.  That clay was the best part; you just molded it into any creature you thought up, blew into it and voila!  You had a living breathing thing, dashing and leaping about, - and ready to be stomped on.

Of course to a 4 mil old it was more fun to chase and stomp on them right after animation (then remold, blow life back in...), but mother put a quick stop to that and warned me that she'd take the whole thing away if she caught me being cruel.  I was too young to recognize foreshadowing when I saw it, but in retrospect it seems things had to work out the way they did.

Believing (or pretending to believe, who can remember?) "no stomping" to be the only rule, I settled on other ways to smite things that displeased me; simple things I could handle at the time like fire or lightning.  I still had the desire to stomp, but fear of the rule's consequences prevented me.  Inevitably fear led to fascination.  And what began as a juvenile fascination with rules and consequences gradually progressed to obsession.  I opened the second jar of creation clay and started on a higher level creature than the reptiles and early mammals I had started with.  None of those had had the capacity to understand rules.  This new line would be smart enough to understand rules, make decisions, and most importantly be responsible.  Or more to the point, I could hold them responsible.

It was remarkably easy once I got the hang of it.  The first pair I made, who lived in the first garden I made, broke the first rule I made.  And so it came to pass, I handed down my first punishment and it felt good.  I can remember wanting badly to stomp them both for breaking the rule I held over them, but felt restrained by the rule held over me.  I was less confident as to whether or not fire or lightning counted as a form of stomping.  But I wasn't about to draw attention to it by asking or just firing away -not after so much work.  I settled on eviction.  They had to tough it out in an area I hadn't developed much and without any extra help from me.

They survived anyway and eventually prospered.  They were fruitful, as I originally asked them to be, and they did multiply.  But I was keen to make them prove themselves.  I started making rule after rule with the spirited creative whimsy of a child; don't eat this, don't dress like that, cover your head outside, don't say this, don't work on this day, worship me...only me...a whole day for me -no working on my day either!  I got very into the worship aspect for whatever reason.  At some point I started making different rules for different groups and they really took it to heart.  It was remarkable how they leaped at any chance to polarize themselves and exaggerate even minor differences.  Whole nations arose out of being different from the neighboring group, and each vied to be my favorite.  It really was a lot of fun for me, appearing in different forms here and there, demanding this or that and watching them scramble to please me. 

But a bubble was building, and as is the way with bubbles a bursting was inevitable.  Too many arbitrary rules led to a lot of shirking, and too many shirkers made individual punishing a chore.  It wasn't long before I began to suffer from a stiffness and swelling in my index digit later diagnosed as "lightning finger".  The forced hiatus from smiting only emboldened the shirkers, which only enraged me even more.  I warned them and sent signs, but they acted with an impunity and autonomy even I didn't enjoy.  That was infuriating.  Infuriating and intolerable.  I remember thinking "Stomping may have been banned, but nobody said anything about drowning."

I laid a flood on them gradually, over a period of days.  At the time I told myself it was to give them time to think about what they've done so I could watch them squirm, but it was really so I could try to pass it off as a natural occurrence if mother took notice.  Well, mother was of course omniscient.  She not only took notice -she took me to the therapist.

"But I deserve to be worshiped!  I made them!  They won't listen!" I pleaded my case "If I want them wearing funny hats and whittling pieces off the tips of their-"
"YES, but why would you even want that?" Dr Sidemigoge had a way of freezing you in place just long enough to hold a metaphysical mirror up so you could see yourself "Little God, at your age you should be orchestrating your first galaxies, not punishing primates on a mail-order planet."  I will always remember him for his patience and his preference for informality.  He let me call him Sid.

When Sid pointed out that my studying people so closely, and caring so much how they acted to the point that I took individual and destructive action on them was akin to one of them spending all day pulling boogers from their nose so they can chastise and then eat them -one at a time- It became obvious and effortless to give it all up.

In truth, it was a relief to let it all go.  Mother took the kit away anyhow, and donated it to a local school if I recall.  In any event I never bothered with it again after that.  I thought the whole episode was behind me, but I didn't know that Sid had decided to write a paper.  Apparently all one has to do to get published is call something a 'complex' and name it after the poor child whose parents over trusted in the assumed privacy of therapy.

I've long outgrown that need for worship and obedience.  I became a performance artist.  These days I coordinate intricate patterns of sequentially timed supernova explosions across dozens of galaxies as a form of art (commonly referred to as 'echo sculpting' but usually called 'echo orchastration' in formal reviews).  Each exploding supernova sends a pulse which echoes across the length of the universe in every direction like a ripple in a pond.  These echoes eventually cross each other in the center of the universe for a brief instant, and if the sources are timed and selected correctly the intersecting echoes can form a coherent image for an instant before continuing on through each other.  A really good supernova echo sculpture is breathtaking to behold.  I've recently taken to having mine move; an eagle landing or dolphin jumping.  They are of course insanely popular.  Mine have been called 'a stately maturation from the neo-angular puberty that had been dragging down the form' by more than one appreciative critic.

The several prestigious awards I've won for them are common knowledge, of course.  And yet that old complex from my childhood is still named for me, a lingering embarrassment.  And if it comes up at a showing or dinner party, brought up by let's say a non-award winning rival "Didn't they name the God complex after you?", I usually resist the urge to just shrug and say something like "Yes, that was me, but c'mon I was only like five at the time.  And I did make living things in balanced self-sustaining ecosystems.  Didn't I hear you just ate the clay straight from the jar at that age?"  It's beneath me, so I don't.  Usually.

This tale of an age gone by was first published in January 2011. 
It is brought to you today as part of the 30 days of creation, er, creative writing.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

For all the marbles, and half the world





The 15 planes pushed on alone through the clouds.  Far below the Pacific stretched beyond the horizon in every direction.  The two man crews strained their eyes all about but saw no sign of anyone else; not the bombing squadron or fighter escort that was supposed to be with them, not the Japanese invasion fleet bound for Midway Island and most frustratingly not the Japanese fleet of attack carriers leading the way.

They knew what they were up against and they knew what was at stake.

They knew the planes they flew were slow and obsolete; the torpedoes were faulty and often failed to go straight or even go off when they did hit something.  They knew they most of their crews were undertrained and had never dropped a torpedo before.  They knew they only had two full strength aircraft carriers with them, and another still sporting heavy damage from the last battle.  Yorktown had put back to sea hurrily with an army of civilian mechanics and welders still trying to piece her back together.  Midway was that important.

The champs of the '100 heads' contest

They also knew a bit about the Japanese.
They had had four full strength carriers with them, which meant a lot more aircraft.
They had experienced pilots, verterans from China, and plenty of them.
They had modern planes including the very fast and deadly state of the art fighter the Mitsubishi Zero.

They also knew the Japanese were brutally cruel to those they captured.  When they took Nanking 300,000 were massacred.  There were untold numbers of rape, looting, burning, bayonetting contests, and beheading contests of POWs and civilians alike.  It was celebrated in Japanese newspapers.

And now the Japanese, having overrun much of asia and already threatening Australia, were now headed east, towards the US.  Their first stop would be Midway, then ...Hawaii?  California?

The fifteen flew on.
They knew they had to win. 
They knew there was no way they could. 
It didn't matter, they had to try if they spotted the Japanese fleet.

At 9:20 they did. 
The four carriers were grouped together and Torpedo Squadron Eight made their attack.  The Japanese fire from both their surface ships and the fighter umbrella of Zeros decended on them with murderous fire.  None of their torpedos struck.  Every one of their planes was quickly shot down.  29 of the thirty men were killed.  Another american torpedo squadron showed up, with similar results.  Dozens of planes and scores of American airmen were killed.  Not one torpedo detonated against a Japanese ship.  Not one.

And it was the turning point of the war.

Those fruitless attacks forced the torpedo dodging Japanese carriers out of position, and brought their umbrella of fighter cover down to sea level.  When a squadron of American dive bombers arrived a short time later the Japanese were caught with their pants down -their decks covered with aircraft, refueling lines and stacks of ordinence (high explosive bombs and torpedoes).  The Americans fell on them like thunder and lightning.  Within six minutes three of the four carriers were burning out of control.

Now facing a single Japanese carrier, the Americans had a decisive advantage.  Though Yorktown took some hits in the counter attack but stayed afloat.  Another American attack saw the last Japanese carrier destroyed like her sisters.  It was something of a miracle.

Shaken to the core, the Japanese had to abandon the Midway assault and all their other plans for eastern expansion.  Their four newest, biggest and fasted carriers now decorated the ocean floor.  They could not replace such a monumental loss, not quickly enough to make a difference.  Nobody could outbuild the American shipyards.

The Japanese public was told it was a great victory -as expected.  Only the emperor and naval high command knew the truth.  The navy didn't even tell the army what happened, though they eventually found out.

Japan never regained the upper hand and were eventually beaten back to their home islands over the course of the next three years.  Even then, with their navy and air force destroyed and no hope of victory whatsoever, they still refused to surrender after the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.  Only after a second was dropped on Nagasaki did the Emperor prevail upon the high command to give up.

Of course the story is more complicated that I've had time or room to lay out, but the decisive turning point was triggered by Torpedo Squadron 8 at Midway, playing for all the marbles.

Yorktown listing after taking a few hits, but survived.  A Japanese submarine found her after the
battle and put yet another two torpedoes into her.  It was too much, she sank the next day.

This, the most important action of the Pacific war inspired the memorable quotes:

"They had no right to win. Yet they did, and in doing so they changed the course of the war. More than that, they added a new name - Midway - to that small list that inspires men by example – Marathon, the Marne, the Somme, and Rorke’s Drift. Even against the greatest odds, there is something in the human spirit – a magic blend of skill, faith, and valour that can lift men from certain defeat to incredible victory."
- military historian Walter Lord

"This memorable American victory was of cardinal importance, not only to the United States, but to the whole Allied cause…At one stroke, the dominant position of Japan in the Pacific was reversed…"
-British Prime Minister Winston Churchill

"The annals of war at sea present no more intense, heart-shaking shock than this battle, in which the qualities of the United States Navy and Air Force and the American race shone forth in splendour. The bravery and self-devotion of the American airmen and sailors and the nerve and skill of their leaders was the foundation of all."
-Winston Churchill

This impromptu history lesson brought to you courtesy of the 30 days of scholarly epics.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Beware the side of the road



Goin' my way?
 Has anything good ever happened on the side of the road? 

It’s where some hitchhikers wait to either find victims or become one (depending on the movie).  It’s where Lorena dumped John’s severed penis.  It’s where the mob dumps the whole body.  It’s where the spit, garbage and used condoms land after they’re thrown from countless car windows.  It’s where guys who can’t hold it anymore stop to urinate.  It’s where drunks who can’t keep it down anymore lean out of the car to spew.  It’s where animals struck by cars go to die.  It’s where flies feast on them once they have.  It’s where cops pull you over so they can give you tickets and superior looks.  It’s where you pull over on your own after you’ve had an accident, blown tire, overheated engine, or run out of gas. 

If you ever find yourself on the side of the road 99% of the time it’s for something unpleasant.  But the other 1% of the time, it can be something fantastic, like finding… 

a collection of ancient artifacts,

an autographed World Series cap,

half a key of cocaine (if you're into that),

or $22K in cash (and who isn't into that?).

Of course the odds are long against you finding any of those.  Winning the lottery is much more likely -that happens a few times a day across the country.  You're much more likely to have a Rutgeresque type stuff you in your own trunk.  Just keep your gas full, oil fresh, and for Chrissakes stay in the middle!

This curious pitstop on the shoulder brought to you by the 30 days of roadside oddities.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I'm done with interventions

Once was a time I believed in guiding the wayward.  I wanted to save them from themselves.  Set them on the right path.  Light their way and...   and...  I'm so over it now.  Stepping back was the best move I ever made.  Plus, now my afternoons are free.

But once was a time I really cared what people did and felt it was my responsibility to show them the error of their ways and set them on a better path.  But if they wouldn't see, wouldn't change... well that used to really piss me off.  Too much.

It puts me in mind of two sisters in particular from way back in the day.  If I remember rightly Sadie and Gema were their names, or something like that.  Not to put too fine a point on it, they were filthy drunken whores.  They gambled, they drank, they fought in the street over nothing, they fornicated with both man and beast, refused to change their ways despite repeated warnings and worst of all they showed me no respect at all.  -So I set those bitches on fire.  Not figuratively, literally.  Harsh I know, but at the time... let me think a moment... They may have been sister cities; I really can't remember it straight, it was a loooooong time ago.

Anyway, in the aftermath some learned the lesson, some only until the smoke cleared, and believe it or not, some not at all.  It left me at a crossroads.  What was I going to do, burn every other one down?  The thought alone was exhausting, not to mention depressing.  So I just stopped, and let go.  The stress went with it and the relief I feel to this day is, well -heaven.

They can all do what they want now.  It's on them.  But when I retire for good I'll throw a massive party, literally the best ever, and it'll go on for-ever, AND not everybody will be invited.  You get to make your choices, and I get to make mine.

Oddly enough, I still get requests for intervention all the time.  Most of the time it's either for things they haven't earned, don't deserve, or are simply downright wrong.  And yet they ask ME.  As if.



The prose is new, the original art first posted here last year and reappears for the 30 days challenge.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Bastogne

If you know your history that one word says it all.

We're in the home stretch of the 30 days of kibbles & bits, and as subjects go today's 'worst Christmas ever' prompt is stretchin' it a bit -it's summer!  I'm not thinking about snow or Santa or anything Christmassy, but therein lies the challenge, right?  Very well.

Let's go back to Christmas.  Not the last one, we're looking for the worst.  Ever.  Let's go back further.  Past the any sour eggnog incidents you may have had.  Past aunt Gertie's sticky fruitcake.  That wasn't the worst ever, even if you got the piece she lost her fingernail in.  'Ewwww!' -I know.  Still not the worst.

You can go back through childhoods Christmases; wrong presents, wrong dolly, wrong color power ranger, too many clothes as gifts instead of toys, got your tongue stuck to a frozen flagpole, put your eye out with your new Red Ryder BB Gun ... might be a personal worst, but it's still not the worst.

For that we've got to go way back, before most of you were born even.

BASTOGNE 1944

December 14
The war in Europe was nearing it's end, anyone could see the 3rd Reich was teetering on the brink of collapse, and up and down the front thousands of American GI's were settling in for a picturesque snowy Christmas.  It was no different in sleepy, out-of-the-way Bastogne, Belgium.  This was olde Europe, the kind of town where Hansel met Gretel, and Red Riding Hood bought her first basket.  (It was so quiet their commander had left the continent and was back in the US for a conference.)  The line was thin here, but the war was all but over so the men were relaxed.  It was nice quiet place to spend the holidays.

On the German side, the 55 divisions (500,000+ men) of operation Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein were ready to attack.  They'd been massing in secret for weeks, stripping hundreds of thousands of men, tanks and artillery from the Russian front and sneaking them in at night to avoid detection.  Hitler, not known for his sense of humor, wasn't kidding this time either.

Their plan was to surprise the thin American line in quiet, sleepy Belgium, overwhelm them quickly and storm to the critical port at Antwerp, thereby cutting off allied supplies and splitting the US and British armies in half.  It wouldn't win the war for them, but it might force the Western allies to negotiate a peace.  Both luck and the weather were with them.

December 15
The winter storm moving in grounded most planes, negating US air superiority and further masking the German divisions.  When they struck they achieved near total surprise.  They advanced quickly and the short handed and under-gunned Americans could only manage a few brief delaying tactics.  The only American close enough to help were paratroopers.  With no heavy weapons or even winter clothing they moved into Bastogne in time to get completely surrounded by German armor.

Town got messed up a little bit.
McAuliffe, Ike, and Patton

December 21
All seven major highways leading into town were now firmly in German hands.  The siege was on.  Both sides knew there was no escape for the trapped GI's.  Both sides knew the Germans had all the heavy tanks.  Both sides knew that the intense storm would keep the American air force from providing either tactical support or supplies by air (food and ammo were both desperately short).  Logic dictated that the Americans had no options.

December 22
The following borrowed directly from Wikipedia.
General von L├╝ttwitz sent the following ultimatum to Gen. McAuliffe:
To the U.S.A. Commander of the encircled town of Bastogne. The fortune of war is changing. This time the U.S.A. forces in and near Bastogne have been encircled by strong German armored units. More German armored units have crossed the river Our near Ortheuville, have taken Marche and reached St. Hubert by passing through Hompre-Sibret-Tillet. Libramont is in German hands.
There is only one possibility to save the encircled U.S.A. troops from total annihilation: that is the honorable surrender of the encircled town. In order to think it over a term of two hours will be granted beginning with the presentation of this note.

McAuliffe square near Bastogne
If this proposal should be rejected one German Artillery Corps and six heavy A. A. Battalions are ready to annihilate the U.S.A. troops in and near Bastogne. The order for firing will be given immediately after this two hours term. All the serious civilian losses caused by this artillery fire would not correspond with the well-known American humanity.
The German Commander.
According to various accounts from those present, when McAuliffe was told of the German demand for surrender he said "nuts". At a loss for an official reply, Lt. Col. Harry Kinnard suggested that his first remark summed up the situation well, which was agreed to by the others. The official reply was typed and delivered by Colonel Joseph Harper, commanding the 327th Glider Infantry, to the German delegation. It was as follows:
To the German Commander.

NUTS!

The American Commander
The Germans took this as 'Go to hell!' -and didn't care for it much.  They began relentless attacks on Bastogne day and night.  First they shelled the American positions, then their armor and infantry stormed the positions.  Over and over.  The Americans threw them back time after time but paid in blood; 2500+ casualties not counting 500+ missing -and it went on through Christmas.  -the worst ever BTW- 

The Germans, warm in their winter gear, enjoyed steady supplies of food and ammo.  The Americans shivered in their frozen fox holes with no resupply of either.  Right through Christmas.

When the storm lifted the allies filled the skies with war planes and supply transports.  General George S Patton's 3rd army broke through the day after Christmas and finally relieved Bastogne.  Though history credits this as a 'rescue', most of the surviving paratroopers of the 101st airborne stubbornly said "We didn't need to be rescued, just resupplied."  That's guts.  Or nuts.  Or both.

It's worth noting that after their 'rescue' the 101st did not go to the rear for R&R.  They got fresh food and ammo and immediately joined the counter-offensive.  Bastogne was the centerpiece of the much larger Battle of the Bulge which was considered over and won by January 15.   Militarily exhausted, Germany surrendered in May.

I'm sure there are a lot of Christmas 'horror' stories out there; breakups, bad presents, bad eggnog, maybe a tree fire, but none of those really stack up to Bastogne '44.  Unless your story includes 55 German divisions rammed up your ass, I'm not really impressed.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The toasting of Fred

Today is the 'toast or roast' post for the 30 days of the most from the coast, or something.
Since my doctor asked me to lay off the red meat, I won't opt for the roast.  Instead I will pay homage to an early mentor who not only encouraged the growth and development of If I were God... but was my very first commenter, Fred Miller.

Fred put a huge monkey 'WOW' button at the top of his page specifically to showcase new writers to his large audience.  He graciously linked it to me on at least three occasions. Quite a guy, right?

He hasn't posted for two months -an unprecedented time away for him.  Tessa, his beloved of many years, has serious health issues so I'm hoping nothing terrible has happened.  I prefer to image they're sailing the world together on a boat he built himself.  But Fred's probably a terrible carpenter, so this would mean they've both drowned a few hundred yards outside the harbor.  Scratch the sailing idea.  Maybe they're in Tibet meditating at a monastery and unraveling the secrets of life.  This sounds more like them anyway, let's go with that.

It's a shame for his fans that he's gone so long.  He had been getting pretty good at producing short animated satires featuring Obama, Palin, Romney, Gingrich, Beavis & Buthead.  Curious yet?  Give him a look.

This one features Fred himself, and Howard Stern and a talking dog.  Don't ask.  Just enjoy.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Stilettos can thrill, stilettos can kill

and stilettos can do what no other shoe will


I don't know if I would've ever written a post on stiletto heels if it hadn't been foisted, yes foisted, upon all of us taking the 30 days of writing challenge.  But just because shoes (being as unimportant as they are in the scope of things) wouldn't make my own list of worthy subjects doesn't mean I can't kick the crap out of 'em.  So sit back, strap this on and see if you can go a few feet without braking your neck.

Do stilettos = F Me pumps?
Then why do so many of the women wearing
them have attitudes that clearly say "F* off!"
I'm a little hazy on the rules here.
Maybe it depends on the guy asking.

Definitely not stilettos,
but does any shoe you've ever seen say
F ME more than these?


...and in the opposite corner.

Beware OWSS; Over-Wearing Stilettos Syndrome
-there is no known cure

Feeling beastly?
Proof that a cow in heels is still a cow.
The original intent of stilettos
happens to be exactly how it
feels to get dumped.
And that's about all I have to say about stiletto heels other than this; as good as they look on a woman when she's strutting in them -heels down...  They look even better when she's slutting in them -heels up.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Live each each day like it COULD be your last


This may sound similar to, but is very different from the annoyingly often quoted "Live every day as IF it's your last".

The second, though wildly popular, is ridiculously dangerous.  There are a great many things one would do if one could know with godlike certainty that it was one's last day.  Barreling through your bucket list, especially on the last day, could bring huge amounts of satisfaction and personal triumph.  With years of pent-up frustration and unfulfilled yearnings suddenly unchained from their rational inhibitions, you would unlease yourself upon the earth like a methed-out viking Ferris Bueller at a virgins-only nunnery.

You might be only too willing to do things like

Emptying your bank account and
-hiring a private jet to Vegas.
-hiring Lindsey Lohan to be the stewardess
-putting it all on 7 Red for one spin

Going to to Texas to throw
-rocks
-eggs
-your shoes
at George Bush

Admitting to your spouse
-you have been faking it since '92
-it was you who got the babysitter pregnant
-you were more than just gay 'curious' in college

Approaching your boss
-with a profanity laced resignation letter
-a chainsaw
-a graphic video of you and their spouse

Admitting to your neighbor's wife
-her Fluffy didn't really run away
-you love her.  You've always loved her.  And only her.  And must have her now.
-it wasn't silk-addicted crows who took her thongs from the clothes line

What a rush of last-day satisfaction!  Once the adreneline fades, you can smile in final victory, lay back on the rumpled bed in the Rasputin room of your local russian mob controlled brothel and cozy into death's sweet embrace as it takes you like a deep sleep.  Perfect.  End.

Unless you wake up in the morning.  And realize it wasn't really your last day!  Now what?!

You already ran out of money at the Eurasian brothel down the block hours ago, and Irina is threatening to call Boris and Vlad in if you don't come up with the $1200 for 'the Czar and the 3 milkmaids' game you insisted on playing twice last night.

Even if you can make it out the window, outrun the rots and duck the AK-47 fire, you still have
-a price on your head (in rubbles)
-not a dime left to your name
-no job or references
-a furious soon-to-be-ex-spouse
-a murderous neighbor
-a litigious neighbor's wife
-an angry local PETA chapter
-warrents for your arrest (local and TX)
& worst/inescapable of all
-Lohan cooties (incurable as of this writing)

I think you'll agree, while it's great to live life to its fullest, it's not worth living like it's your last day unless you're really, reallyreallyreally sure it is.

As always, If I Were God appreciates comments, ad-clicks and sharing of His articles.  He sees all; disappoint Him not.

This is a reprint of a post first run January 26, 2011.  I reran it today because not only is it a perfect fit for today's 30 days challenge, but it's sunny and I have the day off along with my wife.  So I'm not wasting any time with anything other than sun, sangria, and se- none of yer damn business.