"Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it." - Ferris Bueller

Sunday, May 27, 2007
Memorial Day 2007

Memorial Day means different things to different people. The holiday itself can be traced back to 1868 when “Decoration Day” was instituted as a day in which to decorate the graves of those who died in the Civil War. From those humble beginnings we now have the holiday that, among other things, signals the official start of summer.

It has always been a day to remember those brave individuals who gave the last full measure of devotion to their country on the battlefield. What began as a day where places like Fredericksburg, Charlottesville, and Gettysburg were mentioned today finds us trying to pronounce names like Fallujah, Khandahar, and Al Anbar. It is a day in which warriors will remember their fallen comrades.

I am a child of the United States Army. Father Cordeiro was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant shortly after I was born. For most of my childhood and a good chunk of my adolescent years if my address did not have the word “Fort”, “Presidio”, or “APO” in it, I did not feel like I was truly home. To me, the men and women of the United States Military have, and always will be, family.

This Memorial Day, like most others, will find many Americans enjoying this truly American holiday. Many hot dogs and burgers will be grilled, and the odd steak will be accidentally carbonized. While it is all together fitting and proper that these festivities take place, it should be remembered these events happen under the umbrella of freedom which has been purchased and defended at an exceedingly high price – often with the very best men and women this country has to offer.

So, dear reader, celebrate Memorial Day – but as you do, take time to remember those who made such a holiday possible.

Here endeth the lesson.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Walking In A Costco Wonderland
Costco is truly a monument to Capitalism. There’s one near my office and one was just recently put up near the shopping center closest to my home. This event caused the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro to renew our Costco membership and we recently went to the new warehouse as a stop on our weekly grocery run.

Men and women go to Costco for different reasons. Most women find the deals on bulk quantities of things you buy a lot of anyway – say flour, peanut butter, bread, etc. Costco caters to guys by putting the 12 foot high-definition plasma screen as close to the entrance as possible. Guys are immediately drawn to whatever is playing on the incredibly large screen – they could run endless loops of the Sound of Music and you’d still have a crowd of guys standing around commenting on the picture clarity to complete strangers.

So, after running the technology gadget gauntlet, the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro disappeared into a cavernous aisle and I wandered pushed Cordeirinha (strapped in her double wide cart) around the open middle area. Costco remains the only place on earth where you can go in empty handed and come out with the following:

Five pounds of sirloin steak - $11.95
One 8 foot long, 4 foot long, by 6 foot high inflatable water slide - $400
One hot tub – installed - $5,000

Needless to say, I didn’t walk out with any of those items. The Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro kept shaking her head and saying something about a household budget.

Oh well. I did get the famous Costco lunch special – hot dog and a soda for $1.50. Somedays it’s the little things that make the difference.

Here endeth the lesson.
Monday, May 07, 2007
Every City Has Its Idiot
In Salt Lake City, they call that idiot “Mayor”.

Last Friday, Sean Hannity flew to Salt Lake City to debate Mayor Ross “Rocky” Anderson. I call it a debate using only the most liberal definition of that word because the whole exchange (most of which can be seen here) only showed Anderson’s ability to parrot the Daily Kos talking points he gets every morning. Anderson is and has been a huge embarrassment to Salt Lake City for his entire tenure as its mayor.

He’s spent more time flying around the country protesting against the W Administration than he has governing Salt Lake City. Even when he’s in town, he only shows his fact at protest rallies. Perhaps I’m being a bit too judgmental. He did, after all, take time to encourage city workers to avoid drinking bottled water thereby fighting global warming. I’m sure Salt Lake City residents are looking forward to the post-Anderson era.

Hollywood has no shortage of people vying to become the official village idiot. The list of applicants is long and less than distinguished but this week’s winner is none other than Paris Hilton. She’s won an all expense paid 44 night 45 day excursion to the Los Angeles County Jail courtesy of the taxpayers of the aforementioned county.

As it turns out, driving drunk whilst in the possession of a suspended driver’s license whilst on probation for DUI qualifies her for the aforementioned vacation. If you follow the link, you’ll read of her whining – and that of her mother – about the “cruel and unwarranted” to be inflicted on Ms. Hilton starting June 5th.

Memo to Paris: Stop whining. Your 45 day visit to LA County’s Guest House is what we in the real world refer to as “consequences”. Keep on your current course and you can expect more of them. I hope you like the shapeless orange jumpsuits.

Memo to Kathy Hilton: Stop whining. Perhaps if you’d taught Paris about consequences – perhaps taken away her toys or something – you might have been able to avoid this entire mess. Paris isn’t going to jail because she’s Paris. She’s going to jail because she’s stupid.

Stupidity has consequences, even in Los Angeles.

Here endeth the lesson.

Thursday, May 03, 2007
One Of The Last Old Bold Pilots
I like museums – most of them anyway. My favorite one is the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum on the National Mall and the Udvar-Hazy Annex near Dulles Airport. I like going to these places because they celebrate the Americans who pioneered flight. It reminds me that it hasn’t been that long since the idea of man leaving the ground made many people laugh.

A little over a half-century ago, brave men put themselves at great risk to journey into space atop dangerous rockets and experimental capsules – just to prove that it could be done. Neil Armstrong journeyed to the moon and back using a computer with less power than my wristwatch – and he made it look easy.

Well, before Armstrong there were guys like Wally Schirra. Schirra was one of the seven original Mercury astronauts. He died today at the age of 84.

The aviation world gets a little smaller each time guys like Schirra pass on. Schirra knew that exploration was fraught with risks and he went anyway. He blazed a trail most of us today consider commonplace. Every single astronaut who walked on the moon did so thanks to Wally Schirra. I think its important to recognize those who made the impossible something we accept today as normal.

Godspeed, Wally.

Here endeth the lesson.

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