Monday, February 20, 2006

Wave the Flag

I've just finished filling out an extensive and somewhat insulting form to insure that my government security status remains Secret. I accomplished this onerous task a little over two years ago, and it should not have been due until 10 years after that, but God forbid the people who are supposed to keep these records shouldn't lose them. It is reassuring to know that those responsible for our security are so efficient.

This taste of government efficiency got me to thinking about just how long I have been associated with the military. For openers, I was born in the Brooklyn Naval Hospital in 1947. As a Navy brat I lived in New York, Rhode Island, Louisiana, Maryland, and Virginia. I think I was 12 1/2 years old when my father retired from the service, but he worked for a year or so at the D.E.W. Line when I was 14-15. In 1966 I joined the Army and spent 28 months in that venerable service, including 13 1/2 months in Viet Nam. Skip ahead to 1979 and I started my civil service job with the Air Force. So we add 12 1/2, 1, 2 1/3, and 25 years and we get (mm, mm, carry the one...) 40 years and 10 months in Uncle Sam's embrace. Maybe 41 if you add in the odd days and weeks. Over two-thirds of my life. And I have to justify to this nation that I'm worthy of a security clearance? Meanwhile, this nation is selling its major shipping ports to the Saudi Arabians--the nation that spawned the 9/11 murderers. Wotta world!

Kristine dragged me to my second and her fourth viewing of the latest Harry Potter movie last night. I'm glad I went, as I'd forgotten a lot of what I saw the first time. I suspect that my poor recollection stemmed from the fact that by the time the film started I was bone tired from standing in line for 90 minutes after a long work week. I'm surprised I didn't fall asleep and snore up the theater. One of these days I may read the books, but at this point I'm not interested in switching genres.

Although, to be honest, I bought a couple of s-f paperback short story volumes at a thrift store last week. One is The Machineries of Joy, by Ray Bradbury; the other is The Year's Best S-F, 8th Annual Edition. I believe Bill Crider's warm reminiscences about his youthful s-f reading influenced my decision to buy these books. And, being short stories, I can nibble away at them as I wait for Kristine to get out of school, or when she's having her guitar lesson.

It always sounds like whining when you complain about bad officiating leading to your team's defeat, but this year's Super Bowl resulted in nationwide complaints and questions about the job the officials did. I thought it was an appalling display of incompetence and/or bias. Would Pittsburgh have won if the game had been called properly? Maybe. They're a good team and worthy of their appearance in the Super Bowl. But we'll never know, and a strong case could be made for the Seahawks winning if the zebras didn't destroy so many of their drives or nullify their scores. My ultimate reaction to it can be summed up thusly: "I is regusted."

1 comment:

Bill said...

Short stories from the old days are still fun to read, for the most part. I always seem to enjoy them.

The port business is disturbing, but surely you trust the judgment of Our Leaders.