One man's view of the world, from the top of this great big rock somewhere in the middle of God's Country, with an eye toward freedom....or at least some way to get back down without goin' over the edge.

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Location: West Virginia, United States

Former U.S. Army, SPC E-4, Veteran of Operation Desert Storm. If you are or have ever been a soldier, you have friends in my house.

Friday, July 29, 2005

That Good Old College Haze (or, "Sis-Boom...Huh?")

I myself am not long out of college, having graduated Sumthin'-or-Other-Come-Lately from my local community college with a two-or-three-year degree in computer stuff. (Yep. When it comes to education, I are full of it.)
Since mine was not a full four-year university, I have not experienced anything like what the following stories relate. But I can guess.

I would like to share a couple of things today that I found quite from an April article written by David Horowitz, and two others from the pen of Dr. Mike Adams, a criminology professor at UNC-Wilmington.

Mr. Horowitz paints a picture that many of us are probably familiar with by now. He visits many college campuses a year as a conservative speaker, and has been protested many times by those who would have him stop rocking the politico-academic boat which has been so painstakingly erected therein.

From his accounts of a March '05 speaking engagement at Bowling Green State University:

I had already been told by my conservative student hosts that there was a demonstration planned for my arrival. At the entrance to Olscamp Hall, where the event was scheduled to take place, I saw a crowd of about twenty members of the Revolutionary Communist Party chanting, "George Bush and David Horowitz Get Out of the Way, Christian, Fascist, USA." Nonetheless, the hall filled up with more than 200 people among whom I would guess 50 – including half a dozen Bowling Green professors -- shared the enthusiasms of the Revolutionary Communists, cheering the name "Ward Churchill" when it came up, and signaling in other ways that they were there to protest rather than to listen to my speech.
I opened by observing that I hoped they enjoyed the chanting, and that I regarded it as one of the basic principles of Academic Freedom that individuals should have the right to embarrass themselves in public. I was not about to play passive victim and probably contributed in my unwillingness to do so to the fireworks that erupted periodically during the evening.

Ah, to be young and foolish again...

Elsewhere, Prof. Mike Adams of UNC-Wilmington has learned something else about collegiate life...from, among others, his own supervisor.

Scenario: You have just been invited to a party being thrown by your boss. Plan to attend...or else:

Last week, I went to work to examine a copy of my 2004 performance evaluation. For the first time in 12 years, my evaluation contained some negative remarks. Among those was the criticism that during the last year I did not take part in the "ongoing life" of my department.
Although previously unfamiliar with the meaning of the phrase "ongoing life," I immediately suspected it was related to my unwillingness to attend the departmental parties that are occasionally held at the homes of my fellow professors.
Last September 11, I was invited to such a party at the home of my supervisor – the same one who wrote my annual evaluation. When I told her I was unable to attend the party due to a conflict with an NRA banquet, my supervisor called it a "fascist pig" banquet.

Gee whiz. And I was gonna bring the shrimp puffs, too.

Not to worry, though, o faithful ones....a little while later, Mike got in a shot or two of his own:

After I spoke with a couple of attorneys (for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, about some of the legal implications of using such criteria, I realized that such vague "collegiality" factors were being used in other states like New York, Indiana, and California.
The decision to write an editorial on the subject meant that I would risk getting no pay-raise in a few weeks when the change was divided up in my department. But writing an editorial exposing the practice would bring some badly needed attention to the often overlooked "collegiality" issue. Justice Brandeis once said that sunlight is the best disinfectant. So, I wrote the editorial, of course.

Read on, y'all. It gets better.

In closing, I offer the words of Tom Lehrer, who summed up the collegiate experience better than anyone I have ever heard:

"Hearts full of youth, hearts full of truth:
Six parts gin and one part Vermouth!"

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Sportmanship For Dummies (or, How to Behave Like a Grown-up and Get Away With It)

As a kid, I participated in youth soccer. Initially, it was our parents' idea.

For a scrawny little bespectacled Air Force brat who was more than a little shy in social/cooperative situations (mostly due to having moved around quite a bit in his young life), this could easily have blown up in their faces. But they took the chance that it would be a good thing.

Fortunately, I loved it, and found myself to actually have a little talent for it. It also turned out to be a good way to make new friends in a new town, a task that my brother and I faced on a pretty regular basis.
And I was lucky enough, for the most part, to have coaches who concentrated on teaching their young charges to play hard and play fair...and then sat back and let the kids have fun doing it.

Yeah, youth league sports were good for me.

So when I hear stories of kids who didn't have such a rosy time of it---because of the actions of the ADULTS involved---it makes me all the sadder.

Kids like Danny Almonte, the Dominican 12-year-old with a thunderbolt for a pitching arm in the 2001 Little League World Series.

In the course of the series, he pitched an absolute perfect game---the first one Little League had seen in over 40 years.
In fact, his team's only loss that year was at a game where Almonte was not allowed to pitch, due to a Little League rule that says pitchers cannot start in two games consecutively.

Then it all got thrown out of the record books...because someone found out that his parents had falsified his birth certificate. He was actually 14 years old. That was too old to play in Little League.

That story was bad enough. The kid very likely didn't know there was anything wrong going on. He was just playin' baseball.

But then I found THIS story...and my blood pressure spiked.

That's right...A coach (not with Little League International, but just a local kids' league) actually wanted to win a baseball game SO BAD that he decided that a mentally-disabled child on his own team---I repeat, a mentally-disabled child ON HIS OWN TEAM---did not deserve to set foot on the field, even though league rules stipulated that every kid gets to play in every game.

But he didn't just pull the boy out of the lineup, and later face the parents with his decision like a man. Oh, no. He apparently decided he didn't want to come off as the bad guy.

So he did it the old-fashioned way. He gave one of the other kids on his team $25 to hit the boy with a baseball, so that he wouldn't be able to play.

I will say that again, for those blinking at the screen in disbelief.
The coach ordered a hit on a member of his own team...and used ANOTHER KID on his own team to do it.

What does this behavior teach the kids?

That the ends justify the means. It's okay to cheat. It's okay to lie. It's okay to use any and all tactics at your disposal to win. Fair play be damned. If you're not a winner, you're a loser.

So what do we do with the adults who do these things? How does one show these "grown-ups" the error of their ways?
Well, there are any number of legal steps one could take, and they may well be effective. I certainly hope so.

Me, myself, personally....I think the first responder to this forum about the second story has the right idea.

But then, my blood pressure still hasn't come all the way back down yet.


P.S. Oh, I almost forgot---remember the kid in the first story, Danny Almonte?
He has since stayed in New York, stayed on the straight and narrow path, and as of 2003 was the star pitcher for his local high school. (Collegiate baseball fans....Keep an eye out for this kid. He's got some pretty awesome heat.)

Friday, July 22, 2005

One Final Beam of Light

"All I can say is...they don't make them like they used ta."
---Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott, U.S.S. Enterprise

R.I.P. James Doohan: 1920-2005

James Doohan

Some final words for an old comrade, from.....

William Shatner

George Takei

I will add updates as I find them.

May the wind forevermore be at yer back, Jimmy. [CLINK]


Monday, July 18, 2005

Bloggin' Around: Monday, July 18th

Among other things today, Blackfive reminisces about his days as a doughboy (hic), points out the wisdom of John Howard, steers us to the continuing good works of Michael Yon, and tells the tale of a battleground that even HE wasn't prepared for.

The good Captain Ed slaps a couple of newspapers around with the yardstick of their own fallen standards, and introduces us to yet another effort to redefine "Love, American Style".

Ace of Spades is proud to direct our attention to a Canadian-Muslim TV chick who apparently hasn't gotten the memo yet. (Either that, or she decided that the Kool-Aid was just a little too bitter for her taste.)

TacJammer has a word or two concerning the UN's recent rumblings about Internet management (yep---one more thing they don't want Americans in charge of), highlights the words of Mona Charen, and shows us the radical American Left's idea of "camouflage". (Oh, if only.)

And finally, Val Prieto's BabaluBlog is chock-full of interesting stuff from the past few days. Visit the main page for all of his recent articles, to be sure, but here's some highlights:
--a different theory on the outing of Ms. Plame (not just who, but when)
--yet another example of what hard-case liberals do when they meet a law they don't like ("Law? What law?")
--and the continuing saga of a dangerous journey. (Folks, seriously...if nothing else, READ THIS and all that came before it. And if it does not move you even just a little bit, you are hereby directed to proceed to your local trauma center and sign up for an immediate heart transplant, 'cause the one you got don't work no more.)

You have your orders. Stander out.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Council for the Defense: Eminem

This might be a somewhat unpopular stance for me to take, but what the hell.

Tip o'the rock to SNN for the source material. (She knows who she is.)

It has been brought to my attention that Detroit-based rap star Eminem (aka Marshall Mathers) may well have decided to call it a career.

Some are saying that there would be a great shift in the tides of popular culture if he does, that there would be much wailing and gnashing of teeth or some such.
Some others, I'm sure, are probably very relieved at this news.

Well, that's all well and good. Personally, I don't know that I would notice much of a difference myself. Let's face it...these days, when he's not on stage, he seems to do his level best to keep himself to himself. And as far as his stage persona is concerned...well, if it ain't him up there, it'll be someone else eventually.

But humor me for a second here, if you please. Because I think there's something here that needs saying.

Lord knows, I don't agree with a lot of what he says. I've listened to a goodly chunk of his work, and certainly much of the content therein is validly objectionable. I wouldn't want my young son listening to Eminem's stuff until he's old enough to take it with a pound or two of contextual salt.

Having said that, I will now say this:
If there was ever a case study of how freedom of expression (and a good dose of old-fashioned Western capitalism) enables talented people to succeed through individual effort, Eminem is it.

Say what you will, folks, but it cannot be denied that he has an almost unnatural knack for clever wordplay. I can think of many an artist working today without half of his sense of rhyme, rhythm and delivery. In short, the man can flow like few others.
And yes, he had help starting out, courtesy of his producer and mentor Dr. Dre....but who hasn't needed a little help now and then? We all have to start somewhere, and if I understand correctly, there's not many lower places to start from than where Marshall did.
In any case, he took his talent, put a hefty dollop of elbow grease on it, and went on to forge the kind of lifestyle that we can all afford to be a little jealous of now and then, if only to ourselves. (I mean, many of us have never dreamed of being able to effectively retire in style at 33, am I right?)

And so, I do not wish him ill for being who he is and doing what he does. I would simply like to extend my congratulations to him, for having become successful at it.

Although I must would be nice to have one less reason to fear what my son may hear on the radio in the years to come.


Saturday, July 09, 2005

Bloggin' Around: Saturday, July 9

Yes, I know, it's been over two weeks since my last blathering. My apologies, but I found myself with a little extra time to spend with my family, and decided to take it.

Anyway, I'm back. Consider this quick little roundup of blog activity as a token of good faith.


The Wizbang gang points something out about Gitmo, finds out what good ol' Ollie Stone is up to this time, and shows us how war can be good for business.

Blackfive shares a goodly abundance of news from Britain's Ground Zero, along with a show of support for the people of London from Rummy and...well, just about everybody else.

Captain Ed gives us more than a few pieces of evidence that the London attacks are not having the desired effect.

Finally, Free Will passes along a postcard from Rudy, and laments that Charlie Mann is still drawing a paycheck over at the NY Slimes.

You have your orders. Stander out.