Saturday, November 24, 2012

Inside the Two-Ton Bubble


 Once on my daily circuit around the airfield at Camp Adder, Iraq, I was in a sandstorm so strong that it stopped me on the bike.  Because I can “track stand” the bike, keep it upright when standing still, I held the bike in place for a minute then jumped off.


Curled up in a ball, back to the wind, I thought about what to do next.  I could turn around and fly back in the other direction, but I would eventually have to turn the north then back to the east, then get stopped again.  Just then, one of the special ops black Suburbans pulled up and told me to get in.  They said, “Dude, get inside.  This storm’s gonna last all day.”

I got inside and they drove me to battalion HQ. 

Today I was riding in a 20 mph wind with 30 mph gusts.  I was going up a shallow hill at 6 mph—way slower than normal, but straight into the wind that was the best I could do.  Many cars rolled past me on that mile-long stretch of PA Rt. 999.  I was thinking about how many times I heard about people “In the bubble” during the political season just passed.  Here I was, the perfect example of why people stay in a bubble—it sucks being outside!!!!

The people in the cars going past me were getting no exercise, they were missing a clear, cold, clear brilliant late Fall day.  Compared to keeping my bike upright and rolling uphill into a headwind, their lives were DULL.

Let’s assume, most of them wanted it that way.  After a while I did.  I turned back early and rolled to the bike shop to buy a better pair of cold weather gloves and hang out in the warm shop for a while.

For people who are in bubbles of belief, their avoidance of facts has an effect similar to being in a two-ton, two hundred horsepower car in a head wind.

Mr. Bubble, looking out through the windshield, can see everything the guy on the bike does, but Mr. Bubble does not experience the world as it is.  He is in a climate controlled, sound-deadened environment moving fast enough that he seldom sees the messy details of reality. 



One of the great things about serving in the Army is realizing—even in America—that individual freedom can only be preserved by people who give it up.  And that health and safety for many means that some must risk their lives. 

I am sitting in a comfortable, well-lit room, in a centrally heated house writing on my unbelievably powerful computer which is connected to the whole world through an incredibly reliable cable modem.  I love my bubble.  But I know it is a bubble which is more than I deserve and much more than 98% of the world will ever have.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 19, 2012

New Layout for a New Year

In 2013 I turn 60.  It will be my a record of some of the highlights and oddities of my last two years as an American soldier.  I decided to switch formats for the two years ahead to one that better suits my life as it is.

For a few hours I had a format called Mosaic.  Friends and family agreed--NO!!!! I could not change back, but this is close. 





These pictures and a million more are my life.  So I will try the new format to chronicle my civilian/military/executive/enlisted/family/battalion life.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

New Video on chemistry and War

The American Chemical Society has a chemistry ambassadors series.  They taped me for it in the summer.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

35 Army Years Ago . . .


This is a photo of me taken near Fulda, Germany (then West Germany) in 1977.  I was on top of my M60A1 tank.  It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood of more than 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops we thought were going to roll over us like Patton though a Peace Rally.

They never attacked.  

We all came home.  And all of my 1st Battalion, 70th Armor homies are gathering in Wiesbaden Germany next year for a reunion.  I did not sign up because I thought I would have other plans--an all-expense-paid trip to another middle eastern nation.  But I did not go.  

I won't be going to the reunion because we are saving for a trip to Rwanda.  But maybe I'll catch their next reunion in the US.  All those guys look a lot older now!!!




So What Happened with General Petraeus. . .


Last week the election meant I stopped getting questions about Lance Armstrong's drug use.  For many people in my life, I am the only bicycle racer they know.  So they ask what I knew about Lance's drug use.

Not much.

And if they asked about my race results, they would be SURE I was not on drugs, or that I should switch to better drugs.

And now I am fielding questions on General David Petraeus.  "What is going on with Petraeus?" I heard from several people.

I answer by checking my iPhone to see if BFF Gen. P. has txted me abt wazzup!!!

No text.

Really, Gen. Petraeus does not regularly check in with Army National Guard sergeants.  Or colonels for that matter.  If the Army was the Empire State Building, the top generals are right up where King Kong was hanging on and I am on the second floor without a window.

But if David or Lance hits me up on the down low, fshizzle I will update my status.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Enjoying Veterans Day


My wife Annalisa and I both dressed up for Church on Sunday.  I dressed so my sons could say their Dad is in the Army.  My wife put on Peace signs.  

Many people said "Thanks for your service" to me.  I got a free latte at my local Starbucks on Columbia Ave.  I wore the uniform to work today and two of my colleagues took me out for lunch.  

So much better to be a soldier now than during Viet Nam.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fueling Helicopters

This weekend I waited with the fuelers of Echo Company for aircraft to fly in for fueling.  There were few flights.  The two hours I was there no aircraft showed up.  So here are pictures from this Spring when a dozen aircraft showed up in a half hour.








SPQR and America

Senatus Populusque Romanus The Senate and People of Rome Some of the soldiers I served with in Iraq talked about getting an SPQR tat...