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Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
This isn't new news, but it is especially interesting considering the financial crisis we are now dealing with. Barney Frank's gay lover, was the assistant director for product initiatives for seven years!
Read it and weep.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Friday I am going to take the Amtrak from Fort Worth, down to San Antonio. How exciting! I have never been on a train before, and am looking forward to it. My little roomette should be plenty of room for just me. Hopefully I will be able to get some good reading done. They have a lounge and dining car as well, that should be interesting. There will be about four stops, so it will take about three hours longer than driving would have.
It isn't much of an adventure of course, but it is mine. I was thinking of trying to get one of my old laptops working, and creating a blogpost about it. That would probably be very boring, but if I can breathe life into one of the old girls, it might happen.
There is something romantic about trains. The garden variety Amtrak rolling along through flat Texas won't capture the glamour and excitement of riding in an old lavishly appointed private car through the wild west or in the far east of course, but it will be a small taste.
I wish my wife and baby were coming with me, but they can't this time, so I will adventure alone. Frankenstein and Wise Blood (the first two books at the bottom of my reading list) will be with me however.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Well once I saw that Bush signed the abomination, that shall not be named, my brain made a decision. No more politics this weekend. I am not going to think about the election, read any political postings, talk about anything political in the least, or anything else of the sort.
I am done for now. My level of confidence in my fellow citizens to govern is very low, so why dwell on it.
Besides I am going to the lake house on beautiful Possum Kingdom Lake tomorrow with my wife, baby girl, and my best bud and his family. We are going to do some fishin', eatin', maybe a little beer drinkin', and definitely some domino playin'.
Screw it boys, have a good weekend, and moon any politicians if ya see 'em!
The wife and I took the day off Friday (09/12/08) to attend the retirement ceremony of my best friend, HM2 Kirk Blakesley. He spent the most of his career as a Corpsman, and did two tours in Iraq with his marines. His first tour was in Ramadi in OIF II, and he spent the second stretch at Camp Taqqadum, with HMLA-169(Vipers).
Having not ever served our great country, the retirement ceremony was a humbling experience for me. The entire family, in addition to the serviceperson, sacrifice a lot when the father and husband is a career sailor. There were lots of long deployments, and as I said, two combat tours mixed in those 20 years of service. The entire family was honored individually during the ceremony. His wife and all five children received certificates of recognition from the Navy. It isn't nearly enough for what they have done for this country, but it was a nice gesture to be sure. They were all very happy to be escorted to the stage to receive their awards.
It was a very moving scene. Kirk was dressed in his white uniform. Several people including a retired marine that is a good friend of Kirk's and the commanding officer of the station's medical clinic spoke after the colors were presented. After that all of Kirk's various awards were presented to him. There is a myriad of items presented to the retiree and his family. The most interesting one was an awesome shadow box that contained his individual awards from throughout his carrier, a photo from when he enlisted and one from his time in Iraq, and an American and Texas flag. Very neat deal for sure. There were also proclomations for he and his wife from Governor Rick Perry.
One of the most emotional parts of the ceremony included "Old Glory" being recited, during the passing of the flag. That is something I will never forget. The recital of "The Watch" was another highlight. The neat thing about the navy retirement ceremony is that it is carried out as if it is on a ship whether it is or not. The retiree and several of the officers are given permission to come aboard or to go ashore during the ceremony, culminating with Kirk and his family going ashore for the last time.
I am a better person for having attended such an event. It was an honor and a priveledge to be invited and to attend. Kirk is my best friend in the world(except for my wife of course), and I am so glad to know him. He is a truely an awesome guy.
There was a lot more to this deal, than just the ceremony and such. I saw Kirk sitting up on the stage in his uniform, and he had the biggest smile on his face the entire time. The only thing was you could tell that he totally had mixed emotions about the whole thing. He was proud of his service, excited to be able to spend more time with his family, scared about the transition, wondering what it was going to be like not to be a sailor anymore, and probably one hundred other things. The emotion on his face looked like a guy that was very proud, happy, and sad all at the same time.
Towards the end of the ceremony it was his turn to speak. I don't remember a lot of what he said, but I do remember this. He said, "I love my flag, and I love my uniform." He barely got it out. It took everything I had not to bawl like a baby at that point. Here is a man, like many before him and after him, that served his country for a very long time. He is proud of what he has done, and he is proud of his country, and he loved being a sailor.
Afterwards we all had a bite to eat, and left the facility. We met up with Kirk later that evening, and I was able to present him with a small token of our appreciation for his service. I gave him a Springfield XD-40, which he liked a lot. We were able to go shoot it a couple of weeks ago, and it shot very well. I may just have to get me one at some point. :) I hope to be lucky enough to spend many more afternoons with Kirk and his boys at the shooting range. It sure is cool having such a good guy and family as our friends.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
I am a pretty voracious reader and have been throughout most of my life. There, unfortunately has not been a lot of reason behind my choices of reading, and I feel like some order would not be a bad thing. My choices have always been for entertainment, or to acquire knowledge on a specific subject. So basically I want to broaden my horizons a bit. This line of thought has brought me to the conclusion that reading a Top 100 novel list sounds like fun. After searching through several lists, I have decided on the one at this blog.
Best Books of All Time
It is not a perfect list, as it is heavily weighed to the last century, and the English language, but it looks like a good start for me. I have ordered the bottom two books on the list, and will be starting on them after I finish reading The Chronicles of Narnia again, which should be in a couple of weeks. Incidentally The Chronicles have been fun to read again, as it has been twenty years since I last read the collection.
Anyway, here is the list:
Here is the list followed by the number of times it appeared in the above lists. How many have you read?
THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald
ULYSSES by James Joyce
1984 by George Orwell
THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. Salinger
ON THE ROAD by Jack Kerouac
THE GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck
CATCH-22 by Joseph Heller
LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov
BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley
BRIDESHEAD REVISITED by Evelyn Waugh
THE SOUND AND THE FURY by William Faulkner
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee
THE LORD OF THE RINGS by J.R.R. Tolkien
A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN by James Joyce
ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell
TO THE LIGHTHOUSE by Virginia Woolf
INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE by Anthony Burgess
GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell
AS I LAY DYING by William Faulkner
A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway
A PASSAGE TO INDIA by E.M. Forster
LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding
THE CALL OF THE WILD by Jack London
DAVID COPPERFIELD by Charles Dickens
EMMA by Jane Austen
TESS Of The D’URBERVILLES, Thomas Hardy
THE SCARLET LETTER by Nathaniel Hawthorne
WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Bronte
THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER by Carson McCullers
SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE by Kurt Vonnegut
JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte
BELOVED by Toni Morrison
ANNA KAREINA by Leo Tolstoy
THE SUN ALSO RISES by Ernest Hemingway
NATIVE SON by Richard Wright
ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
NOSTROMO by Joseph Conrad
HEART OF DARKNESS by Joseph Conrad
UNDER THE VOLCANO by Malcolm Lowry
THE GOOD SOLDIER by Ford Madox Ford
HERZOG by Saul Bellow
THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS by Kenneth Grahame
U.S.A. (trilogy) by John Dos Passos
FINNEGANS WAKE by James Joyce
AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY by Theodore Dreiser
WOMEN IN LOVE by D.H. Lawrence
THE AGE OF INNOCENCE by Edith Wharton
THE WOMAN IN WHITE by Wilkie Collins
THINGS FALL APART by Chinua Achebe
TROPIC OF CANCER by Henry Miller
MY ANTONIA by Willa Cather
LIGHT IN AUGUST by William Faulkner
THE MAGUS by John Fowles
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP by John Irving
DON QUIXOTE by Miguel de Cervantes
TOM JONES by Henry Fielding
WAR AND PEACE by Leo Tolstoy
MOBY-DICK by Herman Melville
MADAME BOVARY by Gustave Flaubert
WINNIE THE POOH by A(lan) A(lexander) Milne
GREAT EXPECTATIONS by Charles Dickens
THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV by Feodor Dostoevsky
TRISTAM SHANDY by Laurence Sterne
LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa M. Alcott
VANITY FAIR by William Makepeace Thackeray
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen
IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME by Marcel Proust
THE AMBASSADORS by Henry James
THE FOUNTAINHEAD by Ayn Rand
GRAVITY’S RAINBOW by Thomas Pynchon
THE AWAKENING by Kate Chopin (1851-1904)
DUNE by Frank Herbert
A TOWN LIKE ALICE by Nevil Shute
ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND by Lewis Carroll
CLARISSA by Samuel Richardson
THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY by Douglas Adams
A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY by John Irving
THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO by Alexandre Dumas
THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY by Henry James
OF MICE AND MEN by John Steinbeck
ALL THE KING’S MEN by Robert Penn Warren
GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN by James Baldwin
CHARLOTE’S WEB by E. B. White
ROBINSON CRUSOE by Daniel Defoe
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT by Feodor Dostoevsky
THE STAND by Stephen King
REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier
I, CLAUDIUS by Robert Graves
HOWARDS END by E.M. Forster
TENDER IS THE NIGHT by F. Scott Fitzgerald
THE RAINBOW by D.H. Lawrence
BLEAK HOUSE by Charles Dickens
ATLAS SHRUGGED by Ayn Rand
ABSALOM, ABSALOM! by William Faulkner
THE WINGS OF THE DOVE by Henry James
AUSTERLITZ by W. G. Sebald
THE TRIAL by Franz Kafka
WISE BLOOD by Flannery O’Connor - Completed - Review
FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley
~ Compiled by Leisa L. Watkins
I will mark these as I complete them, and offer short reviews of them as they are completed.