Archive for the ‘History’ Category

‘The awful waste and destruction of war’

June 6, 2019

“That’s All, Brother,” a restored C-47 that flew on D-Day. Read more about the project here.

In case the spectacle of a belligerent chickenshit with a three-word vocabulary representing the United States at the annual remembrance of the Normandy invasion just doesn’t do it for you, here are a few alternatives for your own personal observance of D-Day:

• The Poetry Foundation has compiled a selection of poems from and about World War II.

• HBO is airing “The Cold Blue,” a documentary about the men of the Eighth Air Force, featuring freshly restored footage by Oscar-winning director William Wyler and a score by Richard Thompson.

The New York Times gives us a remembrance of Ernie Pyle, the correspondent who brought the war home, until it finally took him.

The New Yorker reprints a three-part piece on Normandy by its own war scribe, A.J. Liebling.

• And finally, 1st Lt. Harold J. O’Grady‘s war was elsewhere, but you can read about the biscuit bombers of New Guinea in “Back Load,” a history of the 433rd Troop Carrier Group.

The day after

November 23, 2018

Chicken cacciatore as envisioned by Emeril Lagasse, a gent of Canuck-Portagee extraction but a Cajun by temperament.

As is often the case, Turkey Day was not turkey day at El Rancho Pendejo.

Longtime inmates of the asylum will recall that we generally cook something other than the usual on Thanksgiving, and yesterday was no exception.

I went with a pairing from our greatest hits — chicken cacciatore a la Emeril and a side of stir-fried succotash with edamame from Martha Rose Shulman — while Herself contributed a delicious apple crisp from Diane Kester via Allrecipes using local apples supplied by a colleague.

As I rooted through Thanksgivings past it struck me that this iteration of the Dog Blog recently reached its 10-year anniversary. As hard as it may be to believe, it was in 2008 that we shifted over from the old self-hosted WordPress model so that all y’all could contribute comments, and those comments have been part of what makes the place hop.

Anyway, while I was zipping around and about in the Wayback Machine, and just ’cause I could, I snatched up 10 years’ worth of Thanksgiving posts for your amusement, a little waddle down the Memory Lane Buffet. Grab a tray, click the link, and help yourselves.

Get your moldy-oldie Thanksgivings right here.

Adios, Fidel

November 26, 2016
From "Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War," by Che Guevara.

From “Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War,” by Che Guevara.

Fidel has left the building.

Say what you will about the man who tugged Uncle Sam’s beard through 11 U.S. presidencies — I’ll always remember him for his snarky offer to send observers to help oversee the recount of Bush v. Gore in Florida.

Revolutions are iffy things; they don’t always turn out as planned, as we have seen elsewhere. It’s not the initial cost, it’s the upkeep.

P’raps they should come with a warning label: “Be careful what you wish for. You might get it.”

‘Higher’ education

June 3, 2015
Like, wow. Like, bow wow, man.

Like, wow. Like, bow wow, man.

In 1973 I was a 19-year-old college dropout with a part-time job and no car, riding a bicycle everywhere.

But I went back to school, got that diploma, and today I’m a 61-year-old man with three part-time jobs and no car, riding a bicycle everywhere.

Stay in school, kids.

 

In memoriam

May 26, 2014
Col. Harold Joseph O'Grady, USAF

Col. Harold Joseph O’Grady, USAF

I wonder what my old man would think about today’s United States of America, the descendant of the country he fought for in World War II. Would he even recognize the place?

Harold Joseph O’Grady was born in 1918, at the end of World War I — “The War to End All Wars” — so, having found himself suiting up for another one just a quarter century later, he might not be surprised to find the nation still embroiled in its longest war ever, in Afghanistan.

The nation asked a lot of the old man back when he was still a young fella — 668 hours of combat time, flying out of New Guinea with the 65th Squadron, 433rd Troop Carrier Group — but it paid him back, too, with a 30-year gig, a generous pension and free health care.

As a career Air Force officer with a reputation for caring about and giving credit to his subordinates, he would’ve been seriously pissed that so many of today’s troops can’t make ends meet on what Uncle Sammy pays, that the VA has been jerking his people around, cooking the books to make paper-shufflers look good and veterans look dead, and that Congress only takes notice when the cameras (and the cash) are rolling.

As a conservative Southerner, he would’ve been appalled that there is so little attention devoted to actual conservation — not of the constitutional rights to shoot off your mouth or your machine gun, but of the basics — life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, along with optional upgrades like serviceable roads and bridges, functional public schools, and a government that wouldn’t embarrass Albania.

As a guy with a sense of humor he might have asked, “Why did we fight a world war to save this country so you could treat it like a rental car?”

Shit, dude, we still can’t believe you gave us the keys.

 

 

 

Time Machine Tuesday

January 21, 2014

Over at Teh Twitters yesterday a gent praised a non-rant I’d written way back in 2002, saying it was one of his “all-time favorites.”

I had forgotten about it — these things vanish from my consciousness about a nanosecond after I hit the “Send” button — so I looked it up, and y’know, I kinda liked it myself. Even an old blind dog finds a tasty Milk-Bone now and then, it seems.

Written when we still lived in Weirdcliffe, it was prompted by a reader’s complaint (one of many, actually) that my stuff was too negative, which it can be. That my VeloNews.com column was christened “Friday’s Foaming Rant” didn’t help. A label like that tends to set a certain tone, and when I wandered off the Rantinista reservation other critics would jeer, “Call that a rant?” You can’t win.

But if two of us liked it, it must not be entirely lame, so here it is, reprinted in all its faded glory for your entertainment.

(more…)

Crosswords

October 29, 2013
The flier for the 2000 Mad Dog Cyclo-cross in Bear Creek Regional Park.

The flier for the 2000 Mad Dog Cyclo-cross in Bear Creek Regional Park.

Bibleburg has never been a hotbed of cyclo-cross. Oh, sure, nationals was held here once, back in 1980, and shortly after I returned to town from New Mexico in 1991 we got a small local scene rolling, mostly because driving to the Denver-Boulder clusterplex was something of a pain in the ass come wintertime. Or any other time, come to think of it.

Also, the U.S. Cycling Federation required a racing club to promote at least one event per annum, and back in the day there was nothing easier to run than a ’cross. Find yourself a venue, mark it casually with some red and blue flags, install a few homemade wooden barriers to force the roadies off their bikes, and by golly you had yourself a race course.

So we put on a couple races per year, in Palmer Park or Monument Valley Park — host to that long-ago national championships — until some turd in the city government who lived nearby took an infarction about people racing bicycles in “his” park. That we were donating the proceeds from our events to park maintenance was immaterial. Sorry ’bout that, said the parks people, but we have to deal with this asshole all the time; you we only have to see a couple times a year.

Thus we shifted operations to the county parks system, putting on races in Bear Creek Regional Park — where, as a precaution, Team Mad Dog Media-Dogs At Large Velo formally adopted the section of trail that included our course — and in Black Forest Regional Park.

Your Humble Narrator on the job during a rare soft day at the Bear Creek Cyclo-cross. As you can see, I am a veritable blur of activity.

Your Humble Narrator on the job during a rare soft day at the Bear Creek Cyclo-cross. As you can see, I am a veritable blur of activity.

Ours were fast, simple courses, suited to beginners and roadies in need of an early season refresher, in part because the county was not interested in our veering off established trail, and in part because we were not exactly the most vigorous of race promoters.

In fact, we were about as lazy a crop of bastards as ever marked a course. Our northern counterparts, among them Chris Grealish, Lee Waldman and John Vickers, were more imaginative when it came to locating new venues, negotiating with their overseers, and designing interesting circuits.

At our peak, we were getting just over 200 riders per event, which wasn’t bad for being outside the Boulder-Denver velo-ghetto, whose more sensitive communards either feared getting born-agained or libertarded if they dared cross the Palmer Divide or didn’t like driving south any better than we liked driving north. We also were working with our northern cousins on a statewide series that included events from Pueblo to Fort Collins.

Eventually, inevitably, we Dogs flamed out. I peaked as a ’cross racer in 1999, and shortly thereafter started dialing it back; by then, Herself and I were living on a rocky hillside outside Weirdcliffe, and Bibleburg was a 90-minute drive in good weather. The last Mad Dog ’cross at Bear Creek may have been in 2000, though I still raced occasionally until 2004, when I finally gave it up for good.

Another club picked up where we left off, drawing OK numbers and getting progressively more creative with its courses, including one last year up near the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs that I heard good things about. Alas, they, too, seem to have flamed out for now — for one reason or another, there seems to be nary a cyclo-cross in Bibleburg this season.

It’s a pity, really. ’Cross has been the biggest thing in bike racing for quite a while now, and last weekend’s Cyclo X-Xilinx in Longmont drew more than 650 racers, a number unheard of in my day. Surely we could get half that down here despite the Lambornagains and various other socio-political impediments. Tap a medical marijuana company for sponsorship, donate the proceeds to the Society for the Preservation of Steel Bicycles and Cantilever Brakes.

I may not race anymore, but I’d still like to watch now than then.