Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

I just wanted to wish all of my readers a happy and safe celebration, this evening. Please do not drink and drive, it's just not worth it. Jails, hospitals, morgues, none of them are very much fun.

And if you are on the road, watch for those that have been.

I wish all of you good health and prosperity for the coming year.

The Art Of Foreign Policy Manipulation

From Reuters comes this story, about Russia urging Israel to halt its offensive against the terrorist organization Hamas.

Russia urged Israel on Sunday to end military attacks that had killed nearly 300 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and allow humanitarian supplies into the territory, Russia's Foreign Ministry said.

I can see where the tone of the Russian government is somewhat subdued here. Russia just completed an armed invasion of Georgia for much less than the reason Israel is preparing to re-take control of Gaza. I don't remember Georgia firing missiles across the Russian border, but still they came anyway.

Maybe, the Russians feel the need to make a customary statement. Historically, they have worded their critiques of Israeli military actions harshly, and if they say nothing, they will look like they are weakening. But at the same time, they know too harsh of a reaction will look openly hypocritical. What to do, what to do?

China's response is a bit more direct, but not much.

China is deeply concerned at the current situation in Gaza,and hopes parties involved could immediately halt the armed conflict, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said here on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Chinese op-ed press is taking potshots at America again.

The United States has been acting as the world's only superpower in 2008, but the financial turmoil, which broke out in Wall Street in September, showed its vulnerability.

In addition, the country is still deep in trouble with its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has undermined its international image.

Some analysts attributed the waning U.S. strength to its policy of unilateralism and expansionism on international issues, and its practice of a laissez-faire free market economy at home. It remains to be seen what consequences of these policies will have on U.S. national strength.

By contrast, Russia's flexing of strong muscles in the international political arena in the outgoing year indicated a marked recovery of its strength.

It's true that an economic crisis will weaken any country, but America is not the only country affected by the recent financial woes. And Russia is not in too great of a position right now, due to the downturn on the prices of oil and natural gas. So China's propaganda machine is not very convincing to those that have a basic understanding of reality.

What we have here is posturing for the coming Obama Administration. China is using negative statements to cast aspersions on the US.


To create an image of American weakness in order to manipulate the new President. Their goal is to make Obama think the world doesn't like us, so they can use the old "do what we want and we'll like you again" ploy, as a foreign policy strategy. They want to play on our innate need for acceptance and approval.

The big question is, will Obama fall for it? I think it is likely that he will, because his campaign centered around "restoring America's position in the world". So if the world wants a weaker America so it can be liked again, it is highly likely that is what it will get.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday AM QB

Well, the playoffs are set. The last team to get in was SD. They managed to squeak their way into the playoffs with a late season rally. Denver choked, as did the Cowboys against the Eagles.

Here are the teams that made it with their seedings and their first round matchups:


#1 Tennessee (Bye)

#2 Pittsburgh (Bye)

#3 Miami - #6 Baltimore

#4 San Diego - #5 Indianapolis


#1 NY Giants (Bye)

#2 Carolina (Bye)

#3 Minnesota - #6 Philadelphia

#4 Arizona - #5 Atlanta

I will have my analysis and predictions of these games later in the week.

The two miracle stories of the season are Miami and Atlanta. Miami from worst in the league to playoff team can be credited to Bill Parcells. Even though he's not coaching, his presence has been felt, with the way he assembles talent. Atlanta was expected to be less than dismal, after the Michael Vick story played out. But to many people's surprise (including me), they did what they had to do. They are my dark horse team to watch this year.

Condolences to Greg for NE not making it in. I really thought they would at the last minute. It's never good to need help this late in the year and not get it. And to Rocket for Washington not finishing strong like they were able to do last year.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Reflection

I don't often mix politics and theology here at PYY, but this is going to be an exception. The London Telegraph has published a piece that warrants some consideration.

Easily one of the most important stories of 2008 has been all the evidence suggesting that this may be looked back on as the year when there was a turning point in the great worldwide panic over man-made global warming. Just when politicians in Europe and America have been adopting the most costly and damaging measures politicians have ever proposed, to combat this supposed menace, the tide has turned in three significant respects.

For the three significant respects, you'll have to read the entire article, and I do recommend doing so. But it's important to know that the Global Warming crowd has made this more of a faith than a science, which many in the group already spurn because they are not proponents of real theological faith, but rather adhere to science as a form of religion. They openly engage in proselytizing in a manner very similar to those that are in evangelical organizations, of which they thoroughly despise. This they do, despite the fact that science is not cooperating with their deeply ingrained belief systems.

This observation leads us to a scripture that is more than appropriate for this line of thought, it comes from II Thessalonians 2:9-12 and states as follows (emphasis mine):

9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

In our musings, maybe we should consider the argument that this global warming cult is one of those strong delusions causing people to believe lies. I can think of others, but they will have to wait for a more appropriate time.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Back To Reality

As it goes every year, Christmas is now over and we're back to the real world. In fact, somehow, the real world found its way into the midst of the celebration. By real world, I mean the usual nonsensical violence that permeates our society.

By now, we have all heard the story of the Santa gunman/arsonist in SoCal and if that isn't enough, we have this story:

A South Philadelphia man enraged because a father and son were talking during a Christmas showing of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button took care of the situation when he pulled a .380-caliber gun and shot the father, police said.

The article goes on to say that after the shooting, the gunman sat back down and continued watching the movie.

Then, there's this event that occurred in the days leading up to the Christmas holiday:

A 7-year-old Phoenix boy has died of injuries he suffered when he and his 10-year-old were severely beaten Tuesday afternoon in a city park, The Associated Press says.

But that's not all. Another fine display of Christmas ill-will can be found here:

Daisy Brown and her family gathered for Christmas, but the mood was hardly celebratory.

The 18-year-old, along with her mom, her 1-year-old baby and her boyfriend's father, gathered to offer one another comfort as they mourned the deaths of two family members and the arrest of another within a three-day span.

On Monday, Brown's boyfriend, 18-year-old Broque Lumbreras, died at Methodist Hospital after being shot early Sunday.

As the family confronted that tragedy, Lumbreras' great-grandmother and a family matriarch, Marian Cobb, was fatally stabbed early Wednesday in her Near-Northside home. Cobb's great-grandson Bryan Torrence, a friend and cousin of Lumbreras' who had been staying with Cobb for a few weeks, was arrested in connection with the stabbing.

I suppose I can comb the newspapers across the country and find snippets like these in almost every part of the country. These are particularly tragic stories, because they all happened during a time when "peace on earth and goodwill towards men" were supposed to be the themes of the day.

There are some people in this world that believe there is no good or evil, only misunderstandings. But, I am not one of them.

There is an element that only seeks to do harm to people. They are a selfish, brazen, and purely anti-social element that have seared their consciences and thoroughly deadened their nerve endings. They have allowed themselves to be consumed with getting their way, by any means possible, and they will stop at nothing to get it. Their thinking is twisted and they have no shame about much of anything.

To think that a man would dream up such a diabolical plot to invade a family holiday gathering and shoot any and everyone in the way is all the proof I need. To know that a man would stab his great-grandmother, while the family is grieving over the loss of another family member, is unconscionable. These two examples and the others are more than enough to convince me.

No folks, I didn't need these instances. I have seen far too many other examples in my days on this earth.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Despite the madness and uncertainty in the world, the Christian world is pausing for Christmas, the second holiest of days on the calendar. The pagan world may have initially sanctified this day as a celebration of the Winter Solstice, but throughout time it has come to signify the birth of Christ. That is how we mark it, that is how we celebrate it.

I am sure His birth was never as dramatic as we have made it look in our imaginations. There were no choirs, no decorations, and none of the other things we use as tools of celebration. But somewhere, some place, in the City of David, in a stable, was born a child that would redeem the world someday, saving the people from their sins. There was a moment in time, there was a reality.

And despite the absence of these things, on that day somewhere, some place, there must have been a heavenly host of angels, who knew the significance of that moment in time even though the world did not. If we could have heard them at that moment, this is no doubt what they would have sounded like:


Hark The Herald Angels Sing
Once In Royal David's City
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night

Handel's Messiah


The First Noel


Oh Holy Child


O Holy Night

From the Sunsett Family to your family, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Break

Like most men, I was out Christmas shopping last night and tonight will probably be no different. So as you may guess, the blog will suffer neglect and rejection for a short time.

Check back for a message on Christmas Eve and a special music post.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Monday AM QB

I won't go into detail about the games individually. But I will point out that six teams this year have played solid defense with efficient offense. They all pass off of the run, unlike Indianapolis which runs off of the pass.

They are:

Baltimore, Pittsburgh. Tennessee, Carolina, Atlanta, and Tampa Bay.

I wonder if this will be the winning formula for the Super Bowl participants this year. If I had to pick right now, I have to say Tennessee vs. Carolina or NYG. There is a chance for the Colts, as always, but I am a realist.

New England had done a pretty decent job of mixing it up and doing what it takes to win, in spite of the loss of Brady. They have had some identity problems without him (and it's understandable), as their scheme is like Indy's (run off of the pass). But yesterday, they showed they can get back to that.

One thing is for sure, this has been a topsy-turvy, unpredictable season. And my guess is the playoffs will hold some surprises. The only team that will not have a legitimate chance (in my estimation) will be the winner of the Denver-SD game next weekend. Both are duds.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Will Reid And Pelosi Disappoint?

I have listened to two of the most intellectually challenged members of the US Congress for too long, to have any respect for them as leaders. They never really have been and it's clear that they are not capable of leading such important bodies, as are the U.S. House and Senate.

Here's why I say this:

Here is a new story coming from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The top U.S. military officer said Saturday that the Pentagon could double the number of American forces in Afghanistan by next summer to 60,000 - the largest estimate of potential reinforcements ever publicly suggested.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that between 20,000 and 30,000 additional U.S. troops could be sent to Afghanistan to bolster the 31,000 already there.

Considering how unwelcome the Iraqis are making us feel right now. I have no problem with this idea. In fact, I would take some of the troops from those slotted to staff in Iraq. I would not pull them directly from Iraq. Think of it as a surge, like the one that was so successful there.

This is where Harry and Nancy come into the theme of this post. You may remember Harry saying that the surge would not work, we all heard it ad nauseum. Equally, you heard Pelosi squawking about how much of a failure everything was, right up to the end. This leads to some pertinent questions:

1. Will we hear the same things coming out of Reid's and Pelosi's mouth, this time?

2. Will they say the war is lost before the surge would even have a chance in Afghanistan?

3. Will they now support such a strategy, now that Obama will be Commander-In-Chief?

4. Will Reid and Pelosi threaten to pull the plug on the money?

My guess is, the responses will be entirely the opposite of the way both of these so-called leaders have behaved, heretofore. I think we all know the way this is going to play out.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Another Blast From The Past

Continuing with the "Sounds of the Season" theme, this weekend we look at some popular Christmas songs which do not necessarily fall under the rock and roll genre.

Santa Claus is so special for kids, which always made Christmas such a magical time of year when I was young. When I became a parent, the magic returned somewhat and I was able to relive some of my days as a young boy, all over again (albeit through them).

When my kids were old enough to know the truth about Santa Claus, they would often stress the fact that they knew. When this happened, I always went with the same line which was used on me at that age. I didn't use it because it was an easy out, mind you. I used it because I believe it to be very true. That line is one of the most endearing principles I have ever internalized, which is, Santa Claus is the spirit of giving. Here is a song that is inspired by that very principle, one that someone gives to Santa:

The hype, the anticipation, all went with the Christmas season and the impending visit of that jolly old guy. Once upon a time when I was a young adult and before I had my own children, I was driving around on Christmas Eve in a neighborhood. As I looked around at the homes, I just had to wonder how many were filled with excited children. That moment took me back and left an indelible imprint on my spirit. Here are a couple of tunes that reek with a lot of that heightened sense of awareness that St. Nick's visit was nigh.

Gene Autry with Here Comes Santa Claus:

Frank Sinatra with Santa Claus Is Coming To Town:

If you have never seen the movie entitled The Polar Express and do not do anything else I recommend, I highly recommend you watch it. Adults, other than battle hardened Marines who now live in subtropical climates, will even enjoy this film. The animation is awesome, the story is even more so.

When my kids were older and before my Grandson came along, I found myself in a funk around Christmas time. We all know the true meaning of Christmas is not Santa, but this movie was one that restored some of that which I spoke of earlier in the post, which is the true meaning of Santa Claus. Here is the theme from that movie, it is sung by Josh Groban:


Friday, December 19, 2008

International Bailouts

The AP is reporting that Russia may be in dire straits if oil continues to fall.

Russia would come under crippling financial pressure and may need to raise money externally if oil languishes at an average of $30 a barrel over the next two years, the World Bank predicted Friday.

The bleak scenario would mark a rapid unraveling of Russia's oil-fueled economic gains over the past eight years, during which time the government has paid down most of its foreign debt and built up a vast stockpile of international reserves.

Don't look now, but PYY sources have learned that Russia has petitioned the US Treasury Secretary's office for part of the remaining $350 billion bailout fund. Film at 11.

Rahm Emmanuel: On The Hot Seat?

The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that Mr. Emmanuel had direct conversations with Blagojevich over the now vacant Senate seat in Illinois. From this article, it seems Obama's pick was Valerie Jarrett.

President-elect Barack Obama's incoming chief of staff Rahm Emanuel had a deeper involvement in pressing for a U.S. Senate seat appointment than previously reported, the Sun-Times has learned. Emanuel had direct discussions about the seat with Gov. Blagojevich, who is is accused of trying to auction it to the highest bidder.

Emanuel talked with the governor in the days following the Nov. 4 election and pressed early on for the appointment of Valerie Jarrett to the post, sources with knowledge of the conversations told the Sun-Times. There was no indication from sources that Emanuel brokered a deal, however.

Time writes the following about her:

Chicago businesswoman Valerie Jarrett has earned all sorts of nicknames as an aide to President-elect Barack Obama — from "First Friend" to "big sister" to "the other half of Obama's brain." As co-chair of his transition team, Jarrett has spent the past week denying rumors, parsing policy changes and insisting that she doesn't know where she'll end up in the new administration (although Beltway gossip suggests she may be appointed to Obama's seat in the Senate). Of her relationship with the 44th commander-in-chief, Jarrett says simply: "He is my dear friend. I would do anything the President of the United States asked me to do."

I wonder. Some people seemed to have one idea, others had another. Is this how the bidding war for Obama's Senate seat began? I wonder if NY Governor Paterson is taking bids for Hillary's seat?

Just something to think about.

Comeback Camelot

Come back Camelot, come back. We need you. Such are the pleas of a generation, such are the illusions.

Hearing the Camelot Kennedy comparisons in this past election cycle has been hard to swallow. Camelot was a different time, a different era, and a different set of circumstances. It wasn't planned, it just sort of happened. But today's Camelot is different. There are many who are using this (perceived) Camelot period to re-live their unresolved issues from their youth and are using that moment in time, as a foundational basis for their existences.

We now know, forces are exerting an huge amount of pressure to get Caroline into Hillary's seat. But what we do not know is the inner workings and dynamics, of this entire situation as it sits before us.

Besides the fantasies of those who are coming to grips with their own mortalities, here is something worthy of note:

It was reported that at one time (a long time ago), JFK Jr. was privately considering running for the seat that eventually became Hillary's. After JFK Jr.'s untimely death, many rumors and conspiracy theories (which were never proven) were being circulated. The question becomes, how much (if any) does this play into Caroline's decision to want this seat?

Suddenly, we have in front of us, Caroline "I want my private life to be my own" Kennedy, being tranformed into Caroline "I want to be in the limelight" Kennedy. Suddenly, out of nowhere, she expects to be handed something which she has never shown an interest in before, for little or no effort on her part, and without validation by anyone (other than an elected official and those that lobby for her).

She hasn't held one office, she's been elected to nothing. And to to top it all off, the NY Daily News is reporting this lady hasn't always voted in elections, raising the question of whether or not, she failed in the role of a citizen in the political process. How is it we can see this, argue this, but very few care enough to make the necessary noise? If I were in the state of NY right now, I would be satiating the Governor's office about this. If the people can convince him there are enough of them to derail his efforts in the next election, he may think twice about this. But then again, he may not.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Recommended Reading

I find myself in another busy stretch, so I thought I'd post a link to a USA Today article that illustrates the enormous pressure President-Elect Obama is going to be facing when he takes office.

Al Gore wants quick action on climate change. Sen. Edward Kennedy says health care reform can't wait. Labor unions want a bill making it easier to organize.

The American Civil Liberties Union is calling for the immediate closure of the military's prison for foreign terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The liberal advocacy group urges a steady troop withdrawal from Iraq. The National Governors Association is pleading for billions in aid to states, pronto.

And, by the way, Mr. President-elect, the American Lung Association would like you to make all federal work sites smoke-free.

New administrations always face a cacophony of competing demands, but few presidents have been confronted with the sort of urgent and varied pleas being made to Barack Obama, amid two wars and the worst economic crisis in generations, says Anthony Badger, a University of Cambridge historian of American politics.

Well, when you promise to heal the world of its infirmities, this is what you can expect. The problem is, you can't please all of the people, all of the time. Someone is going to feel jilted and may get restless in the process. This could lead to disillusionment and the withdrawal of support in other areas.

Oh well, get ready for a new kind of leader. Change is on the way. (Now, turn your head and cough. This won't hurt a bit.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Buyer Beware

I just have to say a few things about the Bernard Madoff affair. You know the one, the one that bilked some real heavyweight money bags through a hedge fund scam. The depth and the breadth of this scheme is still becoming known, with no one really knowing just how much damage has been done (and to whom).

We know that a lot of banks felt this sting, all around the world. We know that high profile names like Steven Spielberg and Mort Zuckerman had charities invested Madoff's scheme. We also know there are countless others who do not have household names, who lost a bundle as well:

Nicola Horlick, the British fund manager known as Superwoman for juggling her high-flying City career with bringing up five children, turned her fire on US regulators. Her Bramdean Alternatives investment fund had put 9 per cent – about £10m – with Mr Madoff. She told BBC Radio: "This is the biggest financial scandal, probably in the history of the markets."

This just goes to show that having money does not equate ton having brains. Why would someone as financially savvy as this woman has been billed to be, fall for such a ruse? Better yet, if you have worth £90 million (or own something worth this much), why does a person risk 9% of it in any one thing and then have the audacity to blame U.S. regulators? If I had $90 million, I could live comfortably off the interest even in the lowest return investments. And I would.

Folks, I don't feel sorry for these people, not one bit. I know the guy was well-respected on Wall Street and seemed to know what he was talking about. I know he is the perpetrator here and these people committed no crimes in wanting to make money. But there's a reason there is an economic term called "risk capital". The key word here is risk, which (like money you loan to relatives) should never be more than someone can afford to lose.

Common Sense 101 teaches us an age-old principle - if something sounds to good to be true, it probably is. Another old adage is even plainer and easier to understand: Buyer Beware. This is Rule #1 and cannot be disregarded if one wants to make wise choices. Even with careful thought and consideration, one can be had. But with some measure of prudence, this can be avoided many times more, than not.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Why The AP Is In Trouble

Here is the story.

Here are the words they used:

Ironically, 2008 is on pace to be a slightly cooler year in a steadily rising temperature trend line. Experts say it's thanks to a La Nina weather variation. While skeptics are already using it as evidence of some kind of cooling trend, it actually illustrates how fast the world is warming.

Let's see if we can keep this straight, shall we? Cooling is evidence the planet is warming. In other words, because the planet is cooling, we must be alarmed that warming will destroy us all. And we must act now, no time to waste.

Monday AM QB

Colts 31 - Lions 21

Colts fans will take the win, but there are some concerns. Understanding that the Lions were playing purely for pride, therefore were up for the game, it's easier to understand why this one was close for awhile. But in the bigger picture, I think the Colts are going to have trouble against far more talented and physical teams. Injuries aside, the Colts are going to have to do a better job of hanging onto the ball. Fumbles and dropped passes that should easily be caught are going to be their downfall, in the playoffs.

Falcons 13 - Bucs 10

The surprise team of the season is Atlanta. They beat a good team today and did it by doing to Tampa, what Tampa likes to do to others. I think they are a better team than their record shows because their losses have come from Philly, Denver, and division rivals. And their division is probably the best in the NFL. Despite losing last week to the Saints, they came out today and responded well.

Texans 13 - Titans 12

This was a gutsy performance from a team that had nothing to lose, or gain. Take nothing away from Houston, but I think there was probably too much of a party celebrating a division championship. I say take nothing away from the Texans because they have shown some flashes of good play this year. Some of their problems have stemmed from failing to close the deal, and finish games strong.

Jags 20 - Packers 16

Once again, Aaron Rodgers failed to help his team win. He couldn't even score a win versus a demoralized Jacksonville defense. But the management at Green Bay thought Favre was washed up and Rodgers was the QB of the future. He was the direction they wanted to go. Funny thing happened along the way to the playoffs though. Favre and the Jets still have a chance, slim but there's still a chance. The Packers? They are looking to next year.

Steelers 13 - Ravens 9

This game was the kind of game I remember when I was a kid. Defense, ball control, field position, and your basic generalized smash mouth football. I am not sure I agreed with awarding Pittsburgh that TD with seconds on the clock. I don't think he had both feet down with control and I cannot see where the ball ever broke the plane of the goal line. However, there was a good chance it was going to be in on the next play anyway. Baltimore could have sealed the deal with what got them to this point, but their defense was too tired to make the necessary plays to stop Roethlisberger, on the final Steeler drive. Next week the stakes are for home field, at Tennessee.

Pats 49 - Raiders 26

The hapless Raiders need to get a new owner. They will lose like this until they do.

Cowboys 20 - Giants 8

Looks like NY may be guilty of what the Colts usually are, peaking way too early. If they want home field in the NFC, they must win next week at home against Carolina.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Another Blast From The Past

Time once again for sounds of the season. This weekend, we take a look at a handful of Christmas songs with a rock and roll edge to them.

Neither one of these guys were the best of singers. But for some reason, their version of this classic ditty sounds good to me. I don't know why, but it just does. Here is Leon Redbone and Dr. John and Frosty The Snowman:

From 1958 comes this next classic. The artist is the immortal Chuck Berry and his signature Christmas tune called, Run Rudolph Run:

One of the better rock and roll Chrsitmas songs is a little tune, also from 1958, and can still be heard on a multitude of station formats. This one is Brenda Lee's Rockin Around The Christmas Tree:

This next tune was not originally intended to be a "Christmas song", it was merely intended to protest the commercialization of Christmas. But as time has gone on, it has become a staple of classic rock stations everywhere. This isn't the original video, but it's a good one and goes well with this song's intended theme. Here is Greg Lake's I Believe In Father Christmas:

As an encore, this is the only holdover from last year. The reason is simple. I like the song and the video of these two kids is fun to watch. I lost my younger brother thirty years ago and anytime I see siblings able to do something like this together, it puts a smile on my face. Although it's been many years now, I always miss him greatly this time of year. This is Elton John's Step Into Christmas:


Mustang is a combination of a Scrooge and a Grinch (unless he is getting a present). His music post is up and even though it contains no sounds of the season, he has a pretty good selection to hear and I recommend taking a listen.

When AC gets his weekly feature called "Side Tracks" up later in the day, the link will go here. UPDATE: It's up and here it is.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Mustang Chronicles - Day Four (The Final Day)

(If you missed them, you can read all of them here: Day One, Two, Three.)

Day Four-The Final Day

As you have probably surmised by now, I was awakened to the trash can and stick routine once again. Mustang said he couldn't sleep and sure enough there he stood, full ruck sack, steel pot helmet. In a tee-shirt, boxer shorts, and knee-high dress socks.

He said he wanted to tell me how much he enjoyed have someone to order around, just like it was in the days when he was a battalion commander in the U.S. Marine Corps. He said the "appreciated the loyalty and devotion" that I had showed him the day before, when he made his 25 or more scenes at Epcot. He further stated, "I could have never avoided arrest so many times in a such a public place, had you not been there to think of these schemes to hide from security" "You are brilliant, I tell you."

I tried to say that was okay, that's what friends are for, and all of the other things one would say to get him to shut up so I could get some more sleep. But it was to no avail. He just kept going over the same things over and over again. So, I performed a mini-mental status exam on him (name, date, location, President of the US). When I completed it, I came to the conclusion that he was sleep walking. Once I was able to make this determination free from any prejudicial bias, I realized the best way to handle this situation.

I pointed him toward the master quarters, informing him the alert had been canceled, and we could talk about the training schedule more in detail after morning formation. That seemed to do the trick for the moment.

Later in the morning, he came into my room and asked, "Why is my ruck sack packed, was there an alert you didn't tell me about?" I assured him that was not the case. His comeback to that one, was not totally unexpected. "That's biggest bunch of crap, I have ever heard, LA!!", he bellowed. "At the very least, you could try to be creative when you are trying to blow smoke at me; you could try to give me a BS excuse I have never heard, and you know, make a little interesting!!", he went on. "Is that too much to ask for someone who has gone to such lengths to entertain you, and show you a good time?"

At that point in time, the conversation shifted back to me and my disloyalty. "LA", he said, "you have dishonored yourself and the platoon." "For that", he further went on, "you are hear by ordered to cut the grass, before I take you back to the airport today." So I skipped breakfast and got started. I cut the lawn, trimmed the hedges, edged the grass, and planted flowers. And I did it, in two hours.

With some time left before we were due to start out for the airport, he allowed me one more pass into town to buy souvenirs. The shops were not very busy, but trying to find things for people who have everything isn't particularly easy, when you go to do it. You can think about what this person would like and so forth. But when it comes time to actually do it, it's a challenge. Put that with having to get whatever you buy into a suitcase, and you can see the dilemma I faced.

But not to worry, Mustang was going to take care of that.

He was in such a hurry. He pressed me at every turn. I tried to haggle with the clerks a little for some things, but he just kept telling them how loaded I was and what a cheap bastard I was. Naturally, the stories about my poor old grandmother needing a tee-shirt with a grandma on a jet ski for 30% off, were successfully subverted by him when he intervened. So I told him to take me to the airport and I would shop for souvenirs while waiting for my flight. Never mind that I would pay 75% more for what I could get in this little town, I just had to get out from the micromanaging thumb of a retired Marine officer that had no authority anymore.

It was at that point that I realized I was nothing more than someone he could boss around, because the Mrs. had stripped him of his rank after his retirement. I came to an additional conclusion: Some of his edginess was due his inability to separate appropriately.

Naturally, when I had this epiphany, I started to feel a little sorry for him. But just as I had come to this moment of catharsis, we pulled up to the terminal. and that sorry feeling I had, disappeared quickly.

Mustang was out of the vehicle first, with my luggage in his hands. And before I could get my seat belt off, he had my bags checked in. By the time I was completely out of the vehicle, he threw my baggage claim check and boarding pass at me and he re-entered his vehicle, in a flash of a second. He then, threw it into gear and peeled off with tires screeching. As drove off out of sight, I heard him yell out his window at me one last time, "LA, you are one selfish bastard and I hope you get a rash".

Hurt and disgusted, I bought some souvenirs, boarded the plane, and started my journey home. On the flight, I was so tired, I fell asleep. When I awakened, I found myself in my own bed, with the alarm going off. I hadn't been to Florida yet!!! I still had a plane to catch!!!

So, I threw the remaining things together, turned the house alarm on, and headed for the airport to catch a plane that was to take me to a visit with my friend. Off to Florida, was I.

And I have to say that after all of this silliness we have written the past four weeks, I could not have asked for two better hosts, the entire time. In fact, I count both Mr. and Mrs. Mustang as two of the finest people I have ever known in my life. Their hospitality was unmatched by anyone. The food was great and the company was even better. The sights of Florida were as I remembered them and the weather was outstanding.

So after all is said and done, I have to say the entire trip went way too fast. And as I left the truck for my return trip, I did tell Mustang I would not be back to visit next year. He looked confused and naturally he asked why? I told him that was because Mrs. Sunsett and I would be moving in with him, after the first of the year.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Illinois: A Modern Pattern Of Corruption

Here is an article that lists the governors that have served time in prison for misdeeds they committed while in office. Here they are:

_Otto Kerner, a Democrat who was governor from 1961 to 1968, served less than a year of a three-year sentence after his 1973 conviction on bribery, tax evasion and other counts. He was convicted of arranging favorable horse racing dates as governor in return for getting horse racing association stock at reduced prices. Kerner died in 1976.

_Dan Walker, a Democrat who was governor from 1973 to 1977, served 1 1/2 years of a seven-year sentence after pleading guilty in 1987 to bank fraud, misapplication of funds and perjury. The charges were not related to his service as governor.

_George Ryan, a Republican who was governor from 1999 to 2003, was convicted of corruption in 2006 for steering state contracts and leases to political insiders and helping cover up bribes paid in return for truck drivers licenses while he was secretary of state and then governor. He is serving a 6 1/2-year prison term.

In addition, William Stratton, Illinois governor from 1953-1961, was later indicted but was acquitted on charges of income tax evasion.

That's three of eight (four, if you count Stratton), who got caught with their hands in the cookie jars. And it is my opinion that Stratton merely beat the rap. So with Blago making his big splash in Illinois gubernatorial history, what we now have here is something that is strikingly close to a pattern.

How much more of this pattern will see from Obama's administration? After all is said and done, we cannot forget that he too is an Illinois machine candidate. And yet, just when we think this is the end of it, we get this new revelation that Jesse Jackson Jr. was on the short list of possible candidates for Obama's Senate seat because he was going to pay for it.

Candidate #5 offered some serious money to Blago.

Of course JJ Jr. is denying everything, he and papa will probably turn this into a racial issue if any real heat comes down on him. So unless there is a huge outcry that resonates throughout the media, he's probably going to skate. But there is one bright shining aura that flows from this turn of events: At this point in time, there's precious little chance he will be the one appointed to fill the vacancy.

But let's be clear about this and make no mistake here. This is a damaging turn of events for the Obama camp. There is a remarkable amount of damage that can and will be absorbed.

I believe they had plans for Junior all along. Maybe Blago is outing the whole plan and of course there's always the chance he will spill more beans if he goes to trial. Why else would he be so defiant? It's the old crash and burn policy, take everyone you can with you, spare nothing if you can.

Too bad something like this couldn't have come out, before the election, right? Well it did. It did here at PYY, on the Nobama 08 Blogbursters, and countless other platforms in and out of the blogosphere. We hammered this thing hard, to no avail.

And the sickening thing about all of this? The people of America demonstrated they didn't care. It's painfully apparent, they didn't give a damn about Obama's Chicago and Illinois connections of the past. They didn't care that he sat in a church under a whack job for 20 years, they didn't care that he had questionable ties to a one-time avowed terrorist that showed no remorse. They just didn't care.

They just wanted change they could believe in. So they bought into the delusion and voted it. Thanks to them, here we are today, staring at one of the worst possible moments of corruption ever discovered, knowing it extends to the new White House.

Good job, America. Who knows what new revelation we'll have, next?

More Scientists Break Ranks With Gore

Sen. James Inhofe is a member of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which has a blog. He has long fought the junk science advanced by Global Warming alarmists and been the subject of much ridicule by those that worship at the Al Gore Golden Altar.

Here is information about the growing number of scientists that are beginning to see just what this movement is all about and are renouncing this flawed thinking.

The UN global warming conference currently underway in Poland is about to face a serious challenge from over 650 dissenting scientists from around the globe who are criticizing the climate claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore. Set for release this week, a newly updated U.S. Senate Minority Report features the dissenting voices of over 650 international scientists, many current and former UN IPCC scientists, who have now turned against the UN. The report has added about 250 scientists (and growing) in 2008 to the over 400 scientists who spoke out in 2007. The over 650 dissenting scientists are more than 12 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers.

The U.S. Senate report is the latest evidence of the growing groundswell of scientific opposition rising to challenge the UN and Gore. Scientific meetings are now being dominated by a growing number of skeptical scientists. The prestigious International Geological Congress, dubbed the geologists' equivalent of the Olympic Games, was held in Norway in August 2008 and prominently featured the voices and views of scientists skeptical of man-made global warming fears.

I have noticed some things along the way and as usual, I am more than willing to share them.

For almost eight years now, the Democrats have used Global Warming as a banner issue to regain the upper hand against the Republicans. Gore immediately got onto this bandwagon not long after he got over his hissy-fit over his loss in the 2000 election and has steadily advanced this worthless theory as fact.

Take note of an enviro-nazi, sometime. Almost always they present the theory as an established fact and ridicule those that are skeptical (with some going as far as calling for firings in the discipline of climatology if they publicly express any doubts). They are so convinced and want the rest of us to be, they will use every opportunity to discredit anyone who disagrees.

Recently, NBC fired the Environmental Unit of the Weather Channel during "Green Week". Amazing, when you understand that NBC has been on Gore's bandwagon for years now and stands to make a bundle on "green" products.

The Dems promised to work on the perceived problem, if they were given power in both Congress and the White House. Understanding the night is still young and Obama has yet to take the oath, I have heard precious little about how huge of a priority this is. Certainly there is no sense of urgency now that they have won power of both branches - much to the chagrin of those that hang on to the Gore gospel.

What if NBC and Democrats (whose only objective is to hold the reins of power for as long as they are able) really realize this is junk theory? I am wondering about this for both reasons I have just stated.

If there is any validity to what they are claiming, it does not make sense to terminate those that are putting forth the propaganda. I would also think that if the core of the Democratic party would be crying from the housetops, now that they are the ruling party.

If any of my thinking is correct, can you imagine the fallout from the environmentalist lobby in the next election?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Choosing A Legacy Now

Neal Boortz has some interesting things to say about taxes, in his latest Townhall essay. Fat chance if anyone in Washington is giving much thought to the contents of this piece. But maybe someday, someone will. I can tell you, it will only happen if "we the people" get educated on things of importance, and actually vote the power-hungry crooks out. Here's a sample of the Boortz article:

There’s a lot of talk in Washington about yet another so-called “stimulus” package. If the next one is anything like the last one it will simply be a mechanism for taking money away from people who aren’t spending it the way politicians would like, and transferring it to people who will. Our soon-to-be ruler feels like adding some grandiose public works projects (raking leaves in a National Forest) to the list.

Let’s break away from these political stimulus ideas for a few minutes and study an absolutely brilliant idea from Texas Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert. Now Louie hasn’t been around the halls of congress all that much (just three years) so he is not yet all that acclimated to the Washington lust for absolute power. If he were, he never would have come up with this idea.

You can read about the idea in the rest of the article, I won't spoil it for you. But more than anything, you can tell that Rep. Gohmert is a greenhorn. The reason i say this? He still formulates ideas that would actually benefit the people.

Some of the freshman law-makers are sincere about getting Washington reformed when they first get there, but they all soon learn the system and climate are not conducive for reform. We could change that, but we don't. We think about it. We talk about it. But when it comes to vote, we go to the polls and re-elect the same corrupt bastards, we bitch about time after time, day after day.

Gohmert's solution needs to be looked at, but as Neal and the rest of us know, it won't. This begs a couple of questions. What good is it to come up with innovative solutions, cutting edge ideas, and bold measures to better the nation as a whole, if we do nothing about it? Why even waste the time and energy?

How many times have we heard, how someone that gets elected to national office for the first time, "this man/woman this is a rising and promising young talent? Then, after the swearing in, they are all told to sit down, shut up, listen, and do what they are told?

Americans had better wake up. We had better soon realize that Rome fell with many of the same calamities as contributing factors, as we have right now. And do not be fooled, there is nothing written anywhere that says we won't.

This is not the kind of legacy I want to leave for my children and grandchildren. I don't know about all of you, but I want to leave them better off than a bunch of corrupt leaders milking every penny they can from the people, to do with it what they want with no accountability. I want them live in a world of real hope and promise, not just one dreamed up as a campaign slogan.

Is this a pipe dream, part of a fantasy that will never be fulfilled? Or is this an opportunity to make something real happen, something that can help fulfill and facilitate true citizenship?

Is it something that will will truly make them proud to be Americans and develop a profound respect for what we all worked for? Or will it embitter them and disillusion them, further turning them from hope to cynicism and defeatism?

The choice is ours.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Global Warming Regiment: Muster Formation. All Hands On Deck.

Global warming zealots have had little to complain about the past few weeks. Here where I sit, temps have been colder than usual with snow and ice mixed in for good measure. When that happens, they tend to get quiet (and it has been).

But today, as I type this, the temperature is a balmy 58 degrees with rain coming down; and I cannot help but wonder aloud what the scene looks like, somewhere, in in some of the offices of Rev. Gore's "First Mutual Church of the Terrestrial Temperature Escalation Securities Trust, Inc.".

Shouldn't someone be trying to schedule a press conference and/or a meeting with President-Elect Obama, right about now? Shouldn't everyone be in the offices, on the phones, on the blogs, and getting the message out that global warming is real, again?

(Crickets Chirping, in the backdrop)

Just The Beginning

No doubt, many have been following this story out of Chicago.

Chicago window factory workers in the fourth day of a sit-in at their former workplace, Republic Windows and Doors factory are meeting Monday with politicians, company owners and bank officials to resolve the standoff. Gov. Rod Blagojevich ordered the state to suspend business with the bank that pulled the factory's line of credit. CBS 2's Mai Martinez was there.

The company shut down abruptly on Friday after Bank of America canceled its line of credit due to a sharp downturn in Republic's business.

The laid-off workers continue to guard the assets inside their Goose Island plant in around the clock shifts to make sure the items are not removed. They say the remaining doors, windows, and machinery are the only collateral they have left in their fight to get what they feel they are owed.

The 300 workers demanding severance and vacation pay have become a national symbol for thousands of employees laid off nationwide when President-elect Barack Obama took their side.

Details from the company's perspective are sketchy right now, as they have yet to make any statements, other than the bank suspended its line of credit. Right now the only ones talking are the union, race-baiting Jesse Jackson, and anyone else who wants his/her name on the news.

This is reminiscent of 1920s pre-Mussolini Italy, when workers took over factories and then had to close them after running them into the ground. This may be somewhat different, but the rebellious thug mentality is no different. This time, everyone involved here is instantly taking the side of the workers, without understanding the plight of the company.

Don't get me wrong, it's very sad these workers have lost their jobs. I have lost jobs due to recession, it's not fun. It's not fun, when you are the type of person that merely wants to be self-sufficient and not be a burden on society. But the orders dry up, the bank pulls the plug on the credit, and now the workers are canned. That's the way things have always been in business: sometimes there is work, other times not. It's all based on the amount of business, the company is or isn't doing.

In this business, it sounds like the construction industry plays a huge role in how well this particular business does; and with the numbers of buildings being built dropping dramatically, it makes sense that not many windows and doors are being bought or sold, right now. A company such as this cannot keep making things that no one wants to buy, therefore, they have no need for a workforce.

The real problem with this story becomes the reaction of the workers and the attention/support the big names are giving it. But beyond this, it's hard to know what the objective is. Severance packages and vacation pay may be the central issue for the cameras and the reporters, but what is it beyond that? What happens if for some reason these people are given their demands? Will they keep their jobs? Not if there is no market for the products.

They can get angry at Bank of America, which got some bailout money from the government. But where does it say the money BOA received has to be specifically used for a company, located in Chicago, which isn't solvent? How will BOA ever be expected to recuperate it, if the company cannot stay afloat?

Folks, the workers are getting bad advice to strongarm their way into some of that bailout money. Using unions, Jesse Jackson, and now the President-Elect as leverage, the workers are demanding they be compensated from money that doesn't belong to them and they didn't earn.

Where is this headed? Every time a company needs to go out of business, we can expect more of the same behavior. Empowering thuggery is a big mistake, because it invites more of the same. What else will happen as a result of this? In the end, it will only serve to make businesspeople hesitant to take risks and open new companies, in the future.


This story was breaking as I was typing this post.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, were arrested by FBI agents on federal corruption charges Tuesday morning.

Blagojevich and Harris were arrested simultaneously at their homes at about 6:15 a.m., according to Frank Bochte of the FBI. Both were awakened in their residences and transported to FBI headquarters in Chicago.

In one charge related to the appointment of a senator to replace Barack Obama, prosecutors allege that Blagojevich sought appointment for himseld as Secretary of Health and Human Services in the new Obama administration, or a lucrative job with a union, in exchange for appointing a union-preferred candidate.

Another charge alleges Blagojevich and Harris conspired to demand the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members responsible for editorials critical of him in exchange for state help with the sale of Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs baseball stadium owned by Tribune Co.

Who wants to bet this gets squashed, once Obama gets in office?

Folks, the Chicago machine is just getting revved up.

MORE: For more on the factory situation, AC at Fore Left has some things to say that we might all consider.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Monday AM QB

Colts 35 - Bengals 3

What can I possibly say here, except they played the Bengals who are the epitome of horrible (the others being the Lions and the Chiefs). Indy's offense, defense, and special teams were all better than Cincinnati's. End of story.

Pats 24 - Seahawks 21

NE is back in the playoff hunt. I won't gloat that I have been right, but I have. Sure, they had some trouble. But like good teams tend to do, they managed to pull it out. Great bounce back.

Eagles 20 - Giants 14

Philly needed this one worse than NY. And with all of the distractions, the Giants have had this week with the Burris story, it's a wonder they even made it respectable. They will bounce back next week against Dallas (who are probably demoralized after their loss in Pittsburgh).

Titans 28 - Browns 9

Congrats to Tennessee and their fans for clinching the division. I couldn;t have happened to a better organization. Jeff Fisher is Class A, which is a big reason why they have had a such a great year, so far. As for the Browns, Cornell is history.

Texans 24 - Packers 21

Not only have I been right about the Pats making it respectable without Brady, I have been right about GB with Rodgers as QB. He is not anywhere near where he needs to be, so it serves the organization right. They never should have allowed Favre to leave, because this scrub is just not ready for primetime. He and Philip Rivers are the most over-rated QBs in the league. In my opinion, if Favre is the QB, they are still in the playoff hunt.

Ravens 24 - Skins 10

Washington missed a golden opportunity to keep pace in the wild card race, against a playoff caliber team. But it didn't happen. They are not out of it yet, but it's not looking as good as it once did.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Prosperity Through Debt?

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.

You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.

You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.

You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.

You cannot further brotherhood of men by inciting class hatred.

You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.

You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man's initiative.

You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves.

- Rev. William J. H. Boetcker

These ten cannots have been erroneously attributed to Abraham Lincoln on the internet, through e-mails. blog postings, etc.; but that doesn't make them any less applicable and certainly doesn't make them any less true.

Today, the US federal government is looking at a $7 trillion spending spree to boost the economy, create jobs, rebuild infrastructure, and generally throw money around like it grows on trees. Politico calls it the 21st Century New Deal, I call it foolishness. Why? Just look at the sound words above and you can plainly see how many cannots this big-spending government is violating with proposals like this.

Sadly, I believe that common sense is not so common anymore. The people of this nation have lost their way and are not thinking of the repercussions of things like this, and how they can effect things down the road.

We have an entire generation raised on credit card default, bankruptcy, and now foreclosure; not as unfortunate events that cannot be helped under extreme circumstances - but as a way of life. They heard a presidential candidate promise to spend more money, despite the debt is already astronomical. And they voted for him anyway.

One cannot help but wonder, why did they do this? Class envy, selfishness, ignorance, take your pick. Maybe in some cases, it was a combination of all three.

I will throw a little adage of my own to go with the good reverend's words above:

You cannot have wealth, if your debts are greater than your assets.

- LASunsett 2008

Think about it.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Another Blast From The Past

(Note-This installment is for Z at Geez, who gave me the idea for this one.)

Canada has produced some outstanding rock artists over the years. Neil Young, Rush, Barenaked Ladies, and Cowboy Junkies are all groups that were founded by Canadians. I always found the Canadian sound from my era to be very much like the one from the LA scene, in the late 60s. Folksy artists like the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield came to be identified with this distinctive style and could be heard at every turn, on the LA Basin's multitude of album rock radio stations.

One such band of this era formed together, with four Canadians and an American. It captured people's ears but never really conquered the singles charts. But make no mistake here. This album-oriented quintet made no pretensions, had no flashy shows, but plenty of talent and the willingness to use it to entertain. They passed the singing duties around enough that they created a bold, versatile, and unique sound that has yet to be completely duplicated.

This weekend, PYY presents The Band.

Opening this session, this show opener is from the film The Last Waltz, which all of these songs are from. Most of you will remember this one, Up On Cripple Creek:

Off of their first album, here is one of the greatest tunes of all time, in terms of stellar musical riffs, mixed with excellent harmonious vocals. Here is one remarkable performance of another one that most of you will remember, The Weight (Take A Load Off Annie):

This next tune is quite obscure to all but those fans who know The Band. Deep from the vaults comes this one, called Stage Fright:

Their association with Bob Dylan was the turning point in their career despite the fact there was some anxiety when he asked them to tour with him. Up to that point, Dylan was a folk singer that relied heavily on an acoustic sound. But when these guys hooked up, it was the birth of electric Dylan. Here's a song performed with him and a couple of other special guests, Ringo Starr and Ron Wood. It is entitled, I Shall Be Released:

No Band tribute would ever be complete without this final tune. It was made most famous by Joan Baez, but make no mistake whatsoever, this is The Band's song through and through. No one has ever quite done it like them, nor will they ever. Here is what I believe to be their signature song of the ages, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down:



Mustang is test-piloting his own musical series. Take a look and listen here, when you get a moment.

AC at Fore Left has his weekly musical post up, called Sidetracks. Check it out, the Dire Straits tune is outstanding.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Mustang Chronicles - Day Three

(If you missed the first two installments of this series, you can read Day One and Day Two, to see how we got to this point.)

Day Three:

All night long of my second night in Chesty Acres, I would wake up thinking I would soon be hearing the sound of a stick hitting a trash can. Tossing and turning, thinking it would come at any moment, it was enough to set one's nerves on edge. But Mustang allowed me to sleep in on Sunday morning, for the "trash can version" of reveille did not come until 0530. "No PT this morning", he said in a authoritarian tone. "But it is my duty to inform you that formation is at 0800, now go back to sleep maggot", he further related.

Breakfast was stellar, as were all of the meals provided by Mrs. Mustang. Towards the end of the meal, Mustang began throwing food at one of the dogs. "Watch this", he would say. Then, he would flick a piece of bacon at the little pooch.

The first two throws were drops that evidently he thought she should have caught. I only say this, because after the second incomplete pass, he began to threaten the little dog with grass drills until she collapsed if she didn't get with the program. Never mind the throws were wide on his part, he had her thinking it was all her fault (which was pattern I had noticed long ago, by now). The third toss was every bit as wide to the right, but the little dog dove for it and caught it, keeping both feet in bounds. The poor thing limped the rest of the day after that, just to please her unreasonable master. How utterly devoted she must be.

But today was special. Today was the day, we would be traveling to Epcot and our plans were soon turned in that direction.

As we hit the road, Mustang had a map printed from Yahoo Maps, along with detailed instructions in English (his first language). At one point about 30 minutes into the drive on a pleasant sunny day, he requested that I look at the map to see how far we were from a certain exit. When all was said and done, he determined that I had caused us to miss that exit. I was then duly informed that I would pay for it later, under the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Mustang Justice).

Once at Epcot, the massive parking lots were nearly empty. This ensured we would get a parking space close to the entrance. In most instances, this would have been a plus and most people would have thought we were lucky. But not Mustang.

He thought we should have been closer. And in his mind, we would have been closer had I not gotten us lost in the state he lives in (and one I had not been in for 25 years). It was at that point, I was made to do ten laps around the massive parking lot and if that wasn't enough, I then had to run alongside the tram that took us up to the main entrance, while he rode in luxury, singing cadence not meant for children's ears.

As we were being admitted, there was a point where we had to place our finger on a sensor that allowed it to copy the image of out fingerprint (so no one can use our ticket if we lost it). It was at this point, Mustang began to object and he did it, to the level of making a scene. He began calling the poor saps that ran the entrance, "communist heathen" and ranting at such a high rate of speed like the first day of basic training, where there are no less than 15 DIs running around like madmen at any given moment. About the time I saw security dashing to our location, there was the sound of a car backfiring in the parking lot. Their attention was then diverted to the direction of the sound and we were able to walk right in, unnoticed.

Once in, the sounds of babies and toddlers screaming and throwing hissy fits filled the air. Mustang suddenly became happy. At this time, I mustered up enough courage to ask Mustang, "what part of a screaming kid makes you happy?" He then beamed, as he calmly gave me his answer. "LA", he said, "these parents and grandparents have just shelled out tons of money for these little ungrateful snerts and Mickey Mouse is not making them a damned bit happy. It serves them all right."

But his glee at the crying children soon turned to that of bitterness and resentment.

He just had to have his coffee, so he stood in line for 30 minutes for a cup of Epcot's best, and a pastry. I had always pegged Mustang as very pragmatic and frugal; but as he shelled out $50 for the request, he started a ruckus. I think the whole thing got started when he called them a bunch of over-priced pansies and telling them Dunkin' Donuts was a better value for the money. It was at that moment when I saw a another rag-tag group of security personnel running toward our location. and I have to say that the skinny one looked like Barney Fife, from a distance.

We took off for the International Village hoping to blend in.

Just across the bridge we turned left. Not long after that, we ran across a photographer from Spain that said he was waiting for Daffy Duck to arrive for a photo shoot with kids. Immediately, once this information was communicated to us, Mustang kicked into gear.

He began to interrogate him about some bombing in Madrid that happened in the 80s, one that was widely attributed to the ETA - a Basque Separatist terror organization. The questions were sharp, pointed, and in staccato (rapid-fire) form. "Where were you when this happened, you miserable little worm?", Mustang screamed. The poor guy, he just quivered and said, "Probably pooping in my diapers, sir. I was just a baby, when that happened!!", he said as he pleaded his case.

At this point, something was beginning to smell funny. And as our countenances began to take on sour looks, the poor guy further shared some more disturbing information with us. "See? I just did it again!!!", his timid voice revealed. By now, I knew this wasn't good; I could hear the footsteps of the crack Epcot Security Staff running toward us again. So, I grabbed Mustang and we made a beeline for the Mexican section. Luckily, it was a sanctuary area. We posed as Mexicans and pulled it off with sombreros on our head and sure enough, it worked. The Three Stooges and Barney Fife ran right past us.

Naturally, the entire scene that had just transpired was my fault and was told it was, ad nauseum. As we came upon the Norwegian part of the park, he spotted a viking ship. After forcing me to scrape about half of the barnacles off of the hull, the security forces were again summoned and spotted about about 200 meters away. So we sprinted toward the Chinese section.

Once inside, we noticed some very realistic replicas of ancient Chinese warriors in a military formation. This is the moment he flashed back to teacher mode, as he began to teach a lesson in Chinese art. "Look at them all, LA.", he said. "They were soldiers, the artists were talented and gifted. Look at their faces, there are no two alike. They are all different", he went on. "What about these two here on the corner?", I asked (pointing to two that looked exactly alike).

That's where he slipped back into Marine mode. "You dumbass!!!", his voice echoed throughout the temple replica. "Are you telling me you don't believe Chinese people can have twins?" After fifty push-ups with Mustang counting cadence slowly, I heard the "Keystone Cops" were on their way toward us, so it was time to scram again.

After we slipped out of a side entrance, undetected, we headed toward the German section. Having been stationed in Germany for two years, I was naturally drawn to the area. However, little did I know that I was soon to be embarrassed again.

In one of the German shops, Mustang picked up a teddy bear and noted that the tag was labeled with the words, "Made In China". He then began to show many of the customers that came near us. Many of them rounded their kids up and left immediately telling their kids, reminding them, about the time they had warned them about mean people. He got one old lady so worked up about how the the Chinese owned this shop, were disguising themselves as Germans, and that Black Forest Cuckoo Clock she had just purchased, was a fake. So once again, a familiar scene was about to occur. I heard one of the clerks in the shop place a call to security and that's all it took for me. Once again, it was time to go into escape and evasion status.

On the way out, I was able to strike up a little bit of a conversation with a young German girl who was working at a stand that was selling Spaten on tap. I said, "Eine Spaten bitte". It was then, when he accused me of saying bad things about him in German and flirting with someone half my age. He also wanted to know why I wouldn't buy him a $12 beer. So I reminded him of the 900,000 or so toasts he made when we drank the Chesty beer, and explained that Spaten has more alcohol in it. I further stated that I didn't want this to happen here in front of so many people. I saw his blood was beginning to boil, but by now, there was a photo of both of us being circulated and they were getting close to us.

So once again, it was life on the run with security hot on our tails. Off we went to the Moroccan section, where we lost them on the streets of Casablanca by wearing turbans and shouting "Death To America". They ran right past us like it was not unusual to see such a thing and it was off to the French section.

After ridiculing a short petit male French clerk in one of the shops (for being a disgrace to the spirit of Napoleon's empire), we found our way into a parfums shop. He was going to buy Mrs. Mustang a gift, in order to "make it up to her" for allowing me to visit them. But things got testy soon after we entered. After he narrowed his choices to two, he asked me which one I thought smelled better. I couldn't decide, so he banished me to outside the shop, while he purchased both.

Across the bridge was the British section. Following the sound of music I could hear in the distance, I was led to an area where a Beatles cover band was playing. I was amazed at how much they looked and sounded like those they were honoring. I guess I got caught up in the moment, because when I turned around, Mustang was nowhere to be found. I looked up and down the entire British section. Nothing. I went from shop to shop, eatery to eatery. Still nothing.

Finally, I decided I would try to find him elsewhere and began to leave little Britain. But before I could get out of it and into the Canadian section, I happened to see a crowd of people in line with lots of kids and cameras. As I scanned the long line, there he was about halfway through, drooling and ogling some lady that stood at the front of the line.

When I asked him what was going on, he said, "Look how classy that woman looks, LA. Look how she holds herself. I want my picture taken with her, but I want you to take it and send it to me secretly, so Mrs. Mustang doesn't make me do a 12-mile forced road march if she finds it." But when they told him he was too old to have his picture taken with Mary Poppins, another argument broke out and security was once again called.

By now, we were getting tired of the running and decided to head back to Chesty Acres, where Mrs. Mustang was preparing a pot roast. Once the muster formation was underway, a head count was performed, and we ate another delicious meal that was made by a woman - who I will be nominating for sainthood, after her days on this earth are through.

Since Mustang is not an NFL fan, there was no sense in suggesting we watch Sunday Night Football. So, we watched The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, which would not have been too bad of a way to spend a Sunday evening, except Mustang kept telling us how he would have handled every challenge that Sinbad faced, in almost every scene. He finally stopped when Mrs. Mustang threatened him with not getting any chocolate cake.

After the movie, taps was played, the Marine prayer recited, and all lights were extinguished. The end of another day was finally here.

What a day.

Next Friday: Day Four-The Final Day