Archive for Aviation

Half Cocked…

Malaprops were a signature of Yogi Berra. “Déjà vu all over again.” “We were overwhelming underdogs.” “Always go to other people’s funerals; otherwise they won’t go to yours.” Yogi’s malapropisms were always funny and in good spirits, but that was before Donald Trump took the stage.

Marine Corps drill instructors have an amusing half-serious prod for indecisive recruits – “Do something even if it’s wrong,” a lesson Mr. Trump has taken as scripture. The latest iteration is the aborted attack on Iran. Not only did he launch an attack and then change his mind, but he couldn’t even get the terminology right. read more

Rocketman and Me

“And I think it’s gonna be a long long time
‘Till touch down brings me round again to find
I’m not the man they think I am at home”

Elton John’s first hit was Your Song released in October of 1970. My wife, Abby, and I were living in St. Tropez then, and it was the only one of his songs we knew until a friend came to visit the following spring. Francois, a Pan Am friend from our San Francisco days, was on his way to Spain to open a summer bar on the Costa Blanca. He was traveling with a stereo system he bought in Tokyo, a pile of record albums from San Francisco that included Elton’s second album, Tumbleweed Connection, and plans to spin them in his new Spanish venture. I remember sitting on the quai at the exact location you see above as he was telling us his plan. read more

Nerdy Ol’ Me…

Donald Trump exhausts me. He’s the train wreck I saw coming but couldn’t look away from. His mind-numbing ignorance and faux-gravitas would be hilarious if he/we weren’t in a death spiral of his making. He may be time-limited, but four years is an eternity when Pudgy-Wudgy, the village idiot, has the keys to the nuclear launch codes.

Part of my exhaustion comes from my wife’s insatiable need to watch the scum circling the drain–all day every day on two television sets. She and I are different. She is able to work, read, and listen to the competing news sources without missing anything. I’m not good at tuning in and out. I’m too easily pulled into the breathless Breaking News on MSNBC. Ever watch your 8-year-old grandchild when the TV goes on. I’m like that. Or like Joseph Conrad, who used to have his wife, Jessie, lock him in his upstairs study in the morning and not let him out until lunch time. He didn’t have the will power to stay and write without restraint. Neither do I. I’m Conrad’s Mini-Me. read more

Yellowcake and Other Ruses

Dick Cheney and John Bolton

What is it that makes men who never served in the military so eager to go to war? This week it’s Donald “Bone Spurs” Trump and John “Shoot First, Aim Later” Bolton rushing the aircraft carrier, Abraham Lincoln, to the Persian Gulf, while sending the imperious, condescending, Mike “Fat Man” Pompeo, off to Brussels and points east where he was rebuffed by the EU, and warmly received by Vladimir Putin. All these moves designed to prepare the world for our military intervention “just in case” Iran “does something to undermine our interests.” It looks eerily like Wag the Dog. Start a war to deflect attention from the political chaos at home. read more

Cultural Placeholders…

I’ve been thinking about generational differences lately and how each generation anchors itself with a set of creative icons, go-to figures, that serve as reference points on a timeline of cultural awareness.

What do you say or who do you think of when people ask you for your favorite movie, book, painting, or rock group? Who’s on that playlist? What music pops to mind? What paintings do you think of? What writers do you refer to and re-read? How you answer those questions most likely depends on the artistic/creative imprinting of your generation.  read more