Archive for Aviation

Nashville: Skyline and All

“If you’re travelin’ in the north country fair

Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline

Remember me to one who lived there

For she was once a true love of mine.”

Both Bob Dylan and the Nashville skyline have changed since he wrote those words for the Nashville Skyline album in 1969. I loved the record (yes, it was a record in those days), and I loved his surprising shift from folk-protest to traditional country music including an off-pitch duet with Johnny Cash. Beyond that I didn’t know much about the city except that it was the home of the Grand Ole Opry. I had never been there and neither had M, but a chance meeting with a young couple at a Peter Cetera concert in Seattle got us thinking about a visit to their hometown. So, on impulse, with an Alaska Airlines companion ticket to burn, we booked the flight as just the right destination for an escape from our long wet winter in Seattle.

read more

Share with:Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

The Flabby Truth…

  • Stop mourning – it’s a done deal, he’s our President
  • Stop being confused and bewildered – get over it and get to work
  • Stop looking for meaning, strategy, coherence – they’re missing
  • Stop reading his Tweets – it’s part of his shiny object gambit
  • Stop thinking he will change – he never has
  • Stop believing he will become presidential – he doesn’t know how
  • Stop thinking he’ll divest himself of conflicts – he’s too greedy
  • Stop thinking Congress will stop him – they’re gutless

NOW IT’S UP TO US!

Yes, I’ve been beating the drum against Trump’s ignorance, arrogance, bigotry, misogyny, and bluster since before the election. His faults were so obvious and well documented; he was an easy target. But, now he’s the Commander-in-Chief with the nuclear codes at his stubby little fingertips. We need to focus. It’s time to end this charade and call him out for trying to hijack our democracy. He and his feckless, reckless, clueless posse have put American democracy in peril. We now have an uninformed, unread, impulsive, petulant, narcissist as the 45th President of the United States. And, it’s not just America that’s concerned; his ignorance of world affairs is scaring other world leaders too.

read more

Share with:Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Trump and Turkey…

There’s a lot to like about Turkey. It’s exotic, mysterious, and diverse – beautiful blue water sailing on the southwestern coast where the Aegean and Mediterranean meet, ancient rock dwellings at Cappadocia, the broad expanse of the Anatolian plateau, and a blending of cultures where Europe and Asia meet at the Bosporus. (above).

Long before the Orient Express, Istanbul felt mysterious and unpredictable, as if a camel driver might be blocking the path of a Mercedes consular car around the next corner. I spent time there on my own and on layovers as a Pan Am pilot. I had a favorite smoke-filled café near the Golden Horn that served doner kebab for a couple of bucks and a tiny shop nearby where I bought pistachios and squishy dried figs carefully wrapped in brown paper by the owner. I loved Istanbul, the crowds and excitement, even the diesel fumes, a Eurasian jumble of mosques, churches, narrow winding streets, designer shops, shared taxis, noisy ferries, and hard bargaining rug merchants in the Grand Bazaar.

read more

Share with:Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Zipless in Nevada

In  Erica Jong’s 1973 novel, Fear of Flying, we were introduced to the “zipless fuck,” a sexual encounter involving two previously unacquainted persons with no emotional commitment.

In Grounded, a play by George Brant, a young woman in an Air Force flight suit tracks a terrorist on the ground 8000 miles away. She’s “flying” a missile-armed drone from her air-conditioned trailer in the Nevada desert. She is prosecuting America’s zipless war.

As an ex-Marine fighter pilot, I resist the conflation of jet pilot and drone operator. Real fighter pilots strap in, light the fire, pull G’s, land on aircraft carriers, and swap sea stories in the Ready Room. In Grounded, the unnamed pilot feels the same way. She’s a hard charging, adrenaline-fueled F-16 driver, but following maternity leave she finds herself assigned as a UAV (unmanned air vehicle) “pilot” in a windowless trailer in the Nevada desert. She is not happy with the assignment. She misses the excitement. She misses “the blue,” but war is changing and she has to deal with it.

read more

Share with:Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Friendship and Politics

Political conversations can be tricky, and even trickier when friendships are involved and tested. This seems a particularly tricky time as the Trump administration takes office and moves to implement its agenda. As this completely new kind of political force takes over, friendships are straining, families are quarreling and the country’s divisions are hardening.

I’m as partisan as the next guy, maybe more, and last week an old friend called me out when I posted a snarky anti-Trump picture and caption on Facebook. His exact words were, “Hey Jack, you’ve forgotten what the former president (Barack Obama) said… ‘Elections have consequences.’ You lost. I won. Get over it.”

read more

Share with:Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone