Browsing: Broadside moments

I just got done with a weekend that would rival any port call, and I didn’t have to leave home to do it. Not only was there a massive black tie gala where nine veterans were inducted into the Wyakin Warrior program, but I also got to hang out with thirteen of the most talented and warm-hearted people I have ever met. I did not say handsome, and I did not say smart. But they are nice. Make a mistake, though, and they will be on you like piranhas on fresh meat. They may not be smart, but they have…

We have a big gala coming up this weekend to support wounded and injured veterans in the Wyakin Warrior program, and everyone is working hard to put it all together. It reminds me of inspection preps in the military. No matter how much you work, it never seems to be enough. Before you know it, the big day is here and you don’t feel like you are ready. You know where the warts are, and hope the inspectors don’t see them. You dangle shiny objects (or food) in front of them to distract them. Anyone who has been through a…

Brevity is the soul of wit William Shakespeare There is a long running debate among cartoonists about which is the best form of humor: single panel or multi-panel. The latter group will say that the extra frames are needed to set up the punchline. The single panel guys will say that they are superior because they can get to the point quicker. Speeches are like that. If you want to be a popular speaker, keep it short. No one wants to listen to a forty-five minute dissertation. When the organizers ask you to speak for ten or fifteen minutes, use…

In deciding on auction items for a charity event (Guardian Ball on December 5th), we came up with a brilliant idea that is guaranteed to bring a lot of interest; and by interest I mean donations since we’re trying to find more money to bring more veterans into the most excellent Wyakin Warrior program. Since I am in full disclosure mode, it wasn’t exactly “we” that came up with the idea. It was my wife but she is asleep and can’t see what I am writing. So it was me. The idea? The day after the Guardian Ball, all of…

I attended a convention in Las Vegas this week with a few Wyakin Warriors. One evening as I was returning to my room, a lady stepped in the elevator with me. I said nothing. As we began to move, she said, “Up or down?” “Excuse me?” “Up or down?” Mildly concerned since we were already moving, I said, “I’m going up.” She said, “Of course we’re going up.” My concern notched up a tick. She expected an answer and my last one did not satisfy her. Maybe she wanted to know my mood. “Up, I’d say.” Surprisingly, that seemed to…

My experience with plumbing is limited to the practical use of it. Anything beyond faucet operations or toilet handle suppression is a mystery to me. Plumbing is one of those skills you wish you had but don’t. Oh sure, there is the occasional broken sprinkler head or clogged drain that you can tackle, but when real plumbing is needed, when entire systems need to be repaired, when you look at a problem and recognize that it can’t be fixed with plumber’s tape, it is then that you realize the scope of your inadequacy. Like this week when the kitchen sink…

I thought when I left the Navy I would quit traveling, and I was wrong. The Navy made me spend months away from my family, and I told myself I would quit all that when I became a civilian. Wrong. As I write this I am on the road again, missing my daughter’s soccer game and my family, just like the old days. Just like thousands of others – those who are actually in uniform – are doing right now. Just like the old days, there is paperwork. We must keep all receipts and maintain accurate records. I know that…

We are watching Star Wars with our daughter as she sees it for the first time. This is the first movie, or rather the fourth one…the one with young Luke. It is fun to watch her face as she tries to absorb the story and special effects. I am sure I had the same look on my face the first time I saw it too. It is almost a rite of passage to see that movie for the first time. It is fun. Which is not at all like the rites of passage that the military serves up. Military rites…

Have you noticed that virtually everyone who has served in the military began as one thing, then became another? There are pilots who used to drive ships. There are oceanographers who used to drive submarines. Sailors who used to be Marines. Officers who used to be enlisted. Everyone was someone else in an earlier life. There are doctors who fly in aircraft, and supply officers who stand watch on the bridge. It reminds me of my seven-year-old daughter talking to me about a mythical combination of her two favorite animals, which (of course) would be unicorns and mermaids. (Fairies don’t…

I had the privilege to attend a short seminar series this week, met a lot of nice people and learned a lot. And I couldn’t help but reminisce about military conferences I had attended. It isn’t that military conferences weren’t as nice, it is just that they…OK, they weren’t as nice. For one thing, everyone seemed to actually want to be at this conference. Not so when the Navy put one on. I do not ever remember wanting to attend a military seminar, and neither did anyone else. I actually took notes at this conference, and do not recall ever…

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