Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Small Tribute To Aneta Florczyk

So who is Aneta Florczyk?

Well friends, Aneta is 5 foot 5 inches tall, weighs about165 pounds, and she's from Poland. 

And yes, she's also a great deal more.

See besides having a career in sports, she's recently been elected to the Malbork City Council.  

The city of Malbork is in Poland. That's where Aneta lives.

That's where despite her new duties as a "Councilor" on the City Council, which I'm sure is the same as a Councilmen and women here, Aneta still maintains her sports career and businesses. 

So who says you can't be beautiful, strong, and successful? Aneta is certainly a great example of how to get things done.

And by the way, she pronounces her name "Ah-net-ah" and no not "Ah-neat-ah".

She has the will, the motivation, the knowledge, and the capability to go as high as she wants to in life. And friends, God Bless her for that. 

There is nothing worse than a person who has the knowledge and capability to strive for a higher purpose in life, but yet does not have the will and motivation to do it.

She gets it done!  

And of course, she still has to find time to do her most famous demonstration of strength - rolling a frying pan!

Yes, rolling a frying pan!  

Don't kid yourselves, friends, this gal is strong! 

She's not a very big gal at all in comparison to some women bodybuilders and powerlifters who I've known in the past, but God knows Aneta is strong.

If you can't imagine rolling a frying pan, then check out this video on YouTube.

                             

And here's a YouTube Video of Aneta, this is when she set the last Guinness Record Book record on China television.

      

I have no idea how she does what she does, and I have never seen anyone like Aneta. Friends, this little lady is incredible.

Basically at the age of sixteen, when she weighed about 130 pounds, Aneta started powerlifting as something to do for recreation. 

Well she took to it like a swan takes to water, and now to her credit she's an International Champion and in the Guinness Record Books.

TOO CUTE!
Looking at this very sweet young women, I'm willing to bet that most folks would probably never believe that she is a Four-Time World's Strongest Women.  Well, she is.

She was World's Champion / World's Strongest Woman in 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2008.

Aneta's Powerlifting and Bench Press achievements:
  • 19 years old Juniors' Champion of Poland in bench press
  • 23 years old Juniors' Champion of Poland in bench press
  • Silver medal in Seniors' Polish Championship in bench press
  • Silver medal on Polish Cup in bench press
  • Gold medal on Polish Cup in powerlifting
  • Seniors' Champion of Poland in powerlifting
  • Sport class - champion' s international
  • Member of National Team in bench press and powerlifting 1999-2001
  • Powerlifting - second place in European Championship of seniors, Luxembourg 2000
  • Record holder of Poland in powerlifting, weight category - 82,5 kg
  • Juniors' Record holder of Europe in dead lift - 213 kg
  • Silver medal in International Arm wrestling Tournament
  • As a first Polish woman she broke the barrier of 500 kg in powerlifting (507,5)
  • As a first Polish woman she broke the barrier of 200 kg in deadlift
And of course, here are some of  her Strongwoman achievements:
  • 2003 – Second place on Scandinavian Championship in Vasteras, Sweden
  • 2003 – First place on Built Solid Strongman Challenge in Columbus, USA
  • 2003 – Fourth place on European Strongest Woman in Ireland
  • 2003 – First place on World' s Strongest Woman in Zambia
  • 2004 – First place on European Strongest Woman in Northern Ireland
  • 2005 – First place on FitExpo in London
  • 2005 – First place on International Norway's Championship in Larvik
  • 2005 – First place on World's Strongwoman Championship in Northern Ireland
  • 2005 – Second place on World's Highland Games Cup in Scotland
  • 2005 – First place on Bregstaed contest, Norway
  • 2005 – First place on Europe's Strongwoman Championship in Bydgoszcz
  • 2006 – First place on World's Strongwoman Championship in Opalenica
  • 2007 – Winning the European Strongwoman Championship - Trondheim, Norway
  • 2008 – Winning the World Strongwoman Championship - Poland, Tczew 
Other achievements:
  • Guinness Record in rolling the frying pans for time - 4 pans of 26cm diameter in 1 minute (Madrid, February 2008)
  • Third place in the polish edition of Stars dancing on ice TV show (March-May 2008)
  • Appearing in many popular programs in polish and foreign TV.
  • An appearance in the Polish edition of the popular adventure show called "Fort Boyard" (July 2008).
  • Improving her own Guinness Record - rolling 5 pans of 26cm diameter in 1 minute (Beijing, China - November 2008).
  • A Guinness World Record in lifting up adult men overhead - 12 persons in 2 minutes (Madrid, Spain - December 2008).
Impressive isn't it! Well, there's more!

Marina Kigileva and Aneta in 2010
In August of 2010, Chelyabinsk, Russia hosted "a battle of two strong women" as the Uralstrong Federation staged a two-event strongwoman showdown between Marina "The Armor" Kigileva and Aneta Florczyk.

On that day, the outcome was a draw and they both share the title for 2010.

To me, Aneta is a great champion. 

And that's not only in powerlifting, but to my way of thinking, she is also a great champion in life itself.

Why you ask? 

Well friends, it's because Aneta has been able to make her sport a positive part of her life while at the same time being a great role model for others.

All while being happy with what she's doing.  And yes, that's a big deal. 

Like most folks, I've known many people in my lifetime. But frankly, I've actually met very few who can say that they are happy with what they're doing in life.

She is a wonderful role model in a world that needs good examples. 

In a world where great examples are sometimes hard to find, Aneta is a great example of what a person can do if he or she puts their mind to it.

From the pictures that I've seen of Aneta, I would say that besides being an extremely beautiful woman, dimples and all, she also looks like she enjoys what her hard work has brought her.

And yes, anyone can see that she likes what she's doing.  She definitely looks like she's having fun.

One last note about her life.  From what I gather, she had to choose which way she wanted to go in life as a kid in the small town where she comes from in Poland.  I guess options for recreation for young people there were really very limited there.

For Aneta, she chose the gym and working out which lead to her interest in powerlifting. 

She asserted herself and found her sense of individualism.  And from what I see, it appears she's won the greatest prize of all in that she enjoys a good life. 

A good life is not a bad prize at all.

It reminds me of that Robert Frost poem "The Road Not Taken" where he wrote:

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
  I took the one less traveled by,
 And that has made all the difference."

Yes, make not mistake about it, Aneta Florczyk has taken the road less traveled by others. 

And that, as Frost wrote, makes all of the difference.

To learn more about this amazing woman, please click on this link to her website: http://www.anetaflorczyk.com/
May God Bless Her!


























Story by Tom Correa
And yes, as you can see, I'm definitely a fan!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Old West vs HBO's Deadwood

Well friends, I just can't get into HBO's Deadwood.

First off it seemed like a lot of "Revisionist Western" Hollywood to me. Revisionist Westerns are just Hollywood's attempt at Revisionist History.

So what are Revisionist Western films?

Well they are movies that question or attack the ideals and style of traditional Western Movies. Revisionist Western films are usually depressing and cynical.

They try to amplify the lawlessness of the time period while trying to depict the West as this dark and gloomy place where everyone is out for themselves and no one can be trusted or relied upon.

The film-makers who deal in trash like this are usually very busy trying to convince you the audience that what really happened in the Old West never really happened.

The idea of self-sacrifice, and a yearning to be free, and a dependence on no one other than yourself, yet still knowing that neighbors help neighbors is completely opposite to what they want you to think. 

To the film-makers who try to make Revisionist Westerns, there are few if not any European-American masculine male Heroes, the U.S. military is either fumbling or evil, and the American government is uncaring and savage in their desire to conquer.

Native Americans and Mexicans on the other hand are looked at more favorable in those films and are usually depicted as being wise, insightful, and knowledgeable of things that European-Americans would never be aware of in a million years. Or so they want us to believe.

Of course, depicting the Indian Wars of the hundreds of years of warfare between tribes and the atrocities that were committed by these tribes upon each other, long before Europeans came to this continent, would not help Hollywood's effort to rewrite history so it's not usually shown on film.

In contrast, the Cowboy, the Cavalry Soldier, the Trooper, the Farmer, the Rancher, the European-American who came West to better his family or who wanted to start a business of his own and shake off the yoke of working for another, he is today's Western Villain. 

And who is he?  Well he's always a white European-American.  Yes, white European-Americans have become the archetypal villain in today's Westerns.

It doesn't matter if the European-American's ancestry is Italian or Greek, Spanish or Portuguese, English or French, Polish or Russian or Dane, Scot or Irish, it doesn't matter. 

Hollywood has bundled us all up in one group called "white" and there we seem to stay. 

No matter if that's only a skin color, and really has nothing to do with all of the many different cultural traditions that were brought to America.

Fact is that Europeans who came to America were as different from each other as the Blackfoot Indians were from the Miami Indians, who by the way were almost decimated while being pushed out of their lands by other Indian tribes.

Europeans came here with different languages, traditions, religions, and so on down the line. But that doesn't matter to Hollywood. 

The Revisionist concept of an evil white European-American fits in with Hollywood's idea of what is wrong with America.

It fits in with their twisted idea of who they feel is responsible for all of the world's troubles.

They don't address the mindsets of European ancestors. 

Hollywood's Revisionist Movies refuse to honor or give the proper recognition and dignity to the European Explorers who discovered and linked together the world for all mankind, or for that matter our Founding Fathers who set forth a new idea that man and not a King matters.

Hollywood also does the same with the American Pioneers who on the overall, but not all, were Europeans who fought overwhelming hardship to come West and make it against all odds.

As for American Farmers, fact is that only one in four stayed and made it. The others returned East, but you don't hear about that today.

Hollywood only sees white European-Americans in the exact way that their Liberal Left Politics will allow them to see them. 

To the Left, the American Pioneer was only an invader and conqueror, killer of Indians, and a blight upon the land.  Hollywood negates all of the achievements by those who came before us and settled this land, or fought our wars, or enabled us to have the freedoms we have.

Westerns have been following this trend for a while now. Dances With Wolves is a great example of the Revisionist Western.

In that film, the Indian was portrayed as noble and wise while the white Union Soldiers in the movie were shown as ruthless, hostile, half-crazy, uncaring, and completely stupid about the stewardship of the land or their own survival.

Great movie soundtrack though! Too bad the movie was horrible.

And what does this have to do with HBO's Deadwood

Deadwood is a perfect example of the Revisionist Western in a television series. Actually HBO's series Deadwood is Revisionist History gone wild.

You want to know about a boomtown long before Deadwood or even Tombstone, read this about Columbia, California - Columbia “The Gem of the Southern Mines”

But besides its horrible depiction of the Old West and especially the Pioneers that came West, I hate having to watch the show. 

Why, because HBO's Deadwood is so full of profanity and unwarranted violence that it comes across as vulgar and almost pornographic.  Yes, the language is that raw and yet it lends nothing to the show.

And yes, I believe it's rated PG. Which of course, now stands for "Profanity Guaranteed."

So the question becomes is the dialogue in HBO's Deadwood accurate to the period this is portraying?

The short answer is, NO it's not.

In the true Revisionist Western style, the writers and director made a conscious decision to increase the severity of the swearing in the show to agree with modern vulgarity. 

Why, so that there wouldn't be any mistaking that the actors were indeed cussing. Imagine that.  They thought we wouldn't be able to tell. 

Like it or not, the swearing is all done for shock value and not historical accuracy. 

Fact is that words like "Damn-nation," or "God", or even "Jesus" was thought to be extreme swearing in the 1870s.  Back then, that was talking pretty filthy Pard! 

And like it or not, you still didn't do it in front of women no matter what their standing in the community was at that time. It just wasn't done. I'm not kidding. 

In contrast to what folks are led to believe now, the people in the Old West did not use that sort of language as the show tries to depict.  Sorry it just didn't happen. 

The extremely explicit, modern profanity, is a deliberate attempt on the part of the show's creator who has explained that the characters were originally intended to use period correct slang and swear words. 

Such words, however, were based heavily on the era's deep religious roots and tended to be more blasphemous than a case of toilet mouth.  So instead of it being shockingly crude, reports were that it sounded absolutely comical.

I read where someone said, "If you put words like 'goldarn' into the mouths of the characters on Deadwood, they'd all wind up sounding like Yosemite Sam."

So yes, it was decided that the show would use current era profanities in order for the words to have a more vulgar impact. 

And all that stuff about the show being historically accurate?

 Well it went out the door, especially when it decided that something like the language and people who were not in their correct historical or chronological time frame

And as for Westerns, well I thank God that Revisionist Westerns weren't around when I was a kid.  Fact is that my Dad would have never let any of us watch Westerns, if they were that way back then. 

And honestly, if that were the case, I don't know if I would have been brought up with such an interest in the Old West at all.  If it weren't for watching pre-Revisionist Westerns on TV and in the movies, I probably wouldn't care.

Now before you go off thinking that I'm painting too rosy a picture of the Old West, I'm not really. 

I know real well that the West was not quite a Gene Autry Western with him singing and all, but at the same time it sure wasn't the extreme of the uncivilized darkness that Deadwood portrays either.

Was it somewhere in the middle?  No it wasn't. 

The Old West was not the murderous land of filthy no goods and cut-throats that today's Revisionist Westerns make out. 

Were there bad people?  Yes, just like there are bad people today. 

But all in all, it's well documented that the cities and towns in the East were much more violent than the towns in the West. 

There were reasons for this. For one thing, people carried guns more openly in the West.  And honestly, a bad man was a lot less likely to go up against another armed man than he would someone unarmed.

Yes, guns help make the West a more polite society!

Another thing is that there had became an unwritten "Code" that people created in lieu of having an established law enforcement presence.

But it went even further than simply "the Law" as it also addressed civility and conduct.  The Code was an unwritten law based on the Golden Rule, and yes it helped people to help people and get along with each other on the overall.

Roger McGrath, a historian who studied dozens of Western mining camps and towns, found a high rate of homicide in them mainly because it was socially acceptable for young, drunk single men to resolve points of honor by fighting to the death. But other violence wasn't tolerated, he said.

"It was a rather polite and civil society enforced by armed men," Dr. McGrath said. "The rate of burglary and robbery was lower than in American cities today. Claim-jumping was rare. Rape was extraordinarily rare - you can argue it wasn't being reported, but I've never seen evidence hinting at that."

Deadwood's bad reputation was established by the famous killing of Wild Bill and enhanced with claims that the miners "averaged a murder a day."

But Deadwood historians like Watson Parker dismiss that statistic.

"Pure bilge," Dr. Parker told me. "There wasn't an awful lot of violence in Deadwood except for the crooks and drunks killing each other.  When everybody has a gun on his hip, they tend to avoid confrontation."

Another Deadwood historian, Bob Lee, said that the best account of the two peak years of the gold rush, 1876 and 1877 lists only 77 violent deaths in all the Black Hills.

Only 4 deaths were in Deadwood and the rest were outside Deadwood, and those were attributed to Indians.

Yes, the years 1876 and 1877 lists only 77 violent deaths in all the Black Hills - and most were outside of Deadwood. 

Research shows that the town of Deadwood only had 7 homicides in 1876. That's it, only 7!

Try comparing that with the city you live in now, then ask yourself if the town of Deadwood was really that violent at all?

It's no wonder this new generation doesn't know a great deal about the Old West. Between what they are being fed being all bullshit, and there's nothing for them to watch on TV that shows the Old West in any sort of positive light  - or just entertaining. 

All of the old Classic Western TV shows, including Maverick and Bonanza, were all so much more entertaining then HBO's Deadwood.

And yes, it didn't surprise me that the so-called "hit" they call Deadwood only ran for three seasons before being canceled. 

Heck, that would have been considered a flop by 1950's and 60's standards.  Take Gunsmoke for example, it started on radio in 1952 and then it ran on TV from 1955 to 1975. Now friends, that's a hit! 

HBO's Deadwood is not entertainment.  It's Deadwood revisionism.

It's simply graphic violence. It is just a director's desire to see how pitiful he can make the West appear while he screws up a television series. 

As one friend told me, there's no redeeming qualities about it. It was supposed to be a historically based drama, but it's not.

Buying it would be a waste of money.  Save your money.  There are so many other Westerns that you can buy that depicts the Old West in a more honest light. 

Heck, even a horrible Western like Silverado with an over the top goofy as all get out Kevin Costner is a lot more honest and entertaining than sitting through one episode of Deadwood.


Story by Tom Correa

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mexicans Slaughtering Mexicans Wholesale

I just read where the Mexican Police in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, say that more than 50 people have been killed in the last three days.

Everyone seems to be watching the Arab World and all that's going on there, but hey why hasn't the Liberal Media reported on what's happening in Mexico? And why hasn't President Obama gone on TV and talked about what's going on right at our own border and what we are doing to make sure it doesn't spill across into our country?

The El Paso Times reports that it was 53 victims, all murdered between Thursday and Saturday, including a Police Officer, a municipal Patrolman, and a State Police Investigator.

Supposedly a shootout on Thursday in Juarez, which is just across the border from El Paso, left a Police Officer and two bad guys dead in the streets. These firefights are common on the streets of Juarez according to people who have written me from that area.

They say it's safer in Iraq than in Mexico these days. But of course that's not saying much because Stockton California, East L.A., and even Detroit, are all considered by many not as safe as the battlefields of Iraq these days.

The interesting thing about what's going on in Mexico is the targeting of individuals. It's not just random violence and out-of-the-blue occurrences. It appears that all three were "Hits".  Murdered Police Officer Ricardo Torillo Sandoval died at the hands of two Drug Cartel "Hit Men", State Police Investigator Jesus Manuel Cruz Landin was shot and killed on his way home, and Patrolman Benjamin Nunez was shot and killed by a driver at a traffic stop.

Sounds like designated targets to me. And if that's the case, this is worse than a just crime. It is a War over control of a territory. When an enemy targets the Police Authority in that way, it is for strategic and psychological warfare reasons. It is to instill fear and intimidation into the government and specifically the law enforcement community plain and simple!

Then of course there is the torture and mutilations, which is the Drug Cartel's all too well know signature. And yes, I've seen pictures that I won't display on this sight. I don't need to because the question is what everyone along the border know, what about Mexicans slaughtering Mexicans wholesale?

Is this what the world wants? Where is the U.N. now? Is it OK to turn a blind eye to what's going on and let it go because it is not an economically important part of the world and subsequently has no importance in the eyes of some?

No oil is controlled through that area. It is only Mexican lives that are at stake. And the papers talk about the important names, when they produce their who, what, when, where, and how. But the fact is that there are hundreds, if not thousands, that are being affected by this War across the border.

The other side of the border is turning into a wasteland, another Killing Field like so many hot spots around the world. It's become a place where only the worse type of humans prevail, those who murder and push their will onto others.

Someone asked me, if the Drug Cartels are like Gangsters? I say they're worse than mere gangsters who are out for themselves while making money illegally. To me the Cartels act more like provincial Warlords with their own personal Armies armed with the latest firepower bought in bulk from countries like China and smuggled into "their" area.

The biggest difference between them and mere Gangsters is their desire to completely own and control territory. They have more in common with the Warlords of Afghanistan than the likes of the Mafia. The Mafia works underground and at least attempts to evade any notice of their activities. In contrast, the Mexican Drug Cartels don't give a damn who sees what they are doing.

They are open about their desire for Regional Control and they believe that no one can stop them. And they may be right, as long as the world looks the other way and doesn't place importance on that region going up in smoke. The local Police are under-gunned and the Mexican Army is not being deployed effectively if they are.

The problem is that Mexico looks at the violence on the border as criminal acts, instead of the War that it has become.

In the meanwhile, what are Americans to do? My advice is to form a Home Guard along the border, armed and trained, to protect Americans on this side of the border. If our Federal Government won't take up the task of protecting Americans, then we have a Government that is failing to do what the United States Constitution requires the Federal Government to do.

The local residents have the right to feel safe in their homes. Americans should not be turned into refugees running from the growing violence among them.

Many people do not realize that the Constitution of the United States of America was penned to instruct the Federal Government what it can and cannot do. It was never intended as a guideline for Americans, but instead the law that rules our form of government.

The United States Constitution requires, it mandates, it demands as a stated obligation that the Federal Government defend our borders. If they fail to do so, then it falls to the people to do it. Murder and kidnappings of Americans must stop, or at least not get worse.

In my opinion, it may take a civilian Home Guard to protect the American people while across the border Mexicans perform the wholesale slaughter of Mexicans in their towns all along the border.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Being Prepared Really Pays Off

I was going to write this weather report and tell everyone how all of the weeks of nice clear weather has finally came to an end last Thursday. I was going to write how it seems that we can now finally continue with winter. I was going to say something about how the cold winds were the first to get things rolling blowing through these mountains with a vengeance. Then I was going to tell you how the rain came, and soon after that snow flurries whipped up.

I was about to say that since this Thursday it has snowed heavily for the first time in months. Yes, this Winter can be called wet but it really has not been white until now. And friends, Mother Nature is making up for being late.

I was going to say all of that except that I just received pictures from my friends back East and up North in Montana who have had more snow than ever in the recorded history of the United States. This winter has broken all records. So I'm almost certain that no one reading this is going to have sympathy for what is coming down around here right now.

But for those of you who can appreciate all the signs of a "false spring," you know it can be disappointing when winter looks like it's done and yet it ain't.

Not to me, I'm not disappointed because I've been saying that winter just ain't done yet. But as for my wife, well she's only lived up here for a little over five years. And yes my friends, she planted too early this year. So now she's worried about losing all of the new plants that she just put in the ground.

And why am I not really disappointed that she planted early? Well honestly the way I look at it is that if she was happy while planting and the weather was nice, it didn't hurt that she planted when she did. At least I don't think so, besides if the people at Lowe's told her right and the plants she planted are indeed Cold Hardy then she'll be one happy camper if they pull through.

And being happy is a good thing, especially since our power had been out since last Thursday and it just came back on today which is Sunday. Yup, at about two thirty this afternoon the power came back on. And this was a huge surprise of a wonderful type, especially considering that about a half hour before the lights came back on we got a call from PG&E telling us that it would not be restored for another 2 to 3 days.

Lucky for us that we fed all of our animals and left Glencoe on Friday night, and we didn't return until Saturday night. So all in all, since we did avoid one night without electricity, it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

Surprises like the power coming back unexpectedly are great, and yes it was like my wife hit the lottery.

Now I'm sure someone reading this is going to say, "hey Cowboy, what's the big deal about this? Why didn't you crank up your generator?"

Well, that would be a really good point. And to owe up to my being human, all I can say is that I used our gasoline for other things and never got a round to replacing it before the snows came back. And my knowing that Winter really wasn't over yet makes it that much worse, I definitely knew better.

So what does all of this mean to you folks living in the city? Well not a whole lot probably. But to folks living in the country, you all know that it is a real big screw up on my part. Rural living can be more involved than life in the City. So you see, my not having gas for our generator on Thursday means that we didn't have a lot of conveniences that most people in the city take for granted. And most importantly, one extremely special household convenience!

And now you're saying, "So your power was out? Big deal! Light a candle."

Well it's not that easy. We have candles, sure we do, and I have oil lamps and even gas Coleman lanterns and extra mantels. Having light is only one part of the problem when the power goes out. Of course as you know, as soon as the power goes off your refrigerator stops keeping your food cold. And of course you know that your television, and your computers, and clock radio, and your phones go down. If you have an electric stove, then it's down as well.

But living in the country, electricity does a lot more than just light your house, keep the refrigerator going, keep your computer and TV on, keep your phone working, or even having a stove to cook on.

It also means that your well-pump, if you are on well-water, which runs on electricity stops running. That means you have no water, which also means you have no showers and no water coming out of your faucets. And the biggest thing that it affects is that your toilets stop working. And friends, that is a big deal!

For most guys, I think it's not that big a deal because it is sort of like camping after all. But for most women, it's like camping without a bathroom. And that my friends, makes for a very unhappy camper!

So what was the first things that my wife did when the power came on, well my wife jumped in the shower and washed her hair. Yes, the exact same things she would do at the end of a camping trip if we just got home. Imagine that!

The moral to this story is be prepared. If you live in the city make sure you have candles and matches, or an oil lamp. And if you can, you may want to pick up a Coleman lantern because they are great. Especially these days because they now come in propane and it makes storing and using the propane bottles very easy compared to keeping Coleman fuel on hand.

My recommendations are that you also have extra blankets, a radio and flashlight, and extra batteries. A way to cook like say with a Camp Stove is nice to have, but if not then you might want to keep some can goods on hand. Personally, I can't stand that new freeze dried food made for Astronauts and Mountaineering. So instead the only "Instant Anything" around here is instant oatmeal, instant coffee and instant hot chocolate.

Keep your computer backed up, and like us, you might want to have a phone on hand that can be plugged into a phone line but doesn't need batteries or sit in a base powered with a plug. I have an old dial phone that I've had for years, and it still works great. I think the newer ones cost under $10 at someplace like Wal-Mart. They're great for a Home Emergency Kit for when the power goes out and even your cell phone, which I don't own, goes out or can't get reception.

And if by chance you live in the country, then don't do as I did. Yes I did have wood for our wood stove, but you should be better prepared than I was on Thursday. Keep extra water on hand, and of course have gas for your generator.

It really makes for happy campers.



If you need to get a round to it,
here it is!



Saturday, February 19, 2011

All Firemen Are Not Created Equal

I was asked to write about something in the News. Imagine that!

Yes, I was asked my thoughts about a Fireman who claimed to be "too distraught" by an incident to respond to the call. He didn't want to go to a call knowing that he was needed.

Since I was never a Fireman, I asked my friend, "Why ask me about it?"

My friend who knows my background regarding working with Marines once upon a time many years ago. It was a time in my life when I was working with Marines who let's say lost their way and needed to be shown some guidance. So OK maybe some needed it in the form of a swift kick in the trousers.

The guidance they needed was a refresher course to better understand the Corps' basic core values. One's core values is what guides us and keeps us on the straight and narrow. It is what pushes people to do their duty, do right, act fair, and live up to their Oath.

And yes, we all know about Bill Clinton breaking his Oath of Office. But as I said, you have to have values to start with.

I'm sorry to say that some people are brought up with no real personal value system. Some just never get it at home growing up, and then there are those that learn all too well what they are not supposed to do. For those folks, well I can only hope that somewhere in life they'll find that values are essential to leading a good life.

I've known a few people who weren't brought up too well, but they adopted the values of their extended family, or friends that seem to be OK, or a company or organization. A few friends that I've known found their life's set of values because they admired the core values of the American Cowboy. Of course having children will sometimes make you sit up and take a look at how you want to live or bring up your children. After all, they can be a wake up call to get your act together.

For me, I had both family and the Marine Corps. For my family it was simply supporting family because I was always told that family is number one. Of course doing what is right even when Grandpa ain't there to tell you to do it was a test sometimes.

My Grandfather was a great Cowboy. Besides riding and roping, building fences, repairing corals, doctoring horses, or hunting and fishing, I watched him treat people as he wanted them to treat him. I learned to be generous but not a fool, and be fair and honest. Because he was such a big believer in doing right in this world so you won't have a problem looking yourself in the mirror, so am I. 

Honor, Courage, and Commitment are the values of the United States Marine Corps. They define a Marine. And like learning the Cowboy Code, the Corps' core values become an all important part of who you are for your entire life.

And yes, I know that all Marines don't adhere to those values. Heck, that was the "10%" that I worked with. Some were good and the refresher course worked well, while others it didn't. Facts are fact and the fact is that some Marines end up representing everything that Marines are not supposed to stand for. Duty means nothing to them, honor is a convenience, and courage is something that others will have but they we probably never know.

So when my friend asked me to write something about an Arizona Fireman who refused to respond to last month's shootings that left six people dead and 13 wounded including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson. I became curious why?

The fireman was Mark Ekstrum, and as he said, he was "too distraught and distracted to focus on the emergency. And so why was he so distraught, well Ekstrum was supposedly a supporter of Congresswoman Giffords, and yes, he had voted for Giffords and worked actively to support her.

When I heard that, I thought that that doesn't make sense. If he was her supporter, then why didn't he want to be the  first there to help her? After all, he was a supporter right.

So why did he refuse to go on that emergency call?  It's now being reported that because of Ekstrum, his unit's response may have been delayed because the firefighters had to stop and pick up a replacement for him. Ekstrum gave a statement to his department officials earlier this week explaining his actions. The statement says he was aware of the shooting and became "distraught over the magnitude of how this would affect our country."

Give me a break here! Does that sound like an excuse, or what?

It's being reported that he was "summoned to the scene but refused to go on political grounds." And before you start thinking that this is some "kid" just hold off a minute, he is a 28-year Fire Department Veteran. Imagine that!

Supposedly after his crew returned, Ekstrum apologized to his co-workers and explained that the circumstances of the shooting "brought up a lot of anger and made him ineffective as a firefighter."

In a statement to CNN, Ekstrum said, "I am very passionate about my country and was distraught over the magnitude of how this would affect our country," And again went on to say, "I became distracted to the point of not being able to perform my routine station duties to such an extent that I seriously doubted my ability to focus on an emergency call."

Well, friends, I'm just glad that all Fireman are not created equal.

I read that Joe Gulotta, the assistant Fire Chief for the Tuscon Fire Department, said that "Ekstrum had been enraged by his perception that the shooter had acted out of ideological motivation."

Joe Gulotta shows that not all Fireman are created equal in that he called Ekstrum's refusal to respond "unheard of" and "unacceptable," and Joe said that his department was "moving forward with disciplinary action."

As for Mark Ekstrum, well he retired before that could happen just two days after the shooting. Imagine that!

I'm willing to bet that Joe Gulotta understands that meaning of the words "Duty, Honor, Commitment." And God knows, he must understand what "Courage" means. I'm willing to bet that Joe has lived those words.

It's a shame that Mark Ekstrum will never understand those words. He has no value system to sustain him. And how can I said that, you might ask? Well I believe that if he did, than he would have understood that doing your duty is not a pick and pull sort of arrangement.

When the call comes in and seconds are on the line, it is not your job to say which emergency is the one that you will go on and which one you won't. That attitude doesn't feed the bulldog. That's simply not what you signed up for, and agreed to. I believe that that sort of action is inexcusable, and maybe it should be considered criminal.

But right now, I can't help but wonder if Mark Ekstrum has a problem looking himself in the mirror without lying to himself.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Obama Funding Gay Instruction For Marines

Talk About Wasteful Military Spending!

Last December, Marine Corps Commandant General James Amos said he opposed ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" because "allowing openly gay Marines to serve could get Marines killed in combat."

In front of Congress, he talked about how ultimately the voices of forward-fighting combat Marines who worried about unit cohesion was more important than a Pentagon Survey. 

The Commandant said this so that there would be no mistaking his words, "Mistakes and inattention or distractions cost Marines lives."

Then he went on to say, "That's the currency of this fight. I take that very, very seriously. I don't want to lose any Marines to the distraction. I don't want to have any Marines that I'm visiting at Bethesda (the National Naval Medical Center in Maryland) with no legs be the result of any type of distraction."

But that was December and before the Democrat controlled House left office, they gave President Obama a gift to celebrate about. It was their voting for the repeal of the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy enacted under President Clinton.

Now since January when Conservatives took control of the House of Representatives, Obama has now started talking about ways to cut the spending.

According to the Obama Administration there is not enough money for salary increases for our military personnel. And I am told that there is no funds available for addition uniform needs and related individual combat equipment for our troops, and I'm told that our troops have to buy many things on their own. Some troops, especially some of my fellow Marines, have written me saying that they have had to buy their own desert uniforms accessories and related individual combat equipment before being deployed overseas.

And no, I've never heard of such a thing! That is other than Soldiers during the Civil War between 1861 and 1865 buying some of their own weapons in some cases.

We Americans were told when Obama first entered the White House that he wanted to charge our wounded troops for the Medical Care that they were receiving from the military. In fact this White House "floated" an idea to make our returning wounded pay for ALL of their Medical Care, both during their time in the service and after they are released from Active Duty when they seek care from the Veterans Administration for their Service Connected Disabilities.

One of Obama's Campaign Promises was to bring the troops home no matter what. And his reasoning was that we cannot afford what the war in Iraq was costing us. It was money better spent at home, we were told.

But wait, with the winding down of combat operations in Iraq and now Afghanistan so we're told, now one of our Marine Generals in Afghanistan says Marines under his command "will undergo training to prepare for the repeal of the military's ban on openly gay troops before they return home."

Yes, that's right. According to the Obama Administration there is no money for more Combat Training or other additional such as say Anti-Terrorist Training that might be needed to prevent another 9/11. Most people don't know that during President Carter Administration that was the first thing to be cut by his administration, all Military Training programs. Obama seems to be revising that policy for his own uses.

According to Obama there are no funds available to cover additional training, or uniform costs, or a decent pay raise, or to assist military families who face extreme financial hardship. Many military families are facing extreme hardship having their husbands and wives leave good paying civilian jobs when they were called up for active duty while a Reservist.

And yes, according to this White House there are no funds available for even the smallest program to assist our troops when getting ready to re-enter society as civilians. And yes, you're also right that he has stated that there is no money to put troops on our southern border at the front door of that war torn area of Mexico where Americans on this side of the border are being kidnapped and killed routinely. No matter how bad it get and the other side becomes even more of a wasteland of death and destruction, a battlefield, Obama refuses to observe the first rule of being President -- protect the American people.

But wait!

On February 17, 2011, Maj. Gen. Richard Mills told reporters in a teleconference call from Helmand Province that all Marines coming off the battlefield will undergo formal classes, discussion groups, and "extensive" training to make sure each individual understands the new rules.

Imagine the picture here. You are a Marine who just left the battlefield, "the battlefield," then as soon as you get back to the rear, your Commander-In-Chief isn't concerned about probable problems with PTSD or a "cooling down" period for you. Heck No!

No! Instead your Commander-In-Chief whats you the Marine who just left the battlefield to go sit through Federal Funded "formal classes, discussion groups, and extensive training" so that you will get along with gays.  It sounds almost too asinine to believe even for coming from Obama.

The AP reports that this is "the first time that the Marines Corps has revealed specific details on how it plans to train troops for the repeal of  DON'T ASK DON'T TELL."

Then went on to state, "the Marine Corps was the most resistant to the change according the Pentagon's military-wide poll."

According to the reports, Maj Gen Mills says, "Educational Material for the training has been distributed to senior officers and it includes setting up scenarios and handling ethical discussions."

Imagine that! Maybe someone should ask how much money is all of this Gay Instruction costing the American Taxpayers? How much did that so-called "Educational Material" cost? How much is all of this Political Correctness costing us both financially and morally as a Nation?

And maybe some people should ask who was in favor of this policy in the first place? The answer is the Liberal Left who owns Obama and who steer his policies.

Maj Gen Mills went on to say, "The classes' Instructors will be trained in the next month or so."

Wow! That hits home with me because that's a big deal in the Corps. As a former Marine and an Instructor, that is a really big deal! 

You see like all Marines, I had Drill Instructor, Close Combat Instructors, Primary Marksmanship Instructors, First Aid Instructors, Heavy and Light Weapons Instructors, Nuclear Biological and Chemical Weapons Instructors, and a bunch of other Instructors.

Being an "Instructor" in the Corps is a big deal and many, if not all, Marines aspire to being Instructors one day. Most would enjoy their chance at being a Drill Instructor. For all Marines, among the many Instructors that we have during our time, we never forget our Drill Instructors.

Well friends, I never ever met a Marine who wanted to be known as a "Gay Instructor."

I'm sorry, but it honestly goes against the grain. Call me "Old Fashion," heck I probably am, but back in my day it was the fastest way to a punch in the mouth. Simply call some guy "queer" or "fag" and the fight was on. I understand tolerance, and I believe Marines are better than the Higher Ups make them out to be. Marines tolerate a great deal.

It's bad enough that the Obama Administration is sticking this to our military while completely rejecting what branches like the Corps says what they need.  I don't think Marines need "formal classes, discussion groups, and extensive training" regarding gay troops. Besides can you imagine yourself walking into a building and asking this question to a group of Marine Sergeants, "Which one of you Sergeants is the Gay Instructor?"

I know it might be funny, but really it's not. It's just more meddling with something that is not broken in the name of CHANGE. It's all about CHANGE that is unwarranted to a Corps that is not broken and which thrives on age old traditions.

But if the Liberal Left in America can break the Corps' spirit and truly achieve its goal to feminize the Marine Corps' Warrior Creed, then all of the Liberals in America can rejoice and can hang a banner of their own to declare "Mission Accomplished."

I believe the Left in America would spend any amount of Taxpayer dollars to see that come to fruition. A feminized America is a Liberal's dream come true.




The Marines, The Few, The Proud, The Politically Incorrect!

SEMPER FI!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

AN OLD COWBOY'S ADVICE

A Poem by Tom Correa


Most folks today work hard just try’n to stay sane,
And today’s Cowboys are pretty much the same.

No matter if young or old, Wrangler, Paniolo, or Vaquero,
They all love an early morning ride through hills that roll
Up from a valley floor of green and golden plains,
The feel of a comfortable saddle that's been maintained,
A brand of their own, jackpot money, ropings, and rodeo.

Cowboys love Quarter Horses, geldings, a mare with heart and a lot of go,
A broad chest, a kind eye, a nice built bay, and tall sorrels.

They love the aroma of fresh coffee wake’n camp to shake the dew,
The sound of a crackling fire, a sip of whiskey, and a good joke or two,
California’s Sierras, the vastness of Montana, and herds of Buffalo.

They love the word “Liberty”, being ready to fight for Freedom never gets old,
And when the sun falls behind Old Glory and she takes on a glow,
A Cowboy will find a feeling that goes right to his soul.

So if a gnaw’n desire becomes fact, go pull your saddle off its rack.
Saddle up slow, and mount up after you take in ‘er slack,
And ride out not caring what time you get back.

Just set your speed and travel use’n a few common sense rules:
First, remember to care for your horse knowing what he can and can’t do.
Second, remember an all day ride ought to be rode with slow pleasure,
Because a constant lope will sooner or later have 'em winded and nowhere.

Move easy with an eye on the terrain, and always watch for bad weather,
All can appear flat and clear, but never give away your slicker.

Don’t let yourself get bogged down with useless questions or ponder
The clever short cuts and easy this or that trail used by others.
The right way might be a hard road, but it won’t last forever,
And the lessons you learn along that trail you’ll always remember.

So try not to trespass where it’s someone else’s estate,
And for God's sake, if you do, please don’t forget to close those gates.

Now if you can’t enjoy the cool smell of summer rain in all of God’s wonder,
And the uncertainties of life truly has you bothered,
Keep in mind, what matters is you, family, compadres, and home.

Gather ‘em up with a faith in God, your horse, and all you’ve sewn,
And hang on to ride out the rough times you're going through!

No matter if young or old, Wrangler, Paniolo, or Vaquero,
Remember to smile knowing you truly can hold your own!

And if some so and so should ask, “Why are you smiling so much today?”
Just go ahead and keep smiling, it doesn't matter what you would say,
Most folks have to figure things out in their own way.

Afterall Cowboys today work hard just try’n to stay sane,
And most folks today are pretty much the same.


Monday, February 14, 2011

The Warrior Rooster

Story by Tom Correa

It's not enough that I pick on the Navy as much as I do when he’s around. No, now my neighbor has started calling one of his strange acting bantam roosters by the guy's name.

Then thinking about it, I really understood because that isn't the first rooster that my neighbor has named after one of the guys around this area. Both other times it seemed to be pretty accurate.

The first was an old rooster who lost his crow and couldn't do what roosters do, and before you knew it the rooster was named after a former Legion Commander.

The next was a scrawny looking pint size bantam rooster who thinks he's 6 foot 4 and about 240 pounds around the hens. My neighbor's family calls him the General after one of the guys who lives nearby. I've seen that rooster, and yes he acts just like him. It's too funny really.

As for this Navy rooster, well it's the only rooster that I've ever heard of that will sit a clutch of eggs. Usually once a rooster has fertilized the eggs then he has nothing more to do with the hatching other than his job of guarding the flock. A rooster will never brood a clutch of eggs.

And yes, after seeing that rooster, well I agree that it does act a lot like our Sailor friend. A little strange acting really! I can't help but wonder about a rooster that goes against nature! I knew that that's the way some Sailors are, and though our Sailor friend is a bit quirky he's certainly not a freak of nature. At least I don't think he is.

Now to some of the people at the American Legion some of this Navy bashing, which is nothing more than part of a 235 year old Navy verses Marine Corps rivalry, it must seem to border contempt. I actually enjoy watching some of the shocked looks as they hear the Navy attack and the Marine Corps counter and vice versa.

They must think we really don't like each other, which of course is just not the truth.

Yes, really, cross my heart, I have no contempt for the Navy! I have nothing but respect for all of our branches of Service including the Coast Guard who I'm not sure who they're under these days. The poor Coast Guard has never been a part of our military to my knowledge, and yet they have been well kinda sorta.

Why dod I say kinda sorta is because they are a military organization, yet they used to come under the Treasury Department. And now, I think they are under Homeland Security. But again, I'm not real sure.

So are they military or aren't they? And if they are then why aren't they a part of the Pentagon and the Department of Defense? And if they are not military, does their budget still come under military spending budgets?

That's OK, I'm sure one of the roosters around here would know. Heck the place is full of roosters really. Just ask the former Sailor who now has a rooster named after him, I'd bet he'd tell you!

He and I have talked about important things like the history of the Navy, the reason for ships bells, or why didn't he tell George Washington to sit down in the boat as he crossed the Delaware?

But don't think he doesn't dish it out. After all he comes back asking me if I was the Marine who told General MacArthur to say those immortal words that he shall return, or if I really was part of the Marine Security Detachment at the Last Supper?

So it's all fair.

And yes, I've shook my head in disbelief a few times when he tells one of his Sea Stories. And God knows I'm sure he's done the same a time or two listening to me, but when he said he had qualified Marines during their annual Rifle Qualification - and that he was the only Sailor in the entire Navy who was qualified to do so? Well I just couldn't beat that one!

And though after hearing his stories, yes I've actually wondered how the Navy has kept functioning after he retired. I've also concluded that his tales are pretty harmless, and hopefully he feels the same about mine.

But now that brings me to my concern lately. It’s about what kind of rooster will my neighbor pick to name after me? Will he be some robust hearty big beautiful specimen of rooster that would win prizes at the Calaveras County Fair?  Will he be some young hen chaser who knows his job?

Well I saw my neighbor a day or two ago, and while trying to be funny I asked him where’s the rooster that he’s going to name after me?

First he looked at me a little strange and then let out a laugh before saying that he and his wife were already talking about that. Then he said that he and his wife wanted some rooster that fit me and my story telling nature.

Oops, I thought. I knew this could be trouble.

You see there is one unwritten rule to telling a Sea Story or a War Story for those who have never known the pleasure of being either a Sailor or Marine. You see it is one thing when you are full of beans and everyone knows you're full of beans and it's all in fun, but it's a whole nother thing when you believe your own Sea Stories.

The rule is, if the Sea Story is a tall tale, then you are never to start believing your own tall tales!

And what makes a great Sea Story you may ask? What makes a tall tale a great tale? Well an old Gunny of mine once asked me if I knew the secret to a great Sea Story? And not just a regular run of the mill Sea Story, but a great Sea Story?

Well I remember answering, "No," and waiting for my Gunny's wisdom to come pouring forth. And yes, he didn't fail me.

He said, "Well a great Sea Story, or any War Story, should be like a Fishing Story. You keep the fish the same size, but you make the catching sound better!"

Now though I've never forgotten that rule or to try to keep the fish the same size, I understand how some of my Sea Stories can sound a bit far-fetched. True as they may be!

So wanting to know I finally asked, "OK, what kind of rooster would you have in mind for me? Maybe since I’m from Hawaii you want to find some feral rooster like those in Kauai? Maybe a great champion cock fighter?"

I stopped suggesting when he shook his head no.

Instead he said, "My wife and I picture a rooster with sword in hand, blind in one eye, and kicking butt, still an Old Warrior Rooster! Sort of what American Indians call a Walking Eagle!"

"Walking Eagle? No kidding?" I asked, although never hearing the term, it sounded pretty good.

“Yup,” my neighbor laughed, “So full of shit, he can’t fly.”




© Tom Correa