Tag Archive | Media

“I speak to you from hallowed ground.”

 

“I am speaking to you today from hallowed ground.”

Just for the period of time it takes to read this post, I’d like you to imagine the words are being read to you by Charles Kuralt. All of you under forty are probably asking, “Who in the hell is Charles Kuralt?” Charles Kuralt was “the voice” of a CBS program that aired for years. It was titled On The Road. His distinctive voice was the signature for this show … a show that was all his.  On The Road was just that, Charlie nosed around the nooks, crannies, highways, and byways of the US. I know it may be hard for the younger folks who read this post to believe, but once upon a time their were actual journalists on national television that were true to their vocation, not their political beliefs. It was a time before we were divided into blocks for political opportunism. Kuralt found and touched the heart and the soul of his viewers. As you read my words, hear them through his voice.

The historical marker for Camp Blanding. Though it tries to tell the story it can only hint at the brave people who traveled through history here.

I’m speaking to you today from a few hundred yards off of Florida Highway 16. It’s about midway between two places you probably never heard of, the towns of Starke to the west and Green Cove Springs which lies eastward. The grass field I’m sitting in the middle of, is part of the Camp Blanding Museum. Around me are the tools of wars past. They’re reminders of what this place was, one of the important training areas for a war that would engulf the world. What remains of this site as an active military center is behind the entrance south of the museum. It’s only a token of what was once arguably the largest city in Florida. Over 300,000 men and women trained or worked here. Look around and you see what young men came to this place to learn to use. They had to do this to help win a war we could have lost and as importantly to give them their best chance of surviving it.

One of the artillery pieces on display. An artillery barrage was an infantryman’s worst nightmare.

This 1 1/2 ton truck was a World War II workhorse. Men road in it and supplies it carried kept them fighting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sherman. This M4A1 version was a medium tank. Shermans were the primary battle armor used by US forces in WWII. Its numbers offset the German armors superiority.

Looking inside the drivers compartments of these vehicles is a shock to some. The levers, switches, and mechanisms are crude by 2017 standards. A young man asked, “Did they really fight in these things?” An old man answered, “We sure did and we did a damned good job of it!” There was more in his voice than pride in having served and survived. In his eye and tone there was that reverence those who have experienced combat have for those they knew who did not return to stand here today.

The lawn around the museum is home to many vehicles. Half-tracks, DUKWs, ambulances, trucks, field pieces, all are pages of a book that tell us a story. Even a C-47 transport plane with D-day markings graces a concrete pad, a reminder of 508th Paratroop Regiment who trained in the sands beyond the guard gate.

Mixed in with the vehicles are monuments to the Army units that trained here and the people that were flesh and bone that gave them life. Among them was the Big Red One – the first army division. Nine infantry divisions lived here and learned about war on these grounds. There are monuments to the extra brave who began their journey into hell at this place. One honors distinguished service cross recipients and another the nations highest award, The Medal of Honor. Both have a significant number of names chiseled into stone to remind us of sacrifice and that sometimes forgotten word – honor.

Going inside the museum is like stepping through a time portal on Star Trek. We see what we were. What we did. Right and wrong.

A D-day newspaper. This sealed Hitler’s fate.

A GI dressed for battle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pictures and exhibits show us what a base for a quarter of a million men looked like. Row upon row of small cabins, barracks like the one the museum is housed in, hospitals, theaters, commissary buildings, maintenance facilities, everything that a city of that size needed to exist was built in Florida’s wilderness. Work on Blanding was a seven day a week, three shift schedule in 1940-1941. Today, most of the 150,000 acres that is Camp Blanding has been reclaimed by the pine barrens and swamps from which it was hacked. Concrete foundations, weathered and hidden by nature, dot the ground and are the ghosts that haunt these woods.

Reminders of the past always bring bitter to go with sweet. Exhibits remind us of where we’ve been, some of them telling us of what we did wrong. The Army of 1940 was one that was still segregated. Separate facilities, living areas, even swimming lakes are indictments of what just one of our societies mistakes has been.

It tells us of things we did correctly. Few know that many German POWs were transported to the USA. Camp Blanding hosted around 2,000. They lived in the same type facilities as our GIs. They were given jobs and paid to do them. Contrast that to the fate of POWs in German or Russian hands. Less than 10% survived the war and literally this amounted to millions of deaths. More than 15% of Germans elected to stay in the US and become citizens and over 98% survived.

Places like this, Camp Blanding, are places that should bring us together. We can attempt to change history, there are those who do, but it really won’t change. Camp Blanding is a string tied around our finger, like ones used by our country men before computers, to remind them of something they had to do. If we forget the good and bad that history teaches, we’ll neither continue our virtues or avoid our mistakes. Humans are on a long voyage of discovery. That discovery is how imperfect we really are. We have to embrace what we have become, not languish in what we were, but learn from where we’ve been.

The Medal of Honor.

 

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Water, water everywhere …… 18″ and still raining!

Water everywhere! This is a picture of Pine Island Elementary School and the road to it. Notice the depth of the water on the Stop and road sign! The entire area is one large lake.

Rain, rain … go away! Come again some other day!

That’s an old saying, but it certainly holds true for a couple of sections in the US today! Those poor people in Houston! We can appreciate what they are going through and we send our sympathy and prayers to them. Here in Bokeelia, on Pine Island, Florida, we’ve gotten a taste of what some of our Texas friends are experiencing. WINK-TV our local CBS affiliate reported we had over 18″ of rain in the last 4 days and we’ve had significant rains since. Water is everywhere! So much so it’s hard for a female canine to find a spot to pee in without having the puddle … ooohhhh, you know!

There’s another reason for Bokeelia to understand the plight of those folks in Rockport, Corpus Christie, and Houston. The last category 4 storm to crash into the US came ashore here and the eye passed over this community. The Geezer went through Charley. What a horrible experience! It took him and Mrs. G two years to really recover and they are still paying for its costs. He posted some pictures of it and some suggestions to help Harvey’s victims on his blog. If you want to see them, click on the link on the left side of this post.

The Geezer had to make a trip out into the storms yesterday to record a radio program. (At WKDW in North Port a trip of around 40 miles) Parts of the trip there and back were better suited to a boat than the car he drove. He took some pics and these are shown below.

Water covering SW Florida pastures. In most places there isn’t a two foot change in elevation for miles. Pity the wildlife that has no where to go!

Water streams across Burnt Store Road, one of the major arteries connecting communities. Water covered highways & streets for miles of his trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

People were using canoes and kayaks to get around.

Road pictures. This is Stringfellow Road the main (and only) north/south highway on Pine Island’s 16 mile length.

A “side road” or is that a canal? See if you know where the road is — we didn’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The picture speaks for itself!

The white and yellow lines were a great driving aid … when the water was shallow enough to see them.

Traveling on the Stringfellow canal. Note that cars were forced to straddle the road’s crown or flood out.

Note! Da coconut, she float. See them … those aren’t ducks.

A palm nursery that won’t need irrigation for a while!

Our neighbors front yard. Luckily we are high enough that 95% of our yard is above water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, we have lots of water … and some problems … but nothing we can’t handle. Do what you can to help those folks on the Texas coast. We’ve been there, done that. THEY NEED HELP. Send your prayers and anything you can spare to them.

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I thought I’d show you my ass. I see humans doing it on TV constantly.

I thought I’d show my ass. It’s a nice intelligent ass. It has a IQ higher than most politicians and TV commentators!

I have a simple piece of advice I’ve heard my human give to others at times. I hope someone will pass it along to the humans I have to endure on the TV every d—-d day! You know those talking heads and politicians you hear screaming on the tube. The only thing you know when they finish is they’re lying to you.

I truly hope that I may find,

Enough wisdom in my mind,

Too understand that others thoughts may be,

Equal to those that arise from me!

 

Things are so bad this week I find it difficult to bear. I had to bark something. One of my canine friends says his humans are mounting their TV on the wall at a 45 degree angle, so when they watch … things aren’t so slanted.

 

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Why, a question we need to ask more frequently, but alas … don’t.

 

Here I am in the act of pondering why things are as they are. Anyone have an aspirin?

I wonder if there is a more powerful or disturbing word in any language than why. It’s a painful word. Why? (There’s that word) It makes us think. That is something many don’t like to do. I find thinking is particularly distressing for human’s to attempt.

Dogs’ “why” questions normally can be logically answered. Consider our questions and our answers.

Q. Why do dogs chase cars?  A. We feel like bullies chasing squirrels.

Q. Why do dogs have to go outside for bathroom duties?  A. Humans put the toilet paper in places we can’t reach when sitting on the john.

Q. Why do dogs fetch balls or sticks when a human throws them.  A. Humans are too stupid to give treats to their dogs unless prompted.

Q. Why do dogs hate cats?  A. We don’t, but we have to pretend we do so humans think we’re normal … don’t humans all hate some group? Republicans? Democrats? I could go on forever.

Q. Why do dogs chase their tails? A. We only do this when we are bored and need exercise. This can be the result of watching too much television. It is also caused by trying to emulate Congress.

Notice that canines have straight-forward, logical answers to our “why” questions. Dogs admire logic. I’m sure a canine poll would disclose that Mr. Spock would be among our favorite media characters.

Dogs tend to admire strong minded, low key people who control their emotions. That’s why we bite so many TV commentators and politicians.

I think its interesting to consider some of the common “why” questions that humans struggle with.

Q.  Why did the chicken cross the road?  A.  Human’s actually debate this. My question is … Why is there any doubt? The damned chicken wants to get to the other side. So simple, yet humans wrestle with an answer. Who knew ………..

Q.  Why do humans cheat on their spouses?  A. They wear clothes. No one knows what they’re getting until its too late!  (Note: We dogs have a clear vision of what the “possibilities” are!)

Q.  Why do politicians lie?  A. Humans struggle with this and try to come up with all manner of explanations that have to do with ideology, character, etc. Come on humans! Politicians lie for 5 reasons: 1) They believe voters are stupid. (in some cases this is correct) 2) The shape of their tongue (forked) makes telling the truth impossible 3) Most have no idea what the truth is 4) They want to get elected and don’t care about honesty. 5) They will get their own health care plan and don’t have Obama care if elected.

Q. Why do humans buy fancier cars and bigger homes than they can afford?  A. They need the space to contain and carry around their egos.

Q. Why do dogs develop conditioned responses while humans continue to repeat the same errors? A. Pavlov never had to try to teach a human.

Thinking is painful and difficult for homo sapiens. They do other things better. As an English poet once wrote, in part … “Ale man, ales the thing to drink … For all of you it hurts to think.”

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Vindicating vacation value …

“Where do you want to go, Geezer?” I asked.

He thought for at least two minutes, that’s a long time when you’re waiting for an answer. Finally, he spoke, “Remember Seinfeld famously said his show was about nothing? So, I want to do the Seinfeld thing … Nothing. I want to go where I can do that.”

I looked at him wondering if the steam in his boiler had escaped. “Nothing? You can do that at home.”

“No Sandy, I can’t. The phone rings, the Internet calls, my next chapter demands to be worked on if I stay here. So … I’m going where no phone will bother me, where there’s no wifi, and to a place I’m far away from my research notes and computer.”

“Is there such a place beside heaven?”

“Yes, I think I’ve found utopia.” He smiled. “We’re going to Amity.”

The view from Amity Cabin’s front porch – A beautiful 38 acre lake we had to ourselves. Except for fish that lined up to strike our lures.

 

The place DL found was off the beaten path. Let me rephrase: This wonderful piece of seclusion was off a once used game trail. Located in Mississippi near the Alabama line, the farm Amity Cabin is built on isn’t close to anything most Americans recognize as a “destination.” The rolling terrain, the beauty of the unspoiled pines, magnolia blossoms, curious deer, and mirror-like-lake, wrapped  a serenity blanket around us.

Pines in the morning mists

A full house … The Mississippi Martin Family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’d been at Amity for three days when the old boy’s wisdom became undeniably evident. He’d found the ultimate location and way to relax. We sat on the porch, watching martins pilot their bodies over the lake, dipping, zigging, zagging, and intercepting insects that would be their babies’ lunch. “I have to tell you, Geezer, I thought you were crazy. You weren’t. This is the closest thing to a battery charger for humans I’ve ever seen.”

He nodded. “The one solace accumulating years brings is the wisdom experience imparts. I spent years going on vacations that were scheduled tighter than my work regimen prescribed. I’d race from attraction to attraction, take advantage of sight-seeing or night-life at any place I happen to stay, and squeeze in some work to salve my misguided conscience. The result … I was exhausted at its conclusion. A vacation from the vacation seemed necessary. Then, I discovered this is what I needed. When I returned from a true rest, I found my productivity and creativity returned to the 150% I strive for.”

Mrs G and I had time to read our favorite magazine, Garden & Gun – Wow – what a luxury.

The Geezer rockin’ the day away on Amity Cabin’s front porch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While our life style was definitely not an episode of “Naked and Afraid,” we were able to commune with nature. Deer visited daily … herons, owls, hawks, martins, robins, cardinals, and a multitude of other birds flitted around us … quail whistled “bob-white” from sun-up to sun-down, and a raccoon peered through the glass front door each evening, daring me to give chase. I didn’t even bark at him … not after his first appearance. It was my chance to relax, too.

 

A magnificent magnolia blossom. – The candle holders in the photo show size – each is 5″ in diameter. These flowers’ fragrance sweeten each day at Amity.

 

Most importantly, it was away from the filth Washington and the New York media dumps on us daily. There are no (vomit) politics on the farm. There are no assassination attempts at Amity. The only ABC we saw was in books we read. The FOX we watched had four legs. The Washington Post found its best purpose … to wrap garbage.

Yep, the value of our vacation was vindicated.

 

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Do you ever wonder???

I reflect best when I ride. Some of the things I’ve wondered about recently are shared below.

A couple of days ago the Geezer and Mrs. G were running errands and took me along. They know how much I love the car. This is particularly true when we’re going somewhere … you know, like on vacation or a book signing trip. This wasn’t nearly as much fun.

The half-day was a series of short drives from uninspired stop to uninspired stop. The car would get hot after a few minutes parked in the Florida sun. It’s May. It’s 90. It’s boring! I shared this emotion with either the Geezer (most of the time) or Mrs. G as one or the other sat with me while the other performed some mundane task. The expressions on their faces said, “Ennui!” If anything, they were more bored than me!

Don’t get me wrong. I love being petted and having my ears scratched. The Geezer always has treats to reward me for just being his buddy. The windows were down in back so I could exercise my nostrils. But all these enjoyments have limits. I was bored to the point of distraction. That distraction started me wondering if other canines (and humans) wondered the same things I wonder. I’ll share a few of these wonders with you.

Do you ever wonder, if a few generations from now, human babies will be born without hands? If Darwin is correct they’ll be replaced with a cell phone on one side and a game tablet on the other. Will they be called right celled or left celled?

Do you ever wonder what television would be like if every program wasn’t a vehicle for pushing a political view or an ideological agenda? I’ve seen archaeological artifacts like, Ozzie and Harriet, Fantasy Island, and Dragnet that entertained without rubbing manure in your nose every minute.

Do you ever wonder why human ladies spend so much on the “latest style?” It would be smarter to just keep your old clothes for a long enough time so that some high-priced designer re-invented something that was done forty or fifty years ago. Hey, pants suites are now rompers. Remember the “chemise” and the “sack dress?” They’ve come back under a new title. Micro-mini skirts do keep their same title, though the Geezer calls them “water cooler stop lights.” Anybody know why? Anyway, my coat is always in style.

Do you ever wonder if we’ll get the politicians and TV anchors to settle their arguments Roman Style. In the Coliseum. Televised. With appropriate weapons. How about Sean Hannity versus Chris Mathews with battle axes? Or Hilary Clinton versus Sarah Palin with maces? Why not Ted Cruz fighting Chuck Schumer using long swords? Think of the attraction of Jon Stewart matching up with Rush Limbaugh. They can fight each other with shovels and huge piles of manure. The first one that covers and smothers the other, wins! After all, it’s these individuals creating the huge divisions in the country. Really, 75% of the people would just like them to go away.

Do you ever wonder when humans will figure out that reading is the best way to get information? Stuff on TV, in movies, or on the radio, effects people primarily based on presentation … NOT SUBSTANCE! If humans read most speeches or documentaries made on/for TV, etc. they’d learn something completely different than the quick view that’s intended to trick them. Reading actually gives you time to think and question information.

Do you ever wonder why canines are so far superior to humans as a species? No further explanation required.

I love my human. He is an inferior species, but this is even more of a reason for me to look after him.

 

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And the results are … The Geezer will win no Oscars or Emmys

It was unanimous. The Geezer won’t win an Oscar for his acting this year. He wasn’t nominated for his TV presence so that means no Emmy. I could have told you that when I tried to be the spokes-dog for his commercial.

I consider it a lost opportunity for both of us. Just think of the sales power of having his novel represented by the first canine pitch person. I’d have been a sensation. Move over Flo, your ads would no longer be progressive. I would have made the Geico Gecko just another little lizard. Shaq is a good guy, but I’m sure he’d be unemployed by the General when they took one look at my TV charisma. My delivery of “The Bait Man!” would wipe the memory of “Where’s the beef?” from even old-timers’ minds. I fit in with the mod trends. Notice how many Golden Retrievers are featured in TV commercials. I could have raised the ad (and canine gravitas) to new heights even overshadowing Duke, the Bush Beans huckster dog. Take a look at me and then picture that just slightly photogenic canine. I don’t even think his pedigree is legit.

I’d be beautiful as a spokesperson on TV! This is my official photo. Any of you agents interested?

Just so you know that this isn’t just my opinion, I decided to bring up the subject of a comparison of my talent vs the Geezer at the neighborhood convocation of the Canine Chowder and Ham-bone Marching Society. The questions to and answers from some of the attendees are below. Note, I asked the questions like most national poles. They are absolutely, positively, unfailingly stated in a manner that will elicit a unbiased, honest and uninfluenced answer. (I think)

Q. Sandy – Who do you think would be chosen as the the “top dog” TV commercial presenter in a contest? Me or the Geezer.

A. Lucy (Cocker Spaniel) – Paws down it would be you. His delivery lacks your bite and bark.

Q. Sandy – Would I be more appealing to readers with my golden glow or would the Geezer with his mortuary clothes?

A. King (German Shepard) – Ahhhh, Hummmm, Aaaaaa, I guess gold is worth more than coal on the market. Yes it would definitely, kind of would be you. Maybe.

Q. Sandy – Who do you think would impress TV viewers more? Me with my commanding expression or the Geezer with his mannerisms?

A. Manny (Chihuahua) – But of course, it is you. I think. I do not stink, I mean I do not think he could sell as many books as you, particularly to groups like ours. I do stink he might sell some books to huuumans. I mean think, I think.

There you have it. Publish the results on CNN. I’ve included a link to the commercial so you can see for yourself.

https://vimeo.com/broadcastcenter/review/214064309/e880dd40e5

I have to say it was effective for humans who, by the nature of the species, are less discerning than canines. Humans attended his appearance at the Sandman Book Company in droves! It was standing room only! I should have a pic to place here, but I’ll need help untangling it. As soon as it comes in, I’ll edit this post to show it.

At Sandman Book Company. DL Draws good crowds. This was SRO.

A quick ADDITION!  DL will be speaking at the Fort Myers Beach Public Library tomorrow at 1:30 PM. Its on Estero Blvd. His subject is the research on his book “A Place No One Should Go” – Did you know the Gulf of Mexico’s level has been 4′ higher and 2′ lower in the last 2000 years?

 

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