The Lost Glory of War

January 17, 1991

I was 12 years old, laying on the floor as the afternoon sun faded away and doing my homework for my 6th-grade reading class for the next day.

The workbook was this stapled-together, quarter ream of light green pages that consisted of various English comprehension skills. I don’t recall it being difficult but do remember having that “big kid” feeling of being proud to have homework for school the next day.

Mike was 26 and talking through a tape recorder that we had started to use to send letters back and forth with. People had been doing that for years, but this cassette was almost two weeks old and from a land that I had a tough time understanding.

My oldest brother was talking about how things were going for him in the UAE.

Some months before that, my dad and I dug into the, dated but still relevant, collection of encyclopedia books in our house that they bought some time before my memories begin. At that point, these books might have been considered to be on the edge of being outdated, but I trusted those books with my fair share of reports that spared me having to go to the library up until that point. And sure enough, those musty books had information about the United Arab Emirates, and Mike was about to be stationed there with his Air Force squadron.

He went to college with the intent of enlisting to become a pilot, and I was always in such awe with all things military.

We have a deep history of people in my family who served in almost all branches of the armed forces, but Mike was the first one in ours.

Growing up as a kid in the wanning days of the Cold War and having other kids in the neighborhood with similar history in their extended families, the threat of conflict was always there. It became a fascination.

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The World Did Not End When Bill Clinton Was Elected President

I was 14 on the evening on November 3, 1992.

In the backseat of the car, Dad was driving, Mom in the passenger seat, 600 WMT on the radio, and the sun well below the horizon on a cold, fall night.

We had made the odd, Tuesday night run into Cedar Rapids to hit Sam’s Club, loading up the trunk with all sorts of bulk goods. Looking back on it now, maybe it was to get their minds off of what was going on that day. Usually these trips were a weekend event.

I can still remember not being very far from leaving the outskirts of the “big city” and going through the darkness of the country. We had been listening to the results come in on the radio the whole way there, but on the way home, the special bulletin hit.

Bill Clinton had been declared the winner and would become the next president.

In that backseat, I felt fear. Staring out into the darkness, I felt dread. My mind spiraled to the point where I felt like the world was going to end. The announcement scared me to my core.

I can’t remember what my parents said to each other about it, but they weren’t happy.

And then I just remember being cold.

I think about that night quite often. I think about those times quite often.

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Unexpected Wildlife Photography

While we were in Manning Park for their Dark Sky Festival last weekend, we decided to talk a walk around Lightning Lake to explore the area a little bit.  I had never been, so when we pulled into the day-use parking lot, I knew I had to grab my camera for the adventure. 

It actually ended up to be a great opportunity to not only take some breathtaking landscape photos, but some animals actually stopped to pose for me along the way.

Manning Park, Lightning Lake
Spruce Grouse
Manning Park, Lightning Lake
Baby Squirrel

The shade was very cool, and the sunlight was gloriously warm that day.

Manning Park, Lightning Lake
Manning Park, Lightning Lake
Manning Park, Lightning Lake
Manning Park, Lightning Lake
Manning Park, Lightning Lake

Live – White, Discussion

I have been trying to get back to listening to whole albums, start to finish, and picked this one as a bit of throw back while I did some work on my laptop a few weeks back. 

While this was a band that I immersed myself into during my teenage fandom years, it really struck me how this song is so fitting for the divisive, political climate we exist in today.

I talk of freedom
You talk of the flag
I talk of revolution
You’d much rather brag
And as the decibels of this disenchanting discourse
Continue to dampen the day
The coin flips again and again, and again, and again
As our sanity walks away
All this discussion though politically correct
Is dead beyond destruction
Though it leaves me quite erect
And as the final sunset rolls behind the earth
And the clock is finally dead
I’ll look at you, you’ll look at me
And we’ll cry a lot
But this will be what we said
This will be what we said
Look where all this talking got us, baby

Songwriters: Chad Alan Gracey / Chad David Taylor / Edward Joel Kowalczyk / Patrick Dahlheimer
White, Discussion

Below Zero on the Pentacrest

Bitter, Cold Day on the Pentacrest
A yearly visit back to Iowa City isn’t complete without a shot of this gorgeous, gold dome

When you go to the University of Iowa, this is a central point of many undergrads. If it’s not on your tour route, you have classes on the Pentacrest at some point.

I crossed this area many, many times. Some good memories, some not so much.

The one mantra that always comes back to me is my 20th Century Crisis professor that would often say, “Sometimes it pays to be a nerd.”

It took a number of years, but once you grasp that ideal, you block out the naysayers and carve your own path. Be a nerd about what you love to do and everything else will follow.

An Iowa IPA

Millstream Iowa Pale Ale
Cold, breezy day in winter on the Ped Mall

I used to spend a lot of time around these parts. 8 years in Iowa City, and this is the place that everyone always wanted to hang out. I took this picture yesterday, looking down there at a lot of fond memories.

One 4th of July during Jazz Fest, I was here helping with a full KSUI broadcast from the center of the Ped Mall when the clouds rolled in. I tend to remember saying to someone that “this doesn’t look good,” and suddenly the skies started pouring down. As the winds roared in, someone jumped on the microphone to say a hasty signoff and that we were ending the multi-hour broadcast rather early and quite abruptly.

We moved fast. Everything was piled into a four-door sedan, we crammed in, and were gone within 15 minutes. Not a piece of equipment was left behind or damaged.

Good times.

Foggy West End Morning

Foggy West End Morning
A foggy morning in the West End of Vancouver as the sun comes up over the horizon

Sometimes when you wake up in the morning, you have to be late getting into work so you can capture a moment like this.

The Coldest New Year’s Day

The Coldest New Year’s Day
-13F (-33F Windchill) in Iowa

Without a doubt, this has been the coldest morning of the New Year that I can remember. I do recall days of going to elementary school and being held inside for recess because the weather was unsafe due to the subzero windchills outside, mainly because there was always some kid who would lose his stocking hat on the bus ride in from the country or not bring gloves that day, but you never really grasp how frigid, cold weather can cause damaging effects that can last a lifetime.

Last night, as 2018 struck in the central time zone, windchills dipped to -34F, which is nearly at the point where subzero temperatures between Celsius and Fahrenheit are the same. Once -40 is reached, reference or calculation is no longer needed.

Today will certainly be quiet.