Friday, July 29, 2005

Over Where?

The other night, I caught the debut episode of the new original series on FX called Over There. In the tradition of M*A*S*H and Tour of Duty, Over There (OT) is a show set in one of America's wars; in this case, the War in Iraq, which is currently still operating. I had seen previews for OT, and what I saw looked pretty good. The combat scenes had that Saving Private Ryan, Blackhawk Down realistic quality, and the technical department seemed to get everything right as far as uniforms and equipment were concerned. I have to admit, I was looking forward to watching this show. Unfortunately, I am not looking forward to episode two. Allow me explain why.

First of all, the TV critic in the Sacramento Bee had nothing but glowing things to say about OT. He said that politics were left out of it and it just concentrated on the soldiers and their daily lives in the hostile environment of Iraq. He kept insisting that everything was neutral and there was nothing to get the left or the right riled up about this show. Shee-yeah, right. I spent 12 years in the United States Army. While I was only an adminstrative specialist and not an infantryman or anything like that, I did spend time in the field, and I did spend six months in a semi-hostile area (Macedonia). There were so many errors and misconceptions, I scarcely know where to begin. So in that case, let's begin at that very beginning of the show.

The episode began with a series of vignettes here in the states, introducing the different characters as they prepared to ship out to Iraq. The first thing you notice is that almost every one of them fits the Michael Moore profile of the average soldier: Low socioeconomically no matter which race, dysfunctional family, in the military because they have to be not because they want to be.

Admittedly, I met soldiers like that when I was in, especially soldiers who were ranked Private through Specialist. However, they were definitely not the rule. Most were just regular folks from good families... like me, who were patriotic and maybe wanted to do a little growing up before they went back to their regular lives.

I always get a chuckle out of military shows and movies from Hollywood, because the writers always think that everyone in the Army has a nickname. Not surprisingly, almost every character in OT had a nickname, such as Dim, Mrs. B, Double Wide, Angel, Smoke. I am searching my brain, and in my 12 years, not a single nicknamed soldier comes to mind in any of the units I was in. And yet this one unit in OT has five.

When the character "Smoke" is introduced, he is on base at his motor pool, standing out in the open smoking a joint. Yeah, good luck. Motor pools tend to be centers of activity; you would get caught in a nanosecond. Next, do you know how often soldiers get urinalysis testing? The whole scene looked rather anachronistic. If the show was supposed to take place in the 1970s, I could buy that scene a little easier.

Once the unit is out in the desert, they set up a perimeter near this mosque that they are not allowed to attack. At one point, it is night time, and they leave their positions to deploy forward to a closer position, then they dig in again. Mrs. B is not digging her hole fast enough, so two male soldiers try to help her. She begins yelling at them that she doesn't need any help, the enemy hears the commotion, and all hell comes raining down on the troops. When you are on a perimeter with the enemy close by, you know as a soldier and as a human being who wants to live, that you don't make noise. For Mrs. B to turn into a belligerent feminist right there on the battlefield was just a ridiculous piece of Hollywood pap. This scene reinforced the writers' notion that our soldiers are a bunch of dim bulbs. It made me sick.

Then there was the roadside bomb at the end of the episode. How nice of the terrorists in OT to mark the bombs with little flags sticking out of the dirt (although the Americans failed to notice them anyway, and a 5 ton truck got blown up). Improvised Explosive Devices in Iraq are hidden in dead animals, coffee cans, abandoned cars, and watermelons, but they are definitely not marked with helpful little flags. Also, common soldier knowledge is that when you stop a convoy in those conditions, you NEVER pull off to the side of the road, you stay parked right in the middle.

I could go on, but I'm sure you get my point. I was highly disappointed with
Over There. The producers had a chance to do a great thing, but once again, leftist Hollywood politics got in the way. What a shame.

Good Day to you, Sir.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Our Casually Dressed Society

Over at Mimmenblog (, George was talking about the more contemporary services at many churches that he sees as an affront to God. I agreed with him in a comment I posted, especially regarding the way people are dressed in church at these services. The problem with dressing casually isn't just found in our nation's churches however, it is found everywhere. Just this morning during our daily walk, I was lamenting to my wife that I didn't think I wore a shirt and tie enough during the last school year. I would like to wear one every day, but then I feel guilty for ignoring all the nice, but casual, clothes that are also in my closet, such as polo shirts and such. She made the suggestion that I should wear a shirt and tie on Mon-Thu, a polo or button up shirt with jeans on (casual) Fridays, then wear polos on weekends instead of t-shirts; save the t-shirts for working out and sleeping. I think it's a good idea. Before I got my permanent teaching job, I was a long term substitute teacher at a local high school. One of the other teachers in my department was this hippy long-of-tooth who dressed worse than the students. Don't get me wrong, he was a great guy, and I valued what I learned from him as a teacher, but almost every day, he would wear a t-shirt and jeans, and a pair of canvas-type Converse basketball shoes. He was a baby boomer who came of age in the 1960's, and it was his generation that threw formality out the window, all in the name of their utopian, egalitarian identity with the poor, oppressed working class. My dad is a great dresser. He always dresses up, even if he is going to travel some long distance in the car. He is into slacks, polo shirts, and dress shoes. I like that. When I was a kid, we traveled on Amtrak to see my relatives down in southern California. As we were waiting for the train to arrive, there was a fellow passenger standing next to us in jeans and a t-shirt. My dad proceeded to tell me that once upon a time, when people travelled, they dressed to kill. Whether it was a train, plane, or automobile, men wore suits, and women wore pretty dresses. Sometimes, I think I should have been born in the 1950's. I am not the only one who feels this way about our casually dressed nation. On the "Grrr" feature at Foxnews.Com, a guy named Brad posted his feelings about the subject, and I have pasted them for you below:

Casual dressing is a pox on our society. Our society has lost civility, manners and the remotest hint of personal responsibility ever since the 1950s and 1960s, and the decline in proper attire is only one symptom of the problem. Young people should be taught proper attire for each situation, but alas, their Baby Boomer parents have no clue, either. This is because they choose the mantra of "comfort" over belonging to a polite society, a sure sign of the selfishness that pervades our nation. Their choice in footwear is disrespectful of the office of the president, and is not acceptable, as you said, because they consider President Bush to be accessible. They simply don't know how to dress respectfully. When I go out to a nice restaurant and pay $30 or more for a plate, I don't wish to sit near someone who is wearing shorts, his "best" T-shirt and sandals. Sadly, this happens all too often, and it shows that the person does not have enough respect for that restaurant to present themselves in a respectable manner. That lack of respect reflects directly back on themselves. Whatever happened to dress codes? They need to be reinstated and enforced. A properly-attired society is the sign of a healthy, moral and, most importantly, responsible society.

Good Day to you Sir.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Followup to the "Che Affair"

In my last post, I talked about the teacher in the classroom next door to mine who has a poster of Che Guevara hanging on his wall. Today, I got something in the mail that I ordered a few days ago that will be my response to his gross misjudgement of proudly hanging the image of a ruthless murderer on his wall. I ordered, and received, a red t-shirt with an image of Ronald Reagan on it where he is striking a very Che-like pose. Under Reagan's image, it says "Viva la Reagan Revolucion!" I'm not sure whether to just wear the shirt as a lark from time to time, or hang it on my classroom wall. I hesitate to hang it on my wall, because I don't want to try to influence my students like my next-door neighbor is trying to do. On the other hand, the image I would be hangning on my wall would be of one of our greatest presidents who brought freedom to millions of oppressed people around the world and saved our economy from the crapper here at home. That is opposed to hanging an image of a man who murdered thousands of Cubans and helped turn an island paradise with some internal problems, into a tropical prison of oppression that thousands of Cubans have tried to flee. Some of those thousands who fleed, paid with their lives. Perhaps when I obtain tenure next year, I will be a little more brave about hanging Mr. Reagan on my wall. Until then, I will wear that shirt every chance I get. I also own a shirt that says, "I'm a Right Wing Nut Job". You ought to see the looks that one gets when I walk down the street!

Good Day to you Sir.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Travails of a Conservative Schoolteacher

I am a conservative. No, I am not saying this like I am standing up at an A.A. meeting; I say it proudly and with enthusiasm. What makes my life interesting is the fact that I am a schoolteacher. Schoolteachers are not exactly known for being paragons of conservatism. My buddy, George Mimmen, over at MimmenBlog is also a conservative schoolteacher and faces the same situations I do. Whenever I interact with my fellow schoolteachers, and I start hearing their usual uninformed drivel about those nasty "right wingers", I just sigh and keep my mouth closed most of the time. Arguing with a Kool Aid drinking leftist is pretty much like slamming your cranium into a brick wall, except I think the wall has more rational thought. I am kind of nervous as I start my new school year, because of my neighbor in the classroom next door. This teacher is an hispanic gentleman who has a vivid red poster of Ernesto "Che" Guevara hanging on the wall of his classroom. Isn't that just flippin' special. Golly, should I put up a poster of Heinrich Himmler in my classroom? Himmler was to Hitler what "Che" was to Castro; they were the men who carried out the dirty work. To find out more about what kind of guy Che Guevara was, read this article by Humberto Fontova. In the article, Fontova talks about Guevara's Stalinist ways, and his cowardly tenure as the man in charge at the infamous La Cabana prison outside Havana. Guevara was nothing more than a thug who killed - sometimes personally - men much braver than himself. For a schoolteacher to prominently and proudly display the grungy mug of a man who was a murdering communist (is that redundant?), is the worst sort of political indoctrination of a young captive audience who doesn't know any better.

Good day to you, Sir.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Why Start My Own Blog?

*3/30/2010 - I updated this post with the photo above so the URL to this photo can be used for other matters. That is all.

*11/18/2006 - I updated this post with the above picture so I could post it onto my profile. That is all.

In the year of our Lord, 1990, I turned 18 years old. My great aunt (of all people) sent me a blank journal as my birthday present. My first thought was, "I thought only girls keep diaries."

When I started college a few months later, I had a change of heart, as I began to think that keeping a journal might be a good way to keep a record of what looked to be some pretty interesting times. My first journal entry was made on October 3, 1990, and before I knew it, I had filled up the journal. I went to a bookstore and bought another one, and then another one, and so on. I kept a journal all the way to April 2001, when I got married. I don't know exactly why I stopped; too busy? life too chaotic? writing by hand too laborious? Who knows? As this decade continued though, I was introduced to the Blogosphere. So here I am. This blog will not be like my journals of old (Thank God!). You will not be subjected to the immature and meaningless material I used to write, such as boasting about intimate encounters with the female of the specie (or lamenting the lack thereof), track meet results, and the occasional current event. I like to think that I have matured and become just bit more educated in the ensuing 15 years since I began putting my thoughts to paper... or to the screen now. I will still speak of my personal and professional life, but I will also add a heavy dose of political analysis, and my thoughts about the current state of our atrocious educational system. I teach middle school, so I have the authority to speak of this subject.

An obvious question one might have is, "Why did you name your blog 'Buckhorn Road'?" Buckhorn Road is the street on which I grew up. It is where I spent my formative years. In the house on Buckhorn Road, I developed the beliefs, feelings, ways of thinking, and thought processes that helped to shape the person I am today. Have I had other experiences in my life that also shaped me long after I left Buckhorn Road? Yes, of course. But my journey began on Buckhorn Road, and that journey has taken me to where I am today. I write this blog without any expectation that it will be read by anyone. There are literally millions of blogs out there, many of them with daily readerships that run into the thousands, and maybe even millions. I don't have the time or the intellect to run a blog like Powerline, Instapundit, or Daily Kos (well, in the case of Kos, I acknowledge time, but no intellect); that is not my intention either. This blog is more for me to collect and organize my thoughts than anything else. I don't even know how often I will be able to post something, as I keep a rather full schedule. However, if some random person gets something out of reading my musings, then that is just an added bonus.

Good Day to You, Sir.