September 2008


Plane Silly 1

So we’re flying the jets back to base after a cross country and things are going fine except the captain is getting all bent out of shape because I’m flying with my knees and taking pictures out the window. What’s the big deal. I’m at least three feet from his precious plane. Not even close. But he “orders” me, so I go to put my camera back in the bag. That’s when it happened. My camera bumps my cup holder and my latte’ spills and burns the heck out of my leg. My knee bumps the controls then my plane bumps the captain’s plane. It was an accident. Anyway, this is the last image of the captain’s plane before he ejected. It’s OK though. I was ready for civilian life. Really. I’m fine.

Or…..

There’s a big jet on a pedestal outside of the Naval Aviation Museum. The clouds were awesome so I shot it. The shot is fine and there’s no need to embellish it with some corny Top Gun story. ;)
BLB
(Originally published on my photoblog back in January 2006.)

Plane Silly 2

Plane Silly 3

“The odds against there being a bomb on a plane are a million to one, and against two bombs a million times a million to one. Next time you fly, cut the odds and take a bomb.”
Benny Hill

“The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t”
Douglas Adams

“What is that mountain goat doing way up here in the clouds?”
Gary Larson – Farside

iStock_000001727259XSmallWarning: Do not let small children read the following. ;-)

There was a conversation this weekend. A tooth was lost. A joke was made. I pushed a snowball down a hill.

My older daughter lost a tooth on Saturday. She’s known the “truth” about the Tooth Fairy for a while but to her credit she hasn’t spoiled the fantasy for her younger sister. For that reason, I guess my wife and I should feel bad about the joke we played. But we don’t.

Like I said. The older, all knowing child lost a tooth. The younger, all innocent child was excited for her older sister because the Tooth Fairy was going to pay her a visit. Sweet little sister. The older played along. But later, out of earshot of her younger, sweet sister, the older sister somewhat smugly let the wife and I know how how cool she thought it was that she still got money for teeth even though she knew the “truth”. Then she bounced her smug self out of the room. Oh really. My wife thinks maybe it’s time for a “teaching moment.” I think it’s time for a funny.

That night, instead of putting the Tooth Fairy money under smug big sister’s pillow, we put it under sweet little sister’s pillow. For big sister, we fashioned a handwritten note. The note read, “Since you don’t believe in me any more, I’m giving your money to your little sister. Signed, The Tooth Fairy”.

The next morning, little sis comes out of her room with a big smile on her face and a dollar in her hand. “Where did this come from?”

We fought back the smiles. “My. That’s strange. We have no idea where that came from. Go ask your sister. Maybe she knows something about it.”

A few minutes later, big sis stomps up to the front of the house with a scowl on her face and a handwritten note in her hand. “This is so unfair!” She reads the note out loud in an “Are you serious!?” tone of voice and then glares at us. Little sis is a little confused but she smiles, shrugs her shoulders, and puts the money in her purse. My wife and I can’t hold back the laughter any longer. The laughing makes big sis throw up her arms and reemphasize the piercing glare. That makes little sis even more confused. Maybe it’s time for a little talk. So here we go. I sat her on my lap.

“So what do your friends say about the tooth fairy?”

“Some think she’s real. But some don’t.”

“What do you think?”

“Is it you guys?”

“What do you think?”

“I think it’s you and mommy.”

“Yes it is.”

Wow, that was easy. She wasn’t even upset. She just had some follow up questions about our methods like “Where do you put the teeth?” Good one. Then she sat quietly for a minute and we thought she was thinking about the next Tooth Fairy question. But instead she rared back and delivered a wicked curve ball of a question. “What about Santa Clause?” Whoa. The big one. Guess I should have seen the curve coming but it caught me flat footed. I look at my wife and she gives me the okay. Little sis is the same age as older sis was when she found out about the Jolly Old Elf. So why not. I begin again.

“Well, what do you think about Santa?”

“Is it you guys?”

“What do you think?”

“I think it’s you and mommy.”

“Yes it is.”

A look of wonder appeared on her face as she started putting it all together. A little sad. A little happy. A little confused. It’s a lot to take in. But she was okay. Later, after a brief question and answer period about the logistics of the Santa ruse, we went ahead and killed off the Easter Bunny too. That one wasn’t too bad. Not even any questions. Guess she’s not a big fan of peeps.

Just to be safe, we gave a little warning about not spoiling the Tooth Fairy/Santa Clause/Easter Bunny thing for her friends who still believed. We tried to make up to Jamie by telling her how proud we were of her for not spoiling it for her sister for the past few years. I think she still would have preferred cash. And then we all went on with our day. But this subject would raise it’s imaginary head again.

That afternoon, little sis had a friend over to play for a couple of hours. They had fun and apparently had a little talk. Guess what subject came up while they were playing? After her friend left, little sis came up to me in the kitchen and informs me that her friend doesn’t believe in Santa either. “What did you tell her?” I asked slowly with more than a small dose of accusation in my voice. I was already trying to come up with something to tell a couple of angry parents in an upcoming phone call. “No, no.” little sis said. “She knew. Her parents had told her already.” Whew. Crises averted. But the wheels were still turning in that beautiful little mind because then she says, and I quote,

“I do have another question.”

“What is it?”

“Are you God?”

I just choked back a laugh and said, “What do you think?”

Football and Philosophy 1

There was a feature story in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine about the philosophy department at Auburn University. Yes, I said the philosophy department at Auburn University. The man responsible for turning the department into one of the best in the country is Kelly Jolley. Described here by Jonathan Mahler.

At 42, he is a bear of a man with a prematurely white beard and blue eyes. He walks with an unsteady gait, the product of a pair of bad knees from his days as a high-school football lineman. You might imagine philosophers as inaccessible and withdrawn, endlessly absorbed in esoteric thoughts. Jolley couldn’t be further from this stereotype. He’s cheerful and engaged, an enthusiast about everything from college football, which he follows rabidly, even by Southern standards…

Fascinating guy and really cool story. It’s a long feature but if your interested it’s worth it.

The Thinker: How did Kelly Jolley turn Auburn University into a hotbed of philosophical talent? by Jonathan Mahler.

Football and Philosophy 2

Oh, how I do love the The Onion. Makes me happy.

Pre-Game Coin Toss: The Onion

Football and Philosophy 3

Welcome to Furious Fireflies. I’ve got a small About Page worked out so check it out. I’m kicking this thing off with a bit of a rant but if that kind of thing turns you off, don’t worry. My rants are few and far between and this place will hopefully be a smile maker instead curmudgeon’s corner. Hopefully even the rants will be smile makers.

Middle School Blues

My daughter is in middle school. There. I said it. I just need to face it and move on. She’ll be fine. She’s a bright kid and we stay involved so she’ll be fine. It doesn’t matter that she’s suddenly surrounded by hundreds of kids who are hormonal tornadoes. Kids whose bodies are maturing well before their brains. She’ll be fine.

I kept telling myself this as we prepared for the school year. We looked into different schools in the area and across the board, middle schools were the worst. We told ourselves it was just the age. Kids going through all the things that kids go through at this age just have a hard time focusing on school. Focusing on anything for that matter.

But then middle school went from being a far away, abstract idea to a reality. OMG (Trying to learn the language.) Now it was time for “orientation” at the school. We would see the place in person and our fears would melt away. The turnout was great. The cafetorium was packed. This is a good sign. Maybe all these parents are as worried as we are. We were in this together. Let’s get this thing started. Let’s let the fine teachers and administrators put our minds at ease. We are ready to put our children in your hands.

“Hello parents. Great to see such a big turnout. We’re going to have a great year. Before we get started our school jazz band will entertain you.” (I’m not making this up) Horn section: da da da….da da…..da da da…. da da…..da da da…

Louie Louie!?!?!? Are you kidding me?!?! We kick this thing off with a frat house theme song. We’re sending our kids to Animal House! Here’s where it went from there. Introductions of the teachers and staff with brief comments. When the Media Specialist was introduced, she came to the front and couldn’t figure out how to TURN ON THE MIC! The MEDIA SPECIALIST! Then the cheerleaders came out to fire up the crowd. Not with “2 bits, 4 bits, 6 bits a dollar…” but with a dance number in the tradition of the Laker Girls, including the grinding and booty shaking. Great for the Laker Girls. I’m a fan of the genre. But twelve year old girls! This IS Animal House.

And the parents we were “in this together” with. During the tour of the classrooms, I actually heard a mom trying to talk her daughter OUT of taking a science class that the little girl wanted to take because the mom said it would be too much work. OMG. What kind of rabbit hole did I fall into? I left the orientation feeling disoriented.

Spring forward a few weeks. We’ve had some time to adjust and while it’s far from perfect, she seems to be doing well. She has learned a variety of curse words. The ones I had not inadvertently taught her already. She’s witnessed three fights. Young boys being young boys I tell myself. Her grades are great but the work seems far from challenging. At the Open House we had a chance to meet her teachers and talk briefly. She has her favorites and not so favorites but they all seem to be good people and good teachers.

I’m more and more convinced it’s the system that’s broken. While the age of the students is indeed a big factor, things could be much better. They’re on a massive ship with an enormous crew but they’re heading in the wrong direction. Changing course on the USS Bureaucratic Mess however, is a long slow process even under the best of circumstances. And these are not the best of circumstances.

She’ll be fine. I know. I on the other hand, may lose my mind.

One more funny. At the Open House last week, there were tables set up with info about different groups and clubs on campus. We were invited to check out the Anti Drug and Alcohol booth. This is good. Drugs are bad. Especially at this age. At this booth there was a special offer. They were trying to get people to sign what I think was an “I won’t do drugs” pledge. Sounds good. There was even the possibility of winning a prize if you signed up. If you were the lucky one picked in the no drugs lottery, you won a gift card to STARBUCKS!

OK. So “Launch and Learn” may not be the best way to start an airline or a hospital but it’s a great way to get a new website started and stop procrastinating. I’ve had the photoblog for over three years now and it’s time to move in a different direction. I’m going to spend a little time getting the layout the way I want it and then dive in. Stay tuned.

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