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Sea Shells of the Caribbean
A beachcomber’s field guide to Caribbean shells, correlated to 6 key references.
by Richard H. McBee Jr.,
To IndexSeashells Teaser – Click here
Essay on the Infallibility of Politicians views through the Protestant Principle
We just recently passed the very important Protestant Church Date of Reformation Sunday (commemorating the approximate date of 31 October, 1517, when Martin Luther supposedly posted his 95 theses on the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg, Germany).
One of the basic ideas behind the Protestant reformation applied to the infallibility of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church. It was called the Protestant Principle.
This Protestant Principle states loosely that: Only God is to be worshiped and only God can be infallible. Thus the Church, the Pope, and human beliefs and doctrines which are not God are therefore fallible. That is to say they are prone to error!
How does this apply to the political scene within today’s empire, more commonly known as the United States of America?
What is the real core of Politics that it cannot live under the above principle of infallibility?
a. shrewd or prudent in practical matters; tactful; diplomatic.
b. contrived in a shrewd and practical way; expedient: as in a politic reply.
Do you get the gist of where I am leading?
In either case, it is time for the Empire of the United States of America to beware!
Promise me not to read the last chapter in this mystery until you finish the rest of the book. It’s a good one. I love Hillerman’s trio of retired Officer Leaphorn, Lt. Jim Chee and beautiful Officer Berni Maunuelito who wend their way through Navajo cultural parables, taboos and medicine men to solve another murder on the reservation. Will Lt. Chee finally get off his behind and propose to the lady who adores him? Will Leaphorn once again cross the line of legality to fiddle the evidence of the old tobacco tin? Will they locate killer Denton’s lost wife before the inevitable happens? When will the FBI get a truly competent Navajo speaker who can unravel the medicine tales of a cultural icon such as Hostiin Peshlakai? Patience my friends, all shall come to those who have patience. Read the book!
A fuzzy skipper butterfly pollinates a flower just about as well as a bee or bee fly. Don’t kill these babies, they may look like clothes moths, but they are really an ancient type of butterfly that rests with it’s wings in this funny cocked position rather than wide open or closed.
Here’s a super close-up photo of another great non-bee pollinator that we need to protect in case Honey Bee Colony Collapse Syndrome wrecks our bee industry.
Here is a great picture of one of those flies you don’t want to kill in your house or garden. After all the honeybees have gone back to their hives or been killed off by the Colony Collapse Syndrome, this will be one of the little buddies of humans that we will need in order for our fruit crops to be pollinated for fruit to be formed. Go ahead and kill house flies, but if you find one of these in the house, trap it under a glass and take it outside and let it go. Our world needs these little work-horses of the flowers in order to survive.
A Man and His Dog in Fire Country
Fire Season: Field Notes From a Wilderness Lookout by Philip Connors is one of those relaxing airplane ride books or winter fireside reads that really lets you understand how being on a fire watchtower, miles from anyone else could be both exciting and soul refreshing. Solitude is something that many of us don’t get enough of anymore. At the same time, when the storms come in and Zeus starts throwing his bolts of fire and Thor hammers you from all sides, the Gods of old seem more than real, in fact, they are right there in the room with you and you cringe at their very power and being!
My buddy, Scott Fitch, who spent a number of summers on mountain tops with his hair electrified vouches for the truth of Conners’ words. Out in the Gila National Forest in a hundred square feet of fire tower there’s plenty of time to think and even go buck stark naked if you so choose as long as you keep the eyes peeled for those tiny whisps of smoke that are the telltale signature of Mother Nature about to break loose and go on the rampage at Apache Peak
Read it slowly. Marvel at the stories of the legends of firefighting and forestry conservaton. Ponder the silence and loneliness of a month on a mountain top with no visitors other than your dog. Understand the origins of our forest policies and the misinterpretations of how we should manage this vast wealth of our nation in the light of global warming and the buildup of tinder dry fuels in areas larger than the entire state of Massachusetts.
It’s a keeper!
Memories of HHD 512th USA Arty GP in Gunzburg Germany: I was there from Dec. 1969 through Dec. 1970. The personnel office roster for that year at the Prinz Eugen Kaserne just outside of Gunzburg Germany was made up of CWO Leroy.C. Sweet, SGT Mendez, SP5 Richard McBee, SP4 Alan Lang, SP4 Pete Spera, SP4 Bruce Shoe and SP4 Robinson. See: http://armykaserne.com/us/prinz-eugen-kasernegunzburg/
I was assigned there when I came through Frankfurt after dropping out of Infantry OCS after the end of the fourth month (OC1 – 70: “OC One! Second to None” was our slogan. I decided I didn’t like the kind of guy I was turning into as a wielded sword man.). In the casual company in Frankfurt I got bored sitting around waiting to be assigned, so I walked into the personnel office and asked if they had any place in the medical corps that I could be assigned since my background was in Biology. They said no, but could I type. I said I knew where to put my fingers on the keys because I had one class in typing in High School, so they called up the Det. in Gunzburg and I got assigned as the new Officer Records Clerk for all the 512th SASCOM Detachments in early Dec., of 1969. See Gunzburg at : http://www.itcwebdesigns.com/tour_germany/guenzburg.htm
When I arrived in Gunzburg, in December, the fellow I was replacing, named Sp5 Larry Hicks, had almost the same history as me and he sold me his old (really old) VW and also talked to the land lady who had his apartment in the town of Gunzburg with his wife and they agreed to rent the place to me after he rotated out at the end of January. They put me in the barracks with a roommate, Gary Sauers who had also just arrived. Gary was a cool guy, but he liked to play the song “Nights in White Satin” – very popular then – almost drove me crazy he played it so much. The barracks were absolutely first class, having been old officer quarters for the Germans in WW2 and had been upgraded. Big rooms we actually had cleaning ladies (putzfraus) who came in and cleaned. Fabulous meals and on Sunday when the cooks didn’t work we got to go into the kitchen and make breakfast. That’s where I learned how to make omlettes. I stayed in the barracks until Jan. 24th when my wife arrived from her home in England (I having gotten married there in between the end of Infantry AIT and Infantry OCS in July. This I could do because I still had my Peace Corps Passport even though my orders said not to leave the continental US). We moved into the Lamb Hotel in Gunzburg for a week until Larry Hicks moved out. The first night in the hotel was the festival of Fashing, the night before Lent starts. The Germans had a giant party all night long and kept us awake, but it was good to be together again after so long apart.
In the personnel office I found that my typing was not up to snuff and I needed to go into the office after hours for two hours or so each night for that first month that I was there in order to keep my assignments up to date. By the end of that first January I had the system pretty well down. It’s amazing what motivation can do for a fellow. They signed me up for a correspondence course to upgrade my skills so I could be promoted to SP5 which was the roster level for my position. It took me about two months to complete everything and I was then promoted to SP5 and we had a big party out at one of the gasthauses where we passed around the half gallon of whiskey between drinking liters of beer. A lot of crossed eyes and staggers by the time we left. I got a couple of days leave in January before my wife came over and took a quick trip with one of the 510th Det clerk, SP4 Shinn down to Garmisch to go skiing. Fabulous place and a good Gauthous to stay in as well. Also went to a beer festival in Munich with some of the guys and just about got crushed by the masses of people moving from place to place.
After my wife arrived, she met up with the wife of another SP4 – Barry Smith, whose name was Julie. Jill and Julie and also the wife of SP4 Larry Mallete. They shopped together and kept each other sane while we were off doing our work each day. When they had an alert on the base, for some reason the jeep was supposed to come around through town and collect all of us who were married and haul us into base at whatever time so we could take off for the woods. For some reason they could never find my place, so I would arrive at 8AM ready to go to work to find that everyone was all suited up in helmets and had the trucks all loaded for the field and had been there since two in the morning. This happened three times while we were there and never once did anyone find me. Fortunately the Russians never decided to press the button.
After work every day we had R&R in the base canteen with the slot machines and a few beers. The worst duty was policing cigarette butts with supply SGT North shouting his head off while we casually strolled up and down the field occasionally picking up a butt left by the Lt’s. The rest of the time we were in our offices typing like mad trying to keep up with paperwork pre-computer era. On the days when Robbie had to put together all the rosters for the Dets., we all spent the entire day walking around one big table piled high with stacks of paper putting together the bundles that had to go out to everywhere in the world to let them know who we were, The most tedious job was completing the Officer Efficiency reports for the Colonel. I couldn’t make more than three errors on a page and the paper was non-erasable anyway so it was perfection …or… I ended up typing a number of things over. In fact the last part of the report had to fit exactly into a special rectangle. The amount of writing could generally only be gotten into the space by laboriously back spacing each letter to cram things together. That was when I sweated blood, getting in the last letters if I already had my quota of corrections.
Weekends my wife and I saw a fabulous number of castles, hiked in the German woods and met some people who were always helpful and friendly. One day I’ll go back and have another look at the area because it was probably as great a place to be stationed as one could wish for. I got an early out in Dec. 1970 to return to graduate school at Montana State on the GI Bill. Pretty lucky duty for a 2 year guy who started off in the Infantry, had orders for the Nam but got them changed because my brother was already in country. Fortunately he got out alive.
Red Gold by Alan Furst, 1999, Harper Collins Publishers
Is the knock on the door at the end of the book Jean Marin’s lover or the long eluded final hand of the assassin?
This tale of the twisted life of Jean Marin takes us through the workings of the many faceted underground resistance during the WWII German occupation of France. It details the need for that most necessary union of odd bed-fellows to clandestinely fight a common cause, the Nazis.
It is clear from the start that Jean Claude Marin, a former film director, now in a no-man’s limbo of the disenfranchised, is not one of the “in” crowd who can consort freely with the Vichy government, the communists or the Free French movement under the exiled De Gaulle, now operating from England.
Jean Claude is a man of his own, apparently able to live in the cracks and crevices of Paris, hawking a coat or trinket to buy wine and bread for one more day, linking up with the underground freedom fighters to help with the street assassinations of German officers, smuggle weapons and do his part in waging an underground war against the Nazis.
Three stories intermingle within the book to make it engrossing for the detail oriented reader who craves the reality of life on the edge not fantasized nor romanticized in any way: A. The unrequited love story between Marin and the Jewess, Helene, who must leave France before she is turned over to the Germans by a blackmailer. B. The gun smuggling trip from the Cote D’Azur to Paris with the tension of the old truck, the ambush and the sense of the unknown ahead at the guarded gates of Paris. C. The ruse and nearly circumvented scheme to blow the canal locks and stop a hundred fuel barges from reaching Rommel’s desert war.
For those who have known the tears and terror of war or the day to day tensions of living on the edge in uncontrollable terrorist ridden countries with their loved ones, Alan Furst is the author to read. He may bring tears to your eyes, but they will be tears of healing and understanding your own sorrows.
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