Eyes of a Stranger

Queensryche………………………

Eyes of a Stranger………………sometimes when I look in the mirror, I don’t know the man looking back at me……………………

All alone now
Except for the memories
Of what we had and what we knew
Every time I try to leave it behind me
I see something that reminds me of you
Every night the dreams return to haunt me
Your rosary wrapped around your throat
I lie awake and sweat, afraid to fall asleep
I see your face looking back at me, looking back at me
And I raise my head and stare
Into the eyes of a stranger
I’ve always known that the mirror never lies
People always turn away
From the eyes of a stranger
Afraid to know what
Lies behind the stare
Is this all that’s left
Of my life before me
Straight jacket memories, sedative highs
No happy ending like they’ve always promised
There’s got to be something left for me
And I raise my head and stare
Into the eyes of a stranger
I’ve always known that the mirror never lies
People always turn away
From the eyes of a stranger
Afraid to know what
Lies behind the stare (Lies behind my stare)
How many times must I live this tragedy
How many more lies will they tell me
All I want is the same as everyone
Why am I here, and for how long
And I raise my head and stare
Into the eyes of a stranger
I’ve always known that the mirror never lies
People always turn away
From the eyes of a stranger
Afraid to know what
Lies behind the stare
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Marine Corps Birthday Wishes.

Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame had this up on his The Real Mike Rowe page on Facebook. It is worth spreading around.

Mike Rowe with Marines on The Birthday Of The Corps.

The old theater looks like the one in Young Frankenstein – the one where Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle sing “Putting on the Ritz.” Every seat is taken, and the air is filled with a weird mix of anticipation and familiarity. And maybe a faint hint of mothballs.

I’m in the mezzanine this year, sipping champagne and jammed into a tuxedo that’s undeniably smaller than it was last November. Behind me, a retired general is singing The Star Spangled Banner, along with the rest of the crowd. He is singing louder than I am, and I’m singing as loud as I can. And that’s saying something.

The anthem ends, and we take our seats. The champagne is cold in my hand, and as I look around I see that I’m not the only one to have liberated a flute from the lobby bar. I take a sip, and observe the scene onstage. Like last year, and the year before that one, and the five years before that one, I’m transfixed by what I see.

Ten Marines in full ceremonial dress march out from the wings to the sound of trumpets and drums. They move like a synchronized machine, forming two parallel lines perpendicular to the audience. They stand 10 feet apart, staring straight ahead like statues in a deadly gauntlet. They don’t blink; they don’t smile. They just stand there looking dangerous as hell. Then, a command is barked out. Ten swords are drawn as one, catching the light on their blades and sending it flashing through the audience like a thousand lasers. If Dr. Frankenstein’s infamous creature was in the audience, I suspect he would run screaming.

Upstage, the Color Guard enters, connecting the two lines at the top. They face the crowd directly – The Color Sargent and The Color Bearer, flanked by two riflemen. Under the hot lights, the Stars and Stripes are radiant, and the Marine Battle Standard glows like a crimson beacon. They’ve been standing there for the last half-hour, frozen in time, as the events of the evening unfold. Sometimes, that’s the job. To stand a post. To wait. To watch, as events unfold around you.

The United States Marine Corps is 238 years old today, and last night, I helped them celebrate in San Francisco the same way I do every year. I attended their annual ball, ate a piece of their birthday cake, and assisted them with the important work of closing down the bar.

In between, there was dinner and dancing and all the stuff you might expect to find at a formal ball. There were speeches and toasts. There were songs. And there were tributes of courage and sacrifice so unimaginable, you can only shake your head and marvel at the character of some. I met the oldest Marine present – 95 – and drank a beer with the youngest – 21. I swapped some jokes with a Lance Corporal that I can’t repeat. (To anyone.) And I chatted with some Gold Star parents, who spoke proudly and movingly about the sons and daughters they lost.

For me, the whole affair is just so damn humbling. A kid with two purple hearts and three tours of combat comes up to me and says, “Holy cow, Mike, how did you ever do all those Dirty Jobs? What was the worst one?” A sniper with stories that would haunt your dreams listens wide-eyed as I answer his questions about crab fishing on the Bering Sea. And a combat medic who has saved more lives than he can remember wants to talk to me about his F-150.

It’s the same thing every year, and every year I’m surprised all over again. These Marines seem completely unimpressed with their own acts of valor. Their modesty and their courage seem to exist in parts both enormous and equal. They’d rather talk about other things. About sports. About movies. About the world in general. About the things they fight for. Anything but themselves. Which of course, makes them all the more magnificent.

Really – what can you say about people like that?

For now, I’ll go with Happy Birthday. Maybe next year I’ll come up with something more insightful. Semper Fi, Marines, and thanks.

And of course, a very Happy Veterans Day, to all who serve.

Mike

Because Ladies and Gentlemen, I could not come close to matching this.

ORPO1 sends

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejewelled trees, Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, “Merry Christmas” to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a crib, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her: “How could God let something like this happen?” (regarding Hurricane Katrina). Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said: “I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?”

In light of recent events… terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbour as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he’s talking about. And we said okay.

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit.

If not, then just discard it…. no one will know you did. But if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

Red Gorge on Moffat Tunnel Subdivision

Red Gorge on Moffat Tunnel Subdivision

Following numerous curves along the meandering Colorado River, BNSF’s Denver to Provo freight snakes through Red Gorge between Radium and Yarmony, Colorado, on November 1, 2012.

BNSF MDENPVO led by BNSF 7598 West. This is one of the new GE Evolution Locomotives in service. 4,400 HP giving almost 170,000 pounds of tractive effort.

Hit the link for the bigger version and the straight skinny

Jack Daniels Fishing Story

I  went fishing this morning but after a short time I ran out of worms.  Then I saw a cottonmouth with a frog in his mouth. Frogs are good  bass bait. 

Knowing the  snake couldn’t bite me with the frog in his mouth I grabbed him  right behind the head, took the frog, and put it in my bait bucket.  

Now the dilemma was how to release the snake without getting  bit. So, I grabbed my bottle of

Jack Daniels and poured a little  whiskey in its mouth. His eyes rolled back, he went limp. I released him into the lake without incident and carried on fishing using the  frog.

A little later,  I felt a nudge on my foot. It was that snake, with two more frogs.

H/T to Shane at the BNSF!