« Who Would You Be? | Main | Isn't It Ironic? »

June 17, 2008

The Meme of Seven

Sacre bleu!

What on earth did the Editorial Staff do to Dave Schuler? Whatever we did, it must have been une crime unimaginable, for he has tagged us with a crappy meme!

The rules are

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
5. Present an image of martial discord from whatever period or situation you’d like.

Before we begin, we have a confession of the most amusing to make. We, too, read "marital discord" for "martial". There is a Freudian slip in there somewhere, however, we shall not go there for the present :p

Because I never follow rules exactly (I can never follow a recipe exactly as written - I almost invariably throw in a little twist of my own) I'm not going to show an image of martial discord - of battle - per se, but of the moment before battle, and of the faces of the men who are going into battle.

A few weeks ago I spent the weekend with Carrie and DL Sly. One of the neater things we did was visit the Marine Corps Museum at Quantico, Virginia. This is something I've wanted to do since it opened.

LCpl Wright.0.jpg I found it incredibly difficult to walk through the exhibits. I still can't even think of it without tearing up for some reason. It's odd. Carrie and I have spoken many times of how much 9/11 changed both of us. That is one way in which I have changed. I was not a terribly sentimental person before 9/11. I had little patience for sappiness.

I have more, now. Still don't like it much, but I understand where it comes from. I think it's good that we commemorate these things.

I have to say another thing which is difficult for me.

After walking through the Vietnam exhibit, I was struck by a thought that has bedeviled me many a time. I came out of there very shaken.

As I left, I thought to myself, not for the first time but more forcefully than many other times at which the same thought has crossed my mind, that walking through that exhibit made it easier for me to understand some of the really visceral opposition to the war. Not necessarily agree with it. But understand it. I understood thinking, "My God, nothing is worth this". These are hard and painful choices and to a certain extent, whichever side of the question you come down, you will have to discount somebody's suffering. I am not sure that discount is the right word. Perhaps it is sufficient all the same. It will have to do.

I also came away humbled by the spirit and faith of the men who have taken that silent walk through history. That may be why I select this watercolor.

moonlight.jpg There is a phrase from Shakespeare that floated into my mind when I first saw this work: "... in patient stillness". It is from a scene in Henry V. The French are preparing for the battle of Agincourt. They are nervous, champing at the bit, and begin to idly boast of what the coming battle will bring. The prince beings to brag of the wondrous virtues of his horse:

What a long night this is!
I will not trade my horse for any
that walks on four legs.
He leaps from the ground
as if his insides were light as hairs.
He's a flying horse, a Pegasus,
breathing fire out of his nostrils.

When I sit astride him,
I soar, I am a hawk.
He trots on air.
The earth sings when he touches it.
He is pure air and fire.
The duller elements of earth and water
have no part in him,
except in the moment of patient stillness
when his rider mounts him.

That is the way I imagined this night-time patrol: as a moment of weary, perhaps patient stillness.

An oasis of calm amid the chaotic storm of war.

Dear Lord. Only I could turn a post about a crappy meme into a boring soliloquy on war. Images above are the work of Michael D. Fay, combat artist. You can check out more of Michael's work here. Seven dubious but riveting details about my oh-so-boring life upcoming momentarily.... also eventually there will be a highly embarrassing post about MaryAnn :p


Obscure facts about moi:

1. When I little, I climbed everything in sight. When I was about two I decided to climb the family Christmas tree. Unsurprisingly, when I got near the top, it fell down. When my Mom came home, my Grandma was comforting a sobbing little Princess.

2. I was born with shallow hip sockets and so as a toddler, I had to wear these stupid orthopedic shoes with a rigid metal bar in between them. They didn't slow me down one bit. My Mom says I still managed to climb things with them on. Sometimes at night I'd get them tangled up in the sheets and I'd get stuck, and I got very scared. Every once in a very great while, even now, I'll wake up at night with the covers over my head and my heart racing :p

3. I can't tie a knot in a cherry stem when it is inside my mouth. I have never understood why people do this in bars, but I think it is messed up.

Of course if I could do it, I would brag about it.

4. I am left eyed, but ambidextrous. Or at least this is what my test scores say I am in theory: it probably explains why I write, bat, and golf with my left but use scissors do a few other things with my right hand. I can't write with my right hand and I'm too lazy to learn.

5. I reverse things a lot. I'm hopeless at figuring out how 3 dimensional things fit inside other things - this is an ability most men have that many women don't, and one I love to have men around for, because it makes me feel stupid all the time. There is actually a name for it: structural visualization. I suck at it: 11th percentile. Interestingly enough, it is passed through the female though. So guys, if you have it, you got it from your Mom.

6. On the otter heiny, I'm quite good at deducing things, often from startlingly little information. In fact, sometimes I'm not even sure how I figure things out. I just know them, which can be a bit scary. As I've gotten older I've had to work at not letting my rational mind get in the way of my intuition (which is often faster and more accurate than the 'logical' side of my brain that I worked to hard to develop later in life). You need many kinds of thinking to be a well rounded person, but as I finally figured out it's kind of dumb not to go with your core competencies. Just make sure you always have a back up plan.

7. I think too much. But then you knew that, didn't you?

I will share the hate with seven unfortunates shortly.

Posted by Cassandra at June 17, 2008 07:26 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


"stupid orthopedic shoes with a rigid metal bar"

I feel your pain. I have no idea (I should ask my mom, but am to lazy.) why I had to wear them, but I sure remember being stuck in them late at night when I desperately needed to go to the bathroom.

I am right handed but deal cards and various other strange things with my left. I too suck at structural visualization, but luckily my wife and son are great at it. That also comes with no sense of direction at all. If I don't leave breadcrumbs, I never get back to where I started.

Posted by: Russ at June 17, 2008 11:24 AM

Russ, do not despair. This is why the Army organizes convoys with a strting and stop point.
It also explains why, in the words of Elain Boozler, the Ten Tribes are still lost: They didn't stop to ask for directions.

Cass, I have a son that can see things in three D.
Scary, but he is an engineering type and quite good at math. I am only the spare hands when it comes to car repair, but I love the chemistry behind formula fuels and would love to study that aspect of fuel efficiency and economy.

Posted by: Cricket at June 17, 2008 12:55 PM

My sister had to wear those shoes because she was severely pigeon-toed. They were known as "magic shoes," and amazingly enough my brother and I had the maturity not to mock her about them (that was the only thing, though).

Candidly, I'm not blown away by the "climb things a lot" secret thingy. I bet virtually all people who are (i) not fat and (ii) prone to commenting on blogs at 3:30 a.m. climbed things a lot when they were kids.

Posted by: TigerHawk at June 17, 2008 02:42 PM

I had to wear them, too. However, according to my Mom, I unscrewed one of the wingnuts (and ate it) connecting the shoe to the bar to free myself from imprisonment. Apparently there was a bit of a stink with the manufacturer. A rep came to investigate how it could have happened, etc.

Around the same time, in another apparent attempt to escape imprisonment from my crib (I guess??), I unscrewed (and also ate) a wing nut holding the side of the crib to the frame.

On the other hand, perhaps I simply needed more iron in my diet and was not trying to escape anything.

In any case, now that I have preemptively revealed all of the highly embarassing details of my childhood, there will be no need for you to do whatever post it is you're talking about, Cass.

Posted by: MaryAnn at June 17, 2008 04:20 PM

Lordy, I had to wear those shoes too as a result of being born witn no hip joints whatsoever...

God I hated those things...

Posted by: Semper Fi Wife at June 17, 2008 04:25 PM

I like to park next to handicap spaces. They are wide and close to the door, and generally empty, so the parking lot morons have to work just a little harder in order to ding my doors.

This morning walked out of my Virginia Beach hotel to find this elderly fellow and his wife examining a four-inch scratch that the gentleman's wheelchair had evidently put in the left rear quarter panel of my old Mercedes.
These old folks, in their eighties, apologized profusely to me, explaining that they'd lost control of his wheel chair while he and his wife were doing the transfer. He said that as they saw my parking pass expired today, they figured they'd wait until I came out to explain the circumstances. His wife said that they would have left me a note, but they couldn't find a pen. He was wearing a Navy blue cap bearing the name of a long-retired battleship.

I laughed and said something like "It's just a scratch, don't worry about it." I thanked them for being so polite as to be concerned about such a minor ding, wished them a good day, and hopped in my car to head for home.

In other words, I blew it.

Good Sir, and Madam. You can bash my car anytime you want, and run over my feet if you need to. What I owe you both can never be repaid, although I should have at least taken you both to breakfast.

And that scratch. It stays on the car.

Posted by: Drive-by Diary at June 17, 2008 06:00 PM

You big softie :p

Posted by: Cassandra at June 17, 2008 06:07 PM

Candidly, I'm not blown away by the "climb things a lot" secret thingy. I bet virtually all people who are (i) not fat and (ii) prone to commenting on blogs at 3:30 a.m. climbed things a lot when they were kids.

And you babysat exactly how many other people's kids, TH?

I did home day care FT for three years, besides being a babysitter as a teenager for about 5 years. In my experience, most babies don't climb on things. They are too busy just learning to crawl and walk. Certainly most girls didn't. That is who I babysat as an adult, and in three years of watching nothing but girls, I never had a single climber. That is why I only watched girls. They were easier - I didn't have to worry about them trying to kill themselves if I took my eyes off them for a second the way my boys had when they were small.

Sure, older kids do. But I'm talking about babies and toddlers - 12 montths to three years old.

How about an informal poll from the people who have kids? How many of your kids climbed on things that were over waist level at that age?

Posted by: Cassandra at June 17, 2008 06:13 PM

Be that as it may, I'm not sure it was meant to be a secret, so much as just a random fact (referencing the instructions).

If you're looking for secrets that are going to blow you away... well, that is not the kind of thing I am likely to list on a blog post :p

Posted by: Cassandra at June 17, 2008 06:29 PM

Wonderful! Also it's interesting that we should have something so odd as ambidexterity in common. In my case it takes the form of being a switchhitter (and catcher and thrower) in baseball, able to switch hands when using tools, etc.

Posted by: Dave Schuler at June 17, 2008 06:33 PM

"How about an informal poll from the people who have kids? How many of your kids climbed on things that were over waist level at that age?"

When I came home from Iraq, my son -- five, not three -- had learned to get his own breakfast by climbing the countertops, and reaching into the cupboards above them. I challenged him on this, and he said, "Mommy told me to."

This turned out to be true: it was a defense against having to get up as early as the boy wanted. So, you know, some children may learn to climb out of sheer survival. :)

Posted by: Grim at June 17, 2008 06:49 PM

I do that a lot with tools (switch hands, I mean :p).

One of my earliest memories, Grim, is climbing up on top of the refrigerator to get an extra vitamin (remember Chox?). That's where my Mom kept them. I think she thought that I wouldn't be able to reach them up there.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 17, 2008 06:56 PM

I love Michael Fay's stuff - it's incredible. And yes, only you could turn some random meme into a sappy post about war.

And, for the record, I CAN tie a knot in a cherry stem with my tongue. And I don't do it to impress you. You're not my type ;~)

MacGyver had to wear the shoes with the bar too. He was horribly pigeon-toed. Never slowed him down and, like MaryAnn, he disassembled the damn things several times (though I doubt he ate the wing nuts...though that does explain much about MaryAnn...heh.). He also disassembled a transistor radio when he was 2. Put it back together when he was 3. Nothing's changed.

Princess Trouble climbed (as does Little Man). Not too high but she has been known to table dance from time to time.

Just like her mother. ;~P

Posted by: HomefrontSix at June 17, 2008 07:03 PM

Not too high but she has been known to table dance from time to time. Just like her mother. ;~P

Oh crap. Don't tell me you did that in high school too....

Oh. We weren't talking about high school, were we?

/*running for the barricades* :)

Posted by: Cassandra at June 17, 2008 07:16 PM

You see, this is why I'm afraid to come to Vegas.

If we're ever in the same town for more than 24 hours, I'm afraid of what will end up in the papers... :p

Posted by: Cassandra at June 17, 2008 07:17 PM

Don't you dare use my behavior as an excuse for yours! I have managed to behave myself at two separate MilBlog conferences. The first one saw Maggie pressing parts of her scantily-clad body up against a bar window.

I did not.

The second one saw certain naval-aviators-who-shall-remain-nameless (among others...he was not alone) wind up with hangovers.

I did not.

I am innocent 0;~)

Either that or just better at not getting caught.

There were no news stories after Fayeteville, were there?? I think not. So your excuse holds no water.

Posted by: HomefrontSix at June 17, 2008 07:55 PM

I am a model of ladylike decoum. Just ask Carrie.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 17, 2008 08:09 PM

A model of ladylike decoum?

I guess so....heh...:)

Posted by: Semper Fi Wife at June 17, 2008 08:59 PM


Is your "r" broke???

Posted by: HomefrontSix at June 17, 2008 11:14 PM

"I am a model of ladylike decoum. Just ask Carrie."

I notice you didn't dare include me in that, um.....delusion. I'll attribute that to *intuition* over *deduction*.

Oh, and I can do number 3, too.

And, yes, I am bragging.


Posted by: DL Sly at June 18, 2008 12:37 AM

"I will share the hate with seven unfortunates shortly."

Not that you were going to or anything, but it would be a complete and utter waste of time to "share the hate" avec moi.

Just a li'l "FYI"...

Posted by: camojack at June 18, 2008 01:12 AM

You know too much about me already.

Posted by: BillT at June 18, 2008 12:00 PM

I see John hasn't chimed in with a veiled threat yet. But then, you know too much about *him* already, too...

Posted by: BillT at June 18, 2008 05:54 PM

Taken care of. Now you only need six, Cassie. Play fullback for John(or he'd punt me) *and* cut down one of the fools, er, suckers, er, selectees that Cassie has to pick.

Posted by: ry at June 20, 2008 01:49 AM

ry, you preposterous child -- Cassie play *fullback*? For *John*?

Good Lowered, what a visual...

Posted by: BillT at June 20, 2008 04:53 AM

I really am gonna stomp on his neck this time.

If he's the fullback, why is *he* calling the play?

Posted by: John of Argghhh!!! at June 20, 2008 07:28 AM


Like I can't totally take John? Heh...

To address your earlier snark, Bill, the princess is a Taurus. I seem to recall an old saying about waving red flags in front of....

Well, you get my drift :p

Posted by: Cass at June 20, 2008 08:14 AM

And camo, you were actually on my list.
And I was going to be a punk and pick you anyway, but I decided to be nice.

For now. However, I have a long memory...


Moral of the story: never dare me.

Posted by: Cass at June 20, 2008 08:16 AM

I notice you didn't dare include me in that, um.....delusion.

Actually I just saw no reason to draw incoming fire. Those who lack ladylike decoum being *so* prone to flicking random snark at those who have it in spades... :p

/flouncing off

Posted by: Cass at June 20, 2008 08:23 AM

Take me, please.

Just don't tell SWWBO. Or the Big Guy. That would probably end badly.

Probably. Heh.

With certitude!

Posted by: John of Argghhh!!! at June 20, 2008 08:51 AM

I seem to recall an old saying about waving red flags in front of....

I seem to recall an old picture of you as a *blonde*.

Well, you get my drift :p

Yeah, I got yer drift.

And the pic.

Posted by: BillT at June 20, 2008 09:23 AM

Speaking of previous snarks --

"Yup. And 'midst the threshers and makos and Great Whites, some of us are just
pilot fish."

And some of us are nothing more than tomorrows SOS, stuff on a shingle, just waiting to be cut up.

Nice one, Sushi-Q...

Posted by: BillT at June 20, 2008 09:28 AM