Fifteen Years

My son was home recently from sunny Twentynine Palms, where he’s stationed in the Marines. When home, he marveled at how green everything was, even in the midst of our dry, dry summer.

At dinner one night he ordered a beer, and as usual he was proofed — except this time, having finally reached 21, he was legal. My son looks young for his age, but he’s old enough to be a machine gunner in the Marines, old enough to go to Iraq, old enough (to his mother’s displeasure) to get tattoos and now, at long last, old enough to be served a drink.

On the morning of 9/11 he was six-years-old. My older boy , now a sergeant in the New York National Guard, was 13. Like his younger brother, he also serves in the infantry.

They were just kids 15 years ago and today they’re men. I remember in the days after the attacks that I’d sit up at night waiting for the other shoe to drop. A decade and a half later both my children have fought this war, and the shoe is still dropping.

About the Weather

There used to be a guy who owned a large retail store who would complain to local TV stations about their weather forecasts.

He’d call up the general manager say something like, “Hey! I’m spending tons of money in your newscast to advertise my big weekend sale and your weatherman keeps scaring everybody by talking about about some big snowstorm! Nobody will leave their house!”

Complaining about the meteorologist is nothing new — but a town in Belgium is finally doing something about it. Sort of. The mayor of Knokke is leading an effort to sue a private weather forecasting service for spoiling the beach community’s tourist season. How? With their forecasts of dismal weather.

Mayor Leo Lippen tells NPR, “We have a fantastic climate here and to give the impression it is disgusting is disgusting.”

Personally, I’d rather have a hole drilled in my skull than listen to people bitch about weather forecasts. Meteorologists will tell you that it’s not a guarantee, but a prediction using the data they have and what they know about weather systems.

If you are smart you’ll place no value in long range forecasts. And always bring an umbrella.

Support Our Troops

Nothing says care package like home-baked cookies and a movie.

Honestly, I’m not sure how the chocolate chip cookies will fare on their way to my son Alex in Afghanistan. The shrink wrap will help keep them intact, but if they sit in the sun for a few hours all bets are off. Even melted they’ll be good eatin’ — just cut the cormer off the package and squeeze them out. For the curious, the yellow ones are lemon polenta cookies.

As for the movie, it’s not meant as an allegory for our presence in Afghanistan, it’s just a movie — so don’t get all philosophical on me.

It would be nice if you could help one of the groups that collects things to send over there. Some of these guys probably don’t get a lot of packages, and it’s a long, long way from home.