Monday, May 31, 2010

My Hero

We all have our heroes.  My list would look incomprehensible to someone else.  Some of my heroes are Albert Einstein, John Lennon, Harlan Ellison, Johnny Cash, Mark Twain and Isaac Asimov.   My Dad.   I chose my heroes carefully and they mean a lot to me.  They inspire me, they move me, in the end they make me want to be a better person.

I'd like to talk about one of my heroes today.   One that I've know personally.  His name is Jason Hill Estopinal. On February 15th of this year he was killed in Afghanistan when he stepped on an IED.  I remember him as a baby, holding him and hoping I didn't break him, he was so small and looked so fragile.  Why would someone trust me to hold onto something this small and breakable?  But Jason and Claire did, they did more than trust me, they insisted.   Babysitting was not something high on my list of fun things to do, but how could I say no?  And you know what, it actually was fun.  JJ as he'll always be known to me, was a ball of energy.  He never sat still for more than a few seconds at a time.  I made the mistake of running around the yard with him and wrestling with him, so that was what we had to do.   At that time they had a house behind a golf course, so it wasn't unusual  to find golf balls in their yard.  We'd find them and throw them back to the golf course.  For someone that was so small he sure could tire me out quickly.

After they moved to Georgia I remember the basketball goal Big Jason had put in their driveway.  I'd stand out there throwing balls with JJ until I could barely lift my arms to throw another basket, but JJ would be raring to go for another thirty minutes.

I hadn't been to visit them for the last few years and for that I'll always blame myself.  So I didn't see JJ grow into a young man.  But I know he was a man of compassion and honesty and truth.

He decided to go into the Marines.  How a young man or woman can make that decision, knowing that there is more than a good chance that they'll be put in harms' way, is something I find hard to understand.  There has to be a belief there that they can do good, that they can help someone.  We can argue the merits of our being in such a war as we are now in and if we should be there, but we can have that argument because of men and women like JJ.  I may not support the war, but I will always support the men and women that fight it.     They give us the ability to enjoy our liberties that we take so much for granted.

Until a young man, barely more than a boy, but a man in more ways than I can comprehend, is the point man on a squad patrolling a rural area of a country far from home steps on an explosive.  Than we remember.

So today, Memorial Day, while I pay my respects and memorance to the thousands of men and women who sign up to continue to give us the freedoms to argue and fight and talk and live as free men and women every day of our lives while so many in the rest of the world don't have that opportunity I salute and remember a special memory, my personal hero Jason Hill Estopinal.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Little Upset

You know what I hate?  I hate to be lied to.  Just tell me the truth, even if I don't like it, I'd rather to hear the truth than to be lied to.  I've just discovered that for the past few months, probably actually longer, I've been lied to by a lot of people at the company I work for.   To them they probably don't think of it as anything major, but to me it was.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Little Something About the Oil Spill

A very informative article about the oil spill here.  It's strange how all the politicians that were crying for offshore drilling are being extra silent right about now.  We've only begun to see the effects of this oil spill.  Environmentally it's going to be one of the worst disasters we've ever seen, but economically it's going to be just as bad.  The ripple effects from this is going to devastate the gulf coast and Louisiana.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Empire Strikes Back

Thirty years ago today The Empire Strikes Back was released.  I know I was in line on that first day of release, waiting with so many others, to see the next chapter in the Star Wars universe.  Even today I can still remember the thrill of watching the movie.  

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Sorry to disappear all of a sudden.  My second hotel in Chattanooga didn't have internet access and I haven't had a chance to get to a computer since.  But I'm back and over the next day or so I'll be back posting.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Road Signs

Driving in today I saw a road sign that really don't inspire a lot of confidence when you see them. One was driving by the side of a mountain, the road cut through the side and the road sign reads "Falling Rocks". Now that's all I want to watch out for, I thought. Rocks falling.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Chattanooga, Tennessee

Saturday, May 08, 2010


I missed it Tuesday, but managed to watch the most recent episode on my IPad (another plus for it). I'm not going to say anything in case there's anyone our there that hasn't seen it yet. Let the comments be full of spoilers. But I will say one thing....WOW! Things are really getting exciting.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Franklin, Tennessee

A Few Remarks On The Flooding

It's easy to focus on all the bad that comes with something like the recent floods in Nashville. But watching the news I was struck by all the people that came out to help those that needed it. They interviewed a woman who said she didn't know any of the people in her house, but they had come out from all over to help. Just people that wanted to help. One guy said he didn't know anyone there, he just drove up to help.

The memories of Katrina are always the darkest, but the same outpouring of help was there too. People from all over the world arrived to help. They took time off from work and sacrificed pay and comfort to help those that needed it.

It's so easy to look at all the bad that comes from these events, and we shouldn't forget the bad, but we shouldn't forget or ignore how people step up to the challenge of helping those that need it. In times of our deepest remorse we can see the brightest and best of us.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Franklin, Tennessee

Chattanooga, Here I Come

Today is my final day in Franklin. To say the least, it was a very unusual week. Outside of world effects work actually went well. Everyone welcomed me and things went smoothly. Tomorrow I get up and head for a week in Chattanooga.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Franklin, Tennessee

Country Stars Come Out For Nashville

I know everyone has been waiting to see what the country music world was going to do for Nashville sine the flood. The national networks aren't showing them, but the local stations in the Nashville market are having telethons. Thursday night was one such event. Vince Gill, Allison Krauss, Amy Grant and Keith Urban all donated their time and money to victims of the floods. Another local station started a three day telethon with some of the same names attached as well as former American Idol hopeful Melinda Doolittle. Other names I've read that are helping out have been Holly Williams (grand daughter of legend Hank Williams), Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, Reba McEntire and more.

It's nice to see artists that are so associated with the capital of country music are stepping up to the task. Why there isn't anything showing up on a major, national network I don't understand.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Franklin, tennessee

Thursday, May 06, 2010

More on the Flood

Today I realized something. A lot of the people here in Nashville who were flooded do not have flood insurance. And before anyone makes any snide comments about it, they didn't think they needed it. Their insurance companies didn't think they needed it. It hasn't flooded like this in more than just years, maybe centuries. Nashville is not a city known for flooding. Back home in New Orleans everyone buys flood insurance, it's a given. Here in Nashville not so much. I hope FEMA doesn't let them down and steps up to the plate here. There's going to be a lot of people here you are going to need a lot of help.

I haven't figured out how to get pictures in here yet on the Ipad, I really want to put some of the pictures from the flooding up. It'll tear your heart out.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad



Oh, and as you might have noticed, the more recent posts have been made on an Ipad. I broke down and bought one just before I had to leave on my trip. I thought it would be nice not to have to cart a bunch of books around with me, I could just download them on the Ipad. I have downloaded a few, some Harlan Ellison that I in print but that I can always enjoy reading over again and this way I figure I'll have with me. I've also downloaded some comic books on here and I have to admit that they look really good. But I find it also is good for surfing the web and posting to my blog. I brought my laptop, but I have to admit I hate typing on it. My fingers never seem to be comfortable typing on it. I have to two finger type on here but find I can do it pretty easily and fairly fast. I prop it up in my lap and go to town on the keyboard. Oh, and I'm still hauling around a bunch of books...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Franklin, Tennessee

Hamburger Wars

I've heard a lot about a hamburger chain called Five Guys and how good it's supposed to be. While I was working someone mentioned they had one up here, so I figured I'd go check it out. For some reason my GPS came up empty every time I input the name of the hamburger chain. I tried the GPS on my phone and it came up. It was located in Brentwood, which if you're like me and had no clue, is a very rich neighborhood. When I say rich, I mean rich with a capital R. I passed houses that were big enough to be apartment complexes. From what I've since been told a lot of big country stars live here. But back to more important matters, how was the hamburger?

It was good. I don't know if I'd say it was the best, but it was very good. The next day I actually ate a burger at what I think may have the best burgers....Backyard Burgers. Not to take anything away from Five Guys, but I love these burgers. Still burgers from two of the best isn't bad. And yeah, I know what it says about my culinary habits that I'm praising hamburger chains.

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010


It's heart breaking watching the news and seeing the scenes from Nashville. I'm sitting in a hotel room, maybe twenty minutes from these scenes and it's so weird. These are scenes I'm used to seeing back home. To drive up here and have this happen is almost surreal.

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Sunday, May 02, 2010

A Little Rain

I'm sitting in a hotel room in Tuscumbia Alabama after having spent the day trying to make what should have been a little over three hour trip from my Moms in Saulsbury to Franklin Tennessee. Over eight hours on the road, going up one road only to end up having to turn around after running into a water covered road, and trying another path. It's pretty bad out there. The rain is supposed to stop tomorrow but there's so much standing water I don't know if i'll make it up there than.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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