Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Dark Side of the Moon

    It’s a quite night with a chill still holding in the air.  My wife is at her mothers, I have the house to myself for the evening.  A good time to put life on pause for a few hours.  I thought to myself what do I enjoy, what has relaxed me in times gone by… The companionship of a good dog has always brought me comfort so I brought Tarrna in, after a little bit of playtime she settles down beside me, content with my hand on her back.  The smooth creamy taste of an Irish Stout for some reason gives me the feeling that everything will be OK so I opened a Guinness, I poured it quickly into a pint glass allowing the thick foam to build.  I could have sat there on the floor for the next few hours feeling the warmth of Tarrna’s head laying across my leg and sipping the creamy brew till I decided to go to bed, letting the world chart its course without me. 

    Still my mind began to wonder, thoughts of what I had to do tomorrow, thought of what’s going on at work, and thoughts of the daily upheavals I’m exposed to continue to surface.  I needed just a touch of a distraction to occupy my thoughts, just a little something to lead me to the moment of solitude I was seeking, I needed a bit of music.  My music collection is quite extensive and varied, ranging from the pounding rhythms of Aerosmith, the classics Mozart, Chopin and Beethoven, to the twang of Hank Williams (Sr. and Jr.), the rhythm blues of Robert Johnson and on and on.  As I scrolled through looking for just the right tone, the right mood, I came across the familiar picture of a prism being struck on one side by a single intense beam of light while emitting a rainbow of color from the other side, it was Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon. 
    Released in March 1973, the music is 40 years old now.  I thought back to when I was very young, putting the vinyl album on the little record player in my room, listening to the mixture of sound effects spliced with the electronic synthesized arrangements’ of Richard Wright’s keyboard, the bluesy notes from David Gilmore’s Guitar, the primal beat of Nick Mason on the drums and all being linked with the subtle rhythm of Rodger Waters on bass guitar.  The music for the evening was selected and I drifted off to a simpler time, if but for a little while.

Dark Side of the Moon 
Speak To Me / Breath In The Air (4:00) This two part arrangement starts with dizzying sound effects building then going directly into the haunting drawn out sound of Gilmore’s lap steel guitar, the vocals are like a sirens call beckoning, smooth and reassuring.

On The Run (3:33) A repetitive volley of synthesized effects fused with clips of nondescript vocals.  A sound version of the rush and stress of life.  As harsh as it begins, it maintains its energy throughout to an explosive end.
Time (7:06) The ticking of clocks builds to a defining crash of bell and alarms only to subside into ebb and flow of drums and guitars that take a hurried pace then just as suddenly dipping to a peaceful loll. The vocals tell a story of time passing and of years quickly lost.  It almost hits a little close to home… one of my favorites.  

The Great Gig in the Sky (4:44) Operatic, mixed with a bit of the early Floyd psychedelic , a female voice (Clare Torry) leads this arrangement in a hypnotic journey.  I picture a building storm at sea, the crashing waves as the storm tightens its grip, then picture its passing and the gentle rocking calm that follows.  Just close your eyes and enjoy… The Great Gig in the Sky

Money (6:32) A staple on Classic Rock stations still, the tale of greed and envy could come out of today’s headlines “MONEY… Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie”

Us And Them (7:40) This is the “ONE”… If I were told I could have only one jewel from this box of gems it would be this one.  Beginning with an alluring combination of keyboard and saxophone followed by the vocals of David Gilmore, feels like a warm blanket of sound is being draped over you.  The warmth gives way to a powerful choirs but quickly returns to the comfortable warm blanket.  This track sets the tone for the finish of the album. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_Yayz5o-l0

Any Colour You Like (3:25) An instrumental continuation of Us and Them with more synthesized lead and a bit of a chance for Gilmore to showcase his guitar greatness.  

Brain Damage (3:50) The music is inviting and whimsicle, you could almost picture a child dancing around on a playground but the dark story being told by Roger Waters lyrics soon commands your attention.  This dark story ended up being a glimpse of what would follow on the next few albums.  Dark… but powerful, the loss of Syd Barrett from the band due to mental illness had left its mark… the loss had left its scars…    

Eclipse (2:04) A perfect closing to the journey this album took, the pace seems to quicken as voice after voice joins the choirs only to fade into the sound of a single beating heart that too, fades into silence.

    Upon release, Dark Side of the Moon topped Billboard’s Top LP chart and remained on the chart for 741 weeks (1973-1988) selling well over 50,000,000 copies (DSotM is still ranked #1 for consecutive weeks on the chart, the next closest LP spent 490 weeks on the chart).  Rolling Stone Magazine has it listed at #43 in its list of “500 Greatest Albums Of All Time”.  I would have ranked it a bit higher not only for the music and cutting edge recording techniques used by Alan Parsons, but also for the influence it had on generations of bands that followed.

Audio (42:49)

Richard Wright,
Pianist/Keyboardist/Singer/Songwriter, passed away 15, Sept. 2008

Syd Barrett,
Singer/Songwriter, the founder and original inspiration for Pink Floyd, passed away 7, July 2006.      

    I know some of you may have been looking forward to my usually critical stories on political figures and their egregious behaviors and activities… but even I have to step away from their lunacy once & awhile, and wallow in my own.

“See You On The Dark Side Of The Moon”

              The TOMCAT

Monday, March 18, 2013

Broken Arrow (Broken Trust)

    It is said the wheels of justice turn slowly, it seems the wheels of accountability turn even slower, if they even turn at all. Just over six months back the U.S. consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi Libya was attacked, although the attack lasted for some seven plus hour’s meaningful assistance was never sent.
  Ambassador Stevens was raped, beaten to death, and then his body was drug around for some time being displayed and photographed as a trophy.
  Info. Mgt. Officer Sean Smith died either in the main building or in route from the main consulate building to the CIA annex, overcome by smoke.
  Former U.S. Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods ignored the orders to stand down. He left the relative safety of the CIA annex and went to the consulate to try to save those in peril. He continued the fight from the consulate back to CIA annex, trying to keep the attackers at bay. He died when a mortar hit his defensive position on the roof top of the annex.
  Former U.S. Navy SEAL Glen Doherty member of response team that commandeered an aircraft in Tripoli to come to the aid of the besieged forces defending the annex. He also died when a mortar hit his defensive position on the roof top of the annex.
  It seemed that after six months had passed giving time for the confusion and speculation to calm down now would be a good time for a look back to see what information has surfaced.
11, Sept. 2012
9:40 PM Benghazi local time (3:40 PM EDT, Washington D.C. time) The attack started and alarm sounded, of the many calls for help that went out, one went directly to the Diplomatic Security Command Center (in D.C.) within minutes. (I would also assume every military/intelligence listening post within the region picked-up the frantic calls for help).
10:05 PM (4:05 PM D.C. time) Tyrone Woods and two others departed the annex to assist in defending the consulate, upon arrival they located Smith but could not locate the Ambassador. After gathering the remaining survivors and loading Smiths body into the armored vehicle they headed back to the more defendable annex (time estimated to be 11:30 PM /5:30 PM D.C. time).
11:50 PM (5:50 PM D.C. time) The team with survivors arrived at the annex (Note: 2 hours, 10 minutes since the alarm was sounded and first calls for help went out. Had Alert Aircraft been scrambled within the first 30 minutes of the alarm being sounded they would have been overhead attacking the laser painted targets by this time, instead a surveillance drone was sent to video the carnage).
3:00 AM (9:00 PM D.C. time) Location of Ambassador Stevens unknown, battle still raging at the annex, calls for help still going out, and by all accounts (Congressional testimony) seemingly unconcerned, Mr. Obama retired for the evening in preparation for a Las Vegas campaign trip the next morning.
5:00 AM (11:00 PM D.C. time) The support team from Tripoli including Glen Doherty arrived at the annex and within moments the attack intensified (again Close Air Support should have been overhead for five hours and at this point air-refueling tankers should have been on station for an hour or longer, we should have owned the perimeter of the annex) Mr. Obama… resting peacefully. Within moments SEAL’s Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty would be dead.
  This timeline is no longer speculation, its part of the information uncovered by congressional hearings, it’s “Public Record”. But still one basic question went unanswered, a question asked by several elected officials, a question asked by several citizens, a question asked by Charles Woods (father of slain SEAL Tyrone Woods).
“Who made the call not to send in back-up forces…”
  There was a code word used during the Vietnam War, “Broken Arrow” it was a signal that a U.S. installation or military unit was in danger of being overrun by enemy forces, upon transmission of these two words everyone and everything turned it’s focus to coming to the aid of the besieged. Aircraft in flight immediately turned to respond, carrier and land based aircraft sitting on alert launched. The military machine spooled to life, doing what it was trained to do, no “Orders” were given to respond, it was a sacred trust and an obligation to respond. If there was any possibility that a land, sea, or air force could aid the besiege it tried, that is unless it was directly told to “Stand-Down”, to not respond. With Mr. Obama’s history of tossing subordinates under the bus at the slightest hint of controversy it’s safe to say the “STAND-DOWN” order came from the very top and the only reason would have been for political appearance sake. Whatever the phrase used, Broken Arrow, We’re being attacked or even a simple Help, a sacred trust was broken and an obligation was ignored. Charles Woods deserves to know why his son was sacrificed and he deserves an answer to his question…
“Who made the call not to send in back-up forces…”
Father to Father, Be it 2, 4, 8 years… The rest of my life, I will continue to ask till the truth comes out.
I do have a related question for any of the “Legal” types out there. Can a Public Official (elected or not) be sued for wrongful death in civil court for actions taken in office that resulted in the death of an individual and the decision for the actions were not based on the “Best Interest” of the public or national security but on personal gain, say retaining position, status or perks? Just wondering www.thetomcatblog@gmail.com or use comment box, Thanks.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Make it HURT… (So Good)

“We have gone on record with a notification to Congress and whoever else that ‘APHIS would eliminate assistance to producers in 24 states in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry, unless they provide funding to cover the costs.’ So it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be.”

Impact not out of effect but out of SPITE! “…make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be.”  Their direction was not ambiguous, not veiled, it’s clearly stated in black and white “…APHIS would eliminate assistance” even if their budget would allow them to continue to operate (Sounds like a bureaucratic hissy-fit).  I also highlighted “whoever else”, that would be you, me and every other citizen of the United States, a USDA bureaucrat put us on notice.  I’m thinking he/she is a prime candidate for the unemployment line.
    It sure didn’t take long for one of these “Guidance” e-mails to surface.  Like I said a few post back “Any pain felt from the sequester (or Obamageddon) is going to be deliberately inflicted for political purposes…”and here’s your proof.  The above directive was sent to a concerned public servant looking to serve the public while operating within the budget constraints or 103% of last year’s budget (Hats off to ya buddy… I hope there are more like you).  Mr. Obama and his administration said the reduction in the growth of spending would have a severe impact on services and they intend on following through on that threat.  I still consider the “Sequester” a joke and I know it’s going to be O’s excuse for the next four years, like “It’s Bush’s Fault” was the last four.  It’s sad that many having never seen real leadership, actually see O having his temper tantrums and making excuses, they think he’s a leader but the joke may be on O and his Obamadrones.. O’s decision to close White House tours he instills an example in the minds of adults and children affected.  They now see the result of placing a man who is psychologically unsuited into a position of power, petty reactions from a petty man.  Just one of Obama’s many vacations could pay for two years of White House tours… (Note: most of the WH tour cost is attributed to security, that won’t be reduced).

There’s a quote I see on twitter frequently “A Government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have”.  Necessary or not, they’re about to attempt the taking.
    You notice the “Guidance doesn’t differentiate between conservatives or liberals, republicans or democrats, not even between Tea Party and Obamadrones, no, Obama isn’t smart enough to lead the Nation to shared prosperity… but any FOOL can inflict shared misery.  The question I put to you now is; How far will you follow a FOOL?  O’s planning on withholding services, SO WHAT! (Some of you have read this before) Several years back something told me to simplify my life, I did!  If I have to go without something, FINE, what are my necessities and how do I keep them at a secure level on my own, by the sweat of my labor, not dependent on anyone or anything.  It started with a simple thing, heating my home.  I could just flip the thermostat to a comfortable temperature through the winter and spend $1,000+ by the end or as I’ve done for the past four (plus) years, spend a couple of hours in the woods cutting firewood every other weekend (a truckload last me two weeks, (to be honest I’d hangout in the woods everyday if I could get away with it).  Soon winter will loosen its grip and spring will take hold, it’ll be time to focus on a large garden.  My wife had always taken care of it but this year I’m thinking it going to be a much larger project (The wife also cans the veggies, much better tasting than store bought).  Along with gardening she keeps hens for fresh eggs.  As the days get longer and warmer it’ll be time to break out the rod & reel for crappie or some farm-pond bream, bluegill and bass (sweet,sweet,sweet).  These are just a few of the things I’ve done to live a simpler life, to be a bit less reliant on… for a lack of a better word, the system.  Can everybody live like this, maybe, maybe not; you have to look at your situation to see where you can adapt.  I’ve got faith in you, because it’s been done before, it’s been done in the cities, it’s been done in the country.  Have you ever heard of the “Greatest Generation”? The people who lived through the Great Depression and World War II, they didn’t fold under the adversity, the pressure, or the misery.  The smart ones didn’t sit waiting for handouts. They stood on self-reliance and sweat, when all was said and done they were better, stronger… they became The Greatest Generation. 

Let the Obamadrones follow O and his promises of inflicted misery, leave them to wallow in their shared misery, let them whine about how tough their lives are.

We many or we few choose to follow in the footsteps of the Greatest of America.

    By the way, the USDA (the same chief department that issued the “Guidance” e-mail) will be sponsoring/hosting a wine tasting event in Fresno Calif. on March 10, bringing in local chefs, breweries and wineries… another such event is scheduled in Oregon for April.  Shared misery???  Obamadrones: FOOLS following a FOOL.

The Radisson Hotel & Conference Center-Fresno CA.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Paging Sir Galahad

    Out of the blue I was asked a question by a young lady…

Her:  Do you have any boys?
Me:  No, two girls… Why?
Her:  Just wondering…
Me:  WHY?  (I was a bit direct sensing something was troubling her)
Her:  Why are guys… Why do they seem to lack commitment, respect, courtesy?
Me:  Chivalry?
Me:  The equal rights movement, women’s rights.  Women said they wanted to play lumberjack, now they’re shocked when someone treats them as an equal and tells them to pick-up their end of the log.  Equality ended up with women being knocked from the “pedestal” they used to be placed upon, all in the name of “EQUALITY”.   (This time I may have been too direct, too blunt.  I saw a tear well up in the corner of her eye).
    The conversation continued on but you get the gist of where I’m going.  I’ll be using a wide brush, more of a societal observation than an individual incident.
    In the mid to late 70’s through the early 80’s young girls were bombarded with the idea the only way their lives could be rewarding was to enter into the workforce, become a professional.  They were also told the traditional family role of wife, mother and caregiver was “Old Fashion” and demeaning.
This attack was primarily forwarded by the education system and media outlets (Hollywood, TV and movies) and being exposed to the same propaganda, parents in an attempt to be supportive unwittingly urged they’re young girls to pursue non-traditional roles, downplaying the value and virtues of being a traditional wife and mother.  The whole goal was to raise a generation of supposed “Independent” women.  Boys and young men were pretty much ignored at this phase other than incidental exposure to the propaganda directed at girls and young women, but it had its effect on them also.
    The mid 80’s to early 90’s the influx of the “Independent Woman” into the labor force was completed; this began the excess cogs for the industrial machine phase.  Following the rule of supply and demand, wages began to stagnate as the workforce outpaced openings.  All the while living expenses continued to rise, the option of entering the workforce for women was no longer a choice, it became an economic necessity.  The traditional nuclear family unit began to fracture under the stress.  Traditional role models were absent.
    With both parents now having to work, the remainder of the 90’s became the “It Takes a Village” years. The next generation came of age in, and more dependent on child care programs, daycare, preschool, elementary school, etc… “Assembly Line” child rearing.  No one thought to question the values being learned by children that grew up in “The Village”.  The nuclear family for all intense purposes had been split.  The majority of the children had never been sent off to school after having a hot breakfast with the family; instead they got a tray of whatever when they were dropped off as mom headed to work.  Instead of playing catch with dad, they spent the after school hours in another program.
    After languishing in the broken family unit assembly line mode and collapsing economic structure, by late 2000’s the final nail was to be driven into the coffin of the traditional family unit.  The new provider, the new caregiver, the new parent was announced… “The Government Will Provide”.  Now the children of the “Village Generation” are the young adults that should be starting families, unfortunately for most, what they had as a role model was a program, an agency, a system. They have no idea of what a family is, nothing of family ties, commitment, dependability, responsibility or respect for the family.  They are and act the way they have been taught.

    For 30 to 40 years, generations have been taught there are no “Damsels’ in Distress”, there is no “Dragon to Slay”, we have no need for the “Knight in Shining Armor”, no need for gallantry, no need for chivalry.  After all, “The Government (or the Dragon?) Will Provide”.  I think most have listened.  But keep looking, I’m sure there is one more young Knight out there… Settle for nothing less.
Along with others, still standing sword drawn