Friday, May 23, 2014

One of the Fallen

Sgt Daniel D BuschOn Memorial Day 2014 I salute Staff Sergeant Daniel Busch, an American soldier who gave his life in the service of our country.

From his Silver Star citation:

"The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Silver Star Medal (Posthumously) to Daniel Busch, Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against hostile enemy forces while serving with the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta, Task Force RANGER, Special Operations Command, during combat operations in Mogadishu, Somalia, on 3 and 4 October 1993. On that date while gallantly defending the crew of a downed MH-60 Black Hawk helicopter against a numerically superior enemy force, Staff Sergeant Busch was mortally wounded. His actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military forces, and reflect great credit upon himself, the Special Operations Command, and the United States Army."

From the Congressional Record:

The following regarding SSgt Busch is from an extract from the Congressional Record Volume 140, Number 73 issued Monday, June 13, 1994 


SSgt. Daniel D. Busch

Early last summer, SSgt. Daniel D. Busch--known as ``Rambusch'' to his high school buddies from Portage Senior High School--took leave to visit his mother in Barabou, Wis.

He had a heart-to-heart talk with her to explain that his unit, Army Special Forces Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., was being deployed on a mission.

``He told me his unit was going some place later than summer, but he couldn't say where,'' his mother, Virginia Johnson, says. ``He just told me not to worry. He said, `I know this job is dangerous, but remember that it keeps me close to God. A Christian soldier is just a click away from heaven in this type of work.''
Virginia Johnson says she understood. ``He was always trying to reassure us, because he could never tell us exactly what he did,'' she says.

After that talk, they went fishing, something Busch always looked forward to. That visit was the last time Virginia Johnson saw her son. The 25-year-old light weapons infantry specialist was killed Oct. 3 in Mogadishu, Somalia, in the bloodiest single battle for American troops since Vietnam.

The Army posthumously awarded Daniel Busch the Silver Star and the Purple Heart. A combat veteran of Operation Just Cause in Panama, he received other awards during his seven-year Army career, including the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge and National Defense Medal.

But family members and close friends all say Daniel Busch got his real reward when he took his last breath: The opportunity finally to meet God, someone Busch spent a lot of time talking to.

Daniel Busch joined the Army right out of high school in 1986. Something about serving God, country and fellow man appealed to him, his mother says. But he was still planning on getting out in September 1995.

His wife, Traci Busch, 23, says that her husband wanted their 14-month-old son, Mitchell, ``to grow up in an atmosphere that had nothing to do with the Army and the constant deployments and moving around.'' In a letter to his son, dated Sept. 29, Daniel Busch talked of his desire that is son grow up to be a man of morals and values. ``It's very important for you to grow up to be a Christian,'' he wrote. ``Listen to your mother.''

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Dog Eat Dog

  1. Ray Kinsella: So what do you want?
  2. Terence Mann: I want them to stop looking to me for answers, begging me to speak again, write again, be a leader. I want them to start thinking for themselves. I want my privacy.
  3. Ray Kinsella: No, I mean, what do you WANT? [gestures to the concession stand they're in front of at Fenway Park, Boston]
  4. Terence Mann: Oh. Dog and a beer.
  5. Field of Dreams, 1989

I know a good gig when I see one. Tom Lohr is traveling around the country, attending baseball games, eating hot dogs and blogging about it. He gets right to the heart of dogdom, even heaping a gentle bit of distain on those who desecrate a good dog with tomato sauce (best left for pasta).  He slips in a line from Ghostbusters - extra credit if you can spot it. I only have one thing to say.

I should have thought of this.... :(
My Photo

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

General Principles

"An experienced police officer knows that, sometimes, it sucks to be you."

Things about our trip to Santa Barbara that didn't suck:

  • Good housemates. They are a godsend. Ours were bright, witty and gregarious under usual circumstances. They were steadfast under the relentless stress of illness. In the end, we are stronger friends because we endured the ups and downs together.
  • Finding out that Stage Five of the Tour of California finishes .9 miles (to be bike race-ish, 1.448 kilometers) from our rental's front door, spending the day at the beach and then watching Taylor Phinney carry a 20 second lead at the 1K kite, the peloton stalking him like a hungry cheetah. 
  • Santa Barbara. What's not to love about a place whose biggest grocery store is called Ralph's (which didn't suck, either).
  • Riding bikes along the coast with "The Boys" - two new friends.
  • Having drinks and sharing a shell fish appetizer with my wife on a cloudless 70 degree day as boats cycle out of and into the harbor.
The one thing that did:
  •  Several of our group getting sick - with that.
An hour after we landed DIA closed due to thunderstorms, hail and tornadoes. Media reported that some passengers were ordered to shelters. We felt bad for the people who couldn't take off, who landed in - wherever - or who circled in bumpy weather. 

Hearing about it as we pulled into our driveway didn't suck.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Scars, Marks and Tattoos

"Vi-sickle, to ride my vi-SICKLE!" Bicycle Race, (Freddy Mercury) as performed by Graham Patrick Gaffney.

I set out on a "low expectations" ride. My usual riding friends busy, there was no one but me to push the pace. No lung-bursting, leg-snapping full-gas suffer-a-thons today. Just turn the pedals, enjoy the sunshine and invest in a fitness level I hope eventually rivals last year. A cold day resolved itself nicely and I pushed off.

It wasn't long before the ride explained that it would not meet my expectations, low or not. At a busy and complex intersection I looked over my shoulder at overtaking traffic and...I'm cyclocrossing! Dammit, I have to stop to see if I've picked up a thorn. What I pick up is the edge of the sidewalk and...


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Going to the Dogs

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
Step out of line, the men come and take you away

(Buffalo Springfield, For What It's Worth, 1966)
(Trigger Warning - right-wing notions, polysyllabics, a picture of a kid giving the finger and an acronym that invokes the word fuck).

I saw a post on Facebook this morning. It was "political satirist/comedian" Stephen Colbert taking some slap at a misstatement made by a Fox News commentator (immediately corrected) concerning the attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya on 9/11/12. A friend had "liked" it, which brought the post to my attention.

I have very strong feelings about what happened those terrible hours that night so far from home. Maybe you do, too. I was about to voice them on a forum in which they would have been contrary to the post's point. Likely, it would have drawn the ire of someone who might take exception to my analysis.

And so I deleted it. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Going Nowhere

When hope is not pinned wriggling onto a shiny image or expectation, it sometimes floats forth and opens.

One of the guys in the Colfax hotel room answered the knock at the door. Bad move.

A street guy - someone they knew by sight and nickname - forced his way in. Disheveled, long hair uncombed, wild-eyed.... Though the backpack over his shoulder contained goodness knew what, the urgency in his voice did not suggest a discussion. "Get out, unless you want to be barricaded in here, too!"

"He has access to knives" said the guys who fled, terrified, to the desk clerk. "Big ones." The manager called 911.

First units on scene watched from a distance as the suspect tossed stuff through the windows. They described sounds similar to the room being "trashed," and then....

"This is the day for me to die," from inside.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


Introducing my friend Lauren Sandifer's blog - Mommies and Me. Lauren and her spouse "Momma A" have a wonderful little girl named Piper, or Poppy, depending on the context. Close readers will remember Lauren from the acknowledgements page of Out of Ideas. Please give this blog a look, you won't be disappointed.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Car Talk

In less enlightened times, the best way to impress women was to own a hot car. But women wised up and realized it was better to buy their own hot cars so they wouldn't have to ride around with jerks.

Do you think of your trusted vehicles as objects? We don't.

The "fleet" needed realignment, that much was certain. The Tacoma is a beast - capable, flexible and safe. A turning radius much like the cruise ships we've enjoyed and comparable gas mileage made it a less friendly car for work-related hops into downtown. The time had come....