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Uncommonly Sensible

Keeping the "anal" in analytical... (While trying to remain civilized)

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Location: United States

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Get on your bad motor scooter and ride!

Wisconsin motorcyclists are organizing their own chapter of the Patriot Guard Riders, a national group of Harley-riding veterans and supporters who aim to shield families at soldiers' funerals from the protests of a fringe religious group. State members, from left, include Jan Markheim, Brendan McKeown, P.R. Meyer, Pat Hodgkins, state captain Greg MacDonald, Tim Thacker, Jeff DeVries, Joyce Jansen, Dennis Jansen, Barb Boelter and Dan Steffen.

From the Wisconsin State Journal:
Motorcyclists shield mourners from protesters
When Greg "Mac" MacDonald of Manchester heard about protests at the funerals of fallen Wisconsin soldiers, he got a sick feeling in his gut and a plan in his head.
A fringe church group, incensed over what it says are America's moral failings, was protesting at the burials of soldiers - veterans who had fought for their country just as MacDonald's grandfathers and uncles had.
"It made my stomach turn, really," said MacDonald, 41, who is not a veteran himself. "It was just unfathomable how you could be so cruel to the families."
So the Harley-riding activist organized dozens of volunteers to start the Wisconsin chapter of the Patriot Guard Riders, a national group of motorcycle- riding veterans who've made it their mission to shield grieving families from protesters.
The national group organizes dozens of bikers, many of them veterans of Vietnam, the first Gulf War and other conflicts, to stand between protesters and the mourners, MacDonald said. Group members wave flags and occasionally rev their engines if mourners want them to drown out the shouts of the protesters.
Since starting up toward the end of November, MacDonald said he figures his Wisconsin group has assembled close to 100 members. There's been no Wisconsin soldier killed since early December, so there have been no requests for the Patriot Guard here, MacDonald said. But he's already organized a guard presence at a service for a soldier in a suburb of Chicago. The group might attend its first service in Wisconsin in the next month, at a memorial for an out-of-state soldier whose mother is in Wisconsin, he said.

Read the whole article here.

It really doesn't matter what political ideology you embrace; making people feel worse when they are grieving the loss of a loved one, and trying to say goodbye, is JUST PLAIN WRONG! It takes a particularly sick, twisted and unfeeling group of individuals to exploit someone's time of sorrow in an attempt to make a political statement...and especially one of hate.

AP: FORT CAMPBELL - Wearing leather chaps and vests covered in military patches, a band of motorcyclists rolls from one soldier's funeral to another in hopes their respectful cheers and revving engines will drown out the insults of protesters.
Calling themselves the Patriot Guard Riders, they consist of motorcycle club members who can no longer tolerate a Kansas-based fundamentalist church picketing military funerals with signs reading, "Thank God for IEDs." The bikers shield the families from the protesters, and overshadow the jeers with their own patriotic chants and a sea of red, white and blue flags.
"The most important thing we can do is let families know that the nation cares," said Don Woodrick, the group's Kentucky captain. "When a total stranger gets on a motorcycle in the middle of winter and drives 300 miles to hold a flag, that makes a powerful statement."
Across the nation, Patriot Guard Riders number more than 5,000 and at least 14 states are considering laws aimed specifically at the funeral protest group led by the Rev. Fred Phelps, who believes American deaths in Iraq are divine punishment for a country that harbors homosexuals.

Read the whole article here.

As a Harley riding veteran, this is definitely an organization I support:

Patriot Guard Riders Mission Statement

The Patriot Guard Riders is a diverse amalgamation of riders from across the nation. We have one thing in common besides motorcycles. We have an unwavering respect for those who risk their very lives for America’s freedom and security. If you share this respect, please join us.

We don’t care what you ride, what your political views are, or whether you’re a "hawk" or a "dove". It is not a requirement that you be a veteran. It doesn't matter where you’re from or what your income is. You don’t even have to ride. The only prerequisite is Respect.

Our main mission is to attend the funeral services of fallen American heroes as invited guests of the family. Each mission we undertake has two basic objectives.

1. Show our sincere respect for our fallen heroes, their families, and their communities.

2. Shield the mourning family and friends from interruptions created by any protestor or group of protestors.

We accomplish the latter through strictly legal and non-violent means.

I'm going to sign up with them now...

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Have a heart!

"I ain’t got no love, I ain’t the kind to meet, ’cause you’ll never break, never break, never break, never break...this heart of stone."
"Heart of Stone"
by the Rolling Stones.

All right, so much for the hard-hearted image I like to project; I'm just as sentimental as the next guy, if not more so. In fact, a number of female family members and friends tell me I'm in touch with my feminine side...I am fairly certain that this is intended as a compliment.

Anyway, far be it from this reporter to go on about himself.

The subject of this little exercise in vanity is Valentine's Day, and it's symbol, the familiar stylized heart shape.
(Click the link for an historical overview)

OK, enough of the obligatory stuff.

On to something more interesting (IM[NS]HO):

In keeping with the theme, there's this fascinating, naturally-occurring Heart-shaped reef in that part of the world known as the Great Barrier Reef; it is the most photographed phenomenon in the area. The tour mentioned in the link is highly recommended, as is the place from whence it begins. It is, bar none, the nicest place this reporter has ever stayed for a vacation.


Monday, February 06, 2006

Hey Moe!


Descendant of: Abraham (Isaac)

Married: Childhood sweetheart, Helen

Favorite weapon: WORD(S)

Religion: Judaism

Has been known to resort to violence.

Taught to avoid pork for religious reasons.
(And porcupine, for entertainment reasons)


Descendant of: Abraham (Ishmael)

Married: Child, age 6, Aisha (et al)

Favorite weapon: (S)WORD

Religion: Islam

Has been known to resort to violence.

Taught to avoid pork for religious reasons.

Oh, a WISE GUY!!!

Update! It looks like someone had the same idea.
(Similar anyway; actually, it's what I was going to do originally)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Groundhog Day?

Maybe not. In an untimely turn of events, Punxsutawney Phil has been struck and killed by a passing motorist, as he was preparing for his annual forecast.

Anyone with information regarding the identity and/or whereabouts of this individual, who is wanted for questioning regarding the incident, is asked to contact the Punxsutawney authorities. He was last seen speeding away on a red, late model Harley-Davidson, reportedly with a PA license plate.

Meteorologists worldwide are stunned, shocked and dismayed.

One thing is fairly certain, however; the first day of Spring will occur in roughly 7 weeks.

This reporter would like to assist in the manhunt, but needs to wash his motorcycle...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Into the wide blue yonder...

The picture is of my brother Richard, and one of the planes he flies. That one in particular for a skydiving center.

He must like that shot, since it's the one he uses in his blogger profile.
(Which is where I lifted it)

Some decades ago, when I was in the Army, they had this program wherein they would match $2 for every $1 you contributed to a personal education fund. At the time, it was my intention to use that money to get flying lessons. Unfortunately, when I got out of the Army, I was told that the money couldn't be used for that purpose. So, I just took what I'd invested, and spent it. Since then, they have changed that policy, but too late for my original plan. C'est la vie.

Rich is also an instructor pilot, and has been offering to give me free flying lessons for quite literally years now. My other brother (William) has acquired a plane, in which he tells me I can get those lessons from Rich, so long as I pay for the fuel. Such a deal! I can scarcely turn it down.

So, thanks to Bill and Rich, Jack will finally get his pilot's license.

All the helicopters I flew in the Army don't count; my "stick time" was strictly "off the books"...

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