Good news everyone, I survived the Bix7 run this morning. I’ve ran that race for 16 years, now every inch of that course by memory and tried countless strategies to figure out the best way through it – no matter what I do, that race NEVER gets any easier and this morning was no different. I’ve taken on some of the hardest nightmare courses this year all hillier and twice as long, but this out and back hill course along the bluffs of the Mississippi in Davenport IA still puts a hurt on me. Congratulations also to Linda who conquered the Brady Street hill for another year. I’ll be putting the details up on my other blog as usual, but as of now I’m sitting here wondering how many days before I stop hobbling around. While waiting for the Alleve to kick in, decided to go ahead and get my monthly quota out of the way.
Probably should have given you some advanced warning on tonight’s featured wildlife creature. I know there are a lot of individuals out there that are not exactly fond of Snakes. I can point directly to my wife who will likely be moving my pillow to the guest room for even considering featuring such a hideous creature. Admittedly, Snakes can creep me out a bit if they manage to sneak up on me or catch me off guard by slithering through trees above me. Otherwise, we get along just fine. As you can see here, when one is encountered in the field, it’s shutter slapping time.
Hit the jump to read more about Mr. Slither both from this encounter and a couple of other experiences with these slithery creatures.
Continue reading Thankfully Without Wings
As a general rule, I try not to get more than two race recollections behind at a time. I realize this may seem like a ridiculous amount of time between an event post for some of you, but this simply means those individuals have not spent a lot of time on this site… or look at any of the non-running posts seeing as how those tend to lag years (and that is not an attention grabbing hyperbola – nope, that is an attention grabbing embarrassment ha). Guess what, this guy has another race this Saturday which means I better get on the stick err, perhaps more appropriately, in the shoes and get my recollection out on the Steamboat Classic 15K held back in June.
I could probably just start and complete this whole recollection in ONE picture.
How is that for a summary? If you are curious on how I got to this point, hit the jump!
Continue reading Redemption of Sorts
Howdy everyone out there in Blogland. Just looked at the date and realized I am running a bit behind this month. Made it into the 20’s this month with a weak showing on the posts so far. The end of the month comes quick around here especially when it closes just after a race weekend. “Need to train, no, need to get a blog out, no wait, HAVE to train, but I need to get a post out, no, what you need to do is run up that damn hill so you are ready for that demoralizing course, but the bl…” – maybe I should stop talking to myself during training runs ha. Truth is, the answer is always train and sacrifice sleep for posts. Speaking of posts, how about we get to tonight’s feature.
Hit the jump to read more about this Robin-like bird.
Continue reading Almost Robined Out of a +1
Greetings everyone!. Been a fun day around here thanks to a spontaneous decision to celebrate our 27th anniversary by hunting down some birds and sunflower fields. We were not sure if the weather was going to hold out our not as some storm clouds were rolling through the area most of the day – thankfully we didn’t get hit with the tornado swarms that were doing significant damage to our Iowa neighbors. Looks like Linda’s relatives made it through without too much trouble. We ended up making a run down to Havana IL so I could get a nice bird in the tin (looking forward to getting that posted here) and Linda was definitely able to add to her flower portfolio form the two sunflower fields we successfully located. Those were both still in their bloom stages where the fields down the road from us have officially wilted. Tired from the long day, so opted to rest a bit and push out a post.
For ease, going back to our recent trip to the Texas Gulf Coast for this post. A lot of those pictures were processed already and easy to simply pull them into a new post. I find the largest chunk of time in any of my posts is getting the pictures in a shape I’m willing to share, so having that part out the way is a huge benefit when you have a short time to get one of these out. Today’s featured post is our friend the Sora. Like the last post, the Sora is not a new bird to the blog. That previous posting (link here) featured a specimen found down at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge. We ended up swinging through there today on our way to Havana. Unfortunately, the dry summer has really impacted that place. For those familiar with it, the water has receded way beyond the observation decks at the back of the refuge.
Hit the jump to read more about my encounters with the Sora.
Continue reading Sora Doubletake
Howdy everyone! Been awhile I know. Truth is this month has been unbelievably busy… hell, for that matter the last two months have been burning at both ends. The summer months are usually filled with keeping the acreage under control and now with trails added to the running circuit my remaining evenings and weekends are spent on the hills or in the gym. Figured I’d go ahead and throw a post out there to get back in the groove.
Technically, this is not a new bird to the blog and definitely not a new check in my birding list. Nope, this colorful bird has been showing up here at random times since 2008 usually as part of a broader bird collection post or a side find while out birding Jubilee State Park or other nearby birding hotspots. Today, the mature male Red-Headed Woodpecker gets a post all to itself to show off those brilliant colors.
Hit the jump to see a few more shots of this pretty bird.
Continue reading Kentucky Wood
I need to get back in the saddle and start producing some posts. July has been hectic to say the least with a hard trail run (sure to make its way here seeing as how it almost killed me), a vacation crossing the entire state of Arkansas, traveling to a final training run for a race at the end of the month and then a mad scramble to get our entries to the local annual photography competition. Makes me tired just typing that. Still no excuse to let my readers down. So without delay, I bring you a recollection from a recent read – Dog Company: A True Story of American Soldiers Abandoned by Their High Command by Lynn Vincent and Captain Roger Hill. It is no secret that the military has always been a favored read – check the recollections listing and you will see that most of those are related to our loyal men and women who protect our great nation and its values around the world. Part of this is a deep desire to understand what it takes to put yourself in harm’s way – leads one to wonder how they would fare in similar situations. The other part is my father was in the Korean War (yeah, I said war and not conflict, I have no time for semantic games). I can’t even imagine what that was like for him, but each read provides a bit more clarity.
Today’s featured book described the completely ridiculous rules of engagement that were placed on our fighters in Afghanistan and assume applies in all our military theaters around the world. The story focused on Dog Company from the Airborne 101st. They had taken some serious injuries since being deployed (1/3 of the author’s men had been wounded in action) including some who ended up paying the ultimate sacrifice. It is in the aftermath of that tragedy they discovered there were traitors within the wire – Afghan’s that had been hired to provide services (including their interpreter) were giving information to the enemy. Thanks to the 96-Hour engagement rule they were required to prove guilt within 96 hours our they had to be released… and by released, that means returned to wherever they were captured regardless of how hostile that environment might be. Needless to say, if they could keep quiet for that duration… they knew they had to be set free. Can I assume the Taliban had a similar rule? – rhetorical of course. The release scenario had played out numerous times already (in fact, EVERY TIME) for this unit. Out of frustration Captain Hill and some of his leaders took it upon themselves to accelerate the admission of guilt process through some direct physical aggression and a staged scene that included separating a group of traitors from the others and discharging a weapon to simulate an execution. Too far, possibly, but I am not about to sit in the comfort of my den surrounded by peace and quiet and try to judge a situation against an enemy sworn to kill everyone that doesn’t believe in their self serving interpretation of a “religion”. This event resulted in investigators being dispatched to gather evidence of guilt, the participants were relieved of command and removed from the fight. What transpired from there should make every citizen who believes in our military (especially those in the line of fire) absolutely sick. The authors were essentially put in a position of having to prove their innocence – a stark contrast on how our legal system is supposed to work. Traitors were trusted over soldiers and years of outstanding service ignored in favor of bureaucracy. Details provided in the takeaways below, but in short, plea deals were involved that left little room for alternative paths.
When it comes to specific decisions, one must look ahead to truly understand the quality of that decision. A fact that has been abused by so many especially in politics who rely on those they represent (the American Citizen) to forget the event and limit future judgement. Think Benghazi, crates full of hard currency sent to Iran, artificial red lines and treasonous email practices … and endless other recent examples. In this particular situation, the quality of the decision can be assessed easily – the 96 Hour rule was rescinded in 2010. The enemy has not changed, the threat has not changed and our military might has remained as vigilant as before the rule was removed – what did change was the rule getting press (you wouldn’t believe which “news” outlet – now fallen to level of comical) which forced the removal. Just to add a couple points of commentary on the structure of the book before leaving you. First, this body of work had to be submitted for review by the Department of Defense. There were numerous redacts that the authors did not agree with and opted to leave the redacts (black bars) in the context of the book and let you decide if you felt that gap was justified or not (you can tell the context from the words that were left). Secondly, the book weaves in the actual dialog from the military trail. With the details in the story, you can see how the questioning was played out and understand the answers in context to that story – this provided an interesting insight to how those courts operate. The authors stated it directly, but the dialog leaves no doubt – guilty until proven innocent. Lastly, I thought the recounts of the enemy encounters were chilling to say the least. Want to understand PTSD better, try inserting yourself into their situation and ask yourself how you come out the other side (if you even do) without being impacted emotionally. If you think dishonoring our men and women in uniform by kneeling in protest because you don’t like the view from your million dollar mansion is appropriate behavior, then consider yourself and your industry dead to me.
Hit the jump to read some of the details of my takeaways.
Continue reading Book Recollection: The Enemy is Within