Thursday, December 27, 2007


I have a strange hero-set. As a young boy I thought that Steven Decatur (spelling?) fit the bill, he of the wildly successful naval expedition against the Tripoli pirates, as in "to the shores of Tripoli," I thought he was one gutsy son of a gun. Four thousand miles of ocean away from home, in sailboats, and then start gunfights with guys who live there, and totally kick their asses for them, yeah, those guys had guts.

I also liked several WWII pilots. Now I'd say the bomber pilots were heroic, keeping the plane straight and level with all those 88's firing away at you. But then it was a couple of fighter pilots, Butch O'Hare, whose brother I actually knew, four degrees of separation from Al Capone, but that's another story, and Saburo Sakai, a Zero pilot who flew a damaged plane to his far away base with a .50 cal. slug stuck in the back of his head, yes, that's what I said.

I also admired the greatest ground attack pilot in history, past or future, no one will ever match this guy, Hans Ulrich Rudel. This guy flew against the Russians for four years and ran up a total of over five hundred tanks, a similar number of trucks, and one battleship, moored at the time, right down the stack. Plus, after the amputation of one leg, he was flying Focke-Wolfe's at the end of the war and was credited with quite a few kills at that enterprise too. I did not initially know, and later chose to view separately, his ardent defense of Nazism to the end of his life in South America, a peaceful death in old age. All these guys are on the web.

Then I learned something of the world and Martin Luther King was a hero to me. His death only sealed his hero status, I figured it was coming, that was heroic too.

And Benazir Butto. She is, was, five years younger than me. I became aware of her, I suppose I was about thirty, I thought she was hot. Then later I realized that she was really, really smart. Then later she achieved hero status. She could have led a quiet, very, very prosperous life, but chose instead to join in the "dialog" of that crazy cluster-f*ck that is (redacted). God bless her, and if there's a heaven, I'll get to meet her someday. Keep the ice cold, baby, and the bar stocked.

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