Happy Veterans' Day, everybody. Be sure to thank any who have served that you know or see. If you are able, make it to any memorial program you can. Which, actually, brings me to what I wanted to write about.
I hate how Veterans' Day is handled. It's a throwaway, greeting card holiday the way it's set up now. Nobody outside of the government gets the day off, it gets lip service but little else in the national conscious. And that just seems so wrong.
I think part of the reason is the "Greatest Generation"* is now a passed or passing generation. World War II ended in 1945. That was sixty-six years ago. 66. People who were never alive during that war are retirement age now. The average World War II veteran is now in their late 80's. I couldn't find a number of living World War II vets, but we apparently lose 850 a day. World War I, when Veterans' Day was conceived** began almost a century ago. Ninety-seven years. 97. There are no more living American veterans from this war, ending with Frank Buckles in February.
*A nickname I actually abhor, but they've claimed it and run with it.
**The Treaty of Versailles was actually signed on June 28, 1919, but the armistice that actually stopped the fighting went into effect on November 11, 1918 (at the 11th minute of the 11th hour). If people realize the day is connected to World War I and its ending at all, many confuse the armistice with the treaty.
Those are considered the last great wars of the United States. Korea is known as the "Forgotten War," which tells you about everything you need to know about that. Vietnam has only in the last ten or fifteen years become a "respectable war," which probably has a lot more to do with the Vietnam generation reaching a certain age and the World War II veterans becoming scarce. There have been some "wars" since, mostly with Iraq and lately Afghanistan. The mortality numbers there, though, are nothing compared to earlier wars. That, I think dulls us to the service and sacrifice of our veterans. The army is smaller, and justifiably so. It doesn't hit home the way it did with even Vietnam with the draft. It probably doesn't help that none of these wars were actually declared war. It still seems awfully fishy to me that the government instituted a draft for a war that wasn't, but I wasn't there, so maybe I shouldn't judge.*
*Oh, wait, I have a history degree. That's pretty much exactly what I studied how to do.
No, even if the sacrifice is smaller, it is still a sacrifice. It is still sending younger men to fight older politicians wars that there is often little or no personal connection to. Sometimes the older politicians have better reasons than other times, but that isn't the issue here. The issue here is veteran status doesn't hold the same cache it used to, and that is wrong. Even something as small as making Veteran's Day a real holiday would be a step in the right direction. It seems that will never happen in November, with Thanksgiving and then Christmas and New Years soon after. It seems the best bet would be to move Veteran's Day to something more relevant. As I said, there is nobody left from World War I. Armistice Day is dead in this country. Even Pearl Harbor doesn't carry real resonance with the majority of Americans. But I think we all know what day does. September 11.* Move the day to September, as that is the day today's wars, and thus today's veterans, are connected to. That is the day that chills the current generation of Americans to the bone. That seems to be the day that would get proper respect.
*Of course, now there are high schoolers who have only sketchy memories of that day. This plan would be one that would require changing the date of Veterans' Day fairly regularly, but I'm okay with that.
Thank you veterans. Especially my cousins Eric, Brian, and Jeff Bushue and a family friend Josh Witsman. Eric & Josh are currently in the Marines, Brian and Jeff are recently out of the Army. Thank you also to my uncles Bill and Bob Bushue, who were career military men, and George Albert, who
It's officially November as of, well, yesterday, actually. And I'm here to announce that means the blog posts are about to get more irregular. Today, though will still be a full post.
As many are aware (and many more apparently are not), November is NaNoWriMo, which is short for National Novel Writing Month. I've done this a few times before, and once I actually got a book written.* I hadn't done it the past two years, but I think I'm going to jump back into it again. I've got a book idea in my head and have started a little bit (I didn't write yesterday as my trade-off). This seems as good an excuse as any to buckle down and get this finished.
*I actually had no idea it was listed on Amazon until now. Obviously it didn't sell well, and there's good reason for that.
The bad news for this blog means November is probably going to be a sparse month. I've been really rolling on this daily post thing (albeit shorter posts), and I have every intention and every confidence it will get back to that in December. But, if I'm going to write a 50,000 word novel in a month, something has to give, and this blog will probably be it. Kind of the same reason why a lot of people don't read more than one book at a time.
On an unrelated note, Irregular Webcomic! came to an end last Sunday. It came as a pretty big shock for me. The last strip with his explanation is here. And I get it. That's a big reason why I took my break in August. I'm not sure I agree with his determination on the quality of the comics, but I definitely noticed the storylines all reaching end points. I thought it building up to something like the "end of the universe" arc from a few years ago. But, no, it was the end.
I felt the rug was pulled out from under me and was profoundly sad. Moreso than I thought I should be. I haven't been that longtime of a reader, though I had combed the archives and had read every comic. I got "caught up" around a year ago. It was a great archive binge. And now, just as quickly as I immersed myself, it was gone.*
*Okay, not exactly gone. David Morgan-Mar is rerunning the entire 3,198 strip series again. And he's writing new annotations for the comics he didn't hit before (which was the best part of the comic, honestly) and a new, lengthy annotation (think blog post) every Sunday. And Darths & Droids isn't going anywhere yet. DMM will still be entertaining me, and for that, I am very thankful.
His penultimate comic (actually a guest comic) was . . . we'll say inspiring. Uplifting, maybe. I'm struggling to find the right word. Read it and see what you come up with. It spoke to me a bit. I like to think I'm a fairly creative person, I certainly feel like I have a lot of good ideas for stories, games, et cetera. But I rarely act on them. Then I read this:
"Some people tend to look at creative work, particularly things like modern art, or the little projects that people post on the net, and say dismissively, 'Bah, anyone could do that. I could do that.' But the thing is, they didn't do that. Sure, maybe they had a similar idea some time, but they never got off their backside and actually did it, whereas the person who actually went out and created it. . . did. It's easy to criticise* stuff that other people create. It's hard to create stuff."
*He's Australian, he can't help his spelling. Italics are also DMM's.I was already on a kick where I was tired of having ideas and wanted to have some new pieces to my name. This blog is good, I love writing it. But is it really creative? Debatable at best. It's just my opinions and ramblings, not any sort of story and only minor structure. No, I want to write this book I've had in my head for a little while now. I'd started writing more on it already. NaNoWriMo had me excited, and this quote further spurred me on.Upward and Onward to Victory!
Tony La Russa: Ex-Manager. He drove me nuts. I don't think I could have stood to have him managing my team. He always struck me as one of those guys who had the be the smartest guy in the room at all times, and he was going to take great pains to make sure that was both A) as true as possible and B) you knew it. So many games where the pitcher batted eighth, where there was so much bunting you thought it was required every time a runner got to first, ill-advised hit-and-runs, a bizarre fascination with utility guys like Aaron Miles.
And yet, would any Cardinal fan have traded him for anybody over the last 15 years? La Russa got there in 1996, which is the year the Cardinals busted out of their 90's malaise. He's taken the Cards to three World Series in his decade and a half in St. Louis, winning two of them. He may be maddening, but he wins. It's hard to argue with that. It makes you wonder what might have happened if La Russa would have stuck around in Oakland during the A's "Moneyball Era" teams. There were some very talented, young players on that roster. It would have been very interesting to see what he would have done with those teams, especially against the "late dynasty" Yankee teams. Would La Russa have gotten Jeremy Giambi to slide? Probably not, but it's fun to imagine. His run with the White Sox was before my time and I'm not terribly knowledgeable about it, other than Hawk Harrelson fired him and there are some White Sox fans that still aren't too happy about it.
Something I wish I knew more about was La Russa outside of baseball. I know he's huge into humanitarian causes, founding an animal rescue society and appearing in a ton of promotional material regarding animals. It's well known he is a lawyer, though he never had to fall back on that degree. But that's about it. But when you see pictures like this one, how can you not want to know more?
That's from an SI gallery, and I believe the brunettes are La Russa's daughters, which does explain a little bit. But according to the gallery, this wasn't La Russa's first foray into the theater.
Unless he was just taking a sword fighting/fencing class, which really raises more questions than it answers. I can't decide if it's great or frustrating, but the thing about these pictures from SI is they offered no comment or explanation on any of the shots. Just "here is La Russa through the years." Fine when it's a shot of a La Russa fresh up into the bigs or as a manager chatting with Lou Piniella or Queen Elizabeth II. In shots like these? Some context would be nice.
Anyway, I'm sure we'll all be waiting with baited breath to hear La Russa's Hall of Fame speech here in a few years. It will be very well deserved, even if I never wanted him to manage the Cubs in the least.