You have heard the term "Freedom Isn't Free", haven't you? If you have never heard it spoken, you are almost certain to have seen it on someone's t-shirt, book tote, or as a large sticker on someone's car or truck. Mrs. GF and I saw a car with one of those stickers on it today, while we were heading to Disney's Animal kingdom (Soccer Girl wanted to see some more animals… could I say no?)
Anyway it made me think, and it started an oft-repeated conversation between us. I'll shorten the conversation down to its most salient point, which for me is this: Those friggin' t-shirts, stickers, banners, and signs really piss me off. Do you know why they piss me off? Well, I'll tell you. That particular sentiment is a favorite of Republican/Conservative/Libertarian/Tea Party whack-jobs who chant "USA! USA!" out of one side of their faces while whining about the federal government and paying taxes out of the other.
Personally, I don't get it… how can we shout defiantly that "Freedom Isn't Free" while complaining about the costs? How can the anti-tax nimrods continually natter about President Obama's spending, while having been silent about the orgy of spending perpetrated by his predecessor? How can we say "Stay in Iraq/Afghanistan as long as it takes to finish the job" (that would be the job that Mr. Bush was never able to define), without counting the cost? Never mind the cost of lost lives and limbs… because the whack-job right doesn't care about our soldiers and Marines getting maimed or killed. After all, if they cared, they wouldn't be so effing happy to have sent those men and women to war for no good reasons in the first place... but I digress.
Look, wars cost money. Wars cost an unholy sum of money… numbers that the average person couldn't even being to visualize. The cost of ammunition; the cost of replacement parts; the cost of tanks, aircraft, and trucks… not to mention the gas/oil that it takes to fuel them, is beyond astronomical. The costs of equipping soldiers and Marines alone is staggering, to say nothing about the cost of equipping the sailors and airmen that are in the war zones.
Let's get away from wars for a moment, because our freedoms and our safety aren't just about the military are they? Of course they aren't. When you have a car is stolen or when your kids go missing, you don't call the 82nd airborne division… you call the police. When you fall down the stairs in a household ambulance, you call your local EMS paramedics. When there is a house fire or a car fire, there are firefighters rushing to assist to you as best they can. That stuff costs money, too.
You know, the military, our intelligence services (who have secret budgets you and I will never know about), and our Police/Fire/EMS and other first responders aren't the only guarantors of our freedom. One of the other guarantors of our freedom is education. Because we all know that an educated citizenry is the first defense against tyranny, don't we? Well guess what, warriors? Public Education is the best way to make sure the largest possible number of people in our society is at least basically educated. That costs money, too.
You see, we all want things. We want fire protection, we want police and EMS services, we want a strong military, we want to be educated, we want air safety, we want safe roads, and we want government services that we feel that we need (and those services will vary depending on your age, health, income level, etc…). What Americans are really twisted up about is paying for the things that we want. Somehow, a significant proportion of the American populace has gotten into their heads, that they can have all of the things that they want, fight two wars at the same time, and cut taxes. That math doesn't work, warriors. It doesn't work at all.
No sir, freedom isn't free… and blood isn't the only price. As a matter of fact, blood is the cheapest price there is, because we have so much of it. Freedom isn't free, because freedom costs an awful lot of money. That money has to come from somewhere, warriors, and guess where that is? Yup, you got it! It is coming from your pockets. I know you don't like it, but there it is.
You want a new moon rocket/heavy launch vehicle? You have to pay for it.
You want a new class of submarines? You have to pay for it.
You want roads? You have to pay for them.
Not enough firefighters in your town? Uh huh… pony up!
Personally, I don't like paying taxes for a lot of things that our money gets spent on. No sir, there are some things that I don't like one little bit, but I'll tell you what: you'll never hear me carping about paying taxes, because paying taxes pays for those roads that I mentioned, and the teachers and others that staff our schools, and to our police and fire services. The money that I… that we pay in taxes funds our awesome armed forces (you may have noticed that we haven't sent our folks to war with a few shotguns and muskets). Paying for those things is my duty as an American citizen, and good Americans are attentive to their duty.
So there you have it. Paying your taxes is paying for your freedom. Complaining about it only makes you seem like a spoiled child who doesn't want to take a bath, even though taking a bath is exactly what the child needs.
Now, can you people please shut up, quit your whining grow a scab and pay your share without cheating?
Even when we are on vacation, I cook. Yes, I know that vacations are supposed to be about rest and relaxation, and they are for me… believe it. The thing is, eating out all the time would get really boring… not only for me, but for my family as well.
I don't cook every night when we are on vacation, but I do on most evenings, and last night was not different. Last night, as is our Saturday night custom at home, we went to Whole Foods (and boy, let me tell you, the Whole Foods, here in Orlando, is a whole different place than the one in Springfield, Virginia!) and got all of the stuff that we needed to make pizzas, and then went "home" to settle in for some TV time and some good chow.
While Bridezillas and other scintillating shows were on, I was about to roll out our pizza dough (whole wheat), when I realized that our kitchen didn't have a rolling pin! The lack of a rolling pin could have been a major deal breaker, so I used my McGyver-like intuitive skills, and decided to use a large beer bottle (1 pint, 6 ounces) that I had sitting on the counter that I was going to use in a beer review*.
Having rolled out our dough into a quasi-circular shape (I admit that I thought the dough was shaped vaguely like Australia) I brushed it with white clam sauce. Yes, I know people brush pizza dough with olive oil, and yes, I have olive oil in the cabinet, but hey, this is my recipe, ok? So, after brushing with white clam sauce, I sprinkled that dough with a bit of Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and parmesan cheese (all amounts to taste, of course).
Next I spread some of the sausage that was already browned and diced (I used spicy cilantro chicken sausage), and then used the cheese grater to grate some gorgonzola picante around the dough (not too much, mind you, because that is strong cheese). Finally, I sprinkled that "fiesta blend" cheese and the remains of the sausage on the dough, and we were oven-ready.
I baked the pizza at 385 (Fahrenheit for those that might be reading from the metric lands) for about 15 minutes, until it was all golden on top! Here are your results. For the sake of full disclosure, I have to report that I made two pizzas one for me and the Mrs. and one for Soccer Girl. Soccer Girl's pizza was mad the same, except that I used Kalamata olives instead of sausage (hey, she has her own tastes, you know?).
So, last week, I mentioned that I was going to go back to my blooging roots and start writing for me again. I also mentioned that I was going to "Write hard" as my friend Becky calls it. Well, I hope that at least some of you remember, this is what I spent a lot of time talking about on the old blog.
I like to cook, I like to eat, I like to write. There it is.
My friend Aunt Becky, from MommyWantsVodka has put a challenge before me… Aunt Becky has asked her friends and readers to share the reasons why they blog. She has asked us to focus our writing and to "Write hard" and be unapologetic about being ourselves, instead of being what we think our readers want us to be.
That's a pretty tall order, huah?
A pretty tall order indeed, but it is something to think about, isn't it? In a time when people so frequently write or blog for an audience, the pressure to self-sensor becomes great. The pressure to ensure that you don't offend anyone becomes a real thing. The pressure to make sure that the people that read and comment at your blog don't go away because you make them feel uncomfortable… all of these things, my fellow warriors, are sign posts on the road to mediocrity.
I have decided to take her advice and go back to the roots of my blogging. Back to my first blog… back to when I really posted about not only the things that I see, but what I think about those things. It is time to take the gloves off… but not… not before I tell you a little bit about why I blog in the first place.
I could tell you that I, like many of the people who take the time to write a personal blog, write because I have so many things to say about the world around me. I want to talk about the things that happen every day that most people ignore. Mostly, I write because I am a bit of a narcissist… I want to say things that make people pay attention to me.
So there you have it. I have things to say. I want to be heard. I crave attention.
This is why I blog.
Thanks, Aunt Becky, for giving me a bit of a shake. I needed it.
As for the rest of you, warriors, the coming months are going to be a bit of a bumpy ride… so buckle up!
I am interrupting my awesome vacation to talk to you about our country.
The country that we Americans live in and love is sliding right into the toilet. No, not because of entitlement or liberlism or immigration or any of those red herrings. We aren't in deep trouble over those f***ing morons who where their pants hanging off of their asses (like the idot I saw at Disney's Animal Kingdom yesterday). We aren't losing our way because of an Islamic community center near the former site of the World Trade Center.
Nope, uh uh.
We are losing our way because of conservative victimization. That's what I said: conservative victimization. In an America where conservatives regularly make excuses for the treasonous Confederates, where conservatives make noises about armed revolution, where conservatives blame all of the ills of our country on the poor and then pretend that they themselves are victims... we are in a world of shit, people.
I don't have to spell all of these things out for you, gentle reader, because I know that all of you are smart enough to know what I am talking about... and if you need examples of any of whot aI just said, please let me know and I willprovide them in spades! Speaking of spades, now comes the latest conservative "victim" Dr. Laura Schlessinger.
You all know who Laura Schlessinger is, right? The really odd-looking conservative radio talker who waves the wingnut banner on her syndicated show? Right, that's the one. Well, Schlessinger has landed herself in the limelight once again. Last week, during a call-in segment on the show, Dr. Laura apparently used the word "nigger" eleven times in a 5 minute segment. Surprising no one, least of all Dr. Laura, I am certain, there arose a terrible hue and cry. People and groups were calling for Dr. Laura to apologize, calling for boycotts on her advertisers and a telephone campaign to her employers to get her off of the air. It worked.
Dr. Laura announced, on the Larry King Show that she would be ending her show at the end of her contract, which just happened to be ending right about now anyway. The good Doctor claims that she isn't ending the show because of poor ratings or anything like that... no, she says that she is ending her show (which has been running for many years) because she feels that she has lost her first ammendment rights. You heard me... a woman who has made a good living partially based on talking to (and frequently offending) people, is claiming that she is ending her show because she feels that she can no longer say the thinkgs that she feels need to be said. Apparently, people need to hear the word nigger over and over.
I have to say that I think that the whole furor over her use of the word nigger is a bunch of bulls**t, after all, some of you who are reading this post, probably use the term more often than you would be comfortable admitting to your friends. Some of you probably never use the word and are ffended by it, even if you aren't blsck. Some of you are black and use it anyway, and think that it's ok as long as no one who ISN'T black uses it. You have to quit giving words power over your lives.
Sure, Dr. Laura is a dope. Indeed she is a dope of the firt rank... but being a dope isn't illegal, and complaining about the stupid things that come out of the mouths of dopes isn't the same thing as losing your first amendment rights. So, Dr. Laura has decided to quit her show? Who the f*** cares? Not me, because I was never a fan anyway. She can complain all she wants to about having her rights supressed, but we all know that this is nonsense.
"Oh, look at poor white, conservative girl, ME! The colored people and the liberals are ganging up on me! I'm losing my right to free speech! Someone call Broadview security!"
Seriously, Laura... kiss my ass!
As much as I dislike the current culture of conservative/republican/Tea Party/whacko-wingnut victimology, I truly dislike professional victims of all sorts. Those that make a living being disgruntled about things that they never make a true effort to change.
You know, I have been a bad blogger of late.
I have let (all six ) of my readers/friends down. I just haven't been putting as much into my blog as I have in years past. I want to tell you, my friends, that it's not you, it's me. The good news is that I am not breaking up with you… and you sure as hell had better not be breaking up with me… I mean, who really needs a well-armed stalker?
Um… anyway, as I was saying: It isn't you, it's me. I have just been seriously busy and distracted for the past several (ok eight or ten) months. I think I told you that I got a promotion… oh, thank you, thank you! I won't bore you with false humility; I earned that friggin' promotion thank-you-very-much! Ahem, well getting promoted meant I that I have been as busy as ever, and with after school scheduling issues, let's just say that I don't have as much time on my hands as I used to. All of this is said to explain a few things, tell you what is coming here at A Modern Warrior's Life , and to follow-up on a few posts and discussions.
Bear with me while I clear the air.
So that is what is happening, folks. You'll be hearing from me soon... but for now, Mickey Mouse is beckoning, and we are on our way to the Magic Kingdom.
After packing our belongings and taking a last walk on the beach (Soccer Girl has to get more shells and say goodbye to the ocean), we are on our way to Orlando, via stops at the Saint Photios Greek Orthodox national shrine in St. Augustine, and historic Fort Matanzas, in St. Augustine Beach.
Please welcome my blog buddy Becky, the creative force behind the blog "Deep Muck, Big Rake". Becky has graciously decided to favor me (and you) by guest posting while I sit on the beach, and do other vacation-like things with my family. Take it away, Backy!
Hi, I'm Becky from Deep Muck Big Rake. I understand Gunfighter is away on his summer vacation, so I'm here to talk about mine.
What did I do on my summer vacation? I stepped foot on a plane, which I swore I'd never do again. The last time I did was a nightmare. It was also when Gunfighter wrote a guest post for me. Looks like I was due for both
We went to Norway for the summer.
"What a luxury!" someone said when they heard that.
Funny, I never thought of it like that because, well, that's where we go if I want my children to see their family. Yes, it's expensive to renew passports and buy plane tickets. But we've always believed that spending time with family is a necessity, not a luxury.
In any case, I'm glad I broke my vow against air travel (although I went with a different airline). It was the first time I traveled alone with the kids, and I'll admit I was anxious. They were amazing, and everything went off without a hitch. We were there for six incredible weeks. (My husband caught up with us three weeks later.) It did us good to be there. The kids spent lots of time with their cousins, aunt, uncle and grandparents, as well as extended family and friends.
We climbed mountains, went fishing, rode a ferry or two and climbed some more mountains. While my husband was there, he climbed the mountain behind his parents' house six times. (You've got to climb the mountains while you can!) He often got up in the morning before everyone else and was up the mountain and back before we got going for the day. His last hike before we left was with some childhood friends.
Now I'm putting photos together, so we can savor the memories we made.
What did you do this summer?
Thanks a million, Becky! I really appreciate the help. Now, you floks go read Becky's blog. You will be glad that you did!