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Monday, August 29, 2005

A Piece Of History Gone Forever

I am too young to have known Ernie Pyle or to have been around during World War II when he wrote dispatches from the front lines to readers back home who were starved for information relating to their loved ones serving in the Pacific. He was, by all accounts, revered by his readers for the familial and cordially folksy manner in which he portrayed the sometimes heartbreaking accounts of suffering and death, and at other times the heroic deeds of GI's who rose above the simple call to duty. Ernie Pyle was shot and killed by a Japanese sniper on a desolate Pacific island just at war's end.

Now, those few people - mostly over 70 - who still have fond memories of the legendary journalist will find a certain sadness in this news:

Ernie Pyle's Childhood Home Destroyed
By The Associated Press

DANA, Ind. -- The Indiana farmhouse where World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle grew up has been demolished, shocking preservationists who had worked for years to keep Pyle's legacy alive.

The home's demolition in mid-August came after the owners had offered it to the Ernie Pyle museum in Dana, the state or anyone who would take it. (
Keeping Ernie Pyle's legacy alive in an era when journalists as a group are held in such low regard would have been a monumental task anyway. This won't make it any easier.

For more information on his life and a sampling of his superb writing, click here.

Photo courtesy of Indiana University

Gittin' While The Gittin's Good

The exodus from New Orleans has kicked into high gear as Hurricane Katrina is about to slam into New Orleans. From all indications, the devastation left in its wake is going to be catastrophic.

Photo courtesy of The New York Post

Click on image to enlarge

I Was Close

With regard to Virginia gubernatorial candidate Tim Kaine's (D-2004 Tax Hike) rather recent conversion to a bulletproof belief in gun rights, I wrote the following on June 7 of this year:

I predict ol' Tim will soon be seen on channel 5 out in a field shooting a goose. It worked for John Kerry, right? (link)
Well, I was reading Brian Patton's insightful weblog the other day and came upon a reference to this:

'Sportsmen for Kaine' event hunts votes
Todd Jackson, The Roanoke Times

HARDY - Tim Kaine shouldered a 12-gauge shotgun Friday and put more pop in Virginia's gubernatorial shootout.

As a media horde looked on at the scheduled "Sportsmen for Kaine" event in Franklin County, the Democrat took aim at some skeet, hitting 14 of the two dozen targets he fired at. Kaine wouldn't say if he thinks he's a better shot than his National Rife Association-backed Republican opponent Jerry Kilgore, but he handled the gun with ease. "I'm an outdoorsman," Kaine said. "I enjoy shooting skeet." (
"Event Hunts Votes" is right.

You'd think one of those "Sportsmen For Kaine" would have informed "the sportsman" that he was shooting trap and not skeet. But at least he shot a clay pigeon and not a poor goose, as his mentor did. One of God's little critters didn't have to be executed in order for a floundering candidate to attempt to convince voters that he's something he ain't.

Put the gun down, Timmy, before you hurt yourself. Again.

Uh Oh

Boy. Strikes just aren't what they used to be.
Northwest Airlines Strikers Showing Signs of Dissent

DETROIT, Aug. 28 - Ten days into a strike against
Northwest Airlines, signs of dissent are beginning to bubble up among mechanics' union members on picket lines at airports around the country.

In a union known for lively debate, some members of the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, which struck Northwest on Aug. 20, are questioning the union leaders' decision to call a strike without a vote on the airline's final offer. (
The article goes on to say the mechanics' union has no strike fund, that the members' healthcare benefits end this Thursday, and that many of them, depending on the state their in, cannot collect unemployment benefits.

Expect this strike to be of short duration.

Neither Will The Mudslides in Topanga Canyon ...

This is a relief:
Katrina not likely to do much here
The Roanoke Times

Hurricane Katrina is not expected to have much of an impact on Southwest Virginia, according to meteorologist Jeffrey Stewart from the National Weather Service in Blacksburg. (link)
Here I went out and bought a boat ...

If You Have Any Sense of Decency

Please, Roanoke Times editorial staff, don't ever publish crap like this again:
Are loons common on the Outer Banks? I don't know. This year, it seemed to me that no birds at all were common. Only a handful of gulls and sanderlings, one or two willets, one or two terns. No ospreys or pelicans at all. Had the storm driven them away?

Or had the storm driven this loon in?

If it was a loon.

I sat and watched. And wondered.

Which is what I do at the beach.

And what I do at home, too. (link)
My guess is someone's trying to get noticed by the Atlantic Monthly. Or at least Readers Digest.

I wouldn't allow it in the Weekly Reader.

Unless this was written by a third grader in Roanoke's public schools (the piece has no attribution), the "author" ... should consider switching to selling insurance.