21 January 2015

American Sniper : my thoughts

I've had a few days to reflect on it and have watched all the bullcr@p flying back and forth from the right and left.

80% of the posts I see and the drivel I'm hearing are missing the damn point about American Sniper.

Maybe I'm lucky because I heard an hour long interview with Chris Kyle when the book came out (which made me buy the book) but his point of writing the book was to show the incredible toll military service and especially what he had to do as a sniper, took on his marriage, family and mental health.

I think Eastwood accurately captured a LOT of this when he was at home and was at a party in his own backyard and he zoned out and then went after the dog. The heartbreak of watching his little brother on the tarmac who he was really happy to see, but his brother just wanted the hell out of there. The inability to deal with "real life" upon his multiple returns until his shrink made him go talk to others who have lived, who had been "saved".

When I hear "right wing propoganda/nazi-like and immoral, egotistical, psychotic" references about the movie or the man or the equal "libtards hating on an American hero and yeah, kill shots on the muslims" it's driving me absolutely batsh!t crazy because you've all missed the damn point over and over again.

Yes, war is horrible, they happen and that's an ENTIRELY different debate about the real "psychopaths" who send our young men and women into harm's way but for those who dedicate their life to service, to protect us and our freedoms, a lot of irreparable damage happens to some of them.  That same damage is what ended up being the cause of Chris Kyle's death. He admitted in that interview that he wasn't back to normal but he was as healthy mentally as he could be at that point. He was helping a LOT of fellow veterans who were coming back with severe PTSD and issues. He was doing what a lot of other people should be doing and making sure there's funding for.

I see the elected officials from the RIGHT more than willing to send the troops but unable to pass funding for proper care and mental health when they return.  I see the same on the LEFT ALSO voting to send them and then deny funding to give them the right equipment to do their jobs when they are there.  And I see hundreds of thousands of bumper stickers saying to "support our troops" and scratch my head to wonder if that just means when they are out responding to conflicts around the world, when they come home to massive fan fare and celebrations or if it even includes those dark, desperate times when they are having issues adjusting back into civilian life.

THAT'S THE POINT OF AMERICAN SNIPER. It's what Kyle said it was in the interview I heard.  not the kill shots or his arrogance. Not Hollywood elites spouting off or other SEALs responding back.  It's the damage Kyle inflicted on others as well as what was inflicted on him.

22 October 2014

Holy Crap, where they hell have YOU been?

So, 18 months since I've touched this.

No excuse other than work is crazy, life is crazy, world is crazy and frankly, this takes a lot of discipline to keep going and my borderline A-D-D self has two million other things to do.

That said, I need to get back to writing again.

It is a form of therapy, partly for my mind that has trouble resting and ultimately, as a way to stay sane in a world cluttered by bombardment of emails, issues and problems.

Shame on me but I control it.

03 April 2013

Chicago Fire: On Location at Lottie's Pub

So Lottie's Pub in Chicago is the place they use for the bar that Mouch, Hermann and Dawson buy on Chicago Fire and call Molly's.

My Dad grew up in that neighborhood (lived in the 1800 block of Winchester) in the 50's and has told me a few stories about Walter "Lottie" Zagorski.
Most people don't know that she was actually a six-foot transvestite (some say hermaphrodite) whose basement of the bar was solely there for the mobsters and gangster of the late 20's, 30's and 40's and then dirty politicians from the 40's onward.  This link takes you to a bit more of the history and story of Lottie's.

But my Dad's recollections of Lottie was her running down Winchester in a flowered muu-muu and heels, lit cigarette in hand, after her little tiny dog, cussing up a blue streak to get back to her in a very deep manly voice. My Dad said that it was a true sight to see and that he learned quite a few words in those days as well as learning what a transvestite was.

In the 90's I went to Lottie's for my one and only time to see the band of a co-worker. It was in that very basement where all the gambling and numbers running took place. It was only a 7' ceiling so the sound was horrible and the cigarette smoke just hung there choking you out.  It was a hipster bar before hipsters even became a 'thing'. 

Now it will be one of those places that people come to Chicago to see because it's on t.v.

22 March 2013

SMH: Welcome Class of 2027!

As I entered the doors of West Aurora High School Wednesday night with Mary Kay and Aidan at my side, we saw a simple sign on the table, "Welcome Class of 2027!".

Yep, as we prepared for a 75-minute winding path of Kindergarten registration, there it was, slapping me right in my big, fat face.

There's certain 'years' that I remember for some reason.
  • As a 9-year old, figuring out that I was going to be 33 when the calendar turned over to 1/1/2000.
  • The summer of 1976, the Bicentennial Celebration of the US and the July 4th Parade in Des Plaines, IL (as my Dad was on the Board of Directors of the Des Plaines Elks Lodge, 1526)
  • My 29th birthday (1995 when I spotted my first grey hair)
  • I remember Benet Academy's 1981 Frosh Fest (I was a Sophomore working it) and some Alum was there with a baby who had a t-shirt on that said Class of 2000
Although I think I've joked about it several times that when Aidan goes off to College that I'd be roughly 60 years old and probably ready to retire, it really hadn't hit me down deep in the dark, recesses of my stomach that it would be 2027.

Now, I know a lot of my friends have kids at a wide range of age, so for some of you, well, you're well past this part of your lives but this is both exciting and frightening at the same time.

Open House at Goodwin Elementary is April 10th and first day is August 21st.  This summer is going to FLY by far too fast.

Hold on Brian, hold on tight.