Heroes Of the Past Vs Heroes of Today

A friend sent this story. I have read it many times before, and love it. Told by a man who was a son of one of the marines who planted the flag on Iwo Jima in WWII.

This is why I stand and hold my hand over my heart

Each year I am hired to go to Washington, DC , with the eighth grade class from Clinton, WI where I grew up, to videotape their trip. I greatly enjoy visiting our nation’s capitol, and each year I take some special memories back with me. This fall’s trip was especially memorable.

On the last night of our trip, we stopped at the Iwo Jima memorial. This memorial is the largest bronze statue in the world and depicts one of the most famous photographs in history — that of the six brave soldiers raising the American Flag at the top of a rocky hill on the island of Iwo Jima, Japan, during WW II.

Over one hundred students and chaperones piled off the buses and headed towards the memorial. I noticed a solitary figure at the base of the statue, and as I got closer he asked, ‘Where are you guys from?’

I told him that we were from Wisconsin . ‘Hey, I’m a cheese head, too! Come gather around, Cheese heads, and I will tell you a story.’ (It was James Bradley who just happened to be in Washington , DC, to speak at the memorial the following day. He was there that night to say good night to his dad, who had passed away. He was just about to leave when he saw the buses pull up. I videotaped him as he spoke to us, and received his permission to share what he said from my videotape. It is one thing to tour the incredible monuments filled with history in Washington , DC , but it is quite another to get the kind of insight we received that night.)

When all had gathered around, he reverently began to speak. (Here are his words that night.)

‘My name is James Bradley and I’m from Antigo, Wisconsin My dad is on that statue, and I wrote a book called ‘Flags of Our Fathers’. It is the story of the six boys you see behind me.

‘Six boys raised the flag. The first guy putting the pole in the ground is Harlon Block. Harlon was an all-state football player. He enlisted in the Marine Corps with all the senior members of his football team.. They were off to play another type of game. A game called ‘War.’ But it didn’t turn out to be a game Harlon, at the age of 21, died with his intestines in his hands. I don’t say that to gross you out, I say that because there are people who stand in front of this statue and talk about the glory of war. You guys need to know that most of the boys in
Iwo Jima were 17, 18, and 19 years old – and it was so hard that the ones who did make it home never even would talk to their families about it.

(He pointed to the statue) ‘You see this next guy? That’s Rene Gagnon from New Hampshire. If you took Rene’s helmet off at the moment this photo was taken and looked in the webbing of that helmet, you would find a photograph…a photograph of his girlfriend Rene put that in there for protection because he was scared. He was 18 years old. It was just boys who won the battle of Iwo Jima . Boys. Not old men.

‘The next guy here, the third guy in this tableau, was Sergeant Mike Strank. Mike is my hero. He was the hero of all these guys. They called him the ‘old man’ because he was so old. He was already 24. When Mike would
motivate his boys in training camp, he didn’t say, ‘Let’s go kill some Japanese’ or ‘Let’s die for our country’ He knew he was talking to little boys.. Instead he would say, ‘You do what I say, and I’ll get you home to your mothers.’

‘The last guy on this side of the statue is Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian from Arizona . Ira Hayes was one of them who lived to walk off Iwo Jima . He went into the White House with my dad. President Truman told him, ‘You’re a hero’ He told reporters, ‘How can I feel like a hero when 250 of my buddies hit the island with me and only 27 of us walked off alive?’

So you take your class at school, 250 of you spending a year together having fun, doing everything together. Then all 250 of you hit the beach, but only 27 of your classmates walk off alive. That was Ira Hayes. He had images of horror in his mind. Ira Hayes carried the pain home with him and eventually died dead drunk, face down, drowned in a very shallow puddle, at the age of 32 (ten years after this picture was taken.

‘The next guy, going around the statue, is Franklin Sousley from Hilltop, Kentucky . A fun-lovin’ hillbilly boy. His best friend, who is now 70, told me, ‘Yeah, you know, we took two cows up on the porch of the Hilltop General Store. Then we strung wire across the stairs so the cows couldn’t get down. Then we fed them Epsom salts. Those cows crapped all night.’ Yes, he was a fun-lovin’ hillbilly boy. Franklin died on Iwo Jima at the age of 19. When the telegram came to tell his mother that he was dead, it went to the Hilltop General Store. A barefoot boy ran that telegram up to his mother’s farm. The neighbors could hear her scream all night and into the morning. Those neighbors lived a quarter of a mile away.


‘The next guy, as we continue to go around the statue, is my dad, John Bradley, from Antigo, Wisconsin , where I was raised. My dad lived until 1994, but he would never give interviews. When Walter Cronkite’s producers or the New York Times would call, we were trained as little kids to say ‘No, I’m sorry, sir, my dad’s not here. He is in Canada fishing. No, there is no phone there, sir. No, we don’t know when he is coming back.’ My dad never fished or even went to Canada. Usually, he was sitting there right at the table eating his Campbell ‘s soup. But we had to tell the press that he was out fishing. He didn’t want to talk to the press.

‘You see, like Ira Hayes, my dad didn’t see himself as a hero. Everyone thinks these guys are heroes, ’cause they are in a photo and on a monument. My dad knew better. He was a medic. John Bradley from Wisconsin was a combat caregiver. On Iwo Jima he probably held over 200 boys as they died. And when boys died on Iwo Jima , they writhed and screamed, without any medication or help with the pain.

‘When I was a little boy, my third grade teacher told me that my dad was a hero. When I went home and told my dad that, he looked at me and said, ‘I want you always to remember that the heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who did not come back. Did NOT come back.’

‘So that’s the story about six nice young boys.. Three died on Iwo Jima , and three came back as national heroes. Overall, 7,000 boys died on Iwo Jima in the worst battle in the history of the Marine Corps. My voice is giving out, so I will end here. Thank you for your time.’

Suddenly, the monument wasn’t just a big old piece of metal with a flag sticking out of the top. It came to life before our eyes with the heartfelt words of a son who did indeed have a father who was a hero. Maybe not a hero for the reasons most people would believe, but a hero nonetheless.
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for heroes of today. . . see the next post

LIFE 3.0

I just completed reading “Life 3.0, Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.”  This was not one of my better selections, but I read it to the end anyway. The subject intrigued me. I first heard the term Artificial Intelligence used some thirty years ago, and it didn’t hurt me to finally learn something about the topic. Artificial intelligence refers to super computers with programs that learn, and adapt quickly. The only real example of AI that I know of is the IBM computer that beat the world champion Russian chess player at chess.

Behind the scenes that I am familiar with there is an army of people developing software and hardware to think like humans. The current rage of robots need AI to exist. Author Max Tegmark is obviously a genius at AI. He teaches at MIT and writes about two miles over my feeble brain level. I thoroughly enjoyed the Prelude titled The Tale of the Omega Team. This is a well drafted story of robots gifted with AI, and how they develop into a force we don’t want to reckon with. When I began reading The Tale of the Omega Team the story was totally believable given the advanced level of today’s technology. The story hooked me into complete concentration, but as the narrative developed I began to suspect Omega Team was toying with me. It was. As Omega used its experiences to learn, he quickly adapted to become smarter and smarter surpassing his creator in intelligence. The story became more and more preposterous, but still very believable. The Tale of the Omega Team could very well become a TV series.

The last two chapters were also very engrossing. Tegmark’s discussion on consciousness is very insightful, and one realizes that making an AI machine into a real human requires consciousness. How to do that is another monumental task. The last chapter deals with the people who are currently developing AI. However, they agree that developers need a set of rules by which to guide themselves to keep from creating AI monsters.

The chapters in between the Prelude and Consciousness were so steeped in physics, philosophy, and mathematics that I found them about as exciting as I did during college reading my books on differential equations, and meta-physics. The physics discussions were so far beyond my comprehension that I could have skipped them and been just as satisfied. Most probably, that is because my knowledge of physics peaked in 1960, and the physics in this tome has developed since then.

I enjoyed reading this book, but I am glad I finished. Because of the level of difficulty I have to rate this book at three stars. However, I rate the prelude, The Tale of the Omega Team five stars.

 

NFL Racism

How does the NFL get away with its racist policies? It seems to  me that any organization that is made up of 75% of one race is tilted in the direction of being racist.  Where is the outrage by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson? Better yet, where is the outrage of whites? Why didn’t Obama and Eric Holder begin legal measures aimed at making the NFL more racially balanced? This country is so afraid of being criticized by Leftists, and the news media that we are no longer sensitive to the pin pricks of abuse against us. The NFL is not alone in this situation the NBA is even more racially unbalanced. We adore our sports heroes, but cast aside people of color who under perform in schools, or who no longer marry to have families. Instead we pay for their care via welfare, and laws promoting single motherhood, or we promote abortions to people of color because by reducing the population we hold our welfare costs down. What have we become?

My friends will argue that only the best athletes are selected to play in the NFL. Yes he is correct, but how come when it is time to go to college the laws favor the under-educated kids of color over the really smart white kids? Shouldn’t we be selecting kids for college that know how to read instead of on the color of their skin?

Life is not fair, and racism isn’t either, but neither is racial favoritism. Is there any difference between racism and racial favoritism? Not really, except racism carries the stigma of hate while racial favoritism sounds less hateful. The best thing we can do today is to repeal the stupid welfare laws that make having babies out-of-wedlock profitable. It is a practice worse than running for Congress because they have a good pension plan. My guess is that if we were to repeal these laws there would be total war in the country the likes of which we have never fought.

Things will only get worse as time moves on. All the jobs that poorly educated people could hold have been 1.) exported to another country where there is no welfare, and people value work, or 2.) the same job that didn’t require an education now does because the process machinery is computer controlled, and not everyone can handle that. As our country now moves into the information age, our worker force must also, and just like the NFL, and NBA only the best will be chosen for the jobs.

My argument above about why uneducated people can’t hold is fallacious. We love illegal immigrants because they are uneducated, and will take the mundane jobs at low pay that our poorly educated people of color will not.  Why should they take jobs at low wages when welfare pays more? One argument for a higher minimum wage is so that a minimum wage job pays more than being on welfare.

What the USA needs is to shut down and reboot. We are so over-burdened with stupid laws and benefits that we can no longer function without constant trouble. A reboot may be a way to begin with fresh uncluttered programs, and allow us to be productive again.

PSA-170928-More Useless Info

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Glass takes one million years to decompose, which means it never wears out and can be recycled an infinite amount of times!
Gold is the only metal that doesn’t rust, even if it’s buried in the ground for thousands of years.
Your Tongue is the only muscle In your body that is attached at only one end.
If you Stop getting thirsty you need to drink more water. When a human body
is dehydrated, its thirst mechanism shuts off.
Zero Is the only number that cannot be represented by Roman numerals.
Kites were used in the American Civil War to deliver letters and newspapers.
The song Auld Lang Syne is sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world to bring in the new year.
Drinking Water after eating reduces the acid in your mouth by 61 percent. Drinking a glass of water before you eat may help digestion and curb appetite.
Peanut Oil is used for cooking in submarines because it doesn’t smoke unless it’s heated above 450F.
The Roar that we hear when we place a seashell next to our ear is not the ocean, but rather the sound of blood surging through the veins in the ear.
Nine out Of every 10 living things live in the ocean.
The Banana cannot reproduce itself. It can be propagated only by the hand of man.
Airports At higher altitudes require a longer airstrip due to lower air density.
The University of Alaska spans four time zones.
The Tooth is the only part of the human body that cannot heal itself.
In Ancient Greece, Tossing an apple to a girl was a traditional proposal of marriage. Catching it meant she accepted.
Warner Communications paid 28 million for the copyright to the song Happy Birthday, which was written in 1935!
Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.
A Comet’s’ tail always points away from the sun.
The Swine Flu vaccine in 1976 caused more death and illness than the disease it was intended to prevent.
Caffeine increases the power of aspirin and other painkillers, that is why it is found in some medicines.
The Military salute is a
Motion that evolved from medieval times,
when knights in armor raised
Their visors to
reveal their identity.
If you Get into the bottom of a well or a tall chimney and look up, 
You can see stars, even In the middle of the day.
When a Person dies, hearing is the last sense to go. The first sense lost is sight.
In Ancient times strangers shook hands to show that they were unarmed.
Strawberries and cashews are the only fruits whose seeds grow on the outside.
Avocados have the highest calories of any fruit at 167 calories per hundred grams.
The moon moves about two inches away from the Earth each year.
The Earth gets 100 tons heavier every day due to falling space dust.
Due to earth’s gravity it is impossible for mountains to be higher than 15,000 meters.
Mickey Mouse is known as “Topolino” in Italy.
Soldiers Do not march in step when Going across bridges because they could set up a vibration which could be sufficient to knock the bridge down.
Everything weighs one percent less at the Equator.
For every extra kilogram carried on a space flight, 530 kg of excess fuel are needed
at lift-off.
The Letter J does not appear anywhere on the periodic table of the elements.
And last but Not least:  
This is Called ‘Money Bags, so send this on to 5 people and money will arrive in 5 days. Based on Chinese Feng Shui, the one who does not pass this on will have money troubles for the rest of the year.

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Take A Knee

September 26, 2017

Take a little trip to Valley Forge in January. If you don’t know where that is, just Google it from the sidelines. Hold a musket ball in your fingers and imagine it piercing your flesh and breaking a bone or two. There won’t be a doctor or trainer to assist you until after the battle, so just wait your turn. Take your cleats and socks off to get a real experience. Then take a knee.

Then, take one at the beach in Normandy where man after American man stormed the beach, even as the one in front of him was shot to pieces…the very sea stained with American blood. The only blockers most had were the dead bodies in front of them, riddled with bullets from enemy fire.

Take a knee in the sweat-soaked jungles of Vietnam, from Khe San to Saigon…Anywhere will do. Americans died in all those jungles. There was no playbook that told them what was next, but they knew what flag they represented. When they came home, they were protested as well..and spit on for reasons only cowards know.

Take another knee in the blood-drenched sands of Fallujah in 110-degree heat..Wear your Kevlar helmet and battle dress…Your number won’t be printed on it unless your number is up! You’ll need to stay hydrated but there won’t be anyone to squirt Gatorade into your mouth. You’re on your own.

There’s a lot of places to take a knee. Americans have given their lives all over the world. When you use the banner under which they fought as a source for your displeasure, you dishonor the memories of those who bled for the very freedoms you have. That’s what the red stripes mean. It represents the blood of those who spilled a sea of it defending your liberty.

While you’re on your knee, pray for those that came before you, not on a manicured lawn striped and printed with numbers to announce every inch of ground taken…but on nameless hills and bloodied beaches and sweltering forests and bitter cold mountains…every inch marked by an American life lost serving that flag you protest.

No cheerleaders, no announcers, no coaches, no fans…just American men and women…delivering the real fight against those who chose to harm us…blazing a path so you would have the right to “take a knee.”

You haven’t an inkling what it took to get you where you are…but your “protest” is duly noted. Not only is it disgraceful to a nation of real heroes, it serves the purpose of pointing to your ingratitude for those who chose to defend you under that banner that will still wave long after your jersey is retired…

If you really feel the need to take a knee, come with me to church on Sunday and we’ll both kneel before Almighty God. We’ll thank him for preserving this country for as long as He has. We’ll beg forgiveness for our ingratitude for all He has provided us. We’ll appeal to Him for understanding and wisdom. We’ll pray for liberty and justice for all…because He is the one who provides those things.

But there will be no protest. There will only be gratitude for His provision and a plea for His continued grace and mercy on the land of the free and the home of the brave. It goes like this…

GOD BLESS AMERICA!

Robot Or Not To Robot

There is a lot of news these days about robots, and how they will replace workers. Yes, there will be some automation to replace human beings in the work place. How soon? It is hard to say because of all the possibilities. Robots have done amazing things in car factories. They weld, they paint, they assemble, they replace human effort. Or do they? We tend to think a robot is human. It is not. A robot is a machine that is controlled by a computer. Who controls the computer? Answer, a human. Ah, but the level of artificial intelligence has grown rapidly, and computers can now think like humans. Maybe, yes, but maybe no. even with artificial intelligence (AI) software the amount of memory and programming it takes to get a machine to think like a human is enormous. But, computers are now defeating humans in the game of chess, isn’t that proof that AI is gaining on us? Yes, but again, the computer required to play chess at that level is enormous. We take our brains for granted, but within our skull resides a computer the likes of which no computer designer or programmer will ever be able to match. Well, at least not in my lifetime.

How about the claim that robots that look like people are now able to act as sex surrogates. I’m not ready to try that one, nor do I want to. The idea of placing my very valuable and sensitive member into a machine to pleasure myself gives me visions of gears and ratchets, and gnarly wheels that turn and grind and abrade, and well you get the idea. Robots are a poor choice for having sex, maybe only a little better than the blow up sex dolls available. Think about this, you are engaged in a passionate french kiss when the saliva from you tongue leaks into the robot’s circuitry and causes the electrons to short circuit making the robot lock its arms around you in a bear hug that leaves you breathless and lifeless.

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I worked at a factory and my primary goal was to reduce labor from the manufacturing process. After trying many concepts that failed our R&D boys came up with a novel idea that worked in a prototype system. We loved it and ran with it. The concept was workable, but the practical execution was not. My teams worked out a better mechanical way to make it work. Our system had problems too, but we continued to take baby-step improvement toward long term success. When we got the thing running smoothly and steady we switched to solve another problem which was start-up. The start-up procedure we invented was purely manual, and it took a skilled technician to make it happen. Often start-ups required ten or fifteen minutes to achieve. Fifteen minutes doesn’t sound like much in a twenty-four hour day, and it wouldn’t be if things ran smoothly for twenty-four hours. The whole system was complicated, and often problems totally unrelated to automation caused the system to shut down, and that required a new start-up. To make a very long story shorter this project took a team of too many engineers twenty-years to accomplish. At the end, the system was equal to a lights out operation with very few humans present. Except when an alarm sounded and the technical-department had to come to the rescue. Automation requires a level of expertise to maintain. Alley-garage level mechanics were not the level of experts it took to get to the heart of the problem.

If automation was so easy, why do companies choose to move their operations to China and places more remote? First is the cost of automation. Making machines to make things is expensive and time consuming. The investment required to automate is enormous. It is easier to pay very cheap wages to make things by hand.  Second, maintenance is expensive and automation requires highly skilled workers to maintain them, and highly skilled workers make a very good salary.

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After finally achieving the goal to automate an entire factory the owner decided to ship the whole thing to a foreign country anyway. Why? We cost him too much. True, he eliminated most of the labor of making the product, but he was going broke paying for the technical staff required to maintain the process, and to keep it running. Think about that sex-robot you are dreaming about. Again, you are actively engaged in the act with the robot when a previously undetected bug causes the bot to go wild and he sends an alarm to the tech-staff for help. In the meantime he shuts down with his arms locked around you in an embrace of passion. There you are stuck until the Robot-nerds can come from wherever they will come from to unfreeze the operation.

It is my professional opinion that robots have come a long way toward becoming successful workers in our society, however, they will require a staff of experts to manage and maintain. It will be years before they are reliable enough to be safe in our midst. Of course Hollywood will make them glamorous and desirable by showing us how useful and good they can be. Except, that Hollywood lies a lot in the name of creativity, and over simplifies, and glorifies the actual mechanics of operation.

Back in the thirties we had some wonderful automatic food dispensers called Automats. Previous to that there were automated food vending machines in Germany in the late eighteen hundreds. The systems in the US lost favor with the public for various reason, the main one being it worked on nickels only. Think about paying for your $4.95 hamburger in nickels. At twenty nickels to the dollar you would have to pump 99 nickels into the machine to get the burger. Of course we won’t have that problem because we use credit cards today, even for a candy bar.

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Robots replacing humans is a scare tactic used by businesses who stand to lose profit if political issues like a minimum wage are on the docket. In that regard a robot works, but I don’t believe the business people understand the technical issues that would drive them into bankruptcy. Eventually, robots will succeed in making our lives better, but for now I think they are just a vision of the future. I remember the sales pitch I got from computer salesman who convinced me of all the wonderful things I would be able to do with a personal computer.  He was right, except the computer he sold me was twenty-five years away from doing all those wonderful things. Mr. Robot is probably at that stage today.

PSA-170919-Baby Step to Improvement

IT TAKES SO LITTLE TO SOLVE BIG PROBLEMS!

For generations the Black community in Baltimore has been under assault by 4 Confederate Monuments! These monuments were relentless in their destruction of the Black family, resulting in over 70% of Black children being born out-of-wedlock.
So affected are Baltimoreans by these monuments that over 60% of Black men in the city could not work a job and found comfort in fathering many children with too many different women that they could not feed, nor support.
Just knowing that the monuments were there made Black school children have the lowest test scores in the Nation and many turned to drugs to relieve the pressures of those damnable monuments’ presence.
Worst of all, the mere existence of the monuments caused death! Not being able to handle the hate and violence that the monuments represented, the black men in the city took to killing each other. Just in the last 2 years they have murdered over 500 of their own!
It is a new occupying way-of-life! Praise be to God, and for the Wisdom of the Mayor…..
It is a new dawn for Black Baltimoreans! THE CITY CAN NOW PROSPER!
The shackles are gone, and we can all say…

“Free at last, free at last, Thank God Almighty, we’re free at last!”

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

One can now expect that Baltimore black men will marry their girl friends, and single mothers will become a term unheard of. All blacks who want a job to support their family will have one, and black children will have the social connection they need to succeed in school. Baltimore will be the model city in America proving once and for all that those damned Confederates were the cause of all racism, and hatred of blacks in America. There will no longer be a need for laws allowing blacks to receive favor for entrance into schools,  favored in job applications, and granted mortgages they can’t afford. Black Lives Matter, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton will retire permanently because their cause is gone. America will be great again, and live happily ever after.
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