Thursday, 20 June 2013

Tony

I will admit, I was a Sopranos obsessed fan, and watched every single episode.  Yeah, Tony was my favorite character.....Silvio Dante (Steve Van Zant) was my second most favorite character.

So it is a fair loss to me, as they announced yesterday that James Gandolfini had passed on.  Out of the 86 episodes....he probably killed at least forty people, and to be truthful....the majority needed killing.

Before the Sopranos....the networks were producing crappy TV and we simply accepted it.  Once or twice a year, you'd catch one episode of something that was fairly great, and shake your head that they couldn't produce something like that weekly.  After the Sopranos came....you realized that every single episode had a five-star script, that the actors were capable of delivering some honest and brutal characters, and there were some events in life that were uncontrollable.

There were two dynamic episodes where characters were introduced for one brief episode, and I sat in disbelief of how the story could be told in a fashion that you weren't expecting.  The "Russian-in-the-woods" episode had us meeting us with this Russian mafia guy....who probably was a Russian special forces guy, and they just couldn't kill him.  The other episode was where a relative of the family had to be whacked, but no member could perform the action.....so they called these guys in Rhode Island.....who all had some inbred blindness problem and all of them were idiots.  For ten minutes, I sat in amazment at the characters and wondered you could dig up this kind of material.

As for Tony?  He was forever the bad guy that you wanted to see occasionally cross the line and do something good.  You wished that he could clean up his act.....but he couldn't.

So I'll miss Tony.  A one of a kind.

The Commander's Letter Business

As some of you know....I've spent almost thirty-five years associated with the US military, in one fashion or another.  This week....an unusual thing occurred.

In the military world we have Commander's policy letters.  It's pretty much where the Commander has to say something....of a strict nature....and let his folks know that he just won't tolerate something.

Over the years...I've seen this about every kind of Commander's policy letter.

We had a letter from one Commander that lowered the boom on drinking excessively in the barracks.

We had the letter from one Commander that noted fire extinguishers were to only be used for fires, and not parties.

We had the letter from one Commander that announced that gasoline was not be used as a charcoal starter for bar-b-q's.

We had the letter from one Commander that noted that people of the opposite sex were not supposed to stay overnight in your barracks room.

We had the one letter which noted that you couldn't paint your barracks room any color but tan or off-white.

We had the one letter that noted you couldn't travel more than six hours away from the organization on weekends, unless you took leave or got a 3-day pass.

We had the one letter that announced that you couldn't conduct tattoo operations or body piercing in the barracks, period.

Well....last week, we had this event in our organization within the Pentagon.  You see....we have Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force personnel within the organization....who are all pretty determined to stay in shape.

So the boys and girls often show up early at the Pentagon and jog.  At the end of this morning effort....you get sweaty and need to shower.

You have two options.  We have a five-star gym in the Pentagon, with lots of shower facilities within it.  On the flip side....down in my vault area....we have a male and female bathroom situation, with one shower in each.  Lots of guys prefer to run back to the vault, and shower there.  Naturally, lines form.

Last week.....some guy decided because there wasn't any ladies there early in the morning....he'd use the women's restroom and shower.  Well....some gal showed up, and it kinda created a situation.

This week....the Commander decided he needed to clear the air.....so he wrote the Commander's policy letter on shower use.  I have to admit....it's probably one of a kind.  I don't remember any situation ever in my history....where we needed a shower policy.  It basically says.....if you are a guy....you use the men's shower.  If you are a gal....you use only the women's shower.  Period.

It's going to be hard to beat that letter, I'll admit that.