Tuesday, 11 February 2014

A Moment of Nessie

I've spent a good bit of time over the past six months of 'retirement'....reading up on history...particulary German and European history over the past two thousand years.

It's an interesting thing to note just how much religion got tangled up into daily lives....causing people to be tortured or punished....in the name of the Lord.  It didn't take much for some religious nut....to get an entire community all wound up in some pretender or fake situation.  Simply shouting witch back in the 1500s in Germany....was enough to get a guy tossed into a river or burned.

So I came across an interesting item today concerning the Loch Ness monster of British fame.  You see....there was no creature or notoriety....until 565 AD.  Yeah...roughly five hundred-and-fifty years after Christ.

The legend starts up that a giant beast of sorts was threatening a local guy up at Ness River in Scotland.   No one mentions the guy's name....his preoccupation with whiskey....his mental state....or his ability to make up stories rather quickly.

What we know is that the Catholic Church got involved very quickly.  They moved into the situation....did some kind of ceremony....and chased Satan from the river (Satan apparently is the only way that a serpent or dragon can exist....by Catholic code or gimmicks).

You can imagine this scene....a hundred local folks by the river....watching some Catholic bishop cite Bible verse and scripture....than cast his hands around in a quick flurry of signals, and then the demon serpent was gone.

Course, like all evils....he has to return because something wasn't right with the Catholic curse put on him, or he's just stronger than the Catholic Church.  Years pass, and by the 1800s....Nessie has become a minor detail in history.  It would have stayed that way....if that picture from the 1930s hadn't gotten around.

Today?  Nessie is a legend of sorts....which drags a thousand folks a week probably....up to the area....staying in nice hotels, eating marginal Scottish food, and drinking a wonderful blended whisky at times.  Tales of woe and sorrows follow....and vast secondary stories get brought up.

Does anyone ever ask about the start of this in 565, and the Catholic Church connection?  No.  That's usually not to be brought up or discussed.  Demons?  Well....folks wouldn't drag themselves to the end of the isle....for a silly demond story.  But a serpent?  Well....that's different.

So, as you sit around and observe bigfoot, aliens and Nessie.....you might want to grin a bit and try hard to accept the general story.  It doesn't get much better.

The Iraqi Story

There was an unfortunate episode in Iraq in the last week.....which kinda brought up memories of military exercises with me.

There are two basic avenues of an Air Force exercise.  First, there's the just-pretend-and-grin exercise, where you have a dozen things to accomplish on a base....and you just fake your way through the exercise for a day or two.  No one ever gets a medal or citation for these type events, and rarely do people remember these occurred after a week or two.  No one gets injured or wounded from such events.

The second type of exercise....is the realistic-doom exercise.  There are fake explosives put up around base.  Safety officers roam to ensure folks don't do really stupid crap.  Bogus injury folks lay around and you have to find them....assist with their wounds....and get a recovery process in effect.

I learned after a while...that the Army goes at a much higher rate of realism.  Tanks roam around....live fire exercises are commonplace....and hand grenades might actually get thrown on some big campground area.   Course, Army safety officers roam at much higher rates and absolutely demand adherence to the rules.  An Army guy with six years of service....will quote safety rules like Bible verses and scripture.

Once in a while....folks die on these Air Force and Army training exercises.  It's a pretty dramatic thing, with investigations and blame getting shifted around.

Well....in Iraq this past week....some Jihad guys had a training meeting and exercise underway.  They were a anti-government in the logic and thinking.  The training?  All related to car-bombs and belt-bombs.

So, you can imagine Jihad Joe, the bomb trainer....detailing things on a white board.  Some tables set up.  A group of thirty-odd students sitting around.  Most paying attention....maybe a couple just there because of peer pressure, and didn't really care for the business like some of the other guys.

Somewhere in the midst of this training episode on how to place and manufacture car-bombs.....something went wrong, and a car blew up.  Twenty-one dead, a dozen wounded to some degree, and ten lucky guys standing there alive and grateful for living.  Course, all this noise.....got the local cops peppy, and they show up.

The ten lucky guys?  Well....they are apprehended.  The dozen wounded guys?  They were grabbed, and trotted off to some jail-house, and likely getting just enough medical care to survive, but will face years and years in some prison....most in a state of pain or suffering.  The twenty-one?  Buried.

Did they have a safety officer or someone hovering around the trainees every single minute?  I kinda doubt it.  Were there guys standing there....sipping coffee and not paying attention?  Well....yeah.

Forty-odd Jihad guys....either dead, or getting themselves into some long-term prison sentence....because of one simple stupid mistake.  The other side of this? The Iraqi government will make an ad....sixty seconds in length (if I were them)....and note personal photos of each dead Jihad guy and the amount of stupidity in his lifestyle and the stupid nature of his death.  He didn't die in an act of fame and courage....he died because he was there amongst some idiots and dimwits. Maybe somewhere in the ad....they would note that one special technique of the bomb makers....is a make-or-break moment, and scare every single teenage guy who might aspire to be a future bomb maker.  Call it a safety video or whatever....but it ought to have a major impact on teenagers.

Maybe some old AFN producers are still around....who used to produce those stupid Army safety video pieces for airing in Europe in the 1980s....where safety was preached day in and day out....and they can help produce these Iraqi safety ads.