Soaring into the Night

April 22, 2008

 

Today the United States Air Force will retire its stealth attack fighter the F-117 Night Hawk.  It was secretly developed at Skunk Works over 30 years ago and was the first stealth fighter built (it was designed without right angles).  It proved incredibly valuable and effective.  It saw action in Panama, Serbia and Iraq.

            I can still remember the news broadcasts of the Gulf War.  When young I was into aviation and military history so when my dad found the news coverage of the bombings in Iraq he called me to watch.  It was in night vision green and all around the Iraqis were firing blindly into the dark night.  The news reporter there was explaining that they were being bombed from the air but “There [were] no planes in the air.”  The enemy was in complete confusion.  The Night Hawks were sending their missiles down the ventilation holes and elevator shafts of enemy bunkers.  It was impressive and we were not even sure what it was!

              The Night Hawk will be retired as quietly as it was developed (it’s still highly classified and only those there at it development will be allowed to attend the retirement).  After its retirement the Night Hawks will be taken to a top secret base in Nevada (as reported by the Los Angeles Times). 

            Its retirement is coming with the deployment of the new F-22 Raptor with uses the most modern stealth technology. 

            The Night Hawk has been impressive in its service to the United States and it will be a bit of a shame to see it go.  It is a great example of the creation and innovation that naturally stem from competition.  Seeing the article in the paper reminded me of what I enjoyed about aviation and military history.  It also saddened me a bit to know that the F-117 would no longer be soaring the dark skies unseen.


Think for Yourself

April 21, 2008

The other night I saw Ben Stein’s film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.  The film is a documentary about the battle between Darwinist evolution and intelligent design.  It is less about proving or disproving evolution or intelligent design and more about the active and aggressive suppression of ideas taking place in the ranks of science and education.

            As a journalist I have noticed this trend as it has occurred in the media.  Scientific theories used to be just that, but today if a theory is repeated enough it becomes unchallengeable fact.  And that is how Darwinist feel about evolution and having those feelings they find no fault in oppressing those studying other possibilities.  Scientists have been repeating Darwinism constantly and shushing anything else and the media has been allowing it.

            Stein’s film is refreshing in that it allows and values the freedom of independent thought and of the expression of ideas.  The fact is that the origin of life is still a very live discussion in which there is no one who has any solid idea.  In fact, when the Darwinists are pressed to clearly state an idea they often turned to aliens.

            Where the film triumphs is in its look at the social effects of the debate and the theories being so adamantly stood for and against.  One place this takes the film is in a discussion of the role of Darwinism, evolution and natural selection in the Holocaust and euthanasia.  The film is interesting and worth seeing if only to get a look at a legitimate theory that the people in power are not letting you see. 

 

 


Dylan’s Recognition just beginning to reach his influence: Dylan wins Pulitzer

April 15, 2008

Monday April 7 Bob Dylan once again made history and proved the vastness of his influence on the current culture when he became the first rock star to win a Pulitzer Prize, one the highest honors of written art.  He won the prize for his “profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.”

            This recognition of Dylan’s seemingly endless and consistent impact on American since the early ‘60s can only hint at his total and true impact.  As reported in a NewYork Times article “Pete Townshend once said of trying to assess it, ‘That’s like asking how I was influenced by being born.’”

            It has also been long argued that Dylan’s mid-‘60s trilogy consisting of Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde could be the greatest American cultural achievement of recent generations.  They are not without valid points.  With Bringing It All Back Home Dylan helped create the folk/rock genre and the ‘60s sound that would forever change rock.  In Bringing It All Back Home Dylan also made the first music videowith ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues.’  With Highway 61 he broke free from the two-and-a-half minute love song, opening with the epic six minute, antagonizing  ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ declared by Rolling Stone Magazinethe greatest rock song of all time. 

            With his songs and poetry Dylan has touched the hearts, beliefs and emotions of several generations of people and when you affect the people you affect the human culture reaching far beyond the realm of music.

            I feel that what makes Dylan so great besides the beauty and imagery of his poetry is the real emotion he instills into his songs.  He explores every human emotion writing them into the songs then using his voice to sing them onto the records. His singing voice is always emotion filled.  Listening to ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ it is hard to resist shouting out “How does it feel!!!” yourself.  Also, what I like about Dylan is the variety of emotions in his songs.  Anyone can shout anger or voice distress but Dylan voices desire, lust, regret, shame, joviality and many more just listen to Blonde on Blonde.

            And he continues to expand his influence touring worldwide and releasing new records exploring the many forms of American music.  Read my earlier post “Dylan: Far from Retired.”  He has always created and explored refusing to fall into a rut staying in one place too long.  His 40+ records include very successful ventures into folk, rock, the gypsy sound of Desire, blues, jazz, country, gospel and countless melding of them all.  His greatest achievements are just beginning to surface.

           


Thoughts on Music

April 12, 2008

As I delve throughout the different genres of music, like most people I run across things that I like and things that I don’t like.  Country music for example, makes me groan and frustrates me that anyone can listen to that and enjoy it.  I guess that’s just not my personal taste.

I have long been a fan of the modern 4 piece rock band.  Drums, Bass, two guitars and lead vocals.  This seems to be what the majority of people in the US enjoy.  At least people my age.  There are many different variations to this ensemble, and many different styles that are included within it.  This has been my primary source of music for most of my life.  And it is wonderful.  I love it.  I really do.  While there is a lot of it out there that is pure rubbish, there are plenty of fantastic pop/rock bands that stand out amongst the rest.  Very musical bands that make music for the sake of music, not caring what other people think.

I do not wish to say anything negative about any pop/rock/4 piece group at all, however, as of late I find myself primarily drawn to everything else but this.  I’m a little burnt out if you will.    In the sea of musical monotony, several styles stand out, and each has their specific reasoning.  Here are the 3 types of music that I just can’t enough of lately.

Read the rest of this entry »


Ernie Pyle: “War makes strange giant creatures out of us little routine men who inhabit the earth.”

April 10, 2008

 

 

 

 

I wanted to share a bit about a ‘hero’ of mine (for lack of better words).  I am a student of journalism and love the work and character of Ernie Pyle.  Ernie Pyle was a journalist most influential in his coverage of the front lines of World War II. 

            Pyle started as a roving reporter traveling and writing to his readers sharing his experiences abroad.  Pyle was also an aviation reporter in the early days of flight.

            The reason Pyle was so loved by his readers was the personal approach he took in his reporting and interviewing.  He was soft spoken and a great listener and his interviewees very easily opened up to him.  In his personal style of writing he set his readers in the same place and experience he was witnessing himself.  His vivid, intimate reporting style found its highest purpose in war corresponding. 

            With the war taking place overseas many families were sending their sons, brothers and husbands to far away places and wanted to feel connected to them.  Pyle provided that connection. 

            Pyle’s reporting was more intimate and more focused on the daily lives of the troops than it was on the victories, movements and generals.  He would often comment on the strangeness of war.  Those back in the U.S. needed that connection to their loved ones.

            While reporting on the war Pyle lived and traveled with the troops on the front lines.  Pyle and the troops developed a affectionate relationship.

            Reporting on the front lines has its risks and after doing tours in Italy, Africa and all over Europe Pyle went on to report on the war in the Pacific and was killed by a Japanese machinegun bullet that went through his helmet.  At the time of his death, Pyle was so loved by the American public that it is felt by many that his death overshadowed the death of President Roosevelt just six days before.

            You must read his work.  Here are some samples:

           

                                   “This One is Captian Waskow”

                                   “A Dreadful Masterpiece”

                                   “The God-Damned Infantry”