Monday, August 16, 2010

A's to Your Q's

We seem to have pretty much gotten over the plague of memes that the blogosphere went through a while know, when one person writes on a particular topic, then tags a number of other bloggers by name to write on the same topic. I hated memes...not because the topics weren't worthy of a post (some were), but because I didn't like the idea of being obligated to write on a specific issue. All that said, I don't mind stealing borrowing a topic from another blogger. Like Jay.

Last week, Jay answered questions sent to him by his army of faithful readers, and I figured I might as well try the same thing. I announced last Friday that I would answer your questions sent to me as e-mails or as comments posted to the blog, today, I answer the three - count 'em - three questions posed by three alert readers.

1. From Gotfam: "What is the best lesson you taught your children?" This is a really tough question, because I don't know if I've taught it to them yet. In many ways, I feel that I'm a much better and more successful grandfather than father, and I can look back and see the opportunities I missed, the mistakes I made, and the things I should have done differently over the years. If the question were rephrased as "What lesson would you most like to teach your children and grandchildren?", I might answer like this: "Be nice to everyone, but let them earn your trust." Other important lessons: "Never stop learning," and "Remember that you have two ears and one mouth so that you can listen twice as much as you speak."

2. From KathyA: "Why do you work at the Pentagon? (Not what you do, but why you've chosen to work there)." I work at the Pentagon for the same reason Willie Sutton supposedly said he robbed banks - because that's where the money is. When I retired from the Air Force in 1996, I was working on the Air Force headquarters staff at the Pentagon, and I was burned out from ridiculously short deadlines (we call them suspenses) and twelve-hour-plus days, and I swore a mighty oath that I'd never set foot in the five-sided squirrel cage again once I left for the last time. Well, that lasted until I needed to find a job, and learned that what 23 years of military service had prepared me for was - surprise! - a staff job in the Pentagon. And that's how it is that I have been working in the Pentagon, both as a military officer and a civilian contractor, since 1992 (except for five months between retirement and rehiring while I was looking for a job and working part-time (unpaid) for a small company that taught effective writing to business people).

3. From Allenwoodhaven: "Where do you find your comics for Cartoon Saturday? What are your primary sources and where else do you find them?" I've been collecting cartoons since I was in high school. Many of the oldest ones have, sadly, been lost in multiple moves, but I have a large folder stuffed with cartoons cut out of newspapers and magazines over the years, or sent to me by my Mother and my other friends. I have thousands of cartoons in my collection, most of them with captions in either English or German, although I have lots of Middle Eastern editorial cartoons that I have culled from the MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) website. Whenever possible I download digital files of good cartoons from the Internet, usually from the cartoonist's website or from links at various magazines and newspapers. I'm always on the lookout for good cartoons, and as I download new ones and work my way through scanning and saving the ones I have as paper copies, I save them into either my general new cartoons file, or into one of the specialized cartoons files (I have separate files for cartoons about lawyers, clowns, death, Halloween, crash-test dummies, and several other topics). Some of my favorite cartoonists are Wiley (Non Sequitur), Vic Lee (Pardon My Planet), and Hillary Price (Rhymes with Orange). My favorite editorial cartoonist is Pat Oliphant.

Any other questions?

Have a good day. Gotta run to that job at the Pentagon. More thoughts tomorrow.



KathyA said...

Thanks for sharing. My question and your answer leads me to one more -- were you at the Pentagon on 9/11? I cannot imagine the horror. I was teaching at the time and one of my student's father was among those killed. I'm glad you're still with us. We drove by on the way South right afterward and the sight of the damage took our breaths away.

Bilbo said...

Kathy - Yes, I was in the building on 9/11, but (fortunately) on the side of the building opposite the impact. If you read my blog posts from Sep 11 and 12 of 2007, I talk about my impressions of the attack and the day after. As it happens, 9/11 was the second terrorist attack I've dodged in my life, but that's another story...

Mike said...

I was going to think of a question but then forgot to come back. So my question is do you forget things too?

Bandit said...

What do you think about Obama's statements concerning the Mosque at graound zero?

Concerning Mike's qustion: I have the same problem as my short term memory is fading fast. Is this just a midwest problem?

Bilbo said...

Mike - do I what?

Bandit - He said almost the right thing, entirely the wrong way. I absolutely agree with the President that this is America, and the Muslims have the same right to build a place of worship as anyone else (even though they would deny that right to other faiths in lands they control). However, by not coming right out and questioning whether or not it was a sensitive or proper thing to do, he has defaulted the issue to the spin lords on all sides - the Republicans/Conservatives and Democrats/liberals can beat him up, and the Muslims can continue to whine that they're misunderstood and discriminated against, wihout being forced to look at the issue from anyone's angle but their own. The moral hole in this mess is as big as the hole where the World Trade Center used to be.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Yes, I think the moaque is a provocative gesture, when it could have been sensitively built further away. It will cause trouble built near Ground Zero.

I recognise some of your cartoons from my New Yorker calendar.

Chrissy said...

Aww...your answer to my question was priceless! Thank you! I will be sure to try to teach those lessons to my children.

Raquel's World said...

Who is your favorite blogger on this site and why?