17 November 2009

Cosmic Balance

First, my mom had her eye surgery on Monday, and the preliminary results look good. She was reading off the 20/50 line on the eyechart, and that's with no glasses and a not-healed eyeball. She could barely do the 20/70 line before the operation. In a week or so that could conceivably be knocked down to 20/40. A good day. The best. One wonders if things go like this if she could get her driver's license again. It's Illinois-if you have one decent eye and a pulse they'll let you behind the wheel. If she could read a large-print book again I'll be pleased, nay, ecstatic.

Evidently Ausgaz's Giant Magic Didgeridoo, NatV's good vibes, and Bangar's beads and rattles did some good. Appreciated the support, all.

To balance this, the brake light came on in the car coming home tonight. A push on the pedal (clear to the floor) indicated that, yes, the sensor isn't lying. A stop at the Ford dealer and their service department indicated a disintegrating brake line. Whoever tried to off me with the old 'cut brake line' trick is going to have to try again!

Actually, the Brazen Chariot is a '97, so those lines are in fact pretty ancient. The Midwest climate is hard on vehicles, especially if they sit outside. Better the brakes went now then in the first ice storm.

Good news on the eyes. Bad news on the brakes. Thus the Cosmic Balance is maintained.

I'm going to relax tonight and do a bit of reading. I found a copy of author/historian Robert Leckie's Helmet For My Pillow, a memoir of his service in the 1st Marine Division during WWII. We've read through his basic training at Parris Island, the Guadalcanal Campaign, and now we're into the Conquest of Melbourne. I'm surprised the pubs and brothels could handle a division of US Marines. Before there was FKN Havock, there were the FKN First Marines! Evidently part of the division was bivouacked at MCG when it arrived, and they mentioned places like Flinders Street Station, St. Kilda, Dandenong, and Rye-which, thanks to many of you readers here, are more than place names from far away. I've read the names of those places and thought, 'Yeah, Barnesy mentioned that' or 'Havock talked about that place', or 'Natalie took pictures of this area.' Kind of cool if you think about it. No doubt some of the locales were out in the boonies back in the 1940s, and now they're suburbs today.

At any rate, I imagine the next few chapters of the book should find Leckie and his band of brothers up around New Guinea on some of the offshore islands there for the Cape Gloucester campaign.

Speaking of which, I just finished re-reading Peter Ryan's great book, Fear Drive My Feet. Now that is an outstanding work! Has anyone ever attempted to make a movie of it, and if not, why not? It has plenty of adventure (if not a lot of blood) and some of the places he wrote about would make for some fantastic visuals.

Spraying a bit to all fields tonight, but so it goes. Back to the grind tomorrow.

yankeedog out.


  1. Great to hear the op went well.

    I am pretty sure I have seen photos of the Marines camped at the 'G. Rye is interesting, I think they used to do Commando training at Sorrento (not far from Rye) during WWII.

  2. Actually I may be thinking of Wilson's Prom.

  3. Good news on the Mom front, at least you had warning about the brakes before you found out the hard way. That book sounds interesting.

  4. Good news for your mom.

    Nice place New Britian. Spent 18 months based in Kimbe working for PNG government about 10 years ago.

    Completely different to fighting in the jungle though.

  5. Naut-Of course the US had troops all over Camp Australia. The USMC called Melbourne home, the Army and Navy based around Brisbane, and the USAAF was spread around the north.

    Bangar-'S all good!

    Gaz-My late uncle spent time on New Guinea in WWII building airfields. While the offshore islands might be nice, it was hard to beat the heat, wet, bugs, disease, and snipers on NG proper!

  6. YD

    My grandfather fought at Milne Bay and a few other jungle spots in NG.

    Never ever talked about it unfortunately. Only found out about it shortly before his death.


  7. Great news with Mum! And similarly I was thinking of you when Rock Island was mentioned a few times in Kerouac's 'On the Road'. Thankfully I could picture where the place was. I have you to thank for the steep learning curve I have experienced in regards to the layout of the US of A!

  8. Good stuff with your mum! Wilsons Prom was where the commando training centre was. My dad did the course, even though he was Navy and my bro has kept the original training shirt intact as a memroy of what dad and other blokes got up to. Gotta add another couple of books now, to my holiday reading list!

  9. Was sure I commented here when I read it the other day! Sorry YDog. Good to hear the eye surgery was a prospective success. My grandfather fought on the Kokoda trail. It wasn't particularly pleasant. Basically had PTSD for the rest of his days, but he was still a lovely bloke.

  10. Gaz-Most of the battles in the Pacific weren't fought in great tropical locales. Most of the islands in Melanesia were nasty pits to fight in.

    Natalie-Kerouac was in Rock Island? Must read 'On The Road' sometime. Rock Island is right next to Moline, which is mentioned in Bob Seger's 'Fire Down Below':

    'It happens out in Vegas, it happens in Moline-On the blueblood streets of Boston, out in Berkeley, up in Queens'.

    Therbs-Anyone who goes through the Special Forces training courses gets my respect. Those fellows are plenty tough enough.

    Doc-Ah, Kokoda. A very rough campaign. Your grandfather did good. Quite possibly that campaign along with the Coral Sea battle and Midway turned the tide in the Pacific.

  11. Yup! They crossed the bridge from Davenport. Lots of Mississipi talk too.