Category Archives: Personal

The RFH Crap Tree is up!

There is a tradition here of reading Dave in Texas’s classic Crap Tree post or usually the Innocent Bystanders re-post. (Miss you, Michael.)
The house renovations that were supposed to be done before Thanksgiving are still weeks away from being finished. I’m praying for clearer weather, but in the meantime, I have to keep furniture in temporary spots, and this in turn means the older, smaller tree in a new spot. It still means a crap tree with colored lights, ornaments handmade by the kids, ornaments from 27 years of marriage, and ornaments handed down from my mom’s collection. The four of us were grateful to be together for Thanksgiving, and I was happy to have everyone decorating together.
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‘Tis the season.


Filed under Personal

Of Strength, and Courage

Strength and courage in such measures that I cannot do justice to using  a keyboard.  Indy Star sportswriter Gregg Doyel does, however: (To do his article justice, I have inserted it here in its entirety.)

She had one more soccer game to watch, and maybe then she would let herself die. But not before Saturday afternoon, no matter what the doctors were saying, because what the doctors were saying was unacceptable.

They were saying almost two weeks ago that Stephanie Turner had just a few days to live, that what had started five years ago as breast cancer and had come back with a vengeance a month ago was now rampaging through her body and shutting down her liver and, well. It was a matter of days. That’s what the doctors were saying.

No, Stephanie Turner had said. I need two weeks.

Because her daughter, Brebeuf goalkeeper Lauren Turner, had a state championship to win.

And Stephanie was going to be there.

Stephanie has always been there, for all three of her kids, starting years ago when her eldest played football at Cathedral. John Turner is a senior safety at Notre Dame now, and Stephanie goes to those games, too. She watches William, her youngest, a freshman running back on the Brebeuf varsity.

On Saturday, Lauren Turner and the Brebeuf girls soccer team played Penn for the Class 2A state title at Carroll Stadium. Lauren was in goal.

Stephanie Turner was in a Carroll Stadium suite, in a wheelchair, under a blanket.

The family let me inside Suite 7, offering hot dogs and soda and strength and grace, and Stephanie is beautiful under her blanket. She is so weak she can barely speak, her words coming softly in small mouthfuls, gentle words like, “I love my kids.”

She tells me, “I had to be here.”

She tells me, “I wouldn’t miss this.”

One by one the Brebeuf starters are introduced before the game. One by one they jog onto the field, wave to the crowd, then turn toward Suite 7 behind them and wave to Stephanie Turner.

The announcer introduces Lauren Turner.

“There’s your baby!” says Stephanie’s mom, Nettie Watkins. “Oh, and she waved to her mama. Did you see?”

Stephanie Turner responds in the affirmative.

“Mmm-hmm,” she coos.

She is wearing a maroon Brebeuf hat, with a Brebeuf windbreaker over her Brebeuf soccer shirt. Her eyes are yellowing behind her glasses, jaundiced from liver failure. She didn’t have to be here.

She had to be here.

“I think it’s keeping her going,” Stephanie’s husband, Troy, is telling me.

We’re sitting in the bleachers in front of the suite, just a few minutes before kickoff of the Class 2A title game, and I’m asking him how his daughter is holding it together on the soccer field. Lauren Turner has been blanking opponents for weeks, even as her mom has been growing weaker and weaker, and her brothers – John at Notre Dame, William at Brebeuf – likewise have been maintaining their academic and football commitments. I’m asking Troy: How can these children be so strong?

Troy smiles. He gestures at the suite behind us, at Stephanie in her wheelchair, under the blanket.

“She’s our strength,” he says. “If she can handle this, we can’t justify not being able to handle it, too.”

And she can handle this? That’s what I ask Troy Turner about his wife, dying of cancer. Even now? Today? Is she still handling it?

Troy nods and tells me what happened this morning.

Well, it was game day. And Stephanie Turner, home on hospice care for almost a week, unable to get out of bed, suddenly was able.

Her parents have been in town for a week, Nettie and John from Baltimore, and for almost a week they’ve seen their daughter in her bed. Now they see her up and wearing the Brebeuf shirt and windbreaker, and she’s ready to go, and it’s not time.

“She was ready two hours early!” Nettie was telling me. “We had to tell her she could get back into bed for a little while.”

They’ve come from all over for these final days – her parents and sister from Baltimore, Uncle Bill from Atlanta, a handsome nephew named Carter, more – and on Saturday morning 12 members of the family woke up under the same roof. That included John, the senior safety at Notre Dame. The Irish played at Temple on Saturday, but Troy Turner had told Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly about the situation back home. He asked if John could come home to see his mom for perhaps the last time.

“And Coach Kelly was great about it,” Troy said.

Everyone has been great about it. U.S. World Cup keeper Hope Solo – Brebeuf coach Angela Berry-White is a U.S. national team alum – sent Lauren Turner a signed pair of soccer gloves. While Stephanie was in intensive care last week at IU Hospital downtown, seven members of the Brebeuf team visited her. And Stephanie being Stephanie, this is what she did: She had the soccer players stand over her bed, put their hands together and holler, “Braves!”

This game Saturday, it wasn’t going so great for the Braves. Penn scores two minutes into the game, just the eighth goal that has gotten past Lauren Turner this season – eight goals in more than 1,200 minutes –  and the score stays 1-0 into the second half.

Stephanie watches the game quietly, barely moving, until Brebeuf scores midway through the second half to tie the game at 1. Suite 7 explodes in happy noise. Family members turn to Stephanie, who bumps fists with her sister, Crystal, and raises her hand to the glass window in front of her, pantomiming a high five with her sons outside. Troy comes inside to wrap an arm triumphantly around her shoulder, then goes back out.

With 6 minutes left Brebeuf scores the go-ahead goal and Suite 7 erupts again. Stephanie is smiling and holding up her right hand, and family members rush to pat it. Troy comes inside for a hug, then goes back out.

“Six minutes!” Uncle Bill says. “Run that clock down.”

Six minutes later, it’s over. Brebeuf wins 2-1. Lauren Turner and the Braves are state champions.

“That’s my La-La,” Stephanie Turner says, softly, as Suite 7 explodes for a third time.

And then the most amazing thing happens.

The clock shows zeroes and a horn sounds and the Brebeuf soccer team is celebrating, and Lauren Turner is sprinting off the field, onto the track around it, over the railing. The Brebeuf goalkeeper has scaled the wall and is running up the bleachers toward Suite 7, and now the Brebeuf soccer team is following her.

Lauren bursts into Suite 7, and Stephanie is crying, and Lauren is crying, and now the whole suite is crying. And here come the Braves, one after another, forwards and midfielders and defenders and they’re all crying and hugging their goalkeeper’s mom. They’re hugging Stephanie Turner, who is wiping tears from her eyes as her husband watches.

In a corner of Suite 7, Lauren Turner is almost inconsolable. Teammates are holding her up, and after about three minutes the team is heading back onto the field for the trophy presentation.

Troy asks Stephanie if she wants to leave the warmth of Suite 7. Does she want to go onto the field for the trophy ceremony?


Stephanie says something I’ve heard her say before.

“I have to be there,” she says, and in a few minutes she is in her wheelchair, under her blanket, next to the field. She watches her daughter receive a championship medal.

Brebeuf gets the team trophy, a giant plaque of wood and brass, and now Lauren has it. She walks to her mom, setting the trophy on her lap. Behind them, Troy is tucking the blanket around his wife’s neck, and draping a jacket over that. Warm now, she lowers her head and closes her eyes.

Stephanie Turner is tired, so tired, but she has seen what she came to see. Whatever happens next, whenever it happens, she saw the game. And she saw her daughter win that state championship.

Troy Turner was one of the best Marine Officers I have ever served with.  He was one of my Lieutenants when I had the honor of commanding Romeo Battery 5/10 back in the mid-1990s.  Troy was the kind of young Officer I could rely on for anything.  I could assign him any task, and he was smart enough and professional enough to figure it out.  And a finer man, one could not find.  He and Stephanie were a delightful young couple.   Now, as they face this tragedy, I am in awe of the indomitable strength and courage of Troy’s lovely Stephanie, and of Troy’s, and that of his daughter and other children.   I haven’t words.   God bless you all.

-Rhino 6


“Lieutenant” Mewborn


Filed under Artillery, girls, leadership, Personal, veterans

This Just In: Beatles’ John Lennon Was Really an A-hole


A rich, spoiled, lazy, arrogant, self-centered, drug-addled hypocrite.   The Daily Mail fills in the details, as if we didn’t really know.  The rather amusing and altogether unsurprising piece is worth the read.

By the age of 25 he owned a Rolls-Royce and a Ferrari. When he was filming Help! in Bond Street in 1965, the director asked him to run into Asprey, the luxury jewellers, through one door and out of another. On the way, he contrived to spend some £600 — the equivalent of £20,000 today.

This is not, of course, the Lennon that his fans choose to remember. The real Lennon, we are often told, was an artist, an idealist, an ascetic who disdained possessions and rejected the hypocrisies of capitalism.

But this is nonsense. The real John Lennon always craved money. When their manager, Brian Epstein, secured them their first contract with record company EMI, Lennon’s telegram simply asked: ‘When are we going to be millionaires?’

As for political idealism, for most of his early life he never showed the slightest interest. As an art student he didn’t join the Labour Party, go on CND marches or demonstrate against apartheid.

It was only after he had fulfilled his primary ambition to become very rich that he began to indulge his artistic, political and spiritual enthusiasms.

There’s more.  When that other foul-smelling hippie Yoko Ono arrived on the scene, it seems Lennon dived deeper into his hypocrisy and became more annoying.

It was in this capacity, as a self-appointed prophet of world peace, that Lennon wrote Imagine. Ironically, the hymn to purity and simplicity was recorded in the purpose-built studio at his country house, Tittenhurst Park in Ascot.

The couple had bought the house with its cottages, magnificent gardens and 72 acres of land from the entrepreneur and chocolate heir Sir Peter Cadbury. It was an incongruously splendid setting from which to lecture the world on the importance of no possessions.

I am of the age where more than a few of my high school teachers all but deified Lennon and the Beatles.  I never cared for most of their stuff, for myriad reasons, and when I mentioned that to one fawning English teacher Freshman year, I was curtly informed that I could consider myself uneducated until I could appreciate their genius, particularly that of John Lennon.   When Lennon was shot in 1980, another teacher told us it would be a defining moment in our lives.  Words cannot express how wrong both of them were.

Some visitors were struck by the contrast between his millionaire lifestyle and the sentiments of his most famous song. Elton John was astounded to discover that Yoko had a specially refrigerated room just for her fur coats.

In 1980, to mark Lennon’s 40th birthday, Elton sent him a little verse: ‘Imagine six apartments / It isn’t hard to do / One is full of fur coats / The other’s full of shoes.’

An older friend, the Beatles’ former personal assistant Neil Aspinall, once heard Lennon moaning about the costs of running his business empire. ‘Imagine no possessions, John,’ Aspinall said.  Lennon glared back.  ‘It’s only a bloody song,’ he said.

So in the end, John Lennon was indeed a music pioneer.  He was one of the first mega-stars of Rock and Roll who was in actuality a fraud; an annoying, self-centered jackwagon who needed someone to kick some of his teeth out for his troubles.    All I can hope is that those teachers of my youth, now long retired, had some kind of epiphany at some point and realized “Geez, this guy was an a-hole!”
Which makes me appreciate Blutarsky even more.


Filed under Around the web, history, Humor, Personal

Gun Control, Racism, and Liberals

The folks at Ushanka tell us the sometimes-tragic consequences of the blindly foolish liberal mindset towards the two subjects.

Kevin Sutherland on gun control:

Since I am in politics, there is one phrase coined by our Founding Fathers that really strikes me. When they founded this nation, they set out to create a “more perfect Union.” The important distinction in this phrase is that our Union is not perfect. More than 225 years later, despite so much change, this is still true. It is likely that we will never achieve absolute perfection, but I believe that the heart of American exceptionalism is that we never stop trying. If history is any guide, the forces for progress always succeed eventually, no matter how formidable their opposition is. Our fight is not merely for new gun control measures or even new mental health programs. It is for the creation of an even more perfect Union.

That is why I am a liberal. . .

Kevin Sutherland on race relations and the SC church shooting:

In my opinion there are few things that are more offensive to the victims of this crime than refusing to address the racism, much of which is institutionalized, glorified and celebrated in the South (including with the help of symbols like the Confederate flat), that cultivated this incident.

Kevin (right), a Democrat Party operative, was stabbed (40x) to death on a DC Metro train on July 4th by Jasper Spires (left).

I am posting FYI only.  I have no comment.

Nor have I.   Except to remark that Liberals will hate us even more because we refuse to be Kevin.

H/T to JPP


Filed under Defense, guns, history, Personal, Politics, stupid, Uncategorized, weapons

Happy Birthday, George Orwell


Somewhat belatedly.  Born Eric Arthur Blair, in India, on June 25th, 1903.

It is hardly the man’s fault that his seminal work, written as a chilling dystopian warning regarding the destruction of liberty, has become an instruction manual for the far-Left “Liberal” Secular-Progressive Statists who now hold the levers of power in our once-great Republic.

He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

“It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.”

“We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it.”

“They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening.”

If you refuse to agree that 2 + 2 = 5, you are racist, sexist, misogynistic, homophobic, Islamophobic, anti-child, and probably watch Fox News.


Filed under Around the web, Cold War, Defense, girls, helicopters, history, islam, leadership, obama, Personal, Politics, recruiting, terrorism, training, veterans, war, weapons

Titusville Warbird Museum

The really cool thing about this blog is that I can share my vacation photos, and no one seems to mind too much.

The official name of the museum is Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum, and the docent was kind and indulgent to the nerds in our little group. (Engineers can’t help it.)
We got to stick our heads in the bomb bay of this B-25.
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Filed under Air Force, history, marines, navy, Personal, planes, World War II

As promised, more Atlantis pics

Scottthebadger was kind enough to compliment my simile of Atlantis pinned like a butterfly on display. It’s even more obvious when you see the cargo bay doors open.
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Filed under history, Personal, space