Hey, I’m back! I know, I know, it’s been a while. But I promise I’ll be better about posting… maybe I’ll even start podcasting again… maybe I’ll clean out the garage… maybe the moon will rise instead of the sun. Baby steps, baby steps.

So of course the big story from the weekend was the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq hitting the 4,000 milestone. Four thousand brothers, sisters, moms, dads, sons, and daughters. All of them heroes. All of their families my heart goes out to. These brave men and women raised their right hands and volunteered to go on a mission and made the ultimate sacrifice.

While I agree that the media needs to report the unvarnished truth about what is happening, the constant negativity and glee with which too many report this tragic milestone does nothing to help our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines.

Four thousand is a lot. But I want to try to give a little bit of perspective. It is a lot fewer combat deaths than any other extended war this country has been involved in. It pales in comparison to the sacrifices made during single battles during World Wars I & II (or Korea or the Civil War, for that matter).

In a similar five-year period, there were 1,232 deaths in 2003; 1,130 deaths in 2004; 1,257 deaths in 2005; 1,096 in 2006; and 974 deaths in 2007… 5,689 in all… killed on Missouri’s roads. With all due respect to my friends at MoDOT, what’s our exit strategy for Missouri’s highways?

Freedom is hard. Security means sacrifices. Let us not forget the 4,000 brave Americans whose lives were ended early, but let us honor them by making sure their deaths were not in vain.

OK, I know it’s kind of cheesy, but I love the 4th of July celebration put on by Jeff City! I tried to get some pics of the fireworks (which in my opinion just keep getting better and better every year), but they (the pictures-not the fireworks) didn’t come out like I wanted. Oh well, you probably have to be there to really get the whole experience.

You also gotta love the way the streets around the Capitol Building are filled with vendors offering those unique foods and prizes that only a small town celebration can offer.

It is truly an American celebration.

I just read an article/forum on Entertainment Weekly (got there through CNN’s website) talking about some of TV’s moments that make people cry the most. There have been some good ones submitted… Radar announcing Henry Blake’s death on M*A*S*H… the Pedigree “I’m a Good Dog, How Did I End Up Here (at the pound)… and of course, coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But I think my saddest TV moment had to be one that I covered as a broadcaster in the Air Force… and I’m sure one that not too many people know about.

In 1996, Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown and several American business leaders died when the plane they were riding on slammed into the side of a mountain in Croatia. While the national media focused on Brown’s death, I covered the funeral at Ramstein Air Base, Germany for the six U.S. Air Force crew members stationed at Ramstein who also perished. I can never forget the picture of the fellow airman as her eyes were filled with tears, placing the folded American flag at her picture, and giving a trembling salute to her fallen colleague. In the front pew of the Ramstein chapel, was a father and his young son… maybe four or five. The boy’s grief was nearly unbearable, and I still well up with tears when I think of his crying eyes looking almost unbelieving at his mother’s funeral.

I’ve seen many sad things and faced some tough shoots… but this was easily the most difficult story I have ever had to do.

“I’m just saying…”

I finally had a few minutes to watch a college basketball game tonight. Tough loss for Mizzou on the road at Kansas State. The good part of the evening are those hilarious Sonic Drive-In commercials… especially the one where the guy slaps away the tater tot from the other guy as he slowly eats it – Don’t bring that weak tot action… you go strong to the mouth or not at all! Check out the video here.

Makes me laugh every time. They even have an on-line game where you try to shoot the tater tot into the guy’s mouth… complete with “air ball” chants by the crowd, sneakers squeaking on the hardwood… makes you feel like you’re in the game. Or at least makes you want tater tots.

“I’m just saying…”

Snowstorm radarWould the scientist who said “the Earth is getting warmer” please report to Missouri for your ass-kicking. And bring Al Gore with you. So far, ANOTHER five inches of snow. Of course this is on top of an ice storm last weekend and a major blizzard at the beginning of December. It’s not bad (at least here), but why is it some experts accept one isolated incident as proof of global warming, but dismiss other isolated incidents that don’t support their theory. Looks like a cycle to me… but I’m no expert (thank goodness).

“I’m just saying…”

One of the perks of having friends like Chuck and Cindy Zimmerman is that sometimes they throw you a little work. In addition to a full-time, temporary job I’m working to help pay the bills, I’m now blogging at DomesticFuels.com… one of ZimmComm’s agriculture-based web sites. Click this link, and you can also see my goofy mug. Good thing I married well.

“I’m just saying…”

With all the recent talk about what’s going on in Somalia, I thought you might like to hear the story of my trip into the Eastern Africa nation… before the Marines landed… and before Black Hawk Down.

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Just a quick note… we’ve already received about an inch of freezing rain and ice pellets. It’s made the sidewalks like glass, but the roads are doing “OK” with slushy conditions… so far. The ice doesn’t seem to coating the trees and power lines very heavily… so far. Forecasters are calling for more ice and snow tonight, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed the power holds up (at least through the football game). Kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop…

“i’m just saying…”

OK, OK, I know Boise State didn’t really share in the national title, but the Broncos were the only ones to end the season unbeaten. But you can’t take anything away from Florida, as the Gators went out and dominated Ohio State… especially upfront on the offensive and defensive lines. For those of you who might have listened to my whining about no playoffs for Division I football in my January 8th podcast (see previous post), you know we won’t have a true national champion until there is a playoff. In the meantime, though, I raise a toast to my good friend, Chuck Zimmerman… a longtime diehard Gator fan.

Here’s my national champion rankings:
1. Florida and Boise State (but Florida gets the trophy… fair enough?)
2. Wisconsin (left out of the national championship picture by the goofy B.S. rules)… 12-1… the REAL reason there should have
been a playoff.
3. USC – nice win in the Rose Bowl after choking at the end of the season.
4. Ohio State – feel lucky you didn’t fall further.
5. LSU – took their turn part in the yearly ritual of beating to death Notre Dame in a bowl game.
6. Louisville – seems unfair to carry baseball bats into the game
7. Rutgers – probably should be above Louisville since they beat them head-to-head
8. Auburn – holy crap, another team below a team they beat this year (they beat Florida earlier)
9. TCU – gotta love the name “Horned Frogs”
10. West Virginia – ummm… running out of clever things to say, so I’ll wrap the top 10 (although it includes 11… just like the Big
10) with the Mountaineers.

“I’m just saying…”

Listen as I take no joy in possibly crowning Boise State as National Champions of college football.

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