It is with great excitement that I announce my departure from the Witness Protection Program and my re-entry into the blogisphere. I've missed each and every one of you; but following my duty in the double-naught spy community, it was in my best interest to lay low for a while. Rest assured all of you were constantly in my thoughts as traveled the world securing peace for mankind.
Life should be returning to the formal level of normalcy, so please settle in for a smooth ride. For the first few blogs, I'll be bringing you up-to-speed with critical events on all social fronts. Meanwhile, operators will still be accepting phone calls, requests, and inquiries concerning this blog. Please feel free to call or post a message.
DATELINE: Pittsburgh, PA
PRESS RELEASE: Mary Lou Brannigan Blows Out MORE Candles
June 5, 2010 is the day "Mamie" turned 89 years old. It is incredible sitting back and thinking over her life and accomplishments. I am proud to state that at this advanced age, she is still "full of vinegar" and loving life. She is, overall, the happiest I've ever known her to be. Yes, dementia has had its effects on her memory; but she has side stepped that entire issue and hasn't let it hold her back much. She is frail and not prone to moving as rapidly as she did even last year, but she is getting to her appointed location and that is what matters.
DATELINE: Louisiana and the greater Gulf of Mexico region.
I can't start really giving my thoughts on this topic as I'll either explode or hit a state of spontaneous combustion. Who is the freakin' ad wizard who thinks it is okay to drill that deep in the ocean without having a recovery plan? Even back in the day of my early espionage days, we would have to pre-plan missions with "worst case scenarios" so we could actually plan ahead for disasters that probably would never rear their ugly heads. I remember back to my days working with defense agencies during Desert Shield and Desert Storm that oil was the real issue. I remember being told during the dark days of oil shortages that vast reserves were identified under the waters of the gulf. That's right, we were not really dependent on that dirty and expensive Middle Eastern oil, we had fresh and sweet smelling oil for the taking, as soon as we were ready for it.
BP must have found it and decided we were all prepared to unleash this natural reserve and that is exactly what they've done. This situation leaves a unsettled feeling in my stomach much the same way as wondering if the brakes are really working on the roller coaster as you near the crest of the track. As I've stated on Facebook, we need to start thinking about finding a new planet. At this rate, colonization will need to be intergalactic once the Brits finish thanking us for 1776.
DATELINE: National Road
Speaking of history, the last time I was up north, I decided to drive back using the original "National Highway" which is Route 40 in Pennsylvania. What an amazing drive and, thankfully, no deadline was overriding when I need to be home, so I stopped at nearly every roadside attraction possible. Why, you ask? Because this is my life, folks. I've progressed from discos, meat-markets, short skirts, and spike heels to road side attractions. Maybe it is just easier. I don't know, but it is working for me.
Two spots along the path were General Braddock's own road side attraction: his grave (left); and the youthful 22 year old George Washington's creation of Fort Necessity (below). Both well worth the time and efforts.
Jumping in the "Way Back Machine" we set the destination for 1754. George Washington is a young fresh officer tasked with building a road to Pittsburgh. Chopping trees down at the rate of a mile or two a day, he is on his way to telling the Frenchies that they need to leave Fort Duquesne because the British feel it is their land. Along the way, there is a skirmish involving Indians, French soldiers (who conveniently dressed like Indians), and the British, lead by our hero, road builder, and G.W.'s boss, General Edward Braddock.
Unfortunately, Ed didn't make it beyond the skirmish. He took the bullet fired at him quite personally, and died. In a stroke of genius, GW buried Braddock in the direct path of the road, marching soldiers and cannons over the poor guy. This was to prevent enemies from knowing where Braddock was buried and having his grave or body desecrated. Pretty good move.
Shortly following this show of intelligence, GW displayed a huge lapse of judgment. He and his men came across an encampment of French soldiers and a few Indians. GW advanced with his men ambushing the French and killing Joseph Coulon De Jumonville, a French military leader of great note. The French were not happy about this event. I suspect that George and his men weren't either once they realized their faux pas.
The French decided to retaliate, and really, can you blame them? It wasn't even a fair fight. George really kicked up some major sand with this one. The French and Indian War (or, as I teach it "The French and Some Indians against the British and Some Indians War") started all because George was eager to take out the French and demonstrate his leadership abilities. He was in his young twenties, commanding men twice his age, and plowing his way through the wilderness building his road.
I think he deserves to have full credit for this war too. You will never find this in a history book OR at Mount Vernon's historical interpretation of his life. Why? Because the French forced GW to sign a document admitting he was a less than a gentleman for the manner in which he killed Jumonville and his men. To his credit, it is what brought us to the revolution itself, not to mention his future job security.
The battle at Fort Necessity in the summer of 1754 was the opening action of the French and Indian War. This war was a clash of British, French and American Indian cultures. It ended with the removal of French power from North America. The stage was set for the American Revolution.
This last shot is taken from the highest point on the road, dangerously close to another American historical setting: my senior year high school retreat with the saintly Religious Sisters of Mercy. http://www.jumonville.org/
Let's just say that for some, especially during the late 60's, alcohol and monolithic mountain top crosses just didn't mix. God bless Rachel Maloney (Sister Naomi) for being brave enough for sleeping in our bunk room and pretending to not hear our nonsense all night long.
She is certainly in heaven just for that act.
So, my posse, I am concluding today's blog hoping beyond all odds that you have forgiven me for my time in the witness protection program. I am back now and loving you more than ever. More blogs to follow.
How was that Kae and Emma?