Start your week with today’s sign of the day

by Joey deVilla on November 14, 2016

america-be-excellent-to-each-other

Click the photo to see it at full size.

Be excellent to each other, folks.

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my-flight-buddy

Yes, I know there are fingerprints all over my iPad case.

Sooner or later, we all encounter that person: the one who breaks into our personal space on a plane, often quite unintentionally. This happened to me last night on my flight home when the guy pictured above drifted off to sleep. He was in the middle seat of our row; I took the window seat because I got a spot in Southwest’s “A” group and because I have retained my sense of adventure about travel.

He certainly wasn’t drunk, but he was incredibly relaxed and floppy. He leaned on me for a moment, then leaned on the passenger in the aisle seat, and finally slumped forward against the seat in the row ahead of us. His preternatural flaccidity was a wonder to behold. If the plane crashes, I thought, he’s almost guaranteed survival.

I was all right with that state of affairs until we hit some turbulence. He bounced around like a stalk of microwaved asparagus and finally landed face first in my lap. That’s when I tapped on his shoulder and woke him up.

As he groggily pulled himself upright, I smiled at him and said “In my culture, we’re married now.”

(It’s a catchphrase my Dad used to use in awkward situations and I’d decided to borrow it.)

He gave me a weak, worried smile, and sat bolt upright for the rest of the flight.

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I need to get one of these stickers

by Joey deVilla on November 11, 2016

a-florida-man-needs-no-introduction

Click the photo to see it at full size.

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Future Florida Man or Woman can’t even do racism right

by Joey deVilla on November 11, 2016

old-timey-water-fountains

Water fountain at First Coast High School in Jacksonville.
Click the photo to see the news story.

You’d think that a member of the vaunted Master Race would put the “whites only” sign on the higher-up water fountain.

It’s almost as sad as these pathetic attempts at swastika graffiti from a couple of years back:

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Veteran’s Day / Remembrance Day

by Joey deVilla on November 11, 2016

November 11th is the anniversary of the end of World War I, also known as the Great War — and is referred to as Veterans Day here in the U.S.. In Canada and many other Commonwealth countries, this day is referred to as Remembrance Day.

Photo of Lt. Col. John Alexander McCrae, circa 1914.

Lt. Col. John Alexander McCrae, author of In Flanders Fields..

The symbol of Remembrance Day is the poppy, which grew in abundance in some of Europe’s bloodiest battlefields during World War I, and became the central image of In Flanders Fields, a poem written by Canadian soldier Lt. Col. John Alexander McCrae, a field surgeon assigned to the First Field Artillery Brigade after a particularly bloody battle in Ypres that started on April 22, 1915 and that lasted 17 days. After performing a funeral for his Alexis Helmer (no chaplain was available), McCrae sat in the back of an ambulance, from which wild poppies could be seen growing in a nearby cemetery, and wrote the following into his notebook:

John McCrae's poem, 'In Flanders Fields', written in his own handwriting.

Here’s the text of the poem:

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow,
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

There’s only one person in my family that I’m aware of who’s performed military service, but I think his contribution is significant enough:

renato-de-villa

Note the family resemblance.

Pictured above is General Renato S. de Villa (retired), the 19th person to hold the title of the Phillipines’ Secretary of Defense. His military started in 1953, when he joined the Philippine Military Academy. Since then, he served as Chief of Philippine Constabulary, Director-General of the Integrated National Police, and Vice-Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. President Corazon Aquino — yup, the Philippines had a woman president before the U.S. did — made him Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, and in 1989, he defended her against coup plots in Manila by Gregorio Honasan‘s Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) and the siege of an army camp by Rizal Alih in Zamboanga City.

Here’s Uncle Rene’s page on the Philippines’ Department of National Defense site, and here’s his Wikipedia entry.

manila-american-cemetery

If you ever visit the Philippines, be sure to visit the Manila American Cemetery, the cemetery with the largest number of U.S. soldiers who died in World War II in the Pacific. It’s both a beautiful place and a great way to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

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Make America grate again

by Joey deVilla on November 10, 2016

stuck-eagles

The first eagle got itself stuck in a storm drain, and its friend is providing cover. It’s an apt metaphor, and it might just be proof that we’re living in a computer simulation and the programmers have decided to mess with us just to see what happens.

Let’s hope the metaphor continues: the stuck eagle was eventually freed.

Thanks to Mark Jaquith for this article’s title! The old title was “This bald eagle stuck in a Florida storm drain is the perfect metaphor for America’s current situation”.

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My take on last night’s election results

by Joey deVilla on November 9, 2016

challenge-accepted

I moved from Canada for her…

…and I’m staying for the same reason.

My plan for these soon-to-be interesting times is simple: carry on, watch my back (this year, two people in red caps have yelled at me to “go back to China” — wrong country, guys), speak truth to power and fight the good fight when needed (and oh wow, will it be needed), play the accordion, and follow the wisdom of Alasdair Gray: “Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation”.

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