September 27, 2016

Kate Conquers Canada

Ladies, retract those claws and admit K-Middy rocks this red!

I think my K-Middy was tired of all the abuse and stepped up her game just as ol' GSL knew she would.

Lady Sings the Blues

This should make those naysayers (you know who you are) Evergreen with envy.

Kate trying to remain calm amid the thunder.  Not sure if 'Scorch' is with the Royal Household.

Canada's First Lady Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau
That lid perhaps better suited for an Al Capone biopic premiere.

Georgie Porgie Pudding Pie; stiffed the PM and made him cry.
The Den likes ol' George who can't be bothered to high-five the backroom boy of the G-8

UPDATE: The Den is delighted to report one of our workshop attendees has gone on to glory.

Sausage Pinch Workshop Honor Graduate Mary Jordan of Bellevue, Ohio had a little tussle with a Mickey Ds employee.

September 11, 2016

September 11th

It seems every generation has a "where were you when..." moment and the September 11th attacks loom larger than any single moment in American history because so many people experienced it in real time.  Seared in my memory was a routine weekday morning interrupted by Dr. O phoning from his car to tell me to turn on the telly and I switched on NBC and saw Tower 1 burning as Katie Couric provided stunned commentary.  Less than an hour later, a 2nd plane came into frame then disappeared behind Tower 2 with flames bursting thru the front.  Like everybody else, I instantly knew the Tower 2 impact was extraordinarily well coordinated terror.

I knew the world changed in that moment perhaps in a way it shouldn't have. When both towers fell, I assumed like most others there would likely be casualties far beyond 10,000 after hearing of the many hundreds  stranded above the flames jumping to their deaths rather than passively waiting to be incinerated. I like to think I'd have been among the jumpers who chose to go out on their own terms.

The 110 Story Sears Tower now known as Willis Tower was for about 20 years the World's Tallest Building. After Tower 2 fell, I called my buddy Ash who worked on the 85th Floor for Solomon Smith Barney. I was going to tell him to get the hell out of there but couldn't get thru. I tried calling his wife Aparna knowing she was in full panic but she was deluged with calls from India and elsewhere and was frantically trying to reach her husband.  I finally got ahold of Ash the following day and he was still shaken while describing the harrowing scene as the building evacuated with thousands racing down the stairs en masse.  Had the September 11th attacks been fully successful, the Sears Tower would have also been hit.

Later that afternoon, I met The Good Doctor and Doc M at a sidewalk cafĂ© in the 'Viagra Triangle' (a famous nightlife district anchored by Gibson's Steak House), as we discussed what happened and what was next.  A half million people evacuated the downtown business district all at once just a few minutes after Tower 2 was hit.  We watched thousands of commuters walking by heading north carrying briefcases, with many women barefoot carrying heels, as trains, buses, and cabs couldn't handle a fraction of the sudden demand. I was then 36 years old and already knew the Army's enlistment cut-off age was 35 but Good Doc encouraged me to stop in at a recruiting office and plead my case. I did several days later to no avail and stopped by every 6 months or so and my appearances took on the same routine...."no, we have asked and told our commander about you and he sent it up but there's nothing we can do..."

Nearly five years later, on June 22nd 2006, I was in an excruciatingly boring insurance seminar.  The Iraq War was at it's lowest point with troop allocations already stretched too thin,  recruiting numbers plummeting, and President Bush deciding, but not announcing til months later, to go all-in with a surge requiring many thousands of additional soldiers. I'll never forget the moment of looking down at my fancy Palm Treo and seeing an incoming email saying CALL ARMY RECRUITING ASAP!  About 5 minutes later, a scheduled break allowed me to go outside and make a call that forever changed my life.

Hey Mr Law, we just got a MILPER...we have you down as 41.... when do you turn 42?....okay, if we can ship you to bootcamp by your birthday, we can take you...