Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I Look Good at 50mph

So I got a photo enforcement ticket in the mail today...more specifically, Claire received notification that she was speeding in Washington DC and got caught by camera. Problem is, she was not in DC on that date, but rather in Las Vegas for a conference.

I was driving through DC with my buddy Wes going to a Baltimore Orioles game.

There is no photo of me or Wes, just a picture of the license plate.

I did not know they would triangulate speed with a picture and a laser, resulting in a ticket.

If this is legal (clearly it is since I got a ticket, right?), why don't more states do this? I mean c'mon, you don't even need a cop to catch a speeder? How many state budgets could be fixed by this tool.


I am irritated by it. Clearly, my brakes are being hit, which leads me to believe that I was slowing down...possibly a change in speed limit?

I got caught speeding. Clearly red handed, but it does not make much sense to me. I rarely, if ever, go over the speed limilt like they are saying I did.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs

This letter was written by Charles Grennel and his comrades, veterans of the Global War On Terror. Grennel is an Army Reservist who spent two years in Iraq and was a principal in putting together the first Iraq elections in January 2005. It was written to Jill Edwards, student at the University of Washington, who did not want to honor Medal of Honor winner USMC Colonel Greg Boyington. Ms. Edwards and other students and faculty do not think those who serve in the U.S. Armed Services are good role models.

To: Jill Edwards, Student, University of Washington

Subject: Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs

Miss Edwards,

I read of your student activity regarding the proposed memorial to Colonel Greg Boyington, USMC and a Medal of Honor winner. I suspect you will receive many angry emails from conservative people like me. You may be too young to appreciate fully the sacrifices of generations of servicemen and servicewomen, on whose shoulders you and your fellow students stand. I forgive you for the untutored ways of youth and your naiveté. It may be that you are simply a sheep.

There's no dishonor in being a sheep, as long as you know and accept what you are. William J. Bennett, in a lecture to the United States Naval Academy November 24, 1997 said, "Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident. We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people, not capable of hurting each other except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.

Then there are the wolves who feed on the sheep without mercy. Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

Then there are sheepdogs and I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf. If you have no capacity for violence and you are a healthy productive citizen, you are a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the uncharted path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and hopefully walk out unscathed.

We know that the sheep live in denial; that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can however accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kid's schools. But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid's school. Their children are thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire, but the sheep's only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their child is just too hard. So they choose the path of denial.

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog that intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished severely. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a Republic such as ours.

Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. The sheep would prefer that he didn't tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in their airports, in camouflage fatigues, holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go Baa. That is, until the wolf shows up, and then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.

Case in point -- The students, the victims, at Columbine High School were big, tough, know-it-all high school students, and under ordinary circumstances would not have had the time of day for a police officer. They were not bad kids; they just had nothing to say to a cop. When the school was under attack, however, and SWAT teams were clearing the rooms and hallways, the officers had to physically peel those clinging, sobbing kids off of them.

This is how the little lambs feel about their sheepdog when the wolf is at the door. Look at what happened after September 11, 2001 when the wolf pounded hard on the door. Remember how America, more than ever before, felt differently about their law enforcement officers and military personnel? Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what some have chosen to be.

You need to understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter. He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night and yearning for a righteous battle. Better said, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they still move to the sound of the guns when needed, right along with the young ones.

Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America said "Thank God I wasn't on one of those planes." The sheepdogs, the warriors, said,"Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference." They want to be able to make a difference.

There is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the warrior, but he does have one real advantage. Only one. And that is that he is able to survive and thrive in an environment that would destroy 98 percent of the population.

Some people may be destined to be sheep and others might be genetically primed to be wolves or sheepdogs. But I believe that most people can choose which one they want to be, and I'm proud to say that more and more Americans are choosing to become sheepdogs.

Seven months after the attack on September 11, 2001, Todd Beamer was honored in his hometown of Cranbury, New Jersey. Todd, as you recall, was the man on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania who called on his cell phone to alert an operator from United Airlines about the hijacking. When they learned of the three other passenger planes who had used weapons, Todd and the other passengers confronted the terrorist hijackers. In one hour, a transformation occurred among the passengers - athletes, business people and parents - from sheep to sheepdogs and together they fought the wolves, ultimately saving an unknown number of lives on the ground.

Edmund Burke said "There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men." Here is the point I strive to emphasize, especially to the thousands of police officers and soldiers I speak to each year. In nature the sheep, real sheep, are born as sheep. Sheepdogs are born that way, and so are wolves. They don't have a choice. But you are not a critter. As a human being, you can be whatever you want to be. It is a conscious, moral decision. If you want to be a sheep, then you can be a sheep and that is okay, but you must understand the price you pay.

When the wolf comes, you and your loved ones are going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to protect you. If you want to be a wolf, you can be one, but the sheepdogs are going to hunt you down and you will never have rest, safety, trust or love. But if you want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior's path, then you must make a conscious and moral decision every day to dedicate, equip and prepare yourself to thrive in that toxic, corrosive moment when the wolf comes knocking at the door.

This business of being a sheep or a sheepdog is not a yes-no dichotomy. It is not an all-or-nothing, either-or choice. It is a matter of degrees, a continuum. On one end is an abject, head-in-the-sand-sheep and on the other end is the ultimate warrior. Few people exist completely on one end or the other. Most of us live somewhere in between.

Since 9-11 almost everyone in America took a step up that continuum, away from denial. The sheep took a few steps toward accepting and appreciating their warriors, and the warriors started taking their job more seriously.

Its OK to be a sheep, but do not kick the sheepdog. Indeed, the sheepdog may just run a little harder, strive to protect you a little better and be fully prepared to pay an ultimate price in battle and spirit with the sheep moving from "baa" to "thanks." We do not call for gifts or freedoms beyond our lot. Just like the sheepdog, we in the military just need a small pat on the head, a smile and a thank you to fill the emotional tank which is drained protecting the sheep. And, when our number is called by The Almighty, and day retreats into night, a small prayer before the heavens just may be in order to say thanks for letting you continue to be a sheep. But also be grateful for the millions of American sheepdogs who permit you the freedom to express even bad ideas.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Movies, Toad and Norway in June

Last week Claire and I saw this movie

liked them both, but can you guess which one I would see again?


Toad the Wet Sprocket, the artist of my favorite song (Windmills) is playing tonight in Virginia Beach...FOR FREE.

Think Bogart will be there?

You betcha!!!


Claire's Navy Reserve duties = 1 weekend a month and 2 weeks a year...

Bogart's ticket to join her for 10 days of her 2 weeks in Norway = $757

I hear Norway is nice that time of year...now I get to find out!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus

You know you so want to see this.

How great does that look, huh?

I mean, Debbie Gibson and Lorenzo Llamas, a gigantic shark and humongous octopus...how could that possibly be bad?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cereal Makes Me Fat

Ever have one of those "Ah-Ha" moments?

I just had one.

The back story is that I eat fast. I never really understood why. I have a lot of people to blame. My buddy Craig and I used to get into speed eating contests. My siblings (all 5 of them) liked to steal food off big brother's plate. Sports waited for no man and I needed to finish faster so I could get back out and play. The list goes on and on.

I have tried all sorts of cures. Putting my fork down between bites, counting my chews and even counting to 10 before taking a bite before swallowing. All of them make my food cold and I don't enjoy eating when that happens.

This morning, however, I solved the mystery. It is cereal's fault.

I have been eating cereal regularly since I was a kid. Love me some Fruity Pebbles, Frosted Mini-Wheat's, Capt'n Crunch (Berries and PB variety in particular) and Lucky Charms.

All of those are not so good when soggy. So I eat them quickly.

It is the first meal of the day and has been for a long time.

That speed eating is tough to stop.


Now that I have a logical scapegoat, I need to pitch it off a cliff.


Today is my birthday. I am going to eat whatever I want, drink whatever I want, watch baseball, talk on the phone and slap my wife's butt...in other words, my birthday will be just like any other day.


I calculate that 11/28th of my life is over...so yeah, I got that going for me.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Virginia Boy Sounds Dirty

It is official.

I think I cried a little when it happened.

I know I died a little at the moment it occurred.

I think I can no longer call myself a California boy.

Bye-bye California Driver's License. Hello Virginia Driver's License.

It is a sad day in the Team Bogart Household!


On the bright side, they did extend my license out to 2016 without requiring a test, so I got that going for me.


I know I waited 18 months to get it done, but I just could not let go. Unfortunately, it expires on my birthday this week and I was forced to succumb.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Hang on Sloopy

10-days ago I went and saw THE BOSS in concert for the first time.

I have never been the big fan. I have enjoyed his music some, but I never bought any of his albums (even though I own over 600) and never really appreciated his work.

Then a couple of months ago, Claire's boss invited me to see him in concert. I am always up for a road trip, so I jumped in. I prepared by borrowing 10 Springsteen CD's and listening to them in heavy rotation. I was very surprised to realize, I like a lot of his music...especially the stuff that did not get radio play.

Concert day arrived, 4 hour drive, 2 hour wait, then BADLANDS!

I was on my feet, clapping, dancing and singing the few words I knew.

One song in and I was hooked. I became a Springsteen fan that night.

Even with The Boss appearing to be sick most of the concert (Pig Flu?) he put on a good show. He even played a cover of Hang On Sloopy. Yes, that Hang On Sloopy.

Great show, good times.


Drove 4 hours home after the concert and got in a bit after 3am. I tried to crawl into bed as quietly as I could, but I bumped Claire and that woke her up.

No problem, she usually goes right back to sleep...not tonight. I was tired (it was after 3am!) and she wanted to hear all about it.

I sorta obliged. Through my sleep induced stupor I think I told her something like:

Fun drive, music loud, hang on sloopy, dance, good times...


If anyone is curious (You Boss fans are), here is the set list for the night:

Setlist:Badlands (w/ Jay Weinberg)
Radio Nowhere (w/ Jay Weinberg)
Outlaw Pete (w/ Jay Weinberg)
No Surrender (w/ Jay Weinberg)
Working on a Dream (w/ Jay Weinberg)
Seeds (w/ Jay Weinberg)
Johnny 99 (w/ Jay Weinberg)
The Ghost of Tom Joad (w/ Jay Weinberg)
Raise Your Hand (w/ Jay Weinberg)
Seventh Son
Hang on Sloopy
Growin' Up
I'm on Fire
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
The Promised Land
Human Touch
Kingdom of Days
Lonesome Day
The Rising
Born to Run
Cadillac Ranch
* * *
Hard Times (w/ Jay Weinberg)
Thunder Road (w/ Jay Weinberg)
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out (w/ Jay Weinberg)
Land of Hope and Dreams (w/ Jay Weinberg)
American Land (w/ Jay Weinberg and Frank Bruno, Jr.)
Glory Days (w/ Jay Weinberg)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Is There a Safety Word?

On Friday, I was helping a friend move.

When I arrived, they were taking apart the bed, packing boxes and shuffling things around to get ready for the move.

We began by taking out the entertainment unit. Then a couple of bookshelves, followed by the bed.

The dresser was the next obvious thing. I suggested that we should probably take out the drawers and my buddy agreed. Then he asked me to leave the room for a minute because his wife would not want other men seeing the contents of the top two drawers.

I figured that, like most people, the contents of the top drawers were delicate unmentionables. I have 4 sisters and a wife, so I fully appreciate and understand that many ladies are a little shy when it comes to their underwear and bras. Having other men see them can be a little embarrassing. I get that.

So, being the good husband, he took out the top two drawers and put them in the bathroom, closing the door. I was then invited back into the room to continue the process.

We took out the next two drawers. What was in those you ask?

Underwear and bras.


What do you think were in the top two drawers?


I figure DKG is the most likely to know.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Fruity Pebbles and Changing the World

I recently rediscovered a love for Fruity Pebbles. Their tasty goodness is quality in the AM.

Any particular cereal you need to rediscover?


Tonight, we have a "Lock-In" with our Jr/Sr High kids. Claire and I will be spending the night, locked in our church with a grip of 12-17 year olds. Pray for us. No really, we need it.


Have you seen this charity yet? (Found it through The Dish, a blog written by a baseball writer I like...he also writes about food and books.)

Global Giving...GlobalGiving is an online marketplace that connects you to the causes and countries you care about. You select the projects you want to support, make a tax-deductible contribution, and get regular progress updates - so you can see your impact.

An example of a project that was “so tiny, in fact, that it initially embarrassed” the site’s founder: a request for $5000 to build a separate toilet block for girls at a school in Coimbatore, India. They got the money and built the toilet block, and lo and behold, the dropout rate for girls who hit puberty dropped dramatically.

Seems like a pretty cool thing. Changing people's lives and you even get to see the tangible results. How often does that happen?