Sunday, July 27, 2014

Turn off the Television

We haven't had our television on for an entire week.

Well, I take that back -- I turned it on briefly to listen to the news this morning while getting dressed, but other than that - nada.

The impetus for this little experiment came about accidentally as Mr. SIGIS and I were sitting outside with friends one evening recently; we were talking about how listening to baseball on the radio is not the same as watching it on television.  I much prefer the radio because then you have to engage your brain to visualize what is happening.  We talked about how people don't remember things anymore because everything you need to know is in your smartphone -- why make the effort to remember?

Our digital age has changed the way our brains work, I think.  And not necessarily in a good way.  We have access to more knowledge, but we are not necessarily smarter.

As a veteran teacher, I have seen a change in the way we must teach kids, too.  Kids that have never not known life without a cell phone, computer, or XBOX now must be entertained in order to learn.  Learning has to be "engaging."

At any rate, we turned the TV off a week ago and as a result, Mr. SIGIS has read two and a half books so far, and I have read the nearly eight-hundred page Pultizer Prize winning The Goldfinch which I fished out of our Little Free Library on the corner.

It's been a worthwhile experiment and we will likely just leave the blasted thing off for a while.  We really haven't missed it.  And there is so much to be read!  To that end, make note that The New Yorker has opened its archives through the end of summer and there is a whole boatload of stuff to read there - both fiction and non-fiction.  Business Insider has a pretty good list to get you started.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Border Crisis is By Design

On October 8, 2005, Barack Obama  vowed to "fundamentally transform America" and he has certainly lived up to his promise.  With one crisis and scandal after another (IRS, NSA, VA, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, an out of control EPA, Obamacare, and negotiating with terrorists, to name a few) we are a much weaker and less esteemed country than ever before.  We are more racially divided, we are angrier, and we have little trust in our government or optimism for the future.

It's all by design.

He told you he was going to do it, and he did.

Obama's plan to transform America is no more evident than in the border crisis.  Andrew McCarthy has an excellent post on this topic at National Review Online:
The president has spent nearly six years giving effective legal immunity to millions of illegal aliens already here. His administration, meanwhile, hooks them on the government gravy train and fights state efforts to detain them, deny social services to them, and prevent them from fraudulently voting. Under those circumstances, the rolling out of a federal red carpet for teeming masses of illegal aliens must be understood as intentional.
It is absolutely intentional.

And, of course, Obama blames Bush for this.  No, really.  Andrew McCarthy explains that this is a clever ploy by Obama because much of this controversy involves a Clinton-era anti-human trafficking law which during the Bush years, in re-authorization, picked up an amendment added by Feinstein and Biden; in short, the anti-human trafficking law concerns those children who are "coercively trafficked into the country for purposes of sex-slavery or other indentured servitude."   

That is not the case here; so the blame-Bush's-law defense of the left does not play.  The Bush-era law attempts to protect those kids brought here unwillingly; the current crisis involved illegals coming quite willingly.

McCarthy again:
The January 2014 solicitation published by DHS’s bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement foretells (a) the arrival of 65,000 “unaccompanied alien children,” and, tellingly, (b) the administration’s intention to transfer them to “Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) shelters located throughout the continental United States.” 
Refugee Resettlement.  That does not sound like deportation.

It is team Obama's plan to relocate these illegals throughout the United States and into your neighborhoods.

The end result is thousands of new, unskilled workers on the public dole, a further erosion of our American values, an increased drain on our already troubled education system, and utter havoc in an already ruined health care system.  Of these illegals that are, in fact, children (and not all of them are - get that image of sweet, doe-eyed, hungry toddlers out of your head), how many are vaccinated and know English?  How many will want to assimilate into our American culture and become productive members of society?

Lest I be perceived as a heartless bigot, let me assure you, I'm all for legal immigration.  I know people who have done it the right way and as Americans, we welcome them with open arms.  That is our way.  This, however, is not the Ellis Island of your ancestors.

These new immigrants are not refugees from war torn countries; they are political pawns.

One of the more troubling aspect of all this is the secrecy; the administration touts "privacy rights."  Some of these illegals are being housed at Fort Sill, OK, yet an Oklahoma congressional representative was barred from visiting the immigration center.

The administration won't say where all these kids are going.  Two hundred of these illegals were sent to Nebraska yet the governor was not notified and the administration won't identify them or their locations.
"Governors and mayors have the right to know when the federal government is transporting a large group of individuals, in this case illegal immigrants, into your state," Mr. Heineman told The Wall Street Journal in an interview on Saturday. "We need to know who they are, and so far, they are saying they're not going to give us that information."
Here in Louisiana, Senator David Vitter sent a letter on July 10 to find out how many and where these illegals might be coming to this state.  He got no response.  According to the Louisiana Hayride:
And now, four members of the state’s congressional delegation – Bill Cassidy, John Fleming, Charles Boustany and Vance McAllister – have sent a similar letter.
Camp Minden is a possibility and local news station KSLA reported that Hirsch Coliseum has been contacted about holding some of them.  (Shades of Katrina refugees ... ).

Senator Vitter and Rep. Cassidy have introduced bills in both the House and Senate that would:

• Requires mandatory detention of all unaccompanied minors upon apprehension by border agents.
• Gives unaccompanied minors the option to voluntarily return to their country of origin.
• Places unaccompanied aliens children affiliated with gangs in an “expedited” removal proceeding.
• Raises the standards for “credible fear of persecution” to “substantiated fear of persecution” for unaccompanied minors seeking asylum under the law.
• Places unaccompanied minors without claims for asylum on the next available flight to their home countries within 72 hours of an initial screening, barring cost, feasibility, repatriation agreements with the minors’ countries and the health and safety of the minor.
• Extends the bar to reentry for all illegal aliens to 10 years.
• Requires Secretary of Homeland Security to submit an annual report to Congress detailing voluntary departures, deportations, and grants of refugee or asylum status.

In the end, it comes down to how much the states are willing to take of this nonsense.  As McCarthy pointed out:
And if a renegade United States government is not going to secure the borders of the United States, the states must secure their borders or surrender. As the Supreme Court recognized in 1837, each state has a sovereign right and duty of self-defense ...
Obama voters got what they wished for:  a fundamentally transformed America.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bergdahl Returnes to Duty: NOT The Onion

Is this a joke?  

When I saw this story this morning, I thought I was reading The Onion.

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was a Taliban prisoner in Afghanistan for five years, will reportedly return to duty as early as Monday. 
Bergdahl, 28, who was freed in May in exchange for five hardened Taliban prisoners, will resume his military career at the Army North headquarters at Fort Sam Houston in Texas, The New York Times reported. 
Since returning to the U.S. on June 13, Bergdahl has received therapy at the base.
Bergdahl is expected to live in a barracks and have two soldiers help him readjust to military life, Defense officials told The Times.

There must be a whole lot about military procedure that I don't understand.  

In an older, more normal time, I would just assume that this guy is in protective custody and ongoing therapy on the heels of an intense debriefing; it never occurred to me that he would ever "return to duty."  

I would have thought the brig and a court-martial would have been in order unless, perhaps, the testimony of his fellow soldiers, his own emails of promised desertion, and his odd behavior while in Afghanistan raise no red flags whatsoever.

But, these are certainly not normal times.

Nothing in the headlines is normal anymore.

What is normal?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Talking to Liberals About the Hobby Lobby Decision

This is why you can’t talk to liberals:

In the wake of the Hobby Lobby decision this week, The Daily Kos posted this article which showed up in my Facebook feed the next day with the comment, “Okay Bible-thumpers, answer me this:”; the title of the Kos article is “What if a Muslim Company Used the ‘Hobby Lobby’ Decision to Impose Its Values on White Christians?”

Always up for a challenge, I clicked on the article thinking I would read it and then respond to the Facebook query. 

The first line of the article says:

The slide towards American theocracy was nudged one more step forward by today's Supreme Court decision in support of the "freedom" of corporations with "religious" beliefs to restrict the rights of their employees. In essence, religious "beliefs" trump the obligations, rights, and responsibilities that come with being members of the polity and a broader political community.

That sentence alone was as far as I had to read. 

Absolutely no one’s rights were restricted by the Hobby Lobby decision.  Period.  Anyone that wants them can still go out and purchase abortifacients if they want to.  The Hobby Lobby decision did not ban the drugs. 

So, I responded to the person who posted the article in my feed, I'll call her Miss Liberal, and simply said:

“The first line of the article says the decision ‘restricts the rights’ of the employees, which is erroneous.  No employee rights are restricted.  They can all go buy whatever abortifacients they want.  The decision just means that the employer is not forced to buy them.  Because the first line is a lie, the rest of the article means nothing.”

Am I wrong?

The response I got from Miss Liberal was:

“It does restrict the rights of employees that you do not comprehend does not make it erroneous” [sic]

(We’ll leave the issue of her grammar aside; I'll quit putting [sic] out there; you get the idea)

I don’t usually take the liberal bait, but I was a passenger in a car zooming down the interstate and had nothing else to do besides look at cows, so I thought, “Why not?”

I wrote:

“What rights are restricted?”


“Insurance was created as a way for employers to pay you less this allows employers to pay you less and give you less access to healthcare because they don’t BELIEVE in certain medications and what things they might be used for What and Why my doctor prescribes me medication Is no one’s fucking business except mine and my doctor’s.” 

Uhhhmmmm, okay.  I’m shaking my head on that one. 

Unwilling to get drawn into the weeds on the origins and purpose of insurance, I’m sticking to my original question; I wrote:

“But can women still buy abortifacients?”

Simple enough, right?

Miss Liberal’s response:

“It’s none of your business what my doctor prescribes me”

(Apparently Miss Liberal doesn’t believe in end punctuation.)

Again, trying to keep her on the path, I wrote:

“Not talking about you – I mean women in general.  My point is that benefits and rights are not the same thing.  Nobody’s rights have been taken away.”

Clear enough?  I’m trying to be non-hostile here, and to keep her on the original question. 

Miss Liberal’s response?

“you cannot see the forest for the trees.”

It’s killing me not to critique the grammar, but I persevere.

It’s at this point that she begins to copy/paste her comment about “Insurance was created…”.  Twice.
So I said,

“Is a person forced to work for Hobby Lobby?  Does one still have the choice to choose a job with the benefit package they want?”

Miss Liberal:

“you’re an idiot”

She copy/pastes the insurance comment again.  It’s getting funny now, really. 

So I try one last time: 

“So you can’t tell me what rights were taken away from me yesterday?

Miss Liberal:

“no.  I just did.  Twice.  but you don’t have high enough order thinking skills to understand it.  I’m sorry, honey.  I’ll keep thinking on how to break it down for you.”

I can’t stand it anymore so I’m ready to get out of this dialogue.  I said:

“LMAO, okay.  But you don’t have the higher order thinking skills to explain what single right the Supreme Court stripped from women yesterday.  You’re assuming insurance is a ‘right’ rather than a benefit.  A woman still has the ability to purchase the same drugs as before the decision.”

Miss Liberal:

“again I am sorry you cannot see what I’m trying to say it’s not thinking skills, kiddo it’s communication skills  talking to idiots takes a lot of work”

My final comment:

“Amen to that.”

I left the conversation on that one. 

The next comment that showed up in the feed was from one of Miss Liberal’s liberal friends who posted a vulgar picture of a woman’s spread legs and a one-fingered salute at her vagina with the caption:  "A message to Republicans from women voters.”

And the next comment (because I continued to lurk a bit after I quit commenting) was from another of Miss Liberal’s friends:

“This guy screaming about ‘abortifacients is cracking me up!  What a loon!   Lol!”

And yet another shows up and begins to complain about “the All-Male Supreme Court” who “has implanted their demon seed into the minds of conservatives everywhere…”

Oh, my.

I can’t even begin to go there.  By the end of the dialogue they had everything but UFO's in there.

I know better than to try and talk to a liberal; I really do.  But, like I said, I was killing time on the interstate and this one just looked so easy.  Low hanging fruit.  Obviously I never did get Miss Liberal to answer the question as to what constitutional right was taken away, or even restricted, by the Hobby Lobby decision.  The usual liberal M.O. is to resort to profanity and insults, in my experience, but I guess I still keep hoping I can get through to one or two of them every now and then. 

Not this time, I’m afraid.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Take a Trip on Route 66 From Oklahoma City to Miami, OK

We are stopped for the night at the eastern edge of Route 66 in Oklahoma; we got as far as Miami, OK ("spelled like Miami but pronounced my-am-uh" as Steve has been telling me all day) before stopping for the night.

We started out the day in Frisco, TX, drove up I35 to Moore, and then Oklahoma City, and then picked up Highway 66 at Edmond.

We drove through Moore, briefly; we passed through last year about a month after that devastating tornado, and we wanted to see how they are doing.  We were glad to see that they are rebuilding and while you can certainly still tell that a huge tornado came through, there are new houses, fences, and buildings going up all along the path of the tornado.  Moore is alive and well.

Once we got on Route 66 we tried to drive as much of the original route as we could.  There are various alignments of it and some isn't feasible to drive on.  Some is unpassable.    But really, who would ever take that awful turnpike when you could see real America like we did today?

We've seen lots of cool things like a round barn:

and a giant neon soda bottle (which would be very cool at night),

but the highlight of the day was the Catoosa Blue Whale.

It was built in the 1970s as a 34th anniversary present for Mrs. Zelta Davis by her husband Hugh S. Davis, closed down in 1988, deteriorated, and then was restored in 2002.

Back in the day you could picnic there, swim, slide down the slides into the water, and sunbathe on top of the whale.  It was lovely just sitting there in the late afternoon, listening to the wind whisper through the trees and watching turtles and fish in the pond.

We soldiered on to Miami, had a mediocre cheeseburger for dinner, picked up some beer, and now we rest.  Tomorrow, we continue our trek to Iowa.

Stone Service Station

An old stone gas station along Route 66 in Oklahoma just outside Arcadia. It was built in the late teens or early twenties and gas was dispensed from a fifty gallon drum. And there was a counterfitting operation in the back room.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Hello, Texas!

The Becker 2014 Summer Adventure begins!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Take a Trip to the Dorcheat Historical Museum and the Minden Cemetery

After driving by The Dorcheat Historical Museum for several years and often commenting that we should go visit, Steve and I finally went inside today to check it out; we were actually in Minden anyway to get the Jeep serviced, and it was a spur of the moment decision, but one well worth the time.

The museum has been open since 2008 and is located on Pearl Street in historic downtown Minden, Louisiana.  The main purpose of the museum is to preserve Webster Parish history and to educate future generations about the past.  The museum does an excellent job on both accounts; what struck me as we walked through the various displays was how unique the displays are and the obvious great effort that has been made to collect and preserve historic items from Webster Parish.  These people have done a lot of work!

We were greeted by Museum Director Schelley Brown Francis as soon as we entered; she offered us a tour which "lasts about thirty minutes," she said, but we decided to just poke around for ourselves this trip; if we'd had more time I would have done the tour and I certainly will next time.

Many of the displays have lovely 5 x 7 cards for you to pick up and keep as you go through; the cards have images on one side and text on the other related to the particular display.  Our first stop was about cotton production and plantation life.

There is a video that loops continuously that talks about the plantation system in the south and the various crops that might be raised (cotton, tobacco, sugar cane, etc.);   There's a huge bale of cotton there where you can feel how tightly packed it is, and cotton seed to inspect.

Here is a cool sign from the Webb Cotton press:

Dorcheat Bayou cuts right through Webster Parish: it starts in Arkansas and empties into Lake Bisteneau; in the early 19th century Dorcheat Bayou was navigable for three to six months per year.  This part of Minden's history is represented by the huge wheel just inside the door:

There was a display about Germantown, a Utopian society established in 1835 just northeast of Minden.  In this display you walk through a typical one room home complete with double bed, a hearth with iron pots nearby, and a baby cradle, among other things.

Minden's educational history is displayed with old yearbooks, band pictures and uniforms, letterman jackets and instruments:

There's a research room filled with historical journals, yearbooks, collections of local fiction, and other documents:

There's a display of the various religious groups in the area; artifacts from various churches are on display:

The museum also has a large meeting room where various speakers give lectures on occasion; you can keep up with those events via the museum's Facebook page.  This room also holds a display of artifacts representing Minden's journey through various wars.  There's an old radio by the WWII display that plays Roosevelt's Pearl Harbor address; the display has a young man (a mannequin dressed in period clothes) sitting in a chair by the radio listening intently.

There's much more that I just didn't photograph such as the old drive-in movie speaker in the entertainment display, or the ammunition plant display, among others.

Before we left we stopped in the gift shop and I bought a copy of Dr. Donnis Taylor's 2011 lecture at the museum on Ada Jack Carver Snell, a Natchitoches born writer prolific in the 1920s and 30s who married and moved to Minden with her new husband who had business there.  Ada wrote beautiful short stories (and a play) reflective of southern life with language that just drips Spanish moss and moonlight.

Of course I had to drive by and look at where Ada lived when she was in Minden; it's an adorable house with a lovely garden in the back in Minden's now Historic Residential District.   I'd like to see what it looked like when she actually lived there.

She quit writing and became a recluse after her husband died in 1959; she lived until 1972 and is buried in the Minden cemetery, next to her husband and her infant son.

The Minden cemetery is also fascinating and I learned something today that I didn't know; again, something we picked up in the museum.

In the old section of the Minden cemetery there are 20-30 Confederate soldiers buried; it's known as the Civil War Trench.  According to the display card I picked up at the museum:
Estimates are 20-30 bodies lie buried along the concrete line...Though names may be lost, their lives are remembered for their bravery & valor in April of 1864.  They likely were from Walker Texas Division & General Polinac's Division of Louisiana.  During bloody battles of Mansfield & Pleasant Hill they were wounded & brought to Minden to be treated.  These divisions had been in Minden a few months earlier, wintering in 1864.
You can read more here.

The "Trench" is in the back corner of the cemetery:

Only one name is known.

All the others are unknown:

The large monument was placed in 1936 by the Daughter's of the Confederacy...

...and the markers were placed by T.M. Scott Camp of Minden's Son's of Confederate Veterans in 2008.

You can go here to read more about T.M. Scott Camp of Minden - it's a cool site but I'll warn you, it plays music when you go there and I hate those autoplay things.  The content is interesting, though.

You can read more about the historic Minden cemetery here and here.

At any rate, it was an interesting afternoon and I learned some things.  I'd like to go back and take the museum tour and go walk though the cemetery among the unusual grave stones and iron fences.  Maybe in the fall...when it's not a hundred degrees with off-the-chart-humidity.

Admission to the Dorcheat Historical Museum is free and they are open Tuesday - Friday from 10 a.m. - 4 pm (closed for lunch).

The SIGIS Take a Trip Series:
Take a Trip to the 2012 Defenders of Liberty Air Show at BAFB
Take a Springtime Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden, LA
Take a Trip to Logansport, Louisiana
Take a Trip to the Lock and Dam on Red River
Take a Trip to the 2012 Barkus and Meoux Parade
Take a Christmas Shopping Trip to Second Hand Rose in Minden
Take a Trip to the Fourth Annual Barksdale AFB Oktoberfest 
Take a Trip to Grand Cane's Fifth Annual Pioneer Trade Day
Take a Trip to the 2011 Highland Jazz & Blues Festival
Take an Autumn Trip to Jefferson, Texas
Take a Fall Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden
Take a Trip to the 8th Air Force Museum at Barksdale Air Force Base
Take a Summertime Trip to Grand Cane
Take a Trip to Desoto Parish
Take a Summer Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden
Take a Trip to Natchitoches and Melrose Plantation 
Take a Trip to Ed Lester Farms and a Random Antique Stop
Take a Trip to the Norton Art Gallery and the Masters of Cuban Art Exhibit
Take a Trip to Natchitoches to See the Christmas Lights
Take a Trip to the Third Annual BAFB Oktoberfest 
Take a Trip to Natchitoches and Oakland Plantation

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I Need A Home!

UPDATE:  Kitty has been adopted!

This sweet kitten has been abandoned at The American Legion on Cross Lake.  I'm desperately trying to find her a home before they have to call Animal Control on her.  If you can adopt her, please let me know.  Please share this post and help her find a home.  She's very sweet, scared, and a bit skittish, but she warms up to people pretty easily.  She just wants a home.

Still Fighting for Justice for Braveheart

I spent the morning in court today.

I wanted to see what evil looks like:  I wanted to see the face of someone who could chain a puppy to a car block in a storage locker in August in heat over 100-degrees and leave it there to die.

Today was yet another court date for Gabriel Lee, the man accused of doing just that to the puppy now named Braveheart.

For the backstory, go here.

And for the record, Braveheart is happy, healthy, and doing just fine, now.

Bo and Ronda Spataro, along with the La. Baby Momma Rescue group and other supporters, were in court today to see justice served for Braveheart but were denied yet again; the court delayed Mr. Lee's trial until
Braveheart today
August 26.

"It's frustrating," Bo said after the hearing.  "I feel like they just think we are going to go away and this will all die down, but it won't."  And true enough, every time a hearing date comes up, there are more and more supporters for Brave in the courtroom.  In fact, when we all got up to leave after the delay was announced, we emptied two and a half rows in the courtroom.

KSLA posted a story on today's events.  KTAL TV and KMSS-Fox both were present and interviewed Bo outside the courthouse; when asked what he thought the punishment for Mr. Lee should be, Bo was diplomatic.  He does wish that the court would impose a serious fine and perhaps disallow Mr. Lee from owning another animal "for a significant period of time."

LRS14:102.1 is the statue that deals with felony cruelty to animals which is what Mr. Lee faces:  he could be ordered for a psychological evaluation and treatment and could be banned from owning or keeping animals "for a period of time deemed appropriate by the court."  The defendant could also have to pay for the costs of the evaluation and treatment.  He could be fined "not less than $5,000 nor no more than $25,000"; he could be imprisoned  with or without hard labor for not less than one year nor more than ten.

So.  In a perfect world, the defendant in this case, for doing this:

...should undergo a psych evaluation and a period of treatment; he should be banned from owning or keeping another animal, of any kind, for a very long time, and should be fined $25,000.  He should go to jail with hard labor for ten years.    

We wouldn't tolerate this kind of abuse toward children; why do we tolerate it for animals?  

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The American Legion Post 14 Flag Retirement Ceremony

Yesterday was Flag Day and as is customary the American Legion Post 14 on Cross Lake conducted its annual Flag Retirement Ceremony.

Steve and I got there early to help set up and prepare for the ceremony; Steve was to participate in the ceremony yesterday and wanted to do a quick run through with the Boy Scouts that would be assisting.

We hauled the podium, amp, and flags out to the hill by the Boy Scout hut, we set up chairs in the shade for spectators, and brought out iced bottles of water.  

Here's our buddy Jerry helping hook up the amp:

The Boy Scouts got the fire going:

Various organizations were present and brought flags to be retired.  The VFW was there:

And Shawn Bohanan, Chef de Gare of  Voiture Locale 137 of the Forty & 8:

My friends John and Julia Dunning were there; I liked this one:

But Steve had me retake it when they were all paying attention:

After everything was set up Steve rounded up his little delegation and ran them through their paces a time or two; the Bossier Parish Sheriff's Young Marines were also there and joined the Scouts in assisting.

A small group of spectators assembled in the shade:

The Flag Retirement Ceremony is very dignified and formal.  A ceremonial flag is presented for inspection by the First and Second Vice-Commander and the Commander says:

Comrades, we have presented here these Flags of our Country which have been inspected and condemned as unserviceable. They have reached their present state in a proper service of tribute, memory and love. 
“A Flag may be a flimsy bit of printed gauze, or a beautiful banner of finest silk. Its intrinsic value may be trifling or great; but its real value is beyond price, for it is a precious symbol of all that we and our comrades have worked for and lived for, and died for a free Nation of free men, true to the faith of the past, devoted to the ideals and practice of Justice, Freedom and Democracy. 
“Let these faded Flags of our Country be retired and destroyed with respectful and honorable rites and their places be taken by bright new Flags of the same size and kind, and let no grave of our soldier or sailor dead be unhonored and unmarked. Sergeant-at-Arms, assemble the Color Guard, escort the detail bearing the Flags and destroy these Flags by burning. The members shall stand at attention.”

There is a prayer, and a bugler plays "To the Colors" and "Taps".  

One of the values of the ceremony, I think, is the dignity of it and the respect that the young people learn.  

Those participating did an awesome job.

The local media was there scrambling for the perfect shot:

And the firemen were there to keep everything safe!

After the bugler is finished, the flags are placed on the iron grate for burning.  At that point, legionnaires and veterans in attendance assist the Scouts in placing the flags on the grate.

This goes on for a while as the flags are properly consumed by the fire.  There were lots and lots of flags that had been collected through the year.

The fire department was at the ready:

You definitely wanted to stay out of the smoke:

The column of black smoke could be seen for miles:

And the heat from the fire was intense:

Just as it was all over and the fire about burned out, a lady drove up with a handful of flags and those went in too.  

It all took about forty-five minutes and then it was done.  

We loaded up the podium, chairs, amp, and the Post flags and cleaned everything up then adjourned to the lounge for some cold refreshments.  

Following that, Jerry, Steve and I went to grab some lunch then spent the rest of the afternoon cruising Cross Lake and just drifting the afternoon away.  

Check out this magnificent heron:

He was awesome:

And if all that wasn't enough fun, I made friends with a stray, nearly feral, kitten that is hanging around the Legion;  I fed her ham, cheese and crackers from our boat snacks.  It took me forever to get her to let me pet her but once she decided I was okay, she was very sweet.  We are going out there today to take some proper food for her so that whoever is on site each day can feed her.  

If you know of anyone who wants a sweet, beautiful kitten, let me know!