Sunday, May 23, 2010

Camouflage, Book Reviews, Movie Reviews

Camouflage is the art of disguising something so you can’t see it, or you look in the direction it is located in and it doesn’t appear to be there. The military, especially the Army has this art down to a science. When I was a 2nd Lt. platoon leader while on active duty I was told by my commanding officer to take my platoon, including 37 men, two tanks, two recon vehicles, and one armored personnel carrier and camouflage it so he couldn’t see it. So, me being 24 years of age and eager to please my commander I told my non-commissioned officers what the CO has ask me to do. These guys were combat veterans with many years experience hiding their position from the enemy. After we got the platoon into the combat camouflaged position the CO headed our way and then came on the radio with something like this: “Romeo 16 this is Romeo 6, what is your position?” I replied, “Romeo 6 this is Romeo 16, look straight ahead and you will find our location.” A few minutes passed(in my camouflaged position I could see the CO with his binoculars out trying to find us, so I knew we had done our job very well) and he still couldn’t see us. Our position was in real green foliage and until the leaves turned brown from winter we were likely to stay hidden until the seasons did change. He then got real pissed and said, “Romero 16 this is Romero 6, where in the hell are you?” My reply, “Romeo 6 this is Romeo 16, you are looking straight at us but for us to make any movement we will reveal ourselves to our enemy and we can’t do that.” Now he was double pissed and I wondered what the hell I was thinking. This guy was a seasoned Captain and a ring knocker from West Point, while I was a lowly 2nd Lt. from some ROTC program in Texas and what did I know? What I did start to consider was he would get so mad that he might relieve me of my command and send me to the brig for insubordination. While I was just having a little fun with him he was shining his Captain bars to the point of them not having a shine left and I could see my butter bar Lt. bars turning to real butter as they melted off of my collar and I was now a much lower private. Maybe this was a little extreme, but this guy was a career guy and I was just in for the mandatory 2 year active duty hitch(little did I know that I would continue in the active reserves for another 22 years and then retire as a Lt. Colonel, actually out ranking this guy). But wait a minute I have started to ramble, I must get back to the story. Now I have to figure out how to get out of this quagmire brought on by doing my job better than he thought I could and making him feel I was his top platoon leader. So, I decided to have my tank gunner move the main gun of the tank just a little bit and see if they could pick up on this. Turns out the Captain did see it and now he was a happy camper knowing exactly where I was, but also knowing that the thoroughness of my camouflage job and had come out with very high. While I didn’t get promoted right there on the spot he was shaking my hand later that night around the officers’ club bar!! He even bought me a beer!! What a guy!! Now as I look around me some 40 plus years later I see camouflage stuff everywhere. The other day I went into Ganders to buy some hand held radios, lo and behold they are camouflaged and as I looked around the store I had trouble finding the sales clerks because they had on camouflaged jackets and pants. They just blended in to the point that I thought they might be manikins. Finally I found someone moving around the store and realized I had a real live person. My memory went back to the day my Captain couldn’t find me and now here I am in a retail store and I can’t find the sales person because of their camouflaged outfit. The simple conclusion here is that, sometimes things are just not what they appear to be!! Duh!!

Book Review, Past and Current: “Living Successfully with Screwed-Up People” ****, written by Elizabeth Brown and possibly reviewed by me before. Regardless, I have found it an interesting book and one that can be reviewed, especially after having to deal with “screwed up people” in my daily life. Guess this happens to all of us and Ms. Brown has some interesting observations.

“Unplayable” ****, written by Robert Lusetich. This is the story of the 2009 golf season as experienced by Tiger Woods. It is not a tell all or one that dwells on his off the golf course problems, even though it is mentioned infrequently. Lusetich has been writing about Tiger since he came on the tour as a professional and is very fair with him. He has no axe to grind and is very fair in his assessment and is very thorough about his comeback season of 2009, also billed as an inside account of Tiger’s most tumultuous season. Whether you like golf, or Tiger you will find this a good read about the subject. It will not move mountains, and tall buildings, or even change the world, but it is interesting.

Movie Review: “Ironman 2”, ****, this is a very good movie starting where it left off with Ironman 1 in 2008. Robert Downey Jr. remains fun to watch both as cocky billionaire Tony Stark and Iron Man. The big difference now is that he announced to the world that he is Ironman and now he is expected to save the world by signing over the rights of Ironman to the government defense program. Can you imagine how screwed up it would be with the government in charge of it. In addition there is a true villain in tattooed Russian physicist Ivan Vanko, played by Mickey Rourke. Samuel L. Jackson is back with a small but effective role, and Gwyneth Paltrow is back to be promoted to CEO of Stark Industries. Rated: PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some language.

“Robin Hood”, ****, this is also a very good movie, very entertaining and gives us the prequel to Robin Hoods’ life before he became the folk hero of Sherwood Forest and Nottingham. The acting is beyond reproach with Russell Crowe, Kate Blanchett, and William Hurt. The photography of the battle scenes was excellent, very realistic. Rated: PG-13 for violence including intense sequences of warfare, and some sexual content.



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