Sunday, June 07, 2009

The US Army Pig Wars

US Army Makes War on Pigs - Enlists 'Pig Czar'

Columbus, Georgia (Ft. Benning): You might expect to find a few pigs in a US Army post named for a Confederate general. They are found many other places too, like Big Business, Congress and broadcast journalism. Now, the army at Ft. Benning has officially acknowledged the growing problem and is doing something about it. Major 'Bobby' Toon, who instructs in a 'Maneuver Captains Career Course', is also considered the unofficial 'Pig Czar' at the post.

The huge post is a training ground for many infantry and other military specialties and home to the controversial 'School of the Americas'. SOA trains officers from central and south American countries who often go home to take over their own governments through mayhem and murder. Detractors sometimes call it the 'School of the Assassins'.

Due to so much controversy, SOA today hides behind the more innocuous name of 'Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation'.

Manuel Noriega of Panama is one esteemed graduate of SOA, and a fine example of a pig if there ever was one. Noriega, formerly also a major CIA asset, is currently serving a federal sentence in Miami, Florida for displeasing his CIA handlers in the US over proceeds in the drug trade and other unforgivable insults.

But no, Noriega is not the kind of pig Ft. Benning is worried about. The army says the base is overrun by feral pigs - domestic livestock gone wild as it were. The army offered a $40 bounty for every pig tail brought in. Major Toon himself killed 68 of the feral pigs in 2007, earning himself a tidy $2,720 if he were paid for each one.

"You might say I named my own Toon and sang it myself." says the Major with a wry grin. "And, I always got a piece of tail to go along with it! You can really get off on nailing pigs you know. Every time I get one of the big, fat bastards in my sights I imagine it's Karl Rove's or Rush Limbaugh's floppy pig jowls or big, fat asses I'm seeing . . ."

The army's pig program, while having some success on the base, hasn't affected pigdom in the civilian world at all. "Hell, there were even more of those fat bastards around than ever under the Bush administration." claimed Toon in early 2008.

"No, wait, wait. Forget that. I didn't say any of those things!" said Toon.

Editor's Note: No Animals, Politicians, Radio Commentators, CEO's, Corrupt Bastards or other pigs were hurt in the preparation of this story.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

A Woods Walker Mission

(Click on photos to expand)
We knew they were coming of course. 'We' being my brother-in-law, his own brother-in-law, his future son-in-law and me.

But, it was a big shock anyway. A cascading flood of energetic and determined estrogen overwhelmed my own heretofore almost unconquerable testosterone. I could see the other males present were equally cowed. After a few moments of blistering exposure, we humbled males quietly and thankfully slunk away to a haven of male refuge - a local greasy spoon restaurant.

And, it was a damned good thing we did.

The group had descended on the scene like a coordinated flock of predatory birds, whooping and cawing and swooping in their own unique manner. Some lept from their vehicles and began unloading trays of flowers, and tubs of shrubs and supplies. Others rushed forward with various implements of work. After a brief parlay over coffee and biscotti, they quickly disbursed throughout the property like military squads on sharply defined missions. Some mixed potting soil, and some dug in flower beds while the squad leaders barked orders, diplomatically couched as 'suggestions' and 'why-don't-you's'.

The main difference from a military mission, which is usually serious and quietly executed, was their overall bright chatter, which the group members disbursed freely in the fresh morning air along with their copious layers of estrogen.

I'm talking about the so-called 'Woods Walkers' of the Cleveland and Cuyahoga County Ohio area. That's what I'm talking about.

The Woods Walkers are an informal group of women - 'men not allowed' - who gather monthly on specific Sundays, for long, energetic walks in the woods of Cleveland's greenbelt. The group is composed (mostly) of professional women and 'corporate women' - women in management positions of some of the most powerful companies in corporate America. We're talking type "A's" here, and women who are accustomed, to having their way, nay, DEDICATED and DETERMINED to having their way, and to having other folks jump when spoken to. No nonsense, and right damned now!

And they were on a mission. The group had decided amongst themselves, that my sister, who is a founding member of the group, was a candidate for their attention. Ostensibly, the reason was a terminal illness in the family. My sister's sweet and lovable husband is terminally ill with a brain tumor, and my sister has put her life on hold while she dedicates all her effort to his comfort, well-being and happiness. The Woods Walkers decided that it would be a good thing for the group to totally re-landscape my sister and brother-in-law's property with brand-new flowers and shrubs.

Ostensibly. But, my sister, a type "A" herself (and known as the 'flinty' type), suspects otherwise. She believes the group probably thought her own landscaping efforts were not up to snuff, and simply wanted a good crack at her property themselves. Whatever.

The mission was completed in less than four hours. A group of about twenty women, supercharged with estrogen and physical energy, had transformed my sister's landscape and property totally. Their were hundreds of new flowers freshly transplanted to flower beds, some newly prepared. New plants in pots were strategically placed on the patios. New flowers in hanging baskets festooned the eaves of the house. It was beautiful.

And, all very very touching.

We males returned from the safety of our refuge just as the group broke up and began drifting away. And I, for one, was totally blown away by the magnificence and magnanimity of the Woods Walkers of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

But, a word to the wise males out there. Don't you, whatever you do, ever, ever get in the way of any Woods Walker mission . . .