Guard Geese are Real

Remember that idea I had for a story about geese that won the war?
I originally had the idea as a story to tell to my son (haven’t actually got around to it yet – someone read what I wrote and told me the story didn’t interest them enough to finish the whole thing, which served as a blow to my confidence).
My plans are to finish a first draft by Saturday morning around 7:00AM or so – which will meet one of my two targets for the month (write one story and lose 15lbs).

However, all of that is to one side for now. What I want to share with you is this – an image of how bad ass a goose can be.

Soldiers – fearless and lethal. Unless…

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Focusing On The Core Muscles

I walk with my head down for so many reasons. I am afraid of making eye contact with people for fear they might acknowledge me (God forbid). I scroll through my phone, going through emails, but also checking Facebook or Twitter or Reddit to see if anything interesting came up, posted by people far more interesting and intelligent than me. Walking like this arches your spine, puts pressure on your back, and takes away from the strength in your core. I think this is why the guy who trains me starts every session with core exercises.

Wikipedia’s entry is excellent, but in summary, your core muscles are:

“traditionally assumed to originate most full-body functional movement, including most sports. In addition, the core determines to a large part a person’s posture. In all, the human anatomy is built to take force upon the bones and direct autonomic force, through various joints, in the desired direction. The core muscles align the spine, ribs, and pelvis of a person to resist a specific force, whether static or dynamic.”

With every exercise he tells me to push my chest out and tighten my core, no matter what I am working on. We tend to start out with the core at every session and then branch out in to whatever torture he planned for that day. He’s trained me to realize that you start with your core and then work on your other muscles.

At first, it hurt. Alot. Now that I think about it, I have been hunching over and looking at my feet as I walk for a long time, mostly when I am walking on my own, surrounded by any number of other human beings.

My core is stronger because of it. Today marked my second day of working out in the morning (on my own, not at the gym I go to on weeknights) and this morning, I feel like I am walking straighter. That’s impossible after only two workouts, but I reminded myself that it hasn’t been two workouts – I’ve been doing this for over a month now. The only change is that the last two sessions I did on my own.

So, yeah, I am walking straighter now because my core muscles are a stronger. But it’s more than that. I’m looking up because I’m feeling good.

And you know what? Looking up makes you feel better. Feeling better makes the problems of the day seem smaller. When the problems are smaller, the day is better. When the day is better, you’re happy. When you’re happy, life is so much easier. All because of a few, simple exercises every other day. To my mind, when I think about the core, it has so much more to do with the core of my body, but the core of who I am. It’s no wonder that the 7 chakras align with your core.

That’s the value of focusing on my core muscles.

 

Happy Birthday to My Wife

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I keep a folder of called “Pictures of Mell That I Like” and this was the first one that came to mind this morning and I felt compelled to post it.

Happy Birthday to the woman who is my first thought in the morning, my last thought at night, and has my heart the whole day through.

As sure as God knows He makes all the little green apples, so I am sure in knowing that I am the luckiest husband in the world to have someone like her to compensate for all my faults, to shore up my strengths, to celebrate my successes and comfort me in failure.

She is a wonderful mother to our children and sets a great example of what being strong is all about.

Happy birthday, Babe. I can’t say if you like this picture or not, but I sure do.

A Word About Geese

I stole my story about geese from a tale from history.

We have a pair of geese nesting outside the front entranceway at work and the male goose attacks anyone who comes near. We all complain about it, laugh about it, watch anxiously as some unsuspecting stranger tries to come in the front door, but when they go, I think we will all be a little sad.

My boss told a very short story about how back before Rome was Rome, they were camped out across from an enemy who attempted a sneak attack. The attack was foiled by a flock of geese who started honking when the enemy advanced. You can totally see how I stole it. If I rewrite it, I will do it from the point of view of Lythande. Three characters are two too many in a short story like that.

Here is the link to the real story about how some geese won a battle:

https://m.warhistoryonline.com/ancient-history/how-holy-geese-saved-the-republic-in-390-bce-during-the-first-sack-of-rome.html

 

A Story For My Boy

I like to help my son make up stories for his toys. He does an incredible job on his own but he can’t have all the fun!

A week or so ago, I told him a story about Edna’s Stonefish Soup Recipe – based off of a Lego Toy of Han Solo frozen in carbonite. I think one night, I will tell him this story about geese.

Once upon a time, on a planet far, far away, Gudrun The Warrior Maiden stood with her wizard friend named Myfanwy and squinted against the mid day sun, looking for evidence of enemy camps. It didn’t take long before she saw smoke from their cooking fires trailing into the sky from behind the distant hills.

“My scout was right,” she declared to Myfanwy.

“Your who was what?” Her companion answered.

“My scout was right,” Gudrun shouted back.

“I can’t hear you over the honking of those geese,” Myfanwy said, yelling even louder.

“My scout was. . . Never mind.”

They had to shout because of the hundreds of geese that had flocked at the bottom of the valley, between the two opposing armies. The Geese Of The Valley migrated to that spot every spring to lay their eggs and raise their young, leaving on the first day of winter. During the day, it was nearly impossible for the army to communicate their maneuvers. They worked hard once the sun went down and the geese went to sleep, but were woken up at the crack of dawn by the sounds of the male geese greeting the rising sun.

The two friends argued twice over the fate of these birds.

The first happened when Myfanwy told her that issuing quill and paper to every solider was a waste of time. “What’s the point?” She told Gudrun. “Your soldiers are stupid! Only your generals can read.”

So, Gudrun’s army now talked among themselves using a series of hand gestures and sent clerks and priests to every unit to make sure that the language remained consistent throughout the company.

The second came after Myfanwy punished a soldier with a bolt of lightning after attempting to shoot a goose with an arrow. Gudrun got even angrier, but Myfanwy argued back. “That goose may save your life one day!” After that, Gudrun issued an order for the geese to be left alone, no matter how annoying they got.

But now she wanted to avoid an argument. She took her by the arm and walked far enough away from the honking for them to talk.

“We will never be ready,” she said to Myfanwy. “It’s taking ten times longer than it should.”

Day after day, the smoke from the enemy cooking fires came closer and closer and day after day, Gudrun’s army fell further and further behind in preparations. She tried hard to help, but even she got as tired as everyone else. It looked like Myfanwy didn’t need any sleep at all – but she was a wizard and had magical ways to stay awake.

The next day the cooking fires were on the opposite side of the valley. The enemy set their camp up along the base of the hills. Gudrun spent her whole day staring at the troops in the distance but incapable of coming up with a winning battle plan because of the incessant honking of The Geese Of The Valley. She stormed back to Myfanwy’s tent, threw aside the flap and demanded a magic spell that would make her deaf to the sounds of the honking geese.

Myfanwy sat on the floor of her tent, staring intently into the shallow water in her pedastel bowl. Before Gudrun could yell, Myfanwy put up a hand to stop her.

“You must choose someone to hear them for you,” she said. “So that you don’t have to listen to them anymore.”

Gudrun returned with Lythande, a lieutenant from the rear guard, promising him a small fortress and a small staff of squires, maids and guards to serve him. Working far away from the birds, he heard them hardly at all. He winced in pain after the spell took effect – they sounded like they were right next to his ear, honking away. Gudrun’s looked wide enough to split her face in two. She could hear everything, including the guard that was running up to the wizard’s tent.

“Come in!” She commanded.

The sentry dropped to one knee and announced they were under attack. Gudrun stepped outside to find the noon day sun blacked out by a curtain of enemy arrows. The next moment, feathered shafts seemed to be sticking out of everywhere. No person or animal had been injured but the message from the enemy was clear – they were prepared to attack at any time.

Gudrun sent Lythande back and went about setting up watches along the front of their camp to announce when the enemy approach. The rest of her army she made ready but the attack never came.

But the geese continued to honk, louder and louder, not stopping until the sun went down. This went on for three days, and each day, they attacked something else.

The first day, they killed all of the chickens and sheep and pigs with their arrows. This forced the cooks to work overtime to prepare the meat so it wouldn’t spoil.

The second day, they killed all of the horses with their arrows. This left Gudrun with no means to retreat.

The third day, they used flaming arrows to torch the wagons, destroying what supplies they had left.

Gudrun’s army could not match the same range as the enemy’s arrows. She met with her commanders and prepared everyone for a final attack.

They met at night when it was quiet and they could think. But even with that, they were tired and wanted it all to be over. But before she revealed her plan, Myfanwy came into Gudrun’s tent, Lythande’s arm draped over her shoulder.

“He insisted he come and see you,” the wizard explained.

Lythande’s cheeks had sunken and his eyes were bloodshot and he leaned on the wizard for balance. He pushed Gudrun away when she came to help.

“The geese,” Lythande said. “The geese.”

“It’s almost over,” Gudrun assured him. “Another day. Maybe two.” He shook his head. “They’re honking so loud. So loud.”

Gudrun promised him a castle and a title if he would last just a little while longer but he refused.

“Not at night,” he said. “The geese shouldn’t honk at night.”

“By all that is holy,” Gudrun declared. “He’s right.”

The she whirled around on her commanders. “Sound the alarm! The enemy is attacking!”

The wizard illuminated the air over the valley and saw that the male geese were defending their nests, wings spread wide and necks snaking forward, their hard beaks and heads slamming into the shins and groins of the shoulders of the enemy soldiers that tried to execute a sneak attack through the valley. Gudrun stopped her archery commanders order to fire arrows into the valley.

Gudrun unsheathed her sword and pointed towards the enemy. “Defend the geese!”

The wizard struggled to keep the field lit while Gudrun’s soldiers defended the valley and protected what geese they could. Where the soldiers were tired and slow because of the short, sleepless nights and the long, agonizing days of honking, the bull geese took the battle to the enemy. Gudrun accepted the surrender of those who asked for mercy and hunted down those that ran. She did not think well of deserters.

She sent message back to the king, telling him that the attack had been thwarted and his kingdom was safe. With the message, she included a picture and a request.

The picture showed a representation of a bull goose in battle stance, its wings spread wide, it’s beak open in a silent honk, its tongue lashing out like a whip.

The request read as follows, “You promised me an army of my own. I request that you refer to them as the Custodians Of The Valley and allow Lythande Whiterage to be their commander. If you have issue with this, feel free to come here and take it up with the geese.”

 

I’m going back to putting everything on USB keys . . .

This tweet has been on my mind lately.

Mostly because when I ready it back in 2016, I thought that was pretty insightful for him.

Then “Fire and Fury” and “Trump Revealed” demonstrated he didn’t really want to be, nor had any idea of what it was to be, President of The United States.

Now I read about “Cambridge Analytica” and how they make a living crafting governments for the highest bidder, the way that someone would hire a gardener to help grow a beautiful flower bed.

So, that makes me wonder – did The Man Who Did Not Want To Be President become President after being blackmailed by Cambridge Analytica, who in turn had been hired by someone who wanted to custom craft a government for the United States? Did that Tweet from Trump state that he knew how he was going to win because he was told the parameters of the venture?

My idea is not new – you need only Google “Cambridge Analytica” and sit down and be terrified at the implications of such an organization and how Facebook was tacitly complicit in making it happen. All those silly quizes and tests we take to see what our stripper name or what Lord Of The Rings character I am, are all subtle ways of getting my information and the information from all of the friends on my list?

I like conspiracies as much as the next person. But I like them because they are fun in their implications – that the United States staged the entire Space Program like a movie production in an effort to bankrupt the USSR, that all telemarketing calls for duct cleaning are made by a handful of people who can imitate accents and work as part of a global HVAC cartel. I don’t like conspiracies like the “Cambridge Analytica” whistleblowing because they are frighteningly plausible and even if they are real, they are disturbingly dismissable. I mean, they wouldn’t be in business for this long if they didn’t know how to cover their tracks. And if Snowden was as deep as he claims to have been, then why didn’t he tell us about this? Good Lord, can I even trust my Google Drive anymore?

Am I putting everything on USB keys again?

UPDATE — Looks like Cambridge Analytica is pretty hardcore. They managed the whole digital campaign? Sounds a bit far fetched and may be the guy being recorded is making a sales pitch and not exactly copping to anything, but the implications are horrendous.

https://www.channel4.com/news/exposed-undercover-secrets-of-donald-trump-data-firm-cambridge-analytica