I’m back and I’m barking.
Ron tells me I’ve been missed. That’s flattering, but I’ve been reading his blog in my dog house and figured one guy ranting at the top of his lungs was enough. You didn’t need a dog.
And he and his mob of angry citizens have been doing OK. Measure B failed. Jack Weiss is looking for a job and Carmen “Nuch” Trutanich – who some say bears a remarkable likeness to me – promises to shape up City Hall.
As far as our mayor goes, he doesn’t need me to pile on. He knows what he needs to do.
I’m back because of Memorial Day.
In addition to scaring deliverymen and chewing anything I can get my mouth around, I read a lot. I tossed LA Times – also known as The Dog Trainer — this morning when I got to the Home section feature on how to dump your “beloved” pet during the recession (I’m not kidding) and turned to the more complete and better written Wall Street Journal.
The story headlined “Stalemate” (it’s online) should be read by everyone who thinks the holiday is about barbeques and a three-day weekend.
The story details how a single company of U.S. Marines are slugging it out with a like number of Taliban in an armpit of Afghanistan called Now Zad.
”The Marines here now, Lima Co. of 3rd Battalion, 8th Regiment, number fewer than 300 men and are currently training their replacements. Being a sideshow to the main effort has meant a daily routine of dangerous patrols through a no man’s land littered with land mines, all the while accepting the fact that at best they’ll go home next month with a tie.
“Matthew Nolen, a 27-year-old Navy corpsman from Memphis, Tenn., insists that each man on his patrols carry two Velcro tourniquets. The assumption is that if a Marine steps on a mine, he’ll likely lose both legs at once, and the corpsman will have two arterial bleeds to stem. Some infantrymen wear tourniquets loose around their ankles, like bracelets, so they can get at them quickly.
“‘It’s not for me,” said Sgt. Roy Taylor, a 23-year-old squad leader from New Orleans. “It’s for the guy next to me.’”
They don’t let dogs like me in the service, but if I could enlist, I’d be a Marine. I clearly have a little Devil Dog in me. And on this Memorial Day I’ll enjoy the steak bones but also remember that next year we might be mourning the death of some Marine patrolling Now Zad right now.
As of May 23, nearly 5,000 men and women serving their country have died in Iraq and Afghanistan (http://projects.washingtonpost.com/fallen/). If you have time before the barbeque, visit Arlington West (http://www.arlingtonwestsantamonica.org/index.html) beside the Santa Monica pier and stare out at the sea of black crosses representing each of them and remember what this day is all about. Take your kids. I’ve got a buddy, Roy, a black lab on the Westside with a taste for Styrofoam, whose family goes every year. I’m sure the kid in that family will never forget what Memorial Day is really all about.
The red crosses at Arlington West, by the way, represent 10 dead young Americans each. They ran out of room.