The SR-71 Blackbird

I’m not into the military, but I am interested in some military hardware. In person, I’ve seen what I believe to be the top three best-known “stealthy aircraft” in the U.S.

The B-2 Spirit Bomber at the Naval Base in Grand Prairie, TX in the early ‘90s – presented by then Texas Governor Ann Richards.

I’ve also seen several F-117 Nighthawks over White Sands in the mid-90s. That encounter was especially exciting because they were running training exercises.

The most up-close and personal experience was the SR-71 Blackbird at the National Air and Space Museum in the Smithsonian in 2017. (It was, for me, at least as exciting as seeing the Shuttle Discovery in person.)

I just saw on the Smithsonian Channel (Paramount+ service) that the Blackbird was originally called “Reconnaissance Strike”. When the plane’s existence was eventually revealed in a press conference by President Johnson, he called it the “SR-71” instead of “RS-71”. Instead of correcting the President, the military simply renamed the spy plane.

“SR-71 Blackbird” sounded better anyway.

Correcting the Spelling and Grammar of Others

Check out this tweet from about a year ago…

I barely graduated high school in NORTH TEXAS where the academic focus in public schools is near-pathetic. I earn significantly less than a lot of my peers. My expectations for other native English speakers are hardly class-based.

(There/their/they’re and to/too/two? Not to mention lose versus loose and YA’LL. Come on.)

Regarding the accusation that correcting the spelling or grammar of others because of race: wow… just wow. I think this claim says a lot more about the Twitter poster than it does about me. I have never seen someone correct another based on race. Accidentally implying that we should expect members of some races to have poor language skills is borderline racist itself. Also, I’m not sure she understands the definition of the term “race”.  

The third adjective she used is “ableist”. I agree that it would be cruel to call someone out if it is suspected that they have a disability that could affect their language skills, but I don’t do that.

Finally, regarding her remark about “actual linguists” … give me a break. No one is trying to be a linguist. I simply like knowing rules and occasionally pick fun at those who CAN and SHOULD know better but have no interest in trying. Feel free to pick apart my spelling and grammar. I’m sure I have made mistakes here that I don’t recognize but should. I admit that all of this could make me a picky jerk, though.

The Park Sign

In the Dallas Central Business District, across from a Dallas Municipal building (where Lee Harvey Oswald was assassinated) is a city park. Long before the downtown block became Main Street Garden Park, the block was a parking garage structure.

At least one of the entrances to the garage had a sign comprised of four rectangular blocks each with one letter, altogether spelling the word PARK. The garage was demolished in 2007 to make room for a city park. The design cleverly included the sign – repurposed for a new meaning of the word.

Still from Robocop (1987)

The 1987 film Robocop was set in Detroit but largely filmed in Dallas. The “historic” PARK sign can be seen at approximately the 39-minute mark.

Google Maps Satellite view of Main Street Garden Park

Reckless Spread of Falsehoods

Please try to understand what you’re reposting and why you’re reposting it. It’s your responsibility not to propagate rumors, misinformation, disinformation (learn the difference), and lies. Even if it means pointing out that something which paints your opponent in a bad light is false, it’s important that you do so (or at the very least don’t repost it).

A great example is my insisting that there is no evidence whatsoever that Jewish skins were ever fashioned into lampshades. Stating this might, at first, put me at risk of appearing to be a holocaust denier. I’m not. I know the holocaust occurred and was probably worse than we’ll ever know. But I have a strong interest in the truth, so I will point out that it hasn’t been proven that this particular act of cruelty and hate ever happened.

It was said over and over in the last election that there was an old magazine article in which Trump said if he ever ran for president, he’d run as a Republican because Republicans are stupid. I would yell this story from the highest point to anyone who would listen – if it were true. No one has ever produced this article. It didn’t happen.

Please be responsible.

Black Lives Matter

P.S. Like many of you, I’ve removed some Facebook friends who say “All Lives Matter”. I’m not going to take the time to try to educate them. It’s a fruitless endeavor.

Teacher Appreciation Week

In 1993, my 9th grade Biology teacher deliberately and openly skipped chapter 13 – the chapter on evolution. Education is my number one issue in this country. I appreciate teachers who value children and care about learning. I believe these are rare traits. If we paid teachers what teachers should be paid, maybe we would have more science teachers who actually respected scientific fact. Pay teachers better. Reward excellence with impressive salaries and weed out the willfully ignorant and shockingly lazy so-called educators. Everything in American lives would begin to improve. I promise.