Massoud | 9/9/01

Ahmad Shah Massoud

Twenty years ago today:I almost never hear about this story in the press since the day this story first aired. I’ve posted about it around the 9/11 anniversary in the past because I find it interesting. On my way to work on 9/11/2001, I was listening to NPR’s story about this man’s assassination, but no one had any idea of the significance of his murder two days before the attacks. Two days before 9/11, an Al-Qaeda suicide squad posing as journalists sat down for an interview with Ahmad Shah Massoud, the last major commander resisting the jihadist group’s Taliban allies in northern Afghanistan.

(wikipedia.org)

Best Friends | 15 Years

I have a close friend who is inconceivably special to me. If you knew everything she has done for me in the past 15 years, you’d probably be astonished. I love her very much, and there is no way I can repay her for her kindness, generosity, and selflessness. She knows who she is. Thank you for everything.

Please accept my apologies for cropping out the fabulous Hansel von Quenzer and LaDonna.

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