This is the year: When most of us will enter the elite Septuagenarian Club. Some of us have already been ushered into the club, and speaking from personal experience, the additional wisdom that comes from blowing out the candles on that special day is palpable. Some may argue that feeling is actually a side effect of the hypoxia that comes from blowing out 70 candles, but when you’re 70 you don’t care what some may say, and that alone is proof of great wisdom.
Where in the world: is Tony Mahoney, and his wife Cyndy? In 2022 Tony and Cyndy came close to qualifying for citizenship in Europe. They made four trips to Europe last year, ranging from RAF Lakenheath to Rome, with visits to Paris, Madrid and several other Mediterranean sites. Even when they were home they weren’t home because they were on the road to points between Maine and Phoenix. Tony turned 70 on one of the cruises and claims that birthdays in international waters don’t count. We’ll look for an update on that theory in a couple of years when he doesn’t make a Required Minimum Distribution on his IRA because he was aboard a cruise ship on his birthday.
Phishing report: In this quarter’s call for Checkpoints inputs, Steve Duresky and Chumley Collins were identified as fictitious individuals who might be involved in phishing scams. Lo and behold, it turns out Steve and Chumley are real people, and both of them are fishermen. What a coincidence! Both of them responded to the request for inputs, and neither of them denied the phishing allegations. In fact, Steve noted that some of his trips go 70 miles offshore, which increases the petrol bill exponentially. He also sent pictures to prove that phishing has its rewards.
Safety first: Bob Ryan and his wife have been certified Disaster Relief volunteers since Katrina. They learned years ago how to work with safety equipment, spotters, and chain saws, and have enjoyed a spotless safety record. Bob has recently had time to reflect on those safety lessons and would like to remind everyone of the importance of having a safety spotter whenever you’re on a ladder. In fact, he put together an impromptu demonstration of the importance of having a spotter recently while he was taking down Christmas decorations at his church. This demonstration shows that falling off a 6-foot ladder can result in a deboned ring finger, a fractured calcaneus (heel bone), loss of a Böhler’s angle, and insertional calcific tendinosis of the Achilles tendon. This is all bad juju, but Bob, the eternal optimist, points out, “you get total TV control and access to ALL the John Wayne westerns, and ALL the coffee you want.” He admits there are downsides to falling off a ladder, to include, “you can’t play cello, kayak, ride bikes or play pickleball for the next few weeks! Oh - and because you’re now 7x…you get all these old geezer remarks how you don’t mix with ladders and many very concerned calls from your progeny.” So what lessons did we learn from Bob’s accident? Regaining control of the television remote is possible; cellists should avoid heights; and spotters are worth their weight in whatever passes for precious metals these days!
Breaking news: Duane Jones and Kent “Trayls” Traylor are advising the USAFA Commandant and his staff on building the scenario for and executing a Culminating Exercise (CULEX) for all graduating firsties. According to the commander’s intent, "AFCW Class of 2023 will participate in a three-month long mission planning and analysis within operational teams culminating with a four-hour graded Spring CULEX…Focusing on integration, the CULEX will provide the connective tissue the Air and Space Forces future Lieutenants need to understand where they fit in the Joint fight." In other words, “Two. Bingo. Mayday. Lead you’re on fire,” are no longer the only things lieutenants will need to know when they go to war. Since Space is now part of the Joint fight, “Beam me up, Scotty,” and other Space-centric doctrine will also come into play. Since it’s a four-hour graded exercise during the spring semester, one could conclude that CULEX is actually Firstie Hell Week, but the name is disguised so the Academy won’t get any Congressional complaints about the use of profanity in course curriculum titles. Obviously, many of us are jealous that we didn’t have a CULEX to keep us focused during the waning days of our cadethood, but c’est la vie. At least it’s keeping a couple of 70-year-olds out of the unemployment line and off of the golf course, and that’s a good thing. Right?