Universal Studios

I don’t really know how to start this. I thought for a while that I was becoming my father and in fact, I may well be. We certainly have a lot in common. But, I followed through where he would not have today. To wit: Dad would simply have not paid those prices. He’d have turned around, loaded the family into the car and left. I simply cannot do that. We went to go and be part of it–so that’s what we did.

Peanut has been to Disneyland countless times. Seaworld, too. Knott’s Berry Farm at least once. She’s even been to Six Flags Marine World in Vallejo. But we had never taken her to Universal Studios and so today, we did….

The last time Sue and I were at Universal was about 24 years ago, 1985. And a lot has changed. But I have to confess, I really don’t think it’s worth the money and though visitors flock to it and its newest attractions that were not there when Reagan was in office, the place just isn’t all that much fun.

To begin with, it’s not really for children, but more for immature adults. I say it with love, but there it is. My daughter has no recollection of films like Back to the Future, Psycho, Jaws or even their more “recent” stuff on the backlot tour like Backdraft, etc. She’s heard of King Kong, but she hasn’t seen it and at 8, I don’t want her to. So–teenagers might enjoy it and get into some of the tram-tour. But the only things filming on the backlot today were Desperate Housewives and a Hungry Man commercial. I don’t watch the former, and I don’t eat the latter.

So, there’s some of the same old stuff–the collapsing bridge, which these days is nothing more than uncomfortable. The earthquake set where they simulate an 8.3 earthquake in San Francisco’s BART tunnels, the lake that used to be billed as “The parting of the Red Sea” and was built and used for the big Charlton Heston epic of The 10 Commandments when Moses parts the sea. More recently, it was used by Peter Jackson in King Kong and so, that’s what you see now: a miniature of Skull Island and the ship that all the people arrive on to find Kong.

And in some ways it’s cool to see that stuff, but the tram ride lasts now about 45 minutes and then there are some shows, the animal show was pretty good, and a few rides. The theme is obvious, it’s Hollywood after all, but it costs $67.00 to get in and Peanut was the same price. We got $3.00 off for using our AAA card, so big deal. But it just wasn’t worth it. Sure, Peanut liked some of it, but mostly, she was confused by the references and didn’t really understand what was being talked about.

In the “Backdraft” experience, an attempt to recreate Ron Howard’s fine film of the same name, a good deal of work has gone into making this realistic set with exploding chemicals in a warehouse and it does indeed look realistic. You start in the outer room where a film with Ron Howard, Scott Glenn and Kurt Russell is featured talking about A) the film itself and B) the heroic firefighters in real life. All good and well.

Then, you’re ushered into a room that looks something like a fire station. Here, you are told that you will be taken to the third room which is indeed a warehouse that is set on fire with gas jets and explosions–it’s all very realistic and very hot, on a summer’s day in the San Fernando Valley. Very hot. Well, Peanut was frightened by it. She cried through the whole thing and it stood to reason. But, it didn’t last long. The entire fire sequence was less than five minutes and it was rather anti-climactic.

Here, I must admit that when I was 10, my first experience at Universal was standing in line for the tram and being scared to death of Frankenstein who was prowling around the crowd. Everyone oohed and aahed the make-up, and I cried like a baby. Scared the bejeebers out of me, he did. To this day, Frankenstein remains my most favorite horror story. I’ve taught the book a number of times and I think one of the things that I can do for kids when I teach it is to light up that very real sense of fear that Mary Shelley wanted to convey. But, enough….

Sue and Laurie went into the Terminator 3D Experience and I knew better than to take Peanut. We went into the Curious George water park and proceeded to soak Peanut to the bone–and me only a bit less. We had a lot of fun there and it was her favorite part of the day, I think.

Don’t get me started on Waterworld, the show. It’s as if someone said, “hey, there’s this absolutely wretched movie called Waterworld. Let’s make a live show around it and kill people, blow stuff up and light water on fire.

So they did.

Egad.

OK-those are the experiences such as they were. And they were interesting and some were fun. But for the most part, I would have been far more comfortable if I’d paid $45.00 per person instead of $67.00.

Fun? Sure. But not Disneyland fun….

Worth that price? No–not at all.

Of Freedom and Fear

The new-found freedom of the Blackberry was in full force today. No, it’s not an iphone–see below. But, it’s not double plus ungood, either. In fact, I’d say it’s double good. Perhaps not double plus good. It works. It works well and I like it. It has a very nice camera feature which I always say I don’t need, but then end up using mercilessly (note: I am sure this is the same with an iphone; that is, you don’t really need it–but it sure is cool to have-enough).

I went to work on the double secret probation project and met with a potential client today. It went well and I’m confident in it. More later, there.

Spent the better part of the morning in the San Luis Obispo wine country and it was beautiful. Fog on the coast near Pismo, rolling gently into the hills and then fading into crystal blue sky and temperature differentiations of probably 15 degrees at that point. It was lovely.

The girls went ocean fishing, believe it or not. That’s two boat trips they’ve taken this summer, both of them out as far as Anacapa Island in the Channel Islands National park just 12 miles off the shore from where we live. Peanut got a little seasick, she says, but she never offered sacrifices to the sea-god. She apparently handled some pretty rough seas. There has been a major swell the past couple of days and Sue said that it was awfully choppy. Guarantee if it was me, I’d be feeding the fish in a big way. Not much of a sailor–though I am watching The Deadliest Catch as I write this. It’s probably my favorite show and because I watch it, it enhanced all the more m desire to be a landlubber.

Well then, off we go to Universal Studios tomorrow. Haven’t been since I was a kid of 20 or so. I remember my first time there at 10 years old. Cried like a little nancy-boy at the sight of Frankenstein walking around. Never got that big dude out of my head. To this day, I consider Mary Shelly’s novel one of the most frightening “ghost stories” ever.

So, I’ll let you all know how it goes tomorrow. If I soil my pants, I’ll know nothing has changed…

Sadder and Wiser

A busy reporter’s day–three different appointments, all of them longer than they should have been–two stories written and submitted–errors made, errors fixed, new cell phone acquired, Doc’s appointment to check the neck and shoulders. Whew!

What’s that? New cell phone? Is it an i-phone? Well….no. And why? Why would I not buy a Mac on a stick? I’m a Mac hound after all. I’m an insistent Mac user. I own two outright and Jason gave me one that sits as a pretty decoration currently as a back-up machine in my office. So, why no i-phone? Economics, folks.

What I know is this: I have friends who have them and who are also broke, like me–like most of us. And yet, they own iphones. Well, here’s the lesson: I pay $89.98 a month for unlimited minutes on two cell phones and I now pay $49.98 a month for Internet service on two phones: That’s abut $140.00 a month for two phones–unlimited minutes and Internet service.

So, I ambled into the AT and T store, showed the young man behind the counter what I was using and how and he said, “well–for the same plan under us, that would be $260.00 a month.” I swallowed, looked down–and back at said young man.

“You said $260.00, right?”

“Yeah.”

“For the same place I have now? So–nearly twice as much and that doesn’t include the cost of the iphone?”

“Yeah. No one can really beat t-mobile’s plans for cost,” quoth he.

“You’re right,” quoth I–and walked away. Sadder. Wiser.

And don’t give me the shenanigans. Everyone I’ve heard complain about t-mobile doesn’t have it. I do. And yes, I’ll grant you, I don’t have “as many bars in as many places.” T’aint Verizon, you know. But, I’ll be honest–I have never felt so limited by my t-mobile service that I considered paying nearly twice the amount even if the phone is way cool–and make no mistake, the iphone is that. It’s way cool.

But the fact is, once I learned to use my Blackberry Curve, which I now own, and get it online, which I have done, and make it part of the family, which it now is, I’m pretty happy. Am I ecstatic? A Blackberry convert with love and gracious issue for the Blackberry product? No sir. No, I am not. But I also will have more money in my bank account at month’s end based on said decision.

And, in time–when perhaps more money is made, I will delve in and be “All Mac, All the time…” It would give me pleasure to do so. When iphones get unlocked and can be purchased for any mobile service, I shall obtain one and run my affordable and comfortable t-mobile plan on it. Till then, I shall live amongst the fruit of the Blackberry curve, holding forth with my e-mail, unlimited phone and Internet service and sleek good looks (that’s what the package says, anyway), all for far less each month.

Onward….

Another Saturday Night, and I ain't got…a brain.

There are any number of reasons not to post tonight. My head isn’t in it, but as I have now trained myself to be a writer, my heart is in it. Trouble is, I’ve gotten to the point where I think I know the difference. If the heart wants to write, then it’s purely evocative. It’s emotional or psychological or whatever and thoughts aren’t controlling the emotions and in the real world, that’s always bad.

But then, that’s what the blog is for. I had an article due that I should have done last night, but I didn’t do it for a number of reasons. Unfortunately, I found myself at our good friends’ house enjoying some dinner and wine. And, even more unfortunately, I drank a bit too much. I do mean a bit. Writing about wine, having some knowledge about it as I do, I learned long ago that drinking too much is never–and I mean never–a good thing. The best you can hope for is a thundering headache. That’s it. And that’s where I was this morning.

Fuzzy-headed mornings with a slight hang-over and a developing migraine don’t make for a good combination. I was aware that I wasn’t pulling my punches well and so when I wrote the article in question, it was not….uh….not my best work. This is always bad because when one is writing for pay, one should put one’s best effort forth if for no other reason than because at its heart, the whole basis of freelance writing is a simple matter of—will write for money. And heck, I’ll write for no money as I do here and as I have done and will do again at places like The Disney Blog.

So, I wrote when I wasn’t in “the zone.” Hell, I wasn’t even on the same continent as the zone. We’ll see what comes of it. The editor was nice to me–but he could tell and I think he knew that I knew he could tell.

Tonight, though, I just have it in my heart and not my head and so I post. Sounds noble, yes? “I emote, therefore I post.” Well, it’s not nobility. It’s just Saturday night shenanigans.

Speaking of such, saw G-force today. Meh. It was fun. We had Peanut and a friend of hers with us and there were some parts I laughed at, but I also fell asleep through part of it. Sue tells me I snored and she awakened me. I don’t doubt it. There’s that hangover business again.

The special effects were underwhelmingly good, as we have come to expect from movies nowadays. Nicholas Cage should get some sort of award fro reprising his role from Peggy Sue Got Married. His Uncle Francis directed that one, and he affected the weirdest nasally, dumb guy voice in the movie–and it never worked for me. It sounded like a cartoon figure. Which is exactly why it worked well here because he was a cartoon figure–a mole to be precise. Speckles to be even more precise.

And it was multi-cultural with white guinea pigs, black guinea pigs, Latina guinea pigs–all of them working together in harmony. Aren’t we all cool now? Well–unless you’re a police officer in Cambridge, MA–but that’s another story, eh?

Onward…

Noise

This will not be about the President’s presser. My feelings on the man’s policies are fairly clear. I only mention it here because everyone else is mentioning it and I have to jump on that train. But I’m jumping off now…

When I write, whether here or an article, or whatever, I have the TV on as background, quite literally. The volume is down around 9 and I suppose if you really concentrated, you might hear what some of the people say–about 40 percent of the time. But as I say, I don’t really pay much attention–it’s just there.

Once in a while, something will come on and catch my fancy. I try not to miss Top Gear, even if I can barely hear it, which I know is a shame because that show is the best on the airwaves IMHO. Well, that and The Deadliest Catch. I don’t watch shows–I cannot follow dramas or comedies. Occasionally, I’ll catch an old Seinfeld episode or maybe King of Queens–that’s about it, though.

A lot of the time, I have on the Food Network and tonight is no exception. Here again, I don’t like many of the shows and honestly don’t know them well except two: Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and Good Eats. Both of these shows are fun, funny and interesting. The rest, I can do without.

Yet, as near as I can tell, these two shows aren’t on all that often. The ones that FTV runs most often are the inane “Unwrapped” and she who must not be named.

Alright, I know many of you like her show and truly, I’ve naught against her. Its just that her show doesn’t interest me. In the end, I actually think the food makes things interesting. And her show isn’t really about food at all. It’s about her. This is true for Rachel Ray and it was true for Emeril Lagasse, too.

Food Network seems to have three sort of denominations, if you will. The first one is the food itself is the star of the show and really, the personalities are interesting because of what they know about the food. Alton Brown’s show as well as Guy Fieri’s show are both good-but while each has unique and fun personality traits, their shows are not specifically about those traits.

She who must not be named is nearly all about her personality quirks traits. That’s the second denomination–shows that are a cult of personality, Ray, Lagasse, Flay–all those “A” listers that seem to command attention. Finally, there’s their “reality show” section with “The Next FTV Star,” “Chopped,” and all that other nonsense. Not even linking to them. If you cannot find them by now-well, you need Internet lessons.

But Unwrapped is kind of, well–a mangled bit of all three. Its host, Marc Summers, is a bigwig producer and all, but his personality is rather—mmm….shallow. His show tries to be all about the food, but the food isn’t really interesting. Sometimes it’s fun, but mostly it’s just ghastly concoctions of crap that have been foisted upon the American public for so long that it’s part of our psyche. He did a whole 10 minute segment on Manwich for Gods sake. That’s sad and depressing.

So, I don’t know if I’m a representative watcher or not. After all, I only have the channel on for less than an hour and I don’t have the volume up enough to hear it well. When the commercials come on, I concentrate wholly on my writing task and ignore the box altogether. So, I don’t expect the programming to change on account of me.

But when I first started watching FTV, they had some pretty cool shows and the point of all of all of them was that you learned something. Whether you learned how to cook or how to present, or little nuggets of wisdom to help in all kitchen situations, all the old guard shows were about education and that was actually a fairly powerful thing.

As I write this, Unwrapped is explaining the exciting process of putting a McDonald’s Big Mac together–as though any of us want to. I’m not anti-Big Mac. Heck, I actually ate one not too long ago. I’m just not all that interested in how they make them. In fact, it may actually make me not want to eat them.

Where was I going with this? Oh, right. Nowhere special except to say—if she who must not be named can get famous and her own show—anything can happen. Anything.

A summer's day…

The dreamy and heavy heat, at least as far as what we’re used to, has arrived. The days are hot and the nights don’t cool off much. I suppose that the greenies out there want you to avoid using air conditioning. Me? Well–I say turn that sucker on. And I have done.

I don’t wish to complain, nor be seen as complaining. I’m merely stating the facts as they exist. It’s hot. No, it is not as hot as it is in Phoenix and probably, with the humidity quotient, not as hot as it is in Mississippi. I’m not upset by the heat–merely reporting its existence. Like you needed me to spend two paragraphs doing that.

So, I’m at work on a few stories for the paper, focused on some wine things that I’m involved in and trying to get more involved in and this week, Sue is seeing some of her clients (she’s a consulting dietitian), so I’m dad, taxi driver, lunch getter and sometime playmate to Peanut. Today, she performed a concert for me. Gave me a ticket to get in and everything. Then, she took the ticket, seated me on her bed, where I made myself most comfortable, and then danced and sang to a slew of Miley Cyrus tunes. I dutifully applauded because she was quite good, really. The girl can sing quite well and she loves to dance and moves quite well, too.

Peanut also taught me to make snowflakes today. We took construction paper and she taught me how to fold and cut with the scissors and we both made unique snowflakes and added stickers to them and had a good time. I really enjoyed that.

Over to the Davis’s for dinner and had a nice evening, a couple of glasses of good wine and some “pollo asada.” It’s like Carne Asada, but with chicken instead of beef and it was delicious. The Davis clan is hosting a foreign exchange student for a month or so and so we got to meet her. She’s from Spain and was playing with the kids, Peanut and the Davis’s daughter–they had a good time together.

I know, pedantic–but that’s where I am. Tired and wrung out. Ready for some sleep, I think….

Not so bad…

Heat today–lots of it. But I have family in Phoenix and they read this and my guess is before they even get this word, they’re cursing me and calling me namby pamby and all the rest. And they’re right. It was maybe 88 degrees today. A bit humid, so it feels higher but the evening is cooling down and it’s not so bad. I’m happy to live where I do–and Sue and I chose this place very much on purpose. We’re on the coastal plain and the heat that hits here–will hit here–the 100 degree marks, come later this fall, September and October when the winds pick up and blow the desert heat here. Blech….

Scoop followed me around the house tonight for a time. He seemed to need reassurance. I spent some time on Skype talking wine and he lay in the room with me. This is not usual for him and so, I paid attention. He’s fine–but I think at times, he just gets a little needy. Don’t we all?

We didn’t do church today as is our wont and it allowed a freedom in the schedule we’re not used to. Last night was the Kingsmen Shakespeare Company’s performance of All’s Well that Ends Well and so we took Peanut, packed a picnic and watched the show. But we weren’t home until after 11:00 and so, all tired, we slept in a bit today, went out for breakfast and then the girls just sort of did their thing.

I however led my first set of solo tours at the Commemorative Air Force Wing here at the airport. I did a pretty good job and only forgot the name of one airplane, so I feel alright.

It’s a humbling place to be, the CAF Museum and Wing. The history inside those hangars from the Soviet Yak 3 to the Japanese Zero to the hallowed F4F Hellcat-is such a wonderful thing and a constant reminder that our freedom came at a very steep price. Part of being in the CAF is keeping that memory alive. It’s a good thing to do.

My big project for the wing is to set up a gathering of all the WWII pilots living in Ventura County and bring them over to the Museum for the community to come, meet them, share some stories, get some photos and create a true touchstone of American history before it completely passes away. It’s a big project–but I feel up to it and excited by it. If you’re interested in joining us, let me know—I can always use a little help.

An Act of Subversion…

Sheridan Blau is quite possibly one of the most innovative thinkers it has ever been my pleasure to know. He is a professor of English and Education at UCSB, where he began and ran the South Coast Writing Project. SCWRIP is a yearly summer seminar for elementary and secondary English teachers who come to share six weeks of intensive writing training making them (us) better writers, but more importantly better teachers.

I did SCWRIP in the summer of 2000. Make no mistake, it’s a subversive group and I have always been a little bit at odds with many of my colleagues there. I’m a center-right conservative, though recent years have seen me lose my interest in partisan politics for a lot of reasons. There were many discussions that involved this kind of politics and I loathed them, knowing that A) I didn’t agree with what was being postulated and B) I knew I was too stupid to keep my mouth shut. I’ve learned more about that, too.

But I also fully sign on and would, to coin a phrase of Anne Lamotte, go down to the river with them and wash their feet and call them brother and sister. I would. And Sheridan is a big part of why.

Sheridan says it far better than I, but his last presentation today at SCWRIP, he’s leaving for New York in a couple of weeks to teach at Columbia and be closer to his children, was indicative of the point: K-12 education in America is absurd and it is dangerous. It’s dangerous because we have gone over the cliff and finally prescribed to ourselves quantitative assessments that actually hinder good learning. Sheridan was much more eloquent and graceful, but that is what it amounted to.

In literature, we stand in a position of authority and kids come through our door, read some piece of text and then we tell them what it means. Sheridan says that this is all wrong. That’s not teaching kids to think critically and in fact, it’s actually teaching kids not to think. It’s ignoring the struggle that each of us have when we read a difficult text.

Good reading, good writing and good thinking is essentially ignored in favor of understanding what the Latin root of a word is, or the phoneme or whatever other stupid piece of rote learning will fit into a multiple choice test. Sheridan argues that this is dangerous because it actually prevents real learning from taking place–what Sheridan refers to as “earned knowledge.” If you learned that Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” is satire, you probably did so when a teacher told you that it was or when a textbook had it under the “satire” heading. But did you come to that conclusion on your own? Could you have? Sheridan argues that someone unfamiliar with Swift could easily read it in a post-Holocaust world and think that it was honest—or, to reverse it—someone could read a Nazi manual on concentration camps and think it was satire….

The point is, we have abdicated what teaching is really all about and as teachers, we think our authority rests in what we learned from our professors before us. Sheridan’s favorite piece of literature, one he has written extensively about, is Milton’s Paradise Lost, and he makes a fascinating analogy to the Bible and the “True myth” as he calls it, of the Garden of Eden:

Before Eve ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge, Adam was told to obey God and all would be well. And while he was obeying, he discoursed with God, he was free–and he asked questions, struggled and even argued with God–but that was not a sin. Before the tree, there was no sin. Adam and Eve, for that matter, earned the knowledge they got by asking God, by experiencing it for themselves and by being actively engaged in their own lives. When Eve ate the fruit, they had knowledge, but they didn’t earn it. That is, they knew things because they were told them–or because they were given “a priori” knowledge. But that isn’t earned–it’s quite literally swallowed and it is not at all researched or examined, etc.

So, Sheridan points out, the original sin is having knowledge but not earning it. By the same token, we have created generations of “useful idiots,” me among them, who spout things they “learned” from someone else. It’s not experiential learning that they earned on their own.

In fact, we have built our schools around this very idea–that knowledge is something handed down from someone else, but that is simply not the case. The best learning, the most important learning, happens internally and when we struggle to construct meaning ourselves, not when we have some “learned professor” tell us what something means. That, says Sheridan, is the ultimate subversive act of a teacher. If you’re going to be truly a good teacher, then your job is to do the opposite of what state frameworks, curricula and Departments of Education ask you to do.

And so, tonight, I am pledging that going into my 19th year–I will be a subversive teacher. Whatever the cost, I’m going to focus my efforts on allowing my students to learn for themselves, think for themselves, construct meaning for themselves. No more essays with a pre-determined thesis. No more leading questions that ask for “the right answer.”

1984 arrived long ago–bad is good, war is peace and up is down. Subvert the dominant paradigm.

A brief Respite

I’m about ready to go to bed, but it’s hard to do for me because I am a creature of habit. The habit is that Sue and I tuck Peanut in and then I come downstairs and I write, research, etc. But the girls went to a birthday party and aren’t due home till a bit later. So…..I’m here. Sort of, well–waiting.

Watched Gran Torino with my sister-in-law. Loved it. Clint Eastwood makes films that are unabashedly about faith. They are not about religion, though religion enters into them, certainly. But they are about faith–they’re about relationships and they are specifically about Christ-centered love. It’s pretty basic: Pale Rider, Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby and Gran Torino–and probably a lot of others he’s made, too, though I am not nearly encyclopedic enough on Clint Eastwood’s films to go back and observe.

I have an early wake-up call, so I think I’m going to close down for the evening…but there is more to come.

Dreams for my Daughter

Great fun today and perhaps life-changing excitement as I headed over to the airport to learn more about my new role as a volunteer at the Commemorative Air Force’s Southern California Wing located right here in Camarillo. But it was less about the actual event and more about the thing that almost didn’t happen….

It’s Sunday afternoon, quite warm outside (though for those of you on the east coast, you’d hardly call this warm. It got above 80 today, but not by much–and there was always a breeze) and a perfect sky blue day for watching the airplanes.

So I asked Peanut if she wanted to go along. She was hesitant at first but it was either that or hang around the house while her mom got some work done. She came with me–and we did some serious daddy-daughter bonding.

I’ve taken Peanut to air shows since she was about 3 years old. She doesn’t remember any but one. I’m actually grateful she doesn’t remember the first one. It was right here, same airport in Camarillo and we heard a big helicopter engine noise and so, hand in hand, we walked around a hangar to see it. The local sheriff’s dept. was doing a demonstration with their helicopters and it was pretty loud. Somewhere in between my fascination with the bird and walking around the hangar, I lost her. Yes….I lost my daughter. And the helicopter took off leaving me to nothing much more than the distant sound of small propeller engines which weren’t all that loud. Then, I heard crying. Screaming actually. I ran as fast as I could because I knew the scream and it was indeed my daughter’s. The helicopter noise and action frightened her and she slipped away from my hand and ran away from it and then stood there crying.

Sigh.

Well–I scooped her up and nearly started crying myself. But as I say, she doesn’t remember and let’s not go down the murky road of “what if’s” shall we? Thank you.

Turns out, Peanut likes planes. Not only planes, but history. We took the tour that I’ll be leading as a docent soon and she listened to every word Walt had to say. She didn’t ask questions, but she certainly paid attention and she thought going inside the old C-46, China Doll, was pretty cool. And it was.

The Japanese Zero, one of only three flying in the world today, the Spitfire that’s being reassembled, the B-25 Mitchell, the AT-6 trainer and loads of others. There’s even an old and decayed engine from a P-38 Lightning left over from a 1945 crash that took place between two of the planes right here in Camarillo. They were flying out of Van Nuys Airport, what was then Metropolitan Airport, and they were doing maneuvers with live ammunition over what was then a bunch of orchards. They hit each other and both planes crashed, though both pilots thankfully survived. No one really dug the engines up until a few years ago and it was our guys (CAF) who went and got them.

Anyway, Peanut loved it. And I satiated myself on delusions of grandeur as the 8 year old comes with me every weekend I’m out there and she falls in love with flying. She earns her pilot’s license becoming the youngest pilot to do….well….something really great and totally safe and wholesome and wonderful—and then she gets accepted to the Air Force Academy and she’s just….well, she’s living the dream I had for myself when I was 8.

And I know that’s not the right tone to strike. I don’t want my child to do what I choose for her to do. So, I’ll solace myself with the fact that she still thinks it’s cool to go out and see the old planes, learn about them, talk to some real heroes who flew them before they themselves pass into history and find some joy in doing something quite unique with her old man.