Friday, November 16, 2012

In the President's Secret Service

A recent e-mail began, "If you want to know what a rich man is like, ask his servants…"

Goodness!   My mind's appetite was practically sitting up and begging.    (Yes, I've probably watched "The Bodyguard" one time too many! ... lol.)

Note to self, "Buy that book!"

One review begins ...

"Never before has a journalist penetrated the wall of secrecy that surrounds the U.S. Secret Service. After conducting exclusive interviews with more than one hundred current and former Secret Service agents ........... Ronald Kessler reveals their secrets for the first time."

My impressions?

Never mind what side of the aisle you prefer, I think there's enough "fodder" in Ronald Kessler's book to enlighten and surprise even the most jaded amongst us.

Anecdotal snippets of life in and around 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. had me LAUGHING out loud in places ... shaking my head in others.

Reassured ....that my all-time favorite First Lady is regarded so highly.

Saddened ... that another favorite Lady of the manor wasn't so nice after all.

Shocked .... at a former VP's public dressing down one of his children:  "If you don't do well in school and don't find a good job, you might wind up like one of those guys." (Gestures to his Service detail)."
(.... now, wouldn't that make a fella willing to take a bullet in the line of duty?)

OK.  I was probably hoping for a salacious, tell-all book about life behind closed doors.
While there's plenty of personal stories to amuse (or irritate) ....  inter-agency politics n' posturing is right there as well.

While I thoroughly enjoyed Kessler's book, it also prompted me to look back and chuckle at my own naivete' when confronted by the Secret Service at my workplace.   (A long, long time ago in a land far away.)


On a personal note, baby Guca finally arrived Monday morning, happy n' healthy!   While she wasn't given a name for several days (aaaargh!), we're excited to go meet our #9 grand, little miss Vivian Kelly tomorrow.
Thanks for all your well-wishes, and have a blessed weekend!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

FAM Trip!

The other morning, my coworker and I stood shivering in the pre-dawn, ready to board a tour bus for the "Old Pueblo."    Now, I've never claimed to have even a passing interest in science ... but this Tucson excursion was, after all, COMPLIMENTARY.   

In spite of my lack of (sufficient) caffeine -- and those who I quickly deduced weren't "morning people" -- our cheery driver soon won everyone over.    Don't you love a fella who makes unscheduled pit stops without being asked - lol!   

Oh, but I would have liked to stop at Picacho Peak  -- one of the prettiest vistas along the I-10 corridor.     

(Stock photo)
Picacho Peak marks the western-most battle of the American Civil War (April 15, 1862).

...Another day, perhaps.

Having registered downtown, we boarded another bus to the Oro Valley and Biosphere 2.

This controversial (and costly) project was "the last serious attempt to lock people away in a sealed environment to simulate the claustrophobic conditions of a space base on a distant planet."

"Planet in a Bottle"

The mission began in September 1991 and finished two years and 20 minutes later.

4 men and 4 women lived among replica ecosystems: a cloud forest, savanna grassland, a desert, ocean, and marshes.   Each day's diet was comprised of bananas, sweet potatoes, beets, and rice.   (My inner carnivore wept!)

Yikes ... I don't think so!!!

While our guide informed us the Biospherians had made a pact, "What happened there, stayed there" ... others disagree:  "Before the first closure mission was half over, the group had split into two factions and people who had been intimate friends later became enemies, barely on speaking terms."

Later our conversation included this poser: "Would you do it?"  
Even were I so inclined, I don't believe I could wrap my mind around the idea of being IMPRISONED ... limited to any physical contact with the "outside" world.

Come day's end, I was startled when our driver excited the freeway ... in middle of NO-WHERE.
Ah-ha!  The Marana airport graveyard!
But straight ahead ... an imposing gate's signage read, "Authorized Personnel Only."

Not to be deterred, our driver veered left and around the side of a neighboring farmhouse.   Feeling mischievous, are we?

Covered head-to-toe in dust, tasting the dust ...  
We were still delighted to traipse up and down the flight-line...
Feeling almost truant!  


All in all, a fun time.  I have to admit, it felt good to step outside my ordinary.

Are you, perhaps, interested in visiting Biosphere 2?   
I've TWO tickets with YOUR name on it ...  first-come, first-served! :)

Have a great week, everyone!