Grab Bag Salute to MY DAD:
I love the synchronicities of life that make themselves known in uncanny timing and strange circumstances. This very morning, my dear friend Jeannie P. sent me the following, just as I was reflecting on how proud I am of my own father. You see, he has spent the better part of each spring for the last few years delivering a kick-ass, 45 minute presentation to high school history students about his experiences as a WWII B17 bombardier, including a most harrowing mission during which he was shot down and ditched in the North Sea (I sit here as testament to the happy ending of that saga). He shares poster-sized images of B17s, P51 American fighters and the most dreaded image for an Allied flight crew to see, the deadly German ME-109 fighter. Anyone who listens to my Dad’s presentation is instantly transported for an hour to the skies over Europe in 1944.
So you can understand my mindset as I read the following story and felt that, to a certain extent, I knew the men involved:
Look carefully at the B17 and note how wrecked it is. It really shouldn’t even be in the air. One engine dead, nose cone, tail and horizontal stabilizer are all smashed. It was ready to fall out of the sky. (This painting was created by artist Ernie Boyett from the description of both pilots years later). Then realize that the small plane in the background is an enemy German ME-109 fighter. Now read on….
Charlie Brown, at 21 years of age, was a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot with the 379th Bomb Group stationed in Kimbolton, England. His B-17 was called “Ye Old Pub” and was ravaged by flak and riddled with holes from German fighters. The compass was so badly damaged that they were unknowingly flying deeper into enemy territory instead of heading back to England.
After passing directly over an enemy airfield, (I HATE when that happens) a German pilot named Franz Steigler was ordered to take off and shoot down the crippled B17. When he pulled in to visual contact with the B17, he couldn’t believe what he saw.In his words, he “had never seen a plane in such a bad state”. The tail and entire rear section were severely damaged, the tail gunner badly wounded. The top gunner’s blood was all over the top of the fuselage. The clear nose cone where the bombardier (!!) sits was smashed, and there were holes in every part of the plane.
ME-109 Pilot Franz Steigler B17 Pilot Charlie Brown
Despite having all the ammo he needed to take this limping aircraft down (and it wouldn’t have taken much), Steigler paused to observe Brown, scared and struggling to control his ravaged, blood-stained aircraft. The tenacity of the B17 crew must have impressed Steigler so much, he found himself unwilling to fire. (Steigler was later quoted as saying, “I could not have shot at them. It would have been like shooting at a man in a parachute.”)
The ME109 followed them until they were just over the North Sea. He waved a salute to Brown and turned back for Germany.
Years later, Brown retired from the Air Force and moved to Miami. But he often thought of his luck and how the destiny of the entire crew that day in December of ’43 fell squarely in the hands of a German fighter pilot.
Brown made a number of inquiries to German air administration, but to no avail. Finally, in 1989, he put an ad in a newsletter for retired Luftwaffe pilots, and Steigler, now living in Vancouver, saw it. They have met many times since, and were honored at the Annual Air Force Ball in Miami in 1995.
ME-109 Pilot Franz Steigler Artist Ernie Boyett B17 Pilot Charlie Brown
Franz Steigler passed away in March of 2008, and Brown followed 8 months later in November.
This story, and my Dad’s, is testimony to a fortitude of character we rarely see today. Please thank the veterans you know or meet. Their gift to us is incalculable.
Grab Bag Father’s Day Pictorial:
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!
Many thanks to new reader LaVon W. for sending this in…
Look at the first picture carefully… note that the dog seems to be toying with a baby squirrel just as the daddy squirrel comes down the tree….
Dad moves in to save the day…..
… and tunes up the dog for good measure…..
… and this dog has GOT to be thinking,
“What the hell happened here? Did I just get my ass kicked by a squirrel?”
Grab Bag Great Exercise Tip:
Years ago I was introduced to a BOSU during my Pilates sessions with my mentor and trainer-of-trainers, Kristin T. (no, that’s not Kristin in the picture… she could take that girl DOWN with her eyes closed). She throws in a few BOSU exercises in my sessions, and they are always great. Joe Pilates would have loved the BOSU, mainly due to the challenge it offers to stability in general, and the core challenge in particular.
Recently I decided to buy one to work with at home, and I’m ready to pass this recommendation on to you. I think this device offers a very well-rounded type of workout that is different than anything else you are likely incorporating in your weekly exercise sessions. Key to preventing injury and keeping our brains well connected with our bodies, diversifying your exercise routine (i.e., cross-training) is imperative for well-rounded physical and mental fitness. Repeating the same exercise class and your twice or thrice-weekly walk or jog isn’t optimizing what exercise can and should be doing for you.
Order one online at BOSU.com and, I suggest, some accompanying DVD workouts to get you well-versed in what can be done. ….. OR, even faster and no shipping fees…. pick one up at your local Target, JC Penney, Sports Authority or many other retail outlets. Usually $99, DVDs priced separately. (Click on the picture below for where to buy these…. or Google “Bosu DVDs” and you’ll find a number of others.)
Grab Bag Nutrition No-No:
A few months back, the March 10th post included a warning via Dr. Mark Hyman, author of “The Ultramind Solution”, cautioning against the consumption of processed food containing High Fructose Corn Syrup. The insulin reaction it creates is not part of a healthy nutrition plan, and the unbound fructose runs a bit wild in your system, throwing levels of hormones and nutrient absorption out of whack.
NOW I’ll share Dr. Andrew Weil’s advice on the subject, as he outlines issues that go beyond empty calories, and blood sugar worries…..When asked what he thought about recent studies showing Mercury levels in High Fructose Corn Syrup, Dr. Weil responded that the two studies in question revealed that HFCS could be a bigger health threat than first thought. Considering the vast range of products and the amounts of those products consumed by many Americans, Weil has long been concerned about the disruptive nature that this unnatural sugar molecule has on metabolism. He believes that HFCS is playing a direct role in the obesity epidemic. In one of the two studies mentioned, a research team led by a former FDA scientist found nine out of 20 food samples with HFCS they tested contained mercury. The second study, published in January of 2009 and conducted by the nonprofit Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, sampled 55 foods purchased at a supermarket. All 55 products listed HFCS as the first or second ingredient. Nearly one in three of the products had mercury above the detection level (see chart below).
Mmm, mmm, mmmercury. A little bit of mercury goes a long way, and frankly I’m stuffed. Every opportunity we have to reduce our exposure to this, and myriad other toxic substances, the better.
So, if jacking your metabolism and messing with your endocrine levels wasn’t enough, a side-order of unwanted mercury in your flavored yogurt just might be the clincher. Please focus your peepers on the ingredients of anything in a box, bag, carton or bottle and make sure you don’t see HFCS, and CERTAINLY not in the first 4 ingredients.
WARNING: HFCS will be found where you expect it (breakfast cereals, cookies, ice cream, sodas) and where you don’t (salad dressing, hot sauce, pickles, cough syrup).
Grab Bag Ultimate Re-Use Tip:
They say what’s old is new again…. I say what’s old has inherent wisdom, experience, and perspective to share. Our culture seems to have a fascination with the new, the young, the never-seen-before. But where does that leave the people, places and things that have lots of living left to do?
The next time you want to make a statement with a smashing new frock, consider clothing with a story to tell, and then add your own chapter. The following links are filled with absolutely beautiful clothing that is ready to weave it’s magic into your life.
Embroidered Blouse, C. 1900 $225
From stunning evening gowns to fun little tops and sweaters, these pieces will be the most unique in your closet. Many of the sites have an “approval” system, where you can return the item if it disappoints, or if you really can’t fit into Cyd Charisse’s tap pants 🙂
Grab Bag Matters:
From the Every Monday Matters book and website… and I happen to have really deluxe friends that are very good about this… far better than I:
- Every week, the average person receives:
- 682 e-mails
- 12 text messages
- 10.8 pieces of junk mail
- 1.5 personal letters
Feeling appreciated is one of the strongest human desires. There is warmth in a handwritten note—it instantly makes the message more personal, creates a more intimate feeling, and makes the recipient feel more valued.
- With e-mail and instant messaging, a handwritten note is getting rarer and therefore more special. .
- A handwritten note costs less than a dollar to write and mail, and the relational value is priceless.
- The recipient can keep and reread it forever.
TAKE ACTION TODAY
- Select the person—a family member, friend, co-worker, or someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time—whom you want to thank for what he or she brings to your life.
- Choose a postcard, letter, or card.
- Take a few minutes to write a warm, sincere message that clearly communicates your love and appreciation for that person.
- Decide if you want to add any special touches like unique paper, scents, photographs, drawings on the envelope, or a specialty stamp.
- Send it today.
How many e-mails or text messages have you sent in the past week? How many handwritten notes of appreciation? More to the point, when was the last time you handwrote anything to anyone? Handwrite a note of gratitude to somebody today…just because. They will appreciate the rarity of it.
Grab Bag a-MAZE-ing Brain Game:
Frustration Bonus: When …. and not if …. you get stumped, this game offers to show you the solution at any level.
Grab Bag Funny Stuff:
This caught my eye, as we have been having bear issues lately up in the mountains… I thought it was helpful info I should pass on, in case you find yourself in bear country. Gotta love these Canadians…