Tuesday, October 09, 2012

A Wild Weekend 1: The War Machine

Hosting a tourist in San Francisco is a good spur to attending public events that you usually avoid for one reason or another, and this last weekend was a doozy. My friend from New York and I walked from Civic Center to the Marina Saturday morning for the Fleet Week Air Show, and should have bought souvenir Blue Angel earplugs, if only to protect ourselves from a random Air Force bomber that just about pierced an eardrum.

The keen fascination with military flying machines seems to be mostly a guy thing...

...with fathers and sons bonding over bombers.

An emcee was keeping up an inane patter over the speakers, including, "We honor the two greatest countries in the world, the United States, and [pause, pause, pause, while everyone in the crowd started guessing who was supposed to be #2] our neighbor to the north, Canada." We were then treated to a teen choir singing O Canada and The Star Spangled Banner, followed by the opening act, none other than the B-2 Stealth Bomber.

The emcee boasted about the gigantic "unit cost" of hundreds of millions for each of these secret planes that were only unveiled to the public in 1997. "How many people have they murdered over the years?" was the statistic I was curious about, but the emcee wasn't indulging in any of that kind of negativity.

We left for a rooftop party at Lombardi's Sports on Polk Street to watch the Blue Angels show at 3PM, but the party wasn't being given this year, so we jumped in a bus and went to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park instead. More to come.


AphotoAday said...

When I was drafted in 1969, instead of sending me off to Vietnam the Army invested a lot of money in me training me how to shoot down jets (hopefully those of the enemy) with heat seeking missiles. We trained at Fort Bliss, Texas, which probably is the most un-blissful place on earth. At nearby White Sands test range they had me fire a missile at a heat-source being towed by a drone--the Chaparral missile, similar to a Sidewinder locks on to the target and almost never misses. We were also treated to low flying jets--one that I SWEAR was no more than 20 feet over our heads. The exhaust almost singed our hair and nobody could hear for a few hours, even though we were wearing earplugs.

Michael Strickland said...

Dear Donald: Great story.

And welcome back.

By the way, I've taken off everything from my living room wall and installed four of your great photo prints, tacked to the wall and without frames. I'll be pretending they are rare Japanese screens from the 16th century and will put them away and rotate them with four others each month. You're welcome to come see your own changing one-man art show anytime you want.