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Happy Birthday USMC

The United States Marine Corps celebrates its birthday on November 10th every year. This year the Marine Corps will be 245 years old, which is interesting because the Declaration of Independence is only 244 years old. I didn't believe it when I was first told that the...

Nostalgia can be dangerous

In early October, I drove to a friend's wedding in Missouri, requiring fifteen hours behind the wheel. When I was young, I would have made that trip with only two fuel stops, and perhaps twice that many fast food stops. Leave before breakfast and arrive before...

An obsession
– not a hobby

When I was a skydiving instructor, people would often ask me how much the first jump would cost. I would tell them that the experience would cost about $250, "plus half of everything you make the rest of your life". That answer was rarely understood. Skydiving is more...

Father’s Day Tribute

My father, John Badnarik, was born on June 19th, 1928, just before the start of the Great Depression. He had a difficult childhood, and when he graduated from high school, he joined the Army to serve our country at the beginning of the Korean Conflict. Luckily for my...

O Captain! My Captain!

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still; My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will; ("O Captain! My Captain!" is an extended metaphor poem written in 1865 by Walt Whitman, about the death of American president Abraham Lincoln.) The man...

End of a
Perfect Mission

Alan is my best friend. We met in college while noticing the same very short skirt. He is 364 days younger than I am, so his birthday falls one day ahead of mine on the calendar. Naturally we would celebrate both birthdays the same weekend, back when birthdays meant...

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