Flying battleship? We have one nearby
After the fall of France to the Germans in 1940, there was a distinct possibility that Great Britain would succumb to the Nazi juggernaut. America, supporting its ally, needed to be able to take the war to Germany and strike Hitler’s war machine from bases on our East Coast. One such weapon developed was the world’s largest production bomber of all time, the Convair B-36 Peacemaker. To be able to fly from America, bomb targets in Germany, then return home without refueling, required beyond state-of-the-art technologies and cutting-edge applications.
We are lucky in that the spectacular Castle Air Museum, not far off Highway 99 in Atwater, is home to many priceless military aircraft. With almost 60 aircraft on display you are sure to recognize at least one that a family member flew or that you’ve seen in a favorite movie. The Castle Air Museum is a living treasure and a secret jewel in our San Joaquin Valley.
From its impressive collection of pre-World War II aircraft to the rarest of the rare recently declassified SR-71 Blackbird, you can find them all. The biggest bird of them all, the one that literally stands head and shoulders above the rest, is the B-36 Peacemaker. With a wingspan of 230 feet, it would be able to cover from tip-to-tip some of the first powered flights by the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk in 1903.
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It doesn’t have to be this way
There are so many articles and news reports these days about intimate partner violence; it has now become, deservedly, a hot-button issue. Violence permeates our culture and it can be easy to forget that not all relationships are like this. There are many couples who go about their lives devoted to one another in love and peace (never ending up on a leaked TMZ video).
I have been extremely fortunate with the men in my life. My father was a gentle man. He would not hit our dog, much less his wife or daughters. He was sarcastic, intelligent and occasionally profane, but never punitive. My husband and my sons are boisterous, but they are also sweet, loving nonviolent men who attempt to navigate life with joy and respect for others.
As parents, we have a responsibility to teach our children about handling the inevitable conflicts that arise in any relationship. It is never OK to strike someone or use cruelty (whether in words or physical deed) to manipulate your spouse. It is normal to get angry at your partner. Anger is an emotion. Anger is neither good nor bad. It is how we handle that anger which makes all the difference in any relationship.
As Ambrose Bierce once said, “Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” Words to live by.
It’s best to make hardest decisions in advance
The issue of advanced care directives needs detailed discussion as it benefits our community.
We think of these as decisions to be made by the patient or the patient’s family concerning care as life is ending. But this is not always the case. Life is unpredictable and accidents and illnesses can occur at any time, so it is wise to make these decisions as soon as we understand what they entail; otherwise the choices can create serious problems and family feuds.
We all should have four legal documents ready for emergencies. First, the advanced care directive, which details whether the person wants to be resuscitated in case of impending death. Does the patient want to be kept alive by artificial means and artificial nutrition by a tube or intravenously. Second, a power of attorney designating those who will make health care decisions if the patient can’t. Third, power of attorney for wealth, and fourth a living will.
Make copies and be sure to give one to your physician and keep one safe at home. Take a copy whenever you are admitted to hospital or taken to an ER. If you are a Jehovah’s Witness and don’t want transfusion of blood products, make sure your health care providers know in advance. If you are an organ donor, make sure to mention this in your living will.