1 January 2015 / Five Stars

Five Stars

1 January 2015

Feed the cat, start the coffee. When does the “new” in year begin?

Fifteen! This year my son will turn 25, Mom and Dad 70, and my parents will be blessed with their first great-grandchild, Malia her first grandchild, courtesy of Ian and Jessica.

We got the vodka, amaretto, champagne and ice last night but forgot the chocolate milk for this morning. Mom swears by it as a hangover remedy, though Dad advocates a Frosty from Wendy’s. An unusual New Year’s Eve for Stac and me, as it was spent in our own home, just the two of us. It had been a busy holiday season, lots of family, food and fun but very little rest. The thought of going out on NYE was exhausting in itself. But the evening was no less fun for staying in. In this amazing electronic age, sharing laughs and experiences in near-realtime with friends anywhere on Earth is possible. Stac had her wine and I had my martini, and the four of us sang and danced the night away in our socks on the living room hardwood floor. In the morning we discovered (1) just how sticky spilled almond liqueur really is and (2) an empty vodka bottle brings 5 cents in Iowa! And why is there no computer key for the cents symbol?

I’ve never been one to make New Year’s Resolutions. It’s just a prelude to failure, in my case. But in 2015 there are some goals I wish to accomplish, so I might as well label them “resolutions.” They include:

  • A daily journal entry
  • Completion of the books I’ve begun for each of my children
  • Plunking on the guitar every day
  • Learning Italian and Portuguese
  • Following up on the unanswered questions that arise each day (ie: learning something new)

So, unanswered question number one, which came up during yesterday’s staff lunch at Oddfellows in Bishop Arts District: who are the soldiers who attained 5-star rank? If you are wondering why 12 designers would be discussing army generals over lunch, it began with the statement, “Robert E. Lee and . . . the other guy,” and went downhill from there. Responses were quick to follow: “You mean Robert E. Lee and The Winner?” “Don’t tell me, you were born in the South, right?” In short order, some of the greener members made the connection between CSA General Robert E. Lee and the car with the horn that played “Dixie” from Dukes of Hazard. Ah, youth. It was established that “the other guy” was Ulysses S. Grant, and that he did NOT also command in World War I, but did become President of the United States. During this free-for-all it was, at some point, suggested that George S. Patton was a 5-star general, which brings us back to the beginning of this paragraph: who are the soldiers who attained 5-star rank? They are Generals George Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight Eisenhower, Hap Arnold (Army Air Corps) and Omar Bradley. Contrary to popular belief (at this table, at least) Old Blood and Guts Patton was a 4-star. In addition, there have been four sailors who have attained the equivalent naval 5-star rank of Fleet Admiral: Admirals William Leahy, Ernest King, Chester Nimitz and Bull Halsey.

The Army 5-star rank is that of General of the Army. Surprisingly, it is the 2nd highest rank. The highest is that of General of the Armies, plural, though the meaning and perception of this rank is thoroughly muddled. Another interesting fact I discovered in my quick research is that the U.S. briefly considered the rank of Field Marshal. But besides the fact that the term marshal is associated with law enforcement in this country, it would also have resulted in George Marshall being referred to as Field Marshal Marshall, which was considered quite undignified.

Now then, Rose Bowl, Go Marcus!

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