Wizards of Oz

"Life is fraughtless ... when you're thoughtless."


Stanley Canyon

With Peanut in the backpack, plenty of water in a second pack plus J-man's new CamelBak, and three walking sticks from various states (AZ, VA & OH), we braved the Stanley Canyon Trail on the grounds of the U.S. Air Force Academy. The skies were crystal clear, light breeze, temps in the low 70s -- a perfect day to hike! (Unless, that is, you're a Twilight-obsessed 12-year-old girl who just started reading Eclipse for the second time....)

Sure, the trail is easy enough.... (at least if you don't tell your fellow hikers that the reservoir is behind that ridge in the background!)

"C'mon! We're almost to the top!"

Our car is somewhere down there....

After about 1-1/2 miles of the 2 mile trail, and a vertical gain of 400m / 1,300', we decided to head back down to the car. Next time I'll remember to pack the diaper bag and baby food as well as I packed for bigger kids!

Nonetheless, Peanut enjoyed her new backback. (Thanks, Angie in Oak Ridge! :-)


San Juan Colosprano?

Not San Juan Capistrano, but Briargate of Colorado Springs!

Beneath the eaves by our master bedroom balcony, we have quite a collection of swallow nests. Not great for the wood, but the owners of our rental home have said they don't mind having them around -- especially since they cut down on the local Miller Moth population!


Sophie's Blackberry

Never too young to text!


Memorial Day



Pikes Summit

We ascended the Pikes Peak Highway today, with all three kids in tow. Sophie was asleep as we reached the summit, so our photo by the elevation marker only shows her big brother and big sister.

The Pikes Peak Highway is a 19-mile road, mostly paved, but with few guard rails. This road, built in the 1880s as a carriage road to serve the U.S. Army Signal Corps weather station at the summit, was improved in 1915 at a cost of $500,000. The following year, 1916, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb race was established -- the second oldest auto race in the U.S. (only the Indy 500 is older). The road was operated privately for 20 years, charging $2 per person, but never realized a profit due to the tremendous cost of snow removal.

Shelby's planned mode of ascent (and descent) the next time she visits the summit:

(She did not enjoy the drive as much as I did....)

From the summit, we had a compelling view of Garden of the Gods:

We did not see much wildlife, perhaps due to the dense snowpack still covering much of the summit. However, the Gatehouse signs said there had been a fox sighted between mile markers 10 and 13. Sure enough, just before mile marker 13 (and next to the parking lot for the Glen Cove Inn, where descending motorists have their brake temperature checked to ensure they can safely proceed), we saw the fox laying beside the road. His demeanor was more akin to a friendly dog than a fox.

Of course, no visit to the Pike National Forest is complete without a picnic by the shore of Crystal Creek Reservoir!

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[Moblog] 14,110'


[Moblog] ORF Sunrise

Crack o' dawn flight today from Norfolk, Virginia, before heading back to the alpine desert of Colorado Springs.....


[Moblog] Hybrid Warfare

After concluding a series of meetings for missile defense training, I'm now sitting in the midst of giants -- profound thinkers who are tackling the challenges presented by emerging "hybrid" threats that possess the power of a nation-state but the stealth of an insurgency.

From the left:

MajGen van der Til (Royal Netherlands Marine Corps, who was Deputy C-3 for ISAF, NATO's operational command in Kabul, Afghanistan, who empasized "unity of command and unity of effort");

The legendary COL(P)/Dr. H.R. McMaster (Director of Concept Development & Experimentation at the Army's Training and Doctrine Command, and author of _Derilction of Duty_, who spoke of 'mission command' and empowerment of local leaders);

VADM Harward (Deputy Commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command, who underscored the importance of "versatility" in the modern warrior); and

LtCol(ret) Frank Hoffman, USMC (Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Research Institute and this panel's moderator).


[Moblog] Where No Man Has Gone Before ...

Star Trek in digital DLP with the Man-Cub. Life is good!


Blogging Milestone

Today the "visitor counter" here at Oz (courtesy of ClustrMaps) rolled over 100,000, with visitors from 159 different nations since I added the widget in late August 2007.

Many thanks to you all for visiting!



About ten days ago some of my Twitterati friends were declaring the impending apocalypse of H1N1 (aka swine flu). Now that Mexico has gone several days without a death from this virus, the variety of interpretations has been vast: from BBC News's quote of the World Health Organization's Director of Global Alert and Response that the spread is "not sustained" to GMA News's alarmist declaration that this virus "... could mutate and come back with a vengeance".

Now Mexican authorities are downgrading their death toll by nearly 50% -- to 101 suspected deaths and just 19 confirmed. While tragic, these numbers are about equivalent to the fatality statististics seen in seasonal (non-Type A) influenza, which claims more than 30,000 lives annually. The single fatality in the U.S. was a 23-month old toddler visiting Texas from Mexico City (where 22,000,000 citizens suffer from the worst air pollution in the world -- compounded by the thin air at a base elevation of nearly 7,000' (2,200m) above sea level).

The best pundit of all has turned out to be Randall Munroe, who (in his brilliant comic xkcd) says "Twitter is great for watching uninformed panics unfold live."

While I do not correlate Twitter-spread misinformation with yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater, I do believe a higher level of personal discretion is important. Do your own research, exercise your own personal hygeine (one of the positive by-products of this past week) and maintain sufficient supplies in your home to ensure your own local resilience: Awareness + Preparedness + Capability = Resilience.

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100 Days Later

About 100 days ago, on Inauguration Day, Michael Tanji's Threats in the Age of Obama (published by Nimble Books) hit the bookshelves. I am privileged to have been included in this veritable "who's who" of security theorists and bloggers.

My chapter (entitled "Blurring the Lines between War and Peace") was not "prescriptive", but rather a description of conditions concomitant with the empowerment of non-state actors and the devolution of warfare from state-v.-state.

So far, the Obama administration has made every gate I identified: acknowledgement of counterinsurgency as a principal mission space for our conventional military forces (a process set in motion pre-election by DoD Directive 3000.05); reorganizing the National Security Council to be a more-powerful arbiter of disputes across Cabinet departments and agencies (albeit bordering on micromanagement, as cited by Zenpundit); enhancing the responsiveness of local communities through a set of decentralized standards vice mandated responses (q.v. DHS Secretary Napolitano's wholesale review of the Incident Command System and National Incident Management System currently underway); and Defense Secretary Gates's admonishment for "new institutions" (cf. the fate of the F/A-22 RAPTOR, which will end production after this fiscal year).

Another co-author (and editor of a forthcoming Nimble publication on 5th Generation Warfare), Dan at TDAXP, has offered a provocative dual assessment of Obama's foreign policy ("a high A") and economic policy ("F"). Check it out.

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