Monday, April 20, 2015

What Did The Author Mean?

This is me - in every critical analysis I turned in for English Lit.

How Stupid Are Walmart Customers?

Pretty stupid.

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 146

The Time Mookie Tried To Go See NORAD

The command center in the movie WarGames.
If you have seen the 1983 movie WarGames, you know exactly what NORAD is.  In case you haven't, I will explain it as long as you agree to please watch the movie after you read this.  NORAD is the North American Aerospace Defense Command and it was housed inside Cheyenne Mountain in southern Colorado Springs, CO. That's right.  I said inside the mountain.  In the 1950's and 1960's, an enormous cavern was cut into the granite mountain and the bulk of the Cheyenne Mountain military facility is housed here.  The purpose of the facility was two fold:
1.  To monitor the skies of North America to make sure the Russians weren't lobbing nukes at the United States; and
2.  To serve as a safe haven for important government officials in the event of a threat to the country.

Due to the facility's design of being behind 2,000 feet of mountain granite and two 25 ton steel blast doors, NORAD can allegedly withstand a limited nuclear bomb hit.  That's just f'n impressive.  The mountain facility consists of several individual three-story buildings, it's own reservoir lake, generators, tons of food, and anything needed to survive a nuclear war for around 30 days.  The fact that all of this is INSIDE the mountain is just fascinating and has been something I always wanted to see.

The 25 ton 3-foot thick solid steel blast doors inside
of the mountain that protect the facility
When my wife and I moved to Colorado Springs after college, one of the first things I did was to talk to people about it and tried to find out if they gave tours.  I heard from someone that they did but no one knew how to get one.  Being young and dumb like I was, I figured "Why don't I just drive up there and find out??"  So I did.

One afternoon I hopped in my Honda Civic and headed to the southern part of town where I knew the access road was just off of Interstate I-25. I was told that I would find a clover-leaf exit that had no signage or directions as to where it went. Once I found it, I knew I was probably in the right place.  It was then that I noticed a sign that looks very similar to the one shown here, and I KNEW this was indeed the place.  You would think the bottom sentence in the sign would have made me turn the eff around, but no....I kept driving.
Dogs and deadly force?  Pshah... I'll keep going.

The road started going UP the mountain in a switch-back nature, and the road was lined with unkempt trees and bushes.  While the road was paved, it definitely did not feel like a welcoming road.  The road had no shoulder, and every so often I would pass a sign marker that emerged out of the bushes said "CP1," then "CP2" and so on.  I quickly deduced this probably stood for a checkpoint of some kind, and my nervousness increased.  My mind began to expect an armed and camouflaged person to step out of the foliage at any time and halt my progress, but as I weaved through each corner and curve I encountered no one.  Finally after what seemed like forever (but was probably only 5 minutes) the road opened up into a clearing area and I found myself approaching a checkpoint building with an individual inside.  I pulled up to the checkpoint and was stopped by a female military person (woo it's a lady!) holding up her hand at me.  She was packing a sidearm and had an arsenal of weaponry visibly present at her immediate reach.  She smiled and said "Can I help you?"  I was scared/excited/scared and mumbled something about if they gave tours to the facility.  I have no idea now what she said, but I think it had to do with contacting someone who worked in the building up to the right of the road.  I mumbled something like "Okay, thank you." And I whipped my car around and got out of there. As I drove back down the mountain, I kept looking in my mirror to see if I was being followed but didn't see anyone.  When I finally got back out on the interstate, I let out a sigh of relief and couldn't believe I had just done that.
The tunnel entrance into NORAD mountain facility.

Over the years I have looked up the road/facility on Google Maps to see how close I had gotten and all that, and the truth is I wasn't even as close to the entrance as I thought.  The even bigger goof of it all was that if I wasn't supposed to be where I was, I imagine there would have been a much tighter security detail at the highway exit and I would have been greeted a lot more harshly than I was by the nice female soldier.  Even still, because I had NO idea what I was doing at the time it was thrilling to get that close to it.

A sign that things have definitely changed since then, when I look at Google Maps now there are housing neighborhoods on the mountain that are literally just over the fence from the primary parking and operational site outside the mountain.  The role of NORAD is definitely different now than it was when it was built too.  While it's still in use today for limited activities and backup, a lot of the activities that used to take place there now happen at nearby Petersen Air Force base also in Colorado Springs.  Even today though, I have read that a tour to the facility is still not an easy thing to get and photography is still very limited to those that do get to go inside.  Hearing that still makes me excited about it and I would SO jump at the chance if I was given an opportunity to do a tour today.

1980's Cold War hype stuff is cool.

Miss a previous episode?  Click HERE to see the library.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Best Yelp Review Ever

As Abe Lincoln was killed 150 years ago today, I thought it was appropriate to post this gem.

This Guy

Check out the guy in the red and blue Red Sox shirt. He is absolutely the least effective person in the stands at this point.

1. He does not help the player get out of the stands.
2. He knocks the phone out of the girl's hand.
3. He smashes the drink into woman's face.

1. Does not actually provide help getting the player out of the stands 2. Knocks phone out of girls hand3. Smashed drink into woman face

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The Two Ingredients Needed For A Great Nicholas Cage Movie

That's high praise.

R.I.P. James Best

The actor James Best died Monday at the age of 88.  While he had many appearances on several shows in the 1960's and 1970's, he is most well-known for his character Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane on TV's "The Dukes of Hazzard."

He was easily one of the most entertaining TV characters during my childhood, and to this day his bumbling portrayal of Roscoe telling someone to "hush" never fails to make me smile.  

I hope he and his trusty dog "Flash" are together again and resting easy.