Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sugar Loaf Mound

My morning run took me to a place I've been meaning to get to since I moved into my neighborhood. About two miles from my house is Sugar Loaf Mound, the last remaining Cahokian-era mound on the St. Louis side of the Mississippi River.

If you haven't been to the Cahokia Mounds yet, do yourself a favor and go learn about the people who lived here before us. Cahokia was a thriving metropolis of Native Americans from all over. Some archaeologists even call it America's first city.

Of course, we progressive people of the modern era weren't so keen on keeping things archaeologically sound back in the day, and currently Sugar Loaf is the last remaining mound of roughly forty from the western side of the river.


Currently there is a boarded up house sitting on top of the mound. That, coupled with the construction of highway I-55 (Which also closed up the last access to the St. Louis Caves outside of the Lemp and Cherokee entrances) has degraded the mound quite a bit. However, the Osage nation bought the property in 2009 and have been sitting on plans to rebuild the mound and a cultural center in the area. 


Until then, this house stands on Ohio right at South Broadway and I-55 overlooking the river. The poet in me likes to imagine relaxing on that hill and watching a sprawling city of Native Americans across the river pulse and thrive. 



And the city dweller in me really hates to see derelict houses where a visitor center and cultural hub could exist.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The ballad of Sergeant Major Bofadees.

This is one of those Army stories relayed to me from other sources, so of course it has to be taken with a grain of salt. However, it happened directly in front of a friend of mine when he was in Iraq. Without the "I head it from a guy who's friend totally did that completely unbelievable thing that could never happen," I have more faith in its truthyness.

Also, this is how the more intelligent junior enlisted act in the military. They feel a high ASVAB score gives them a dick to swing. When it works, it's fantastic.

In 2005, my Army Reserve unit was deployed to Iraq. I had just returned from Afghanistan and at the time wasn't required to go on the deployment. And since I turned 21 in that mountainous hell hole, I wasn't about to cut in on any more drinking time.

Overseas, you can't exactly pull up the the closest Mobil gas station to top off your Humvee, so we have fuel points which are regulated by fuel specialists who are very good at keeping your shit from catching fire. In the Army, we don't trust you to pump your own fuel unless you've been properly trained because you're an idiot and don't know what you're doing.

Also, you probably won't fill out the sheet. Because you're also a dick.

14 gall- fuck it, I got no time for numbers

So my friend and one of the other guys in the unit need to go fuel the humvee. Coming out of the fuel trucks are thick hoses which carry the fuel to the vehicle. On top of these hoses are plywood planks so it's easier to walk around them without tripping constantly.


All in all, a truly remarkable idea which was implemented well. I sometimes tear up just thinking of efficiency and simplicity like that.

Of course, these public affairs asshats drive right up onto the plywood with blatant disregard of signs specifically stating not to do just that.

Out comes a sergeant, hands flailing as sergeants do when soldiers are doing stupid shit. He comes up to these two young Specialists and demands to know what in the hell they think they are doing, driving up on his fuel lines. (Point: Everything in the Army belongs to someone else. If you don't know who it belongs to, it's Sergeant Major's and you better not touch it.)

"We're sorry Sergeant, we were told to come over here by Sergeant Major Bofadees and top off this vehicle."

No one wants to piss off a Sergeant Major. They either have way too much power and no time for your bullshit, or way too much power and nothing better to do.

So the good Sergeant mutters under his breath, tells the fuel guy to top them off and warned them not to drive on the plywood again.

So the second Specialist turns to the first and asks just who in the hell is Sergeant Major Bofadees.

"Bofadees NUTS!"

If I was there as his line leader, I would have put him in for an ARCOM on the spot. That kind of bravery deserves proper reward, no matter how stupid it is.