Saluting - You're Doing It Wrong

Before I begin, I just want to make a point that this is not intended to be a diss on President Obama so to speak, although I have my disagreements with our President on different policies, most of them fiscally related, I try to refrain judgment on issues dealing with the military seeing as he is my Commander in Chief, though it hasn't stopped me at being borderline insubordinate with my chain of command before. It's the drill sergeant in me making a correction on proper protocol and form, and for getting annoyed with an intended puff piece 'getting it wrong'.

What puff piece is that you ask?

Courtesy of HotAir, I was directed to this article on Politico by Carol Lee that is basically a pretty glowing picture of President Obama on assuming his role as Commander in Chief. It's actually a pretty good piece that shows Obama in good light, likely an image enhancer to bolster his ratings amongst independents and conservatives. I have seen different articles with differing viewpoints that speak of both Obama's respect for as well as contempt of the military, so I take both with a grain of salt and try to filter out the bias.

Unlike many conservatives, I do want Obama to succeed after all, at not driving our country off a cliff.

Anyway, I thought the article was a good one, and if it is true then it gives points in Obama's favor, with one exception to the opening, which somewhat invalidates the whole thing in a way:
Never a soldier himself, but suddenly their commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama wanted to learn the job from the ground up.

Including the salute.

Under the guidance of an expert, aides say Obama privately repeated his salute over and over again until he got it down. In a testament to how sensitive the White House is about the commander in chief practicing this basic military gesture, aides would not say who taught Obama how to salute. But every time he uses it, Obama is trying to convey an insider's respect for the armed forces without saying a word.

"That attention to detail, that focus on the outward manifestation of what we expect, is compelling," said retired Gen. Paul Eaton, who advised Obama during the presidential campaign. "Whoever worked with him on that did a pretty good job."

This article is accompanied by the following picture to demonstrate the President's attention to detail on performing this highly respected military custom.

Photo Credit to AP

The problem with that picture? It's not a very good depiction of a properly rendered Salute.

I'm sure if you google pic Salute and Obama, you could probably come up with a number of better examples of a Salute then that picture right there. I'm just staring at it right now and I can see four things wrong with it.

1. The tip of the right forefinger should be near and slightly to the right of the right eyebrow, barely touching. Obama's forefinger is to the left of the edge of the brow and pressing into his face cocking up his brow.
2. His fingers and thumbs should be extended and joined, palm facing down so neither the back of the hand nor the palm be visible from the front. Obama's thumb is not joined with his fingers. See the Officer before him to have an idea of how a salute should be rendered.
3. Hand and wrist should be straight, elbow inclined slightly forward, and upper arm horizontal. Obama's wrist is not straight (granted, the officer before him is not horizontal, but he's also in a dress uniform, which are notoriously difficult to salute in, so he get's a pass)
4. The salute is rendered from the position of attention, and marching is a modified version of the position of attention, the left hand should be relaxed to the side, fingers curled and arm relaxed to swing with the natural flow of the body. Obama's left arm is cocked into his chest with fingers extended.

Now granted, he is coming off a flight deck and probably moving with the flow of gravity which has him slightly off balance, which makes this probably a hastily rendered salute. That being said, if you are going to write a glowing article on how much attention to detail Obama places in rendering the hand salute, perhaps you should include a picture of him, well, properly rendering a hand salute. Each deficiency by itself is a minor thing, but all of them put together makes it come across as a person who doesn't know how to salute. Because otherwise, I'm going to take it as a fluff piece meant to bolster the president's image with the troop that has little merit to back it up.

Saluting is not a very difficult task. Give me ten minutes and I can teach anybody how to properly render a hand salute. If you can teach a Private, you can teach anybody.

So let's look at some other appropriate pictures of Obama saluting that might have worked better for this piece?

Actually, his salute is quite snappy here, all the deficiencies noted previously are corrected (save for his forefinger not touching his eyebrow). Other then that minor deficiency, this is a perfectly rendered hand Salute. His salute is actually better then the soldier beside him (wrist is canted instead of straight). However, this is a politically charged piece that has come under attack from Obama using dead soldiers for a photo op. Probably not wise to use it in that light.

From what I can view, another well rendered hand salute, aside from the closed eyes (caught in a blink by the cameras perhaps?) and the head tilted slightly forward. A well rendered salute, but not the best picture depicting it.

At his Inauguration. Not bad.

Ok, cheap shot on my part, but the President should at least have his hand on his heart for what I am assuming is the playing of the National Anthem. This is basic flag etiquette, and if he went through all the trouble of learning how to Salute soldiers as the piece suggests, he should know how to properly address our nation's flag during the national anthem.

Ok, definitely not. However, this was from Obama the Candidate, not Obama the President, so I'll give him this. His salute has definitely improved.

Learning how to Salute isn't hard, like I said, even a Private can do it. But if you are going to go into how much detail Obama puts into his Hand Salute, please show me an example of how awesome his hand salute is. Because I'm calling you blowing smoke up my ass.

Or maybe that's why the aid who showed him how to perform a Salute wishes to remain anonymous?


Belated Resolutions - 2009/2010 edition

Better late then never, right?

Every year I do New Years Resolutions. This year is no different. Funny thing, i usually post my resolutions on the web with my goals in mind and don't look at them again until the next year.

So how was 2009 in the spirit of Resolution making, eh?
  1. Paint More - every year, I will add this resolution - I didn't paint at all. I don't know if I'll bother adding this resolution again. Because if I don't add it, I'll probably actually do it.
  2. Buy a truck - after this winter, I have discovered that it would be nice to have transportation after my little mazda kept getting stuck. that, and a truck would be nice to have. Yes, I'm keeping the mazda. gas prices will undoubtedly go up again.
    I bought a truck. I love my toyota tacoma, though I did have a brief fear I bought a lemon. I had to replace the Leaf Springs, and that is not an easy fix, especially for somebody who doesn't have the luxury of shopping around for a good deal.
  3. Get a Motorcycle License - I have a fear of motorcycles. I want to overcome it.
    I actually still want to do this, learn how to ride a Motorcycle, but I don't think its a huge goal for me, maybe it should go on my Bucket List
  4. Concealed Weapon's Permit - In the next couple of weeks, I need to do this.
    I left my state and didn't really see the point in getting one for Kentucky when I can't conceal carry in my job, and when I do carry, everyone knows I'm carrying. You can't exactly hide a rifle that well. I should do this for this year definitely.
  5. Get a real Job - This is dependent on what happens over the next couple of months. If I mobilize, that counts.
    I mobilized. It definitely counted.
  6. Date More - very important, I just need to work on my social life.
    I think I did well considering what my social life consisted of. I think my unit wishes I was more social. But I did do pretty well for me, and I think 2010 will be better.
  7. Max Out APFT - I should just make this a staple resolution. It will be easier if I mobilize, but I need to work at it even if I don't. I think I would be happier if I'm active and stay in shape.
    This is only Amber because I almost maxed out the sit ups (missed it by one). The rest, i was doing alright until Fort Lewis came a knockin', and I didn't work out for six weeks while I hid out in the woods sniping cadets with blanks. That was fun at times, I really should write up about it sometime.
  8. Run More - In par with above resolution, we can include Bloomsday, but only if I'm in town for it.
    Bloomsday didn't happen, because i was out of town for it, but I was doing really well at the beginning of the year. But I would put this in the green if I stayed with it. I'm great at running when i'm doing it, but if I fall out of habit, my running sucks.
  9. Get Into Rock Climbing - Good hobby that keeps me physically active. And it's fun!
    I've got a friend who's really into this and I went with him a couple of times. If I stay home, I will definitely have this more in teh green.
  10. Go Back to College - I might just be taking general ed courses or something, but I really would like to continue with my degree. I may never see a Bachelor's, but I need to do something.
    Didn't step foot in a classroom this year.
  11. Save more Money - I want more money in my savings account. especially if the economy goes down the toilet. It would just be a nice thing to not have to worry about as much as everyone else is.
    Somebody needs to make an intervention between me and my bank account to assure more goes into my savings. I'm doing alright, but I have a desire to want to spend it when I have it.
  12. Send out Christmas cards - this is a good way to keep in touch with people. I sent them out last year, I want to do it again this year. And I want to get more addresses too.
    I was just to damn busy with other things.
  13. Avoid the words Hope and Change like the plague - Holy crap I was watching the ball drop last night and that's all they were talking about was hope and change. Gag me, I'm just hoping Obama turns out to be a better president then i think he will be.
    You know, I wasn't really paying attention if I used the words hope and change or not.

So let's see, 13 resolutions (man, I was asking for it with that number)
2 Green, 5 Amber, 5 red, one I'm not sure about, let's say I did more on the negative then the positive, so this year wasn't that great for resolutions. Which makes me wonder why I even bother making them.

So, 2010, here it goes!

  1. Knock off some states off my States I haven't Visited Yet list - The states on that list are Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alaska and Hawaii. This will go on the green for sure, I'll be knocking off the first four states on this list at the end of this month.
  2. Read and Finish at least one book a month - I used to be a huge bookworm, but I have gotten more into writing then reading lately. I think picking through a book a month should be doable. Probably more then that actually.
  3. Run Bloomsday under an Hour Thirty - Only if I'm in town for it. There is a possibility I might not be. But if I'm not, I want to run and finish one road race close to it's equivilent. That means I need to train for it too. Which means running.
  4. Operation Zombie Plan - This is a thing I want to do, it's kind of a joke that I'll remain vague about until I unveil it, but seeing it on here will remind me next year if I completely forgot to do it.
  5. NanoWriMo - This happens in November. I did it successfully two years in a row. Let's go for Three!
  6. Write and Publish a Short Story - Short Story is key, as well as the publish part. That means a story under fifty thousand words (that is short for me). i think I can do this best with one of my existing characters.
  7. 24 Hour Comic - I want to do a 24 hour comic. My rag tag team of loyal readers would be appreciative.
  8. Give Comic an Ultimatum - Continue it or Kill it. This will be a green regardless. This year decides whether this comic lives or dies. I will finish the current comic arch at the very least, and if I decide to end it, I will try to give it some kind of close.
  9. Work on Social Life - I'm leaving this vague, but my problem is I'm a huge homebody, I love being in my space. I need to get out of my shell and get out more.
  10. Be More Active - I would like to train for Triathlon and put that on my to do list, but that would probably be raising the bar to high for me and then I'll give up before I even accomplish it. but I have this really good friend who is super active and I'm hoping he can help get my motivated to get off my butt. This goes with the Rock Climbing from Resolutions Past.
  11. Employment - I just need to get a decent job, or figure out what I'm going to do. Whatevs.
  12. Concealed Weapon's Permit - A holdover from last year. I want to get one.

2010 is going to be an interesting year regardless. I have several different routes that I can go, and they all are spawned from whether or not I'm a go on this upcoming mission this spring (I'm Alternate, and it's very much up in the air, though i should know more after this weekend I would think). If it happens, the rest of my year is decided for me. If it isn't, I have about six different routes I can go from there, and everything is kind of interlinking with everythign else. Like, if Plan A falls through, onto Plan B, if Plan B doesn't work, onto Plan C, if that's a no-go, Plan D it is. So I'm actually really flexible in a lot of ways. I got options. Which leaves this year over all

Blogging Just Ain't What It Used to Be

You notice how you get older, your thoughts change, your interests change, a lot of things seem to change. It's nice for things to change from time to time, but it's difficult to stay consistent. especially when you are like me and you get into something, REALLY get into it until you burn out on it, and then find something else.

Alas, that is my curse.

Meanwhile, this week I kind of took a break from the internet, a break for me at least. Didn't do to hot, lasted all of three days. I'll try it again, see if I can go for four next time. Just to help me get away from the internets.

In other news, my traditional New Years posts didn't happen. I'll rectify that. Because that's just tradition.