Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Here I am looking at my Facebook page and I realize that the venerable Yoda graces my profile picture. Spiderman makes an “Amazing” appearance as well. My favorites! Why they my favorites and what are are the rest of my favorites? Time to go strollin’.

Yoda is my favorite Star Wars character because he is the venerable and wise teacher, but he can kick butt when he needs to. He is a character that exudes and demands respect, not because he is the head of the Jedi Order, but because he is wise and good. He is the veritable old man on the top of the mountain that you seek out for answers to life’s questions.

Spiderman is my favorite super hero. He is the reluctant hero that is all of us. He has the problems that any of us have: bringing in a paycheck, paying the rent, keeping the girlfriend/wife happy, those sorts of things. He isn’t a hero seeking glory or honor, but it is honor and responsibility that guide him, to do the right thing when there is nobody else to do the right thing.

The Lord of the Rings is my favorite story. J. R. R. Tolkien created a masterpiece that has withstood the tests of time. It is the tale of sacrifice and how even the smallest of creatures (hobbits) can accomplish the mightiest of deeds. It is a tale that has all the elements that make a great story: good, evil, hope, despair, courage and cowardice. It is a story that makes you cry and, at the same time, shout with pride when the deed is done. I try to read the trilogy every few years…at least 15 times already.

My favorite poetry is Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. Yes, it is the longest poem ever written, it is technically written in Italian, and I don’t understand a lick of Italian. The translation is admirable. It’s a veritable window into Dante’s society, the good, the bad and the not-so-bad. A first person perspective of a walk through the two worst places imaginable (Hell and Purgatory) and then the best place imaginable (Heaven). A long, difficult read but it’s worth it. I’ve also read this at least eight times in its entirety.

My favorite person from history is Leonardo Da Vinci. Truly a remarkable individual. More knowledgeable in more subjects than anyone else in history. Probably the premier Renaissance painter as well. The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper are the two most recognizable paintings in history. His codices (his journals) fetch millions of dollars and are resplendent with notes, diagrams, drawings, recipes and essays of every imaginable topic you can think of. I have a minimum of 30 books on Da Vinci that I have read cover to cover. I’d love to sit down to dinner with this guy!

My favorite era from history is the Revolutionary War and the birth of our great nation. The struggles to win our independence and then the struggles to birth this great nation and create two of the most famous documents in history: the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America (three if you include the Bill of Rights). Our founding fathers are truly legendary and without peer from their era and every era since then.

My favorite piece of technology is the submarine. I’ve grown quite attached to submarines but more so to the crews of the submarines. Each crewmember truly was an iron man in an iron boat, somebody that you expected to be at your back when the shit hit the fan. You depended on each other and you were never disappointed. Being stuck in a steel tube for months at a time is truly a unique experience, something that you’d never forget. Lifelong friendships are made here.

I’ll admit…I had a hard time picking the nuclear reactor over the submarine as a favorite piece of technology, because it is nuclear power that got me interested in submarines in the first place. When I graduated high school, my career goal was to be a nuclear engineer. I went to the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan for a year to become a nuclear engineer…I goofed that all up and boom…I signed up in the Navy to do the next best thing…operate a nuclear power plant aboard a submarine.

Which leads me to…

My favorite school is Naval Nuclear Power School (NNPS). I’m a diehard UofM fan (and have been since I was five years old), but this school was the school that turned my life around. It is THE HARDEST school you (or anyone else) can ever go to. This school makes or breaks people and their careers. Six months of hell on earth is the best description I can give you. Nuclear and reactor physics, calculus, fluid and thermal dynamics, metallurgy, advanced algebra, frictional dynamics, advanced chemistry and more! Full third and fourth-year college courses jammed into six months. I averaged over 100 hours a week getting through this school and when I graduated; I knew that any class or school that I’d take for the rest of my life would be a piece of cake compared to this. It has.

My favorite college/university is easily the University of Michigan and its Wolverines! I started listening to Bob Ufer when I was five and he kept me glued to that transistor radio for many years. I lived and died with the Wolverines and Mr. Ufer. My Dad hated Bob (he never understood how one person could be so crazy about a football team and that he never acted his age). I think that’s why I loved listening to Mr. Ufer. I live and die with our Wolverines and have many fond memories of “The General” Bo, AC, Johnny Wrangler, The Big House, “The 10 Year War,” 1997, the yearly OSU rivalry known as simply “The Game”, and so many more. I will bleed maize and blue until I’m dead.

Bo is near the top the list of individuals that I respect because he believed in and exuded hard work and integrity, two things that seem to have taken a back seat in today's society. He was a fighter for things and people he believed in and he never backed down from a fight. He did things by the book. "Those who stay will be champions!"

Hmmmm…I’m realizing that I just might have to continue this later…already two pages!


  1. THIS was an awesome post. An even better twist off the Fbook 25 things.

    Have you ever seen Everafter? Sort of a chic flic, but an actor plays Da Vinci in it. It is one of my favorite movies.

  2. hmmmm...the name of the movie sounds familiar...but knowing me and movies...probably not...I'm gonna have to check it out...

    As long as it's not too chickie...I really don't mind chick flicks...better than horror flicks any day of the week.

  3. I don't think it's too chickie. It's sort of a cinderella story, but it's not a cartoon. It's with Drew Barrymore. Takes place a gazillion years ago. It's filmed in France. It is a great movie. I loved it. Da Vinci helps to hook up the prince and Danielle (Barrymore).

  4. Michael, you have outdone yourself with this latest post. I was sitting here reading it, a cup of coffee in my hands and a smile on my face. You truly have a way with thoughts and words. Thank you!!

  5. Thank you, Dave! I'm feeling humbled.