The things you know when you turn 40

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on July 1, 2018. It can also be found online here.

40. The Big Four–Oh. The midlife milestone. If we compressed a lifetime into a single week, turning 40 would be life’s Wednesday — humanity’s great middle measurement.

Since nearly everyone alive at 39 will muddle on to 40, and since nearly everyone reading this will make it to 39, or already has, then a bit of thought is worth our while on this important occasion in the lives of so many. (Besides, my wife recently celebrated her 40th year on the planet, and so this 38-year-old had to do some advanced analysis on such a vaunted event, so let’s see what I came up with.)

Why do we worry so much about turning 40? What makes us nuts about that particular age? Continue reading “The things you know when you turn 40”

At the Commonwealth Club of California with Max Brooks – on Strategy Strikes Back

On Monday, June 25, 2018, I had a great time in San Francisco at the Commonwealth Club of California with my friend & co-editor Max Brooks talking about our book Strategy Strikes Back: How Star Wars Explains Modern Military Conflict.

Here are the links to the audio podcast and the video from the event.

Private George Eber Duclo and the Human Experience of War

*Note: This essay was originally published on the Modern War Institute’s Commentary & Analysis site.

Editor’s Note: This is the story of a single Marine in the Great War. His name was Private George Eber Duclo. He was from Manitou Springs, Colorado.

One of our non-resident fellows, Major (P) ML Cavanaugh, lives in Manitou Springs and wrote a five-part series on Duclo for the Pikes Peak Bulletin (April 26 through the May 24, 2018 editions). The Bulletin is largely a print operation and so the series is not easily accessible online, which is why we’ve asked for and received permission to run the whole series as one large essay (with some minor modifications).

Duclo’s life at peace and death at war—one hundred years ago this month—were so compelling that Cavanaugh also penned some words on the experience of learning about Duclo in an essay that ran in the Wall Street Journal on May 25, 2018.

Today, Fort Carson and the Air Force Academy stand near Duclo’s hometown of Manitou Springs. In the most obvious sense, this is where his life intersects with the Modern War Institute—right now, soldiers who call Fort Carson home and Air Force Academy graduates are serving, as Duclo did, in American wars abroad.

But there is a deeper connection. Duclo’s story is one with near-universal echoes that travel far across time and place, resonating in the enduring elements of the human experience of war. Continue reading “Private George Eber Duclo and the Human Experience of War”

Yes, once in awhile, we really need to cheer for bureaucracy

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on June 18, 2018. It can also be found online here.

It was the way catastrophes really happen and not as you imagine them.

The trip had been planned for months. I booked the flight to Montreal this past November. Go ahead, do the math. That’s seven months ago. Well over two hundred days. I thought I was all set. Babysitter: check. Hotel: check. Flight: check. I had that feeling you get when you’ve booked everything-in my own mind, I probably said to myself: “Canada, here we come!”

So when I looked down at my passport two weeks ago and saw that it had expired several months ago, the panic set in. Fourteen days to wheels up and with no passport I couldn’t even board a flight to Canada. The closest I could get would be to fly to Minnesota, which, let’s face it, is actually pretty much Canada, minus the maple syrup and trade wars. Continue reading “Yes, once in awhile, we really need to cheer for bureaucracy”

Why we need libraries, even in the digital age

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on June 6, 2018. It can also be found online here.

I often looked up at the enormous World War I-era “doughboy” statute in Memorial Park, Manitou Springs, and wondered about who was immortalized with so much bronze atop so much granite.

But there was no sign nearby. Nothing to explain who he was. And so I did what we all do: I turned to the internet and searched “statue Memorial Park Manitou Springs.” A bunch of tourism websites popped up, none of which explained the mystery of the anonymous hero. Continue reading “Why we need libraries, even in the digital age”