22 July 2017

"War And Peace, (A Love Story)"

(This actually posted by accident earlier this morning. Sorry Ed! Comment again if you're so moved.)

Sara Jean is in Chicago. I wasn't at all sure she'd be interested in watching my 3.5 hour recording of Tolstoy's "War and Peace," so this weekend was an opportune time to watch it all by my lonesome.
It wasn't at all what I expected.
Henry Fonda, at age 50 or so was miscast as a 20-something pacifist.
Audrey Hepburn once again proved that you don't have to have "big parts" to be one of the most beautiful creatures on earth.
Well known for her big parts, Anita Ekberg has a pretty big part in the flick. I've always had a "thing" for Anita... she certainly IS eye candy.
Mel Ferrer and Herbert Lom  also have starring roles.

I've always been interested in Napoleon's DISASTROUS retreat from Moscow in the Winter of 1812, and the fact that Hitler learned NOTHING from that history. I hoped the movie would devote some attention to that story, and it does. BUT, surprisingly, I was very surprised to find how much of a "Chick Flick" this also is. There are several loves stories going on in the background as battles between the French and Russians unfold.

Ferrer's character at one point has a conversation with Fonda's character which struck me:
"War is the most horrible thing in life. If it were in my power I would not take one prisoner. The French are my enemies. They destroyed my home, caused my Father's death, exiled my Sister and my child. Now they hope to destroy Moscow. Why take prisoners? That's PLAYING at war. Take no prisoners. Kill and be killed. If there were none of this playing at war, we would go to war only when it was worthwhile going to certain death as now."

Is there a way to make war so horrible that man won't consider playing the game?
I wish it was so.
But watching the Palestinians and Israelis play at it says it ain't.
The Northern Irish and British also were at one another's throats for years, and neither cried "Uncle".
(And both those conflicts have/had their basis in religion! So much for "Love thy neighbor, huh?)

Whatever...
The movie IS long. But if you, like me, are a fan of the actors, even at 3+ hours, it's worth your time.
I give it 4 out of five stars.

20 July 2017

Defacing God's Handiwork

I have NEVER understood the tattoo.
Growing up, there was the infrequent "USMC" tattoo on one of my Dad's acquaintances, generally added to a bicep in someplace like Manila when the bearer was soused.
I once saw one that read "When I die I'm sure to go to heaven, 'cause I've already been to Hell."
I'll let God make that decision.

But lately I'm REALLY perplexed.
We're almost in "Illustrated Man" territory with some people.
... Take a somewhat ugly set of legs and completely cover calves with equally ugly tats.
Or, like "American Pickers", cover the chest of a reasonably attractive woman with some garish artwork.
Why?

I've had this discussion with women I'm attracted to.
Some have revealed they have a tat discretely placed where only someone VERY special will see it.
(I'm assuming this will be a tiny butterfly or rose, and that it would normally be hidden beneath undergarments... a "present" for someone fortunate enough to unwrap the package!)
That means the bearer had to expose that part of her body to the artist... (how "special was he?)... a thought that kinda turns me off by itself.

I fear those getting tats today are being affected by a fad.
And as age comes upon them, they'll regret the pressure they felt when they went under that needle.

But that's just me.

06 July 2017

Three Dog Night

We are now doing our annual thing-
Friends are off on vacation and we are taking care of their two small dogs, both Shih Tzus. One of the two has been a guest at our house previously. We were a little worried about the other... he's a little "nervous". Last night was their first night with us this time.The dogs slept like the dead, all night long, even when my 70-yr old prostate forced me out of bed three times.But it wasn't a need to hit the John that woke me at about 3 A.M..
It was the feeling that something was crawling toward my armpit.

We had a mild Winter here in the Midwest. Mild Winters mean lotsa bugs in Spring and Summer.
It's been a bumper year for ticks. I've pulled several off Lucy already. I've even pulled two from Sara Jean's scalp. I'm lucky that I've nabbed a couple of the little suckers before they buried their heads in my flesh so far, like last night. But the rest of the night I had imaginary critters crawling over warm, tender parts of my body.


I'll be doing a VERY thorough investigation of canine bodies tonight before anyone with two, or four legs, climbs into the sack!


26 June 2017

"God Will Provide"

Forecasters predict a storm and flooding.
The man says, "God will care for me".

Civil Defense comes by in a truck to evacuate.
"God will take care of me."

Water rises. Civil Defense comes by with a boat to evacuate.
"God is in control and will protect me" says the man.

High water forces the man to the roof. A helicopter comes by tor rescue but the man refuses help-
"God will provide for me".

The man drowns and shows up at the Pearly Gates.
"Why didn't God insure my safety?"

"We warned with a forecast. We sent a truck. We sent a boat. We sent a helicopter. What part of 'God providing' do you not understand?"


Are you watching the news?
God is trying to get our attention.

22 June 2017

Space Junk

Some time ago I wrote on this subject. My concerns originated when a "fleck of paint" hit the windshield of the Space Shuttle at a closing speed of something like 17,000 miles per hour and cracked the windshield to the point that experts feared a heavier object would have compromised the Shuttle's survival in space.
Now I read this article, and it is comforting to know experts are also concerned and trying to come up with a solution to the trash heap we are building in earth's orbit.
Now all we need to do is figure out how to do the same thing with that Delaware-size pile of trash in the Pacific ocean!

God help us.

31 May 2017

The Anti-Squirrel:

This is just weird.
For about 40 years I have been squirreling away money for our retirement.
Mutual funds, Annuities, IRA's, 403b's, 401K's, traditional and Roth, and for insurance, some precious metals...
I'm a minor "expert".
I just turned 70. I'm now getting notices from a multitude of places notifying me I MUST withdraw funds in the year I turn 70-1/2 years of age or suffer a penalty. I'm submitting the necessary forms.
But "squirreling" is such a part of my life that this REALLY FEELS WEIRD.
We are blessed.
But feeling this way is a form of mental illness, isn't it?

It's time to anti-squirrel.
Santorini, here we come.

24 May 2017

Greed. Envy. Jealousy-

A quickie post, as I HAVE to get out to my disorganized "hangar" to sort out bikes, my desk, and other treasures:
I frequently wonder where Germany would be today if, instead of picking the scab that turned into World War Two, they had just continued on their path of excellence and sold the rest of the world Mercedes Benz's, BMW's, and other FABULOUS (and WAY ahead of time) technologies.
I think the entire world would have learned German because we WANTED to.

It's so simple, isn't it?
"Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door!"
So why didn't Germany follow that path?

And then I remember Cain.
He lived in the Garden of Eden and had loving parents.
And he WAS NOT satisfied.

23 May 2017

SANTORINI !

We've decided to pull the trigger on something we've wanted to do for years.
I had two "bucket list" items on my "Cruise" list-
The inland passage to Alaska, and an "Ocean to ocean" cruise through the Panama Canal.
We've now done both. (And I recommend 'em.)

Sara Jean wants to do another cruise, so I'm tryin' to figger out where I'm interested in cruisin'.
I'm a HUGE fan of the movie An Affair To Remember with Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant.
There's a scene in that movie that has Cary Grant hiking up the mountain in Santorini, Greece to visit his grandmother. At the top he stops to take in the view of the port below, and that scene knocked me out! I've wanted to go there ever since.

We called our travel agent today to start the process.
It just happens she herself is going to Santorini next month, so we intend to profit from her knowledge and get serious about our planning upon her return.

Any hints, prods, or warnings will be appreciated.
What was the name of that liquor they drank in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"? :>)

07 May 2017

My Brother's Keeper

He was a big man...
6'2" and probably about 220 lbs.
He had been my hoochmate in Viet Nam and we got along well there.
When I got home and found him searching for a place to live I bought a place and asked if he'd like to room with me.
"Sure!"

He was loud, brash, and unpredictable.
When he didn't come home Friday night I chalked it up to the probability he'd found someone he liked and chose to stay with them.
When he didn't come home Saturday night and hadn't called to let me know, I was mildly concerned.
By 2200 hours Sunday night, facing a normal workday Monday, I considered calling the police, then changed my mind.

Monday afternoon I came home from work to find his lemon yellow '69 Corvette parked in our drive.
I unlocked the door and entered the living room to find him watching TV with half his head wrapped in gauze and bandages.
"What the heck happened to you?!"

"I had a serious discussion with a guy at 'The Monster'. I didn't think much of it when he left on his own. When I left the bar he jumped me with a claw hammer and nearly took my left ear off."
And he wasn't kidding. The ear was hanging by a small strip of tissue and required serious expertise to reattach. The hospital kept him for a while because of the possibility of serious concussion.

Two 22-yr old single guys... prowling most weekend nights. Our unwritten rules were sort of- "you do what you do and I'll do what I do, so long as we don't foul one another's nest."
But three nights with no word at all?


I know today I'd be on the phone Sunday morning trying to find out if he was in trouble, or dead.


05 May 2017

Prepping

It's inevitable.
Even during the most boring of conversations with friends and acquaintances, the fact we are trying to "hope for the best; plan for the worst" will come up.
You can probably imagine the reaction-
Some think we're just downright weird.
Some of our best friends agree with us but take the "God is in control" attitude and are leaving the future in his/her hands.
A few souls are also doing what they can to be prepared for as many permutations as possible.

Those that think we're crazy will frequently joke, "Well, if the worst happens we know where to go!"
We try to gently guide and educate them by mentioning this scenario.

We hope we ARE crazy in our thinking!