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!

04 May 2017

Dental Sticker Shock

Yes, I know... this is my fault.
I got a thing in the mail from a reputable company offering dental insurance for my family.
There are things in life I think are too important to ignore:
Brakes and tires on your car, for instance.
Dental care is another. 

My first mistake was not shopping around for price.
I now realize I could have done much better than $60/month.
My second  was not insuring our Dentist was an "approved provider".

The policy indicated an annual cleaning would be fully covered after the policy had been in effect for a year.
I scheduled my cleaning 13 months after the policy's anniversary date.

The bill from the Doc came yesterday-
My dental insurance covered $100 of a three hundred dollar bill.
I was shocked and furious.
It means I paid $720 for a year's coverage, and then another $200 to have my teeth cleaned and consult with our Dentist.
Total bill for the year: $920.00 !

I called and canceled the policy.
We take good care of our mouths.
Now I'm wondering whether or not dental insurance is even worth carrying.

01 May 2017

The Baobob Tree

I believe in God.
I believe in a hereafter.
I don't understand how anyone can look at our world and not wonder "who put all this together and flipped the 'on' switch?"

This morning I had another of those wee hours awakenings with thoughts going wild.
The word "Baobob" came to mind.
Why? Who knows?
I have never seen a Baobob tree.
But I am AWARE of Baobob trees.

And that brings a question to mind...
God loves us.
We spend all our lives learning, gathering and storing information to make our lives better.
Some of that information we share with one another... (like reading my stuff here at "Pitchpull") ;).

Much of that remains stored in our brains for personal use.

What happens to that information when we die?
Does God have a vast "Library of Alexandria" where he compiles all the knowledge we have accumulated?

For me, death is not something to be feared.
It's a new adventure that may be more wonderful than we can imagine.

09 April 2017

Trying To Be Safe

At some point a few years back my love of bein' up on two wheels rubbed off on my son.
He changed jobs, and found himself driving from Casa Grande, AZ into Phoenix daily.
After he got his motorcycle license, to help him save gas and money I gave him my old BMW R80RT. One of the reasons I gave him this old, reliable motorcycle was my hope that he'd learn minimal tinkering on the machine-
Change/check oil. Keep sparkplugs clean. Gap the points now and then. Keep an eye on the tires.He's never had any curiosity about how machines other than computers work, and it was my hope he'd learn from this grand old bike.

His relationship with the old Boxer didn't go well.
After a particularly harrowing breakdown on I-10 on a 115 degree day I decided he needed newer, less "needs tinkering" equipment. I loaded my Suzuki SV650 up, drove to PHX, and traded him for the BMW.
Electronic ignition. Disc brakes front and rear. Nothin' much to tinker with except checking/changing the oil and the chain, which I showed him how to keep adjusted and lubricated.

He had the Suzuki a year when we returned to visit him. I took the bike for a spin around the block and found the chain in such bad shape I feared it would break, jam itself against the engine case, and spit me off like a buckin' bronco.
Chains are better today than they've ever been, but under extreme conditions they're still not foolproof.
We sold the Suzuki.
He needed something "chain-less".

I had been looking at adventure bikes.
The BMW GS1200 was getting raves from all the experts. But WOW, at $20,000+ optioned the way I wanted it, a new (no tinkering necessary) one was economically impossible. I started watching for a used one at the local AZ BMW dealership.
A salesman there quizzed me about what I wanted and how the bike would be used.
"Have you considered the Yamaha Super Tenere?"
This was in January. He'd had one sitting on the showroom a few months and wanted to move it.
This one was the "E" model with all the bells and whistles:
Side (hard) bags. Top case. ABS brakes. Traction control. Cruise control. Electronic ignition.
He made me an offer I couldn't refuse.
Did I mention this bike also had a drive shaft instead of a chain?

I've always been leery of the first few miles on a new motorcycle
I was INSTANTLY comfortable on this machine.
Thankfully, so was my son.

He got tired of being gouged by the dealer when he took the bike to them for routine checkups.
"Dad, will you show me how to change the oil and filter?"
I bought the filter from Amazon. The motorcycle specific oil (to protect the wet clutch) was purchased at Autozone. YouTube was a comfort showing us there was not one but TWO places to drain the oil on this bike.
I pointed while he did the work. When the job was done his comment was-
"Is that all there is to that?!!"
He'd been paying the Yamaha dealership over $300 to do the routine checkup.

In my old age I'm getting lazy.
I like all the bells and whistles.
And I REALLY like a machine without a chain.
It's so easy these days to buy something with either a belt or shaft drive.

It's enough of a worry just thinking about my boy driving in Phoenix's rush hour traffic.
Giving him the safest bike possible reduces his parents' worry level.