14 September 2016

The Joy of Online Banking-

Like waking up in your own bed finding someone came during the night, sedated you, and removed your appendix.
After approving the transaction, your bills are paid automatically.
What could be easier?

Except it's TOO easy.
We finally began to pay attention to those bills we pay online.
Our phone bill for two cell phones was running us $105 per month.
We saw a "Tracfone" advertised on QVC and realized maybe there was an alternative.
We bought the phone and I paid a visit to our local phone store to transfer ONE of the phone numbers to the Tracphone account. It was amazing how helpful our local provider was, helping to keep the account of the second phone by lowering its cost!
We've reduced our total monthly cost by at least $50 per month.

I started thinking-
What other bill is paid similarly? The answer?
Our Satellite TV bill.
You know "The Rest of The Story"...
That cost now reduced from $120/month to $85/month.
That's now $85/month we'll have in our pockets to use as we see fit.

How 'bout you...
Maybe you need to take a closer look at your online "outgo"?

02 September 2016

"Call the glass doctor, he'll fix your panes."

What is it about "The West", and windshields?
I first noticed it while going through primary flight training at Ft. Wolters, TX back in '68...
Windshields belonging to most of the locals were pitted, noticeably.
I assumed it was due to driving through blowing sand at 70 mph... seemed to me having a grain-of-sand-sized "rock" hitting the windshield at that speed would leave its mark, right?

When I bought my Dodge Ram Diesel truck and had it shipped here from Palm Desert, CA, one of the first things I noticed was the similarly pitted windshield.
The pitting was an irritation, but only presented a problem to vision when driving into strong, direct sunlight.
The windscreen also had a small starburst crack in it... not in my main focus area, so I made a mental note that at some point when time and location permitted I'd have that sucker replaced.
Last summer I did just that. The cost was just under $300.

Three months later, at night, on Interstate 65 just South of Birmingham, AL we heard it... BAM!
"That had to have cracked that new windshield" I said to my beautiful copilot/navigator.
Sure enough, upon inspection I found a silver-dollar sized starburst crack in the lower right hand corner of the glass... 'way out of my field of view.
Screw it. I can wait until something else happens.

And then it rained. And rained. And rained.
When I went out to drive off in the truck I could literally have raised Goldfish in the passenger-side footwell.
I've been parking the truck under cover as much as possible since.

Today the windshield repair folks will arrive at Noon to once again replace the damaged screen.
The price is about the same as it was last summer.
Please... can we keep this one undamaged and leak-free for more than a few months?

01 September 2016

For Men, It's The Second Thing To Fail:

Yeah, I'm officially an old man.
We've now attended this show TWICE in person.
I thought I had posted it here, but when I did a search I found... nada.

When you are in San Antonio, this light show is a MUST.
It tells the story of San Antonio and Texas, from the time fish turned into Bison, to present day. :)

Enjoy here. Enjoy MORE in person!

31 August 2016

ADVENTURE! August 2016

"UH-OH!", the Amtrak Conductor exclaimed as she tried to scan our tickets.
(Is there EVER a time that "UH-OH" is a good thing?)
"There's a problem", she says.
"These tickets are for last night's train."
"UH-OH" said the old helicopter pilot.
"Go right now and tell the ticket agent your problem. Maybe there's an open sleeper on this train."

Heart racing, I ran to the ticket counter. We needed to be in San Antonio for a military reunion.
How did I screw this thing up this badly?

She spent ten minutes coordinating on the phone, then said "You owe me a transaction fee of $12.40. Hurry and catch your train!"

We boarded at 7 P.M., then went immediately to the dining car.
Sara Jean ate one of the best steaks she ever put in her mouth. I ate a grilled chicken breast that was mighty tasty.
Meals are included in the fare for those in "sleeper cars", and are wonderful.
The train pulled out of the station headed South.

Sleeping on the train is fitful. The car rocks side-to-side, sometimes almost violently.
Amtrak does not own the rails... varying freight carriers do. In some places the track is great. In others, Amtrak has to slow almost to a walking pace to pass safely.

We woke at 6 A.M. and prepared to go eat our "free" breakfast. While eating that meal we stopped to disembark/embark passengers at Marshall, TX. That process complete we left that station, only to stop about a mile down the track.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we are stopped because the considerable rain they have experienced in this area has washed out the track in front of us. We are now waiting on construction crews to rebuild the track. We'll be here at least an hour."
And the train backed into the Marshall station to allow smokers to get out and do their thing.

FOUR HOURS later, we slowly crossed the area where the track had washed out, accelerated, and continued our journey toward San Antonio.
At Dallas we once again heard the Conductor's voice:
"Ladies and gentlemen, the rain in this area has flooded the terminal controlling our dispatch computers. Traffic separation is now being controlled manually."
That meant slowing or stopping to allow freight traffic to pass.
We arrived in San Antonio after 1 A.M., almost five hours later than scheduled.
We had guaranteed our room, so we literally fell into bed and slept like the exhausted adventurers we were.

The reunion?
We were in San Antonio!
It went GREAT!

05 August 2016

Poor Poor Pitiful Me

We all have 'em...
Some of us are fortunate enough to not be married to 'em...
Joe Bftsplk.

Joe is a forgotten soul now... a cartoon character from the old "Lil' Abner" strip that ran on the funny pages of our old newspaper. Nothing good ever happened to Joe. Everywhere he walked, that dark cloud followed and made sure he didn't have a sunny day.

One of the pilots I used to work with reminded me of Joe.
He had married an attractive gal several years his junior. He used most of his savings to buy a restaurant, hoping it would not only be a financial success, but keep his pretty young wife busy (and out of trouble).
You may be ahead of me here... if you have a pretty, young wife, you may not want to leave her alone with a bunch of customers and fellow workers paying lots of attention to her.
He realized his mistake pretty quickly, but with all his savings committed, what could he do?

He'd come in to work, and for half an hour I had to put on my second hat... "therapist".
He moaned about his marriage. He worried his young wife was having an affair with the 20-yr old busboy.  He complained about the restaurant, the possible loss of his savings, and contractors not doing prompt repairs.

The situation finally got so bad I said, "Partner, I'll make ya a deal. Tomorrow I'll bring my .357 to work and we can do one of two things-
You put it to your head and blow your brains out, or I'll put it to mine." He'd smile a sad smile and nod his head.
They were divorced within a year, and he lost his job shortly thereafter.

People like this suck your energy.
They're not happy until they have chaos in their lives.
They want you to be "happy" like them too, so they share the turbulence in their lives with you.

It may be my biggest failing as a Christian... as soon as I realize I've found one of these energy-suckers, I separate myself. Sometimes that means avoiding people that are VERY close in your life. That makes it hard, but not impossible to "avoid the drain".

Do you know one of these tapeworms?
How do you handle them?

17 July 2016

Dark Skies On The Horizon

I've shared this with you before.
Now that traffic here has lessened, I realize I'm sharing it now mostly with like-minded souls.

When you are fearful your family may be in danger, will you go to work or stay home to protect them?
Other first responders... Emt's, Paramedics, Firemen, folks who fly helicopters to accident scenes.
Folks who work at our utilities... water, electricity, etc..
What will THEY do?

I think I know the answer to that question.

This guy knows what happens.
He saw this scenario unfold in his country.
And he's warning us about what is about to happen.

Be prepared.
Or be a victim.
Your choice.

Choose wisely.

16 July 2016

We Picked 'Em Up and Took 'Em to Shelter!


I flew various iterations of this machine from 1968 to 1988, accruing just over 3000 hours airborne beneath that rotor during that time.

Do ya think I LOVE this bird?

15 July 2016

Winston Churchill for President!

Show me a man like Winston and I'll vote for him.
But he knew he WAS NOT ELIGIBLE.

From his speech to a joint session of Congress in December of 1941:
"By the way, I cannot help reflecting that if my father had been American and my mother British instead of the other way around, I might have got here on my own."

What happened to that "Natural Born Citizen" clause between 1941 and 2008?

Hysteria happened, that's what.

13 July 2016

About "Pitchpull":

When I decided to take the plunge and start writing here 11+ years ago, the world was such a different place.
I was a different person.

If you are even a now-and-again follower, go back and look at my post-election post about Obama in November of '08. There you'll see my concern, and hope, that he'd be a transformative leader.

My concerns have been verified.
Hope and Change... well, that was just a campaign slogan.

When Obama was re-elected in '12, Sara Jean and I both felt as if we had had a death in the family. Isn't that amazing?
We were looking at signs we felt were obvious... that the things our Fathers had fought so hard for were being tossed aside. Our country was being "fundamentally transformed" in a way that would tear the economic and moral fabric of the nation.
I coined the phrase, "The GIMMEE GENERATION".

In about 60 years we've gone from "The Greatest Generation" to "The Gimmee Generation". .
And that "Gimmee" generation feels the "gimmees" are not enough.
Gimmee MORE.

We have no leadership.
The nation is falling apart, and Obama is so oblivious he feels the need to divide us even further. Even at a memorial service for fallen heroes he feels the need to divide us.

I'm sick at heart.
My Mother used to say, "I'm glad I'm old".
And by that she meant she was glad she had lived most of her life in "Saner" times.

When I started writing this blog in April of '05 I felt my words might help others to live a better life. Now?
I have to ask the question: "Who the hell is listening?"

11 July 2016


Ask me  "Who was the most important leader in World War Two?"
I'll answer emphatically: WINSTON.
Yes, there certainly were other heroes: Eisenhower, MacArthur, Patton, FDR...
All of them worth our study. But I'd argue that without Churchill, the others would have failed.
In fact, we might not even know some of their names.

Winston was the glue that held Britain together until December of 1941 when the U.S. finally got its nose bloodied and realized there was a world problem that needed our attention.

He was half-American, born to an American Mother.
He constantly had a lit cigar somewhere close.
He drank nearly from the time he woke until he went to bed.
He had multiple strokes and a few heart attacks... (he had one heart attack during the war while at the White House conferring with FDR. That attack was kept secret, even from Churchill AND wife Clementine so as not to concern the rest of the world).
He still lived to be 90.

I've been watching movies and documentaries about his life on "Netflix" and "Amazon", and I'm constantly reminded about the old saw, "Those who don't know history are doomed to suffer repeating it."
Churchill was amazing.
His MANY quotations are entertaining and worth our time. Even his flaws made him interesting.

The world WOULD NOT be the same today had he not lived.
I heartily recommend you get to know him better.