23 December 2012

Video Killed The Radio Star

The election took the wind outta my sails. 
Up until the results were compiled, I still had hope that my fears were just that... 
Unnecessary worrying on my part. 
But it is now obvious to anyone watching that the country truly has been "fundamentally transformed"... 
There is a very large contingent of our brethren who think "sticking it to the man" is exactly what is needed to level the playing field and make our country a better place, conveniently ignoring the BILLIONS of dollars this administration has funneled to "the man"...
Failed and failing business like Solyndra and General Motors. 

We're in huge trouble. 
Prepare. 

It takes time to blog. It also takes a little thought to do it and not make a fool of myself. 
The time, inclination, and inspiration all have to meet at the same place for it to happen. On the other hand, you can throw a quick comment or rant up on your Facebook page in seconds. If you decide it was the wrong thing to do, you can delete the comment in an instant.
Two or three people who stop by here and comment are also FB friends. They also seem to have blogging doldrums, for whatever reason. I haven't discussed the phenomenon with them... 

It'll be interesting to see if they agree or disagree with my thoughts. 

No one seems to care. 
Our country's finances are a mess. 
The rule of law and our Constitution no longer matter. 
The Senate is supposed to pass an annual budget and hasn't done it since Bozo took office. 
We're supplying weapons to our enemies, local, and far away. 
The whole world seems to be going berzerko. 
But no one cares. 
 We're in "Don't let a good crisis go to waste" mode. We certainly don't want to let a crisis get by without doing SOMETHING to make us feel good... 
Decisions made while we're in a highly emotional state are always the best, well-thought out decisions aren't they? And we've certainly had more than our fair share of emotional, chaotic crises lately. 
But I've been shouting from the rooftops at Facebook, trying to get someone into a discussion that would convince me I'm way out in left field, thinking as I do. 
And no one, (except many that also comment here and are an echo chamber) will respond. 
No one cares. 

One of my last FB comments followed the old "All that is necessary for evil to succeed..." quote. 
Few responded. NO ONE argued the point. It's my impression that LOTS of folks feel they are helpless to make changes in the chaos happening around them, even though many don't like what they see. 

So they do nothing. 
And EVIL will succeed.
 

So start getting ready for it.

And for FB "friends" that keep bugging me...
I have NO INTEREST in playing "Bubble Safari", "Mafia Wars", "Farmville", or "Zynga Bingo".
I'm now spending more time trying to come up with worthwhile blogs.


12 December 2012

On Two Wheels, Part 5+

It would be nearly impossible now...
If you wanted the "fastest" motorcycle made, you'd be buying a different bike every few months.
But for a few years, when I first got home from Viet Nam, that was my goal. In 1970, that meant buying a Kawasaki triple.
There really wasn't anything faster than those two-stroke Kaws for several years. They were noisy, smoky, inefficient, and evil handling when you tried to persuade them to do anything but go straight.
But they were WICKED fast, and I loved the "light switch" way in which the engines produced power...
Twist the throttle and that Kawasaki would accelerate, sorta, until you got to 4,000 RPM.
Then ZOWIE...
At 4K the engine would shriek and all the horsepower it could produce would be transmitted to the rear wheel, causing the front tire to try to reach for the sun.
I loved mine. I now wish I had kept it, 'cause like everything else from "back in the day", decent versions of those bikes are now selling for ten times what they brought when new.

But I didn't keep it.
And the reason I didn't keep it is shown here:



That's a Yamaha "XS1100SF".
And reviews said it was faster than my Kaw.
It also had some things I had come to realize would improve my life on two wheels:
Two disc brakes up front. A disc brake at the rear wheel. Alloy wheels (so I wouldn't have to continually polish individual spokes.)
And it was shaft driven... no chain.
If you don't remember why "no chain" is important on a bike you intend to use to cover MANY miles with, you need to refresh your memory here.

The switch from the 750 Kaw to the big Yamaha was a learning experience.
The 1100 WAS fast.
But it was also quiet. It didn't smoke like a mosquito sprayer. The engine produced usable power at almost any RPM, so I didn't constantly have to downshift to pass. It didn't vibrate.
I bought a "Windjammer" full-fairing and a backrest/luggage rack for it, and proceeded to ride the thing 19,000 miles in three years.

But I missed the quirkiness of the two-stroke.
For years I had heard others sing the praises of the little Yamaha RD350/400.
Reviews said they had many of the characteristics I loved in my Kawasakis, but also handled well in the twisties.
So I added another bike to my stable. It looked like this:

























And I was disappointed in it. Yeah, it handled well.
But it didn't have the characteristics I loved about the "evil" Kawasakis.
I lent it to a buddy, who promptly seized the engine.
He then started to do the right thing and dismantled the engine, but then moved away and left me with a "basket case".
Some friend, huh?
I gave the pile of parts to another friend.

Sometime around 1984 Spring came, and I had no desire to ride.
That was weird because up to that time, every year the temperature would rise above 40 degrees, I'd bundle up and get on two wheels (and be miserable due to lack of proper cold-weather gear).
I sold the 1100.
And went without a motorcycle for over twenty years.
And then, for some reason, Spring came and I wanted to ride.
Bikes today are faster. Actually, "faster" doesn't begin to describe the power of today's motorcycles...
They truly are "stupid fast".
And I have no desire to scare myself anymore.
I want to be comfortable. I want to get great fuel mileage. I want my wife to ride along and enjoy the experience as much as I do.
So that brings us to why I've bought six very different motorcycles in three years.
More on all this later.

07 December 2012

We Didn't/Don't See Eye-To-Eye.



Dads see things through older eyes and through the lens of experience.
Sons MAY know things have changed, and need to help Dads to understand.
Some can do it... some can't.
I'm glad my Dad knew how much I loved and respected him BEFORE he died.
I hope my (already good) relationship with my son gets better and better through the years.

How's your relationship with Dad?
If it ain't good, FIX IT.

04 December 2012

Where Do We Find Such Men?



When this song first hit the airwaves I was in flight school and thought "Well, that's kinda schlocky."

Listen to the words.
Attitude adjustment time...
Ask me how I feel now.

01 December 2012

"It's Shaping Up Like Treason..."


I heard the man on the radio, said, "My son is gone and what's to show?"
Defending who knows what for who knows why.
Half a world away they watched for real, they saw the soul of a Navy Seal
"Who gave the order to let my son die?"
Evil men telling evil lies Just to win a vote you let them die
While that drone would only hover.
Finger pointing. They're on the run. Investigations have all begun.
How much more will they uncover?
I'm goin' High on a mountaintop. That's the only place where I can stop this crying
Goin' High on a mountaintop. Closer to God and farther from this lying.
You know it stands to reason, and it's shaping up like treason, this we know.

He didn't even have to venture in, but when his brothers, they all needed him, He was on the spot...
Not flying to Vegas.
Real leaders lead when they are called, Never thinking that they'll drop the ball
But drop to their knees for Him who has made us
9-11, baby, you should have known Al Qaeda coming and they're all alone
Where is the outrage for THIS story?
Laser target, in his sight 60 to one, yea the odds looked right.
You'll never understand their glory
We're goin' HOAM. That's the only place I can go to stop this hurting.
HOAM Justice will come one day, I know for certain.
I know I cannot runaway, but give us just a single day.
These heroes live forever but a coward dies a thousand times.
Yeah you know it stands to reason but it's shaping up like treason, this I know.

Half a world away they watched for real, they saw the soul of a Navy Seal
"Who gave the order to let his son die?"

26 November 2012

Believing In Our Own Message !

I have nothing to add to this.
Bill Whittle says it all. My only question?
Will the country still exist in four years so we can begin to repair the damage? 

23 November 2012

We Can Fly!

I worried about Fats Domino for a while.
I was a little angry with him too. Folks in New Orleans had plenty of warning and plenty of time to evacuate. The thought of older folks like Fats staying behind was cause for wonder and concern...
Did he have no family? Was no one looking out for the old man?
Eventually the news broke that he had been found. He was safe. Still, there were some thousands of folks dead down there...
People who chose to ignore the warnings and paid the price for their stupidity.
But I didn't know any of 'em...
Until tonight.
Oh, I didn't know him personally. But he's another of those that made my life better. He's another of those I would have liked to meet and thank for sharing his hard work and talent.
I bought the record album. I bet I played it several hundred times. I still have it.
His whole family was talented.
They could ALL sing, and many played some sort of musical instrument. The bunch of 'em were the basis for the hit TV show "The Partridge Family". As a matter of fact, the family had actually been approached to star in the show themselves, but the deal fell apart when Hollywood insisted Shirley Jones would play the Mother instead of the real Mom, Barbara.

Digging tonight to find what had happened to this talented bunch I learned that one of 'em, Barry, had apparently drowned during Hurricane Katrina. It's odd how sad that makes me.
He and sister Susan both lived in New Orleans. She had the good sense to get while the getting was good, (although she lost her home and everything in it.) 

He, for whatever reason, didn't evacuate. He had drug issues. (Why do so many of these performers have drug issues?) Maybe that was part of the reason he didn't leave when he should have.
But now he's gone. 

Mom Barb is gone too, as is another brother, Bill, who also had drug problems.

But they were wonderful while they were all together making music.
They could FLY!


19 November 2012

Two-Wheeling In Destin



Whirlwind. Treadmill. Call it what you want.
We just returned from 11 days in Florida and I need a vacation.

A little review:
I've worked it out so my last few months at work will be spent on a 14-day on, 14-day off schedule.
We'll spend the 14-off part watching dolphins swim by in front of our balcony.
I wanted to take the 'Wing South so we could ride when the weather permits there... pretty much the only time I'd be riding here at home during these Winter months would be to exercise the machines and keep batteries reasonably charged. I can foresee riding more than half the days in Destin, even if it's just short hops to the grocery for a dozen eggs and a loaf of bread.

I bought the Ram Diesel partly to transport motorcycles. It's an extended cab/long bed, so the bed can haul stuff that doesn't need to be protected from the weather, while the back seat area can be filled with non-weatherproof items.
About a week before our departure I started brainstorming how I was gonna load the 'Wing into the truck. I had purchased a tri-fold ramp, similar to the one in the video (but wider). These types of ramps come in varying lengths and widths, obviously the longer and wider ones generally are more expensive. The problem with loading a bike onto a pickup is the height of the bed...
Longer ramps make the approach angle to the bed less acute and lessen the chance of having some part of the bike "high center" as it transitions from ramp to bed, but if they're not wide enough so you can stand alongside the bike as you're loading it, they make that last few feet of getting the bike in the back of the truck perilous. No matter the length or width, balance is critical...
More hands to support the weight is better.
But when time came to load the 820 pound 'Wing, I found myself in the same position as the guy in the video... all my neighbors were at work. It fell upon me to do it myself.


Unlike the guy in the video, I have a little common sense. Our driveway is elevated, so I backed the truck sideways against the (two feet higher) driveway to lessen that approach angle, then positioned and secured the ramp.
I'll save ya the suspense... I got it in there. But also like the guy in the video, once I got started I was terrified and learned something from the experience: I'll NEVER do it alone again. That's just stupid.


I was so worried about unloading the bike in Destin, we left it secured in the bed until the last day we were there. (This meant we hauled it around in the bed during two trips to Pensacola and our trip South to Cocoa Beach, a total of maybe 1,000 miles.)
Seventy-degrees and Sunny, on the morning of our last day I asked a neighbor for help and found a spot to unload similar to my loading situation up North... a two-foot raised area on which to situate my ramp.
Having another set of hands there made all the difference...
A part of the engine snagged on the frame at a critical moment, and if my neighbor had not been there to help me I'd have been in a fix... can't go down OR up. He held the bike while I man-handled it and got it unsnagged.

Whew!

So now the 'Wing is in Destin, awaiting our return.
And that makes the idea of heading back South in two weeks even more inviting.
 

11 November 2012

Dateline: Cocoa Beach, Florida

I NEVER met him.
He found me through "Pitchpull", and started commenting. I reciprocated at his blog.
We found we had MUCH in common. Our relationship grew over several years.
Then he got sick.
VERY sick. For a while, he fell off the earth.
I called to provide a way to vent, and to provide necessary support.
We had long conversations about where we'd been... where we were going.

He got better for a while, then his disease came back, with reinforcements.
He fought like the soldier he had been.
But this disease is one of those that breaks your heart, spirit, and finally, your will to live.

I woke today in the wee hours and went outside to see "God's thumbnail"... a sliver moon, with Venus flying in close formation. It's a GORGEOUS day.
We'll be spreading his ashes on the beach this morning. Those in attendance will then get together to share their memories of him.

I think you'd be pleased wth the way this is unfolding Dave.
I only wish we had been able to face-to-face.

Godspeed brother.

10 November 2012

Which Kowalski Did You Vote For?

Bein' wide awake at 0300 sucks.
Ya lay in bed with your mind goin' 100 miles an hour, hoping you can get back to sleep but knowin' that's probably gonna be impossible. So, in my case, I lay quietly, hoping I can at least get some rest, and I don't want to wake Sara Jean.
And then the crazy thinking starts and it hit me like a ton o' bricks-
Last week we had a choice between two KOWALSKI'S.
We chose poorly. Lemme flesh it out:
First, there's "empty chair" Walt Kowalski. Walt drives this car:

He's owned it since new and wants it to last forever.
He keeps it in his garage, frequently changes the oil, and loves to pull it out now and then to wash and wax it.
He LOVES the car. When he dies, he hopes whoever ends up with it will love and care for it just like he does.

Then there's the OTHER Kowalski.
He drives this car:



He's a "Choom" sorta guy...
Cool. Laid back. Fast.
And let me emphasize FAST.
He's in a hurry. He doesn't much care for the car... It's just a tool.
He abuses it. Drives it like he stole it, wide open. Oil changes? Wash and wax? HA! No time for such things!
No terrain can stop him...
Desert, highway medians, gaps where bridges are ALMOST completed? No problem for this Kowalski.
Just give him a handful of illicit drugs and let him be on the way to his destination.
And the car? Who CARES about the car? He's only gonna be using it temporarily 'cause he's got important stuff to do.

On November 6, 2012, we had a choice:
"Gran Torino" Kowalski, or,
"Vanishing Point" Kowalski.

I think the ending of these movies is a good analogy for our troubled times.
Don't you wish I'd keep my 3 A.M. thoughts to myself?!!

07 November 2012

Analogy- 7 November 2012

You're a drug user...
(Choose whichever drug you want: Heroin, Meth, Angel dust.)
At times you are rational enough to realize you're killing yourself:
"Yes, I know I need to stop. I HAVE to stop."

But as soon as you try to quit, withdrawal symptoms set in...
"I need a hit. PLEASE gimme a hit!"
And so it goes.

So here we are.
Four more years.
And oddly, I'm glad.
Glad, because I think it's inevitable.

The story for hard drug users unfolds one of two ways-
They hit bottom, and realize they HAVE to quit, or...
They hit bottom, can't quit, and die.

And there's my comparison-
We have lots and lots of folks who LOVE government cheese.
And so far, Uncle Sugar has been able to supply lots of government cheese.
But the supply of cheese is not unlimited.
It is dependent on trust that the U.S. Government can pay its debts.
And there's the rub...
Our government is bankrupt.

So again let me give you news you don't want to hear-
It's gonna happen.
It's just a question of "when?"
When does the shooting start?

I wish I knew.
I don't.
But you and I are ahead of most, because we're preparing...
Preparing for the shooting to start.

You ARE preparing, aren't you?

20 October 2012

John's "Jedi Mind Control".


I asked for advice, and you gave it.
Good advice too, I might add.
And now the safe you see above is in place in my home, kinda in spite of your advice. Lemme tell ya how that happens-
We're going South for the Winter. The idea of leaving our "armory" behind, (even for short stints now), was uncomfortable. We knew we had to buy a safe so we wouldn't be constantly worried about coming home to find the door jimmied and our valuables gone. I had done some research on my own, but hearing from folks I respect confirmed my own thoughts... For the money, the "Liberty" safe was probably the best way to resolve our problem.
So I called my gun dealer, (a fellow pilot that's now become a personal friend).

"John, I need a gun safe. Do you handle 'Liberty' safes?"

"Nope. I handle 'Browning' safes." (And in the background I hear the sound of pages being shuffled.)

"That's a shame, 'cause I'm ready to buy a 'Liberty', YESTERDAY!"

"What are you looking for in a safe?"

"The advice I'm hearing from those I respect is to buy a 'Liberty' and to buy a bigger safe than I think I'll need."

"Do you care if it's scratched?"

"John, it's gonna be in my garage and it'll get scratched within a week anyway. Why?"

"I can sell you the biggest safe 'Browning' makes today for half price. It's a 'second'... it has a scratch on it somewhere. And it's RED."

"Half price? How much is half price?"
And the price he quoted was only a slightly higher than the MUCH smaller "Liberty" I had decided to buy.

"What's the fire rating on this safe?"

"Ninety minutes."

Pause.
Think. Question:
"If you'll deliver and help me put it in place for that price, order and get it on the way."

"I'll do that, but on top of the price you'll have to buy me and my delivery guys a case of beer."
It weighs almost 1400 pounds and took FOUR of us to moose it into place. A case of beer for that labor was CHEAP. (Thank you John!)

So the "RED" safe you see pictured above now resides in my garage. It's big enough that Sara Jean and I literally could get in and use it as a storm shelter. I cannot imagine we'll ever be able to use all the available space.
It ain't a "Liberty", but it's beautiful. It was priced RIGHT. And it gives us the peace of mind we need when we leave home.
I thank you for your good advice, and I'm a little embarrassed to admit I didn't use it.
Now, would you have made the same decision?

12 October 2012

Live, 'Til Ya Die.

An Expert At Every Turn

Late-fifties male.
Head bleed.
The flight to get him help will be 45 minutes in duration.


We put headphones on all our conscious patients so we can keep them informed about the progress of the flight, and get input from them on what they are feeling.
Initially, he seems like a nice guy. He's anxious... making jokes. His blood pressure is high, bad for a head bleed, but it's not so high as to cause panic and my crew is chatting with him, trying to get him to relax.

And then my opinion of him changes. Over the intercom I hear him say, "That's a problem."

My paramedic responds, "What's that?"


"See that? See that vibration? That's a problem. This helicopter either has a bearing going bad, or one of the blades is out of balance."

Paramedic- "It's a smooth night. I feel nothing out of the ordinary. Relax."

"Well, I'll tell you more about this flight when we land, but you've got a problem with this machine."

I bite my tongue and quash the impulse to ask our patient "How many hours do YOU have in the BK117?"

We soon get his number nailed though...
"My sister is a nurse at (the hospital we are taking him to)."


My flight crew... "Oh really? Which department does she work in?"

"I'm not sure. I think she's a flight nurse."
(This is possible because the receiving hospital DOES have a flight program.)

But he later confides, "You'll be surprised when you meet my sister. She's the opposite of me... weighs 300 pounds!"

That must be some POWERFUL helicopter at that program!
We've all met guys like this. I know he was probably scared to death, talking just to vent his fears.
But why are some folks compelled to stretch the truth beyond belief, trying to make themselves look like experts in everything they discuss?
I meet WAY TOO MANY of 'em in my life-journey.

04 October 2012

A Day's Ride


Flat.
From Indianapolis North to the State line, Indiana, with a few exceptions, is nearly flat as a billiard table.
South of Indy the geography starts gradually changing. At first the terrain starts to undulate, but elevation changes aren't so great as to require the roads to go around hills.
Then the hills get bigger and the roads begin to resemble snakes. Just North of the Ohio river, elevation changes get pretty dramatic and the roads are heaven for motorcyclists.
I grew up just South of Indianapolis. I didn't have to venture very far to find "interesting" roads to ride on my 250cc Harley-Davidson "Sprint".

Since bikers attract bikers, it wasn't difficult to find yourself in the middle of a group of four or five guys, all headed South to find some curves. One summer day in 1963 my little Harley was surrounded by a group of friends riding a Honda, a Triumph, and an Allstate-Puch. South on Indiana Highway 135, we found ourselves carving curves in Brown County State Park. Roads in the park are smooth, wide, and traffic is relatively light. Soon we were challenging one another to see who could negotiate curves faster.

It wasn't long before we attracted the attention of Park Rangers. Stopped as a group, we surrendered our Driver's licenses and were instructed to "follow me, boys!" We soon found ourselves at the office of a local Justice of the Peace, paid a $35 fine, and were told to be on our way and "SLOW DOWN!"

The balloon had been popped and the fun of the day was gone.
We headed North for home.

About three miles from home, back on relatively flat ground, looking out ahead to the next intersection, we saw a State Police car on the right berm, lights flashing. Having just been chastised by law enforcement, we slowed down to a snail's pace. Abeam the trooper's cruiser, off the road about 30 feet, we saw a mangled Honda 50cc "Cub" just in the corn field in front of a big four-door sedan. We stopped, dismounted, and walked back toward the trooper investigating the accident.
"What happened?"


"Two sets of identical twins. Two Honda 50's. The older set of twins had their driver's licenses so one each was driving the bikes. Each of the younger set of twins was riding as passenger. The first bike was about half a mile ahead of the second, so in order to try to catch up the boys on the second bike ignored the stop sign and were T-boned by the car."
"How are the boys?"
He sighed, paused... "I think they're gone."

Even today it makes me sad to think about it.
Think of the chaos and emotion at that scene...
Two boys frantically trying to get help for their identical twin brothers.

A Summer joy ride turned into a horror because of a mistake at a blind intersection.

Life is a risk.
If you break the rules or make a mistake, you're asking for pain.
But we're human and we know we'll sometimes break the rules or make mistakes.
That's when wearing your seatbelt or wearing a helmet and gear may be the difference between livin' and dyin'.

Buckle up.
Put that ugly, uncomfortable thing on your head.
 

29 September 2012

1978

 
About me:
It's 1978. I'm a Major in the Army Reserve, going to school in Ft. Bliss, Texas to learn about the wonders of Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical warfare. The school is two weeks long and I'm a LONG way from home. Daytime temps are running about 106 degrees. I'm not a happy camper.

The school is a little challenging. Learning non-standard radiation decay rates is driving me a little crazy. I want to ACE this school, and I'm not gettin' this non-standard decay rate business. I know there will be at least one problem on the test to solve, and I'm honestly fearful I'll screw it up.

I'm lonely.
I'm the ranking officer in the class and haven't been able to connect with anyone to spend time with after hours. I'm still feeling the effects of my ugly divorce a little over a year ago. I have a "significant other" back at home who without question saved my sanity, and may in fact have kept me from becoming an alcoholic, thereby possibly saving my life. But I know in my heart-of-hearts that my relationship with her is going nowhere long-term, and I wonder what the future holds.
Far from home, exposed to these extreme temperatures, I may as well be on Venus.

I hit the sack, study non-standard half-lives until I can't take it anymore, turn the light off and radio on, and roll over to go to sleep.
And from the box comes this tune.
It doesn't help my mood, but there's no denying it is an extraordinary piece of music.

About Gerry Rafferty:
I didn't know his name before "Baker Street" came out.
But most of us are familiar with "Stuck in The Middle With You" by "Stealer's Wheel", and I've since found he played with that group before going solo.

I heard "Baker Street" on my way to work two nights ago and remembered Ft. Bliss.
I remembered the loneliness, and how that loneliness was somehow made greater by "Baker Street".
I also knew that Gerry had died a while back, so I decided to check on him and learn more.

Gerry was a troubled soul.
His Wikipedia entry is here. If you've enjoyed his work and don't know anything about him, check it out. Then listen once again to "Baker Street" and see if you'll ever listen to it the same as you have in the past.

I won't.

25 September 2012

Don't Steal My Stuff, Bro !


I need advice, and I'm hopin' there are some expert readers to give it.
I'm pulling the plug. I'll be 66 in January, eligible for full Soc. Sec. benefits. There's enough irritation at work now, even though I still LOVE helping folks when they need the help, it seems a good time to leave the job to someone with better eyes, ears, and a higher tolerance for management's Bravo Sierra.


We want to travel.
We want the luxury to be able to act on an impulse "to go see 'such and such'... let's start tomorrow morning!"

The photo I chose to head this posts hints at my concerns...
For the last couple years we have been preparing for troubles. The house is now jammed with resources we MAY need if the dominoes begin to fall. If we take off on an extended vacation, I'd like that stuff to still be under my roof when we return. To help insure those things are there when we need 'em, I know we'll need to make it tough on scoundrels who would take advantage...
We need a home security system, and we need a good gun safe. I've been doing online research on both, and I have to admit to being just as confused now as when I started reading.

I've been warned to buy a bigger gun safe than I think I need. That sounds like good advice, but of course means lots of $$$$ for a quality safe.
I have NO IDEA what details I should be looking for in a home security system.

HELP!

20 September 2012

Near Miss

"Greenstreak 8, you're cleared to enter left base for runway 24... Landing at the ramp will be at your own risk, that area is not visible from the tower." 
"Greenstreak 8, Roger". 
So I set myself up on a close-in left base, looking to the right down the runway centerline I was about to cross to insure no landing fixed-wing was trying to occupy the same airspace I was using. Seeing no traffic, I started my left turn to final and my eyes focused on something through the left greenhouse of the AStar 350D I was flying... 
It looked familiar... 
As it SHOULD, because I was looking at the bolts attaching the skids to the right front crosstube of a Bell 47, an aircraft similar to one I have flown about 1100 hours. 
 Instantly I lowered the collective ALL THE WAY, then rolled the AStar violently to the right, gritting my teeth as I expected to hear metal-to-metal contact. 
Thankfully my actions, and the actions of the guy flying the 47, allowed enough space for my composite rotorblades to not slice his aircraft to pieces. 

My heart was pounding. I couldn't talk, so there was no reason to key the mic and say anything. I landed, shut the aircraft down on the rolling platform, and told the refueler how much fuel I needed. 

Paperwork finished, I drove to the County police office and walked in. 
There, the police pilot was also finishing up his paperwork. 
When he looked up I asked, "Was that as close as I thought it was?" 
"Closer than I ever want to be to another aircraft", he replied. 

 He was cleared to land before I even entered the traffic pattern and we weren't warned about one another... 
Human error by the controller. 
 I shook his hand, smiled, took a deep breath, and walked out of the office, vowing to do a better job of keeping my "head on a swivel" in the future. 

Thank you Lord. 

12 September 2012

My Dad's "Super Cruiser".

I cannot remember the first time I flew.
I'm told I actually first flew when I was still a bump in Mom's belly.

But my Dad was a pilot, and I can remember standing on our property watching in wonder as Dad flew by in one aircraft or another.
It was neat knowing my Old Man was at the controls. I was proud.

I have vivid memories of driving with my folks to (now closed) Sky Harbor airport in Indianapolis, leaving the car in the parking lot and going through the gate with the sign saying "Pilots and passengers only beyond this point."
What a great feeling...
Unlike the others sitting in that lot watching airplanes come and go,
I was "authorized"! Soon they'd be watching us!

When I was in my early teens my Dad bought an airplane similar to the one pictured above. It's a Piper "Super Cruiser".
Just a little bigger and more powerful than the "Cub", it would seat three...
Pilot in front, two (smallish) passengers in back. Many of my friends took their first airplane ride in that aircraft and talked fondly about it when Dad died.

It was also the first aircraft I actually flew. A set of controls in the back, Dad turned around and said "You wanta fly it?"
"YES!"
And so I did. I slipped and skidded. I couldn't maintain a set altitude.
But I noticed with amazement something everyone realizes when they first fly...
I could see for miles and miles and miles!

Small changes in ground elevation are flattened out at altitude, so it took a while to find familiar landmarks and know where I was above my old stompin' grounds.
But...
Look at how close our home is to White River!
And look how the familiar creek winds its way to join it!

What a thrill.
That was over fifty years ago.
I didn't realize it at the time, but the seed was planted.

Thanks Dad.
Thanks Mr. Piper.

06 September 2012

Olympic Pandora's Box?

Apples and oranges-
Something just didn't feel right when Pistorius ran against able-bodied runners.
Now he's complaining that artificial limbs CAN give an advantage?
If the Olympics are to survive, the decision-making folks will have to insure folks like me have a desire to watch.
And for me, that means apples to apples.
Case in point:




27 August 2012

We're SO Nice, We're TOTALLY SCREWED.

She left the road and struck a tree.
Emergency responders could not help but notice she was VERY pregnant.
When they tried to talk with her during the extrication, she No Habla Ingles.
So first responders notified the ER she'd need a translator.

The ER Doc was rightfully concerned...
She's obviously high-risk, due to have her baby any day.
Her widened mediastinum means her aorta may possibly be damaged/torn.
He wants her out of his ER ASAP and calls for helicopter transport.

After her $**,***.**  helicopter ride, the Trauma Center immediately takes her to the Operating Room where they take the baby via C-section and explore the possible aortic tear.
She is then taken to the ICU for care for a few days, then through a step-down unit for observation.
Total cost of her care?
I'm told it will run WELL into the hundred-thousands of dollars.

She's an illegal alien.
She has no medical insurance.
She may have no car insurance.
What she DOES have now is an anchor baby that will insure she gets to stay in the U.S. and enjoy our hospitality and superb benefits for the underprivileged.
So in the future you'll either be picking up the tab on her expenses through higher insurance premiums or higher taxes, or both.
Aren't you NICE?
I see nearly this same story unfold several times a month. How often it happens across the U.S. each month is anyone's guess. But I know this...
We're broke.
We cannot afford it.
And nice people who can't say "NO!" are gonna destroy our country.

Then we'll ALL get healthcare like poor folks in Mexico.



22 August 2012

Clinger

Paul Ryan says, "I am happy to be clinging to my guns and my religion".
Well, good for him.
But he then says he is a hunter, inferring the second amendment is there to insure we can put meat on the table ourselves if we want, apparently.
Scary.

I recently had a discussion with a loved one about the subject.
She is a "prey animal"... slight and one of the most non-threatening people you'd ever want to meet.
Her comment, actually a question, was, "Why does anyone need an "assault weapon?"
She was referring to weapons like the AK-47.

I responded by asking her if she knew the reason the Founding Fathers insured the 2nd amendment was part of the Bill of Rights. When she didn't respond, I wrote back, "You're right. We might not need an AK-47. If our government launches M1 'Abrams' tanks against our populace, an AK-47 would be ineffective. At that point, what citizens really need is a supply of Light Anti-tank Weapons."

It's my hope Congressman Ryan moves on and begins to educate us all about our Constitutional rights, (and history!).

15 August 2012

But What If I'm Right?

Just an average guy, not a lot different than my neighbors, I still think we're getting close to trouble.
I'd be delighted to be wrong... to just continue riding my motorcycles into the dawn, imagining what decent restaurant will serve the best Western Omelet.
But I can hear thunder in the distance, and I'm preparing for a storm.
If it passes and causes no damage, what have I lost?

I'm not smart enough to predict how this will all come to pass.
But the writer of this article IS.
Be prepared, or be a victim.
You choose.

10 August 2012

Then Came Bronson



To say I was excited when this show first aired would be understatement...
I actually blocked off the time to watch it every week.
Although entertaining, it ended up being a disappointment...
Route 66 rehashed with a motorcycle standing in for the Corvette.

But it was nothing short of amazing watching "Bronson" expertly using that Harley Sportster for things it was never intended to do-
Motocross, for instance.
For years, all helicopters sounded EXACTLY like the Bell 47s we saw on M.A.S.H.. 
I guess that was the only helicopter sound they had on file, so every onscreen whirlybird HAD to sound like that. And a motorcycle is a motorcycle, right? (Look closely at the bike "Bronson" is riding on the beach in the video.)
A Sportster can do ANYTHING, so long as Bronson is aboard.
The show ended up being a joke.


Want to watch a more realistic story with a motorcycle theme?
I recommend this one.

05 August 2012

What's Important?

I LUV the Olympics.
Contestants prepare for YEARS.
Preparing is HELL.
And there's no guarantee their preparations will amount to anything.
Slip, like Mckayla Maroney did, and it all goes up in smoke.
Poof!

But they believe their work will make a difference.

I have lived a good life.
I work at a stressful job I love because I truly feel God is working with me...
I'm good at what I do and every now and then what I do has a good outcome.

I'm now 65 years old, and find myself looking around me analyzing...

Have I made a difference?

I went to Viet Nam and made myself a target in a slow-moving aircraft to protect a guy in a scout helicopter, thinking my work would make the world a better place.
Did that make a difference?


I fly at night.
I land a helicopter in the middle of a wire-surrounded intersection in darkness, hoping my skills may improve the lives of others.
Does that change anything?


And then I get into a discussion on Facebook that makes me realize I'm an idiot.
I'm taking risks others are unwilling to take.
I'm underpaid for the risks I'm taking.
And my values are stupid... others chuckle because I think "law" and "rules" are important.

I WILL retire in January.
And the only question is, "How many of my contemporaries will I still respect?" when I hang up my wings?
How many others honestly feel "principles" are important?

Sigh.

31 July 2012

Solo Suzuki!

First, a comment then question for other bloggers-
I'm so dismayed by what I see going on around me... Stockton, CA., Scranton, PA., that I'm having trouble blogging.
Disheartened, I have trouble thinking of positive things to write.
Obama claims he inherited a MESS. Imagine the MESS he will hand over to Romney!

Solo Suzuki?
When Suzuki first won the World Championship back in the '70's they started an advertising campaign which lead with the jingle, "Solo Suzuki... The champ of the Grand Prix!" That ditty runs through my head now anytime I ride the SV650. I received the handlebar kit and considering my schedule realized I had no time to deal with the installation, so I took it to my wrench, Don. He finished the job today, so I went over and retrieved the bike and rode it to work tonight. The kit, including bars, risers, cables and other hardware was $415. Don's installation cost another $206. But...
EUREKA! I rode the little Suzy to work tonight and for the first time was pain-free at arrival.
Now all I have to do is work on installing a top box on that useless pillion seat so I can carry my "stuff" to work with me.
The bike itself still knocks me out... silky smooth for a V-Twin and more power than I need, while getting over 50 mpg.
I LOVE it.

Sigh.
Now, let's hope the rest of the world recognizes what an evil man Rahm Emanuel is.
Only then will we start the healing process.

19 July 2012

Enough Money?

Retirement.
What's that?
How often have you seen an acquaintance retire, only to begin having health issues?
(And isn't that a SCARY possibility in this changing health-care world?)
For me, "retirement" will simply be a chance to work, (maybe for nuthin') for others.

I've been saving/planning for retirement most of my life...
For over 20 years I've contributed the maximum amount to a 403b or 401k plan.
How disheartening to watch that healthy nest-egg dwindle to less than half its value over the last four years!

I wanted to protect what was left. But in this screwy world, where could I put that money to work so it might actually reverse the downward plunge?
My search was depressing.
The stock market is idling along doing almost nothing.
Ditto bonds.
A 1% return is all we can expect in a guaranteed fixed instrument these days, and that won't cover the nasty effects of inflation.

A friend suggested annuities.
He even suggested a couple companies I might investigate.
One of those offered an instrument tied to the Standard & Poor 500, guaranteeing a 6.5% minimum return. If the S&P gained more than 6.5, I'd reap that benefit too.
Moody rated A-.
I researched that company and found it to be relatively small, conservative, and financially solid.
A month ago I moved 80% of my 401k moneys into an annuity with them.

Yesterday I read a report that said many companies that have been offering annuities would stop selling them...
Too much risk for the company in this economy.
Startled, I did a quick check on the company I invested with to find they still have an optimistic long-term outlook.
I breathed a (maybe temporary) sigh of relief.

But here's the REAL DEAL, folks-
If the U.S. Treasury continues "Quantitative Easing", (translation: Printing money as fast as they can),
my 6.5% minimum return will be meaningless because our currency will look good as wallpaper.
Ammunition would have been a far better investment.

Scranton, PA public servants were temporarily being paid minimum wage this week. How long will they continue to risk their lives for that compensation?
Thinkin' about retirement?
No... think about survival.

UPDATED: Here we go?

18 July 2012

Another Thing- Olive Drab In Color:

It's a maximum gross weight test.                                                                                                                        Hot/High.                                                                                                                                                         Density altitude- through the roof.
Yeah, these test pilots bend/break the bird, but... 
Watch how, even as it spins like crazy, they keep the rotor level so it NEVER makes contact with the ground!         
Great pilot skills in the face of VERY difficult circumstances.
.                                                                                                                                                                    

12 July 2012

Hopium

So, 83% of physicians have considered leaving medicine?
I'm not surprised. My physician friends are not happy campers.

Steven Green published a piece by a Doctor who senses even his patients seem to know "change" is coming, and it ain't a good thing.
Where are FlightFire and Rodolfo when we need them to assure us ALL IS WELL and is unfolding exactly as planned?

Buy ammunition... worth more than its weight in gold soon.

11 July 2012

Isle of Man TT

This piece will be of interest only to folks like me who love racing and particularly LOVE motorcycle racing. It's 11:27 long, and be forewarned... one of the competitors drops a couple "F-bombs".
But I think it does a pretty good job of explaining the madness and attraction of the I.O.M. TT:

09 July 2012

A Different World

My son was toddling.
We had little money... I was "between jobs".
We found our pleasures where we could.

One of our local stations started airing a program called "Hot Hit Videos"...
We're kinda bored with 'em now, but when these "mini-movies" set to music first came out, Sara Jean and I were fascinated with them.
We'd actually schedule our Saturday nights around this one-hour program...
Pop popcorn or buy chips and salsa to snack on while we watched.
This tune was one of our favorites from that time:



We look back at that time now with fondness.
No money? Who cared?!
We had one another, a healthy baby, good music, good eats, and smiles on our faces.
Who needed anything more?
How 'bout you? 
Did ya have a similar interest?
Share with us.

04 July 2012

"All Twins Vibrate."


That's what the guy said... "All twins vibrate. Some vibrate worse than others."
And he should know. In his garage were four BMWs and two Moto Guzzis. He was rebuilding a vintage BMW... it was on a lift table in pieces. He knew a lot about BMWs and Moto Guzzis.

I've since purchased and ridden three twins that vibrate less than most...
Two BMWs and the "Pizza Bike", (my Moto Guzzi).
And yeah, they vibrate. But there are vibrations, and there are V I B R A T I O N S !
Vibration levels on Pizza Bike are noticeable at certain engine speeds, but they're not annoying.
The BMWs vibrate at low RPM but smooth out quickly above about 2000 revs and their vibrations are actually kinda soothing.
The "new" Suzuki has an engine configuration similar to the Guzzi, but...
More on that later.

So pictured above is my new-to-me Suzuki... a 2003 SV650.
And I finally figured out what happened that confused me-
I shoulda known more about what I was buying.

The BAD?
-I went to eBay and entered "Suzuki VStrom" in the search block. When this bike appeared I didn't know enough about Suzukis to know an "SV" from a "DL"...
(The "DL" model designates the VStrom, the SV is the Sportbike from which the DL was derived.)
So I bid on and won a bike that was somehow in the wrong eBay section, different from what I really wanted. As I've said before, it is VERY UNCOMFORTABLE to ride more than a half-hour or so.

The GOOD?
-It was only a four-hour drive away. We jumped in the Dodge/Cummins and drove the four hours, met the seller and consumated the deal, loaded the bike, went to eat dinner, then drove four hours back home and arrived just after darkness fell... quite a pleasurable experience.
-When we loaded it in the truck it had only 3492 miles on it. The seller bought the bike for his wife thinking she could ride it alongside  him. She apparently came to a stop and the bike began to fall to the right and she couldn't stop it, resulting in three small cracks/scratches in the right fairing adjacent to the headlight. It scared her and she quit riding. He actually put most of the 3500 miles on it just keeping the battery charged and the engine exercised. Other than the minor scratches on the fairing, the bike is like NEW.
- Although the seating position is uncomfortable, there is a fix...
I've ordered a kit to raise the handlebars and move them slightly rearward. I'm hopeful this will solve my main complaint with the bike because...
-The engine is a GEM.
Red-lined at 11,000 rpm, it revs easily, sounds GREAT, and the bike goes like STINK. (They also make this bike in a 1,000cc version, and I cannot imagine anyone being comfortable using that kind of power!)
Vibration? Yeah, I guess there is some. But it is so minimal I hate to call it that. I'm not exaggerating when I say this SV650 comes very close to the smoothness of my six-cylinder opposed 1500cc GoldWing. For a twin, it is SMOOTH!
-I'm still trying to figure out how to reset the tripmeter/odometer/clock in the dash display. The owner had lost the owner's handbook and I've been unable to find one online so far. My (possibly erroneous) calculations on my initial fuel mileage put it at a little over 50 mpg. I DID finally figure out how to zero the tripmeter on my last fillup, so I'll have an exact figure for ya later.

So, am I happy with it?
Not yet. But the handlebar kit and Go Cruise throttle control I recently ordered will, I hope, make the bike more comfortable when installed.

I'll let ya know.

27 June 2012

Time Has Come Today.

Yeah, it's been a while since I put fingers to keyboard.
Part of that is because I'm dog-goned tired...
I was busy chasing geese in some of the hottest weather we've experienced in years.
We've had two of the busiest weeks EVER at my helo ambulance job,

and additionally we're now involved in getting NVG (Night Vision Goggle) qualified at my EMS base. I'm mentally AND physically tired.

On top of that, the world continues down the path marked "CRAZY".
Greece is bankrupt.
Greece thinks Germany is greedy because Germany is reluctant to continue pouring money into a bottomless pit.


Stockton, California is bankrupt.
Firefighters there could retire at age 50, then receive their $150,000 pensions until they assumed ambient temperature.
Firefighters are pissed.
But something that cannot be sustained, won't.

Illinois is bankrupt.
(You can fill in the rest.)

I think we are on the verge of some VERY exciting events... political, economical, and social.
If you have prepared for the excitement, it will be ugly.
If you haven't, it will be catastrophic.


Be prepared.

18 June 2012

Geese Tremble At My Approach

Headed out this morning on our annual Goose round-up.
For the next three days we'll be chasing them out of their hiding places, banding those without bands, and accounting for those who already have them. We'll count them all, and generally handle about 2000 or so birds during this three days.

It's hard work.
But it's a gas.
Wish us safe days, please.

13 June 2012

The Value of Education


I'm calling him "Roswell". 
We drove four hours to pick him up last week. The bike isn't exactly what I thought it was gonna be... stupid me. I was under the impression the Suzuki "VStrom" was a dual-purpose motorcycle, capable of going off-road if absolutely necessary. I didn't pay enough attention to the seller's photos on eBay... if I had, I would have noticed the clip-on handlebars and rearset controls. BUT... the bike only had 3400 miles on it, so I still might have bought it. 
The bike I bought is a typical sportbike. I'll immediately look into the possibility of replacing the handlebars for a more upright "sit up and beg" seating position... 
I'm sixty-five years old for heaven's sake... All scrunched over on this thing, I look like an idiot. 
Like my Moto Guzzi "Pizza Bike", Roswell has a 90-degree V-twin engine. 
But the bikes are worlds apart-
My 1993 Guzzi has a 1000cc air-cooled engine while the 2003 Suzuki is a water cooled 650cc. Water cooling dampens the mechanical noises produced by the engine. Water cooling on the newer bike also allows for the engine to be built with tighter clearances resulting in higher horsepower per cubic centimeter displacement. Pizza Bike has an overhead-valve pushrod engine. Roswell is a more modern overhead camshaft design... again, advantage Suzuki. But considering the two bikes have a similar engine configuration, I expected vibration levels on Roswell to be similar to those on Pizza Bike.  


Two days after bringing the bike home I went to the DMV, transferred the title, and got new plates for Roswell. After attaching the plate to the bike I pushed it out of the garage to take it for my first test-spin. I pushed the starter button... 
The starter engaged but didn't turn the engine over... the battery was almost dead. 
I grabbed the charger and started looking for the battery to juice it up, and couldn't find it. It's buried in the bowels of this little bike somewhere. In the middle of my workweek, I had to hit the hay so I gave up on it and went to bed. 


I got home this morning determined to start the bike. There's a considerable hill about a block from our house, so after checking to see the battery still had a little life left in it I pushed the bike to the top of the hill and started the downhill run. At about 25 mph I kicked the bike into third gear and popped the clutch. The rear tire skidded and the bike quickly came to a stop. I pushed the bike back to the top of the hill and, out of breath, found a shady place to lower my heartrate. 
Downhill once again at 25 mph, this time I stood up, then plopped my butt down on the seat at the same time I popped the clutch. The bike fired immediately and the exhaust sang a beautiful song. 
I waited until the water temperature gauge rose above 150 degrees, then set off on that first ride. 


First impressions? 
I HATE the seating position and gotta do something about it right away. 


The vibration level on this bike is amazing. This engine is actually ALMOST as smooth as my six-cylinder GoldWing. How did Suzuki do that? 


I LOVE the sound of the thing. 


Perceptions can fool ya, but I think this 650cc machine is faster than the 1000cc Moto Guzzi. I'll probably get accustomed to it, but right now the acceleration of the little bike surprises me. 


The tachometer is red-lined at 11,000 rpm. Boy does this engine sing! 


So I've bought a machine quite different than what I thought I was buying, but... 
I have learned several things: 
I like the engine A LOT. The bike handles better than anything I've ridden before and I suspect it will get close to 60 mpg, so if I can set it up for me to ride comfortably it'll be a great commuter. Otherwise, I'll smile with my newly-found education, sell this bike and look for another VStrom with higher bars. 


What's the value of experience and knowledge? 
Surprisingly, one day of riding has given me quite a bit of both.

06 June 2012

Fox Buckles?

I realize things probably aren't a lot different today than they were in our parent's generation...
Walter Cronkite was a flaming lefty and our parent's had almost no way to know what his political agenda was.

But I hoped FOX was actually changing the world.
Things should be BETTER than they were in our parent's time!

Control the media, control the masses:



(Borrowed from BZ.)

05 June 2012

"Doctor, it hurts when I do THIS."

California- Budget out of control.
Illinois- Budget out of control.
New Jersey- Barely avoided catastrophe.
Wisconsin- Waiting anxiously for results.

What do the first two States have in common?
How 'bout the second two?
Remember the definition of insanity?
Are democrats insane?

02 June 2012

Suzuki VStrom

I'll soon drive 4 hours to pick up my new bike, a Suzuki SV650.
Ever since I bought "Pizza Bike" I've wanted something I could get off-road with if I needed.
This bike gives me that option.
I've never owned a Suzuki, so another ticket is punched.

Is it stupid to be excited about something so trival?

31 May 2012

Iron Butt

Road trip.
Twice in the past couple months we've made the 700 mile trip to Pensacola, Florida, to visit my Mother there...
Once in our car, and once in a 24-foot box van truck.
Gas stops, stretch-your-legs and go pee stops, and grab-a-sandwich stops means the trip takes us almost exactly 12 hours. Do the simple math and you'll find that works out to a 58.33333333 mile-per-hour average.
In a box.
With air-conditioning, power steering, AM/FM stereo, and an automatic transmission.
Even with those conveniences after 700 miles you arrive a little fatigued, but not zonked. Mostly what you want is to just be out of the box.
Obviously, road trips are different on a motorcycle. On three different occasions I rode from Savannah, Georgia to Indianapolis, Indiana, (also about 700 miles), on a "naked" bike that really wasn't intended for long-distance touring. One of those trips gave me an interesting story to tell for the rest of my life and is chronicled here.
But even without Mother Nature's input, long-distance riding on a motocycle will be more fatiguing than riding in a car. There are a dozen reasons why, but on a bike you are just required to pay more attention to what is going on around you. That in itself is more stressful. Add to that the fact you are more exposed to the elements, your seating position is more limited and therefore more tiring, and most bikes are more limited in range due to their fuel load. (Most touring machines are good for about 200+- miles between fill-ups, so you're gonna have to make more stops.)
Each time I make the trip to Pensacola I think about those Savannah/Indy/Savannah trips of long ago and wonder what it would be like to make the trip on the GoldWing. On this big "slab-burner", I think it would be fairly easy to average the same 58.33 mph as we do in the car. But with weather considerations, the experience would be totally different. We'll do it one day, but my experience on bikes is that trips of about 250-300 miles are comfortable so I think stopping for the night about halfway would make that journey more enjoyable for Sara Jean.

BUT...
Thinking about long trips brings to mind another subject- the "Iron Butt Association".
Anyone reading motorcycle publications will be aware of the term and the organization.
To be a member and get the certificate you must register, pay a fee, then ride 1,000 miles within a 24-hour timeframe and have the necessary documentation to prove you actually covered the miles.
To read the account of someone who actually did it, (on a little 250cc Kawasaki Ninja for heaven's sake!), click here.

Riding 1,000 miles at an average 60 mph would take 16+ hours.
Even on the "sofa on wheels" GoldWing, you're gonna be tired when you've finished qualifying for the certificate.
But I think I want to do it.
Weather in October would be perfect.
I'm gonna start the ball rolling right away.

Biker-readers... Any thoughts?

24 May 2012

Confused By The Arrangement

My son likes dark and foreboding movies...
Stuff where much or all the action takes place at night, mostly in the city.
I don't really care for movies like that, but now and then would acquiesce when he wanted to share one he felt was particularly good.
Like "Donnie Darko".
It's one of the strangest movies I've ever watched.


In one scene the video took a back seat to the music.
Haunting... a solo by a single male voice.
For a few moments it troubled me because it was strange, but familiar.
It took a few minutes to figure out why I was confused.
Here's the arrangement that had me searching my memory banks: 







And here's the version I was familiar with that caused my confusion:


 

Music is wonderful, isn't it? 
Changeable...
Like a chameleon.

23 May 2012

Roller Coaster

"Your Mom was admitted to the hospital today."
That's not something you want to hear when she is 700 miles away. The only saving grace was that my sister the RN was there to keep the updates coming.
Then Mom got worse.
When I called to talk with her, my 86 year old Mother said she didn't want to live if she continued to feel so bad.

But the next day she felt somewhat better.
The only way to get an objective view was to head to Pensacola.

I drove down Saturday. On the drive came good news:
Mom was much improved and they'd be discharging her sometime Sunday.
I'd be there to take her back to her apartment.


She was tired and weak, but managed to tolerate my humor with smiles and a laugh now and then.
She even shuffled to the dining room for dinner, then shuffled back saying she felt better after eating.

She slept fitfully Sunday evening.

Monday morning her blood sugar count was down and she felt odd.
She ate candy and felt somewhat better.

Her count normalized.
She ate dinner in the dining room and complained it wasn't good, so she didn't eat much of it.

Her count went down again... more candy.

Later on Monday she announced she had made the decision to "move to the third floor".
Mom lives in a beautiful three-story retirement facility. The two bottom floors are for "independent living"... you have to be able to care for yourself to live there.
The third floor is for "assisted living"...
A full-time Nurse resides there, and they watch their residents much more closely, checking on them often and even insuring their medications are doled out on time and in the proper dosage.
And that's Mom's worry...
She's now taking so many pills she can no longer keep 'em straight.

Heck, I CAN'T KEEP 'EM STRAIGHT. 

The fact she made this decision on her own is bittersweet.
I'm glad she was "the decider" and not me or my sister.
I'm glad staff will watch her more closely, because her quality of life will certainly improve if her blood sugar level is more closely monitored and leveled out.
But the idea she needs "assisted living" opens a new chapter in her book of life.


Every day I can talk with her is a gift.
I'm selfish.
I want LOTS more gifts.

18 May 2012

Obama The Liar

So the "news" is finally out...
When it was to his advantage, (to make him look cool and sell his book), he was Kenyan born.
Then, when it was necessary for him to be a U.S. Citizen, (even though he STILL COULD NOT BE NATURAL BORN), he was miraculously born in Hawaii.
As Roger Simon said in his piece on the subject, "either way, he's a liar."
From here to the election, this is gonna be entertaining. What do democrats do, now that this citizenship story is finally unraveling? (With Biden as V.P., they've gotta be pulling out their [plugged?] hair.)
What does our media do to try to act like they were caught with their pants down on the subject? How do they now expect us to trust anything they report?
And where now are the snot-nosed kids that came to "Pitchpull" four years ago telling me I was wrong about all this?

Being vindicated is SUCH GOOD MEDICINE!

17 May 2012

Unobtainium


I hate it, hate it, hate it when I see something I like, then find it WON'T BE SOLD IN THE U.S.!
(Kawasaki's new W800.)