30 December 2015

That 3 A.M. Phone Call

Back when we had a "hard-line" phone, you could at least pray it was a wrong number.
Cell phones have narrowed that likelihood to nearly zero.
Now when that little irritator wakes you, your heartrate doubles as you reach for it.

Sara Jean had run her phone completely dead, so it was OFF and being charged downstairs.
He tried to call her phone three times before he dialed me up.
I ALWAYS leave my phone downstairs because she ALWAYS has her phone upstairs within arm's reach. That's how we found ourselves with both devices downstairs.

0300 hours. My phone rang.

I knew it was my phone because my ring tone is Guns and Roses "Sweet Child of Mine".
Drowsy, I ignored it.
It stopped ringing, then IMMEDIATELY rang again.
Again, I ignored it.
When it instantly rang again I rolled outta the sack and went downstairs to grab it. (See "heartrate" comment above).
"Dad, I wrecked the bike."
Okay, now I'm AWAKE. Thankfully, he doesn't sound like he's in a great deal of pain...
"Are you hurt?"
"I'm a little banged up, but nothing serious."
He was riding tired. He needed gas. It was dark. He misjudged the entryway to the gas station and hit a curb a glancing blow. He high-sided. He's worried about how I'll react to the fact the new Yamaha Super Tenere is lying on its right side, wounded, with oil dripping out of the engine.


"I'm about two miles from home. Would it be safe to ride that distance?"
I felt like a Doctor being asked to diagnose an illness over the phone.
"Absolutely not. Park it. Find a way home. We'll deal with this tomorrow after a good night's sleep."

I was worried the engine block was cracked. As it turned out, he had holed the clutch cover on the engine... still a $$$$$ repair, but nowhere near the cost of repairing/replacing the engine.
For my son, the worst part was the time it took the dealership to make the repair.

Fast forward to this week-
We're here in Phoenix visiting him.
He mounted the now slightly dinged/scratched Super Ten to go to work.
Fifteen minutes later Sara Jean's phone rang...
"I've been involved in an accident".

He's okay.
He stopped to allow a Fire Engine to proceed through an intersection. The 17-year old girl in the new Mustang behind him had her stereo blaring and didn't hear the siren... saw the stopped motorcycle too late. Slamming on her brakes, she thankfully was only going about 5 mph when she rear-ended him and sent him flying.
The bike is now dinged in the rear and on the opposite side from his first incident. It's really beginning to look like an "off-road" motorcycle.


We thank God he's not seriously hurt.
But that's two "incidents" in three months now.
Our thoughts are, naturally, "Should he be on two wheels?"
He's 32. I'm not at all sure he'd quit motorcycling no matter how much we cajoled.
It's his decision.
He's the one with the aches and pains this morning.


29 December 2015

Headline Writing

Okay, I'm a little fuzzy this morning, so bear with me.
Check out two headlines from "Drudgereport":

"Number of Journalists Killed Balloons to 110 This Year"...
"Emergency room visits from distracted walking skyrocket"

Why are journalists killing these poor balloons?
And how is it "distracted walking skyrockets" are being allowed to enter our emergency rooms?

27 December 2015

Dateline: Fort Huachuca, Arizona

People move here to escape cold weather, don't they?
It was 24 degrees F when we woke this morning. (Cold enough to freeze a Winnebago, for you "Muppets Family Christmas" fans.)
We spent the night here on Ft. H. with the intent of checking off one of my "Bucket List" items today-
We're going to Tombstone.

Yep... I'm your huckleberry!

25 December 2015

Christmas, 2015

We are in Phoenix.
The idea of a "White Christmas" here is ridiculous.
As a matter of fact, weather here makes it hard to realize today's date is 25December.

But our family is all under one roof.
I am grateful I don't have to spend this day with a second family, waiting for the telephone to ring because another family is having the worst day of their life and needs the services of me and my medical crew.

If you are still here, reading, know this...
I am grateful for you.
You probably share MOST of my thoughts and prayers.
God Bless you and yours.
It's my wish that you finish this day with a smile that, added to all the other smiles and laughter, makes your cheekbone muscles ache.

This is the day the Lord has made. Rejoice and be glad therein.

23 December 2015

The Stuff You Learn When You're Curious

Without access to cable or satellite TV here, we've been watching a lot of broadcast TV.
This morning we watched an episode of the old "Hazel" show.
I always had a crush on beautiful "Mrs. B.", an actress named Whitney Blake.
When I delved a little into her biography I got quite a surprise... she was older than I thought.
And... she's the Mother of actress Meredith Baxter!

22 December 2015

Movies. Movies. Movies.

An 80-inch HDTV viewed from a distance of six feet may as well be a movie screen.
Our son has a wall where such an electronic monster exists. We've now been in Phoenix 3 days and our time here has been spent making good use of this big sucker.

Our son LOVES movies.
At 0100 hours last Saturday night he was in a local theater watching the latest "Star Wars" offering. Sara Jean and I have discussed his love of movies and attribute it to Saturday nights almost thirty years ago...
At 9 P.M. our local PBS station would air a program called "Movie Theater", hosted by a professor at our local University.  The movies shown would be old black and whites from the 30's and 40's. Similar to what Robert Osborne does on TCM today, the professor would give us an idea of the storyline; who the actors were and what was going on in their lives at the time of production; any difficulties making the film; and other bits of trivia to make watching the movie more interesting and those of us watching more informed.

Our son was five.
Our family of three looked forward to "Movie Theater" on Saturday night.
At about ten minutes to nine we'd bring our bowl of popcorn or chips and salsa to the Master bedroom and we'd line up, Sara Jean, our son, me, backs against the headboard of the Queen-size bed, covers pulled up over our laps, to watch whatever the Professor had to offer.
Today we all remember those nights fondly. (And I frequently brag about how our five year old son learned to love HOT salsa with his tortilla chips!)
Imagine now... you've got "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" all leaning against the headboard, either dipping chips or grabbin' a handful of popcorn, snug and warm, watching and enjoying some old film together as a family.
Grand.

Last night we watched Hitchcock's "Rear Window".
The night before, we watched "Whiplash", which I recommend HIGHLY, and "Rudderless", which I also can recommend.
Sometime this week my son wants to watch the mini-series "Band of Brothers" with me.
He's never seen it.
After we see all episodes of B of B he wants to watch "The Best Years of Our Lives" with his Old Man.
We'll build some more grand memories.

What a kid.

21 December 2015

OH Canada!

Apparently Canada now has its own Barry Soetoro.
Winston Churchill, where are you when we need you desperately?

16 December 2015

"I Don't Know All The Facts"...



I, alias "Greybeard", knew enough facts at this point to understand that we as a people, and our Law Enforcement personnel specifically, were in BIG trouble.
Black lives mattered from the outset, didn't they?

14 December 2015

Some 14DEC15 Thoughts-

Yesterday we drove from Destin back home in just under 12 hours to clean up the property and prepare for our flight to spend Christmas/New Year's with our son in Arizona. When I think of our forebears moving across this land in Conestoga wagons I'm amazed...
During the complete trip we were warm, dry, seated comfortably, and had access to Sirius/XM radio the entire journey. We stopped twice for eats, once for fuel. Wonderful.
It was still warm enough when we arrived to open up windows and get some fresh air in this house.
It was then I realized, when the wind blows strong, the noise it makes passing through the bare trees sounds a great deal like the ocean crashing against the shore.


I had a couple thoughts during my drive-
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hope and Change... we now know that Hillary lies with the best of 'em.
It's a little easier to understand how Germany got into the fix they were in in the mid-1930's when you consider almost half our voting citizens would vote for a consummate liar.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Donald Trump has never indicated how he will make Mexico pay for "The Wall", and no media-type has forced the question.
Why?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I don't care for Trump. Would I vote for him if he's the candidate?
Consider this: Would any of the present candidates, (Hillary included), do more damage than Bozo? (Yes, I'd vote for Trump.)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Do Muslims shop at "Piggly Wiggly"?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Are women REALLY that out of touch with reality? Why are they not absolutely RAVING about the growing threat of Islam in the world?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Your turn. Teach me sumpin '.


11 December 2015

The "Mini Harley"-


In past Winters we've had two different motorcycles here in Destin... The old R80RT BMW and the '89 GoldWing. Both were rusty messes when we headed back North in Spring. There simply is no way to keep the saltwater spray from attacking them.
There is a small back porch/patio on this unit. It's too small to comfortably cover either of the motorcycles.

We sit on our balcony and watch as rental scooters whine by all day. Most of these little bikes are of the 50cc variety, screaming by as renters have throttles "wide open" and the little bikes reach all of 41 mph, getting almost 100 miles per gallon.
And the thought finally hit me:
Most of our shopping here is within a 10 minute drive. It's actually damaging to the Dodge/Cummins diesel truck to run such a short distance. If I could buy a small scooter I could do virtually all our shopping on the thing.

So I looked on eBay and was surprised.
Most of the offerings there were a little more than I wanted to pay. It was then I realized one of our neighbors at home has a 49cc Yamaha that sits in his unheated garage all Winter long.
I called him:
"Hey, would you consider renting your Scoot to me for the Winter?"
My thought was that I'd pay him $200/monthly or so to cover wear and tear on his machine.
He agreed to let me use the scooter, but balked at the idea of my paying him anything.
I'm uncomfortable not paying to use the machine. Heck, I'm uncomfortable just borrowing it.
He's uncomfortable charging me anything for the machine when he wouldn't be using it during the Winter anyway.
We were both uncomfortable.

Sara Jean and I went for a walk in the opposite direction we normally go.
About a mile away from home we passed the scooter rental place and saw the bike you see above, sans the rear topcase, for sale. It was marked for sale at $475. "We need to check that out", she said.
So in I went to talk with the proprietor.

"I have some new topcases to put on it if you'd like" he said.
"Throw one in at the $475 price and you've got a deal", said I.
And he offered his hand for me to shake.
It fits EASILY on the back patio.

Now I make my way to buy a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread at the screaming speed of 41 mph.
And there's a smile on my face the entire way.

10 December 2015

Christians Have It EASY ! Muslims Have It HARD !

We need to try and understand why Muslims are so angry.
The only time they seem to smile and dance is when others are dying.
I think I finally understand why.
Let's consider the difference in "Operator's Manuals"-

My instruction book tells me:
1. That God loves everyone equally.
2. To understand and acknowledge why Christ was born, died, and rose from death.
3. To love him.
4. To love my fellow man, even my enemies.

The Muslim instruction manual tells them:
1. There are two kinds of people- Believers, and INFIDELS.
2. Believers should convert infidels.

3. If infidels refuse to convert, believers must:
    a. Tax them.
    b. Enslave them.
    c. Kill them. (And the preferred method of killing is removing the head from the torso.)

Considering the above, I think it's easy to understand why Muslims always seem angry.
Let's introduce them to OUR instruction manual.


08 December 2015

For Music Lovers Only:

Some years ago, George Harrison was sued because the first three notes of "My Sweet Lord" were similar to "The Chiffon's" "He's so fine".
Harrison lost that suit and had to pay. I thought it was ridiculous. With that in mind, check this out...
This is a "new" tune:



Compare that now to this tune from MY youth:



Sounds like the same tune to me!

07 December 2015

04 December 2015

Sitting

I'm in my "spot".
It's a reclining chair. From here I have a good view of the TV, slightly to one side of the sliding glass doors that overlook the Gulf of Mexico. Today the water is like "Lake Destin". Two days ago the water was like the "Wicked Witch of the West". It's an interesting, constantly changing picture. (Sometimes dolphins spoil our view.)

Retirement...
This has NOT turned out as I thought it would, (although I have to admit, I had NO idea what to expect.)
I didn't realize the DVR would end up being "Master" of our lives.
We record STUFF, then feel obligated to watch what we've recorded.

I started to title this post "The Curse of The DVR" in honor of the new show "The Curse of Oak Island" now showing on the "History Channel", which is one of the shows we record weekly.
Daily we record, "Fox and Friends First" so that with our first cuppa we can get News/Weather/Sports.
We also daily record "Special Report" on FOX News. Add to that a daily dose of "The O'Reilly Factor".
NASCAR is done until next year. So is MotoGP. And Formula One. So those are no longer being recorded. I stopped recording "The Twilight Zone" because we've seen ALL the episodes six times. I'm still recording Alfred Hitchcock because now and then we see one we don't remember having seen.
But now, let's talk about "Turner Classic Movies"!
Even there we've seen most of the "A" list offerings. Now we're beginning to record stuff we haven't seen that MIGHT be worthwhile.
Last week, for some reason, they showed a bunch of "underground/resistance" movies filmed during WWII that were almost straight "Allied" propaganda.
If you're like me, considering what's going on in our world today, you cry like a baby when you see this stuff... realizing how much our world has changed... how much our fellow man has changed.
I've said before...
We've now gone from the "Greatest Generation" to the "Me-Me-Me" generation in 70 years.
And-
The world is a lesser place.

I sit in this recliner enjoying my view, with my pistol within arm's reach.
I'm still angry.
But watching old movies on TCM gives me HOPE for CHANGE.

I know there are a TON of folks out there reading that agree.
Give me your thoughts, PLEASE.

02 December 2015

My Truth. Your Truth.

Even lefties are now having to admit the truth about Rosa Parks.
I feel sorry for them. Their heads may explode.
Lefty hero Woodrow Wilson is under attack at Princeton.
Tree-hugging Margaret Sanger is exposed
Now if we can just insure voters are aware of  the TRUTH about Hillary.

I know...
"Don't confuse me with facts, I've already made up my mind."

29 November 2015

Gun Control-

I think I have a resolution to our "Gun Control" problem.
Let's compare the areas having the biggest problem with guns, and the areas with the least.
Then let's pass the laws similar to those with the least gun problems in the areas with the worst.
Problem solved.
(I vote for the Swiss solution.)

28 November 2015

I'm Still A "Fly By Night" Kinda Guy!

"How would you like to make $100 for about 15 minutes work?" he asked.
My poor math skills immediately went to work-
Fifteen minutes... a hundred dollars. That's $400 an hour, isn't it!?
"What's the job?"
"Flying an R22 with a night sign. You'll be proposing marriage to a gal on the ground."
"Wonderful! Where do I sign up?"

I had met the owner last year. The pilots who normally do this job were home visiting relatives for Thanksgiving.
"What are the restrictions with this system?"
"If you don't exceed 75 knots, you won't even know it's attached to the helicopter."

I had to get night current, so my total time added up to 45 minutes of night time.
The only tense moment I had was, flying right over the beach, starting a turn toward the Gulf and realizing I wasn't in my own aircraft...
No artificial horizon, it was BLACK out there. I stopped and reversed my turn where there were lights to identify my attitude.

Neat job. New experience.
Great to be back out flying at night.
And, best of all...
She said YES!



26 November 2015

On this Thanksgiving Day, My Family IS Blessed.

I know I'm one of the fortunate ones.
LONG ago I realized... I'M RICH.
You probably are too.
Does that make you happy?
It should.

If, when you've paid your bills, you have money left over to spend on things you WANT...
You are probably in that 1% of the world's population, income-wise.

Don't envy Donald Trump.
I suspect he's not really a happy camper.

Hug your wife.
Hug your kids.
Eat too much.
Watch something on your big flat screen TV.
And be happy.

Yes, the world's a mess.
But... where ON EARTH would you rather be?

Thank you Lord.
Guide our leaders.
Be with us and guide us, too.

25 November 2015

Yes, I Know I'm Angry.

And I guess it IS a problem.
But... how do I correct it if it seems to be an "un-problem" to me?

She said, "Greybeard, I'm worried about you.
And I'm not the only one... there are others worried about you."
She's talking about my anger. And I understand.
My problem is, others don't try to see the world through my eyes.
So, if you can, try to see how the world looks to me:

It all started back in '08 when it was obvious Hillary wouldn't be the dem nominee.
I already knew more than most about this young, attractive, powerfully speaking upstart.
Living in Illinois, I had watched him win the scandalous election for U.S. Senator after some POWERFUL but corrupt individual had (illegally) released information about
the divorce of Jeri and (U.S. Senatorial candidate) Jack Ryan. I watched as the republican party scrambled to find a suitable candidate to replace Ryan on the ballot, then watched as Alan Keyes made a hash of his campaign.
Dirty, dirty politics... normal for the state governed by "Chicago Style" politics.
I shrugged my shoulders and accepted.

But Obama had only served as U.S. Senator from Illinois a short while when, suddenly, he became a candidate for president of the United States.
He had a poor record as State Senator.

Information on his life, to include his birth certificate, his passport, his undergraduate college records, his graduate college records, and his tenure as editor of the Harvard Law Review... all vanished. Rather than take a stand, he voted "present" on virtually all controversial bills.


But I had faith all would be well.
I grew up in Indiana. I was surrounded by grounded, thinking, solid citizens there.
This will work out... Obama has NO chance of winning because voters will see through this carnival.
In front of others I even began to mock him, saying his name in the most quiet, reverent way I could.
Hadn't Oprah called him "The Messiah"?


I put too much faith in young voters.
Here at "Pitchpull" a young med student calling himself "Flightfire" and a guy studying to be an aircraft mechanic... "Rodolfo", began forcefully commenting in favor of electing "The One".
No rational argument could dissuade them.
Logic?
"Don't try to convince me with facts. I've already made up my mind!"
I was stupid. I did not realize how much Bush Derangement Syndrome had affected my country.

So Obama was elected.
Oh well. It IS historical. He DID campaign on uniting the nation.
Maybe he'll surprise me.

Yeah, he has surprised me. But voters have surprised me even more. Obama runs for re-election and wins? How is that possible?

Against my will I found myself in the U.S. Army in 1966.

I decided to make lemonade out of lemons.
When I took the oath to support and defend the Constitution I had tears in my eyes. I meant every word. I still take that oath seriously, and will until I no longer draw breath.

So, through my eyes, try to imagine how it felt to go to war, be repeatedly shot at, (one round missing my face literally by six inches), and come home to watch my war be lost by politicians.
Through my eyes, try to imagine what it's like to watch the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the land decide which laws he'll enforce and which he won't.
Through my eyes, try to imagine how I feel when, as a former Deputy Sheriff, I watch as the leader of the land announced "The cops acted stupidly".
I'm in despair.
Why am I in despair?
My government is letting us down. My country is dying. Why?
Because my fellow citizens were stupid. They willingly voted for a "Pig in a Poke".

And MY biggest problem is that I know who to blame.
I actually was called a racist by some of these idiots because I disagreed with Obama's policies...
Policies I KNEW at the time would lead to the terrible situation we now find ourselves in.
What should I do? What can I do?
I have, to the extent I can, removed myself from them.

If you want, how do you come back within my "circle of wagons"?
Is it too much to ask for an apology for calling me a racist... for voting in a way that's destroying our country?
Millions of my fellow Veterans are, (let me be nice), ANGRY.
Maybe a little self-flagellation on your part would suffice?!

ANGER...
I just hope we get adult leadership soon. I hope that some REAL leader can say the magic words that help us avoid a Civil War in my beloved country.
God be with us.

24 November 2015

Poor Bozama

I'm waiting on the Hollande/Obama press conference to start.
It will be interesting to see if Obama blames our failures on Bush, or on Global Cooling/Global Warming/Climate Change/"Weather Weirding".
Place your bets ladies and gentlemen.

22 November 2015

Have The Scales Fallen From Their Eyes?

When (the worst president in my lifetime) Jimmy Carter criticizes your foreign policy, and ABC News has the stones to report it, you might need to think about changing course.
(Or don't, and make the elections next November REALLY interesting.)

18 November 2015

Obama Vs. Cruz?

Let's get ready to RUUUUUUUMMMMMMMMMMBBBBBBBLLLLLE!

Reserve a venue. Put gloves on 'em. Donate the proceeds to charity.
Who'd win?

Egyptian Analysis

I'd "LOL", but I'm too angry, frustrated, and depressed:

Turkey is a member of NATO.
At a soccer match there yesterday spectators booed when asked to participate in a "moment of silence for Paris", then, in unison, chanted "Allahu Akhbar".
I'm yearning for someone smarter than me to reassure me this is nothing to worry about-
Our world IS NOT falling apart around us.
So, reassure me.

More here.
Be prepared, or be a victim.

17 November 2015

"We'll Simply Have More Babies Than You."

Denial.
This video was removed from YouTube because of "Copyright Infringement".
What "all-powerful Wizard" doesn't want you to see it?

My hope?
We'll have front-row seats to watch what is going in in France, Sweden, Germany, Greece, etc., and will have time to prepare before the violence starts here.

Be prepared, or be a victim.

Choose Your Heroes Carefully



Where you get your news and information DOES make a difference!

16 November 2015

Unleash the Bubbas.



This demonstration happened in the Dartmouth school library while true learners were trying to study.
The "Bubba Effect" is ridiculed in this wiki entry.

With Paris in mind...
With University of Missouri in mind...
With Ferguson in mind...
With "the Police acted stupidly", or "ISIS is contained" in mind...
Are you, like me, proud to be a "Bubba"?

I fear the stupid "intelligent" people are about to reap the whirlwind.

15 November 2015

"MODERATE Muslims"?

My Holy Book tells me-
To love my Lord.
To love my neighbor.
To love my enemy.

What does your Holy Book tell you?

With that in mind, educate me:
What is a "Moderate Muslim"?

14 November 2015

Presidential Wisdom-

"We have contained them."
"No challenge poses a greater threat to our future than climate change.”

Brilliance, from "Choom".
We voted for this.
Now we're suffering the consequences.

13 November 2015

Brave New World

I'm not at all sure I'd be brave enough.
I think I know how I'd respond, but even Peter failed the test, didn't he?
"Are you a Christian?" (The question is asked with a pistol to your head.)
If you've not read the post "I support the troops" beneath this one, go read it now.
The above question... also comes down to "What are your principles?", doesn't it?
What's important in your life? Skin color? Economic status? Political party? Defending those in your Foxhole, or in your unit?
We are a divided nation. Our spoiled children think of the world in terms of "How will this affect me?".
We've (collectively) failed our kids by allowing them to think the world revolves around them.

Family?
Well, "The Walton's" was fiction, wasn't it?
Government is now our supplier and protector... until it can no longer handle that job.
And when that happens, what then?
I'll tell you this-
The Peggy Josephs of the world will be desperately trying to find a way to feed their children, even if it means stealing from you to do it.

Be prepared,
or be a victim.

12 November 2015

"Iwo Jima: From Combat to Comrades"



I recorded this last night and watched it today.
All I can say is... WOW.
Veterans of the battle from both sides met on the Island and shared their experiences.
It will be rebroadcast on PBS here Tuesday morning at 0400 hours. Your mileage may vary, so check your local listings.
If you cannot record it, watch the YouTube version above.
It's amazing to compare today's youth with the young "Greatest Generation".
Fair warning...
Keep the tissues handy.

I Support The Troops!

Okay, so I'm confused.
You support the troops, but also support today's political environment that puts our troop's lives more at risk?
(Do you honestly believe putting 50 Special Forces operators in Syria is gonna win the war?)
Tell me how.

Please, if you are saying "I support the troops" out of one side of your mouth...
Did you buy a new GM or Chrysler automobile?
Where are your principles?

Do you do business with AARP?
Where are your principles?

Do you plan to go see the new Quentin Tarantino movie?
Where are your principles?


We live in Bizarro World.
I guess in order to stick to your principles, you first have to have 'em.
But you need to be aware how your lack of principles is helping destroy the country.

10 November 2015

Mr. Bankston

My sophomore year in High School I had a teacher I liked a lot, named Mr. Bankston.
Mr. Bankston was a history teacher. He taught the subject, which had always bored me to tears, in a way that at least made me think how it connected to the way I was living.
He was from Texas, and he was a bit of a character. Trying to impact our personal lives, he'd frequently get off on tangents about how to drive safely, how to act in such a way as to avoid trouble, and how to FIGHT if trouble was unavoidable.

I can remember one thing about his advice on fighting to this day...
"If you get into a streetfight and you're losing, you'll end up fighting dirty.
Why not start out that way? At best it will shorten the fight. At worst, at least you'll get your licks in early."
Agree or disagree?
I think our nation today would be better off taking Mr. B's advice.

I'm now watching the last of my recordings of Ken Burn's "The Civil War", which includes General Sherman's infamous "March to the sea".
William Tecumseh Sherman had the attitude that if you wanted to shorten the war, you needed to make war as unbearable as possible. That meant denying the enemy the civilian support they needed to continue prosecuting the conflict. There are still those who will argue Sherman's actions were inhumane.
I'm sure Mr. Bankston would disagree.

We are now engaged in a war against Muslims.
Our enemy feels no shame in lining up 200 Syrian children and machine-gunning them.
They feel no compunction against taking 35 Christians to the banks of the Mediterranean and beheading them.
They're using Sherman's tactics.

At some point we'll realize we're in a streetfight.
We're now losing that fight.


"War is all Hell" said William Tecumseh Sherman.
I'd argue it's not yet ENOUGH Hell for Isis.

We need adult leadership.
And we need an electorate that isn't a bunch of pussies.

09 November 2015

Goodbye Glen, and Thank You.



CNN ran the movie about Glen Campbell's battle with Alzheimer's disease again Saturday night.
I cried like a baby.
If you have personal experience with the disease this song is beautiful, and heartwrenching.

08 November 2015

Here's Lookin' At You, Kid.

A couple weeks ago a friend saw a news report about a lady that had entered a bathroom with her child.
The lady's kid was intelligent... curious.
"Mommy, what's that?"
When the lady investigated she found a camera pointed at the commode.
Law enforcement was called. Arrests were made.

The report obviously made a serious impact on my friend. She now does her own reconnaissance every time she enters a restroom. Good thing too-
At a shop she regularly frequents she asked to use the "facilities".
"Just a moment" the owner responded, and, as if to insure they were suitable for her use, momentarily went into that space.
When he came out she noticed he had not flushed the toilet... hadn't washed his hands.
So the first thing she did upon entering was look under the sink.
There, camouflaged behind a sheet of cardboard, was a cell phone- video mode activated.
She hesitated a moment wondering what she should do, then, wisely, used her own phone to take a photo of the hidden camera. She then reached down and pulled the phone from its attachment and inserted it into her purse, opened the restroom door, and walked out of the shop.

The shop owner followed her out the door...
"Please. I have a wife and kids. Can I please have my phone back?"
"No."
On her own cell phone she dialed the police.
At this point the shop owner grabs for her purse. A struggle for the purse ensues, resulting in my friend being pushed onto her back into a thicket as the owner succeeded in retrieving his phone. He immediately begins to DELETE, DELETE, DELETE.

The police arrive fifteen minutes later.
After viewing her photo of the hidden camera, the shop owner is arrested.
My friend is slightly bruised, scratched, stressed, but not seriously hurt, thank God.
She's also mentally shaken.

As she told us the story the realization came to me-
Do we have a right to privacy? Absolutely.
But cameras these days have been downsized to the point you WILL NOT be able to see many of them by bending down and taking a look beneath the adjacent sink.
We might have a RIGHT to privacy, but I think we must realize our true expectation of privacy is going the way of the Dodo Bird.

I now behave as if I am ALWAYS being watched.
Sadly, that may be true
.

07 November 2015

Screaming Sasquatch!


This is "Jack Link's Beef Jerky's" "Screaming Sasquatch"
It performed yesterday at Pensacola Naval Air Station's "Blue Angels" homecoming.
And it did something I have NEVER seen an airplane do-
He climbed vertically and "hovered" the airplane at about 2000' AGL.
Then, from that point, he added power and ACCELERATED VERTICALLY!
(Watch at just after the 8:00 point in the  video.)
A 1920's airplane with added modern-day technology.
Amazing.

(Another good video about the airplane here.)

06 November 2015

To Sleep, Perchance To Dream?

Sleep... nap, really.
Wake, and my mind goes ninety miles an hour.
Sleep an hour or so more.
Wake, look at the clock, stagger to the bathroom.
Back to bed... rest and wait for sleep to return.
Repeat this cycle a couple times each night.

I think part of the problem is lack of activity.
We spend much of the day watching news, then stuff we've recorded on the DVR. The only real exercise we get is on our two-mile walks, which have been interrupted lately by lots of rain.


An article on "healthy sleep" that I read yesterday also reminded me that drinking Diet Coke all day gives me a decent dose of caffeine.
I'll switch to caffeine free.
I'd hate to think my days of  "sleeping like a baby" are gone forever.

Suggestions?




05 November 2015

Intelligence?

I said, (with tongue firmly in cheek),
"People smarter than you and me got us into this mess".
He said, (something to the effect), "I doubt they're smarter than you".
Facebook.
Smart people, on the same page, attacking one another.

Bye-Bye Facebook!

I'm now sitting about forty feet from where I sat when I started "Pitchpull" a little over ten years ago.
Destin, Florida.

I've been unfaithful.
I've neglected the Blog now for over a year.
I now know how Don Quixote SHOULD have felt. Ol' Don assumed he was doin' good things.
But the rest of the world thought he was a fool.
I'm tired of shouting from the rooftops.
I'm tired of posting stuff on Facebook that eventually comes true because no one else cares.
My cardiovascular system needs a vacation in Destin.

My Facebook account will stay open, but this is the last time you'll see anything on my page.
I'm returning to Old Faithful, where at least I can easily go back and show how idiots like "Rodolfo" and "Flightfire" voted for poison.
(Remember them, Pitchpullers? :>) )

Deep breath.
I'm goin' to the balcony. It's 80 degrees with a few clouds today.
I feel good.
I hope you do too.
Leave a comment at "Pitchpull" and I'll respond.






09 July 2015

The Cruise, Part II

The best laid of plans-
Sara Jean LOVES purses.
She has a collection of 'em hanging on the door of the guest bedroom...
Coach. Dooney and Burke. Kathy Van Zieland. Bruce Whatever'isname is.
When you open that door, it's heavy enough to make you look at what is causing the considerable effort to open it.
There's a LOT of money hanging back there.

I don't know which brand the purse she took with her on the cruise had placarded on its innards, but it was a BIG one. So, since I was pulling two fairly large suitcases as we departed our truck to get on the light rail system, I handed my NEW Nikon digital camera to her to put into her purse for safe-keeping. Obviously, we wanted to take LOTS of pics of Eagles, Whales, Bears, and interesting fellow travelers.
Protecting the camera was of utmost importance.
We boarded the train, sighed in relief, and sat back to relax and enjoy the ride to the airport.


About 10 minutes into the trip I noticed the sign:
"The weekend of 20-21 June, repairs will be underway at *********** station. Shuttle buses will be provided for passengers continuing to the airport."
And so it was. At the designated station we had to disembark the train and board the airport shuttle.

"UH-OH" I heard my beloved say.
(Uh-oh nearly ALWAYS costs me money.)
I turned to look at her. She held up her LARGE purse to show the line about two inches from the bottom where the water bottle she had also placed in the purse had leaked and soaked everything aboard...
My camera included.

ADVENTURE!
I LOVE traveling.
It's the getting to and from it that irritates me.
(The trials will continue in Part III.)

03 July 2015

The Cruise, Part I

It was my first cruise, her second. Because of her previous experience we decided not to skimp.
The cost initially took my breath away. Then I looked at the big picture-
Great quarters with an AMAZING view.
Food. Food! FOOD!
Live performances nightly in the Princess Theater.
A chance to see Eagles, Whales, Bears, and Serbians up close. (Our waitress was an attractive Serb.)
Add to that the fact we'd be traveling over 2000 miles by a vehicle as nice as any hotel I've ever stayed in...

The reason for the cost came into clearer, less scary view.
Still, it was a chunkachange.

We were packed. All my stuff was in half a suitcase.

Her stuff occupied the other half of my bag and two more (larger) pieces of luggage. In our years together I've resigned myself to the fact that being beautiful takes work dedication, and artistry. She makes me proud.

The night before departure we carried Lucy to our friend's house where, for just over a week, she will be treated as well, maybe better, than she would be pampered at home.

I slept fitfully.
"Have I dotted all the I's and crossed all the "T's"?"
In order to get on the ship, several links in a chain have to hold strong:
-We have to get to the Light Rail Train on time.
-The Train has to get us to the airport on time.

-Our airplane(s) have to remain airworthy and our flight(s) have to depart and arrive reasonably on time. (We had a connection in Denver).
-The Hotel room I reserved for the night before departure has to be ready for occupation.
-A taxi then has to get us to the ship on time.
WOW.

That's a LOT of "ifs", isn't it?

But I had scheduled everything with ample time margins, and it all fell into place as planned.
Departure morning dawned clear and warmer than normal, and with a free "La Quinta" breakfast in our bellies we climbed into the ubiquitous Toyota Prius taxi for the 20 minute trip to Seattle's Pier 91.
Here we GO!

22 May 2015

Thirteen

True story:
It's a simple math exercise...
The sum of eight and five is thirteen.
To get that answer, you need to put three into the "units" column, and carry one into the "tens" column.
You need the remedial math to understand my (admittedly lame) story.

I was nine.
The guy that owned the local hardware store was a personal acquaintance. He drove a truck, and his dog ran alongside him, following him everywhere he went.
One day the dog somehow got beneath the wheels of the truck and his right rear leg was crushed so badly the Vet had to amputate it.
In an amazingly short period of time the dog learned to function almost normally without that leg, once again running alongside the hardware store owner's truck.

We named that dog "Thirteen".
It was an expert at "putting down three and carrying one".
And in spite of his name, we actually thought he was pretty lucky.



14 May 2015

Don't Touch That!

Neighbor calls...
"Does your new car have a dipstick to check your automatic transmission fluid?"
"Sure" I answered.
I was wrong.

He had taken his new car in to have its initial checkup performed. Before he left the dealership he read the paperwork to see what work they had done.

"Check transmission fluid" and "Check power steering fluid" were not checked on the checklist.
"Why didn't you check those?" he asked.
Their answer surprised him...
"The steering is electric. There is no fluid. There is no way to check the transmission fluid. When the transmission warning light comes on, come back and we'll do the necessary maintenance."

I opened the hood to our new Taurus. Sure enough, the only dipstick I see is to check the engine oil.
The owner's manual reinforces what his dealer told him...
Got a problem with the car?

Take it back to the dealer for service.

Wow.
How things have changed, huh?

16 March 2015

"Now Hiring"

We've been walking a lot here.
We first noticed it at the "Wendy's" we walked to-
"Help wanted. All positions."

The next day we walked to "Del Taco". On the front door was a sign- "Now Hiring".

A little later we ate at "Golden Corral".
Wait... don't get ahead of me now!
But you're right.

And it's not just the fast food joints.
The Home Depot just down the block is also begging for help.

So guess how we handle the "Homeless. Two kids. Will work for food." folks standing on the corner near the "San Tan Village" mall?
We ignore them. Then we wonder if it would do any good to inform them of the MANY employment opportunities available if they'd just open their eyes.

No. Of course not.
They're too happy getting the equivalent of $61,000 in government benefits while adding to that any money they can mooch while standing on the corner with a sign.

What have we become?

14 March 2015

Walkees!

We've now been in Phoenix three months.
We were concerned we'd hate it. Ya can't really get a sense of a place until you've spent more than a couple weeks there. Three months gives ya a pretty good taste.
The fact that we're already talking about coming back in the Fall says everything you need to know.
Communities like Yuma, Quartzite, and Gila Bend have populations that DOUBLE during Winter months. It's hard to put into words how PERFECT Winter weather is here. Couple that with views of magenta sunsets behind majestic rocks and you can understand why these towns explode in the Winter.
We'll be back.

We've been taking time to exercise. Out the door, South to Ray Street and return, the gps indicates a distance of EXACTLY two miles. The streets are wide and nicely landscaped. We walk this distance twice daily... once in the morning before it's too hot for Lucy, and again during and after sunset, also to avoid superheated pavement while enjoying the above-mentioned pastel colors in the West.
The morning walk takes 40 minutes. (By my calculations that's 3 miles per hour, folks.) The same walk in the evening can take a lot more time because lots of other folks are out walking their furbabies and we always have to stop, scratch under a muzzle, and "ooh and ahh" about the beauty or charm of someone else's critter. (Golden and Labra Doodles are all the rage here like everywhere else, but there ARE a few pure-blooded Standard Poodles in the mix that make me melancholy for my old pal.)

Midway during our walk, about a month ago we started smelling the most intoxicating fragrance. It was so reminiscent of Honeysuckle it made us homesick. We'd look around trying to figure out where the scent was coming from... to no avail.
Two weeks ago I was standing in a line of folks ten deep at "Harbor Freight Tools", chatting. When asked where I was from I made mention of the fact that one of the things that still knocks me out is to be on the bike at a stop and look left or right and see citrus trees full of beautiful, ripe fruit. The guy behind me replied, "Yeah, and right now the Orange Blossoms are REALLY doing their thing."
And there it was. Next time we were reminded of Honeysuckle we looked and sure enough... there was an Orange tree.
Wonderful.

A couple pet peeves...
This whole area is governed by HOA's... Homeowners Associations. On our walks we are constantly picking up sandwich wrappers, plastic water bottles, soda cans, broken glass, etc..
We then frequently walk more than half a mile to dispose of stuff others have thrown out their car windows.

HOA's please... more trashcans along the route.

And... there are bike paths EVERYWHERE here!
Nice, smooth, two-foot wide pavement reserved by a white line alongside the roadway. Sometimes it even has the caricature of a bicycle rider painted in the lane to indicate what it's for.
Why is it then that we, as pedestrians, have to move out of the way to avoid being T-boned by bicyclists riding on the sidewalks?

Vote me "King of the World".
I'll straighten this place out!!

13 March 2015

Friday the 13th Patriot Guard Ride

Retired. We no longer set the alarm.
No matter when I get horizontal, I normally wake about 0730...
As I did this morning.

Into our "sitting room" with my cuppa to check my email and not bother Sara Jean, I prided myself on being considerate for about four minutes. She and Lucy were upandat'em too. I may as well have gotten SJ's coffee when I poured mine.

Gathering time for the ride was 0900. Kickstands up time was "TBD"... to be determined.
I knew it was a fairly short ride to the mustering point, but I wanted to refuel prior to be sure I wouldn't embarrass myself. So I was out the door at 0815.

What a day!
Absolutely clear blue sky... the temp was about 65 degrees.
I decided to locate the gathering point, then get fuel. An added bonus!
I found fuel for 12 cents per gallon cheaper than I could have bought it near home and saved 48 cents!

Tank full, I still made it to our starting point by 0845.

Mine was the seventh signature on the sign-in sheet. That meant this would be a fairly well attended ride... several others would show up before our departure.

Ride Captain Bob blew his whistle and briefed us all on the mission.
We'd be escorting a Viet Nam Vet just a few years my senior.

We always start our ride by playing and singing along with Lee Greenwood's "God Bless The USA".
This morning, about 20 members of the Veteran's family came over, joined hands with our members, and sang along with us.
Touching? You bet.
As always, we then had a prayer for troops still at risk, their families, for a safe ride, and thanks for our MANY blessings.

We departed about 1000 hours. Our route started out on arterial streets, then joined limited-access highway, then back on arterials, then back to limited access, until we exited on the street leading to the National Cemetery here.

The mountains seem almost touchable from the cemetery...
It is a LOVELY, quiet, sacred place.

There were 21 flag-bearers in our flag line at the cemetery. By this time if there had been a thermometer to read, it probably would have indicated 85 degrees or so. That's not all that bad. But we were in full sun with our flags, standing at a modified position of attention. The preacher honoring this Vet and his family liked the sound of his own voice a LOT.
He spoke for 45 minutes.
Then the eldest son got up to eulogize his Dad and the first thing out of his mouth?
"We thank the Patriot Guard for this WONDERFUL showing of support!"

Did I say anything about the heat?
Fuggitabouthat!

11 March 2015

Svengoolie II

On the 16th of January I wrote a post bemoaning the fact that here in Phoenix I could no longer watch my campy, stupid horror show, hosted by Chicago's "Soupy Sales" imitator "Svengoolie".
None of you came to my aid.
What's up with you guys?

A few weeks ago Sara Jean was complaining she had no TV in the kitchen to watch as she was preparing the feast for yours truly. As is the norm for us men, the first order of business for us is to keep the woman happy during the time she is preparing the feast we have worked so hard to procure and intend to savor.
Therefore, I purchased an antenna called the "Terk" HD antenna, so my beloved could stay entertained while she prepared the sumptuous feast for her provider.
Amazingly, here in Phoenix this antenna sucks in about 50 channels for her to view. Some of them are broadcast in languages we don't understand, but that's irrelevant...
Even the ones broadcast in Spanish focus on pretty girls with pretty curves.
You can leave the sound off. With these curves... I'm a fan.

But here's the question at hand for now-
Growing up in Indianapolis, Indiana, I remember three channels:
Channel 4 was an independent channel.
Channel 6 was NBC.
Channel 8 was CBS.

Later on, we added channel 13, an ABC affiliate. Then to make things complicated, channels 6 and 13 swapped positions on the dial and confused everyone.
Channels DID NOT HAVE FRACTIONS.
Now? They DO.

Saturday night I was pokin' around the dial with our new "Terk". Guess what I found that you guys didn't help me with?!!!!
Channel "7.2" is "MeTV".
Guess who I found?!!
Yep.
My Svengoolie was hosting an "Invisible Man" movie.
I'm now excited.

Guess where my fat derriere will be next Saturday night?

But... Channel 7.2?
What the heck is that?
I'm sure a 5-yr old understands it.
This 68-year old is still trying to sort it out!

19 February 2015

Hillary Vs. Jeb in '16?

Is this the best we can do?
It's no wonder we're all angry with one another.

If, in 2016, I have a choice between Hillary and Jeb, I'm voting for Hillary. Seriously!
(Given the choice between being beheaded and being shot while attempting escape, I'll choose the latter.)
What a mess.

I really hope Elizabeth Warren jumps into the fray, and chooses Ward Churchill as her running mate.
The idea of having another team of liars in the White House REALLY excites me.
(Vomits forcefully across the room.)

15 February 2015

While You're Alive, Why Not LIVE ! ?



I am frequently saddened by how many people have "given up".
The world has gone crazy and they feel overwhelmed.
You can cajole, argue, shout...
If they've given up, for the most part, it's a waste of time.

Then I see a video like this and realize there ARE folks out there with SPIRIT.
Folks who won't quit; WON'T give up no matter what.
And my cup is refilled.

Life is good, isn't it?
So LIVE IT!

14 February 2015

The "Super Ten"-

So... how do I like the new bike?
I'm surprised.
I had REAL concerns.
One of my main fears about this bike was vibrations. I've owned and ridden Harley-Davidsons and the vibration levels on those machines cracked the license plate OFF due to metal fatigue.

I was fortunate the first time it happened to hear the plate skitter down the road behind me. I stopped, went back, retrieved it, then mounted it upside-down on the bike via the remaining undamaged mounting holes.
The second time it happened, I didn't hear it depart. When I got the replacement plate I mounted it on a blanket of rubber and that "Band-Aid" resolved my "escape artist" license plate problem.

The "Super Tenere" is a parallel two-cylinder motorcycle. This engine configuration USED to be renowned for having serious vibe problems. No more.
This 1200cc powerplant is counterbalanced. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd rate the vibe level at about a 2 or three.
No, it's not a GoldWing. You can hear AND feel the engine running, but it's not distracting or irritating.
I wouldn't be afraid to take off tomorrow on a coast-to-coast trip on it, and I'd expect to arrive with a smile on my face.

It's a fairly large motorcycle...
When I'm on it solo I can put the balls of my feet on the ground, but NOT my heels.
If Sara Jean is on behind me, the suspension squats enough that I can "flat foot" at stops.
But it nevertheless weighs 586 pounds with no fuel. On a couple occasions I have put my feet down on gravel or sand as I came to a stop and ALMOST had my foot slip out from under me. Only by luck did I not end up looking like Arte Johnson on his tricycle in the old "Rowan and Martin's Laugh In" show.
It's just a matter of time until it happens. I'll be buying a set of crash bars to eliminate, or at least mitigate the damage when I make a fool of myself.

Anytime you operate a "new to you" machine, you go through a period of time trying to learn its quirks to get comfortable with it.
On the "Super Ten", that adjustment period took about 10 seconds.
Let me qualify that... this machine has electronic gadgets on it that may prohibit me from EVER actually being able to get it to do everything it can do. But so far as basic operation?
It's the easiest bike to ride I ever swung a leg over.
Below 55 mph Sara Jean even enjoys it. Above that speed, the wind buffets her helmet around and she pines for the GoldWing.

Me?
Reviewing the six bikes in my stable...
I have a new favorite motorcycle

11 February 2015

Artsy-Fartsy



When I heard he died last week I was transported back to Summer, 1968.
I was learning to fly, getting ready to deploy to an area where I knew there were angry people who would like nothing more than to make small (or maybe NOT so small !) holes in my slow-moving helicopter.

I knew they'd also be ecstatic if one of those hole-makers happened to encounter flesh or bone along the way on its journey.
Knowing you'll be facing that environment in a few months will focus your attention; make you try to squeeze every wonderful drop of life out of every moment.

I have no idea where or how I first heard this tune. I was probably in exactly the right melancholy mood for it to have maximum impact... maybe I'd had an adult beverage or two.
All I know is that I went almost immediately and bought the record, and have it still.

When you listen, you'll need to be in the proper state of mind to fully enjoy it. Maybe you'll want to hold off until later?

You made my life better during a difficult time, Mr. McKuen.
I hope you know that.

10 February 2015

Murphy's Law- GPS Chapter

I wanted Sara Jean to see "The Riverwalk" in San Antonio. The plan was to spend one night in Dallas with loved ones, then head further South from there.
 From "Alamo Town" we'd then continue West on I-10 to Phoenix.
I estimated the entire trip would add 2000 miles to the odometer on the new SHO, and I really didn't want to do that. There was also another problem-
The community our son lives in does not allow cars to be parked on the street overnight. With his car and two motorcycles already residing there, there would be no room in the garage for any vehicle we brought.
Renting a car was the obvious solution.
After comparison shopping, the Hertz deal seemed unbelievable-
Mid-size "whatever"... one week... unlimited mileage... $248.
Sign us up!

The car waiting at the rental agency turned out to be a Chevy Malibu equipped with all the stuff you'd normally expect AND Sirius XM radio.
It DID NOT have a GPS receiver. No sweat... we have two portables.
I grabbed one, plugged it into the power port to insure it still worked, and figured we were ready for our adventure. Only after starting out did I realize I had grabbed the older of our two Garmin GPS units. Oh well, what could go wrong?

South to Dallas and at the start of our hop to San Antonio, all went well.
About an hour North of San Antonio we stopped for a bite to eat. Starting the car for our last leg to the "La Quinta Inn", the GPS failed to come up.
Cycle off/on... Nothin'.
Urgently... cycle off/on... Nothin'.
Desperately... unplug the unit, then plug it back in... Nothin'.
... Curse to myself for not using our AAA membership and having them send "Triptiks" for the entire trip to Phoenix.
Pull out the fuze to see if it's obviously frazzled. It's getting dark and I can barely see the fuze, much less tell if there's a gap in the filament.

Oh well.
I drive into town, spot the first La Quinta Inn we can see, and go in to get directions to where we have reservations.
All is good.

Next day I get on the computer and find a Radio Shack. I take the unit with me and me and the friendly clerk replace the inline fuze... Nothin'.
Uh-oh.
Heck with it. The rest of this sojourn is just a matter of insuring we stay on I-10. Who needs "Carmen the Garmin" anyway?

Gotta be the battery, right? The unit is old. Lithium-Ion batteries don't last forever.

Safely settled in our Winter quarters I take a closer look at the unit. I'm fearful of trying to replace the battery myself... there's no obvious place the unit pops apart to remove it.
So I get on the computer and find a "Batteries Plus" store nearby and call 'em...
"Do you replace GPS batteries?"
"Yes sir we do."

Great.
At the store I hand him the unit and he asks, "It's gonna be $35. Would you like me to give you the battery to replace it, or do you want me to do it for you?" I'm pleased the cost isn't MUCH more.
I tell him I'm scared I'm gonna break the thing trying to replace the battery. He smiles, shrugs, and says "No problem. I'll do it. Can you come back tomorrow to pick it up?"
"Sure."


Next day I go back and he hands me my GPS. I turn it on and the display lights up like a CHAMP.
YAY!
But after it acquires the satellites I try to program it for "Home" and it won't respond to touch.
We cycle it off/on.
No dice. I hand it back to him.
He says "Let me have a look and I'll give you a call."

Two days later, the phone rings...
"Greybeard, I somehow tore a ribbon-conductor in your unit when I replaced the battery. Getting that part would cost more than buying you a new GPS.
So we're getting you a new unit. It'll be here in four days."

Wow.
A NEW GPS unit for the cost of the battery replacement!
Isn't it nice to know there are still honorable business people around?
Guess where I'll be buying my batteries from now on?



07 February 2015

"That Ain't A Harley You're Ridin', Is It Boy?!", Continued.

The body had not yet been embalmed.
The mission was to assemble at Phoenix International Airport and from there, escort the remains an hour South to a Mortuary outside Casa Grande, AZ for embalming and internment.
I was a little concerned I'd get the same reception from this group as I had gotten during my last "Patriot Guard" event.
Fearing traffic around the airport I arrived almost an hour early.
Interesting- three bikes were there already... another GoldWing and two "Harley Clones", a Yamaha and a Suzuki "Boulevard" Trike. Not surprisingly, I sensed no "Attitude" about my choice of conveyance.
Over the next hour 30 or so bikes made their way to the assembly area. Of that number, I counted five Harley-Davidsons.

I have NO idea whether or not the group composition had anything to do with the atmosphere, but from the beginning this  ride was different. Everyone was friendly. Everyone seemed to be focused on the fact we were there to escort this hero to his final resting place.
We were FAMILY.

We saluted as the body was loaded into the hearse, then lined the bikes behind it to tackle what was now Phoenix "Rush hour" traffic for the start of our ride South on Interstate 10.
Can you imagine the difficulty? Try throwing a hearse and 30 bikes onto a slow-moving, six-lane highway!
It was exhilarating.
The Arizona "Patriot Guard" works with local Law Enforcement authorities and trains and equips "Road Guards" to go "Code 3"... lights and sirens to move and block traffic.
And folks on the road cooperated magnificently.
We moved through the cars like a knife through... well, ALMOST like butter!

Clear of traffic South of Phoenix we SAILED.
Have you ever been relatively at the end of a line of 30 bikes in staggered-left echelon going 70 mph on an Interstate Highway?
I now have.
And  lemme tell ya... IT'S A THRILL.

At the facility in Casa Grande we were met by the widow, standing next to the drive as we filed by, tears streaming down her cheeks.
Folks, if that don't make you cry, you ain't human.

02 February 2015

"That Ain't A Harley You're Ridin', Is It Boy?!"

The plan for today is to depart home base around 1300 hours in order to arrive at Phoenix Intl. Airport by 1400. I'll be on the GoldWing.
My purpose today is to meet up with several other members of the PGR... "Patriot Guard Riders", to escort the remains of a Navy Veteran from PHX to Casa Grande, AZ, where his services will be held.
Weather is nearly perfect and I look forward to the experience with one exception:
The last time Sara Jean and I participated in a PGR ride, we felt excluded from the group.

I've written before about the "Club", and how some bikers only associate with other bikers who ride a certain American-made motorcycle. I'm sure MOST of the bikes in today's procession from PHX to Casa Grande will fall into this category. Mine won't.
Sara Jean was so angry after our last ride, she won't be accompanying me today. The rest of the group today will obviously be worse for not having had the chance to meet her.
I've decided I'm not gonna allow "attitude" to  deter me...

I'm NOT riding because I want to suck up to anyone. I'm riding to honor the memory of a Vet... someone that felt compelled to sign "the blank check".

I hope my experience  today is different than our earlier ride.
But with my personal history, I DO NOT  yearn to be part of the aforementioned "Club".

More later.

01 February 2015

PLEASE, Take My Money!


Okay- First, an embarrassing admission:
I just bought another bike. That now makes seven, here, and there. Minus the tank bag and the bag on the pillion, it looks like that bike up there^.
Just over a year ago I brought the Suzuki SV650s to Phoenix and left it for me to use while here, and my son to use to commute to/from work. He has used "Roswell" MUCH more than I expected.

When we arrived this trip and I took Roswell out for a spin, it scared me.
My son IS NOT mechanically minded. The chain had obviously NOT been adjusted for quite some time. It was SO loose, I actually feared for my well-being.
And his. He admitted he wasn't comfortable with the mechanics of keeping the chain properly adjusted.
Oh boy.

I like shaft-driven bikes.
He NEEDS a shaft-driven bike.

He and I have both dropped Roswell on its right side due to "enthusiastic" use of the VERY powerful front brake at walking speed.
We BOTH could use a bike with a good anti-lock brake system. Long time readers know I've been looking at the Yamaha as a candidate.
The local dealer had a NEW 2014 Super Tenere ES on the showroom floor.  We've been nibbling at one another now for two weeks about the sale price on the bike. They came down over 3 grand. The hard bags and topcase on the bike cost over 2 grand by themselves.

I agreed to buy it.

I called and told them I wanted to send them a personal check from my online checking account and that I was willing to wait until those funds were safely in their account and had cleared before coming to pick the bike up.
"No can do!" was the response.
"We can only accept a Cashier's check, a 'Certified' check, or CASH as payment!"
Uhhhh..... WHAT?
"Let me repeat, to make sure you heard what I said" I replied...
"I'm willing to wait until you are certain that the check has cleared before I come get the bike."
And they repeated the above statement.

A cashier's check costs me $40.
My bank DOES NOT issue a "Certified" check. They issue what they call an "Official" check. It costs me $5, but takes a week to arrive at the dealership.
The dealer agreed to that arrangement.

So the question comes to mind:
What's the difference between receiving my personal check via mail, then waiting for the funds to clear? Reluctance to accept my personal check ALMOST made me walk away from this deal!

I pick the bike up in two days.

And now the sales pitch:
For sale-

One 1984 BMW R80RT in "Fair" condition.
One 1989 Honda GoldWing GL1500 Interstate in "Good" condition.
And one 1999 Honda Valkyrie Interstate in "Excellent" condition.
Call me. My number is BR549.

30 January 2015

"American Sniper"- My Thoughts.

I watched it through Taya Kyle's eyes.
I watched it through my Wife's eyes.
I watched it through my Son's eyes.
And I watched it through the eyes of an old aviator/warrior whose job once was to provide lethal protection for our troops from above.

It's a great PRO warrior movie.
It's a great ANTI-WAR movie.

I think it may be the most powerful movie I've seen.
I recommend it

28 January 2015

I SHOULD NOT Have Shown Her This:



Back home we have Wasps, Hornets, Bumblebees, Mosquitoes, and the occasional Brown Recluse spider.
We don't like 'em, but we're accustomed to 'em and have learned how to exist while dealing with them.
This is a new wrinkle. Our son found one like this in the kitchen a couple weeks ago, (sans all the babies being carried on the back), and made the mistake of showing it to his Mother. She immediately dispatched him to buy a Black Light, (Scorpions are "fluorescent"... they glow in the dark when illuminated with black light), so she could recon the area she intended to trod while walking around after sunset.


I find spiders fascinating. I'm beginning to have similar feelings about Scorpions.
Notice I said "beginning".
Right now I'm still mildly creeped out by them.
And a Momma with her back completely covered by babies?
(Shudder.)

21 January 2015

Are These "The Good Old Days"?

Three days ago we bought steaks at our local Albertson's Super Market.
They were nothing short of wonderful. Seasoned by the butcher before packaging, you could smell the garlic and pepper before you opened the plastic protective wrap.

They were so tasty I went back to the store's meat department and asked-
"Do you sell that seasoning?"
"Yes. It's called 'McCormick California-Style Garlic Pepper' and you'll find it in our spice area for $11.90".
I found it. It was in a 12-ounce container. My mental calculator said the price makes it just shy of a dollar an ounce.
Ouch.
I decided to shop around.

At home I turned on the computer and went to Amazon.com, where we are "Prime" members.
McCormick's "California-Style Garlic Pepper" was being offered in the 22-ounce container at a cost of $14.21.

Prime membership means we pay NO shipping costs.
I ordered it... pay close attention now... at 1930 hours. (That's 7:30 P.M. for those of you who've never been in the military.)

At Noon today the doorbell rang. Lucy let us know SOMETHING'S HAPPENING OUT THERE!
A view through the peephole indicated whoever had rung the bell was gone. I opened the door, and there on the front porch was a package marked "Amazon Fulfillment".

Inside the box?
A 22-ounce container of McCormick's "California-Style Garlic Pepper"!

Unbelievable.
Free shipping.

GREAT PRICE.
And it took a little over 12 hours to get here.
How in the world do they do that?
How can anyone compete with that?

19 January 2015

Harley Davidson, Vs. The World-

Gorgeous weather here...
Mid-70's temps and no cloud to be seen, anywhere.
It was a perfect day to exercise the "new-to-us" GoldWing.

It was Sara Jean's first chance to ride the bike farther than to Wally World for milk and bread, so I didn't want to reach out too far. But I did want to give her the chance to determine if she liked the bike, and if not, what did I need to do to make it better for her?
(I already LOVE the thing! I'm MUCH more comfortable on it than either the older GL1500 'Wing, or the '99 Valkyrie I bought last year.)

We rode North to U.S. Highway 60, then East on 60 to just past Superior, AZ. At that point I realized I had once again pulled a boneheaded stunt...
I started the jaunt with half a tank of fuel.

Just past Superior, AZ. the mountains start to get serious, and the view is... breathtaking. There's a 1/8th mile tunnel through one of the hills with a "scenic vista" turnoff just beyond it. I pulled into the viewpoint and we dismounted for gawking and to take a few photos.

From that point we did a 180-degree turn and headed back into Superior for "insurance" fuel to give me the option to continue exploring, or to at least insure I could easily make it back to Gilbert, AZ where I knew fuel was less $$$$$.
We pulled into a gas station where three nice Harleys were already parked at the pumps getting fuel. I maneuvered the bike past them to an empty pump, shut our bike down, dismounted, and then commented to the guy on the H-D parked at the pump just behind us...
"Man! What a beautiful paint job on your bike!"
"Yeah, when I saw it I was stricken and immediately bought it", he responded.

And that was the only communication we had with this group of five people.
None of the rest would even make eye contact with us.
Sara Jean was PISSED...
"What is it with these people? What's their problem?"

I told her it's the situation I've known about for ages...
Harley riders belong to a "Club". Buying the Harley, they pay a TON of money to become a member, then pay a TON of money to maintain their membership.
If you don't own a Harley, you're not a member. Lots of Harley riders don't associate with non "Members".

It's slowly changing. Believe it or not, I actually have several friends who ride H-D's who are normal, wonderful human beings. They even talk to me.

But there's still that small segment out there that either-
1. Thinks they're actually still riding "American" iron and doesn't want to associate with guys riding "furrin" machinery, or-
2. Has an insecurity complex, knowing they paid a lot of money for a wonderful machine that nevertheless has a MUCH greater chance of leaving them stranded on a long ride.

Sara Jean is mad.
I just think it's sad.
We two-wheelers all ride for pretty much the same reason.
And I'd like to think, if any of us is in trouble, we'd ALL stop to help one another.
But... maybe I'm wrong.


By the way...
Sara Jean wants a set of armrests. Other than that, we're good to GO!

18 January 2015

I Love Phoenix... (In The Winter!)

Sunday: 74 and Partly Cloudy.
Monday: 75 and Mostly Sunny.
Tuesday: 76 and Partly Cloudy.
Wednesday: 74 and Partly Cloudy.
Thursday: 75 and Sunny.
Friday: 73 and Sunny.
Saturday: 75 and Sunny.

July 4th: 123 and... WHY THE HECK ARE YOU HERE?

16 January 2015

Svengoolie

Black and White TV...
Since it was the only thing available, my generation didn't feel shortchanged at all.
And... we had THREE CHANNELS! (Some of us had the "Dumont Network" and actually had FOUR.) With that fantastic diversity of entertainment there was ALWAYS something of interest to watch!
My generation grew up turning on the set in the morning, watching the "Test Pattern" and waiting for the regular programming to start.
I know... like trying to figure out how a rotary phone works, today's generations cannot imagine what that was like.
But I'm not at all sure today's situation is an improvement, overall. (TMI).

When I was about 10 or so, we were entertained by a locally produced program in Indy, hosted by a guy whose stage name was "Sammy Terry". Sammy wore makeup making him look somewhat like Bela Lugosi as "Dracula". He had a "schtick"... a way of speaking; campy jokes. But every Saturday night he would introduce some old 30's or 40's horror "B" movie.
I'd be stuck in front of the set, watching. Sometimes we'd have get-togethers and three or four friends would watch, making comments like later generations have heard on "Mystery Science Theater 3000". Dracula. The Abominable Snowman. Frankenstein's Monster. Werewolves. Some thing from another world.

It was a hoot and I remember those times fondly.

So fondly in fact that I was quietly overjoyed while we were in Destin to find "Svengoolie".
Svengoolie is a locally produced program from BERWYN!, IL that has proven to be popular enough with the audience that it's been syndicated and is shown in several areas across the country. I started watching Sven while we were still home in the Midwest. I was delighted to find him on a local station while we were in Destin.


Now I'm suffering from "Sven withdrawal".
He's nowhere to be found here in Phoenix.

Sad.
"Who ya gonna call"?

14 January 2015

Crossbows?

I'm in the market for a quality crossbow, powerful enough to use hunting deer.
Any advice about quality/price/power would be appreciated.

13 January 2015

Yuma, AZ, Part II

My "guesstimator" about time to travel a certain distance has been somewhat off lately, and I don't know why. I looked at the map and saw Yuma was located on the Colorado river then screwed up the calculation by thinking, "Well, it takes about six hours to get to L.A. from here, and Yuma is about halfway, so it should take two-and-a-half hours or so, right?" Why I paid NO attention to the fact the distance was 220 miles is beyond me.
When I turned the corner from I-10 to head West on I-8 and saw the remaining distance was almost 190 miles, I mentally kicked myself.
Oh well. A friend once said, "The difference between a disaster and an adventure is ATTITUDE."
Let's make this an adventure!

It all started when I did something I knew better than to do:
I slipped over to eBay "just to check it out".
"Let's see what's available in GoldWing land! Ooh, there's a beautiful black one. NO RESERVE. Let's click over to Kelly Blue Book and check values there."
I show the photos to Sara Jean. She LOVES it. The starting bid is MORE than reasonable. I click and put the 'Wing in my "Watch list" then think, "What the heck... why not put my foot in the door by starting the bidding? I can then sit back as bidding proceeds and decide if I really want the bike!"
So I submit the minimum bid. "You're the high bidder!", eBay informs me.

Two days pass. I'm still the high (Only!) bidder.
Oh well, there are still three days left in the auction. No sweat.
And then I get an "eBay message" from the seller:
"I've had problems with guys winning my auctions, then not bein' able to come up with the funds. I'd like to sell you this bike... what's your best offer?"
I thank him for his attention and tell him I'd like for the auction to proceed normally. I don't want him to be shortchanged, (and I already have five motorcycles. I'm still doubtful if I want it. When I placed the bid I was pretty sure my bid would be wasted.)
I give him a little information about me and tell him I WON'T drop the ball on him if I win the auction.

He writes back. He's also retired military. He's a Christian man. He likes what he hears. He too is buying another bike.
He wants me to have this 'Wing. He's closing the auction. I own it.

I'm stunned, but Wow!
It's BEAUTIFUL. The price I'm paying is unbelievably low.

It's physically not real far away, so shipping isn't a problem. More back-and-forth notes with the seller and I find I REALLY like the guy.

We drove down two days ago and I rode the bike back to Phoenix with Sara Jean in trail.
I'm knocked out by it. When I bought the '89 'Wing my friend BZ said something to the effect, "I wish I had known you were truly interested. I'd have suggested you buy a later model 'Wing", and he listed several reasons why I'd like the newer model better.
And now I know why-
The only thing similar about these two bikes is the appearance of the flat-six engine.
The new bike handles better, looks better, is more efficient in a dozen ways, and is faster to boot.

But now I MUST do something I hate to do:
I gotta sell a couple motorcycles!
I'll let ya know how that goes.



11 January 2015

Yuma, Arizona

Ever see a magazine called "Arizona Highways?"
I used to see one every now and then in Doctor's offices and places like that.
Published by the Arizona Department of Transportation, it is propaganda, pure and simple. It's also GORGEOUS, and a great method for the State of Arizona to attract tourist dollars to their State.

Nowhere in the mag do you see how horribly littered MOST of the actual highways are here.
NOTHING decomposes in the desert. And since there is no vegetation to speak of to grow and cover it up, it's a certainty the Styrofoam drink cup our neighbor throws out his window while driving down Interstate 10 just South of Casa Grande will stay there for over a thousand years unless someone picks it up and properly disposes of it.
Like the Continental U.S.-sized pile of plastic now floating in the Pacific Ocean, we're literally "littering ourselves into oblivion" with our laziness.
WHY NOT USE THE CLOSEST TRASH CONTAINER, FOLKS?

But here's the deal:
From a distance, you cannot see the trash accumulation.
The mountains are distant, and ignorant litterers are too lazy to trash those beautiful hills.
So if you squint your eyes and ignore the nearby roadsides, the distant scenery still looks like the photographs that appear in Arizona's propaganda mag.

Yesterday Sara Jean and I had cause to drive down to Yuma, AZ and back.
(I'm ashamed to tell you why, but will reveal that in my next post.)
During the drive, we were continuously squinting, looking at the BREATHTAKING VIEW off in the distance.
If you've never been to this part of the country, you owe it to yourself to add that experience to your "Bucket List" and then check it off.

There's just NOTHING like Arizona.
I wish the lazy people realized it and cared more for their surroundings.