03 February 2023

Old Friends; New Friends

I may be the outlier.
I'm still in touch (via this magical invention we're now using) with the neighbor I played Cowboys and Indians with 70 years ago. And I'm glad.
...High School Classmates have seeped out of life's fissures.
Several of the guys I rubbed elbows with in Officer's Candidate School still pretty regularly converse with one another. These guys all meet at now-and-then reunions and hug one another without embarrassment.
Flight School buddies... Fellow Viet Nam Vets... similar situation.
On my search engine I frequently enter names of old girlfriends, friends, and acquaintances that have had an impact on my life. This is how I found (and was shocked by) my first wife's obituary.
My point is if you've been an important part of my life in the past, chances are I'd probably like to find out what has happened to you since we were last in physical contact.
So I admit to cruising FaceBook now and then, trying to find old friends... male AND female.

What am I noticing?
Something that should have been obvious, but took a 2X4 to my left temple to sink in...
Not everyone has the desire to stay connected with their past as I do. To some, I'm a considerable pest.
And that is simultaneously a revelation and disappointment. It requires a "reset" in thinking.

The "salve" that helps heal the dull ache caused by that reset?
My continued efforts to locate folks from my past continue to be successful.
And many of those contacts are actually glad to hear from me and share histories.

It's a wonderful way to pass the time, doncha think?

01 February 2023

How Divided Are We?

So the Paul Pelosi video has been released.
I heard he and his assailant shared the hammer when the Police came.
I heard Paul Pelosi was in his skivvies and the assailant was likely a homosexual lover.
But now I've watched the video, and I am sickened by what I see.
I'm ashamed to admit I thought the rumors were true. I risked my life to defend this country because I loved it... still do.
But we are broken.
And we need Jesus Christ to lead us out of this hatred and chaos.
...Rant... OUT!

25 January 2023

Playing With (120mm Smooth-Bore) Fire:

I graduated Officer's Candidate School at Ft. Knox, KY as a Second Lieutenant with the title "Small Unit Tank Commander". Then I attended the ARMY'S "Rotary Wing Flight School" as a Commissioned Officer.
I know just enough about the Armored Beast pictured above to be dangerous.
Brandon, our Fearless Leader, is sending 31 of those to Ukraine to kill Russians. They are, arguably, the "top of the food chain" in the world of tanks.
Thinking the U.S. had weak leadership, Putin assembled his troops on the border and invaded Ukraine almost two years ago. Lots of lives on both sides have been snuffed out since. Many innocent non-combatants in Ukraine have died.
It would be nice if PEACE would break out there. Will the addition of Abrams and (German) Leopard tanks there help that happen?
I don't know. I'm frightened.

I DO know this-
Putin WILL NOT give up Crimea. To do so would be a loss of face the "little man" cannot stomach.
In my opinion, this addition to Ukraine's combat capabilities is literally.... Poking the Bear.

How does this conflict end?
I'm not clued into any intelligence information. I hope those folks who are know what they are doing.
But it sure seems to me the way this comes to an end will be similar to the conclusion of our effort in Viet Nam and Russia's Afghanistan experience-
It will become politically untenable.
It seems to me that's the only way Putin backs down. (And is replaced?)

We are playing with fire.
I think the Russian people are the key to ending this tragedy.
I hope they're getting enough "News" to understand that.
And "sooner" would also be nice.

12 January 2023

Water- The Good. The Bad. The UGLY.

We came home the day after Christmas to Niagara Falls in three of our downstairs rooms.
(If you don't know what I'm talking about, drop down a couple posts and catch up, you slaggard!)
I slogged underneath the house and got the water (mostly) shut off, then called our insurance company-
(Take into account... this was the day after Christmas at 2000 hours.)
"All our agents are busy. Your call is important to us and will be answered in the order it was received."
90 minutes transpire. And when I actually got a chance to chat with a real human being she was professional, nice, and sympathetic to our situation. We discussed our dilemma for an hour.

Next morning, trying to get in touch with a plumber I called DOZENS-
"This is (blah, blah, blah) plumbing. We are out of the office until January 4th. Merry Christmas and HAPPY NEW YEAR!"
I knew these facts:
The temperature in our area had dropped WELL below zero. The likelihood that many (hundreds) in our area were dealing with the same problem we had was not gonna be in our favor.
We had no water for 48 hours. I suspect we've all been in this position...
Coffee! Go to the faucet with carafe in hand and reach for the faucet only to realize that's a futile effort.
This happened SEVERAL times before I went to (evil) Wally World and bought a few gallons of distilled water.

We don't realize how spoiled we are until we are deprived of certain things-
Flip the switch and illuminate the room so you don't bust your derriere.
Push the lever down to make that bad smelling stuff you just sat down and deposited go away.
(I won't sicken you and tell you what we reduced ourselves to doing while we had no water.)
Fortunate- we had a pro plumber show up about two days after our incident. And he didn't charge us an arm and leg to find and fix our problem. He even crawled beneath our house twice!

And how odd it felt... looking at the damage to three rooms in our (formerly comfortable) home, knowing what the future held with having to tear the place apart in order to get back to something like "normal".
But... we could take the carafe to the tap, turn the handle, and make coffee.

Thinking of folks long ago who had to make coffee over an open campfire after they fetched water from a "crick"...
I said a prayer and thanked GOD for my many blessings.

02 January 2023

Silly Question?

Like Forrest Gump, I know "I am NOT a smart man".
So I need an answer to my silly(?) question.
Thousands and thousands of "undocumented future democrats" are crossing our Southern border on a daily basis. I've been watching the videos of this chaos/fiasco, and it seems to me most of those crossing are solo, young, (military age) males. Here's my question:
If they are coming to the U.S. because they are dissatisfied with the conditions in their own country... instead of risking their lives to make the terrible, life-threatening, several thousand-mile journey here, why don't these healthy young males use their energies to CHANGE the conditions in their own homes?
Instead of making life better for themselves, that action would make life better for THOUSANDS of their countrymen.

It's a puzzle to me.
But I am not a smart man.

30 December 2022

WWII Progaganda

 We are BIG fans of old movies. The old Black and Whites are by far our favorites. In our opinion they get no better than "Mrs. Miniver", "The Best Years of Our Lives", "The Mortal Storm",  "Watch On The Rhine", "Casablanca"... I could go on. If you are nodding your head and have not seen any of those I've listed you'll do well to look 'em up. (And if you have a favorite please mention it in the comments.) They reinforce the fact the country USED to be patriotic and is... different today.
(As if you needed proof, huh?)

Last week, after a "Feature" we watched, TCM played this "Short" starring James Cagney, Ann Sothern, and Margaret O'Brien.
Little Miss O'Brien has been a favorite of ours for years and I was thrilled to see her in this piece. As always, she's wonderful in it.

A little over 10 minutes in length, I think it's worth your time.
Your environment may even get a little dusty, so keep the tissues handy.
And remember how "we used to be".

28 December 2022

"Bomb Cyclone"

The plan to head South to spend Christmas with our son had been in place for weeks. Our day of departure, (Thursday), weather was certainly a factor. I had to deliver meals in the morning and the forecast was for it to get "ugly with a capital 'U'" after Noon. Temps were forecast to drop almost 40 degrees in 12 hours with a rain/freezing rain/snow situation a possibility. I luckily finished delivering meals to our clients by 1000 hours and rushed home to "get outta Dodge" as soon as possible.

Knowing the situation our home would be facing during our absence I opened the doors to all the cabinets/sinks on outside walls and left the furnace set at 55 degrees to keep the house at a threshold temperature to avoid freezing. I considered leaving the most distant faucet trickling, but we were gonna be away for five days... did I want to leave water running that long?
No. (Don't get ahead of me here.)
Our trip South was uneventful. The car's thermometer read 34 degrees as we pointed our noses South, and temps rose to 45 degrees by the time we arrived in Northern Tennessee. Traffic was light.

Friday morning we got a call from a neighbor-
"My water pipes are frozen."
Niggling worries began. But the guy with the keys to our home that I depend on to insure our house is okay was sick as a dog and I didn't want to bother him. Temps rose the next day and our "pipes frozen" neighbor reported that his water began to flow again.
I relaxed some.
Four days passed. We drove home in "still below freezing" temperatures.

We arrived home, opened the door, and Sara Jean exclaimed, "Water is running somewhere."
It was raining in my office. Raining in our downstairs bathroom.
Quickly as possible I entered the crawlspace beneath our house. I had to crawl through snow to get there. It was raining under there too. I crawled 20 feet through two inches of water-soaked mud to reach the main shut-off valve.

The indoor rain continued for an hour. I realized there was a problem... the shutoff valve had NOT shut the water supply off. I crawled back under the house and forced the valve to close farther than I was really comfortable twisting it.
That act slowed the flow of water in my office to a "drip, drip, drip".
We deployed buckets to catch drips. I went to our outbuilding and grabbed the "wet-or-dry" vacuum.We sucked as much water up as we could and I got onto the phone to our insurance company.

Trying to contact a plumber after an event like this is disheartening-
"I have a week's worth of work ahead of you. I'll put you on my list and get to ya as soon as I can."

Today marks two days since we got home to find it raining indoors.
One of the plumbers we left a message with arrived this morning and started pulling out drywall. After "tearing up Ned" for an hour he found and repaired the leak.
We can once again bathe, brush our teeth, do laundry, run the dishwasher, and flush toilets.
We don't realize how much we take electricity and water for granted until they are gone, do we?

The process of returning to normal has begun. Being able to turn on the water tap is about 40% of that process.
Now the drywall, carpeting, fixing/replacing electronics, etc., process begins.

And thinking of those sleeping in the cold we once again realize how BLESSED we are.

26 December 2022

"I Wanta Dance With Somebody"

We saw the Whitney Houston movie last night.
It was good, but succeeded in making me very sad.
Why do all these talented celebrities think "I can ingest that and the thing that has happened to SO MANY people before me won't RUIN my life!"?

She "danced" with Bobby Brown.
Bad choice of partners.

24 December 2022

Yukon Cornelius!

Just to show you how STUPID our "Woke" world has become-
We arrived here in Tennessee Thursday night. After we had unloaded the car, grabbed a bite to eat and settled in, our son said, "Let's go watch a movie". He has a "media room" in his home here, complete with an 85-inch television and great sound system. I leaned back in my recliner and he punched the "Play" button, and I was surprised to see the credits for "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" roll.
"What the heck?" I thought. I have never seen the movie all the way through and it will help me get into the Christmas spirit!
The movie is about an hour long and is for kids... cute, but because you've heard the basic story via the old Gene Autry song over a million times, it's kinda boring.

Our son had purchased tickets to a "special event" at the "Gaylord Events Center" and wouldn't tell us anything about what we were gonna experience other than to say, "Dress WARMLY!"

We arrived at the Gaylord complex and entered the Events Center and found "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" in ice sculpture was what we would see.
And it was amazing. The big facility was cooled to 9 degrees, obviously to keep the sculptures from melting, so all attendees were issued parkas for comfort. As you walk the pathway, the story of the old movie unfolds with help from signs in front of the characters.

And I noticed something odd-
The "Yukon Cornelius" ice character had no revolver tucked into his belt!
The Snowflakes that put this display together had disarmed Yukon, (I'm sure his piece in the movie was AT LEAST a .44 Magnum!) leaving him totally vulnerable to Polar Bears and "Bumble" Abominable Snowmen!
How cruel!

I asked several of the attendants about the oversight, (average age amongst 'em was about 22 I think), and they all just shrugged their shoulders. (I'm sure most of them have never seen the old animated feature.)

But you and I know what this is all about.
Carrying a gun is bad, ya know?

Being eaten by a white bear is preferable.