28 February 2010

Relighting The Torch At Vancouver-



We've begun to be serious about stocking the larder. I'm already looking at seed catalogs, planning my garden for Spring/Summer. (I still have to figure out how to keep Bambi and all his friends out of my garden.)

If you know anything about the pictured products, I need your advice:
I actually like "Spam". To me it's a little greasy, but bacon or ham are too aren't they? Sharing space on a plate with eggs and home-fried potatoes, Spam is good stuff. Wally World sells a similar product under their "Great Value" brand that I fried up today and honestly, I cannot tell the difference between the two.

"Big Lots" has the Armour meat product on their shelves cheap... "Treet".
I have no experience with it, but suspect the taste will be close enough to the two I've mentioned as to be almost indistinguishable. Am I wrong?
If you have experience with them, which do you prefer, and why?

Friendship, Mars Vs. Venus

She was nearly pulling her hair out.
I needed a very long extension ladder. Dennis has one I've used before. But I hadn't been in touch with Dennis since I last used the ladder... almost two years.
"He's gonna feel used. The only time you contact him is when you need something."

"He ain't gonna care. He hasn't called us either, did you think of that? Just watch..."
And I pick up the phone and call him.
"Hey Dennis, it's Greybeard. I need your ladder again... is it available?"
"Yeah, it's still laying against the shed. Come get it."

And after a little chit-chat to catch up on news from both families,
I hang up with a smile.


I've determined this is an area where guys and gals REALLY differ. Sara Jean's best friend will get into a snit if Sara Jean doesn't call...
Nevermind that the darn phone works both ways! It's Sara Jean's responsibility to call and make sure all is well. If Sara Jean waits too long, there are wounds that need to be salved before normal conversation can take place...

"Why haven't you called? Is anything wrong? I was SO worried about you!"
(I kibbutz in a whisper from 10 feet away... "Then why didn't YOU call to check on us?!")

Apparently it's a woman's rule:
Friends have to remain in near-constant contact. If you're really friends with someone you have to check on them with some sort of regularity.

I like the "Guy's rule" better:
"Hey, if ya need me... call."
There's very little maintenance involved, which eliminates a lot of stress and saves a TON of time.

27 February 2010

"You're So Vain!"

Seems awfully tame now, doesn't it?
But "back then"?
I bought it for the cover.

26 February 2010

Big Bubba's Belated Bounty

While Big Bubba was still living in Phoenix, (remember, I told you we moved him to L.A.?), he signed up for a weekend course to procure his CCW (Concealed Carry Weapon) license.
While still at home he had never shown much interest in firearms, so I didn't push him. Now that he's out on his own, he's QUITE aware there are dangerous shadows behind some bushes. He started asking questions and decided he wanted a handgun.
I suggested he take the CCW course.

He's a good student. Although he had never before shot a firearm in his life, he used a 9mm Beretta in the course and finished at the top of the class.
"What do you want to do now?"

I like the .45 Auto and had tried to lead him in that direction. I told him I'd buy him a gun for Christmas and suggested the 45, but he had valid points:
"I loved shooting the 9. It's smaller and can be more easily carried."

At that point I read a review on the piece you see pictured above.
I chatted with my friend the gunsmith and we discussed the vast improvements in quality and reliability Kel-Tec has made recently. (Their customer support now garners rave reviews.)

The price was right.

I ordered one exactly like the piece shown just before Christmas. It arrived at the store today. I can pick it up after a three-day wait,
(to insure I haven't gotten angry about being denied tenure,
I assume.)

He cannot legally carry it concealed in L.A., but he'll have it handy for home defense, (and maybe folks there will start to think rationally and change the law?)
Whatever... I'm anxious for Bubba, (and me) to get a chance to fire the thing.

Obama's Misery, January 2009

How wonderful... The number is actually down!
Last month it was 12.72%. This month it's 12.33%,
9.7% + 2.63%.
Break out the champagne... we're on the road to recovery!
Uhh, NOT SO FAST, Bunky.
Let's do a little studying here before we celebrate.
The index is down because the unemployment number is down. The INFLATION portion of the index is actually UP. (Gee, imagine that!)

So, what ya need to do is take a look around you and see if you think the numbers make sense...
Is the unemployment situation actually improving?
Is inflation more likely to increase or decrease over the coming months?

Obama is getting ready to "stimulate" the economy again. Where will that money come from? What impact will that have on inflation?
Are your neighbors going back to work? Will the unemployment part of the index be up, or down next month?

Pay attention to the Commercial Real Estate market, Bank closures, and the impact of those factions on the F.D.I.C..
Don't we live in interesting times?

25 February 2010

"Protect" It!

We bought our HD TV a couple years ago thinking we'd see things in HD when we turned it on. Not so, apparently...
The feed into the TV also has to be HD. I called "Dish Network" to find out how we could resolve the "problem". All I had to do was pay a minor fee and agree to an extension on my contract, and we too would have the ability to see imperfections on even the most perfect of Hollywood faces! Where do I sign?

Secondary receiver installed to receive the HD signal... old satellite receiver out and new one installed... turn that puppy on and let's see the result!
Yeah, it's better. To me, it doesn't seem like a HUGE improvement over the old picture, but it IS better. The main thing I notice is the colors... we now get both regular and HD programming on several channels so we can compare. Where we have a choice we'll watch in HD every time because the colors are MUCH more crisp and vivid in HD. I'm still waiting to see Jessica Alba up close so I can find something, ANYTHING wrong with that girl!

We spent a day or so surfing around, just getting used to the fact that we had so many channels in both regular and HD programming. When the newness had finally worn off and we found ourselves a little bored with what was offered we thought we'd watch one of our favorite movies... "Out Of Africa" to see how it looked with the new equipment.
It was recorded on the old receiver and it's long gone. ALL the movies we had recorded are gone. Ratz! So we started watching for our favorites again, recording and "protecting" them as we could. I was pleased to see "Out Of Africa" showing on "The Encore Channel" last night. I bookmarked it for recording, but I knew we'd be sitting there watching as it recorded. I say willingly and without reservation...
I LOVE this movie!

Meryl Streep. Robert Redford. The Serengeti. Mozart. Pre/post WWI culture in Kenya. Period costumes, cars, AIRPLANE(S)! This movie knocks me out. The story is an only slightly fictionalized version of Karen Blixen's experience in Kenya. It's beautifully filmed, wonderfully acted, and Mozart is Mozart... the music haunts me for days after I've watched it.

Several friends got into a discussion on FaceBook about it. I insist it's a "Chick-Flick", albeit a VERY good one, with enough guns and macho stuff to allow guys to not be ashamed to admit they like it. A "chick" friend, (who has NO VOTE in the matter), claims it's not a Chick-Flick.
It's a love story, written by a GIRL, for heaven's sake!
I love the movie and recommend it to all...
If you haven't seen it, get thee RIGHT NOW to your local movie rental place and put your money down.

But anyone who thinks this is not a Chick-Flick?
... Has to have "indoor plumbing"!
Am I right or wrong?

The trailer, which cannot be embedded, is here.

22 February 2010

Visual Purple

How's your "Visual Purple"?
What? You don't have any?
And although it's important to everyone, it is critical to those who need great eyesight to survive.

21 February 2010

Zero = Zero?

Political Greybeard is back.
And I'm more than just angry, I'm invigorated.
The rest of the Nation appears to have "gotten a clue".
Two comments at blogs today have given me hope...
One was, "It's no longer cool to be 'progressive' because he's no longer cool."
The other, at the link above said, "Is it possible for his approval ratings to reach zero?"

18 February 2010

NASA- Shame On You!

Bureaucracies. Big, inefficient bureaucracies.
Are we sick to death of them yet?

How is it we find ourselves here, where even former organizations we've idolized and admired have become WAY too big for their britches?

Fifteen or so years ago I was at the big Experimental Aircraft Association hoohah at Oshkosh. (Wonderful! And even non-aviation enthusiasts will find it an enjoyable experience. GO!)
NASA had a big exhibit there. Then, like now, future funding for NASA seemed in doubt.
There was a guy walking around in suit and tie... looking for all the world like an FBI agent as a matter of fact. When I approached him I could see he did in fact have an ID badge indicating he was a NASA representative. "Why doesn't NASA start a campaign for individual donations?", I asked. "I'm pretty sure you'd find millions of folks like me support you and want to see you succeed. If you get a little donation from each of us, pretty soon you'd have millions of dollars to work with."
He made a face and dismissed me...
"Administering such a program would be a nightmare."
I got the distinct impression NASA was not interested in millions.
Something starting with a "B" was more to their liking.
It was the first chink in the patina that, up until that moment, had been a warm and fuzzy feeling for me about one of our "Big Government" programs...
The true professionals that had put our Nation on the moon.

The second chink-
I love Charles Krauthammer. Even when I disagree with him I can see the logic in his thinking.
Charles wrote an article about NASA and our Space program recently that made me think.
NASA didn't like it. They've attacked him personally.
(When you try to open the Krauthammer link there you'll be blocked with a subscription ad. So that you can avoid that, Krauthammer's article is here without the hassles.)
I may not agree with Charles, but I don't like the idea of NASA being an attack dog.
Is this a first?

I don't like it!

The third chink-
This big "Climate Change/Global Warming/Global Cooling/too much CO2 in the atmosphere" fiasco?
NASA has been involved in it. Sane journalists have had questions, trying through the "Freedom of Information Act" to get NASA to release data so the information can be verified.
NASA has not been forthcoming with that information.
-Has EVERYTHING in our government gone completely to HELL since this President(?) took the reins?!!

Too big for their britches...
The country is bankrupt and EVERYONE needs to cinch up their belts.
Billion dollar budgets? Those especially need scrutiny right now.
Maybe we need to step back and take a fresh look at ALL government programs?

17 February 2010

"Question Time!"

Go. Sign. Smile.


First, go here.
Then come back and comment-
Did you do a smirk, a spit-take, a chuckle, or a LOL?

Phormerly Phat!

Now it seems more than just rumor...
Trial balloons are being floated to gauge how negative the reaction will be.
And again I have to ask, "Am I the fool?" Right now those "instant gratification" folks truly look like the wise ones!

It doesn't take a math whiz to figure it out:
For 20 years I have foregone using 18% of my before-tax income in order to prepare for retirement.
Even though my income is probably much, much lower than you might guess, consider my annual 18% contribution multiplied over 20 years, and even without the effect of compounded interest you're talking about real cash. Then realize that up until recently I have done better than most at selecting mutual funds that give double-digit returns and add that to the total.
The result is... umm, correction... WAS a number that, added to my military retirement, my Social Security payout, and the various IRA's I've also contributed to over the years, put a smile on my face.
The idea of sipping Margaritas on the balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico was almost within my grasp.


Anyone watching their retirement accounts has had a similar experience. Your mileage may vary, but my accounts are all still idling at just above 50% of their peak values. The only bright spot in my retirement planning is the pension I receive for my military service, and I'm fearful the government will screw with that when the bottom falls out of the economic pail. We've all had fears about the long-term viability of Social Security...
The realization of those fears now looks unavoidable.

Nationalizing our 403b's and 401k's? Remember those GM and Chrysler Bond holders who already had their retirement funds stolen by the Bozama administration?

So in just a little over a year I've had to completely change my game plan...
I've gone from thinking I'd be able to quit work, head South, and actually have more $$$$ deposited to my checking account each month than was added while I was working, to wondering when the collapse will happen and how long I'll have to work in order to just survive.

Some of you still may be thinking, "Ha! What a fool.
This will never happen!"
I hope you're right. But...
So far we're making all the mistakes Argentina made, and so long as we have stupid leaders we'll continue down that path. Taking that into consideration, what did Argentina do with their citizen's retirement accounts?
Read it and weep.

Feeling helpless/hopeless?
Wondering "What do we do now!?"
You're just a little late to "The Party", but not TOO LATE!
That's a GREAT place to start, but if that schedule doesn't come close to your neighborhood or is otherwise inconvenient, watch for rallies in your local area and join in there.

It's fun. It's educational. Draw up your own home-made protest sign and let your voice be heard!
Let's Roll!

Added later;
Andrea and I are of somewhat like minds.

16 February 2010

I HATE Day Shifts!

Day shifts during Winter...
It's dark when ya get up.
It's dark when ya go home.
It's cold.
Don't we own property in Florida? Tell me again why we're here!

I'm half asleep when I start the car and head to work, trying to get my second cuppa in me. I'm mostly awake by the time I get to work but still, it's nice to be able to approach things slowly.
I have to sign in, check weather and NOTAMS, pre-flight the aircraft, brief my crew, and call communications to let them know what I can do and who I can do it with. Done at my normal rate, the above listed tasks take about an hour.

Yesterday I barely walked in the door when I heard "You have a pending flight".
Not quite enough coffee yet.... "Huh? What was that?"
"Dispatch is asking if you can fly to Itty-Bittytown and fly a patient to Capital City."

The all-night snow ended about two hours ago. Roads coming to work were horrendous, and my normal 40 minute drive took right at an hour. I break my normal routine and call dispatch first thing...
"What's this I hear you're trying to put me to work when I'm still half-asleep?"
"Yeah, it's true. Can you do it?"
"I'm checking right now. Ceilings are good, but there are still some bad visibilities out there due to scattered snow flurries. We should be able to drive around those. Yeah, I think we can take the flight, but I still have my pre-flight duties to take care of."
"How long before you can lift?"
"Give me 45 minutes."
"We'll tell 'em."

The helicopter has been in the hangar for two days due to weather. I've pre-flighted it twice without pushing it out to fly.
A quick check of the logbook and a quick walk-around of the machine and I'm sure it'll fly. I brief my crew and let them know we'll encounter some snow showers along the way, but I think the flight is doable. They concur.

We take off for Itty-Bitty and initially I'm concerned...
Viz is worse than I expected, but ceilings are well above us. We fly for 15 minutes and the seeing improves. Soon we're seeing blue sky through holes in the clouds, and we can see snow falling from clouds over there, and over there. Even flying through the snow showers the visibility stays above two miles, and I'm perfectly comfortable with that over this flat terrain during daylight hours.

We land and pick up a 47 year old woman having heart difficulties. She's morbidly obese. We fly 45 minutes to Capital City in mostly sunny skies reflecting off the snow covered ground...
I'm VERY thankful for my sunglasses.

Back at our base a little before 11 A.M., we're very aware we missed breakfast because of this early flight and want to get some lunch in us. We've just finished putting lunch dishes in the dishwasher when the phone rings...
"Can you go from Hometown to Children's Hospital?"
A quick glance at radar, current weather, and the forecast and I respond, "Yeah, whatd'ya have for us?"
"Your patient is a 4 year old boy with seizures."

I'm always concerned going to my hometown hospital that I'll be flying someone I know. I'm relieved when I enter the ER and see no familiar faces.
But this boy is still actively seizing... has not stopped seizing for more than two hours. Two ER nurses have been standing by with suction apparatus to keep his airway clear in case he vomits, and they've been giving him anti-seizure meds to no avail.
The boy's very young Mom is in the room, red-eyed and looking worn out. She's sharp enough to ask me, "Is the weather okay?"
I reassure her.

I go to the desk and hear the Doc talking with his counterpart at Children's Hospital...
"Yeah, he was actively seizing when his Dad brought him in. When I tried to get information from his Dad he was very uncooperative. When I started tending to the patient, Dad disappeared."
I hear snippets from other ER personnel...
Our patient's Dad apparently beat him up when he was a toddler... and served a little time in jail for it. The poor little guy has had seizure problems ever since.
I grit my teeth.
I want to meet this Dad.
I want some time completely alone with him.
If he is bigger than me, I want to have a stun-gun and billy-club close at hand.
I only need 15 minutes with him... PLEASE!

They finally get the seizures to subside and we load and transport the poor little guy. We get back to our base at 3 P.M..
The phone does not ring.
My relief shows up on time.
I'm glad. I'm emotionally tired.
I want to go home, hug my wife, and call my son and tell him I love him.

15 February 2010

Just Because They're There-

No, it's not always a big emergency.
But isn't it nice knowing they're there when you call... when you're frightened?

14 February 2010

Valentine's Day

Crusty on the outside, soft inside...
That's the way I like my cookies.
That's the way I like my friends.

It's Valentine's Day.
I'd like to bring your attention to a "soft inside" blog post.
Good stuff.
Tell him I sent ya, please.

Elmo Proud!

Elmo proud of Greybeard...
Greybeard ALWAYS sneeze into sleeve!

Now Greybeard...

13 February 2010

The Great Equalizer

"I bet you don't own a gun, (Vi)."

"No, I don't!"
(I take this to mean "not NO, but HELL NO!")

"(The ex-husband) had one."

"You may need one in the future."

"If it comes to that, I'd just as soon die at the other end of the barrel."

Of course if she's honest about that, and knowing what I know of her she may very well be, then she's entitled to do whatever makes her comfortable. Being a victim seems to be comfortable for her.
But it's a crazy, crazy world. It sure seems to me that having more tools... more options rather than fewer, is the better plan. When it comes to violence, women, smaller and less strong, start the game at a disadvantage. The right tool, used properly, "levels the playing field".

So if you live in Florida, a Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) State, why aren't you taking the course and getting that license? Having another option could be the difference between life and death.

...Or you can just be a victim.
...Whatever makes you comfortable.

Cruel Joke of the day:
An assistant professor walks into a meeting with colleagues and says, "Ha! You call yourselves intelligent? Wouldn't REALLY intelligent people know not to come to a gunfight armed with nothing but pencils?!"

And yet, there's MORE!
Here's a guy that obviously LOVES his Valentine!

12 February 2010


We've been fans of the show "American Choppers" since the beginning. I don't think you had to be a fan of motorcycling to enjoy the show... the interaction (arguing) between "Paulie" and "Senior" always seemed scripted to me, to add a little spice to the show. But watching the bikes come together from just a concept was always fun.

The series came to an end last night with two one hour episodes running back-to-back. With my work schedule as it is I haven't stayed on top of the show this year, so the fact it was ending came as a surprise. Hearing it would be on two hours indicated to me there would be a big "final wrap-up", explaining all the goings-on with the Teutul family.
Didn't happen...
In the last hour they built a bike for Lowe's/Kobalt Tools and delivered it. It was a normal show... "Ooooh, Ahhh... beautiful!" Hand shakes all around... roll credits.

Senior has lost a lot of weight (and definition). He looks tired and sad.
Paulie has gained some weight and has apparently started his own graphic design business. He's now engaged to Rachel, a tall, long legged blonde I had never seen before. All things TV eventually come to an end, but for me, this ending was unsatisfying.

Today I'll be doing some poking around on the 'net to get some details.

10 February 2010

Cabela's- Here We Go Again!

I wanted 600 rounds of .45 ACP. I can't expect to walk into Wally World and find 600 rounds waiting there calling "Buy me! Buy me!"
I like Cabela's. In all my dealings with them I have found Quality and Customer Service there to be top-notch. When I ordered this ammunition in early January I knew it was on back-order.
The guess-timation at that time was for a Mid-February delivery.
Yesterday I received this email:

Cabela's Inc.
World's Foremost Outfitter
One Cabela Drive, Sidney, NE 69160

Dear Customer,

Thank you for your recent order. We are very sorry to inform you that we are unable to immediately fill your entire order and the merchandise listed below has been placed on backorder.

Backorder-Tentative arrival to Cabelas 03/15/10

If you wish for the item(s) to remain on backorder, you do not need to contact us. Should you prefer not to wait, please contact our toll-free order desk at 1-800-237-4444 to cancel the backorder. For credit card orders, charges are not made until the item(s) are shipped.

We will do everything we can to get your order to you as quickly as possible.
We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Cabela's Inc. - Customer Relations

Two thoughts here:
...You may remember it took 4 1/2 months for me to receive the .30 Cal. Carbine ammunition for my new M-1, but I DID finally receive it.

...The email I received from Cabela's on the Carbine ammunition said if I didn't want that order canceled I had to call them. Notice the difference this time-
The order will be delivered UNLESS I call and cancel. Seems my complaint to them about that first order found ears that hear. Good for you, Cabela's.

With guns in calibers running the gamut from .22 to .44Mag and .45, I also ordered a universal cleaning kit. (It's also on back-order.)

Think supply has caught up with demand for guns/ammo/accessories?
Think again.
(How is stock in Olin/Winchester and Remington doing?)

Lions and Lambs?

09 February 2010

Interesting Aviation Stuff To Know And Share-

To take off in both an airplane and helicopter, you point your nose as much as possible into the wind. (Because the helicopter has no need for runways and taxiways, this step is more easily and efficiently accomplished in the whirlythingy.)

In an airplane you accelerate until the machine will fly, then pull the nose UP.
From a hover in a helicopter you push the nose DOWN to accelerate.
Knowing that going through translational lift the nose will try to pop back up, you are prepared to keep it from doing that.
If you don't physically nudge the nose down, you won't accelerate and take off.

You DO want to take off, don't you?!

08 February 2010

Greece. Spain. Portugal. The U.S.?

"In the last month, the cost of insuring Greece’s sovereign debt against default has doubled. Spain and Portugal are headed the same way. When you binge-spend at the Greek level in a democratic state, there aren’t many easy roads back. The government has introduced an austerity package to rein in spending. In response, Greek tax collectors have walked off the job."
(The emphasis is mine.)

I wish I could predict what is going to happen to us economically.
I cannot. I bought a large amount of Silver, knowing it would be a good hedge against the collapse of the dollar. I haven't done an update on precious metals prices because, quite honestly, they are not doing what I expected and I don't want to look back and feel responsible for leading you down a failed path. (My silver holdings are now worth less than I paid for them six months ago, and right now I have some
serious egg on my face.)

Do I still think we are headed for a huge fall?
And I still believe with all my heart that "Preparing for the worst while hoping for the best" is just good insurance.

The quote at the beginning of this post is from a Mark Steyn article where he points out that instead of applying the brakes, our present administration appears to be putting "pedal to the metal".

I guess they intend for us to gp out in a blaze of glory, like Thelma and Louise!

07 February 2010

Halftime, With "The Who"!

"The change, it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the fold, that's all.
And the world looks just the same
And history ain't changed
'Cause the banners, they are flown in the next war.

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around,
Pick up my guitar and play,
Just like yesterday,
then I'll get on my knees and pray...
NO, NO!"

05 February 2010

Dynamic Rollover in a Rotorway Exec.

What happened here? I can only guess-
This is a "Homebuilt" helicopter. You buy it in kit form and put it together from thousands of parts. Then as the builder, you are also the "Test Pilot". I believe this machine has a tail rotor that is driven by several long V-belts inside the tailcone. That tone of descending pitch you hear in the video? I think it's likely the sound of those belts beginning to slip, allowing the tail rotor rpm to slow. Obviously as the tailrotor rpm slows it becomes less and less effective, requiring the pilot to apply more and more anti-torque input to compensate.
At some point the tailrotor would reach a critical angle of attack and would stall. I think that may be what's happening here just as the helicopter is touching down. Once the tailrotor is stalled the pilot cannot stop the fuselage from turning in reaction to the torque the main rotor is applying to the fuselage, so the pilot loses control of the helicopter and gets into the phenomenon known in the helicopter realm as "dynamic rollover".

(Remember, the rotor on this thing turns opposite from most helicopters.)
Anyone got a better explanation?

Interesting video on the subject here.

03 February 2010

The Light Blue Ribbon. The One With All The Stars..

Rumors travel like wildfire.
The rumor I heard was troubling, believable, but false.
The truth... absolutely floored me!

I wrote earlier about attending Officer's Candidate School...
a very intense six month course intended to teach young men leadership skills, educate them on tactics and the equipment they'd use to accomplish their mission, while weeding out those unable to handle the physical and mental stress of combat. Candidates were VERY busy learning what they needed to learn while constantly being stressed in as many ways possible by the Tactical Officers. I think OCS, as was intended, turned out good leaders in a short period of time.

I'm not sure anyone made what could be called "close friends" during the course. Candidates formed alliances with guys they were comfortable with, but you didn't have time to sit and chat and learn another Candidate's life story. Going to school, physical fitness training, studying, polishing brass, shining shoes, and waxing and buffing the floor are the kinds of activities that took up most of our time.

We graduated and pinned on our "Butterbars", then went our separate ways. The ARMY is a small world so now and then you'd run into a classmate and catch up on his news, then share your news and what you knew about other classmates.

I liked Bobby Poxon but didn't know him well.
He didn't look old enough to be in OCS. (He was actually a few days older than me.) Blonde haired, handsome, brilliant smile...
To me he seemed quiet... didn't barge in where he wasn't invited, but would readily respond when prodded. He was an all-around good guy.

It wasn't long after I returned from Viet Nam that I heard he was dead. The rumor I heard was that he had been extracted from a hot LZ via McGuire Rig, and somehow he had fallen 1500 feet into the jungle below. The rumor was that his body was not recovered. It's another of those stories that make you shake your head about the waste of wonderful young men in a poorly managed war.

And now... "The REST of The Story"!
Once again it's through the internet that I learn the truth.
The Old Man sent me a link to "The Virtual Wall".
For folks interested in those that were killed in my war, there is enough information there to keep you occupied for a long, long time. Casualties are listed alphabetically by State and City, by last name, by date, by battle, and other ways.

It's truly an amazing site.

I entered "Poxon" there and found Bobby's name.
I clicked there, and what I found struck me like a thunderbolt.

Give me a while.
It'll take some time to make the adjustment from rumor to reality.

02 February 2010

Boogers, And Other Nifty Stuff

"You're gonna need to see an Eye Doctor before your next physical", said Dr. Rich.
And I knew it before he said it.
I can still see distant things just fine, but stuff at mid-distances is not so clear as it used to be, and reading charts at night requires me to pull out my "Must possess" reading glasses.
Now I'm noticing those glasses improve my vision in that mid-distance range a little too.
Man I hate gettin' old!

Thanks to my paternal grandfather, I have always been blessed with excessive earwax. Before I knew you weren't supposed to stick anything in your ear canal smaller than a volleyball, I would intermittently stick a cotton swab down in there and give it a twirl. (Funny, in spite of the "volleyball" warning, that never seemed to cause any problems!)
Inevitably, that swab would come out covered, and dark brown like... well, we won't go there.
When I found out I was only supposed to be using volleyballs I quit using the swabs.

Now I'm either producing more junk in my ears, or I need to break the rules and start using the swabs once again. Remember, I use those little foam earplugs? On three different occasions in recent years I have compacted the wax against my eardrum by pushing those earplugs into place. (For whatever reason, it always seems to be my right ear causing the problem.) It happened again two weeks ago, and I've been unable to hear with that ear since. Sara Jean and I just solved the problem... I held my head over the kitchen sink and she sprayed water as hot as I could stand it into that ear. Now I don't have to continue lip-reading... (which is hard to do via radio, believe me!)

Nearly deaf. Goin' blind. Dumb? I've been called worse.
I'm ready to apply for that job as "Pinball Wizard"!

01 February 2010

Friends Indeed.

Life is a great way to pass the time, isn't it?
Except when it's not.

"HELL DAY"... 1 May, 1967...
My first day of Officer Candidate School.
A friend from High School halfway through OCS had warned me... "Every available TAC Officer in the battalion will descend upon you. From Reveille until 'Lights Out', someone is gonna be in your face. You'll do more push-ups and sit-ups than you ever imagined you could do. You'll crawl most everywhere you go. They want you to quit. When you go to bed that evening, reflect on the day and smile. REFUSE TO QUIT!"

It's easy to say he was SPOT ON. It's IMPOSSIBLE to adequately describe the experience. The lights came on at 5 A.M. and the cacophony started. It seemed as if every Candidate had their very own 2nd Lieutenant Tactical Officer assigned to them shouting at the top of their lungs just four inches from each Candidate's nose. My experience that day is probably a good sample of what all the new aspirants went through... I did 200 or so push-ups, 10 at a time throughout the day. I did 250 sit-ups, 25 at a time. I low-crawled virtually everywhere I went, with a young TAC officer standing over me shouting to speed me up all along the way.
We WERE allowed to stand and walk through the chow line.
After breakfast, one of the TACs started "Health and Welfare Inspections".
Seems most of our uniforms were dirty from low-crawling on the floor. We were marched, fully clothed, into the shower to fix that deficiency. Then, of course there was another TAC ready to point out our uniforms were WET!... WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN THAT SOAKING UNIFORM, CANDIDATE?!!" Of course once we were in a dry uniform, the other TAC noticed it was "soiled"...
And so it went, until every uniform we owned... work (fatigues), Class A, and Class B, was drenched. There were 120 Candidates experiencing this madness... try to imagine the "organized chaos". At some point one of the TACs noticed I looked "tired" for some reason. He suggested bedrest, and told me, in the middle of all this noise and confusion, to go to bed. Then he grabbed the nearest Candidate and told him to make my bed, with me in it! That Candidate was Ole Prairie Dog.
Another TAC came by and questioned why I was in bed when everyone else was up doing "constructive work". When O.P.D. explained that another TAC had suggested bedrest, TAC #2 said that was fine, but I ought to at least be marching while I was in bed, and had O.P.D. give me marching commands. Again imagine... I'm completely covered with wool blanket and dust cover, marching...
Gosh how I wish someone had recorded it! At the end of the day, 30 Candidates had turned in their "Quit Letters".

When we graduated OCS, O.P.D. became my roommate. We rented a mobile home together while waiting on Flight School orders. In Flight School we were roommates at Ft. Wolters, Texas and at Hunter Army Airfield, (Savannah) Georgia. We deployed to Viet Nam on the same day and hoped to serve together there, but he was assigned to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment flying Scouts, while I initially went to the 4th Infantry Division Gunship Platoon. Our careers have taken different paths since those days long ago, but still, we've stayed in touch... 43 years.
I was there long ago listening to his lament about his "Flame", and how he wished she could just see how much he loved her.

I was in touch when she finally realized how much they loved one another and she agreed to marry him.
I was Best Man at the wedding.

When his first-born was born impossibly premature, I held that tiny baby in the palm of my hand... head at my fingertips and feet not quite reaching my wrist, and cried, his fragility so apparent but his will to live so strong.

We chat frequently via Msn Instant Messenger. With him in New Mexico and me here in the Midwest, it's a gift from God... wonderful. But life intrudes...

You can imagine my reaction when I read "Pancreatic cancer. Stage IV. Her bowel and other organs are involved."

Life ain't fair. We all know that. But when the goin' gets tough, the tough get goin', right? I wrote earlier about how easily the tears flow for me these days, and this situation has certainly added to that accumulation. The frustration of being a million miles away while wanting to be able to just "Do something", all the while knowing there's not much I could be doing, is also stressful. She's in EL Paso, in good hands. They've run lots of tests and are determining the course they'll take. He's driving eight hours round trip to check on their home and keep things there in order as much as possible. His three sons, including the tiny TOUGH little guy I held in one hand, are a strong foundation backing him up. Knowing that gives me great comfort.

Before I hung up the phone last night he related a chat he had with a young Chaplain...

"Live until you die", the Chaplain said.
"Nope. Live WELL until you die" was O.P.D.'s response.

That's the guy I know and love.