26 November 2012

Believing In Our Own Message !

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

23 November 2012

We Can Fly!

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

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

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

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

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

19 November 2012

Two-Wheeling In Destin

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

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

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

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

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


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

14 November 2012

11 November 2012

Dateline: Cocoa Beach, Florida

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

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

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

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

Godspeed brother.

10 November 2012

Which Kowalski Did You Vote For?

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

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

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

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

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

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

07 November 2012

Analogy- 7 November 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You ARE preparing, aren't you?