02 December 2016

Lady Of Spain

My Mother was... interesting.
She was a "surprise" baby... youngest of seven kids.
Born in 1925, she used to relate one of her earliest memories from early depression days:
"Mother, I'm hungry."
"I'm sorry sweetheart, I have nothing to feed you."
Mother's life could be a book.

But she was gifted and strong in odd ways.
She could sing like an angel. She came from a family of musically talented people.
At Church, people would actually sit near her to hear her sing.
She knew that and took pride in it.
I knew it too and was proud of her.

By ear, she played piano and accordion.
One of my fondest memories is listening to Mom on the piano, after my sister and I had gone to bed, struggling to make her way through one of my Dad's favorites... "Clair De Lune", without making a mistake. (I don't think she ever did.)

But she was a decent accordion player.
At almost any gathering, given the chance, she'd uncase her accordion and entertain those gathered.

I thought she'd appreciate a joke I heard, so I repeated it to her-
On a trip across the country a man stops to get a bite to eat.
He orders his meal, then remembers his accordion is in his car and he has forgotten to lock his doors.
Keys in hand, he races out to secure the automobile only to find out he is TOO LATE...
Someone has left ANOTHER accordion in his car.

Mother didn't think it was funny.

28 November 2016

Good Health Is the Slowest Way To Die

I'll be 70 in a couple months.
I'm VERY healthy, thank God.
I frequently hear, "Well, you don't look it."
Good genes. Refusal to allow stress to bug me.
Good planning?

Friends, acquaintances, and relatives all around me are dealing with life's curveballs.
Some of them are counting days, not years.

When you get to be Seventy, you begin to look at assets and plan...
How do I work my life so that when the retirement account dollars reach ZERO, I pass quietly in my sleep?
I'm now working on that.

I've never been to London.

26 November 2016

My "Cool" Hypothetical-

Let's say you're on the Board of Directors of a large heating and air conditioning concern with its major physical plant located somewhere in the Midwest.
Just for grins, let's call this company "Harrier Heating and Air Conditioning".
After much study you find you can increase profits by reducing your labor costs if you move your manufacturing facility to Mexico. You announce your decision to make this move.

Your discussions about improving your "bottom line" take place commensurate with a presidential election. One of the major promises of one of the major candidates is to "bring jobs back to, or keep jobs in the U.S.".
You watch with interest and concern as that candidate wins the nomination of his party, then the election.
You announce that the election results will have no impact on moving your physical plant to Mexico.

What if-
That president-elect is an expert in the use of TV, Twitter, FaceBook, and Instagram?
What if... that president-elect starts constantly reminding the electorate about companies "outsourcing" their jobs, and suggesting alternative products still "Made In USA"?

Do you think that might influence you and your board in their decision to move your manufacturing plant?
This will be interesting to watch.

06 November 2016

All The Time In The World !

We left Destin in the Spring; 31March.
We hated to pack the truck because the weather was wonderful.
Making the trip more palatable was the thought of going home to see trees and flowers come to life. So North we drove.

I am a homebody.
It is hard to describe how much of a "homebody" I am.
The thought of traveling... "thought of it", is wonderful until the day comes I have to lift the suitcases into the car to start a trip anywhere. At that point, travel becomes a serious pain in the pasta fagioli to me!
I hated to leave Destin, but was glad to arrive home to familiar house, bed, neighbors, and town.

Of course there was work to do-
Fix the stuff that was worn out or broken. Clean up 2.5 acres of fallen branches from nearly innumerable trees, carry them to the burn pit by the pond and make them go away.
Mow lawn/mulch remaining leaves.
That "home" work... makes me smile.

May at home is wonderful.
Warm days. Sometimes crisp nights.
But we got an itch and made reservations at a place we love-
The Riverboat Inn in Madison, Indiana.
Pack the suitcases and load them into the car.
Four wonderful days there watching from the balcony while the Ohio river and the barges it embraces make their way downstream to Louisville, Evansville, Paducah, then eventually join the Mississippi and continue lazily to the Gulf.

Sara Jean held her nose and went home to Socialist land.
I mounted the GoldWing and headed over to visit a friend in (near Utopian) Indiana.
She had a good time.
I had a GREAT time... good conversation, fire in the fire pit, waterfront property... beer and SMOOTH Irish whiskey.

Round trip Amtrak tickets carried us to my OCS reunion in San Antonio.
We rode the train to L.A. many years ago. We had mixed emotions about that trip. With our disgust about air travel these days we wanted to give Amtrak another chance.
Amtrak disappointed us.
(It's not altogether their fault... they don't own the TERRIBLE track and therefore cannot repair it. The train sometimes rocks like a ship on stormy seas.)
The reunion was wonderful. San Antonio was (again) wonderful. Getting face-to-face with some old friends I hadn't seen since October of '67 was FANTASTIC.

Late September/October-
We flew (uck) to Phoenix to spend a couple days with Big Bubba, then made our way to L.A. to board the "Coral Princess" for our journey through the Panama Canal.
We set sail and spent the next 15 days watching the world go by from our balcony seats with stops at Puerto Vallarta, Hualtulco, San Juan Del Sur, and Puntarenas before the canal passage, then Cartagena, Colombia and Aruba before disembarking in Ft. Lauderdale.
(Yeah, travel sux. But WOW... was this trip worth the effort!)

Back home.
Branches. Leaves.
Pack. Load the truck.

Back in Destin for Winter.
Our heads are spinning.
Yeah, life is pretty wonderful, but...
Where is the time to do what we want?

05 November 2016

Bizzaro World 2016

Apparently some 43% of supposedly intelligent adults will vote for a candidate that appears to be directly or indirectly involved in:

-Human trafficking.
-Money laundering.
-Obstruction of justice,
And other crimes, possibly to include treason.

THIS is the reason our Founding Fathers felt it was important to insure we had the ability to protect ourselves from "enemies, foreign AND domestic".

God, forgive our country.

04 November 2016

Division... (I'm not talking about Math here.)

This intertube business is... amazing.
Many of us have made friends via Blogs, Facebook, and other electronic means.
Count me as one of 'em... I consider some of these people CLOSE friends too.  (Motorcycle guys, you know who you are.)

Electronic means have also made it nearly effortless to stay in touch with others.
So... if you don't hear from someone for an extended length of time, you know that unless there is REAL trauma going on in someone's life, not hearing from them may be intentional.
Should I write them? Should I let sleeping dogs lie?

Some years ago I had "friction" with a close friend over a political issue.
I have a big mouth.
He felt I was attacking his wife.
He defended her.
I felt she was my equal and was doing a pretty damned good job of defending herself.
He was angry. I was befuddled.
(Events now pretty much prove I was correct in my stance, which may or may not make this situation more murky.)
Liberal thinking these days excuses most offenses, even loss of four heroes in Benghazi. I have not had at-length intimate contact with this old friend since this incident.

Gossip happens.
A friend tells a friend.
Political shading may, or may not have happened.
"He said. She said".
Word got to me that I had been cruel.
I was angy.
I WAS NOT cruel.

Something happened this week.
Electronic means made it easy and almost instantaneous for me to express my sympathy to my old friend about something that happened in his life.
He responded almost EXACTLY as I thought he would.
Brothers... in many ways.

I know he stops by here to read frequently.
I know that he knows I'm talking about him.
I hope we can patch up our differences. A couple difficult years have passed since we were able to comfortably contact one another.
That's a waste.

But to me, it really boils down to this:
I am angry and sad about what is happening to the country I risked my life to defend.
I am circling my wagons around like-minded souls.
The country he and I grew up in has been destroyed by the very attitude that caused the friction between us some time ago.
Does he agree or disagree?

I hope he (and his wife) have his/their eyes wide open.
If so, maybe he'll consider bringing his stuff inside my (virtual) wagon circle.

What a MESS we now find ourselves in.
It's awfully hard to not be a loudmouth.

02 November 2016

The Courage To Speak Truth

Regular readers know I like Bill Whittle.
They also know I LOVE Winston Churchill.

This video is obviously dated... (Boehner is long gone.)
But the history it shares, and the ramifications of ignoring the lessons of history, is worth your time.

The "herd" is headed in the wrong direction.
Maybe it's time to escape

30 October 2016

Move The Capitol !

Some years ago I wrote about moving the nation's capitol from Washington D.C. to a central U.S. location.
It makes sense to me for a couple reasons:
-Geographically, it makes NO sense to have our center of government so close to the edge of the country. A missile fired from say, a submarine, could literally land on Congress' head in seconds.

-How many of us here in "Flyover Country" feel our elected reps have NO idea how we struggle to deal with their poor decision making?
Would their attitude be affected if our government's heart was moved to somewhere like Omaha, Nebraska, where legislators would be surrounded by corn and wheat fields?
I can't imagine it wouldn't.

Will it happen?
(Are you kidding?)
Should it happen? Would our country be a better place if it DID happen?
The fact I'm posting this shows how I feel about how our "representatives" are representing us.

I'm hoping for change.

21 October 2016


This is not NEW news:
It's generally accepted that the 1960 presidential election was thrown to Kennedy by Mayor Daley of Chicago.
Elections since, (the Franken election in MN comes to mind), have been situations where the democrats simply kept finding new votes to count until they won.
But I have a story to relate that may surprise some:

Sara Jean had a brother with Down's Syndrome.
"Pat" lived in a facility designed to care for 16 children/adults needing special care.
The closeness of the 2000 Bush/Gore vote numbers, (less than 600 in Florida?), caused me to wonder-

Did Pat and his 15 disabled housemates vote?
So I called the facility and asked.

"Oh yes, they all vote!" was the enthusiastic answer.
"But Pat has the mind of a 3 year-old. How does he have the ability to discern who he wants to vote for?"
"They all watch the news on TV."
"Really? So he goes into the polling booth alone and votes?"
"Oh no, there is a staff member that asks how they want to vote and assists them."

This is a State-supported facility. Do you think any of those 16 "kids" voted for a conservative candidate?
And what is REALLY scary to me is to imagine the numbers of mentally challenged adults across the nation being "assisted" by State-supported employees in the polling booth.

Bush won in Florida by a paper thin margin in spite of this fact.
I wonder...
At what point do folks like me get tired of being trampled beneath this "rigged" bureaucracy?

We used to have journalists to expose this sort of wrong.
We have our own version of Pravda.

16 October 2016

Destin, 2016

So here we are, a few feet from where I wrote the initial post for "Pitchpull" in 2005.
It's been a month since I've posted here.
Hard to explain what's going on in my heart...
I've come to the realization that the country I was willing to die for no longer exists...
How is it such a large portion of my countrymen are willing to vote for an admitted socialist?

I... we, have to move on.
But for me, this is like learning an alternative way to breathe.

Destin Florida is one of the more beautiful places on the face of the earth.
Near last-minute changes find us planning on spending our Winter here again.
(It's hard, but someone has to do it.)

Back home now, at least four people we know and love are dealing with critical health issues.
Survivor guilt... it's hard to be here enjoying an adult beverage on the balcony overlooking the Gulf while we know others are praying, frantically hoping for a miracle.
We want to be here, but we simultaneously want to be home comforting those we love.
Instant communication is wonderful, until it isn't.

Think I'm confused and conflicted?
You're right.

We have a spare bedroom.
We've offered it often.
In three years it's been used three times, one week each.
Let us know you're interested. I need the chance to vent...

We'll leave the light on for ya.


14 September 2016

The Joy of Online Banking-

Like waking up in your own bed finding someone came during the night, sedated you, and removed your appendix.
After approving the transaction, your bills are paid automatically.
What could be easier?

Except it's TOO easy.
We finally began to pay attention to those bills we pay online.
Our phone bill for two cell phones was running us $105 per month.
We saw a "Tracfone" advertised on QVC and realized maybe there was an alternative.
We bought the phone and I paid a visit to our local phone store to transfer ONE of the phone numbers to the Tracphone account. It was amazing how helpful our local provider was, helping to keep the account of the second phone by lowering its cost!
We've reduced our total monthly cost by at least $50 per month.

I started thinking-
What other bill is paid similarly? The answer?
Our Satellite TV bill.
You know "The Rest of The Story"...
That cost now reduced from $120/month to $85/month.
That's now $85/month we'll have in our pockets to use as we see fit.

How 'bout you...
Maybe you need to take a closer look at your online "outgo"?

02 September 2016

"Call the glass doctor, he'll fix your panes."

What is it about "The West", and windshields?
I first noticed it while going through primary flight training at Ft. Wolters, TX back in '68...
Windshields belonging to most of the locals were pitted, noticeably.
I assumed it was due to driving through blowing sand at 70 mph... seemed to me having a grain-of-sand-sized "rock" hitting the windshield at that speed would leave its mark, right?

When I bought my Dodge Ram Diesel truck and had it shipped here from Palm Desert, CA, one of the first things I noticed was the similarly pitted windshield.
The pitting was an irritation, but only presented a problem to vision when driving into strong, direct sunlight.
The windscreen also had a small starburst crack in it... not in my main focus area, so I made a mental note that at some point when time and location permitted I'd have that sucker replaced.
Last summer I did just that. The cost was just under $300.

Three months later, at night, on Interstate 65 just South of Birmingham, AL we heard it... BAM!
"That had to have cracked that new windshield" I said to my beautiful copilot/navigator.
Sure enough, upon inspection I found a silver-dollar sized starburst crack in the lower right hand corner of the glass... 'way out of my field of view.
Screw it. I can wait until something else happens.

And then it rained. And rained. And rained.
When I went out to drive off in the truck I could literally have raised Goldfish in the passenger-side footwell.
I've been parking the truck under cover as much as possible since.

Today the windshield repair folks will arrive at Noon to once again replace the damaged screen.
The price is about the same as it was last summer.
Please... can we keep this one undamaged and leak-free for more than a few months?

01 September 2016

For Men, It's The Second Thing To Fail:

Yeah, I'm officially an old man.
We've now attended this show TWICE in person.
I thought I had posted it here, but when I did a search I found... nada.

When you are in San Antonio, this light show is a MUST.
It tells the story of San Antonio and Texas, from the time fish turned into Bison, to present day. :)

Enjoy here. Enjoy MORE in person!

31 August 2016

ADVENTURE! August 2016

"UH-OH!", the Amtrak Conductor exclaimed as she tried to scan our tickets.
(Is there EVER a time that "UH-OH" is a good thing?)
"There's a problem", she says.
"These tickets are for last night's train."
"UH-OH" said the old helicopter pilot.
"Go right now and tell the ticket agent your problem. Maybe there's an open sleeper on this train."

Heart racing, I ran to the ticket counter. We needed to be in San Antonio for a military reunion.
How did I screw this thing up this badly?

She spent ten minutes coordinating on the phone, then said "You owe me a transaction fee of $12.40. Hurry and catch your train!"

We boarded at 7 P.M., then went immediately to the dining car.
Sara Jean ate one of the best steaks she ever put in her mouth. I ate a grilled chicken breast that was mighty tasty.
Meals are included in the fare for those in "sleeper cars", and are wonderful.
The train pulled out of the station headed South.

Sleeping on the train is fitful. The car rocks side-to-side, sometimes almost violently.
Amtrak does not own the rails... varying freight carriers do. In some places the track is great. In others, Amtrak has to slow almost to a walking pace to pass safely.

We woke at 6 A.M. and prepared to go eat our "free" breakfast. While eating that meal we stopped to disembark/embark passengers at Marshall, TX. That process complete we left that station, only to stop about a mile down the track.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we are stopped because the considerable rain they have experienced in this area has washed out the track in front of us. We are now waiting on construction crews to rebuild the track. We'll be here at least an hour."
And the train backed into the Marshall station to allow smokers to get out and do their thing.

FOUR HOURS later, we slowly crossed the area where the track had washed out, accelerated, and continued our journey toward San Antonio.
At Dallas we once again heard the Conductor's voice:
"Ladies and gentlemen, the rain in this area has flooded the terminal controlling our dispatch computers. Traffic separation is now being controlled manually."
That meant slowing or stopping to allow freight traffic to pass.
We arrived in San Antonio after 1 A.M., almost five hours later than scheduled.
We had guaranteed our room, so we literally fell into bed and slept like the exhausted adventurers we were.

The reunion?
We were in San Antonio!
It went GREAT!

05 August 2016

Poor Poor Pitiful Me

We all have 'em...
Some of us are fortunate enough to not be married to 'em...
Joe Bftsplk.

Joe is a forgotten soul now... a cartoon character from the old "Lil' Abner" strip that ran on the funny pages of our old newspaper. Nothing good ever happened to Joe. Everywhere he walked, that dark cloud followed and made sure he didn't have a sunny day.

One of the pilots I used to work with reminded me of Joe.
He had married an attractive gal several years his junior. He used most of his savings to buy a restaurant, hoping it would not only be a financial success, but keep his pretty young wife busy (and out of trouble).
You may be ahead of me here... if you have a pretty, young wife, you may not want to leave her alone with a bunch of customers and fellow workers paying lots of attention to her.
He realized his mistake pretty quickly, but with all his savings committed, what could he do?

He'd come in to work, and for half an hour I had to put on my second hat... "therapist".
He moaned about his marriage. He worried his young wife was having an affair with the 20-yr old busboy.  He complained about the restaurant, the possible loss of his savings, and contractors not doing prompt repairs.

The situation finally got so bad I said, "Partner, I'll make ya a deal. Tomorrow I'll bring my .357 to work and we can do one of two things-
You put it to your head and blow your brains out, or I'll put it to mine." He'd smile a sad smile and nod his head.
They were divorced within a year, and he lost his job shortly thereafter.

People like this suck your energy.
They're not happy until they have chaos in their lives.
They want you to be "happy" like them too, so they share the turbulence in their lives with you.

It may be my biggest failing as a Christian... as soon as I realize I've found one of these energy-suckers, I separate myself. Sometimes that means avoiding people that are VERY close in your life. That makes it hard, but not impossible to "avoid the drain".

Do you know one of these tapeworms?
How do you handle them?

17 July 2016

Dark Skies On The Horizon

I've shared this with you before.
Now that traffic here has lessened, I realize I'm sharing it now mostly with like-minded souls.

When you are fearful your family may be in danger, will you go to work or stay home to protect them?
Other first responders... Emt's, Paramedics, Firemen, folks who fly helicopters to accident scenes.
Folks who work at our utilities... water, electricity, etc..
What will THEY do?

I think I know the answer to that question.

This guy knows what happens.
He saw this scenario unfold in his country.
And he's warning us about what is about to happen.

Be prepared.
Or be a victim.
Your choice.

Choose wisely.

16 July 2016

We Picked 'Em Up and Took 'Em to Shelter!


I flew various iterations of this machine from 1968 to 1988, accruing just over 3000 hours airborne beneath that rotor during that time.

Do ya think I LOVE this bird?

15 July 2016

Winston Churchill for President!

Show me a man like Winston and I'll vote for him.
But he knew he WAS NOT ELIGIBLE.

From his speech to a joint session of Congress in December of 1941:
"By the way, I cannot help reflecting that if my father had been American and my mother British instead of the other way around, I might have got here on my own."

What happened to that "Natural Born Citizen" clause between 1941 and 2008?

Hysteria happened, that's what.

13 July 2016

About "Pitchpull":

When I decided to take the plunge and start writing here 11+ years ago, the world was such a different place.
I was a different person.

If you are even a now-and-again follower, go back and look at my post-election post about Obama in November of '08. There you'll see my concern, and hope, that he'd be a transformative leader.

My concerns have been verified.
Hope and Change... well, that was just a campaign slogan.

When Obama was re-elected in '12, Sara Jean and I both felt as if we had had a death in the family. Isn't that amazing?
We were looking at signs we felt were obvious... that the things our Fathers had fought so hard for were being tossed aside. Our country was being "fundamentally transformed" in a way that would tear the economic and moral fabric of the nation.
I coined the phrase, "The GIMMEE GENERATION".

In about 60 years we've gone from "The Greatest Generation" to "The Gimmee Generation". .
And that "Gimmee" generation feels the "gimmees" are not enough.
Gimmee MORE.

We have no leadership.
The nation is falling apart, and Obama is so oblivious he feels the need to divide us even further. Even at a memorial service for fallen heroes he feels the need to divide us.

I'm sick at heart.
My Mother used to say, "I'm glad I'm old".
And by that she meant she was glad she had lived most of her life in "Saner" times.

When I started writing this blog in April of '05 I felt my words might help others to live a better life. Now?
I have to ask the question: "Who the hell is listening?"

11 July 2016


Ask me  "Who was the most important leader in World War Two?"
I'll answer emphatically: WINSTON.
Yes, there certainly were other heroes: Eisenhower, MacArthur, Patton, FDR...
All of them worth our study. But I'd argue that without Churchill, the others would have failed.
In fact, we might not even know some of their names.

Winston was the glue that held Britain together until December of 1941 when the U.S. finally got its nose bloodied and realized there was a world problem that needed our attention.

He was half-American, born to an American Mother.
He constantly had a lit cigar somewhere close.
He drank nearly from the time he woke until he went to bed.
He had multiple strokes and a few heart attacks... (he had one heart attack during the war while at the White House conferring with FDR. That attack was kept secret, even from Churchill AND wife Clementine so as not to concern the rest of the world).
He still lived to be 90.

I've been watching movies and documentaries about his life on "Netflix" and "Amazon", and I'm constantly reminded about the old saw, "Those who don't know history are doomed to suffer repeating it."
Churchill was amazing.
His MANY quotations are entertaining and worth our time. Even his flaws made him interesting.

The world WOULD NOT be the same today had he not lived.
I heartily recommend you get to know him better.

07 July 2016

Why Do We Have A Second Amendment?

"When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny."
Thomas Jefferson

Whattya think...
Does our government now fear the people?

04 July 2016

Brake, Don't Break

A year ago...
(Or was it two?) WOW, I'm gettin' old!
I was riding alongside someone I care about... a relatively new rider.
This new rider was astride a Harley-Davidson motorcycle with more displacement than I had between my legs until I was well into my sixties. Still, with my "two-wheel" experience and personal knowledge of the myriad ways you can hurt yourself, I watched "H-D rider's" technique and was surprised to see NO use of the front brake.

At our first stop I mentioned it...
"Don't you realize that's where most of your stopping power is?"
I was the only non-Harley rider in the group. Other riders of that brand seemed to be offended by the fact I had made the suggestion.

So I asked another question:
"When you do a brake job on your car, which brakes are most likely to need maintenance, and WHY?"
Cumulative Harley riders didn't know.
So I told 'em.
They still seemed unconvinced.
I dropped the subject... maybe it is dangerous to use the front brake on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle?

I'd be delighted if more people were introduced to motorcycling.
To this end, I constantly recommend the "Motorcycle Safety Foundation's" introductory course.
(Even if you don't ride you should take the course... it's a GREAT education about bikes and what makes them tick.)
But there's a reason many people think motorcycles are extremely dangerous.
One of the reasons they think that is because bikers are exposed to idiots in cars and trucks.
Another reason is that many riders haven't been properly educated about how their machines work.
As an ex-EMS helicopter pilot I can tell you LOTS of stories!

Here's my (old biker) advice...
If you operate a technical machine... motorcycle, airplane, helicopter, etc...
NEVER quit learning about it.
A good education may help you avoid your local Emergency Room.
Don't BREAK.

26 June 2016


Everything in its place and a place for everything.

New location...
Different view.
Different surroundings.
Different people.
Exotic? Yeah, maybe a little.
"Where's my stuff?"

Stay a few days.

Back home.
Everything in its place and a place for everything.
Better than anything else.

Travel is more than a good thing.
It focuses your thoughts on how you've made your HOME a home.
It reinforces why/how home IS home.
Travel is necessary and wonderful.

We're glad we went
We're SO glad to be home.

19 June 2016

Happy Father's Day

My Father died 13 years ago of lung cancer.
He was a smoker.
I nagged him to stop.
He resented my nagging.

He was also one of those "Macho" guys with a wall around him to keep others at a certain distance.
Sara Jean and I worked on that for years, and by the end of his life had moved that wall considerably.

My sister always claimed the two of us had been raised by completely different parents...
Almost six years my junior, she was right.
From my viewpoint she was always "Daddy's girl" and was a consistent source of friction between me and Dad.

In the worst argument we ever had, when I was sixteen, Dad and I were face-to-face and he drew back and made a fist.
Almost a grown man by this time I cautioned him...
"Dad, I'm not sure you want to do that. You may whup me now, but soon you won't be able to!"
He relaxed his fist. We talked.
And the resolution to the problem was to put a lock on my bedroom door to keep my room from being trashed.

From this narrative you can discern that my Dad and I DID NOT have a perfect relationship.
But I loved him. He loved me. There was never any question of that.

Our relationship grew closer as we both aged.
I was always proud of him...
He could do most anything he set his mind to... expertly.
I know he was proud of my accomplishments. As a matter of fact, I often wonder if my success at some of the things he had always dreamed of was part of the friction between us.

After all the nagging about smoking, I was angry about his lung cancer diagnosis.
Truly, I'm not sure he could have avoided lung CA... he had smoked SO many years.
Watching him weaken and slowly fade, my sister and I coordinated our efforts to care for Dad, (and by doing so, take much of the burden off Mom's shoulders).
We all worked as a team.

How many young boys don't have a male figure in their lives, providing support, and at least showing that men, just by "bringing home the bacon", show a willingness to bear a responsibility to their families?
My Dad wasn't perfect. But even through his mistakes I learned things I used to make my relationship with my own son better.

Dad, I'm thankful that during those last weeks of your life you knew we were there to make your exit from this life as comfortable as possible.

I'm grateful that you were able to let us know you appreciated our efforts.

I think of you every day. I miss being able to share stuff about our mutual interests in flying, nature, and mechanics.

And I will ALWAYS be thankful our last years were not like those we shared together under one roof.

God be with you 'til we meet again.

15 June 2016

The Koran

I want an education.
I'm even considering trying to start a conversation with an official at our local Muslim place of worship.
I want to know what the Koran says.

I'm told the Koran, like the Bible, has contradictions.
Contradictions in the Bible are resolved by Christ's appearance on earth.
The New Testament establishes new rules-
Love the Lord.
Love others as you love the Lord.

What does the Koran say?
This is where I need expert input.

I'm told followers of Islam are told to do one of three things with "infidels"...(that's you and me).
1. Tax them.
2. Enslave them.
3. Kill them, and the preferred method of execution is beheading.
How much of this is true?

Today, from many friends I used to consider intelligent, I'm hearing "religion is the problem".
True Christians ARE NOT the problem.

Someone who knows more about the "Religion of Peace"...
Tell me the truth, and cite where I can get an education on the subject.

02 June 2016

I HAVE To Kill You.

As is so often the case, I can't even remember the discussion that led us to get into the subject in the first place. But I was talking with a guy I THOUGHT I knew well...
He was my neighbor growing up. We went to the same grade school, same Jr. High, same High School. We were drafted into the Army within months of one another. He's a Viet Nam Veteran.
He's a Christian who practices his faith by doing wonderful works. I admire that in him, tremendously.

But, on this day, the bottom fell out. We were discussing the sorry state of our Nation. Somewhere in the discussion his shoulders slumped and his expression changed.
"I'm just one guy... what can I do?" he asked.
And I realized I no longer really knew this man I had "known" for sixty years.
I also realized my desperate need to find others who feel as I do and surround my family with them.

History is a hard teacher.
George Santayana is credited with the quote about those that don't know it being forced to repeat it.
And the rest of us have to suffer as we watch our world crumble while folks on "Watters' World" continue to vote.
I'm paying attention to Europe. Because with the "I'm just one guy, what can I do?" attitude, that's where we're headed. And that's interesting to me because of a guy named Neville Chamberlain.
If you don't recognize the name, do the research and learn some history.

I shout at the TV a LOT lately.
Our nation, founded on Christian principles, is at war with an enemy and we don't even want to admit it.
My Holy Book tells me to love everyone, including my foe.
Their Holy Book tells them they must do one of three things with people that do not believe as they do:
-Tax them.
-Enslave them.
-Or KILL them, with beheading being a preferable method of dispatch.

"Not all Muslims are bad people" I often hear folks on TV say.
And then I scream at the box... "The 'good Muslims' aren't paying attention to their Holy Book!"
But... I'm just one guy.
What can I do?

01 June 2016

Protecting Gaia

Change the oil in your Dodge Ram truck with the Cummins Diesel engine and you'll end up with nearly two gallons of used motor oil in your receiving container.
Add to that container the used oil from two mowers and a garden tiller and like me, you may find you have a couple heavy containers full of yucky liquid.
I was under the impression the law today was such that I could take my used oil to any facility in the oil change business and they were required to accept my containers.
Where did I get that idea?
I was mistaken.

Jiffy Lube turned me down but suggested a business that "might" accept my oil for recycling.
My local tire store said "Yes, I'll take it for you", but it was obvious he wasn't happy about it.
"They used to pay me for this oil", he said. "Then they'd suck it out of my tank for free. Then they charged me $20", (this is a 300 gallon tank). "Now they're charging me $65."
This "green energy" business has, once again, turned out to be a pipe dream.

There ARE places that will accept used motor oil...
When I got home a quick internet search indicated both our local Auto Parts stores will still take it.
My question is, how long will that last?

Old tires.
Motor oil.
Old TV's, computers, microwaves and other electronics...
The "free lunch" idea here seems to be to just to take this stuff out in the country and dump it alongside a quiet country road.

(That's a joke... I KEEEEEEEED.)

25 May 2016

Our Robot Masters-

We already have self-driving cars.
But motorcycles?
And to what purpose?

At what point do we start hearing complaints about how dangerous it is for humans to be in control?

10 May 2016

Waiting For The Inevitable

Some time ago, before I realized how much FaceBook discussions were raising my blood pressure I wrote there:
"What has happened to my country?"
An old High School chum responded,

"It's gone. Get used to that fact."
I can't tell you how disappointed I was in him for that response...
He too is a Viet Nam Combat Veteran, and I expected "better" from him.
So I continued my quest to stop this runaway train and turn it around.
But, now that the two major parties have selected their nominees for the upcoming election it is obvious:
He was right.
I was deluding myself.

It's now being suggested I once again "Hold my nose and vote".
Hold my nose?
Since the Reagan administration, the political stench has gotten worse, and worse, and worse.
We've "Destroyed the free market system in order to save it".
We've totally forgotten the rudimentary lessons we learned in Psy 101, Soc 101, and Econ 101; that if you reward a behavior you get MORE of it.

I'm boggled by where we now find ourselves:
Babies born today find themselves already saddled with $40,000 of debt each.
"Illegal" is an ugly word, so we must now use the word "undocumented" instead.
We no longer have to pay attention to the sign on the bathroom door.
"Constitution? We don't need no stinking Constitution."

It's now a living document that means whatever makes us feel good.

Our country is now deluged with debt.
If he is able to get elected and pass out all the freebies he desires, Bernie Sanders will add another $17,000,000,000,000.00 (is that enough zeroes?) to our already IMPOSSIBLE national debt.
I don't know who said it... some smart person... but there's a saying... "What CANNOT continue, won't".
Students of history are quite aware, this CANNOT continue.

My family is preparing for the worst.
Some of our Christian friends are simply watching the horizon, expecting Christ to return.
Others are keeping a firearm close at hand with ONE bullet in the chamber... (two if they're married.)

But it's now more than obvious my old H.S. mate was right... the chanting of Socialists, Black Lives Matter, and even old Viet Nam Veteran friends who are willing to sacrifice all principles in order to keep Hillary from being elected have finally opened my eyes.
The group inside my circle of wagons just got noticeably smaller.

But I continue to tell those I love and respect-
Be prepared.
Or be a victim.

07 May 2016

Life Ain't Safe.

Yesterday, weather was gorgeous. We woke and, after checking the weather, had smiles on our faces because we had planned a "Christian Bike Ride"...
Four bikes would depart from our Church at 0930 with the planned destination of Patti's 1880 Settlement at Grand Rivers, KY, in the beautiful Land Between the Lakes area.
At the appointed hour the contingent was "all present and accounted for"...
Sara Jean and me on our '03 GoldWing, the other three bikes were H-D "Ultra Classics" with husband and wife teams on each. We chatted a bit in the Church parking lot, then, after a prayer for safe riding, at about 0950 we set off.

We made it all of about 8 miles before coming to a stop...
Third in an "echelon right" formation, we watched as Harley #1 first put on his flashing warning lights, then slowed to a stop at a safe spot alongside the road.
"My cruise control is stuck ON" said the Harley pilot.
He pulled his front brake lever full on, (which normally would automatically disable the cruise control), released it, then started the bike. The engine would have screamed to full throttle had he not immediately turned the ignition key to "off".
He pressed on the rear brake lever then started the engine again... same result.
He scratched his head, then pulled the side cover on the left side of the bike that granted access to the fuse panel and searched for a placard indicating which of the fuses might disable the errant accessory... to no avail.
One of the other Ultra riders walked over and closed his throttle...
"Try it now *****", he said.
Success! Turns out most bikes today with throttles controlled by cable actually have TWO cables...
One to open the throttle, and another, for safety purposes, to close the throttle should it stick open.
Problem resolved, we set off again for our destination.

We rode the Interstate, mostly.
Yeah, I know... boring as watching paint dry.
But still, this was beautiful country, beautiful weather, and Sara Jean and I were surrounded by the staccato sound of three H-D's with moderately loud exhaust pipes.

We ate a great meal and had great fellowship, catching up on one another's lives, then, surprised to see we'd been chatting for two hours, realized we had to start home to let Lucy out to do her business.
We mounted up, rode to the first gas station we could find, topped off our bikes, and set off.
We had agreed our trip home would be off the concrete slab as much as possible, and jumped off the Interstate onto a nice two-lane highway at our earliest chance.
This is more to my liking...
Up and down rolling hills, sweeping left and right turns following the paths laid down by our forebears years ago. Breathtaking.

But riding the two-lanes DOES mean extra risk-
Stopped behind a car with its left turn signal on waiting for oncoming traffic, we watched terrified as the oncoming car crossed into our lane in front of the car in front of us, departed the road to our right, then, still going about 30 mph, crossed between the stopped car and the first two bikes in our formation, only to run up into an available driveway there and crash to a stop after colliding with a car in that drive.
The event stunned my wife to the point she wanted to flee the scene...
"Go, Go, Go!" she urgently shouted.
And we all dropped our bikes into gear and did just that.

What could cause an incident like this?
Driving under the influence?
Brake, or other mechanical failure?
Inattention to the task?
Since we didn't stop to investigate, there's just no way to know.

But it once again points out the obvious...
If the gal driving that out-of-control car had not expertly divided the gap between the car we were stopped for and our formation of bikes, several people COULD have been seriously hurt, not to mention the damage to a bunch of fine machines.
The pilot and wife on one of the lead machines were helmetless.

Life is a risk.
We choose to ride because we enjoy riding immensely, and realize the risk we take doing it.
No matter how safe you are, personally, there's always the chance someone else is gonna come along and mess up your day.
Be prepared for that. Try to protect yourself from the mistakes of others as much as possible.

Yesterday was beautiful.
And now we have a couple more "ADVENTURE!" stories to share with friends.

02 May 2016

The Bathroom Discussion-

"I've got to go see a man about a horse" I said.
From where we were located in the O Club the downstairs facilities were closest. Normally used by informal bar patrons, they'd be nearly empty because this was Sunday Brunch time and the downstairs was closed Sunday.  My need to go was great, so I dashed into the first available door without paying attention to the marking on the door.
I found myself in heaven, in a small anteroom. Two love seats with tufted upholstery were placed at 90-degree angles from one another, with a standing ashtray at either end and in between the seats.
In order to go into the actual "relief" room, you had to go through another door. Good thing too, because back then I could have been in an embarrassing situation at least for entering the "Ladies Room". I quickly exited these plush surroundings and entered the proper facility...
Bare walls, urinals, and a few equally bare stalls to conduct my business.

Back in 1974 I attended the 100th running of the Kentucky Derby. The Centennial of this race attracted a MUCH larger crowd than planners had imagined, and lines to get into the ladies' facilities meant females were standing in queue 15-20 minutes just to find themselves at a stall.
Women started entering the men's facilities, using the stalls while we men used the urinals on the opposite wall. We men understood, and didn't care... no one was put into a compromising position.

So how is this present gender-bathroom controversy gonna turn out?
I think eventually we'll see an arrangement where there will be one restroom, with individual stalls for all... no urinals... and the stalls will be MUCH more private than those in restrooms presently. Women will be forced, frequently, to wipe urine off toilet seats, because men are pigs.
It will be expensive for facility owners and taxpayers and these costs will, as always, be passed on to you and me.
Expensive foolishness.

And the biggest loser of all?
There will be NO anteroom with ashtrays and lovely crushed velour upholstery.
What a pity.

21 April 2016

Some 21Apr16 Thoughts On the Joys of Shopping At WalMart:

Let me start by declaring I DO NOT hate WalMart.
There's no question they have run many Mom & Pop stores out of business. But do we really want to go back to "The Walton's" days where we walked down to Ike and Cora Beth's store and tried to buy fresh Zucchini? Good luck with that!
WalMart has changed the world...
Lots of variety, and almost always priced lower than the competition. (Find a lower price in an ad? Bring it to the cashier and they'll match the price.)
Disagree with me? That's fine... and I'll tell ya why later in this post.

I just finished shopping at my local Wally World. In this small town I always plan to run into several people I know and like, and plan to spend at least an hour in the store even if I only have a few items to purchase. This visit was no different... I ran into a couple people I had not seen since we left for Destin last Fall. I enjoyed running into them and caught up on all the latest small-town gossip.
But let me share some thoughts on things I almost always think while shopping at Wally World...

-Is everyone miserable? Did everyone just lose their aged Dog/Cat?
No one smiles. Well, at least no one does until you smile, say hello, and force them to quit frowning.
It sometimes feels as if the world is falling down on everyone. They walk around looking glum, with their shoulders drooping as if the weight of the world is upon them.
Yes, I know the world is a mess. But can we not at least be civil with one another and try to make lemonade outta this fiasco?

-You're driving around in that electric shopping cart with the backup warning... BEEP!, BEEP!, BEEP!
You are morbidly obese, and the last thing in the world you need to be doing is shopping while seated on your two-axhandle wide butt, manipulating the controls of a motorized vehicle. YOU'RE COMMITTING SLOW SUICIDE.
Stand on your own two feet. If necessary, start out by using your walker, (with attached shopping basket!)

Then you can go home and eat those yodels and Donettes!
Providing those carts makes WalMart codependent, making it easy for gluttons to support their "Food as drug" habit.
And what's also amazing? Even while silently puttering around in their carts, these obese folks don't smile. (I guess slow-suicide will do that to you.)

WalMart shopping completed, I went to our local grocery. On Thursdays they provide a 10% discount to
active duty/retired/Veterans. (On Tuesdays they give "Seniors" a 10% discount.)
What's more... they have a butcher on duty to answer questions and serve your needs. I try to do as much business with this store as possible, to keep Wally World honest. Employees in this store try HARDER. Customers here seem happier. There are no codependent carts for customers. And this butcher KNOWS GOOD MEAT.

It's been an interesting, thought-provoking shopping day.
Thank GOD for the free market... or what today could be called the ALMOST free market!
And yes, I found my fresh Zucchini.

13 April 2016

Random Thoughts, Spring, 2016

We're home from Destin, safely, after spending the better part of five months there.
When you go to the trouble of closing up your primary home, and spend the extra $$$$ to avoid the snow/ice/cold in the "Great White North", one of the things you do is tune in "The Weather Channel" to see if your expenditure is worthwhile, (and see how your neighbors are faring back home).
Weather in the panhandle of Florida this year was NOT dramatically different from the weather back home, so gloating over calls to friends was kept to a minimum. Still there's just nothing quite like watching the surf lap against snow-white sand while dolphins swim through your picture window!

On our departure day, (Saturday), we had the truck packed with two Motor Scooters and all our personal possessions by 1 P.M., said our goodbyes to Florida neighbors, and headed Northbound. Our journey home takes us through Montgomery and Birmingham Alabama, and Nashville Tennessee.
I'm always concerned about traffic in those cities because an accident on the Interstate highway can make you a prisoner in your vehicle.
This trip home was an absolute disaster-
We experienced a slowdown South of Birmingham, so I detoured to U.S. 31 around the city. Trying to insure traffic would dissipate, we even stopped for dinner just north of B-ham. Back on the concrete slab, we almost immediately slowed to a near stop.
At 11 P.M. just south of Nashville we again topped a hill and saw four lanes of Interstate full of red tail lights. We inched forward at less than walking speed, covering two miles in two hours, gagging in the exhaust being produced by hundreds of cars and trucks. As we passed the accident site it was obvious to me someone was probably assuming ambient temperature-
The collision was so violent the tractor-trailer's front axle was lying twenty feet in front of what was left of the donor vehicle.
We finally arrived home at 0500 hours, exhausted, sixteen hours after setting off.

We've pretty much learned what to expect when we get home:
Digital clocks will be flashing "12:00".
Many light bulbs will die in a flash of glory when you first turn lamps on.
You wake the first morning home and look around trying to figure out where you are.
It takes two days to get all your "stuff" in its proper place, and even then you have to stop to think "is that pair of scissors in the Destin drawer or the back-home drawer?"
But the trees are greening and some flowers are blooming. Soon it will be time to get tomatoes, green peppers, corn, and other tasty things in the ground.

We're glad to be home.

16 March 2016

More (And Bigger) Is Better?

Yeah, it's time to admit I'm suffering from a disease.
But like other addicts I CAN and DO rationalize it to myself.
Let me try, and you can shoot holes in my thought process-

We've been here in Destin for the Winter.
All of our grocery shopping is done within three miles.
When we need a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk, we have to start the car/truck and drive about five minutes to do that. Isn't that the absolute WORST thing you can do to a vehicle?

For years we've watched as visitors zip by on the beach road on rented 50cc scooters, throttle opened wide to the point of bending the handlebars, going all of 35-40 miles per hour. Invariably they are smiling, laughing, and generally shouting at others on similar scooters.
The epiphany came to me-
Virtually ALL the trips I'm making to buy a dozen eggs could be made on one of these scooters, saving the wear and tear of waking the big Cummins diesel engine from a sleep and not quite warming it to operating temperature with the trip to buy a few needed items.
So we bought a used Taotao 50cc scooter, and I am now one of those desperately trying to avoid getting bugs in my teeth as I race to the grocery.
And I mean that...
After three months of use if the thing assumed the "dying cockroach" position tomorrow I'd still feel we have gotten our money's worth from the little Chinese Bugger.

But there IS a fly in the ointment.
At 40 mph, if I tried to get out on one of the highways... say to drive over to Ft. Walton Beach to go to Harbor Freight Tools, (make your Tim Allen sounds here), I'd be illegal and dangerous to myself and others.

Some years back my sister bought a 500cc Kymco scooter to drive to/from work and has gotten good utility from the machine. She even bragged about being able to out-accelerate her son on his Harley-Davidson to about 60 mph, even though his machine has more than twice the displacement.
I'm sure her scoot will probably go close to 90 mph.
I don't need that kind of performance... all I need is to be safe on highways where the speed limit is 55 mph.

So I did some research and found that 150cc scooters similar to my little Taotao will go almost 60, and they are quite reasonable in price.
That's what I need.

Now here is where the picture gets a little cloudy-
I rode the little 50cc machine to get a gallon of milk this week. After buying the milk I looked up and down the street and saw the sign... "Coastal Custom Cruisers".
They rent bicycles and Motor Scooters to folks visiting the beach.
I thought, "What would it hurt to pop in and talk to them?"

I walked in and met "Cameron".
"Do you by any chance have a used 150cc scooter for sale?"
Cameron smiled. I think he knew he "had me at Hello."
"Follow me, I have something to show you."
In the back room it sat... black, and strangely wonderful. It looks just like the one you see pictured above.
Italian engineering. 250cc's. I've been fascinated with 'em since I first saw one in magazines.
It's called an MP3. The last time Blog friend Cary and I climbed high up to Tortilla Flat in Arizona we followed a lady riding one of these up the mountain... she had no trouble at all staying in front of us.

"What year is it. How many miles. And how much?" I asked.
The number Cameron gave me was a shock.
"We have the machine on consignment" he said.
"Let me go home and check the Blue Book" I responded.
And when I checked, the "low retail" value was over $1000 more than the asking price, and this machine is NOT "low retail".
I bought the strange three-wheeler the next morning.

I spent much of the day on it yesterday.
It will go faster than I want to go on any scooter, two OR three wheels.
It's smooth-running, substantial feeling, and will be fine for two-up riding to Ft. Walton Beach, or for that matter, on the Interstate highways.
Cameron promises to help me load the MP3 AND the little 50cc Taotao into the bed of the Ram Diesel when we depart Destin the end of this month.

And now comes the hard part... my admission to "addiction"-
There are five motorcycles in my "hangar" already. Now when we get home there will be seven.
The 50cc Taotao has been an education and has served its purpose, so it's gone. The older GoldWing needs to go. The newer GoldWing stays.
That leaves the Valkyrie, the Moto Guzzi, and the BMW R80RT.
How do I decide which to part with?

This "Junkie" is already having trouble with withdrawal symptoms!

03 March 2016

Blood Politics

"You could NEVER do that", my wife said... (and she was correct).
We just watched Clarence Thomas' wife being interviewed on Glenn Beck's radio/TV show. She was talking about how amazing it was that Antonin Scalia had such a close relationship with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, two people about as far apart on the political spectrum as you can get.

My response?
"Blood on their hands!"
Hillary Clinton AND Barack Obama watched, on a live feed (LIVE!!) from Benghazi, as four people who worked for them were attacked and killed... and did NOTHING.
Worse, they then lied to cover their tracks for political benefit.

I am still in touch with folks in the military, many of whom are involved with Special Ops.
Some of those folks are dying because of poor political leadership.
If you are an Obama supporter... if you are a Clinton supporter, I'd just as soon try to beat you up as have a relationship with you.
Some of my friends are DYING. You have blood on your hands.

Antonin Scalia was smarter than me.
But I'm not sure his political tactics make the world a better place.

Still, I have to admit that Scalia beating little Ruth up would have been a bad move.
But the image it gives me makes me smile.
And I don't think progressives have any idea what they face in the future if we continue down this path.

25 February 2016


"Mitt Romney, who was one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics, is now pushing me on tax returns. Dope!"
Donald Trump

Since that statement, Donald has said his tax returns are "complex".
This is an excuse for not releasing them?
Seems to me, if they truly are that complex, releasing them now would give examiners more time to pore over them and agree he has nothing to hide.
Conversely, stalling about their release a few days will give him time to garner more votes toward wrapping up the nomination.

I don't like his use of profanity. It's unbefitting.
I don't like his support of abortion and using my tax money to fund Planned Parenthood.
I HATE the fact he thinks he can steal property from little old ladies to enrich himself.
And I REALLY don't like the fact he thinks having a ton of money makes him smarter than the rest of us.

Pray for enlightenment.

20 February 2016

Frank Underwood

I've written before about my concerns-
Retirement has NOT turned out the way I thought it would.
Don't get me wrong now by thinking I'm unhappy. I'm not. But I AM adjusting to change, and probably will continue to adjust 'til I assume ambient temperature.

One of the things I did not foresee is how much TV we're watching.
We've always been avid news-watchers. That hasn't changed. What HAS changed is how much other worthwhile TV we have time to watch now that work no longer consumes so much of our allotted time.

Almost immediately after I walked away from EMS we went to visit our son in Phoenix.
He has a VAST library of films and TV series on file.
"I have something I want you to watch" he said. "I'm SURE you two will enjoy it."
He then poked up Season One, Episode One of "Breaking Bad".
The first hour was... okay. The second hour... meh.
During the third hour we began to realize we cared about the characters.
And then it was like heroin, (or should I say, perfectly turquoise Crystal Meth?)...
For the next several days we watched three or four hours per night until we viewed the last episode.
62 of 'em!!!
And what's REALLY scary?
We wanted more.

Since "BB", thanks to another friend's recommendation, we've watched all available episodes of "Hell On Wheels". (Warning... although we've enjoyed the show, it is NOT historically correct. Search engines are your friend.)
As Hitchcock fans, we've also watched and enjoyed all of "Bates Motel."

But now, thanks again to our son, we've purchased a "Roku 2" device and, at his suggestion, have begun to watch "House of Cards".
Let me warn you...
It MAY be better if you DON'T start watching until after all this political silliness is over, January of next year.
Every time I watch the news now I'm thinking of Frank and Claire.

For those of you, like us, who anxiously await the release of Season Four on 4March...
Who do YOU think Frank and Claire Underwood are modeled after?

17 February 2016

"It's How The System Is Supposed To Work".


That's how the system HAS worked in the past.
It's the best way for it to work today.

16 February 2016

Tao Tao

It's almost three months now since I bought little "Harley".
I've learned a great deal in the short time I've owned him. The gas gauge read "full" when I bought the machine. Now, three months later, it's finally reached the "1/4" mark. I think the tank holds a little more than a gallon of fuel, so the 100 mpg claims for these machines is probably close to true.

Anyone riding on two wheels has probably heard the statement, "It's more fun to ride a slow machine fast than to ride a fast machine slow". There's no question that's true for me. With the wind at my back I have seen 41 mph on this little scoot, and felt like I was doing something slightly insane.

With storage beneath the seat, storage in the little topcase, and the ability to secure plastic bags on a hook behind the front fairing/beneath the handlebars, I can make a trip anytime to the grocery and buy the necessities... milk/eggs/bread/wine.
Starting a cold engine is the worst thing you can do to it wear-wise. Little Harley has saved me a dozen four-wheeled trips in the short time we've owned him, saving us wear and tear and gasoline on the "cage".

There ARE some limitations that we've learned from little Harley:
Obviously, if the speed limit exceeds 40, you need to avoid that street.

I look like a monkey grappling with a football on the little scoot. Try to imagine what Sara Jean and I look like when we're two-up on the thing!

When the thermometer dips below 45 or, as frequently happens here in the Florida panhandle, it rains, I'm not macho enough to saddle Harley up for errands.

Not a limitation but an observation:
A CVT transmission may be efficient and easy, but the buzziness of this scoot is an irritation. (Part of that is due to the fact that I'm riding wide-open much of the time!) The lever on the left handlebar is the FRONT brake. I'm now wondering if I'll have "negative transfer" learning when I get back on motorcycles. (Doubt it, but we'll see.)

Fifty Cubic Centimeters is fine for an area where everything you need is within five miles or so. But we frequently make jaunts 11 miles or so to Ft. Walton/Ft. Walton Beach which requires us to use U.S. 98, where the speed limit is 65 mph. Having a scoot capable of cruising at least 60 mph would make that journey possible, and a larger scooter would be more comfortable with Sara Jean aboard.
So I see a larger scooter in our future. What's "big enough"?

A 150cc machine would get the job done, (barely), but would a 200/250cc be better? (And keep me from having to trade up right away?)

Anyway, Harley has been an education.
He's also been a lot of fun.
If the insects were flying here in Dec/Jan/Feb, they'd be stuck in my teeth!

12 February 2016

Blue Lights On The Beach

That's different...
At about 1930 hours last night I saw a Sheriff's Department truck slowly traversing the beach from West to East with its emergency lights illuminated. Ten minutes later he came back, course reversed.
Thirty minutes later a small boat came from the West, blue lights flashing.
Somethin's up... a drowning?

Then the airshow started.
A Coast Guard Dolphin helicopter flew along the beach, low and SLOW, then reversed course.
Another S.D. truck passed by on the strand, blue lights blinking.
And then "WOW... what's that noise? That sounds a lot like a BK117". No, it's an Air Force V-22 Osprey with rotors in helicopter mode, also low and slow, moving from West to East. We notice the two rotors give off a blue-green glow at the rotor tips. Do they have L.E.D.'s out there?
Soon a Robinson R44 joined the search, landing/taxi light illuminated and someone in the left front seat shining a very powerful portable searchlight at the surf.

This activity continued until just before midnight. The V-22 hovering by made me wonder if there had been some sort of military training accident.

I recorded the early news this morning to see if answers would be provided.
This is what we learned.

06 February 2016

Dateline: Hampton, Georgia

I can walk through two doors and put my hands on a UH-1.
Sitting next to that Huey are two AH-1 Cobras. Step through a clear plastic barrier designed to keep heat in one part of this big hangar, and feast your eyes on two more Hueys, two more Cobras, an OH-58, and an O-1 BirdDog.
Think I'm in heaven here? :)

I spent the day yesterday attaching covers to the many inspection panels on a Huey just coming out of a major inspection. Having completed that job several of us installed all the canvas seats in the cargo compartment of the aircraft. All of this was harder than I expected, and made me realize I should have thanked my maintenance personnel for the good work they did MUCH more often than I did.

Ground schooling finished and written tests all complete, tomorrow I take what they here call the "Nickel Ride" to show the folks that keep these neat old birds flying I'm not a total idiot at the controls. It's my first step to getting completely qualified to fly the machines from one point to another. Eventually I'll be at the controls when we buckle folks willing to pay for the experience of actually flying in this Viet Nam icon into the rear to take them for a spin.
It's exciting.

There are 11 guys in this class.
Other than the instructor I'm the only guy in the class that flew this machine in combat.
We're ALL having a ball, working hard... playing hard.

I'll give ya an after-action report soon as I come down off this "high".

03 February 2016

3 Feb 16- Open Letter From Destin, Florida:

Sometimes you get something in your head and it won't go away until you tell someone about it and clear it out-
If I asked you to "hum a few bars" of "The 59th Street Bridge Song", you might look at me cross-eyed and think you don't know it. But I bet you'd be mistaken!

We've now been here three months, minus the three weeks over Christmas and New Year's that we spent with our son in Phoenix. Weather here has been palatable, but except for a few "brass monkey" days weather back home has been pretty decent too. The view out our picture window here, however, makes the extra expense of being here more than worthwhile.

Update on "Little Harley"-
It HAS turned out to be a perfect little errand vehicle. Bread, milk, a dozen eggs, and a 2-liter bottle of soda? Most of that will fit beneath the seat. Really small stuff will fit in the topcase.
Need more room? There's a hook on the front leg shield behind the handlebars to accommodate a plastic grocery bag... between your legs.
I'm still having a ball riding the little sucker. Last week my GPS indicated I actually hit 41 mph with a slight tailwind. I have not yet had to refuel... three months and the fuel gauge is just now hitting the quarter-full mark, so the "100 miles per gallon" estimation is probably pretty close.
My only complaint with it? I have to be careful to plan my trips across town and stay on the feeder streets because of the scoot's speed limitations. The little bike has been an education...
Next year I'll trade Little Harley for a 150cc machine so I can ride to Ft. Walton Beach and move with traffic. (More room for Sara Jean on the back, too.)

Tomorrow I depart for Atlanta.
I'll be spending a few days there putting in "sweat equity" with the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation in hopes of getting current in the UH-1 Huey, and eventually the AH-1G Cobra.
Several of us back home have a dream of taking a couple surplus Bell helicopters and making them flyable so we can do demonstration flights at Veteran's events and fly-ins.
I'll keep you posted on progress... this weekend and in the future.

We are blessed.
I had a birthday last week and I've decided to emulate Jack Benny...
I'll be "Holding" at this age. I don't like the sound of any additional birthdays!

Be safe and well everyone.

21 January 2016

Big Brother Loves You

I'm pedaling fast as I can to get away from the "trouble".
To get to safety it sure would be nice to know how far, and which direction to pedal.
But even experts are confused. How the heck do you and I prepare?

Let me pose a hypothetical scenario-
Our president decides to follow FDR's "solution" from the 1930's and issues an executive order:
"It is now illegal to own precious metal coins or bullion. Turn in all your Gold and Silver".
Would you comply?
What if our government mandated all of a certain class of people had to be interred in concentration camps...
Would a chunk of our fellow citizens smile and march willingly into camps?
In today's world, I don't think so.

I think we really are entering uncharted waters.
If you're getting as queasy as I am, do yourself a favor and try to digest this article. Read the comments too.

Some form of "currency" for trade.
And enough guns and ammunition to defend you and yours.
Be prepared, or be a victim.

15 January 2016

We are going to see it today.
If you are sick and tired of lies and corruption, you should too.

14 January 2016


Once again I find I'm disgusted with myself.
I'm very nearly as heavy as I've been in my life.
When I reach this point, I take drastic measures-
I (we) resort to "The Sacred Heart Soup Diet". (Lazy this morning... you'll have to google it.)

This diet works for us. We both lose 10 pounds in one week when we adhere to it.
We've modified the diet in this way...
We add more vegetables, figuring that more variety and more color add vitamins, minerals, texture, eye appeal, and fiber. We add cabbage, yellow squash, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and zucchini.

Yesterday I went shopping for soup ingredients and found everything I needed... EXCEPT the zukes.
I'm looking at a produce section with all we've come to expect... apples, oranges, onions, spuds, etc. in the section that does not require refrigeration. I'm also reviewing a "cool" produce section about 40 feet in length with all sorts of green, red, orange, and yellow stuff that gets "spritzed" down with cool water every few minutes.
I find NO zukes.
And I'm slightly pissed.
Where the heck are the zucchinis?!!

I ask an "associate"...
"We don't have any right now".
And then it hits me like a 2X4 upside the head...

I live in a world where people stand for HOURS, hoping there will still be a loaf of bread available  by the time they reach the head of the line to purchase one, and I'm upset there are no zucchinis available to add to the thirteen other veggies I'm gonna add to my soup.
(And I'm at least 25 pounds overweight.)
God forgive me, please.
I/we are SO blessed.

Now, where is the arugula?

08 January 2016

Natural Born Citizen

Something I wish someone would ask-
What is the difference between a "citizen", and a "Natural Born Citizen", and why did the Founding Fathers use the latter term as regards eligibility to be president?

06 January 2016

Our Tombstone, AZ Visit:

26 Dec 15-
We drove South to Fort Huachuca, AZ the night before our visit. On the Post, not a creature was stirring, not even the mice. It was obvious most of the troops based there were home for the holidays.
Reservations I made a week earlier were upgraded to suites at no cost to us. We were in tall cotton.

We woke Sunday the 27th and ate the "free" breakfast, then got on the road to Tombstone just before Noon. Temp was about 50 F., but the sun was shining and there was no wind, so we were comfy in light jackets.

Yeah, it's a "tourist trap". Sara Jean and I both commented how much Tombstone felt like Skagway, Alaska... lots of junk to sell to rubes, much of it made in China. Unlike Skagway, the main street was blocked to vehicle traffic (other than those pulled by horses), so pedestrians can freely walk the boardwalks and cross from one side of the street to the other without fear of being clobbered.

Research indicated the thing we needed to do first was to see the "Historama", a combined movie and diorama telling the history of Tombstone. For $10 you can buy a packet of tickets including the Historama, the re-enactment of the Gunfight at the OK Corral, and a replica of the "Tombstone Epitaph" newspaper devoted to the gunfight and the testimonies given at the following trial.
The packet was worth the cost.

We learned a few things at the Historama-
Obviously, silver attracted prospectors to Tombstone. Those prospectors needed supplies and entertainment. "Entertainment" to a man coming in from the mines with his pockets full of silver means wine/women/song and gambling. The town grew exponentially when word of the silver strike went public.

Fire destroyed much of the town twice, but so much money was flowing out of Tombstone the damaged areas were quickly rebuilt. But fire finally defeated the town in an odd way...
The mines struck water at a certain point and HUGE pumps were needed to keep the water at bay so the silver could be extracted. One of the big pumps caught fire and was destroyed and all the mines filled with water. There are still tons of silver down there waiting to be mined, but the price of silver will have to soar before it will be worthwhile to pump the water out to mine it.
(That day may come soon.)

The first thing the folks at the Historama want you to know is that the Kurt Russell movie is a bunch of hooey. The "Cowboys" didn't wear easily identifiable red sashes.
But one thing about Hollywood's version of the town is true... it was difficult to differentiate the Good Guys from the Bad Guys. Doc Holiday and the Earps were making a fortune from gambling interests, and that was maybe their main reason for keeping Tombstone relatively safe for folks to walk the streets.

About the gunfight-
It DID NOT happen at the OK Corral.
The actual altercation happened on Fremont St. between 3rd and 4th streets. When news spread of the fight news outlets wanted to know where it happened. "Near the OK Corral" was the response.

Testimony from the living participants is interesting to read. The following is my opinion based solely on my gut from reading the different descriptions:
The Clantons and McLowrys were bad dudes... horse and cattle thieves. Their gang, the "Cowboys" was a thorn in the Earps and Holiday's side. Over time, MUCH bad blood developed between them.
The night before the big gunfight Holiday and Ike Clanton had a heated verbal meeting. I think Doc Holiday made the decision then that something had to be done.
The next day that chance to do "something" presented itself...
There were reports that the Cowboys were carrying arms, in defiance of town ordinances. Virgil, Wyatt, Morgan, and Doc Holiday intended to disarm these men. From testimony it seems pretty obvious that (drunk and sick with not much to lose) Doc Holiday fired the first shot. Ike Clanton was not armed. Tom McLowry was apparently shot trying to remove his rifle from the scabbard carried on his horse. He was NOT carrying a sidearm.

The other thing that surprised me that I had never heard before reading the "Epitaph"?
"Billy the Kid" was there.
According to his testimony, when the shooting commenced he wisely laid on the ground and watched, having no "dog in the fight".

The area around Tombstone is beautiful. It's an hour South of Tucson, about three hours South of Phoenix. It's a nice drive and a fun place.
I recommend it.