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.