We are in Destin, Florida.
Destin is located about halfway between Pensacola and Panama City, in the "Panhandle" of Florida.
Eglin Air Force Base is located just North of Destin. Pensacola is the home of the Pensacola Naval Air Station, home base for the "Blue Angels", and one of the premiere Aviation Museums in the world. Panama City is home to Tyndall Air Force Base.
Ft. Rucker Alabama, home of ARMY Aviation, is a little over an hour's drive North. There are a LOT of military aviation assets near Destin.
In years past I have enjoyed watching lots of military aircraft flying East and West along the corridor for aircraft here on the beach. There has been a steady stream of V-22's, Chinooks, C-130's, Blackhawks, Cobras, a few Coast Guard Dauphins, and the occasional Huey. At altitude on approach to Eglin AFB the "Sound of Freedom" would indicate an F-35, F-22, F-18, or F-15 passing by.
As I said... that was in years past.
This year I've been disappointed. There's been a little "fast mover" Fixed Wing traffic on approach to Eglin, but the Rotary Wing traffic back and forth on the beach has been pretty much limited to the local tour company's R44 earning its living.
I have no explanation for this. I can only guess there has been a quiet cut in the fuel budget for all our military services.
If you have better information why my airshow has been eliminated, please let all of us know here.
30 November 2021
We are in Destin, Florida.
29 November 2021
In order to get from Destin to Eglin Air Force Base we must turn North on "Beale Parkway".
Watching "Jay Leno's Garage" the other night, Jay went to "Beale Air Force Base" and interviewed the Airmen that launch the U-2 spy/reconnaissance planes on their missions.
Ever have something happen that just tweaks your curiosity enough to make you dig a little to scratch that itch? "Beale" did that for me.
And he's an interesting guy.
Beale Air Force Base is named for a graduate of the Naval Academy!
He was decorated as a hero for extraordinary action with Kit Carson in the war against Mexico.
He lead an experiment with the ARMY trying to use Camels instead of mules as pack animals.
He surveyed several roads to make travel to the West easier. Route 66 and now Interstate 40 partly used the route Beale surveyed.
His last will and testament was witnessed by William Tecumseh Sherman and Ulysses S. Grant.
He's another of those interesting characters from our history, and few know details of his life.
Thanks for the curiosity jab!
28 November 2021
If you dial up "Google Maps" and look at our address you will not see our home.
Our property is covered in trees. Our neighbors also have tree-covered yards. When "The Winds of November" blow, the leaves stack up well over a foot deep in some large areas of our yard.
Although I love the smell of burning leaves in the Fall, I personally have never done that.
I'm a MULCH guy.
When the last leaf finally falls from our BIG Oak tree I start the Zero-turn "Grasshopper" and grind all those suckers to a pulp. When I'm finished, our yard is covered with an inch or so of pulverized leaves.
That material decomposes during Winter and provides food for the lawn the following Spring.
We'll be here in Destin until 15 December.
It's my hope that those Autumn winds will efficiently move all those leaves to our neighbors yards until then.
I'm proud to be instrumental in beautifying our neighborhood!
26 November 2021
That means Thanksgiving is in our rear-view mirror and Christmas/New Year is just over the horizon.
"It's The Most Wonderful Time, Of the Year", sings Andy Williams as we shop.
But for some... it ain't quite so wonderful.
Our "News media" (spit) tells us twenty two Veterans commit suicide daily. That's a horrifying statistic for everyone. But I always made the comment to others that "if someone had mental difficulties before going into combat, they sure as Hell were gonna have problems when they returned from that experience".
I don't know what the suicide rate is in our "normal" population. But my gut tells me it must be higher in our combat Veteran population. And I don't know what the solution is to either.
I have MANY friends and acquaintances I know are at risk. I try to contact all of 'em now and then to let them know I love them and I'm thinking of them. If they are gone from my life, my life would be diminished.
Do me this favor-
If you know a combat Vet, please contact them now and then... especially during this holiday season.
Let 'em know your life is better... fuller because they are part of it.
We're doing a better job of providing therapy to our returning Vets today than we did when I came home from Viet Nam-
We VN Vets got NUTTIN'.
It's not enough... yet.
Let's do better.
25 November 2021
Frank Herbert. Robert Heinlein. Isaac Asimov. And to an extent, Ray Bradbury-
In the early '70's I got involved reading Science Fiction books.
My favorite of them all is Herbert's "Dune".
For me it was a difficult book to "get into". He uses a lot of language that initially means nothing to you and you have to slowly discern what words mean-
"Bene Gesserit". "Kwisatz Haderach". "Mahdi".
But after I began to settle in and understand the terms, the book was VERY fulfilling for me.
I liked it so much, when my son began to show a real interest in SciFi I gave him my copy of the book to digest, warning him he needed to give the book "time".
He did just that. And together we have seen David Lynch's horrible movie. We sort of enjoyed the 2000 miniseries, simply because they spent more time on the subject matter trying to bring the book to life.
It was still unsatisfying.
Tuesday we went to see this new version on the Big Screen. Apparently it will be done in two episodes, and we viewed "Part I".
When the credits rolled I commented to my son, "Well, FINALLY, someone is giving it the attention it deserves."
And he agreed.
I'm ready for Part Two. Go pony up the money and see Part I, then tell me what you think.
21 November 2021
I guess it makes sense in some way to some people:
Defund the police-
But Kyle Rittenhouse is a doodoohead.
Try hard as I might, I cannot understand that line of thought.
But I do wonder-
The outcome of this trial seems to have emboldened the extremes on both sides of this issue.
And in my opinion, moves us one step closer to SHTF territory.
Want more Kyle Rittenhouses?
Keep doin' whatchur doin'.
18 November 2021
He did odd jobs for us. We had much in common. We became close friends.
Trying his best to keep his wife happy he moved away, then moved again even farther.
We stayed in touch via email. He sent the message he had been diagnosed with a rare cancer...
It was traveling through his body via his nerves. It had found its way to his brain.
Our lives were better because of him. His "Handy" work was excellent. He was always smiling.
He had troubles with his family but never dwelt on negative things.
Today we got word he is gone.
He was 54.
And our lives are not as full today as they were yesterday.
But he would not want us focusing on that.
He was "right with God" and would want us thinking of the times we laughed, and there were many.
We'll focus on our blessings.
While we're alive, we will LIVE.
It's my hope you will too.
"Joe" would like that.
16 November 2021
I go to the bathroom and shut the door to "take care of business".
"Mumpf doddle henky blurp doah?" She asks.
"I'm sorry honey. I cannot understand you."
The bathroom is two rooms away. I wash my hands before dinner-
"Cortle beepin' strobe sink?"
"I'm sorry hon. What'd you say?"
I'm slowly losing my hearing. Much of my ability to converse with others is now done via lipreading.
I'm brushing my teeth-
"Poddo kibble bloat wuwu nurf?"
This situation is only gonna get worse.
Gotta see the humor in it, now, and later.
15 November 2021
There was a time, back just after the "Horse and Buggy Days" that a car was well equipped if it came with "Radio, Heater, and Automatic Transmission". The car would be considered a "Luxury Car" if it came with Power Windows, Power Steering, and Power Brakes.
But the radio that came in all cars would be an AM, radio... "Amplitude Modulation". Most had a row of buttons on the face on which you could "preset" your favorite stations.
I had two favorite stations in my hometown of Indianapolis. Programming on both was dedicated to the top 40 hits according to Billboard (I think). On the top of the hour they'd feature the national news, followed by local news, the weather, and highlights of Sports... national and local.
One of my preset buttons was set to my favorite station, WIBC. The button next to it was preset to the local CBS radio affiliate, WISH.
My friends and I would listen to WIBC until we heard the latest tune we were crazy about, then when it was over, push the button for WISH to hear it there. (This was wonderful during the early Beatle years!)
Cars had one speaker in the center front of the dash.
The statue of limitations has expired, so I'll own up to having stolen a speaker from the "Meridian Drive-In Theater" so I could cut a hole in the deck behind my car's rear seat and install a second speaker there.
Hi-Fi sound? No.
It was better, but still stank.
All this is to point out how spoiled we are today.
But I sometimes yearn for "Top 40, News, Weather, and Sports.
14 November 2021
Donald Trunp is a narcissist... an egotist, conceited, selfish, self-centered, and a jerk.
To ALL that I would agree. I'm glad he's not my next-door neighbor.
Biden came to us advertised as the man "...who made the wrong foreign policy decision at every turn" during his entire life.
So why is he now occupying the Oval Office?
Because Donald Trump is all the labels shown above.
I am thoroughly convinced that if ballots in the last election had shown:
D. Trump, Republican, and
A. Hitler, Democrat,
A very large percentage of the population would have voted for Hitler, just to vote against Trump...
The guy with the numbers that showed the country was turned around and headed in the right direction.
Yeah, that JERK.
In my life I've had several bosses that were jerks.
But had you asked me, I could say many of them were good managers.
It's important to separate the personal from the business.
Sadly, some cannot do that.
And THAT is why we now find ourselves the laughingstock of the world.
13 November 2021
I'm a gearhead.
Being a gearhead is getting harder and harder these days because of the four-wheeled computers we're driving. They sure don't have the "soul" of the muscle cars of yore.
And that's why I love watching "Jay Leno's Garage".
Every week, Jay has a show devoted to REAL cars and other people that enjoy them.
A couple weeks ago he had Huey Lewis of "Huey Lewis and the News" on the show. Huey drove a DeLorean, (definitely NOT a muscle car!)
I didn't recognize Huey.
His scraggly beard made recognizing him more difficult, but my confusion was mainly because the man has aged.
Let me emphasize that: Huey is three years younger than me. But WOW, has he AGED!
When you feel good as I feel... when you can still get around better than most of your peers... it's difficult to realize you are no longer a pup.
Until you get slapped in the kisser by the appearance of someone like Huey Lewis!
12 November 2021
Yesterday I refilled mine and noticed- I have become her.
Blood pressure. Blood sugar. Bladder. Prostate. Acid reflux. Cholesterol.
Zinc. Krill oil. Garlic. Niacin. Vitamins C&D. Dhea. And a low-dose aspirin every night.
The tote to carry all those pills is the size of an overnight bag. I have two weekly dispensers so one is full all the time. Filling the dispenser takes several minutes.
Mom reached a point where she could no longer remember if she had taken her meds.
I'm now wondering... "How long before that's me?"
I just want the pill that makes everything wonderful.
11 November 2021
Charles Krauthammer died in 2018.
I was an AVID viewer of "Special Report" on Fox News mostly because of his input there.
When he died I felt I had lost a close friend.
Knowing this, my son bought his book "Things That Matter" as a gift for me a couple years back.
It's a compilation of his columns for the Washington Post, each of which can be read in a few minutes. It is a PERFECT book for the "Throne Room", and that's where I placed it.
I had read through about a third of the book when "the organizer" in my family decided it was taking up too much space in the bathroom and "organized" it... somewhere.
(I also have magazines in a drawer next to the throne, so I didn't immediately notice it was missing.)
I rediscovered the book just before we made our sojourn to Destin, and included it in my "books to read" during our six weeks here. It now resides in the thro... 'er... "library" here, and I intend to finish it before we depart on 15 December. "Organizing" it here would be impossible.
I still miss Charles terribly.
He was a voice of sanity in this crazy world.
And the fact his logic is no longer available to us might be part of the reason we now live in Bizarro world.
10 November 2021
09 November 2021
Grab a kid off the street. Any kid.
Ask him/her this question:
"You're working as a cashier at a store. The cash register is broken and you're making change from an open cash drawer. A customer enters, selects an item valued at $3.66, comes to your register and hands you a five dollar bill and 16 cents in coins.
What change do you give them?"
How many young people age 21 and under today could solve this problem?
(I could have done it at age 10, and DID, on my paper route.)
What the heck are our schools teaching our kids today, other than "the U.S. is an evil, racist, polluting nation"?
08 November 2021
We'd just finished shopping at Wally World when I saw it parked, snuggled up against the front of the building-
"Big Red Bus". A Bloodmobile.
Enter in the back; go through the tests, give blood, then exit via the front door.
"Wanta give blood?" I ask my wife. "Do we have any groceries that will spoil if we leave 'em for 30 minutes"?
"No", she responds. "But what about the fact we just returned from Mexico?"
She's got a point and I don't know the answer to that question. Maybe the rules have changed.
Approaching the rear door I see the sign-
"You MUST wear a mask to enter."
I'm instantly at 10 on a scale of 10. But at home most are ignoring the requirement... maybe here too?
We stand outside the vehicle to ask. An attractive (Nurse?) appears and we ask if we must don masks to enter. "Yes" she says.
"We're both vaccinated" says I, heatedly.
"I am in complete agreement with you" she says, "and I am arguing with my company about the policy. But it IS their policy!"
Sara Jean saves the day-
"We just returned from Mexico. Could we give blood?"
"Only if you've been back more than three months."
We've only been back a month, so we couldn't have been "heroes" even had we wanted.
But I'm taking the Howard Beale stance from now on-
"I'm mad as Hell, and I'm NOT gonna take this anymore."
Require a mask? Karen.
07 November 2021
I'll try again-
Can someone, ANYONE, please explain to me why I should care whether the Atlanta Braves or the Houston Astros win that Pro baseball game?
Few to none of the players were raised in the towns they "play for".
They're virtually all millionaires.
They're "owned" by a team owner who is likely a billionaire, who probably talked the town the team hails from into giving him/her huge tax breaks to play there. Many towns actually build new, fancy stadiums for "their" teams with fancy skyboxes from which other millionaires can watch the game so they don't have to rub elbows with the folks that cannot afford the skybox lifestyle.
They are BUSINESSES. Pure, and simple.
Just like Coke and Pepsi.
Just like Chevy and Ford.
I don't understand the excitement. And I wish like crazy my tax dollars weren't being spent to make these folks richer.
But maybe I'm just ignorant?
Please... educate me.
05 November 2021
I wanted to send a suggestion to the "Popeye's" restaurant chain, so I went to their website looking for a "Contact us" tab.
There ain't one. As a matter of fact, they have a statement there basically saying, "Thanks, but we're not interested in your suggestions."
I referred earlier to the fact we recently patronized a "Chipotle" restaurant. Sara Jean and Big Bubba ordered regular burritos while I ordered a bowl and had it filled with the lowest-carb stuff they offered.
That was kind of a complex task..
No rice. No beans. No queso. Careful with that sour cream!
As an early Baby Boomer I wonder-
MILLIONS of us are gonna be retiring and frequenting places like Chipotle.
My favorite of the fast-food places is "Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen".
My family prefers their chicken sandwich to "Chik-fil-A's", and Chik-fil-A serves a fantastic chicken sandwich!
Many of us aging Baby Boomers will be facing Type II diabetes. Wouldn't fast-food places do well to consider adopting a few low-carb items on their menus to take advantage of that fact.? We won't be patronizing Chipotle again until it is easier to purchase a more Keto-friendly menu item.
I titled this post in a way I hope will attract attention of Popeye's. I'd love it if they'd be a trend setter and set the example for the rest of the industry, because there WILL be money to be made by serving the coming blast of diabetics.
POPEYE'S... I tried to chat with you directly, but you weren't interested. I hope my title here attracts the attention of someone in your chain of command!
04 November 2021
03 November 2021
"Carvana" has a store visible from I-65 South of Nashville. We drove past on our way here to Destin, and the carousel had THREE cars in it.
And it surely must take some of the excitement out of shopping for a car there, wouldn't it? At a time when used cars are bringing premium prices, they have almost no inventory to offer!
02 November 2021
We are safely in our new digs for the next six weeks.
Since kids are back in school it's quieter here this year than last.
Weather and view are perfect. Now bring on the airshow from Tyndall, Eglin, Pensacola, and Ft. Rucker!
We've owned this 1997 3/4-ton extended cab Ram Diesel truck ten years now and I have never really nailed down how it does on fuel. Last night I ran it nearly dry on kerosene to get a firm idea of the numbers. It's a pretty big truck. I know the engine alone weighs just under half a ton, so the truck itself probably is in the area of 7,000 pounds. Add to that weight a 500-lb scooter and our "necessaries" for six weeks stay here. The "extended" part of the cab was also full of stuff, so I suspect this rig going down the road probably came across the scales at close to 8-grand.
30+ gallons of diesel came in at $106 in Andalusia, Alabama. And the mpg result?
For the weight and size of this truck I think that's pretty extraordinary, and makes the exorbitant price of diesel fuel a little easier to swallow.
And there's something about the sound of the thing that I love... until I try to order something at a drive-up window.
(So let's just do away with those!) :>)
01 November 2021
Climbing the stairs at the Statue of Liberty it hit me square in the face-
I had to stop several times to catch my breath. I'd been in denial about what the scale was telling me. I'm a little over 5'9" and I weighed 228 pounds. Ashamed of myself, I refused to look at my naked body in the mirror. Somewhere at about Ms. Liberty's larynx I promised to get this crap under control.
We started walking.
Two miles daily at first. Then as it became easier... three. Then five.
We walk at almost 3 mph. Three miles per hour is a QUICK walking pace and it takes over an hour to walk five miles. Just walking at that pace was an accomplishment in itself.
Even though I had not changed my diet, the "lubs" started coming off. My pants were literally falling off my hips. I had to buy a belt.
And then at this last visit to the VA my Doc "hit me square in the face" again-
"I'm prescribing insulin for you."
I don't want to do that injection thing.
I have the ability to get this under control.
Thank GOD for YouTube.
There are thousands and thousands of videos there about diabetes and how to manage it. I had heard of the "Keto" diet but never paid much attention to it, thinking it's just a twist to the "Atkins" diet.
And in fact it is. Atkins suggests you limit yourself to 20 grams of carbohydrate daily. Keto would like you to eliminate carbs entirely while admitting that's impossible, but suggests ways to change your eating habits so you don't miss the carbs. The recipes they suggest use Almond flour, Almond milk, Coconut flour, something called "Xanthum Gum", and other, (what seem to me) exotic ingredients. Cauliflower and parsnips are substituted for potatoes, and do a surprisingly good job of keeping cravings for them away.
My scale today reported 190 pounds. I may have to buy another belt.
Sara Jean is beginning to complain about loss of weight in my face. As much as I hate the idea, Botox may be in my future.
(Nevah hoppin, G.I. !)
I'll be 75 on my next birthday. I look at folks scooting around in WalMart on those electric carts and think to myself "I'll bet that guy is younger than me!"
I feel good. And my glucometer is now smiling at me. No injections so far.
And I wish I had paid more attention long ago.