30 December 2021

"We're From The Government, and We're Here To Help."

In 1966 I got a notice via the U.S. Postal Service that whether I liked it or not, I was going to work for the U.S. Government. I was ordered to report to a certain place at a certain time. There, I was put on a bus with 60 or so contemporaries and driven to Ft. Knox, Ky, where I underwent 8 weeks of training that I didn't really want to receive.

But during that time I was asked many times to provide my Social Security number. On my S.S. card there was this warning, (and I still have the card and could show it to you):
"Not to be used as an identification number".
During in-processing with the ARMY I was asked for the number many times. Each time I was asked to provide it I was given a slip of paper explaining why the ARMY needed it, and telling me it WOULD NOT be used to identify me.
Sure. Big Brother loved me!

Later in my ARMY career the number became my ID number. (1972) For a short period of time it also became my Pilot license number. (That has since changed because for many pilots it was being stolen and misused.)

But Big Brother DOES love us.
And now she/he is leaning toward having us carry a card showing the extent to which we have been vaccinated.
(This would NOT be to protect us or identify us for anything... it would be to protect our fellow citizens, doncha know!)

Always remember-
When it comes to identification, all citizens are EQUAL.
But some citizens are more equal than others.

Can I see your papers, citizen?

28 December 2021

Gimme a head with hair!

I've always hated shaving.
As of today I have not shaved in two months.
I haven't had a haircut in four months.
My beard turned grey years ago, (hence my Nom-de-plume).
The color of my hair changed more slowly, but is now dark grey with light grey highlights.

The beard goes through a scratchy phase at about two weeks post-shaving.
It's more difficult to shampoo.
And waking in the morning, my appearance scares children and small animals.

I'm losing my barber and considering a buzz-cut.
That may be a bad idea now that Winter is here.
Shaving the beard may also be a bad idea because of the chill breeze.

Children and small animals may have to put up with me for a while.

26 December 2021

He Killed a Man.

Have you ever killed anyone?
I have.
How many? I have no idea. My actions were done from a distance. "AAR's"... "After action reports from the field would inform us-
"Seven enemy combatants reduced". But since there were always two helicopter gunships involved in our missions I could always remind myself it might not have been my finger on the trigger that "reduced" the number of folks that were trying to kill me... and my fellow team members.

We watched three movies yesterday. First was "Mrs. Miniver", a movie that finds itself in the Top Five of my favorites of all time.
Next in line was "Christopher Robin", followed by "Goodbye Christopher Robin".
And I think we watched those two in the wrong order. The first is a wonderful production by Disney Studios that is a mix of animation and real action, and does a great job of introducing us to all the "Winnie The Pooh" characters brought to "life" by A.A. Milne.
The second is a biography of Milne and tells us why he brought Winnie and all the characters to life.
He was FERVENTLY anti-war, having been involved in the "Battle of the Somme" in WWI, a HORRIBLE affair involving Mustard Gas that killed and maimed many, many combatants.

I have a friend of many years that I have tried pretty desperately to stay in touch with. Let's call him "Len".
During some rough times early in my military training, Len helped me to keep my sense of humor and sanity. He helped me to make it through my OCS training. He tried to get into Flight School at the same time I did, but was rejected... he could not pass the necessary physical.
So he went to Ranger training instead. When he finished that, he went to Viet Nam as an advisor to the Vietnamese troops.

In this function one day, in the jungle, he came face-to-face with a young North Vietnamese soldier. Both men raised their weapons simultaneously, but Len's shot rang out first and found its mark. The Vietnamese soldier fell face up on his back.
When Len went over to search the soldier for anything that might be of use to our intelligence forces, he saw that a ray of sun had focused on the young man's face. It was surreal. The young Vietnamese had a wallet with photos of him with his wife and child, and that has impacted Len's life in ways someone who has never "fired a shot in anger", or "killed others from afar" can imagine.

I think of Len often. I'm reminded of him when I watch a movie of someone suffering from "Shell Shock" or "Combat Fatigue" or PTSD, or whatever we're calling it these days.
I'm grateful for the good memories I have of the time we spent together all those years ago. And I'm aware that everyone has different experiences in life and reacts quite differently to those experiences.
I'm glad I never had to look at the face of a man I just killed, illuminated by a beam of sunlight shining through triple-canopy jungle.

War IS Hell.
I wish we could all get along.
But even blood relatives cannot get along. How in the world can people of totally different cultures avoid disputes?

Still, we must try.
If for no other reason, so we can say "Well, we tried".

25 December 2021

"The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society"

One of the things I really love about being retired is the fact we have time in the evening for movies.
We're constantly checking TCM to see what they're offering, and find now that we've seen most of the movies on their schedule; some of them two, three times. Or MORE.
I like historical movies. I even like fictional stuff in a setting that is historically correct to give an insight into how people had to live in a certain time and place.

So when a friend recommended "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society", I was fascinated by the title and checked it out. I'll not go into detail about it except to tell you it's a love story. But it's also about the Nazi occupation of the English Island of Guernsey doing World War II, and gives a few insights into the hardships those people faced because of that occupation.
Too lazy to hotlink it here today, you can check it out by copying/pasting this link:
I think it's worth your time.

And... it's Christmas.
To all those who pop by here to check out my chicken scratches I wish you good health.
I wish you laughter.
I wish you smiles.
And I wish you peace.

Remember the reason for the season, always.

18 December 2021

That's ALMOST Good!

Refusing to inject insulin, I have been eating an "nearly zero carb" diet for two months now. I'll be having my "labs" taken by the Veteran's Administration 18 January and I'm crossing my fingers that my A1C will be below "7" on that date to surprise both me and my VA Doc. (My daily glucose numbers have been good for two months.)

Recipes for my new Keto diet include such exotic things as Allulose sweetener, Stevia, Almond and Coconut flour, Xanthum Gum, Flax seed, Egg White Powder, Black Sesame seeds, and several other things you may or may not heard of.
Sara Jean has spent almost two months poring over YouTube videos trying to find recipes that SOUND edible. And let me report to ya-
Some of 'em are. Some of 'em ain't.
Most of 'em fall somewhere in between. I can report THIS to ya:
Virtually all the recipes either taste a little eggy/funky, have "odd" textures, or suffer from both.
I've determined that if you eat SWILL long enough, after awhile swill begins to taste kinda normal. (Kinda!)

I still feel we are on the leading edge of a groundswell of people who in the near future will find out they are diabetic. And there will be MONEY to be made catering to this growing population of people whose glucose levels are too high. Where there is money to be made, that void will be filled.

Take a look next time you're in the grocery. There are already sections in the baking goods and freezer sections devoted to Keto friendly foods. "Keto" bread and "Rebel" ice cream are barely discernible from the normal items.

The neat thing for ALL of us is the experimentation that is being done by lots of folks trying to find recipes that are both tasty and low in carbohydrates. Check for yourself-
Put "Keto" in your search block on YouTube and look at the numbers of videos that appear.
You may not need it now, but...
You may benefit from all of 'em tomorrow.

14 December 2021

She Named Her Little Bike "Alaska" !

These people amaze me.
I have binge-watched Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman's "Long Way Round", where they rode BMW GS 1250's virtually around the world.
Ditto Ed March's "C90 Adventures", where he travels around the world in ALL conditions on a little 90cc Honda.

Lately I have been following the journey of the gal in the above video. Her name is "Noraly". She's from Holland, and she travels long distances on motorcycles... solo. Her latest adventure, in "Season 6", is to ride from South America starting in Ecuador, to Alaska. Riding frequently over terrain more suitable to someone on horseback than a motorcycle, she's of fairly small stature and gets herself into situations that make me uncomfortable for her.
(I keep thinking about my personal experience falling and compound-fracturing my right ankle in Greece and how much trouble I'd have been in if I was solo and in the boonies.)
She's riding where there's no cell service. She's riding where she's the only human (and gas station) for miles. And she's riding where there are critters that eat human beings and would find a small woman mighty tasty.

If any of this piques your interest, her channel is titled "Itchy Boots".
Give it a shot. Like and subscribe.

10 December 2021

The "Modified" Gettysburg Address

President Lincoln DID NOT say-

“...that government of the illegal immigrants, by the illegal immigrants, for the illegal immigrants, shall not perish from the earth."

The right to vote is being granted to our new "residents" in many locations.
Compassion for others is killing our Nation.

08 December 2021

The Salvation Army

For some years I've been an avid supporter of the Salvation Army. They have frequently been "Firstest with the Mostest" at local and National disasters, providing assistance to victims. The organization has had a reputation of having a GREAT ratio of dollars donated to funds actually provided to victims-
They have lower administrative costs than other charitable organizations. I have made my tax-deductible year-end donation to them for several years now.

But this year they have been "racially awakened".
The term being used today is "Woke".
The Salvation Army is asking their workers to "repent" for their prior racial discrimination.
And I'm done with 'em.

I did a little searching to find another charity to which I can donate that has similar low administrative costs and the "Gary Sinise Foundation" keeps popping up. I read his book "Grateful American" last year and this guy is the genuine article, helping our troops and public servants.

That's where my donation will go this year.
I hope the Salvation Army repents from its present political path and gets back to its Christian roots.

07 December 2021

If my Father was still alive, he'd be 100 years old today.
I've written before about the birthday present he received on 7 Dec 1941. To make a little extra money, Dad had joined the Indiana National Guard in 1940. So when he heard the news that Pearl Harbor had been bombed I have no doubt he had two thoughts:
His older brother was aboard the U.S.S. West Virginia. I don't know whether or not Dad knew my Uncle Garlin was aboard the ship as it sank at Pearl, but he no doubt knew that both he and his older brother's lives would be forever changed from 7 December onward.

Both survived the war.
My Uncle stayed in the Navy; took a direct commission, and retired as a Full Commander.
Dad was wounded in the Philippines, received the Purple Heart, and came home from the war three months early because of his wounds.

Dad died in 2003 at the age of 82.
Truly a member of "The Greatest Generation", I still often wish I could have a conversation with him.
I didn't do nearly enough of that while he was alive.