23 November 2022

Mastadon?

Twitter.
Snapchat.
Instagram.
Parler.
I know I'm probably missing several Social Media venues.
I use NONE of the above.
Hearing that I'd be able to reconnect with lots of old acquaintances I signed up on FaceBook, and that experience has been...
amusing and useful in many ways. It HAS been pleasant to get back in touch with old friends, schoolmates and military associates. But being warned my comment "doesn't meet our community standards" for a thought I considered to be pretty harmless has been simultaneously humorous and irritating.

Now a thing called "Mastadon" is in the news. I guess it's a sort of "Quiet Room" for snowflakes that have their knickers in a knot over the fact  Elon Musk is allowing comments on Twitter pointing out the Emperor has no clothes.


I've never Tweeted in my life.
I don't think I'm interested in Masticating either
.

21 November 2022

We Need The Reminder Now And Then:

A former (M.D.) student called.
"'Greybeard', Les ****** is dead."
Les was an overachiever in life-
Eagle Scout. Boy Scout leader. NRA instructor. Volunteer Policeman. Scuba diver. Teacher of other medical personnel.
And in addition to many other things, MY STUDENT... and Private Pilot (Helicopter).
Ten years my junior.
Boy, do I suddenly feel old.

A VERY SMART nurse, member of my flight crew once told me:
"If you want to avoid cardiac problems, pick your parents carefully."
Put that quote in your memory book.
R.I.P. Les. You made my life better.


18 November 2022

Agent Orange, or "C Rations"?

On advice from friends because of possible Agent Orange exposure
I registered with the Veteran's Administration a few years back.
Now I get a pretty detailed semi-annual  physical... pee in the bottle, blood work, and "lemme have a close look in those eyeballs". The close watch on what's happening to my body is comforting.

On Facebook I've signed up for a couple Viet Nam Veteran sites-
A UH-1 Crew Chief/Door Gunner/Pilot site, and a Viet Nam Veteran site. On both there is considerable discussion about all the problems my VN Vet brethren are experiencing due to Agent Orange. Seems Agent Orange is the cause of ALL problems my 75-85 year old brothers are having.
Sigh.

Not wanting to "stir the pot", I DO NOT voice my concerns there-
Those of us old enough to remember "C Rations" will remember that the "accessory pack" included a little four-cigarette pack of cancer sticks. Since I was a non-smoker I always donated my cigs to a smoking friend. MOST of my friends smoked. It was easy to find someone that wanted my gift.
It's surprising now to realize my government was supporting the addiction of many servicemen.

But to me it sure clouds the issue.
How can we determine how many cancers and other illnesses were actually caused by Agent Orange since so many (MOST, probably) VN Vets would respond to the call "Smoke 'em if ya got 'em"?

Agent Orange was a toxic substance and I have no doubt many people are now suffering because they were exposed to it.
But nicotine and tar didn't make anyone healthier.

16 November 2022

The Paradise That Is Cuba

"I left my heart... in San Francisco".
Many would say S.F. is (WAS!) one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Today? Watch out for the feces and syringes.
I don't want to live there. Heck, I don't even want to visit there!

Or Cuba.
Or, for that matter, Chicago.

Am I too old to pick up a firearm and fight for my country?
Nope.
My Oath had no expiration date.

15 November 2022

Election Denier?

Damn right I am.
And I will continue to question the results until someone can adequately explain to me why the windows in the Detroit polling place had to be covered as shown. What happened behind that "wall"?





10 November 2022

God, Grant Me Patience And Serenity.

Our continuing dementia journey-
The changes are gradual... and incremental.
Short-term memory is slowly failing.
Anger bordering on rage presents itself frequently.
I have to remember NOT to react to it.
She cannot help it.
I can. And I don't need to react in kind.
I must remember to insure she stays "on her feed".
Aricept is a miracle Drug.
I'm still praying for a cure.

07 November 2022

"I Don't Watch The News."

How many people in your circle say that?
Several in mine do, and I have no problem with it. Sara Jean and I watch several news broadcasts daily and neither of us ever have the urge to put a gun to our temples. But we certainly understand that some people might need a trip to "Mother's little helper" after watching a broadcast these days.

My problem is with the people that make the statement with pride.
Then these people walk ignorantly into the polling booth and vote !
"My Daddy voted democrat. My granddaddy voted democrat. My Great granddaddy voted democrat".
And that is the reason we now find ourselves being governed by demented (or stroke impaired) idiots.

Do us all a favor, PLEASE-
If you don't watch the news, and therefore don't know what is going on in the world around us all (and WHY)-
DO NOT VOTE!

03 November 2022

Destin, Florida. November 2022

We are, once again thanks to the grace of GOD, spending November domiciled in paradise. Beautiful weather and FRESH seafood.
The complex we are staying in is at the top center of this photo, along the "Emerald Coast Highway".
I have a stupid question I cannot answer- maybe you can help?
The sand here is made of quartz and is the color of sugar, or maybe snow. (In fact they use "snow fences" to control the sand blowing in the wind just like snow is controlled in the North.)
The sand is PURE WHITE. So why, walking barefoot in this condo, do the soles of our feet turn black?
It's a puzzle.


30 October 2022

Scavengers


On a quiet road in the Van delivering "meals on wheels", from half a mile away I can see the big bird squarely in the road's middle feasting on something dead there. There are a LOT of Turkey Vultures in our area and this bird is the right size for that.
But as I get closer... "Is that an Eagle?"
I hope so. We're seeing more and more of 'em in our area. But sightings are still infrequent enough that seeing one is a minor thrill.
Sure enough... White head and tail, he/she is pecking at some unidentifiable red mass. Buzzards will spook and fly away from their dinner temporarily here when you approach within about 1/8th mile. This bird persisted eating until I was MUCH closer, making me fear for other traffic that might pass by.
On my return trip across the same path, both bird and its meal were nowhere to be seen.
He/she apparently took her meal "To Go"!

When they swoop down on the fly and catch a fish, they are majestic.
But I think Ben Franklin was correct-
Eating dead possum in the middle of the road?
Not so much.



22 October 2022

Oil and Filter Changes-

EXTREMELY poor prior planning on my part-
I delayed preventative maintenance on all my vehicles until my oil change schedule was slightly overdue on all.
For various reasons I have always taken the SHO to the Ford dealer to have this job done. For $60 they change oil and filter, top off all fluids, check tires, brakes and various other systems on the car. First time I had considered doing the oil change on this car myself I took one look beneath the car and saw- what IS THAT... A heat shield?.., covering the complete underside of the engine compartment. That, coupled with the fact this car sits VERY low to the ground, made the $60 charge from my dealer seem quite reasonable.

"When can you do 'The Works' on my SHO?"
"I can get you in on November 14th."
Needing it done yesterday, that's obviously unacceptable.

The oil change on the Ram/Cummins Diesel is not complicated but the doggone thing takes a LOT of oil-
Ten quarts of specific diesel oil. People "in the know" also recommend adding two containers of STP. So the job is kinda expensive.

I've had the filter for an oil and filter change on the Piaggio MP3 Scooter on hand for some time. It takes only a couple quarts of oil so that job is easy-peasy with the correct tools on hand.

So I attacked the big Cummins first. On it I change the oil every 5,000 miles and the filter every 10K. This time was the intermediate service, so all I had to do was pull the plug and drain the old oil out, then add the new oil and the two containers of STP.
All this was done in half an hour or so.

Now let's attack the Ford-
How the heck do I lift this thing up high enough to work under it?
I searched for several minutes and finally found what I felt were the safest points to apply my floor jack.
But doing that job will require removing that infernal heat shield. It's held on by four attaching points that are actually easier to detach than I thought, but required a long reach under this very low car to get to 'em. Done... and the shield is pulled out from under.
I then lifted the car high enough to get underneath and applied my jack stands for safety's sake.
The rest of the job ain't hard. Oil drain plug and filter are right there pretty much in your face. I removed the drain plug and the old oil flowed into my catch container. I removed the filter and allowed the oil inside it to drain into the same container, then filled the new filter and slickened the rubber gasket with oil and put it in its place.

The SHO owner's manual recommends Full Synthetic oil. This stuff is not cheap. I open the five quart container and poured it into the hole marked "Engine Oil", and I'm feeling pretty proud of myself-
I've changed the oil in the Diesel truck AND the Taurus in less than two hours!
Wait-
What's that?
I notice LOTS of new oil creeping across the floor behind the right front tire.
Damn.
I failed to re-install the drain plug. WHAT A MESS! What an idiot!

Another trip to Wally World.
Another BIG container of 10W-40 Fully Synthetic oil.
Oil installed and heat shield reattached.

Dismayed with my boneheadedness I put off doing the Scooter oil and filter change until tomorrow.
While doing the job I promise I'll check and DOUBLE CHECK my work.



21 October 2022

Christmas In October

Our "Security System", Chico the Chihuahua-mix that adopted us, starts barking like crazy. Investigating the cause for his noisy outburst we find the FedEx truck parked in our driveway. The driver delivers his package and returns to his truck.
Before he can pull out of our drive Chico again throws a fit. The UPS truck is paused on the street, waiting for the Fedex driver to vacate our drive.
I'm expecting a delivery. Both these packages are for Sara Jean.
Our cheap security system is primed and ready for their return.

20 October 2022

" Your comment didn't meet community standards."

Found out I was in Facebook jail for my comment about Hitler and his "Big Lie" philosophy.
Farcebook didn't like the fact I educated folks there.
I also found out I had been in FB jail once before and didn't even notice.
I'm crushed.


16 October 2022

Cruise Recipe-

Backward plan what's necessary to get the job done.
Load the car.
Drive to the train, hoping traffic behaves. (It didn't, but we had allowed for that eventuality.)
Take the train to the airport, hoping that system functions as advertised.
Fly to the departure city after a connecting flight in Chicago.
Uber/Lyft to the Port and board the ship.

All these puzzle pieces (thankfully) fell into place.
Our view of the inland passage was, for the most part, restricted by fog. It was interesting hearing the ship's foghorn sound every two minutes when our visibility was seriously restricted.
We missed our Port of Call to Ketchikan due to high winds. (Read the Wikipedia reports [Norwegian Escape!] of some of the disasters these big ships have experienced.)
The food on this "Norwegian Bliss" was BY FAR the best of the 7 cruises we've now experienced.
The shows we saw were top drawer... Broadway quality.

Now it's time to get back into making our own bed and cleaning up after ourselves.

15 October 2022

"Time to spare? Go by AIR!"

On my FaceBook page I commented we'd be home by about midnight, barring any "Glitches".
We arrived at the airport 90 minutes prior to time to board.
Surprise!
Have you ever been to Disneyland?
The labyrinth at Sea-Tac would make Disney blush as pikers!
Two hours after our arrival our flight departed while we were still waiting for TSA to insure we weren't dangerous. Thankfully a quick call to our airlines found another flight that had had a couple cancellations.
We departed two hours after our originally scheduled flight; still in time (thank God!) to make our Salt Lake City connection to St. Louis and catch up with our luggage.

My advice for people I care about:
Avoid the Seattle airport as if it had a virulent case of Covid-19.

13 October 2022

Tributes

"The Beatles Experience" is a band from Argentina, (believe it or don't!)  playing on "The Norwegian Bliss"  this cruise. We've seen three of their shows so far this week. The first show was from the Beatles' early years- "I wanta hold your hand". In their second show they played the complete "Sgt. Pepper" album. Last night's show was mostly "Abbey Road". These guys are really, REALLY good. Close your eyes and you'd have difficulty telling you're not hearing Paul, George, Ringo and John.
Earlier this week we saw "Jersey Boys". My family all commented that in some ways we thought this group might even be better than Frankie, Tommy, Bob, and Nickie.
Tonight we hope to attend a concert put on by "American Idol" contestant Ashlie Amber as she performs a tribute to Whitney Houston. I'm betting we'll be impressed.
Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, right?

It occurred to me, in the past we have attended tribute concerts by groups doing the repertoires of:
ABBA.
The Beach Boys.
The Beatles.
The BeeGees.
Chicago.
The Eagles.
Queen.
And I'm forgetting some, certainly.
Our 39 year-old son has attended many of these events with us and, knowing all the words, sings right along with us during the performances.

Solid Gold Oldies-
At the risk of sounding like my parents- I prefer them to the "junk" I hear being produced today.

And how many gainfully employed musicians around the world would agree wholeheartedly?


09 October 2022

The "Bliss" of Cruising

As I write this we are "at sea" between Seattle and Juneau, Alaska aboard the Norwegian Cruise Line's "Bliss". We've previously cruised with Princess, Azamara, Carnival, and Celebrity Lines, and have had mixed feelings about those experiences. (The food on ALL of 'em has been plentiful, but a BIG disappointment.) Catering to an obese customer base most of the line's food has been VERY mildly seasoned, low sodium, low fat, low sugar, and in the words of a friend, "fills a hole"...
Not exciting.
Food on the Bliss has been surprisingly good so far. Sara Jean and Big Bubba have eaten well. To the extent possible I'm staying close to Keto. The salad bar on the Bliss is also the best we've experienced while cruising.

This machine is BY FAR the biggest ship we've sailed on-
Four thousand guests and 1700 crew. She is 1094 feet long, and walking from one point of interest on the ship to another might involve getting lost. There's little need to worry about exercise on this cruise-
We'll get enough of that just seeing what we want to see onboard.

I'm continually amazed at how efficiently these companies handle the numbers of people that get aboard. We showed up at the port at 1300 hours and were aboard and in our Stateroom by 1400. Our luggage was outside our door. Our room attendant, "Angel" from Indonesia soon came by to introduce herself and committed our names to memory. She has since addressed us by name every time we encounter her.... nothing short of amazing considering she's responsible for 14 Staterooms and their occupants.

Last night in the theater we saw "The Beatles Experience"; four guys from Argentina that sound EXACTLY like George, Paul, John, and Ringo, and even look somewhat like them, gestures included.
(The "Paul" guy unfortunately did not play his bass left handed. Listening to him, we forgave him.)

Right now this big liners is making 20.2 knots Northbound. That's about 25 miles per hour. Quietly. Smooth and comfortably.
Food. Accommodations. Entertainment. Wait staff catering to make our experience wonderful.

Life is tough.
We are blessed, and aware of that fact.

06 October 2022

Helicopter Gunship Evolution

Take a "B" or "C" Model UH-1 helicopter. Add rocket pods and mini-guns to the hard points on the side of the bird. Give your Crewchief and Gunner an M-60 machine gun with 1500 rounds of ammunition and seat them where they can provide protective cover to the side and rear of the helicopter. Load that machine with enough fuel to complete the mission, knowing that it will be so overloaded it probably won't hover and you'll be forced to do a "running takeoff"... slide the skids on the ground until the rotors can reach out into undisturbed air to gain enough lift for the old bird to fly.
These first gunships were proof of the value of arming the helicopter, and were the first machines I flew in Viet Nam. Big, slow, and underpowered. So how do we improve the concept?

Use LOTS of existing, proven reliable components but make it smaller, faster, more accurate, and more powerful so it can carry heavier loads.
The "HueyCobra" or just "Cobra". "Snake" to those of us that flew them. This is the machine I transitioned into when we replaced our Huey Gunships. An improved platform in many ways, it had its initial teething problems. The tail rotor and gearbox were stress fatigued and would break off, resulting in a serious center-of-gravity situation. A personal acquaintance had this happen while he was on short final to landing. The resulting crash broke his back resulting in him being paralyzed below the waist. First machines in country had no air conditioning, and sitting beneath that greenhouse was... uncomfortable. They DID have a system that blew hot air down your spine, but on the really HOT days that system just made you feel like a roast in the oven.
When the ARMY started flying "Nap-of-the-earth"...flying the machine just above tree tops at slow, (sometimes walking speeds) to avoid the danger of shoulder-fired enemy missiles, that rounded plexiglass canopy was replaced with flat panes because the curved surface reflected the sun from every angle and flat panes would only reflect it like a mirror from certain angles.
So it wasn't perfect. How do we improve it?

Let's try this thing:


The "Apache".
Tank killer extraordinaire.
The evolution came too late in my career for me to fly one.
But I'm proud to have been part of the process that got us "from here to there"!

03 October 2022

Canary in the Coal Mine

Some random thoughts, mostly to get a post published 'cause it's been awhile since my last-

January 6.

I would NOT have participated in those festivities, but...
Do the "Powers that be" not see that that "riot" was an indicator of trouble and the next time it could be MUCH, MUCH worse?
If coming elections are bungled as badly as 2020 was, the January 6th D.C. stuff could look like child's play.

A Vermont High School has banned a girl's Volleyball team from their locker room because the biological XX's don't want to undress in front of an "XY" teammate? (This IS a GIRL'S team!)
What a mess. I think this "confusion" is soon coming to a head. Biological females are beginning to see the writing on the wall-
Their sports will be destroyed by "I identify as female" athletes. There's an easy way to resolve this but the politically correct don't want to do it-
Have sports for Male, Female, and "Other" athletes. That's fair. But we're not quite there yet.

Russia threatens to go Nuclear. Will they do it? (I suspect NO ONE thought any country could kill 6 million people back when, so I sigh and just hope sanity prevails here.)
IF the Russkies go Nuclear, Russia (and maybe the world, but certainly Russia as it exists today) will change in ways we cannot imagine.

Hurricane Ian will dramatically change the insurance industry. Storms in the past forced companies to insure ONLY ONE PROPERTY in Florida some time back. I suspect Floridians are gonna see even more radical changes coming down the pike, hiked premiums being the least of it.

We watched Season One of "Night Sky" with J.K. Simmons and Sissy Spacek this week.
That's nine hours of our time I wish we had spent in a more enjoyable fashion.

We leave to board the "Norwegian Bliss" the end of the week. This is our second Alaska cruise. We enjoyed our first, and our son motivated us to do it again, this time with him coming along.
I lost two pounds on last month's Western Caribbean cruise with mostly "Keto" eating.
Let's see if I can do as well this time.

21 September 2022

Mind Boggling.

It simply makes my head swim.
I won't ask for explanations, 'cause there ain't any.

Almost anyone who attended College/University took some of the "101" courses-
Sociology. Economics. Psychology.
I took 'em too. But apparently I paid more attention, and the lessons learned in those classes sorta soaked in.
YOU GET MORE OF WHAT YOU REWARD.
And less of the things you "punish".

I know... I'm "preachin' to the choir" to almost all who come here to read.
And if I ask, "How are we rewarding our citizens these days?" I know I won't get an answer.
There'll just be a bunch of head-shaking and nodding out there.
And the thing that angers me most?  (And most of y'all fall into the same category)...
By squirreling, skimping, and saving virtually all my life, I have eliminated myself from these "rewards" being passed out by my Uncle Sam.
Who's the idiot here?'

Don't completely misread me-
I feel blessed. And despite all the stupidity and craziness going on around me, I still don't want to flee to Australia 'cause I think things actually may be crazier down under.

Are things crazy enough for us to fear we live in "End times"?
No man can know.
But if you can read signs all around and you're not getting squirmy-     I'll take what you're havin' next round.



19 September 2022

"I'm sorry. I can't understand you!"

Fifty-two years of assault by various helicopters.
One summer professionally operating a chain saw with the (company removed) muffler missing.
Born into a family with age-related hearing difficulties.
I didn't stand a chance.

Load me onto a ship with LOTS of wonderful service people-
Filipinos. Indonesians. Eastern Indians. And more.
Add an intermittently NOISY environment.
Now... insure ALL these folks have their mouths covered with protective masks.

Yeah, I've done TONS of asking others to repeat themselves this week.

17 September 2022

"Jesus, The SON!"


These are the sorts of folks you meet on Cruises.
This is the top of the mountain at "Puerto Plata" in the Dominican Republic.
Nice place to visit, but...

15 September 2022

"Car Folks"


In our "Carnival Ecstasy" Stateroom watching an old Ronald Reagan movie- "Night Unto Night".
In one of the first scenes, he drives up to a big home in a car similar to the one pictured, (a 1939 Buick), and I thought:
"Wow. How beautiful that thing is! How nice it would be to own one like that."
And then I remember-
-It probably got about 15 miles per gallon when on its best behavior. (And needed "Ethyl" gasoline.)
-In the rain, going uphill with the throttle depressed, the (vacuum operated) windshield wipers would slow, or come to a complete stop.
-It needed an oil change about every 2000 miles.
-Terrible brakes that would virtually cease to exist if used heavily, as in steep downhill grades or "spirited" driving. Drive through high water? Don't try to stop!
-Tires? They might last 15,000 miles if you were careful with tire pressures.
-And that bar in the center. How wonderful it was when "wrap-around windshields" started appearing.

At "Cruise Nights" and other car shows I always show respect to the folks that restore or keep these old beauties in great shape. They ARE Art... and history.
Keeping one around is a VERY expensive labor of love.

 

14 September 2022

The Queen is dead. Long live the King.

Sara Jean is a Royal watcher.
Me? Not so much. But I will admit to enjoying the military participation in this ceremony. It's been SO impressive I have to wonder... How long have they been practicing all this?
I'm sure they have special details to attend to funerals of dignitaries of VIP's in the U.K., just as we do.
But the numbers of troops involved getting the Queen to her final resting place!
Amazing. Beautiful.

We are on board the "Carnival Ecstasy". My wife has been glued to the TV since the old gal died, interested in every detail of what is going on over there.
"Look how beautiful Kate is!"
"Megan tugs Harry around like a puppet. They both look absolutely miserable!"
She was upset, thinking she'd miss some of the ceremony while on the ship and whined until I would purchase the Wifi package so she wouldn't miss a moment.
$$$$$ !

This morning we woke to find ourselves docked in Key West. So far, CBS has done a fairly good job of carrying the feed from Great Britain, so while in our room she's been watching there.
Sunbathing at the pool, her nose is stuck in her phone.

This is day 3 of a 10-day cruise.
And all is well.

12 September 2022

I love flying, but no longer want to fly.

We are in Pensacola, Florida. Today we'll drive to Mobile, Alabama to board the "Carnival Ecstasy" for a 10-day cruise to the Western Caribbean.
I chose this cruise specifically because of the departure from Mobile, and the fact we could drive, not fly, to catch the boat.
Flying has become a pain in the arse. The harassment we are subjected to in order to get on an airliner today is stressful and irritating. I will avoid it as much as possible in the future.

10 September 2022

"Goodwill"

We're in Clarksville, TN at our son's home preparing to leave for Mobile, AL to catch a "Carnival Cruise" ship to go on a Western Caribbean trip. (Maybe more on that in a future post.)
Clarksville is a nice little town-
Small enough to be intimate. Big enough to have most "conveniences" within an easy drive. And for us, it's a hop/skip/jump to Ft. Campbell if we need to use our retired benefits.

When Big Bubba bought this house one of the very first items we bought to outfit our part of the new "digs" here (obviously!) was a coffee pot. Bought at Wally World, it was a brand name but cheap... I think I paid $15 for it.
It lasted 8 months. Then something about the heater element went haywire and it would only fill the carafe 3/4's of the way, leaving a mess of coffee grounds and water still in the filter basket.

"No coffee, No talkee" in the morning.
Gotta have coffee, doncha know?
Replacing the failed unit went to the top of our "must do's".
Buying new from Wally World was a possibility. But was there a better option?

We saw the big sign on the front of the store that said "GOODWILL".
Let's check it out.
Big store. Clean. Lotsa stuff.
Some of it older; dated; but still utilitarian.
Much of it looks brand new. 
We found a "like new" looking Proctor-Silex unit. The price tag said $4.99.
We loaded it into our shopping cart.

At the cash register I sheepishly ask, "Do you give a military discount?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact we do."
And the price got reduced by Fifty cents!
"Would you like to 'round up' your total cost to donate to Children's Hospital?"
What're ya gonna say when you're walking out the door with a seemingly new coffee pot for less than five bucks?
"Absolutely!"

There is also a "Salvation Army" thrift store here across town. It only takes us 10 minutes or so to get there.
If you have access to either store and have never patronized them, you're missing a bet. Walking through them is not entertaining, you may also find some REAL BARGAINS.

If you do, agree to "Round Up" your total to donate to charity!



07 September 2022

"You want to fight against the country, you need an F15!"


"Darth Brandon" didn't serve in Viet Nam.
If he had he'd be quite aware of Ho Chi Minh's comment about how to defeat America in war-
"The same way you eat an elephant. One bite at a time."
And they consumed the elephant, didn't they? :>(
We are being "lead" by idiots.

Remember in November.

03 September 2022

Was "Corn Pop" A Neighborhood Hero?

I hadn't considered this possibility.
Tim Pool suggested maybe president(?) Biden's encounter with "Corn Pop" unfolded for a totally different reason than we imagine-

We've seen photos of him sniffing children's hair.
The above photo makes me uncomfortable.
And that ain't all-


"Kids brushed the blonde hair on my legs."
What if Corn Pop knew something weird was going on and was simply protecting kids in his neighborhood?
Corn Pop apparently died in 2016, so he cannot be asked about his motivation to threaten Joey.

Could Tim Pool be correct?

31 August 2022

The Damage Done

Some years back, two special FBI agents knocked on our door seeking information about possible drug activity (and other stuff) going on in our neighborhood. We invited them in, poured coffee, and had a nice visit with fellow Law Enforcement personnel.
If that same scenario happened today I would NOT allow the agents to enter my home.

Watching this fiasco unfold at Mar-A-Lago, knowing how politicized leaders of the FBI have become, I cannot help but wonder-
What's the likelihood the FBI would plant classified documents to be found during their "investigation"?
They are DESPERATE to keep Trump from running in '24.
That we even have to consider the possibility is... horrible.
But there you have it.

How does the FBI EVER recover its reputation?

27 August 2022

River Valley Campground, Cherokee, North Carolina


 (That's a photo borrowed from the WWW, but it's representative of the sites against the river.)

We just returned from a week's stay along the river in the photo... the "Oconoluftee" in Cherokee, NC.
The water there flows fairly rapidly across rocks. It ain't no "babbling brook"... the "white noise" it made was so loud Sara Jean could not sleep in our bed, which pretty much hung over the bank of the river. She vacated our bedroom and slept in one of the bunkbeds in the garage of the toy hauler to deaden the sound.

This was our second stay in our new RV, and we're still trying NOT to screw things up too badly. I'm surprised and pleased that the 28' trailer follows behind our 3/4-ton truck like a shadow. It reduces our fuel mileage from 21mpg to 14, but that number surprises most, (including me). The only disconcerting thing about towing the trailer is being passed by 18-wheelers...
As they are abeam the rear of the trailer the "Venturi Effect" sucks trailer and pickup toward them. Then when the tractor gets abeam the cab of our truck the wake of the semi pushes the whole shebang toward the road shoulder. This phenomenon keeps me on my toes.

We initially planned to take the most direct route to the campground from our home. That drive would have taken us through Knoxville, then Gatlinburg and the Smokey Mountain National Park. We've driven that route in our car in the past and found it beautiful. But in one hour at work two friends separately cautioned, "Have you considered what it will be like to pull that RV over that road?"
One of 'em even commented that he had seen rigs pulled to the side of the road with brakes SMOKIN'.
I thought about it, then decided on a different, not direct path. I'm glad I did. The route we took was still hilly and turny, but there were no uphill hairpin turns. We arrived without incident.

My sister and I rode the scooter half an hour to Maggie Valley and walked through the "Wheels Through Time" museum there. This was a "Bucket List" item for me.
I'm glad we went, but for me it was a bit of a disappointment.
I should have remembered that the founder of the museum was, for years, a Harley Davidson dealer. ALL of the motorcycles on display were American made. Virtually all of 'em were Harleys.
No examples of my first Harley... an Italian made "Sprint" by Aermacchi Harley-Davidson were to be found.
No Triumphs. No BSAs. No Italian scooters. No Japanese bikes.
Oh well.

We attended a showing of "Unto These Hills", a portrayal of the Cherokee Nation from their encounter with DeSoto, through the trail of tears, and up to fairly recent history. I was surprised that much of the play was devoted to the fact that SOME white men tried to avoid the tragedy that unfolded.
I felt the portrayal was more than fair.
Recommended.

We met my sister and Bro-in-law there and had a nice visit alongside the river. The campground is beautiful; the bathhouse is clean; and the campsites are more than adequately sized.
If you want to stay I suggest you make reservations.
If VERY LOUD white noise bothers you, pick a site AWAY from the river!

25 August 2022

Camp LeJeune Lawsuit

Sara Jean's brother was a Marine. He spent some time at Camp LeJeune. He died a couple years ago due to Cancer involvement in several of his organs. He did get decent care through the VA, and his wife continues to receive a check because of the ongoing water situation there.

Every time one of these ambulance-chasing Attorney commercials appears on TV now it is like she's being stabbed in the heart.

Shakespeare had it exactly right.

24 August 2022

Speaking English

"Buick" is "BYOU-ICK".
Shouldn't "Quick" be "QYOU-ICK"?
(Sorry. More 3 A.M. thinking.)

13 August 2022

"The Nest"

Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus.
And we have differing views on what's best for our kids.
Women are natural nurturers.
Men? "Rub it off! You're okay."

Our son was 39 on his last birthday. While he lived in our home I used to emphasize to my wife that the most important goal for us as parents was to insure he could "spread his wings and fly"... survive in the cruel world as an adult.
She coddled him.
I wanted him to "toughen up".
For the most part, she won that battle. (I won a few.)
But...
He had a Mother AND a Father (parents!)  living in the same home he grew up in.
And I think today that speaks VOLUMES.
He's turned out pretty well. (He's politically conservative!)

How many of these drug-addled, "triggered/woke" young people today had the luxury of a Father who could tie a knot in their ass when they got out of line?
How many Fathers were strong enough to do it?

Broken homes...
I think it might be the MAJOR problem we have in the country today.
And I don't see the problem getting fixed in the near future.




04 August 2022

Regular readers know I am a fan of "Svengoolie"... the syndicated show out of Chicago that mimics the old Saturday night horror shows of my youth in Indianapolis.
I LOVED the stupid/silly movies they shared, and the stupid/silly antics these hosts used to entertain those of us watching.

Some weeks ago TCM broadcast "Plan Nine From Outer Space" and I recorded it.
Sara Jean is away visiting family in Chicago, and it seemed a good time to "enjoy" the campy old flick.
How can I describe my reaction to this viewing?
Have you ever watched something so ludicrous you asked yourself why you were wasting this precious time, yet realized SOMEONE thought this was important enough to share with others?
"Vampira", the female featured in the Promo you see above was reportedly paid $200 for her part in the movie! (1957).

Can I recommend you take the time to watch this thing?
Does watching bad acting/listening to horribly written dialogue amuse you?
Then watch it.
Maybe once.
Like me.

29 July 2022

Fentanyl

You thought you were buying Percocet?
But instead you got a fatal dose of fentanyl?
Why were you buying Percocet?


26 July 2022

Winston II ?

 

"The Fog of War".
No question, there IS such a thing.
We cannot know what is actually happening in Ukraine. But it sure seems to me this is a "David takes on Goliath" situation. And we need to be on the side of David.

You may have already seen this video. Good.
If you have not be aware-
The destroyed airplane you see in the background in some of the shots was a "one of a kind" that I was truly fascinated with. This unique machine was intended to carry the Russian version of their Space Shuttle into the air.
Now it is GONE.

This is war.
War is expensive; destructive; and frequently stupid.

I am with Ukraine.

21 July 2022

Contempt of Congress

"The criminal offense of contempt of Congress sets the penalty at not less than one month nor more than twelve months in jail and a fine of not more than $100,000 or less than $100."

Contempt of Congress is a crime.
Doesn't that make the MAJORITY of U.S. Citizens criminals?

09 July 2022

Phil

I want to talk about "Phil".

Some years ago I lived in an apartment complex that was more or less dedicated to housing young adults- singles and marrieds. Management organized a monthly get-together- rock band, Las Vegas party, etc. Alcohol was provided. (I lived there three years. The parties ceased after one... fun while it lasted!)

I came home from work one evening and while parking my car I noticed a car with its hood up and a gawky man standing, looking at the engine with a puzzled look. I walked over and inquired about the problem.
"It won't start" says he.
"Hop in, turn your lights on and honk your horn" says I.
When he honked his horn his lights dimmed dramatically.
"Let's clean your battery cables", says I. We did. And his car started, no problem. Phil was amazed. I lived on the ground floor. Phil lived two floors above me. We became friends.

Phil was one of those people that was SO SMART he was weird. Phil had trouble making friends because his interests were... odd. He knew serious details about stuff you and I have no interest in at all. But if you gave him a chance to go into the details about the stuff that interested him, you could get interested too.
I'm a curious type. I thought Phil was neat.

Phil had been a Chemistry teacher at a local High School. During summers he had free time on his hands and took a part time job as a cook at a "Denny's" restaurant. After a while Phil used his tremendous thinking power to do the math and realized if he worked a regular shift at Denny's, then worked a little overtime at Denny's, he could make more money slamming together "Grand Slams" at Denny's than he could make trying to teach kids Chemistry that had no interest whatsoever in the subject.

This was true in the late 1970's. I don't know if it is still true.
But I have a suspicion that THIS is why our education system is in the shape it's in today.

Comment, plz.

03 July 2022

The "Weimar Republic"

Many are not familiar with the subject of the title. And that's a shame.
I know what happened, but I DO NOT know how long the process took to collapse.
Research is necessary.
It would be a good idea for you to also do research.

22 June 2022

Women Republican Candidates

"The key to taking majorities in Congress is women republican candidates".
That's the latest theme.
Liz Cheney. Olympia Snowe. Susan Collins. Lisa Murkowski.
I guess I'm just stupid...
How is electing women improving Congress?

12 June 2022

This Political Circus

Lookin' into my Crystal Ball-
Barring something totally unforeseen happening prior to the November elections it looks as if republicans are a shoo-in to retake our House of Representatives. It also looks like it is entirely possible republicans might take power in the Senate. IF that happens, one of the first things I think will happen is the investigation into this Hunter Biden laptop catastrophe will accelerate. And IF the connections to our president(?) that appear to be there come to fruition, "Joey" is in trouble. I think his impeachment is a near certainty.
With a republican House AND Senate, he could end up being the first president ever to be tried and convicted of "high crimes and misdemeanors" and thereby removed from office.
Like Richard Nixon, I suspect he'd resign rather than have that fact end up in the history books.

That leaves us with Kamala Harris in the White House. And although that would be disastrous for our country, her administration will be interesting (and entertaining?) to watch.
Maybe there's a real skeleton in her history too? If so, how soon can the "revenge" impeachment of Kamala happen?

With a republican House of Reps we won't have to worry about president Pelosi, thank GOD.
It's even possible the new Speaker of the House might be a conservative.
... Nah.
Nevah hoppen G.I. !

We are living in "interesting times".


08 June 2022

Big Holes-

Some would suggest this post is a mistake.
Maybe it is.

I own a few firearms. Out of all I own, my favorite is a .45-cal. Colt Combat Commander.
With it, I can shoot a flea off a gnat's ass. (And that is sayin' something for a round that large!)

My second favorite is the .357 Caliber I carried while I was a Deputy Sheriff. (Department regulations forbid me from carrying my beloved Combat Commander).

Remember me? The old FART?
A year ago we left home for a trip South and I hid both guns in a "safe" place during our absence.
When we returned, I could not remember where that "safe" place was and could not find my two favorite shooty thingies. So I had to fall back on less-loved shooty thingies.

Today Sara Jean shouted from upstairs... "GUESS WHAT I FOUND!"
My readers are smart.
They know EXACTLY what she found.

Second-best is okay.
FAVORITE is better.

06 June 2022

Huge Numbers-

I think I have made this comment before. The stupidity of others forces me to try to "break through" again:

Population of China-
1,500,000,000. (Yes, that's ONE BILLION, Five Hundred Million.)
The country produces electricity by burning coal.

Population of India-
1,400,000,000. (Yes, that's ONE BILLION, Four Hundred Million.)
They burn DUNG to cook their food and produce heat for their homes.

Population of the U.S.A.-
325,000,000. (And granted, that's growing every single day.)
Nevertheless, that number is 1/10th the total population of China and India combined.

Can someone tell me again why I need to lower my thermostat and turn light switches off to save Gaia?
We truly are idiots, ya know that?

02 June 2022

The Anal "Root Canal"

My bride and I are undergoing "formation colonoscopies" tomorrow.
Over 50 years of age?
Have you had one?
You must.

The procedure RUINS two full days. The "prep" for the procedure requires you to drink a gallon of nasty-tasting fine plastic goop that is indigestible. By the time you finish the final few glasses of what is euphemistically called "Golightly", you MUST be close to a commode because that stuff is gonna be in your body for just a few seconds.

But this discomfort is important. During the probe, the Doc finds stuff (polyps) in your colon that might cause future problems, and "nips them in the bud", negating future problems.

So RIGHT NOW I start drinking this horrible liquid. And our next 24 hours will be devoted to "heading off at the pass" cancerous bad stuff.
It's horrible.
But necessary.
And at 75 and in great health, I'm glad our medical technology is there to improve our future.

01 June 2022

"Breaking-In"

I've mentioned before that on 19 occasions I had the experience of flying a small helicopter back to the Midwest from the Robinson Helicopter factory in Torrance, California. As I departed the factory the Lycoming air-cooled engines normally had between 5-10 hours flight time on them to insure they ran properly, didn't leak oil, etc..

Depending on winds and which model Robbie I was flying, the flight time back East was generally between 17 to 22 hours. The factory filled the crankcase with non-detergent oil for the "break-in" period.
Departing the factory they would give me 4 extra quarts of oil to insure I could keep the engine "topped off" for the trip home. That oil had a big "M" on the label to indicate it was "Mineral Oil"... (non-detergent).
Their recommendation was to use the non-detergent oil until the engine oil consumption slowed, then switch to the regular aviation detergent oil of the customer's choice. By the time I reached my destination back in the middle of the country the oil usage of the Lycomings had normally settled down so we could drain and switch oils.
THAT is the way I got comfortable "breaking-in" an air cooled engine.

I just bought a new generator to use when we go RV-ing. It has an air-cooled 312cc engine. It came delivered with NO oil in the crankcase and, oddly, NO instructions on how to break the engine in, other than warnings in BIG red letters that there was no oil in the engine and the proper amount of engine oil had to be added before starting.
So I decided to follow the instructions I've gotten accustomed to with the Lycomings. I went to my local auto parts store and asked for "break-in oil" and got a blank stare in return. No dice.
Across the street to the competing auto parts store, the clerk lead me to the paint section and tried to sell me a quart of mineral spirits!

I realize engines are manufactured to higher tolerances these days. Oil too is better, with more additives, than it has ever been. But I'd still be more comfortable running the generator's first few hours the "old school" way.

Am I just an old fuddy-duddy?
(Try to be nice now.)



27 May 2022

The Last War, Last Battle, Last Bullet.

My title is not a great analogy.
My Blog.
Deal with it.

I'm gobsmacked by the idea that our lefty government "leaders" think paying off student loan debt might be a good idea.
I know my first question is NOT obvious to only me-
You signed a contract. You got the benefit of that contract. Now, fulfill the promise you made by signing your name. Pay what you now owe!

Second thought-
I once had a conversation with a young socialist female that called these contracts "predatory lending".
What other contracts fall into that category? Auto loans? Mortgages? Handouts from "Cousin Vinnie"?

My college education was accomplished piecemeal. I could afford the time and money to take only a couple courses at a time and paid for them as I learned, never accruing debt along the way. Granted, I went to a little-known State supported school and don't have "friends in High Places" that I networked with. But I also don't have a lifetime of debt to worry or complain about.

What if I'm the responsible oddball that JUST paid off my student loan following YEARS of denying myself some of the good things in life in order to fulfill my obligation...
Will I now get a refund? (This counts for me and most of my contemporaries too. Will AOC and the Biden administration send me a check because I was a responsible adult those forty years ago?)

This is a mess. The whole idea is insane.
And our entire contract structure and law in general is at risk because of these idiots.

24 May 2022

"If you have nothing to hide"-

I think the thing that troubles me more than anything today is the willingness of people to sacrifice their freedom. I was troubled by General Motor's "Onstar" system. My thoughts were "if it CAN be abused it WILL be abused."

Then came the revelations our government was gathering "Metadata". (But of course it won't be used against us. And besides, "If you're doing nothing wrong, why should you worry?")

Alexa. Siri. Hello Google!
I'm continually amazed at friends who know better using these things that listen to everything we say 24/7. And then they are surprised to find some of the things they say might bite them.
(Around a campfire late one night a friend and I were talking about Galapagos Tortoises. We were surprised to hear Siri say, "Here's the information I could find about that.")
We had NOT asked Siri for information.

Be afraid.
I am.
I think for good reason.

21 May 2022

"Uranus Smells Like Farts"

 

Science Fiction and Science Fact-
It's fun to find out how much the writers of TV shows lean on actual scientists to try to keep their shows believable.

This show was a hoot...
Apparently the Black Hole at the center of our Galaxy smells like Raspberry Rum? How the heck do we know that?
The gal in this podcast explains how we know. Her enthusiasm for her science is infectious.

If you're interested in Science Fiction OR Science Fact you'll find this interesting.
Click "Like" and Subscribe.

18 May 2022

We Got Da Covid !

I NEVER get sick.
Two days ago (Sunday) I started coughing. I also had a drippy nose. But I was mowing the lawn and initially attributed the symptoms to dust and allergies.
That night both conditions worsened. The following morning I called my "meals" delivery boss and told her although I was capable of delivering meals I did not feel comfortable exposing our clients to my "gallopin' gump".
That day Sara Jean attended a previously scheduled appointment with her Doctor and he gave her several Covid home testing kits.
Both our test results were positive.

I have symptoms of an irritating, moderate summer cold. Sara Jean, so far, has no symptoms at all. But we are going to be safe... I just ordered pickup of an order at Wally World, where someone else gathers up your order and you just call to let them know to bring it out to your car... one of the few good things to come out of this Covid fiasco.

I could die.
But barring a meteor or lightning strike, I don't think that's gonna happen right away.
Nevertheless, pray for me.
I still have mischief to attend to.


17 May 2022

The Depp/Heard Trial-

Until recently I never realized how far from "normal" I am.
Apparently ingesting Ambien, mushrooms, MDMA, marijuana, and alcohol together is what life is all about.

I'm such a HICK!

13 May 2022

Box Cars


 

Circa 2001-
Dad and I were sitting on the balcony in Destin, Florida enjoying the view of the Gulf of Mexico.
We were separated from the beautiful turqouise-colored water by the "Scenic Gulf Highway"... the old U.S. Hwy 98 used mostly now by folks staying in condos along the beach.
Dad said, "Start watching. All the vehicles are either Minivans, Pickup trucks, or SUV's."
And he was right. Now and then in that neighborhood a Lamborghini or Ferrari would pass. But the VAST majority of traffic was one of the three types of vehicles Dad had mentioned.
And the only differences in the appearance of the S.U.V's manufactured by different factories was the color and the size. They all shared the shape of a cardboard box on wheels.
I would challenge ANYONE to be able to tell a Ford from a Chevy, a Nissan from a Toyota or Honda.

We've grown to be like soldiers in uniform, and marvel when we see a classic car like those pictured- beautiful, and distinctive from a mile away.

I miss my youth.


05 May 2022

February, 1969

This "thing" in Ukraine troubles everyone, I'm sure.
But I suspect it tightens my gut more than others. War is a BAD thing. I wish we humans could realize that the money spent and human treasure lost just isn't worth it. How much better would our world be if the resources spent to prosecute violence on our neighbors was spent doing GOOD in the world?
Where would Germany and Japan be today if they had devoted all that money spent pursuing world dominance in 1940 to simply producing great machines the rest of the world wanted and needed?
But then I remember that Karen gets in my face when I don't wear a face mask.
How in the world can I expect all of us to get along when we cannot even agree on the simple stuff?

The people of Ukraine go to bed at night and hear the sounds I heard in Chu Lai, Viet Nam in 1969.
A 105mm howitzer makes a BIG noise twice... once when the shell is fired, and again when that shell reaches its destination. Hearing it often, you learn pretty much to ignore the sound. That is "Outgoing", and even though it is very loud, you get accustomed to the more muffled sound because of the distance between you and the artillery battery.
Now the sound of 122mm rockets falling all around you? That's a different sound altogether. It is ear-splitting! It is a sound that makes you realize you may not survive the next minute.
And I fear THAT is the sound many of those residents of Kiev remaining in their homes are dealing with.
My heart aches for those people

This situation is not good for the people of Ukraine. It is not good for the people of Russia. It is unsettling for the entire world.

"Someone" needs to step up and read up about the failure of "Valkyrie", and make the world a better place.
And... SOON, please.

I want my heart to stop hurting.


02 May 2022

Auto Parts

The little town we now live in has a population of... 6,000, down from a peak of 7,000 before all of our industry closed down. While Real Estate BOOMS in much of the rest of the country, our community is in the doldrums.
And that's okay.

We have a WalMart, a Pizza Hut, a Mickey D's, decent Mexican and Chinese restaurants and three "Mom and Pop" eateries. Our cost of living is NOT through the roof.
It's a good place to live.

My question today is about parts for automobiles-
We also have an "Autozone", an "Oh-Oh-Oh O'Reilly's" and on our Main Street we have an inconspicuous "Bumper to Bumper" store.
South of town, not far from Autozone, they've just opened a "NAPA" store.

How many Parts stores can a town of 6K people support?
I guess we're about to find out.

27 April 2022

Heroes and Villains


Nineteen times I made the trip from Torrance, California back to the Midwest in a small helicopter.
Every time I made that trip I would marvel at the number of those wind turbines there were on hilltops and ridgelines along that route. Where there is one of 'em, there are HUNDREDS.
I have no idea what they cost, ($$$$$!) but I always wondered how long it would take for the energy they produce to recoup your initial outlay on one of them.
(And that doesn't take into consideration the amount of money you'll spend maintaining the eyesore so you don't get the result shown in the image.)

I've seen photos of them burying LOTS of the rotor blades because (like the old Soviet-era "Trabant") there is apparently no way to recycle the materials the things are made of.

I can't help worrying that so much of this solar/wind energy stuff is gonna bite us in our derriere in the long-term.

You jump.
I'll watch and learn.



23 April 2022

Back To Work!

Retirement!
How many of us look forward to it... scrimp, save, juggling investments around to maximum benefit for that day we can "Hang up the wings" and relax and do only what we wanta do?
That was me.
I started investing in Mutual Funds in 1970. I was initially conservative with my money, then after researching I realized that the market was volatile and there was a way to take advantage of that volatility long-term.
So I did.

I was investing on my own. When IRA's, 403b's and 401k's became available to me I took full advantage of 'em.
And when my company offered me an ESOP I was excited. I watched as my "ownership" of the company grew and made me feel rich.
I began to feel really comfortable with what my life would be like in retirement.
And then the bottom fell out of the bucket.

The financial institution that had initially valued the assets of the company that we employees purchased suddenly realized they had NO expertise in valuing something like a helicopter.
And we employees owned 15 of 'em.
The valuation of the stock we employees owned suddenly dropped to 10% of the initial valuation.
I was no longer headed toward a millionaire retirement, but I was still gonna be okay.
And I am. My investments, coupled with my Social Security and ARMY pension make life in retirement...comfortable.
So retirement? It ain't horrible.
But...

I've been retired 9 years now. We've been traveling. When I reflect on the places we've been in the world I'm pretty amazed, actually.
It's been wonderful.
We've had the luxury of getting away from "The Great White North" during Winters, and that is something I've ALWAYS craved to do.
I've had the ability to buy and enjoy nice toys.
Still... retirement, as I had imagined it, has left a LOT to be desired.

My dream was that it would be all flowers, warm breezes, and all the Pina Coladas I could drink.
Much of that part of it has come true. But I forgot about "purpose".
In my job as EMS helicopter pilot I frequently was involved helping people often having the absolute WORST DAY of their lives.
And my part of that day... helping to make their lives better... was important. Many times my part of that day meant the difference between life or death.
I knew that while I was doing the job. What I did not realize was  how much I would miss that feeling of satisfaction when I retired.
So for nine years I have reflected on having what I felt might be the "best job I ever had", wondering what I might do to fill the void I was feeling.

I've found something that helps:
I took a job with our local "Meals on Wheels" organization delivering food to people in need. Several of the folks that receive our meals would go hungry for the day if we did not deliver the Noon meal.
For my work I am paid "minimum wage".
I don't care.
(Don't tell anyone, but I'd likely do it for no pay at all.)
I'm needed.
And that feeling is worth more than any dollar value.

Are you getting ready to retire?
How do you feel about your work?
Let's talk about what happens to your life when you're spending a lot of time in a recliner, pressing buttons on a remote control!



20 April 2022

Neurologic Testing

I took Sara Jean into Big Town yesterday for follow-up testing on her condition.
The results? Our "experts" say she has "mild impairment" and is slightly worse than she was during testing six months ago.
We sorta knew that before we went to the trouble to drive 90 minutes to chat with the experts.
I (we) have noticed degradation in memory; navigation; and mood.
And of course the realization that things are getting worse does NOT help the atmosphere in our home.

We still have no diagnosis. And if, as we suspect, the problem is Lewy Body Dementia, the only time we will have firm knowledge of the problem is when her brain is cut into very thin slices and shows the signs of Lewy Bodies.
Right now our experts will only go so far as to say they think the problem is "dementia".
Thanks a lot.
We sorta knew that already.

All this stuff is stressful. Sara Jean hates it because she realizes she's not faring well in the testing.
I hate it because when she is under great stress and "Momma ain't happy", our household is an unhappy one.
The drive to Big Town is unpleasant. We reminded our experts of that fact, and the light bulb went off:
"We can do the next testing virtually if you would like."
"Yes... we would like."
I don't think it will change much of the pre-testing stress, but it will keep me from being aggravated with Joe Biden when I fill up my fuel tank after burning three hours of fuel.

We cannot know exactly what we face in the future, but we have a pretty good idea. And this is not at all where we expected to be when we reached this point in our lives.

"Spring is sprung. The grass is riz."
It's time to wake the new RV and start making some memories.

I know I'll remember them.
I'm not sure Sara Jean will.
We need a miracle.



15 April 2022

Ballistic Info:



A few years back I bought one o' those suckers.
Chambered for .45 Long Colt OR .410 shotgun, I then bought "defense" shotgun shells for the thing.
I asked a "firearm savvy" E.R. Doc friend of mine what he thought of the thing. His reply?
"If you shoot someone with it, shoot 'em in the FACE!"
Humanitarian, my friend the Doc.

My question? If I shoot someone with the .45 Long Colt, the ballistic signature of that round will be traceable.
What about the shot shell? If I "shoot someone in the face" with the .410, is there a ballistic footprint that can be traced?

13 April 2022

Oxen. Submarines. Jelly Beans. And "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?":


 

Watching this video will require 26 minutes of your life.
I believe you'll find it is worth that expense.

03 April 2022

"Government Run"

I knock on the door, then knowing she's expecting me to walk in so she doesn't have to struggle to the door with her walker, I greet her cheerfully as I can; lay her lunch on the table between her and her TV, and try to extricate myself as quickly as possible because I have 25 more "clients" to serve.
This is difficult because I think I may be the only human contact she has on days I deliver.

I've now been delivering "Meals on Wheels" six weeks and my experience has been just about as I imagined:
There are folks that really need the service.
And there are folks that are taking advantage by "gaming the system".

The above-mentioned lady lives in a house in serious disrepair. It's dangerous to walk across her wooden porch to her front door. I'm sure her roof probably leaks.
But some of the homes where I deliver are beautiful and well maintained, with two nice cars in the carport. Why are we delivering meals to these people?
And this is the problem with all these Socialist government-run programs, isn't it?

Yes, we need a safety net for the folks Jesus Christ would have cared for.
But when I'm elected "King of the World" I'll be making some BIG changes in this program.


29 March 2022

Will "Slappy" Smith

 Will Smith will announce he is attending "Anger Management" rehab therapy in 3...2...1...

28 March 2022

Four/Dash 65. Turn It UP!

My part of the world is greening up now.
Willow trees. Tulip trees and Dogwoods are in full bloom.
Winter Wheat fields look gorgeous. (And with Ukraine's fields lying fallow the farmers that have wheat and soybeans in the ground have big smiles on their faces today!)

I grew up just South of Indianapolis, Indiana. During my formative years FEW had air conditioning in their cars because most simply thought a few summer months could be survived by simply rolling the car windows down.
And the resulting breeze required a BIG clockwise-twist of the volume knob on the radio!

During the "brass monkey alert" months of January it was this time of year everyone looked forward to.
Windows down meant Spring smells; Spring sounds; and the air hitting you in the face and blowing your hair wasn't uncomfortable.

Today? We isolate ourselves from the world, and we don't have to turn the volume up so loud to hear our Sirius/XM multi-speaker sound systems.

I have FOND memories of windows down AND radio blaring.
Just don't ask me if I'd like to go back there. ;)

23 March 2022

IF

I was black.
And I had indoor plumbing.
I'd have had a chance of getting a LIFETIME, high-paying job .

Bigger. Stronger. Faster.


 Our country continues to produce amazing athletes!

22 March 2022

The Bill of Rights

I have no idea who said it-
"The second amendment is there in case the first is ignored."
Truth, ain't it?

19 March 2022

"Greatest Generation" Reflections

 


For several years I owned a company that was the Training/Sales/Service dealership for Robinson helicopters. In 1990 we purchased a new R22 (like the model pictured above) to use to teach people to fly. In four years we put 2000 hours on that bird and sent it back to the factory for a complete overhaul.

When the rebuild was completed my business partner and I were supposed to go pick the bird up and fly it back to the MidWest. The flight back from California is quite an experience...
Almost 20 hours in the little bird across the desert, through mountain passes, and requiring some fairly high-altitude landings/takeoffs.

A week before the day we were scheduled to pickup our rebuilt helicopter my partner called:
"Something has come up. I cannot make the trip."
I asked... "Do you mind if my Dad fills the empty seat?"
"Sounds like a plan..." he responded.

My Dad was a WWII Veteran and Purple Heart recipient of the Pacific theater, wounded in the Philippines. After the war he used his GI benefits to take flight training. I flew many times with him in various airplanes, from a Piper Super Cruiser he owned to a Stearman Biplane owned by a friend of his.
But he had NO helicopter experience at all. He jumped at the chance to make the trip with me.

The day before departure from home I plunked a new Garmin GPS in his lap...
"Dad, I need you to be familiar with how to use that thing to help me safely get out of the Los Angeles basin. We'll need to pass through the airspace of a BUNCH of airports, and you can help me with directions and radio frequencies."

I set the GPS up on "Demo Mode" and told him, "You cannot break this thing. Play with it and learn how it works until you're comfortable with it."
And I left him alone with the device.

Returning 15 minutes later I saw the GPS laid over on the end table next to his chair.
"So you're comfortable with how to use that thing?"
"No, I was afraid I'd break it."

Sigh.

So we departed with the newly rebuilt R22 from Torrance, California and I was a "one-armed wallpaper hanger" trying to fly/navigate/communicate/avoid getting my ticket pulled until we got East of Corona, California.
Stressful. And yes, I was aggravated with him. But...
We'd approach something on the ground like a Railroad track or a major highway, and as it passed beneath the aircraft he'd look at the display on the GPS and shake his head- marveling at how accurate the device was.
Reaching our destination he asked, "How much does this thing cost?"
And he bought one within a week.

My Old Man hated to be embarrassed. It was the worst thing you could do to him. The new technology scared him and he was frightened he'd make a fool of himself during our flight home.
He WOULD NOT HAVE, but that is beside the point.

That flight home with my Dad took three days.
Three days of sharing airtime with a fellow pilot.
And those days are a memory I would not trade for all the treasure in the world.

16 March 2022

"Classic TV" Blondes


 Lola Albright, 1924-2017


Lois Nettleton, 1927-2008


Susan Oliver, 1932-1990

We've been watching a lot of old-time TV lately. "The Fugitive". Alfred Hitchcock's half hour and hour long show. "Route 66". "The Twilight Zone". "Thriller". "The Outer Limits".
It's fun to watch the (first?) appearance of some folks that became BIG stars later in these shows.

You're lookin' at three I had a teenage crush on "back when". And I bet all three vied for the same roles in these shows.

Susan Oliver's life was too short... I think I commented in an earlier post about the amount of smoking in these shows. She was a heavy smoker and died of lung CA.
I was surprised to read she co-piloted the winning aircraft in the 1970 Powder Puff Derby after overcoming a big scare in a commercial aircraft a few years earlier.

All their stories are interesting and worth a little research.


Defining Moment

"...we shall fight on the seas and oceans,
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air,
we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,
we shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”

All too many are ignorant of history.
At some point we must say, "NO MORE"...
Or we'll be burying our own human treasure.



14 March 2022

"Speedy Delivery!


 
"Turn Left."
"Left?"
"Right."
"Turn Right?"
"NO! TURN LEFT!"

I'm learning the routes.
And it is NOT without a little confusion.

11 March 2022

Godfather, Part II

 

Twenty minutes in length, and I have questions:
If "the people" have access to information, can leaders like Hitler, Stalin, Castro, Putin, etc. survive?
Will advances in technology finally make warfare so ugly that we learn to get along with our neighbors?
Are we entering an era similar to that portrayed by "Star Trek"?
We live in interesting times!


10 March 2022

The Godfather

 

"The Boss".
A BAD guy.
It can be argued, at one point he RAN Chicago.
But his reach extended way beyond the city limits of Chicago. I have heard stories of conflicts between  "Bosses" in St. Louis and Chicago.
About what? Yes, money. But what did that money bring?
POWER.

Young readers won't remember the TV series "The Untouchables". They MAY remember the movie of the same name starring Sean Connery and Kevin Costner.
Big Al had his tracks pretty well covered. He laundered his money through legitimate businesses. All the nasty stuff... keeping underlings and others under control, was done through subordinates.
They kept his hands clean so he could use some of the money coming into his organization to do philanthropic things. He could appear to be a "Robin Hood" in his neighborhood.
So since he was "clean", the FBI went after his Capos.
And knowing the extent of the funds that were coming into his organization they found a way to get to him via the tax code.

I'm thinking today of Vladimir Putin, and how much his place in this world resembles Alfonse Capone.
Yes, he has lots of money coming into his coffers. But that's not what he really desires.
What he wants is to be considered a player on the biggest stage in the world. A BOSS.
And to show the rest of the world he is a powerful man, Ukraine suffers.
I think he's made a horrific mistake, but right now he's certainly showing he has power.
And we need to figure out a way to stop him. Hurting the Russian people will be counterproductive.
They're NOT our enemy.
Putin is.

I think we must find a way to hurt him through his Capos... his Oligarch friends.
We've started that process. Taking away their spoils will eventually hurt Pootie.
And then I hope at some point Putin says, "Et Tu Brutus"?

(And as an aside, of interest maybe only to me... Capone died on the day I was born.)

09 March 2022

I LOVE My Country !

Thinking today about another possible outcome from this War:
Ukrainians are fighting and dying to defend the country they love.
And they're not ashamed to show it.

Will "Love of Country" once again be cool?
Wouldn't that be wonderful?

08 March 2022

Where's Greta?

So we now find ourselves in desperate need of REAL leadership in the world.
And we're hearing NOTHING from Greta Thunberg.
C'mon Greta! We need your wisdom and intellect in these trying times!
😜

07 March 2022

Analogy-


 A friend of mine got married and had children immediately after High School. He won't admit it, but I know he did it to avoid being drafted and risk being sent to fight in Viet Nam.
I also know he condemned himself to a lifetime of wondering "How would I have reacted in Combat? How would my life be different today had I served my country like so many of my peers?"
He will never know.

The handsome man above is Ukrainian. He's one of the pro dancers from "Dancing With The Stars". Sara Jean and I have enjoyed watching him perform on the show.
When things began to be heated in his home country he flew home to Ukraine. When it was VERY obvious the Russkies were gonna invade, he tucked-tail and flew back to the U.S..

I can't judge him.
But like my friend who got married and became a father immediately after High School, I think he may always feel like a coward. Coming home while his countrymen are fighting (and dying) to protect their friends, family, and country...
He's gonna regret this decision until the day he dies.


05 March 2022

Ukraine III

Is this Russia's "Viet Nam"?
Or at least a repeat of their Afghanistan experience?
No.
It's worse. "Pacified" Kherson is kicking their ass.

04 March 2022

Ukraine II

Sara Jean commented:
"We're not seeing any looting of those evacuated cities. Why is there no looting there?
When people evacuate our towns we see video of people emptying the stores."

It's a good question.

03 March 2022

Ukraine

I'm watching this conflict with avid interest. When I wake in the morning it is the first thing I check on.
Before I shut the idiot tube off at night it's the last thing I check on. I'm aggravated that there's not a Channel I can turn to and get "up to the minute" news.

I'm now reminded about how "Uncle Ho", when asked "How do you intend to defeat the United States?" responded, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time."

Watching the way this conflagration is unfolding I now have no doubt this will turn out for Russia much the way our experience in Viet Nam proceeded...
Russian soldiers don't really want to be there.
Ukraines are fighting on their own soil.
Supply lines for Russkies will be a major factor.
World opinion will be a factor.
The Russian people are embarrassed and their input will soon be a major factor.
Sanctions? I'm no expert, but when everyone in Russia begins to feel the pinch, that too will be a factor.

To me, all this means that Putin, feeling like he was leader of one of the World's Superpowers and could do pretty much anything he wanted to do, has soiled his nest.
Russian paranoia is a mental illness for all those old Soviet Union personnel.
Putin needs a face-saving "off ramp".
Can we provide one for him?

I'm wagering he'll end up having a glass of wine with Jeffrey Epstein soon.

28 February 2022

Thinking of War. Going to War.

The thought of going to war is exciting.
You train. You become an expert at using your equipment. Using your tool becomes comfortable as putting on an old pair of slippers. You and your buddies, training together, take pride in how well you can do your jobs together. Pride builds in your unit, your division, your country.
You eat, sleep, and share activities like playing cards together. It's all a game, and fun.

And then you go to war.
And you look at your buddy's aircraft burning on the ground. You had breakfast with him this morning.
Now he and his crew chief are burned over much of their bodies. His gunner's body remains in the burning scout bird. That man is dead. REALLY dead.
And that could be you.

It ain't fun anymore.

23 February 2022

Dogfarts !

It's one of my favorite stories from years ago, written by Brit Veterinarian James Herriot-
An "Upper class" lady called him to put her Boxer to sleep. She had tried everything possible to remedy the problem, but the dog continued to pass gas and embarrass her at her Tea Parties.
The dog was a beautiful, purebred animal, and Herriot asked her if she'd give him time to find a solution to her problem.

After leaving her home he visited an elderly client who was a Veteran of "The Great War". The old Vet owned a really old Irish Setter, eaten up by Cancer. Herriot euthanized the old dog, knowing the impact the dog's death would have on the old man.
And then it struck him-
"Would you consider adopting a pureblooded Boxer, free of charge?"
And the old man agreed to take the dog on a trial basis.
The dog was placed in his new home with hope the change would be good for both man and beast.

Two weeks passed and Herriot decided to pay the old WWI Vet a visit to see how the relationship was faring.
"How's the Boxer doing?"
"Oh Dr. Herriot, he's wonderful! Such great company. I don't know how to thank you!"

And at this point Herriot revealed why the adoption happened in the first place, which elicits wild laughter from the old man...
"You see Doctor, in the war I was involved in a tremendous battle. My eardrums suffered damage as you know because you have to shout at me to be heard. But what you don't know is that I also experienced a "Mustard Gas" attack which permanently damaged my sense of smell.
I cannot hear OR smell this dog's flatulence!"

A PERFECT match.

Now I need your help.
We have adopted a "mostly Chihuahua". He's filling a void in our lives left by the death of our little Lucy.
He's a GOOD BOY, but...
He is gassier than me. The smell of his flatulence would peel paint off walls if he was in close proximity.
I've looked online for help and find nothing. Everything there just says insure he isn't eating trash or anything else he might pick up outside, or a change in his food is suggested.
But he's a really PICKY eater. He's older and his teeth are bad, so we have to feed him canned dog foot. And believe it or not, he turns his nose up at chicken.

I'm hoping one of you has a miracle cure.
I'm NOT deaf. And my sense of smell is still reasonably good.
He absolutely GAGS me about once an hour.


Is there a secret anti-gas fix we can apply?


21 February 2022

"Hey! Remember me?"

When I got the email I didn't recognize the name...
"Hey ****, it's Suzie. Remember me?"
And THAT presents a problem. During my High School years I enjoyed dating two "Suzies". Which Suzie IS this? So I have to play a game and hope for clues.

Both girls were cute as bugs. One had the BIG eyes of a Doe.
As it turned out, "Doe eyes" was the Suzie emailing me.
We corresponded off and on for a while, then set up a reunion with other classmates.

The reunion happened in her home. Ten classmates showed up... most of 'em
I had not seen in almost 40 years. I graduated in a class of 140, and had attended the same school with 70 of those for all 12 years of elementary/High School. We were a close group.
But WOW, how my classmates had changed in 40 years!

Friends are important to me. I LOVE staying in touch with them, knowing what's going on in their lives.
But time ticks away... tick, tick, TOCK.
And when you've not seen someone in a long time, you MUST prepare yourself for what time has wrought.

"Doe Eyes" was now a 65 year old woman, looking NOTHING like I remembered. But the reunion was great, and it took all of 15 minutes for all of us to be perfectly comfortable with one another again.
We've had several reunions since.
And that's the only way for the passage of time to not be a shock.
I recommend LOTS of reunions.