30 November 2022

Call It "Mental Illness". I Won't Argue-

 (That ain't him, but it sure might be a close relative!)

We leave Destin tomorrow morning after a stay of 30 days. Weather, (as usual in the Florida Panhandle), has been UP/DOWN. We've experienced SUN, rain, and temps ranging from 40-ish nights to 85 degree days. There's no question of Season change here. We've had a nice stay... except...

We made our reservation for this Condo February of this year. That was about the same time the little Chihuahua-mix dog that looks like the above photo decided we were HIS. We gave no thought at all to the fact our reservation here was in a "No Pet" accommodation.

As the date for our stay here approached it hit the two of us like a ton of bricks-
"We have to figure out what we're gonna do with Chico."
Boarding at a Kennel? Expen$ive. And how would he react to being with strangers for 30 days?
So that option was dismissed.

My Sister lives in Pensacola, about an hour's drive from Destin-
"Sis, we have a little problem..."
She has three adopted canines of her own.
"Of course he can stay here!"
And so we relaxed, knowing he'd be loved, fed, and comfortable.
What we did not consider was how accustomed to him being a part of our lives had become.
I've missed him lying next to me in my recliner. But Sara Jean? She's actually been in tears more than once missing the little guy.

So the trip tomorrow will be Destin-> Pensacola-> Northbound.
We're excited by the thought of having the ENTIRE family reunited.

Much of the world thinks we're crazy to get so emotionally involved with our pets
The way we have felt without his presence here?
They may be correct.

27 November 2022

Come Fly This Thing!

Doin' a lot of reflecting on my life in retirement I'm acknowledging how blessed I have been.
Fifty-two years of looking up through a spinning wing. Fifty of those years trying to teach others to control that nearly uncontrollable machine and survive the experience.
The people who were not only interested in what I had to teach but also had the wherewithal to afford my services were... often interesting.

One of the guys that came to me wanting to learn to fly a helicopter was a man that owned his own "Learn to Fly" business. He owned several Cessna 172's and had a staff of instructors to teach people in them.
He also owned an FBO... a place on an airport where pilots could land and expect to refuel and get other services... charts, refreshments, a phone to call for weather and file a flight plan, and other incidental things.
A Certified Flight Instructor in Airplanes himself, he was a few years older than me with a LOT more letters following the "CFI" on his pilot's license.

Done with my "lesson/torture session" we had landed the helicopter and finished debriefing the lesson when one of his mechanics approached- "'***', the Hawker needs a post-maintenance test flight".
My student was the only person in the county qualified and current to fly the airplane so his services were required ASAP.
"Hey Greybeard, how'd you like to fly the Hawker?"
It took a fraction of a second for me to respond!

Checklist followed. Taxi to (and hold short) of the runway...
"I have to start the takeoff roll because I have directional control of the airplane with this little steering wheel until the rudder becomes effective. After that... YOU HAVE THE AIRPLANE!"

Your humble helicopter CFI did (most of) the takeoff, the climbout, and the level-off procedure. My student impressed me by demonstrating how this powerful airplane would press you against the seat when the throttles were pushed forward. (And my mind boggles at the power Fighter Pilots must feel!)
Test Flight complete, my student gave me hints about not killing the two of us as I landed the airplane, with him once again controlling the nose-wheel with his little steering wheel when I no longer had positive rudder control.

Yeah, it's a great memory... another in my book of reflections.
And after my student passed his Private Pilot Helicopter practical test he admitted-
"There is NO FLYING more fun than flying a helicopter."

I'm pleased to have flown that Hawker.
But I sure would not have wanted to fly one for a living.

23 November 2022


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.

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?
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)-

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.