Sunday, January 31, 2010

Spending the day with Mrs Piccolo

Which is a wonderful change as the pair of us have decided to patch a few things up.

I will post no details here, save to say that it's the reason I have done no serious writing for the past few days.

JD Salinger just died. An interesting character. In 1951 he wrote 'Catcher in the Rye' and I heard published his last article in 1964.

I wonder what he did to manage to live in New Hampshire all of these years in what appears to be a fairly comfortable hermit-like existence.

I did post in the butler blog today, also.

my other blog is:

http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Today's entry will not be long

because I have things to do with Mrs. Piccolo.

I MIGHT get back to this later.
my other blog is:

http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Friday, January 29, 2010

The trash guys do more for me than any politician

has ever done for me.

They make my life a whole lot easier. I'd have to load up the pickup and head off to the dump if it wasn't for them.

Now, all politicians really do is to tax me half to death and try and regulate my behavior, which is pretty much a waste of time because I generally do a decent job of regulating my own behavior when you get right down to it.

Most people take the trash guys for granted. I don't.

From time to time, I do little things for them, such as pass them on a 6 pack or maybe make them coffee or leave then something to eat.

It pays dividends, as they will often overlook the official rules and haul something off that they're really not supposed to.

It surprises the neighbors when they see things disappear that they wouldn't be able to put out and expect to be taken.

On an internet forum the subject came up and I turned my sarcasm meter up and posted that I could stuff a dead hooker into the trash and the guys would take it, no questions asked.

Some idiot didn't have his sarcasm detector on and freaked out. Hilarity ensued and maybe I'll post about it tomorrow.

Still, the bottom line is that the trash guys are a hell of a lot more useful in this society than most, if not all of the politicians.

Someone once said that politicians and diapers should be changed often and for the same reason. He had a point.

Maybe we ought to send the trash guys to Washington and do a little house cleaning.






my other blog is:

http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I am now Douglas MacArthur

I have returned.

I am home, and fried. See you on the morrow.

my other blog is:

http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I AM NOT NUTS.

This morning my mate poured a cup of coffee out of the carafe and dumped about half of it on the counter. He then commented something that I have earlier posted about.

They do not make a decent carafe for coffee makers.

I rest my case.


I am also going to be as busy as a one armed paperhanger today.

I'm going home.

my other blog is:

http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I get tired of over reaction

One of the things I notice is a sense of overreaction to things.

I have a friend that smokes an occasional cigarette, generally when he has a rare drink.

He probably smokes less than a pack a year, which really isn't anything that is damaging. I once read that one cigarette a DAY wasn't very harmful at all.

Yet this poor guy has to listen to everyone and their cousin start warning him about the health risks every time he lights up. The lectures he gets go on and on and on.
His wife has told his doctor 'He's still smoking' and every time he goes to get a physical, he gets another ear beating. He also gets one from his pastor...or used to until he stopped going to church for a couple of months.

When the pastor asked him why, he simply explained that he was tired of getting treated like a little kid. The pastor promised to shut up and chalk one up to the devil, which is rare in a pastor.

Of course, he doesn't smoke on his back porch any more because he would lose his sanity listening to all the crap he gets over his non-vice.

What does he do?

Simple. He pays me a visit and we sit together on MY back porch and he enjoys his cigarette and cocktail.

I don't blame him. I'd run and hide, too if I had to listen to all the crap he gets.

It's the same with a lot of other things.

I once listened to a vegan tell me that the meat I was looking at in the meat counter was diseased.

Now, that was an out and out lie.

If you have to lie to be right, you are generally wrong.

Anyway, I told the vegan that the meat waas worse than diseased.

"How's that," he asked. He was looking for more reason not to eat it.

'Every one of the animals that supplied that meat is now dead," I proclaimed solomnly.

And with that, I snagged a pretty good looking steak.
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my other blog is:

http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Monday, January 25, 2010

It is a wintry rainy day

which I can live with. I hate snow for 2 reasons.

First, it is cold, and second, it doesn't go away for a while after it arrives.

A wintry rain is, of course, more miserable than snow, but it goes away almost instantly after it stops.

Most people don't look at things the same way I do. They worry about the here and now. Take the tiled bathroom I have at home. Looked like a million bucks when it first went in, and the walls outside of the tub still do, which is good.

Still. inside the tub area it has proven to be a royal pain in the butt because it has been a constant fight with keeping it up.

I wanted to put a fiberglass shower insert in, but got voted down.

I wish I had simply done it, anyway, but I caved in.

The fiberglass insert probably isn't as good looking as the tile was when it was new, but it sure is easier to take care of and can be brought back to brand new llooking status a whole lot easier. Simply clean it and give it a coat of wax.

Presto! Brand new!

Generally when I do things I don't worrry too much about how it's going to look when it's done.

I think about how it's going to look fifteen years later.

Just like I think about how after it stops raining that I don't have to go out and shovel snow.

my other blog is:

http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Sunday, January 24, 2010

One of the things I am blessed with is a mate

that is bilingual.

He is apparently married to a woman that imigrated to this country and became a citizen, which is great. She came legally and jumped through all the hoops.

Now, this guy is comfortable speaking with his wife via cell phone in her native tongue. To me it is a joy to hear. The language has a pleasant sing-song air about it and the conversations always seem pleasant.

All is good. I am a happy camper with this guy. He kills time by working it to death. If you gave me 100 guys like this, I'd be able to do almost anything industrial. I could open a steel mill become another Andrew Carnegie.

Enter the suspicious idiot that wonders what he's saying.

He asks me how I know the mate isn't saying bad things about me.

I told this guy conspiratorially that I spoke the same language as the mate.

Mr. Nosy asked me what he was talking about and I told him that the mate has a sick dog, his wife is pregnant again and that his neighbor threw trash on their front yard.

"Gee! Sounds like my situation," said the idiot.

"Yup," I replied. "Things are the same all over."

Fact is, the reason I told the guy about the dog, pregnant wife and neighbor is because I overheard it from HIS phone conversation with HIS wife.

I don't have clue one as to what the mate talks about and I don't really care.

I have a funny feeling he's too busy with his family to waste words on what I'm doing, and frankly I'm happy he speaks in a foriegn tongue because I don't have to listen to his problems.

Instead I get to listen to a happy sounding sing-song half conversation in another language.

It's great.

Give me more guys like that.







my other blog is:

http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Yesterday someone asked me

how I blog. He wanted to know if I carefully prepare this during the day.

I don't. Generally I simply sit down in front of the computer and start writing about the first thing that comes into my mind.

Sometimes it's hard, I'll face a writer's block, but I'll just start and write right through it.

I get my subject materiel from almost anywhere. The news, a website I frequent, something someone said during the day, just about anywhere.

What's funny about this is that I simply have no clue about what I am going to write about until the window opens on the computer.

My recent letter to Senator Brown was a follow up on the election thread. I lived in Massachusetts aand know how the Kennedy political system works so I just sat dowwn and wrote the letter.

Truth is, there is no recipe for this daily blog. I simply pull it out off my arse.

my other blog is:

http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Friday, January 22, 2010

One of the things I am going to do when I get offf

of this slab and go home is to get dressed up and go somewhere.

Anywhere. Even if it's just a lousy Starbucks for a cup of coffee.

I have been in boots and utes, jeans and a sweat or khakis for several months and I think it would be a nice change of pace.

Without being vain or just plain cocky, I do clean up well.

To paraphrase a commercial for Men's Warehouse: I'm going to like the way I look.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

There is a former GI in Florida that is running

for Senate that I am watching.

He's a retired LTC by the nanne of West and he has a big smear on his service record of the type that denotes character.

What? You say? A blemish on his service record? Whyy that's terrible!

I wish there were more officers out there that are like this West character.

Itt seems that there was an 'interview' with one of the enemies of this great nation on Iraq. The interview was not going well and the good colonel decided to add a little fear to the equation. BE apparently held the detainee's head next to an unloading pit(read: a sandbag designed to stop bullets)held his pistol next to the mans head and fired a shot into the pit.

Nobody got hurt, and the detainee decided that maybe it was a pretty good idea to speak up, which he did.

GIs lives were probably saved, which is a major plus in the Gospel According to Piccolo.

Enter the Goodie Two-Shoes. The whiners that do more damage in a day with their mouths than a warehouse full of C-4 can do in the hands of Combat Engineers.

They raised a stink and the good colonel was thrown to the wolves. He got off light, with an Article 15, (nonjudicial punishment)a $5000 fine and he resigned.

It is interesting to note that at his hearing, he was quoted as saying that he'd carry a can of gasoline through hell for his troops.

He grew up in a lower middle class black family in the south and came up the hard way to become a fine officer in the United States Army and is an obvious leader on a fairly conservative platform. Now, a Black conservative is somewhat uncommon, as many blacks in this country tend toward more liberal leanings.

I've seen this man speak and he's rather interesting. Maybe he could use a little more polish for some tastes but I like him the way he is.

I like people like him. They are not willing to go along with everything that comes down the pike and isn't afraid to stick his neck out.

I think I'm going to watch this guy. He looks interesting.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Yesterday the world turned upside down

in Massachusetts.

For the first time in decades they elected a Republican senator.

He was elected to take over Ted Kennedys spot. This is just fine by me because it is the elective process in action. The good people were tired of being led in one direction and changed via the elective process. A bloodless revolution, so to speak.

Teddy Roosevelt once said our freedoms were defended by four boxes. The soap box, the ballot box, the jury box and the cartridge box. After the election results someone wryly commented that the soap box and ballot box seemed to be working well enough so the cartridge box could stay shut.

I was glad to hear it.

I followed the election for a number of reasons. Frankly, I expected a lot of trouble and accusations of voter fraud from groups like ACORN and the SEIU. I really thought there was going to be trouble in the Bay State.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear few real accusations.

To Senator Brown, I'll say this: Study the political genius of the late Ted Kennedy very carefully. He can teach you a lot.

In my opinion, the three best politicians this country ever produced were three liberal Democrats. FDR was one, 'Tip' O'Neal was another and Ted Kennedy was the third.

Now, anyone that knows me is aware that I am not a liberal Democrat by any stretch of the imagination, but I'll give credit where credit is due.

Ted Kennedy understood politics.

'Tip' O'Neal once said, "All politics is local." How right he was. Ted Kennedy knew this, also and brought it down to a very local level.

Ted made damned good and sure he brought the bacon home to Massachusetts. The Bay State got their money's worth of Federal funds and projects.

What is more important is that Ted did an awful lot for the guy in the street.

His staff was trained to cut red tape and take on little things for little people.

I would imagine that there are quite a number of Bay Staters that owe their jobs to Ted. I personally know of one couple that had Ted's office staff cut through a lot of red tape to facilitate the adoption of their daughter.

What Ted was smart enough to realize is that everybody has one vote. One single vote. The guy living in a rented trailer on the wrong side of the tracks has the same vote that the fat cat on Beacon Hill has.

Guess what? There are a lot more little people than there are fat cats.

The fat cats can generally take care of themselves, but the little guy feels screwed in that he has no real recourse of action when the hammer of red tape and bereaucracy falls on him.

Enter the graces of Ted Kennedys office.

Like I often say here, it doesn't take much.

Generally it only took a staffer to pick up the phone and make a single call to get something taken care of. "Hello, this is Tom from Senator Kennedy's office...Right...I knew you would help...Thank you."

And the missing paperwork (or whatever) would be magically reappear.

You can bet $2 to a stale Krispy Kreme that that lousy phone call was good for several votes come the next election. That little guy has friends.

If Scott Brown studies the political genius of the person he was elected to replace, then he can have a job for life.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I think I see a pretty good investment coming up.

It seems that there is a liquor store owner that is offering me a case of quarter-pint bottles of Jim Beam for $65. There are 48 of the little bottles in it.

Now, some rocket scientist will probably calculate that they could get a better deal by buying that much bourbon in fewer bottles, but he is wrong. I'm not buying this liquor for myself.

I'm buying it to use for little favors and petty bribes. You'd be surprised to see what a guy can get for just a couple of ounces of bourbon.

This leads to the purpose of today's blog. It doesn't take much.

I very much live in a world where I do as many little favors as I can.

One would be surprised how the simple investment of a coke or a beer on a hot day goes. A six pack can often save a guy a lot of money, properly invested.

At work, we can't have any booze out here, so I try and keep a few sodas on the reefer a pot of fresh coffeee going, and a few snacks handy.

Come to think about it, one of the people I sometimes serve out here camme up to me a few months ago and told me that the paint I gave him about a decade ago is still holding up on his front and back doors. I had given him an opened gallon can of white marine grade paint that had been left over from painting season. We were going to toss it out, anyway, so I gave it to him.

Over the years I'd have to say that we've gotten thousands back in little favors over a dopey little opened gallon of paint that was headed to the recycling pallet.

The cokes, little snacks and little things like an odd pack of smokes I have given to the trash guys have paid off big time. One time they took the truck cable and used the truck to uproot 4 trees in my front yard and they stuffed them into the truck and hauled them off.

It should be carefully noted that the trash company policy is that they are not supposed to take anything but household trash.

Not at the Piccolo residence. There they take almost anything. One of my neighbors commented to me on it and I told him how it works. He seemed mildly astonished.

One thing about giving away alcohol is that you have to be somewhat responsible with it. You have to be careful about the people and circumstances you use it as a give away. You have to make sure the timing and circumstances are correct. For example, I would never give the trash guys liquor while they are working because even the simple posession of it could cost them their jobs.

On the other hand, I have given a number of six-packs to people over the years that have performed services around the house to take home with them.

The rules of doing favors is that nobody gets hurt and everyone comes out a winner.

I also swap out a lot of favors in the neighborhood. I'm a pretty good plumber and electrician, and my skills are in demand and appreciated. A couple of hours repairing a leaky sink or rerouting TV cable is generally paid off in kind.

Last time home, I had the driveway cleared by my neighbor with his snow blower. I have not had to shovel any appreciable amount of snow in years, which is a joy because I hate snow.

Truth is, it doesn't take much.

As for the $65 I am probably going to spend on the case of bourbon, I'd say it will wind up being money well spent.

At any rate, the return on my investment will probably beat the stock market, hands down.

Monday, January 18, 2010

As I have posted before, I have had a pretty

checkered career and met quite a number of people from all ends of the social spectrum.

One thing I can say is that decenct and honesty are not necessarily characteristics of the well-to-do. Simply being wealthy does not automatically make a person honorable.

Being poor does not make a person dishonest, either.

I recall a guy walking up to he and handing me $20 and telling me that a guy named 'Wrongway' told me to make sure I got it. I guess it was one of those deals where I had loaned Wrongway a quick $20 and this guy owed Wrongway a quick $20 and when Wrongway was leaving town he had told this guy to pay me.

All of this sounds pretty petty, I know, but there's a point.

This little guy was living catch-as-catch-can, sleeping wherever and living a tenous existance. He had nothing.

Wrongway was dead, having beek killed a few weeks earlier in an accident.

There was no way I would even know about this, the amount of money was small, yet here was this little guy I had only seen around, and barely knew by name handing me what to him was probably a pretty hefty amount of money that he could have simply kept.

I was impressed.

I learned a lesson that day about honorable men.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

One of the things I managed to avoid over the

years was the use of what is often incorrectly referred to as narcotics.

I'm really not too proud to post the reasons because it really doesn't speak too highly of me, but I'll explain.

I did not enter the drug world because I was afraid of addiction or the harm it would do to my body or even fear of being arrested.

The reason I avoided the drug world is that early on I noticed quite a number of things in the drug world that I quite simply wanted no part of whatsoever.

It wasn't the drugs, it was the world they created.

Every time I turned around I noticed that some user or another was either doing something very unsavory or was being the victim of another drug user. They were busy eating each other, so to speak.

I attribute the fact that, even though I was living on the fringes of society during my 20s and early 30s, that I suffered far fewer rip-offs and other problems than many simply because I really wasn't a part of the drug world.

Looking back on it, I think I made the right choice.




The Butler blog is up.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Patience is something I have learned over the

years.

Some may say I have grown lazy over the years, but the converse is so. I can say that I tend to get more done these days than I did years ago.

For one thing, I try avoid doing things thrice. It's simply a case of doing something right the first time. There always seems that there is never enough time to do a job right the first time, yet there is always time to undo the error and correct it.

Another thing I am not is overly optimistic. My rule of thumb on time is to look at a job, estimate the time it would take a trained person to do the job. I then double the time and add another 50%. It's generally pretty accurate, as one always runs ito unexpected snags. On a boat, snags are a given.

Patience coupled with forethought can save a lot of extra steps, too.

If you can think ahead and see that you are scheduled to be pulled in for maintainence, there is no real good reason to have supplies delivered and manhandled aboard if you can simply wait a day or two and then haul them all aboard in one fell swoop using the crane. So you wait.

Those supplies are not going anywhere. They'll be there when you arrive at the dock.

It also takes some pressure off of the delivery people, and their gratitude can pay off if you get into a jam of some sorts.

I sure wish I had learned this as a young man, as I'm certain that I'd be in better shape now.

On the other hand, I might have simply gotten fat.

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The butler blog has been posted for the day:

http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/
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Friday, January 15, 2010

There is one thing I notice about people

and it's that some of them become so detail oriented they lose the big picture.

I recall a time when I had the shingles off of a house and I was busy replacing them and wondering about the dark cloud on the horizon and how much time I had before the skies unzipped.

A piece of tissue paper blew into the front yard and the homeowner got pretty upset.

The guy I was working for, the homeowner, had a leg in a cast and didn't get around very well, so he brought the entire process to a screeching halt, had me climb off of the roof, pick up the paper and put it in the trash can and securely fasten the lid.

"It only takes a second," he said.

Yeah, right. It probably cost an entire fifteen minutes or more when you add all things up, including having to pick up where you left off. An annoying interruption like that can ruin the verry rhythm of a job.

First of all, that lousy piece of tissue paper probably would have kept moving in the breeze and if it didn't, it was no big deal. Nobody was going to come and steal it. It could have easily been gotten to during the pick up phase of the job.

In fact, it probably would have melted to nothing in the ensuing downpour.

Throughout the day, I had a few other little 'only takes a second' things to do.

Anyway, If I recall, I had to cover the unfinished part of the roof with a tarp or two until the squall passed, but there was some leakage. I remember having to repaint a ceiling.

It probably could have been worse.

Still, had the idiot of a homeowner simply focused on the issue at hand, he'd have saved himself a pretty good sized chunk of change, and a lot of grief.

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The butler blog has been posted:

http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/


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Thursday, January 14, 2010

At sea today

At a dock having repairs done, actually.

There's a few things to be done.

The other blog, Piccolo's butler is up already and it looks like a great day to get things done, although it is pretty damned cold.

Todays blog will be a chipper, as I will chip away at it as time permits.

It's been busy, and I have a few minutes.

I'm pretty careful about posting no details of my professional life for a number of reaason.

OPSEC is one of them, but not the real one. Fact is, I believe in loyalty to my employer and the specifics of what I do here are of no concern to you, dear reader.

The specifics of what I do out here are between my employer and I.

I can say this, though. Being at a pier is hectic as keeping a vessel of this size requires quite a bit of maintenance.

I wish I could say more, because the average landsman in many cases is interested what a seaman does.

I might post more later on, we'll see.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My non butler seems to have attracted

some attention.

I have been told he deserves a blog of his own.

I shall create one. Here's the link.



http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/




I'll also continue my commentary of day to day frustrations here on the hash.

Expect little today, as I have just gotten back to work, it takes a day to get re adjusted and therre is a lot to do here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

getting ready to spin the wheels of industry

Yup.

Time has passed and the fun is over and we're back to the salt mines to make a few moree bucks so I can screw off for another two weeks.

That's the cycle, Boys and Girls.


It's going to be chaotic this morning, so all I can do is tell you that NOW Icould really use a butler. Seabag: Check Dry goods: check Frozen food: check

Normally the truck would be packed, but it would have frozen the stuff that needs to stay thawed, so as soom as I have incohereently babbled at you, I have to get to work.

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Sir, why don't you give the cat more to eat? ... No, I don't see any vermin... Good thinking, Sir.



Piccolo's butler

Monday, January 11, 2010

I've had a couple favorable comments from the troops

which is wonderful.

I was actually hoping that a few of our troops would find this blog somehow and pass it on to their people. If I can draw so much as a chuckle from some poor bastard out there, than this has all been worth it.

I've drawn a couple of comments from some GIs. Thank you. This blog is actually for you.

Your comments are not only welcome, but encouraged. Feel free, My shoulders are broad and I know I might inadvertantly piss someone off.

We do a pretty rotten thing to our young people; we send them off to war. Old men make wars, young men fight them. It ain't fair, but that's the way it is. Their job requires the resilliance of youth.

About the only thing I can say about sending old men out to do the job is this: Young men spend about 99% of their time thinking about sex. Old men spend about 98% of their time thinking about sex. This gives us old farts twice as much time to think about the job out there.

Other than that, I suppose it is still a young man's game.

Mike Rowe of the Discovery Channel has a show called 'Dirty Jobs'. He visits pig farms, sewer workers, this sort of thing. It's an interesting show, but he really ought to go visit our guys overseas. War is probably the dirtiest job of all

To the guys out there living in primitive squalor so I don't have to, all I can say is this: This blog's for you.

I'm humbled to have you guys out there for me.

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Sir, it was most generous of you to volunteer to watch the Murphy children tonight so Tom could take the Missus out on their aniversary, but I really do think that this taser is NOT the proper tool to insure the children eat their vegetables.

Piccolo's Butler

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The QVC channel mop

is something Neighbor Bob mentioned to me last night when I mentioned cleaning the kitchen and bathroom floors.

Yesterday I fulled up my household pail with a couple gallons of water, added a dalloop of soap and then threw a rag into the water and took it upstairs and got down on the old hands and knees and cleaned the kitchen and batheroom floors that were getting a little dingy. The whole process, from the time I picked up the bucket until I emptied it took no more than fifteen minutes.

Bob confessed to doing the same thing the same way down at his place a couple of weeks ago when he decided to help his wife with the weekend chores at the Neighbor Bob household.

It took him about the same amount of time.

Most of my house is hardwood floors, his is carpeted, which means the only floors that have to be mopped are the kitchen and bath. I guess most homes are like this.

Enter a lot of people and the QVC channel.

Bob explained to me that his wife uses a number of tools she bought on the QVC channel to do the same job. There's a wheeled pail that holds about 7 gallons of water and has a mop wringerr on it. There's also this special self wringing mop and a certain kind of special flooor soap.

Now, all of this stuff is advertised to save the purchaser a lot of work, time and effort.

And I suppose it would, at least if your entire house had linoleum floors.

So, OK, let's mop the floor her way.

First you dig the behemoth out of the closet and empty the boots and mittens out of it, then you wheel it into the kitchen, and grab anther pail to fill it with because it's too big for the sink...

You get the general idea. By the time you have gone from complete start to complete finish you have spent the better part of 2 hours and the floor is probably not even as clean as it would have been had you used a rag and a pail.

If you were cleaning the floor at, say a department store, or even the entire tiled floor of a house the QVC tools would be just the ticket, but we're only talking about a small kitchen and a small bathroom.

Sometimes you have to look at something and decide if it's worth the trouble or not.

I'd wager A lot of the stuff sold today isn't.

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Sir, Why is there sawdust all over the floor of this tap room?...It isn't sawdust?...Oh, I see....Last night's furniture?....Oh.

Piccolo's butler.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

More stuff my butler said

I know we have been keeping much of out sustenance in the Johnston freezer located in their storage shed. I heard they were leaving town for a few weeks and asked Mrs. Johnston for a key to use in their absence. She said you have been entering the shed for years without one. I would be grateful if you showed me how, as none of the numerous schools I have attended have offered a course in burglary.
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Sir, I wish you had simply explained to me that the “Lefty’ chap lives remotely in a small cabin out in Chitka as opposed to that term you used. I just spent two hours in the public library poring over every detailed map of Egypt they had looking for that place, but to no avail. When I asked the librarian, she giggled. It was most embarrassing.
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Unfortunately, Sir, my proper British education did not include watching every single episode of ‘The Three Stooges’, so I have no idea whatsoever of what you mean by “We all put the yeast in”.
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I spoke with a character named ‘Blaine’ today. He said you were expecting him this evening for dinner. Will the salmon you snagged in the river this morning suffice? Or is this a distinguished visitor? If he is, I would be most happy to run to the market and get a package of hot dogs to go with the beans and beer and leftover potato salad, Sir.
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Sir, what do you mean by “Grab an emergency brake?” I see no such thing. The only thing I see over there is a large stone…………Oh…..and which wheel should I place it behind, Sir?
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Sir, you could make my job a lot easier if you could provide me a list of distinguished guests that are permitted to, as you so colorfully put it, ‘Crash out here when they ain’t fishin’. I was quite startled to enter the home and find that ‘Doc’ character fast asleep in the upper berth…While I’m thinking about it, how did the refrigerator get full of beer? … Oh. Now I see why Doc is on your MOST distinguished guest list.
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A P-38, you call it? It opens cans? It most certainly does! Why, this thing is quite remarkable! Why, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn it can also do quite a number of other things.
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I’m certainly glad your health issues can be corrected with a simple shot of penicillin, Sir.
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I took it upon myself to collect your gambling winnings from that McAdams chap, Sir.
No, I did not make him an offer he couldn’t refuse. I loathe that term. It sounds, well, Sir, it sounds, well…well a bit too Italian for my tastes. I simply appealed to his higher sense of being. In this case I chose to discuss his future health. I put that rusted piece of steel back in the bed of the pickup afterwards. I must confess I have learned a lot from you.

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I must confess that sometimes I feel I am working for a man named Phineas and that the two of us left England in a hot air balloon.

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A most extraordinary thing just happened to me. That little savage that sits in front of the liquor store all day addressed me by my Christian name instead of calling me ‘Piccolo’s Limey Butler’. He also looks like he had a dreadful accident….Oh, dear! It looks like you have hurt your hand.

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Sir, one of your card playing cronies said that ‘A Smith and Wesson beats four aces’. I am quite unfamiliar with that term….Oh… That’s a Smith and Wesson? My, it certainly DOES beat four aces, now, doesn’t it?

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What a most interesting beverage…You say he MADE this? Why, it’s extraordinary! I can also most certainly see why he told me not to smoke for at least a half-hour after imbibing.
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Blaine asked you to remove his vehicle from the fisherman’s parking lot while he was at sea, Sir. When I asked him for the keys, he said that you would know what to do… You want the wire with the two alligator clips and the screwdriver? Right here, Sir.
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Sir, is this a felony or a misdemeanor?

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Sir, I am in no way going to ‘keep my mouth shut’ as you have so succinctly put it. However you can rest assured that as a properly trained butler I am the epitome of the word ‘discreet’. Mum’s the word.

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When I was learning how to keep a clients daily affairs in order, they failed to tell me that it might include such things as keeping a schedule of which liquor stores have a delivery on which date so my client can help unload the truck and earn a case of beer.

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Your clothes are laid out, Sir and the coffee is fresh. I summoned you early so you can get down to the Ship’s Wheel on time to “swamp out’ the tap room and take advantage of the most generous offer of the proprietor. Twenty dollars for forty-five minutes work is a financial opportunity to be seized, Sir!

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That recent divorcĂ©e you have been seeing seems to have done a world of good for you, Sir. This month you have saved a fortune of expenditure at the gentleman’s club, your drinking seems to be at quite a low and your masturbation has dropped off considerably.

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Sir, This Boone’s Farm is the perfect compliment for this lunch. It has the proper nose, a well matching bouquet, a complimentary body to accompany lunch, and it will comingle quite nicely with the grease of this cheeseburger.

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Sir, is that a firearm of some sorts that is being pointed at us?
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That rather large chap over there, the one in the blue shirt that has been staring at you for quite a while, has just placed his dentures and wristwatch in his shirt pocket and has buttoned the flap securely. He is presently rolling up his sleeves. Does this mean trouble, Sir?

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Sir, I opened the door of the pickup and I saw immediately that Blaine character was sleeping in it. I did notice the strong odor of alcohol. Does this mean we hitch-hike downtown?

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You what? Why, that’s totally scandalous. On the other hand, I have grown quite used to this sort of thing over the past eight months.

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I suppose that getting caught is not an option, is it, Sir?

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Sir, when you managed to have us thrown in jail last night, I was seriously considering going back home to England, but I must confess that it was most clever of you. It was the perfect alibi.

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Why does it smell like petrol in here? Oh, I see, you’ve cleaned the grease off the table.
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Friday, January 8, 2010

A couple of days ago CNN was bellyaching

about the conduct of some on-line dating site, which somewhat amazed me.

With all of the earth shattering crap going on these days, you would think they would have batter things to report, but I guess not.

Anyway, there is, apparently, some kind of "Beautiful people" dating website out there that you have to be voted in to, and I understand that much of this is based on appearance. The guys all seem to have six-pack abs, the women seemed to look like models. All this strikes me as vanity, but that's OK by me.

Truth is, I can't say for certain as I have never visited the site,as I have no desire to based on what I saw on CNN. I could care less about the doings of movie star wannabes.

Part of the stink CNN was making was that it seems that a number of these beautiful people had eaten themselves fat over the holidays and no longer met the criteria of the website so they got the boot.

Now, my answer for this is s plain and simple statement; That's just too goddamned bad. You should have thought of that when you were reaching for your third helping of pumpkin pie smothered with ice cream.

I am not a member of this dating site, nor a member of any dating site because I have no desire to be a mamber as I am still a married man. Still, If I were to decide to join some kind of dating site, this is not one of them because it certainly isn't my style. Besides, I'm reasonably certain they are not looking for 58 year old men, even though I am in pretty good shape for 58. In fact, I really wouldn't even accept a free membership, period.

Of course, the usual CNN 'That's not fair' crowd jumped in and started a stink about rights.

What rights? This isn't a government funded project that is open to everyone, it's a private club.

Of course, I would imagine that almost anyone could join it they were willing to conform to the requirements the club has, but it would take work on the part of he prospective member.

Some fortunate prospective members might be eligible if they lost 5 pounds, make a couple trips to the gym, put on a smudge of makeup, whatever.

Other people might need a lot more help than that, say a tummy-tuck, a boob job, a butt-lift, collengen injections, and a major expenditure in plastic surgery, but if one is willing to jump through the hoops, I would imagine practically anyone could join.

Don't believe me? Look at what these Hollywood reality show doctors offer.

George Carlin once commented: "Ever notice the women that gripe about calendars and pinups are the ones that you wouldn't want to f*** anyway?"

I did notice that the people that were the most offended by this vain web site were the ones that couldn't get in, so rather than elevate theemselves by self-improvement, they want to tear the site down to their miserable level.

A while back, the Hooters chain was involved in a lawsuit from a wannabe employee that didn't meet the criteria for working there. A woman that waits tables there is supposed to be amply breasted. Fine. Hooters is a private institution shooting for a specific market niche, namely guys that like to be served by big breasted women.

I have eaten at a Hooters once out of curiosity and frankly, I didn't care much for it. The food was basic bar food and the drinks were too expensive for a guy with my frugal budget. I won't go there again.

This is my choice.

Still, it's the right of this establishment to shoot for their market niche and hire those that meet their criteria.

The crybaby that raised cain because big, mean, old Hooters wouldn't hire her should have simply decided that if she wanted to work there she should have gone out and gotten a boob job. Breast augmentation is reasonable affordable these days and in her case, it may have very well even been a tax write-off. A capital expenditure, so to speak.

Either that or work somewhere else.

I wish people would stop whining about what they can't easily obtain and sit down and decide to either strive to meet the criteria of simply do something else.

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"I took the liberty of rebaiting the crab pot you keep at the end of the fuel dock, Sir, because I think you are growing tired of venison, halibut and salmon."

Piccolo's butler

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Piccolo's butler

Is an interesting little story of something that did not happen.

Several years ago when I was living in Alaska, someone showed me how to enter a contest whereby I could win the services of a school trained proper British butler for a year.

I’m guessing, but I figure that one of their graduates that had gone through the course on some kind of scholarship had cut a deal for advertising the school or some such thing.

I filled out the application, but at the last minute I discarded it for good reason. I knew beyond all doubt that I would win and felt that it would have been an awful trick to pull on some poor bastard that was simply trying to make a living.

Three decades later, I’m having a few second thoughts.

It probably would have provided the storyline for one hell of a good movie. The dialogue would have been precious.

Now, a trained butler is an important tool for the affluent. He does a lot more than one notices in the movies besides lay out clothes and make the morning tea.

A butler takes care of many things, and serves pretty much many of the duties of an executive secretary. He keeps schedules for his client, he fends off unwanted people that would waste his client’s time, and in many cases he is a counselor of sorts on social matters. His duties are probably endless, and he is also supposed to be as invisible as possible.

Let’s picture the conversations that would transpire the butler and a 28 year old single Wildman of an Alaskan fisherman/carpenter that is living in a 7’ by 16’ camper-trailer with no electricity or running water.
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It’s about 9 AM after a rough night at the barricades/ Ship’s wheel bar.


“I see you’re up, sir. I have the coffee made the way you like it,” says the butler.

“Uggh!” I reply.

“You seem to have had a pretty rough evening, so I took the liberty of adding an inch and a half of that Old Smuggler whisky to your coffee.” says Michael.

==================================================================


“I’ve laid out your wardrobe, Sir. You’ll see that I chose the Levis with the largest holes and the biggest stains as the schedule for the morning has you fixing your pick up truck.”

==============================================================

One of the responsibilities of a butler is keeping an eye on the smaller day to day household finances. Periodically he is expected to report what is going on with the household coffers:

“Sir, our assets today consist of sixty three dollars and eleven cents, a week’s work of free breakfast at Bob’s Diner for fixing the toilet there, four packs of cigarettes you earned from shoveling snow in front of the Quick Mart, and a case of Rainier beer from Ralphs liquor store for helping unload the beer truck yesterday, and a lap dance Candy from the Gentleman’s club owes you.”

“That, of course, is in addition to what you have in your pocket that you won shooting dice in the Ship’s Wheel bar last night.”

“We’re flush. Let’s take the day off.” Responds Piccolo.

=====================================================================

Picture a 1962 ½ ton rusted out Dodge pickup truck with a pair of greasy jeans clad legs sticking out from underneath it and a well groomed proper British butler standing by the hood next to a tool box.

“A 9/16ths inch combination wrench, Sir,” he said, placing one into a hand that appeared out from under the truck.

“Uh, Sir, I was briefly considering mending the hole in the floorboard of the vehicle but reconsidered when it occurred to me that if I did that, you would then not have a place to dispose of your empty beer cans.”

==========================================================


“You might consider putting on a clean shirt before your date with Elizabeth as you have been wearing the one you have on for nearly a week. It would increase your odds considerably of conducting a successful liaison with the woman. I do like it so when you are romantically successful, as it cuts your drinking down considerably.

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While sneaking back into town with a freshly poached deer hidden under a tarp in the back of the pickup:

“Sir, you do realize, of course, that the Sherriff of Nottingham tried to have Robin Hood hanged for this very thing.”

===================================================================


“Sir, you really ought to collect your Lap dance from Miss Candy tomorrow night instead of tonight as you will come home covered with glitter and smelling of hideously cheap perfume. You generally don’t get to the Laundromat to shower until Wednesday morning and it’s Monday.”

================================================================


While walking on the shores of the Buskin River during the salmon run, Piccolo takes off his boots and carrys them.

‘Sir, you really don’t think you can outrun a bear, do you?” asks Michael.

“No, I do not, Michael, but I can surely outrun YOU,” replied Piccolo.

==============================================================

“Sir, when I went to the liquor store to pick up the beer, Larry down at the Gentleman’s club gave most wonderful news of employment for the afternoon. It seems an unruly patron last night forcibly lifted the toilet from the floor of the men’s room. Suitably re- anchoring it will entitle you to a case of Rainier beer AND a bottle of good whisky, the latter of which would be dreadfully good news as I hate to admit it, but I certainly could use a drink.”

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“Sir, has anyone ever taught you the rules for the governance of pugilism laid out by the Marquis of Queensbury? Or perhaps someone has and you simply chose to ignore the rules and use a tire iron instead.”
================================================================

“Sir, I realize you are trying to take care of me as best you can, and I’m sure Miss Katrinka is a wonderfully talented young lady, but at the J. Farnsworth Merriweather school for Butlers, the first thing they taught us was that under no circumstances was a butler to consort with native women.”

Six months later:

“Sir, if you are not requiring my services tonight, could you spare that bottle of rotgut rye? I have a most wonderful opportunity to explore some local native culture.”

===============================================================


From time to time I will post more of our imaginary conversations that very well might have taken place thirty years ago.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The daily has run for over 90 days now

and the only times I have missed were the days I was at sea and had no access to the internet.

Even then I would write something and I'd post it when we got back within range.

I have done this for a number of reasons. It's fun, for one thing, a discipline for another and it is a pretty good way to vent some of life's little frustrations.

Sometimes I think I should have been an inventor. You know, the crackpot in the white lab coat inventing something little that would remove some of life's little frustrations like the spill free coffee carafe.

The other thing would be scum free soap that wouldn't leave a nasty film on shower walls that is a chore and a half to remove. I have considered trying to remove it with gasoline, but I really don't want to smell that stuff for days.

Too bad Billy Mays isn't around to pitch these for me.

Other times I wish the government would have issued me a baseball bat and the authority to use it as I saw fit. What first comes to mind here are car salesmen. There would be a long string of knotted heads at a lot of dealerships if .gov was stupid enough to let me do that.

The other thing that comes to mind is the sales jerk that a certain purchase would be X amount of dollars 'out the door' and when I went in to sign I found out that it wasn't 'out the door' at all. There were still taxes and a lot of other things to pay. That would have been a definite shoo-in for nine from the sky with the old Louisville Slugger.

One person that would be curled up in the fetal position wimpering under a scathing hail of blows is the idiot that tried to reinvent the USGI P-38 can opener; the little tiny one that GIs would put on their dogtag chain and use daily for about a million different things.

Life is full of little frustrations and petty indignities that we face on a daily basis.

Of course, some cheerful idiot will try and tell me to look at them as challenges, but that's a crock.

They're nothing but indignities created by people that don't have anything important to do.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

For the THIRD time I had to call the company

that made my ABS tonneau cover to get an extra set of keys.

They were pretty slick when they decided to key their locks, as they chose some wierd foriegn off brand one of a kind key blanks to use. This insures that they will have a monopoly on spare keys.

The cover came with the usual 2 keys, which is about 4 too few because if you have a wife she wants one, and you should always one for the kids along with a spare or 2 for when you misplace your regular key ring.

Anyway, back to the original subject.

A couple months ago I called the company and some customer rep offered to send me 4 keys for free. Cool!

They never arrived, and after a month I called and got another customer service guy. He told me they were $2.50 a set so I ordered 4 sets for ten bucks. I gave him my Visa and waited.

Another month passed and no keys, so I called yesterday and got another customer service guy who tole me there was no record of the sale. He did, however, offer to send me a set for free.

I wonder if I'll see them or this is just more hot air.

And now I have to check the VISA statement when it comes in later in the week to make sure they didn't charge me for something I didn't get.

It's just been one big hassle.

I mentioned this to Mrs Pic and she commented that everything these days seems to be fragmented, and I suppose in many small businesses she's probably right. Nobody seems to know what the oher person is doing. It gets stupid at times.

On the other hand, we have a couple giants like UPS and FedEx that are amazing. They can tell you exaxtly where your package is and when it will arrive with ashonishingly few losses.

Sometimes people gripe about them, but when you look at ahat they do and think of the millions and millions of packages that they handle it's astonishing they are as good as they are.

It's a shame the government isn't as efficient.

Monday, January 4, 2010

I think for the rest of the month I'm going to write a

few dailies on WW2.

The two Marines I mentioned yesterday have been kind to me by making me privvy to a lot of the emails that are being passed on between WW2 vets, in their case Pacific Marines.

One thing I notice is that it appears that these men are still trying to figure out exactly what in the hell happened during these campaigns. The emails I have read have come from a couple of Pacific Marines, but I'm sure many veterans of the European campaign are doing the same thing.

The fighting in the Pacific was brutal, totally savage and the rules the Japanese played by were something Americans had never experienced before.

I've studied the subject a bit and I have come to the conclusioon that it was totally chaotic, in many cases one squad didn''t have a clue as to where or what the other squad was up to.

A rifle squad is broken down into three teams and I'd just bet that a lot of time one TEAM didn't know what the other two were up to at any given time.

Communication at the time was primitive, unlike today. The radio sets were big, clumsy affairs and there were not too many of them and the usual form of communication was probably plain and simple shouting.

These men were pretty much on their own for a lot of the time.

One of Napoleons soldiers was once asked what he saw in Russia. He responded that all he saw was the pack of the man in front of him. I'm sure it applies here. For the three or four men on a fire team, they were just too damned busy accomplishing their own objectives to even have a second to think about what the other guys were doing.

Once, while waiting to get a haircut, another old Marine and I were shooting the bull about the Guadalcanal campaign, here he served. He spoke of his experiences as a private, and I mentioned a few things that I had read about regarding the campaign. He looked at me and asked how I seemed to know so much and I told him I had read a couple of books about the campaign.

"Yeah, but I was there," he replied.

"Right," I said back, "You were a private, bottom of the heap, packing a rifle. All you really saw was the Japanese soldier that was trying to kill you or the sides of the hole you had ducked into to stay alive. You had a worm's eye view. The guys that wrote the books I read were a little further up the chain and saw things from a different point of view."

He started to look offended, so I headed it off. "Don't be offended. You were probably a damned good Marine," I said. "You did your job."

I then went on to remind him that a general officer is looking at a huge objective, while a battalion commander islooking at a smaller objective and a company commander has a smaller objective yet. It works its way on down the line. The guy with a rifle has only a worm's eye view.

"Huh." he said, looking at me with a curious look. "You're right. I never looked at it that way. I think I'll go to the library and read up on it. I'd love to know what was going on in headquarters because for the life of me I have never been able to figure out why we did things the way we did!"

The emails I have been made privvy to tell me that there were a lot of guys with a worms eye view that to this day are trying to figure out what in the hell went on during the combat they saw. Sixty years later they are trying to figure out things that happened to them when they were in their late teens or early twenties.

I'm humbled to be let into their world and it's fascinating.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A letter to a couple old Marines

A little while ago I saw an older man wearing a ball cap emblazoned with the words “B-29 Superfortress’ stitched on it. The cap was of a common design, but the words on it are becoming rarer as time passes on.

I looked at the man and asked him if he was flying out of Guam or Tinian, the 2 main bases for this type aircraft during the Second World War.

He had been flying out of Tinian and raining fire and steel on the Japanese Empire during the latter days of the war. He spoke of missions flown, friends lost and friends he still stays in touch with.

I mentioned that I had lost a distant relative long before I was born. The man had been a Marine sergeant on Iwo Jima. I told the old man that when I had started looking into the family tree I had noticed this man had been killed and I searched and was fortunate to find two living men that had served with him in his squad.

That’s when it happened. The old man asked me if I could pass word on to the two old Marines. It suddenly got pretty dusty and his eyes welled up pretty good.

“Tell those Marines that I had to make a forced landing on Iwo Jima once. We were low on fuel and the airplane was pretty beat up. If it hadn’t been for those Marines, We’d have had to crash into the sea and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have lived to raise a family and see grandchildren and great grandchildren. Can you thank them for me?”

I have to admit it was a pretty emotional moment for me, too. I told him I would pass his thanks on.

Semper Fi, guys.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I spent New Year's Day with Mrs Pic

discussing the new year.

We are both optimistic and have decided to stop beating each other up, which is always a plus. I like peace and quiet and I think that she does, too.

I'm STILL going to reset the table, though. If you are not on my usual website, you don't know what this means. A while ago she commented that the way I had the table set up was a llittle dated, so I figured on redoing it by pulling the china and centerpiece off and replacing them with some GI steel trays. We'll see how that looks.

I crapped out at Mrs Pic's because I had a beer with dinner and I don't even like to drive home after one.

This morning she wan't feeling too well and asked me to pick up a few things. I hope she's not fighting the flu or something. She had 2 lists and I grabbed both even though she only had asked me to get food. I got the food and then went into the nearby store to get her a pair of jeans. I was rooting through looking for her size when a sales clerk in her late teens offered to help.

I told her I was looking for a smaller size.

"Oh, these are for your daughter?"she asked.

Maybe I was wrong, but I was somewhat annoyed.

"No," I replied. "They're for my wife. She's 58 years old and looks a whole lot better than most people your age."

The teenager turned red, quietly gave me the correct size and walked off.

Although Mrs Pic and I have more problems than Dear Abby ever faced in her entire career, I will certainly give credit where it is due. At 58 Mrs Pic still looks a hell of a lot better than most women 40 years her junior.

Friday, January 1, 2010

I think I'll start the new year by

thanking the troops.

Now you young fellas in the service are a whole lot bigger, stronger, better trained, better fed and a hell of a lot more deadly than the GIs of my generation.

Of course, the only thing I can say in my own defense is that I was a lot better looking than you, but you guys sure get the job done.

I really wish I could wangle a way to get to Afghanistan and blog some of you guys.

You really deserve to have your stories told.

Happy New Year