Monday, February 28, 2011

The beginning of my sailing years. Part 1 of 3

My sailing years began the time I won a couple of tickets to London only to have a running partner of mine swipe them and send them off to some relative of his in New Jersey which for a brief period angered me to no end until I realized that the weather in London sucked out loud and it was a whole lot nicer in St Croix.

He had some relative in the travel industry that managed to swap them off and I wound up with two tickets to St Croix.

Needless to say, during an Alaskan winter a man with a pair of tickets to St Croix is bound to have more friends than you can count. If he isn’t careful he is soon to wind up with no friends at all.

I was clever. I actually raffled the other ticket off.

I went around to all of my friends, male and female and put their names in a hat and simply pulled a name out.

It was the name of a woman that was a platonic friend of mine and that wound up being a pretty good deal when all was said and done.

Of course one of the guys said that I should have taken a certain hottie with me and I smugly told him that you don’t take sand to the beach. He took my point.

Looking back on it, it was a pretty good idea to travel with someone like her for a number of reasons.

First of all there is no pressure involved like there would be if you were involved in a romantic relationship with the person you are traveling with. I have seen several guys travel with girlfriends only to break up either during the trip or right after it.

Another reason is that you can either operate singly or as a pair smoothly and sometimes it opens a few more doors.

The other reason is that a partner of the opposite sex can help extricate their partner from any number of situations. This woman helped me escape the attention of a crazy lady once simply by showing up and simply walking in on the conversation and asking me if I had heard from the baby sitter.

The crazy lady took off like a shot.

We had a quiet deal worked out so that we did things together on odd numbered days and went our own way on even numbered days. I never had to lie to her because she was a very smart woman.

In fact, she was so smart that she never asked me any questions about who, what, when, where and why went on during the even numbered days. That strikes me as being pretty smart if you ask me.

This gave me ample opportunity to sample a few the various females of the species that had spent the year working at various airlines and saving their quarters for their annual free airline vacation and had wound up in St. Croix looking for adventure. Some of this adventure I cheerfully supplied.

I also had a couple of pretty good adventures, too as I was attacked twice by forty year old cougars. I was lucky to escape with my life.

Anyway, we headed back to the hotel one even numbered evening and she suggested we go sailing the following day which sounded like an interesting thing to do.

Seems she had been invited by some sail bum to go for a sail and she was clever. After she was invited, she accepted ‘if she could take her husband along’.

I didn’t mind flying cover for her at all, She had covered my flanks a few days earlier by helping me escape the clutches of the crazy lady that had tried to pick me up a couple of days earlier.

Besides I knew I was getting a pretty good sailboat ride out of the deal and even though I was a fisherman it had been a long time since I had been sailing. I accepted instantly.

As usual, I wound up doing a lot of the work of setting and trimming sails and took a couple of tricks at the helm. I had a ball.

The owner of the boat was a recently discharged naval officer that had served time to pay back an ROTC scholarship and somewhere along the line had drummed up enough money to buy a pretty good boat and take time off to enjoy it.

I decided that this was for me right then and there. I knew I wanted to travel the watery part of the planet under sail and do a few things.

I realized that I didn’t really need quite as big a boat as this one. This was about 36 feet long and I knew that a well found 25 footer would serve me well if I was careful and didn’t take any unnecessary chances.

Most people do not know it, but an awful lot of circumnavigators complete their voyage in boats between 25 and 32 feet. Any smaller is simply too small and won’t hold enough supplies. Any bigger is too expensive and is too costly to maintain on a budget.

We had a glorious time and when it was over, I told my female partner in crime that I was going to have a boat inside a year or two.

The rest of the trip was a whole lot of fun, but the seed had been planted.

I returned to Kodiak to find I still had friends which I attribute to the fact that I had been clever with my extra ticket a few weeks earlier. Had I simply invited someone to go with me I would have alienated everyone else that would have wanted to go.

As usual, I returned to my camper-trailer to find I had a new room mate and that the refrigerator was full of beer and leftover pizza. The propane bottle was fairly full, too, which was a plus as it was pretty cold when I returned to Kodiak.

The following morning I told my room mate what the plan was and he looked at me strangely and said that he really believed I was going to go through with it and offered to keep his eyes open for any opportunities that may come his way that he thought would be up my alley.

I had, of course, returned from St. Croix pretty much broke, but my roomy had actually already planned for this and had hooked me up with a guy that needed a gear shed built. I instantly looked the fisherman up and inside a couple of hours gave him a price which he accepted.

I spent a hard couple of weeks living on salmon and venison until the job was done and then I took my money and went straight to a friend of mine that had a safe in their house and told him what I was up to.

He agreed to let me store my funds there as I was on the bad boy list at the local bank after the time they screwed me over a check. I had retaliated by storing a couple pounds of shrimp in a safety deposit box and broken the key off before I left town for a couple of months.

They had to get both a court order and a locksmith and the issue came to court; the judge must have had problems with the bank because she found a loophole and threw the case out. I could have served time for that one.

Although I had a small account in the other bank in town, I was loathe to use that one for some reason or another that now slips my mind. I think they were afraid of me after the shrimp incident.

Word travels fast in small towns.

Anyway, for well over the next year I scrimped and saved and lived on venison, halibut, King crab, salmon and shrimp simply because it was free.

By about January of ’85 I had enough to buy the boat I wanted and it was now time for me to leave for Seattle and go and find it.

A number of things happened that worked out in my favor, too. A friend had a car I could use that he kept at his parents place outside of Seattle. It was a small station wagon that I could sleep in.

I swapped my wad of cash for traveler’s checks and packed my bags.

Luck was with me when it came time to head south because at the last minute a friend of mine offered me a flight down in a DC-3 that was headed that way.

I threw my travel bag in the plane and found a comfortable place to sack out for a long, loud, free ride to Seattle.

We landed and I caught a bus ride to about a half-mile from my friend’s parent’s place and hoofed it to their door and introduced myself. His father handed me the keys to the car and I was off and running and looking for a boat.

my other blog is:

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A trip to the car dealership

Last time I was home I went to the Toyota dealer to pick up a three-pack of oil filters. I paid wholesale for them because the guy behind the counter remembered me.

A couple of years ago I was sitting there with the service manager discussing what to do about my former pickup which had rusted but was covered by a recall. (I later got treated like a prince by Toyota.)

The door was open and a couple barged in holding a clutch disc and interrupted us, demanding to know what Toyota was going to do to replace this horribly defective part that had been destroyed after less than 10,000 miles.
Seems a couple had bought a brand new car for their high school son and he returned their generosity by promptly tearing the living daylights out of the clutch.

Abuse is not covered by warranty, nor should it be.

The sales manager looked carefully at the clutch and opined that it had been abused horribly. The parents were angry. He looked at me and asked me if I was a customer or an employee.

I told him I was a customer and didn’t like being barged in on. He looked a little apologetic and asked me if I knew anything about mechanics. I told him I did, as I am a Merchant Mariner and work with machinery. He handed me the disc and wanted my opinion.

I told him that it looked like the clutch disc had been abused. He didn’t look too pleased.

Then I looked at the service manager and told him that my pickup, the one Toyota was going to buy back, had the original clutch in it and 184,000 miles on it. I offered to let him yank it and show the parents what a clutch should look like after 184,000 miles.

The service manager looked at the parents like he was willing to take me up on my offer, and you could see the father cave in on the spot.

The mother asked her husband what they were going to do and I looked up.

‘Seeing you barged in on me,” I replied. “Let me make a suggestion. You bought a teenager a brand new car. Let him learn to take care of it. Park it as it is in the driveway and make him fix it. It might teach him a little responsibility. He’ll be a little less apt to tear it up if he has to pay for it.”

The mother gave me a dirty look, but I think dear old dad saw the light. “I’ll think about this,” he said and he walked out to the waiting room.

The service manager looked at me and got up.

“Follow me,” he said. He led me over to the parts counter and ordered the entire crew to come to the counter.

“This man is Mr. Piccolo,” he said. “He pays wholesale for everything he buys here from now on.”

my other blog is:

From the third stool of the Anchor Bar

was sitting on the third stool of the Anchor Bar on Cannery Row when a friend of mine named Ralph walked in and sat down next to me and bought me another beer.

I knew something was up, so I asked him what the beer was all about. I found out he wanted a ride to the airport the following day for himself and Mary, his girl friend.

I agreed.

It had been a rough winter and it wasn’t over yet, but he was through with winter fishing and needed a break. He had done well for himself. He and his girlfriend were headed to Hawaii for 10 days.

The next day I dropped the pair of them off at the airport with no bullshit or fanfare and went about my business.

Three days later I was assigned barstool duty again at the Anchor and lo and behold! In walked Ralph.

“What happened?” I asked. “I thought you and Mary were supposed to be in Hawaii.”

“Mary won’t speak to me anymore after I threw her into the swimming pool,” he said.

I didn’t give it much mind and we discussed a few things about local business. I finished my beer and left. The incident was pretty much out of my mind until I spotted Mary about three or four weeks later at Tony’s Bar.

I greeted her and we started talking.

When I told her that Ralph had mentioned throwing her into the pool and that she seemed like a poor sport about it, she tensed up like a clock spring.

She looked straight at me.

“When he threw me into the pool,” she said. “We were standing on a third story balcony!”

my other blog is:

Saturday, February 26, 2011

a story from the tipi days

One of the things that I recall that happened to me when I lived in the tipi is that I became very aware of a lot of things.

It took a couple of months but it seemed my senses opened up in such a way I have never experienced either before or since.

I always seemed to know if there was someone within about 100 yards of me and I became incredibly sensitive as to what the weather was going to do at just about any given time.

It was truly astonishing.

I remember more than once telling someone to get under an overhang because it was going to start raining any second and watching them give me a strange look only to have the entire sky unzip on them a couple of seconds later.

Sometimes I even knew what was going to happen while in the midst of a deep sleep.

At the Fort Bridger Rendezvous in ’76 I didn’t drag the tipi along. A friend there offered me the hospitality of his which I accepted, telling him I would only crash out in it during inclement weather, as during the rendezvous I would play things authentic and sleep under the stars as was my nature at the time.

One night I woke up in the middle of the night and crawled into my friends tipi and grabbed a chunk of the dirt floor and curled up seconds before it started to rain. It was noticed by my friend who happened to have been awake at the time having just answered the call of nature.

This was about as close to witchcraft as I have ever experienced in my life. At times it was downright scary and it sometimes scared the hell out of people.

I was going to school four days a week on my GI bill and astonished my classmates a couple of times.

I recall sitting in class one time when a blizzard was on the way and commenting that if the people that lived on Ute Pass left right after class and didn’t tarry that they would be pulling into their driveways when we would start to get dumped on.

One classmate asked me how much snow we were going to get and I replied about six inches and added that it was going to get pretty windy and it would probably drift up pretty good in places, but it wasn’t worth shoveling a whole lot as it would melt off fast.

“That’s not what the weather man said,” replied a classmate. I shrugged.

The next time class met a lot of people looked at me like I was some kind of witch. All of the people that had left after class and went straight home reported that it had started snowing just as they were pulling into their driveways.

We had gotten about six inches and the wind had drifted it up pretty good in places. It was also pretty warm out and melting pretty fast, too.

This uncanny knack to predict the local weather carried me well until I packed the tipi for the last time and then inside of about a month the ability to predict the weather simply went away.

While I was cruising my sailboat and living aboard it came back to me to a much lesser extent. It was nowhere near as close to what it had been when I lived in the tipi.

I wonder about that from time to time and have not managed to figure it out yet.

my other blog is:

Major Kong WAS right. At least back then he was.

One of the funniest scenes Hollywood has ever created was Major Kong going through the B-52s survival kit during the movie ‘Dr. Strangelove’.

He was taking inventory and the kit contained the following:

- One forty-five caliber automatic
- Two boxes of ammunition
- Four days' concentrated emergency rations
- One drug issue containing antibiotics, morphine,
vitamin pills, pep pills, sleeping pills, tranquilizer pills
- One miniature combination Russian phrase book and Bible
- One hundred dollars in rubles
- One hundred dollars in gold
- Nine packs of chewing gum
- One issue of prophylactics
- Three lipsticks
- Three pair of nylon stockings

When he concluded his inventory he commented, “Shoot, a fella could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all of that stuff!”

These days I wonder how far this stuff would go in Las Vegas.

The rubles are probably worthless. I suppose you could pawn the .45 and ammo. You really could not get a whole lot for the drugs and the gum, nylons and lipsticks are not worth a whole lot these days. Condoms are free at Planned Parenthood.

I suppose all you’d have to work with is the gold and whatever you could get out of the pawn shop for the .45 and that’s about it.

That won’t get you very far in Vegas these days.

In a way it’s kind of sad.

my other blog is:

Friday, February 25, 2011

I wonder how many fraudulent claims BP has paid out?

I would just bet that right now there are a lot of people that are going to be getting rightfully slammed either by the criminal justice system or the IRS.

Any of you remember the BP Gulf Coast oil spill of 2010?

I’d just bet that there were a lot of scam artists that put in for repatriations from BP that they were not entitled to. That would be one safe bet. Every single time there is someone offering to pay repatriations there are a mob of people trying to get into their pocket.

Years ago a TV station staged a bus accident and taped a number of attempted thieves hopping on the damaged bus and getting off feigning injury. It was interesting to watch and some of the people that were confronted out and out admitted they were trying to beat the bus company out of money so it is highly unlikely that the BP repatriations all went to people that truly deserved repatriations.

Of course, I’d just bet that a number of the scammers forgot to take the long arm of the IRS into consideration and you can bet that every payment BP paid out over a certain amount was reported directly to the IRS.

Now, the IRS is not stupid and if the repatriation payments were based on their alleged income over the past few years then you can bet that the IRS is going to wonder why the recipient has not been paying taxes on that amount over the past several years.

April 15th is just around the corner and I’d just bet that there are going to be a number of recipients that are going to find themselves in a lurch pretty soon.

Too bad the media isn’t going to follow that lead as it would be interesting to watch. It would be fun to watch some scam artist squirm and squeal as he or she has to choose between having to cough up or be prosecuted for stealing money from BP.

To those of you that think ripping off oil companies is a cool thing to do, please tell me how much you enjoy paying as much as you do at the pump.

After all, theft like this has to be paid for somehow and the merchants get you to foot the bill through higher prices. Of course, you won't admit that part. You'll continue to whine about how the oil companies are ripping you off.

my other blog is:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

For post #600 I give you


I am taking the day off.

my other blog is:

I wasn't going to post this because a lot of people take a lot of things out of context,

but I'll post it anyway

When I was traveling in my sailboat down through southeast Alaska and British Colombia I learned a pretty good trick to figure out if there were any odd jobs around where I could pick up a buck.

The first place I would go when I tied up the boat was straight to the nearest watering hole and I would buy a beer and sit there and listen.

I was listening for information regarding the presence of vice, gambling, narcotics and prostitution to be exact. Activity in these areas could tell a person a lot as far as the grass roots economics of an area,

If there was evidence of prostitution activity, high priced cocaine, and gambling in town I would take good notice. I’d also add into this equation the price of drinks in the bars. If drinks were expensive, that was a good sign.

When I tell this story to people many of them never seem to understand it and wonder why I would look for such things. Some would outright accuse me of being involved in various forms of moral turpitude.

Truth is, I never saw much in dope or prostitutes. To me the presence of this was nothing more or less than an economic indicator.

I discovered that if there was no shortage of vice in a town, there was no shortage of money, either. Vice has to be paid for and the panderers of this vice will simply pull up stakes and move on if there is no money to be made where they are at.

On the other hand, if there is a lot of vice in town, there is money and to be sure, there are most certainly a lot of people in town that spend their earnings on other things like boats and houses. Many of these people are in the market for people to help them with repairs and improvements. This means odd jobs.

The fact that vices like gambling, dope and prostitution are around in any quantity are simply indicators of the availability of loose cash floating around and you can be sure that successful people that avoid these vices have money that they are willing to part with for services rendered to the family manse or the family boat.

I recall more than once walking into the local watering hole and seeing the signs for two-bit drown night and two-dollar pitchers of draft beer and simply having a beer and heading back to the boat and setting sail because I knew right then and there that there were no odd jobs to be had in that town. Not if the bar is giving the beer away.

That’s not 100% accurate. If things were cheap there I would grub up because I’d save a few bucks. Still, I sure wouldn’t hang out there for any length of time.

When a draft beer was expensive and there seemed to be no shortage of hookers and blow, then it was a pretty good bet that there was money to be made. Often I would not even have to leave the docks to make a few bucks. In a place like that there was always someone that needed something done.

This subject is one that I have told several times and when you try to explain it orally, nobody seems to understand it because they seem to get sidetracked and ask you why you would want to stay in such a place or suggest you were looking for drugs or commercial sex.

The truth is I wasn’t looking for drugs or commercial sex, I was just looking for someplace to pick up an odd job of work.

When there is little money in town, people generally do their own work, but when money is a bit freer they often hire people to do things because the successful people are often too busy to do everything they need to get done.

The presence of vice is generally a pretty good indicator of loose money floating around.

my other blog is:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I won't deny taking the road less traveled

One of the things people that have read this blog have probably come to the conclusion of is that I have made most of my life on the road less traveled.

I won’t deny it.

I’ve done any number of things that most people haven’t and approached things the way I have seen them.

While I have had a lot of the same problems most people have had, there are a few things that seem to happen to a person that takes the road less traveled.

Most people seem to be content to go along pretty much with the status quo and not really question anybody or any thing unless it really starts directly affecting them.

One of the things I face periodically is that the world I live in is vastly different than most of the rest of it.

Few people I know have lived in a tipi in the Rockies for 14 months and hitchhiked to Alaska and worked in the Alaska fisheries. Few people have worked on the water as a career, either.

A lot of people watch the Discovery channel and watch a series like “The Deadliest Catch” and think they have an inkling of what the fishery or the lifestyle is all about.

With the exception of other people in the same boots I have been wearing there are not too many people that can relate to an old salt. Most of the Discovery Channel watchers fail to see that the show shows only the part of the entire fishing game that the Discovery Channel wants their viewers to see. There’s a lot more to the game than meets the eye.

I won’t get into the dark side of the fishing game here. Let’s let that side of the game rest.

A lot of guys in my shoes can put on a pretty good shore side face, and I suppose sometimes I can, but there are times I feel alienated by people that have no clue.

Several years ago I raised holy hell with a local TV station because I got tired of their star weatherman assuring the sheeple watching his weather program that ‘the storm has blown itself safely out to sea.

As someone that has weathered the so-called Perfect Storm and ran for cover into Portland, Maine and stayed there weathered in for about a week I can say that storms do not blow safely out to sea.

At any given time there is somebody out there trying to make a living and when you consider that about 90% plus of the world’s goods travel at least partly by water it affects us all.

I guess I raised enough Cain over the issue because the weatherman stopped using the word ‘safely’ when a storm headed out to sea, but is sure added to a feeling of alienation.

Still, damned few people realize that so much travels by water and that people have to run the vessels that take these things there.

I met an old guy a while back that worked in the steel mills in Pittsburgh years back and he groused about how the steel industry died off years ago. When he asked me what I did, his reply was, “That just affects the coast.”

I asked him what they did with the steel he made and he said that they just stacked it outside to he hauled off.

Little did he know that the steel mills were build along the shores of the Three Rivers so they could be shipped downriver and to ports either in this country or over seas. I didn’t bother to try and set him straight because like a lot of people, he simply was not going to believe it.

He is not alone.

I confess that over the past several years that I tend to have an attitude toward a lot of people that have not taken time to look around and explore a little bit about the world around them and at least try and figure out that there are people behind the scenes that make things as we know them possible.

Then again, maybe something is wrong with me because when I go to a restaurant I look around and try and figure out what is going on in the kitchen or when I go into a building I try figure out how it was built.

There’s not a whole lot I tend to take for granted.

Over the years I went for quite a number of years keeping some of stories of life to myself because there were a lot of people that thought that living a life the way I have is impossible.

I have been called a bald faced liar when I have explained to someone how the fisheries worked when I lived there, so I kept quiet for a number of years about it.

I’ve had quite a number of other adventures in my life, too and this blog is one of the few places I have shared some of them because I grew tired of the questioning.

I attribute a lot of the adventures I have had in life to simply being willing to follow childhood dreams and work at making them happen.

As an older man that is looking ahead to his so-called ‘Golden Years’ I see that the time I have left is limited and that there very well may be unfulfilled dreams.

I’ve always dreamed about starting in Quito, Ecuador in a dugout canoe and starting down the Amazon River to see the plants and animals there before they are gone.

Back in ’89 I was hired to put together an expedition, but it fell apart instantly when the people sponsoring it got a dose of reality when they saw that there was not going to be a Howard Johnson’s Motor Inn to pull into every night.

I guess I’ll never get to see that one.

The other thing I’d love to do is get a couple weeks with the troops in Afghanistan to meet them in their working environment and interview some of the first term soldiers, reservists and National Guardsmen and write a few feature stories on them. There people are our friends and neighbors and deserve to have their stories told.

This one is still in the realm of possibility and I’m going to look into it a little more carefully and see what I can see, but at my age I am going to have to work pretty fast as time tends to fly by pretty fast.

Anyway, I will admit to taking the road less traveled and although the path has not been worn smooth by everyone else’s footsteps and it’s been pretty rough in parts, it has been pretty satisfying.

my other blog is:

Over the years I have been entertained by people that take some of the things I have said


Once someone asked me when I went to school, which I did for a while on my GI bill. "I think it was between the time I got out of jail for arson and a little before I went back inside for bank robbery. The GI bill needed a little help and I got caught," I replied.

An older engineer smirked, but the guy that asked me later gossipped back to the engineer that I had been to prison twice. The engineer, who saw a sucker for a line told him that he and I had met in the joint while he was pulling a stretch for homicide.

What was he thinking? He has a Merchant Mariners Document and he went through the system to get it and he should at least remember that he went through a criminal background check.

Another time I was at a match and was peeling out of my shooters gear on a hot August morning. I had a hooded sweatshirt on under a quilted shooting jacket and as I was removing the sweatshirt, it dragged my T-shirt up, exposing a scar. The guy next to me asked me about it and I casually told him it was from where I caught a Japanese bayonet at Tarawa.

The man, a history teacher, asked me if I would visit his classes and talk about fighting the Japanese Empire.

I guess he knew history pretty well but he sure couldn't count. I was born 8 years after the battle was fought.

I decided that I had better back the bayonet story back by a war and the next person that asked was treated to hearing me tell him that I had caught a Hun bayonet going over the top with Blackjack Pershing back in '18.

At the time I told the kid this I would have had to be about 105 years old.

It got back to me that he was running around telling people that I had been bayoneted in World War One. I laughed.

These days if someone asks about the scar I tell them it was from a Spanish bayonet I caught when I went up Kettle Hill with Colonel Roosevelt.

I figure that if they believe that one, it's on them because I am not 131 years old even if someone thinks I look it.

my other blog is:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I like these people that are always warning you about stuff.

A while ago I was making a couple of pancakes and instead of using a spatula to turn them over I was simply taking the pan off of the stove for a couple of seconds and giving it a flip.

This is something I have been doing for about half a century since I was a Boy Scout, and back then Boy Scouts helped little old ladies across the street and I remember getting hit on the head with a purse for it because the little old lady didn’t want to go, but I digress. The point is that I have been flipping pancakes and sometimes eggs like that for a pretty long time.

Anyway, someone recently sternly warned me that some day I am going to miss if I keep doing that and then where will I be?

I see his point.

If I were to miss, you never can tell. Maybe a particle of pancake might be eaten by a germ of some sort and as a result it could have its DNA mutated and evolve into a super germ. If this germ were to hitch a ride on the paw of a passing cat and enter the cat’s digestive system by having the cat lick its paw the cat then might eat a mouse and poop it in the garden.

Then the germ could work its way through the soil and enter an eggplant growing there and alter the eggplants DNA so that it the eggplant becomes a ravenous monster and starts eating everything is sight and starts growing bigger and bigger.

Then it eats Chicago!

After Chicago gets eaten, the businesses there disappear off the face of the earth and the nation goes into panic and it causes a worldwide panic and western civilization caves in and we all wind up living in caves and watching television by fire light.

And it will all be my fault. I will be blamed.

(Of course, nobody will have the common decency to give me any credit if the eggplant goes and eats Philadelphia. If that were to happen, I should be treated like a hero.)

Of course, this isn’t very likely and I really don’t see it happening.

If I miss, then what will probably happen is that I cuss a little and then pick the pancake off of the floor and toss it out. Then I will take a paper towel and clean up the residue and that will be that.

I really don’t think that the unlikely chance of making a small mess is worth getting a stern warning about.

Maybe I ought to miss intentionally and have him clean up the mess as it will give him something to do and he will stay out of my hair.

my other blog is:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Clobbered again.

5 inches of snow to deal with in the morning, and I am not a happy camper.

my other blog is:

A target of opportunity came into view and I couldn't resist.

Another nebby person just got what she had coming.

There is a switch going to a motion detector that sometimes I keep turning off by mistake because it shares a spot with the kitchen light and sometimes when I hit the switch to turn it off I hit both by mistake.

The fix is a $1.98 little do-dad you screw on over the switch and I suppose it is designed to keep little kids from turning something off or on that is not supposed to be off or on.

I bought one today and the nebby woman behind the register looked the switch cover and then looked at me and commented that it looked like the grandchildren were coming over to visit.

First of all, it is none of her business and secondly when she showed me she was nosy she instantly became a target of opportunity.

“It’s to protect my first born,” I said. “I’m 59 and as of a week ago I am a first time father.”

“Really?” she asked.

“I married a somewhat younger woman.” I replied.

“How old is she?” she asked, displaying more nosiness on her part. From the look on her face she looked like she expected to hear that I married a woman that was late in going through menopause and she had managed to get unexpectedly pregnant at the last minute.

“I’m helping her get her driver’s license next month,” I answered in a proud tone of voice. “We plan on having another nine kids as soon as she finishes high school!”

It was fun watching her turn beet red.

my other blog is:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I got a call from a co-worker

and he said that everything is going to work out just fine.

I’ve been coaching him for a while regarding his son, who has been bullied for some time now.

These days there is some kind of anti-bullying crap I hear about in the media, but like a lot of things the system hands down it is just a bunch of crap. The bully in this case has been given a bunch of hokey ‘time outs’ and they have had some counselor hold his hand and sing ‘Kum-Bye-Yah’ a couple of times but that has done no good whatsoever.

I have listened to my co-worker for some time now and he has agreed that we have to play within the system until he can prove beyond doubt that it doesn’t work.

The day after the co-worker got home it seems that the two boys had a delightful little discussion over the bullying issue and the bully has decided that maybe he ought to be kind to my co-workers son.

The discussion was conducted with a cudgel in the form of an old axe-handle and the bully got bruised up pretty good which most of this readership probably has no problems with. I sure don't.

Of course, the bully’s parents are livid over this because there is generally nobody quite as indignant and self-righteous as someone that has finally gotten what they deserve and they deserve what they got because they are pretty lousy parents.

If they were decent parents they would not be sitting in shock wondering why their darling son had had his ribs and upper arms bruised. They would know.

Of course, the father has tried to pass this load of horse manure (it has taken my sister 35 years of constant nagging to get me to use this term) off with the old excuse of boys will be boys, it’s a fair fight, and HIS son is going to be a scrapper.

That excuse dried up rather quickly when my co-worker, whose nickname is ‘Bull’, offered to meet the father behind the schoolyard for a fair fight.

The system got madder than hell over the little thug getting his comeuppance and my co-worker had to go in and go to bat for his son who was facing possible serious disciplinary action.

Of course, he had planned for this and he did his homework. He didn’t go in alone. Instead he came in with another four sets of parents. They rat-packed the principal and expressed their support for the co-workers kid’s actions.

One of the mothers scared the holy hell out of the principal when she asked him if she should have her husband teach their son to shoot a pistol or wield a knife just so he could be safe at school. That got his attention. rather quickly.

When it was over, the kid was reinstated and they have decided to do something about the bully which is something they should have done a long time ago.

What did they expect? Did they think the kid was going to wait a couple of years until the system decided to figure out what to do about this little thug? It’s easy to tell someone else to be patient when you are not the one being hammered on a daily basis.

What do these sheltered people in high places expect?

Our expectations have grown absurd over the past several years. We expect that all of this wonderful counseling and hand-holding is miraculously going to keep the wolf away from the door.

Some clown up in academia somewhere comes up with some na├»ve bright idea and we hail him as a ‘Noted Authority’, which is a title used by TV hosts on talk shows to give credibility to some little geek that has no real world experience of any type.

The so-called ‘Noted Authorities’ of this world want us to understand the bully’s needs and insecurities and his problems.

Guess what?

Nobody cares about what makes the bully tick or his problems or his bruised ego or how his mother fed him his bottle late one night. All they want is for the little thug to keep his meat hooks to himself. It’s really not a whole lot to ask for.

Several years ago my nephew and I were discussing the problems associated with a certain bully. He has at least the major portion of a brain in his head and was pretty mature at the time. He was well aware enough to check his sarcasm meter as I casually explained to him that the proper tool for dealing with bullies was NOT the USMC issued K-Bar.

It is the British commando knife, often called ‘Black Death’.

I carefully explained to him how to insert it into a bully in such a way that it would not get stuck between the bully’s ribs and be difficult to withdraw for future use.

Commando knives are expensive and are quite reusable and should not be left stuck in someone’s ribs. It should be carefully remembered that the ecologists call this judicious reuse of a valuable asset ‘recycling’.

My sister and a friend were in the same room and her friend looked appalled.

My sister, who knew her son and knew my sarcastic nature, cheerfully looked over and told her son, “Listen very carefully to what your uncle is teaching you. He knows what he is talking about.”

Laughter ensued and her friend finally picked up on it and felt a little embarrassed.

As it was, we were actually talking about a bullying situation that was long over and done with, as my nephew simply sucker-punched the bully well off of the school property. A simple fat lip ended the bullying and the school couldn’t do squat about it.

Of course, my nephew had enough sense to be well off of school grounds when he administered the medicine to the big oaf.

Still, the point is that all of the so-called experts seem to have forgotten about the victim of poor behavior. They want to coddle the perpetrator and make excuses for him when all the rest of us want him to do is simply act like a civil person and keep his hands to himself. It isn’t a whole lot to ask for.

Meanwhile the victim keeps getting victimized because time outs and hand holding really do not do a whole hell of a lot.

I am very tired of this over-analytical thinking on the part of academia. It is nothing more than stupid in high places. I’m tired of the intellectuals missing the entire point and coming to the support of the person that is misbehaving whether it is a child or an adult.

I just want a return to good old-fashioned common sense because it works.

If a bully stops bullying because he is tired of getting his ribs broken, or doesn’t like having his facial features readjusted that is just fine by me.

my other blog is:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

It was a woman that led me to drink

and a mutual friend gave me her email address.

Last night as I poured myself a good sized dallop of Jameson's triple distilled Irish whisky, I took the time to send her a grateful letter of thanks.

my other blog is:

This is my 60th year

and as I write we are having a wonderful winter thaw.

All of that white nasty stuff has vacated the Piccolo residence and I see what is to be done this May.

I am celebrating my 60th year with flowers.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon will have nothing on the Piccolo residence.

There will be big flowers. There will be little flowers. There will be funny looking flowers and flowers growing out of flowers.

I will be gardening with a passion never to be seen on the face of the earth and I will constantly be outside pulling weeds and talking to the flowers to encourage them to grow.

The neighbors will grow concerned at my passion for gardening and will probably have me carted off to the Booby Hatch for observation, but I will escape and return to my flowers.

Yes, this has been a particularly nasty winter for me and when spring arrived I am going to garden with a passion never seen in these parts.

People will be coming for hundreds of miles and even other continents to see the greatest botanical spectacle ever displayed on earth!

OK, Ok. I exaggerated. You get the general idea.

my other blog is:

One of the things I am not good at is typing

I must have dyslexic fingers or something.

The reason there are so many errors in my posts is because I am a lousy typist. I don't know why, but the hurridier I go, the behinder I get when it comes to the keyboard.

my other blog is:

Friday, February 18, 2011

A couple nights ago I did a very Amreican thing.

I fixed my car in my garage.

I got out the tools went to work and got er done. It looks pretty good, too.

The small hole is gone, the boot stripe is new, fresh and looks pretty sharp and I have an inspection sticker.

One of the things tha has happened to me over the years is that I have fixed quite a few things in front of people that came here to visit from somewhere else.

I recall a European family that had a rental car die on the turnpike before the days of everyone has a cell phone. It was just a loose wire and the whole process took just a few minutes. Most of the time was spent just looking around for something that didn't seem right and then presto! I saw a loose wire, reattached it and vroom! The car started. I had them shut it down and I took a pair of pliers and pinched the lug so it wouldn't fall off again.

The Europeans were impressed and carried on about how clever the Americans are.

I guess some of this was simply gratitude over having their vacation saved, but there is something to be said here for us.

Over the years I have been told that I have good hands, which to some extent is probably true. I really am pretty good at fixing things, but I'm really nowhere as goood as my next door neighbor who is a wizard.

I attribute a lot of this to the way I grew up. I learned that if I broke something that it was my responsibility to fix it before dad got home.

But a lot of this runs a whole lot deeper than this.

Let's look at the history of this country.

For about 250 years people came to this nation to a whole lot of nothing.

In the movie 'Stripes' Bill Murray's character said, "We're Americans! This means our ancesttors have been kicked out of every other decent place to live!" There's more than a kernal of truth to that. Many of our ancestors were thrown out of decent places to live.

Somewhere down the Piccolo family tree there is a guy that skipped Ireland to keep from being hanged for stealing sheep.

A lot of people came to this country looking for a fresh start and got a lot more than they bargained for. There was once plenty of nothing here to be had in the form of raw land and raw materiels and opportunity to see what a person could do on their own.

There were few laws, rules and regulations, too, so the sky was the limit.

People could carve lives out of the land and there was land to be had.

There were also machines needed to be invented and all sorts of things where a guy could make a buck if he had the brains and drive to do so.

In the heartland, the unsettled parts west of the Mississippi the villages were few and far between so repairs and even basic construction were up to the individual. If you wanted a place to live, you simply made it yourself.

I think to a certain degree this kind of attitude carrys on to some extent.

One of the most popular posts on this blog was the one I dedicated to the American crackpot experimenter. The guy that has some kind of off the wall project going on in his garage or basement.

While most of these projects come to little or nothing, some of them explode and change society in it's entirety.

Bill Gates entire empire came out of a garage and look what that did to society.

Thirty years ago computers were big, giant things that took up rooms of space and now every kid takes one to school in a small backpack. Chips are to be found in just about everything bigger than a can opener.

It started in a garage.

Although I didn't change the world in my garage a couple of nights ago, I did something very American.

I fixed my own car.

Ain't nothin wrong with that.

my other blog is:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Someone climbed aboard the stupid bus.

Seeing there has been one hell of a thaw I decided to run the pickup through a car wash today, which I did.

There are 2 side by side units and when I pulled out with a clean pickup there was the vehicle that had just left the other stall blocking my way as the driver had gotten out and was giving the attendent a pretty good screaming at.

I listened for a couple of minutes and the attendent was doing a pretty good job of defending himself.

Seems the idiot forgot to close his window and he was in the process of blaming the attendent for his stupidity.

He had my way blocked so I hopped out and asked the little hot tempered guy if he would kindly move and he promptly went off on me. I listened for a minute or so and calmly told him that when I took a stupid pill I generally have the decency to quietly skulk away instead of bringing my stupidity to the attention of everybody else in the area.

When he heard that he went off again and I reached for my cell phone and pushed 911 but did not hit 'send'. I asked him if he would like to share his stupidity with the rest of the city as if he decided to make an issue of it the ensuing police report would probably make the local paper.

The attendent looked at me and told me the police had already been called so the dopey kid took off.

I cleared my phone and the attendent and I shared a pretty good chuckle.

What is happening to people?

Here a guy does something totally stupid and wants everyone else to pay him for it.

Seems there's a lot of it going around these days.

my other blog is:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Today I am going to leave this post open and chip away at it throughout the day

This is an odd day because I have a lot of little stupid things to do today and I want to get them done.

The Mazda needs an inspection sticker and there are a few little things to do here around the house. I have a closet to reassemble and maybe if I feel like it I will start in on the bird houses.

Then I have to call a guy about my Webley ammo and maybe I'll try the Webley out with some .38 S&W I have kicking around IF the weather holds and I don't have to dig my way to the pistol range. We'll see.

Bye for now, I will add to thos post as the day goes on. I am off to spin the wheels of industry.


It is a bit later and the Mazda went bust on the inspection because the mechanic decided to play straight by the book and try and snake me for some money. There is a very small rot hole in the body and the game there is that in PA there are not supposed to be any whatsoever. Most mechanics overlook tiny ones but not this guy.

I just bought the necessary stuff to fix it, but I am going to have to heat the garage to get it to stick to the steel which means I should not have bothered to even take it to the inspection station. More lost time for today.

I finally got through to someone about some business and found out I have to mail for the information because they want my request in writing. Quick Fix. Word Pad and I dashed off my request.

Not so quick fix. The printer is being balky. Ooops! Now it wants to work and things don't look so bad. Unless the mailman has come and gone, I'll get this one out on the Noon Stage.

Next project: The linen closet which I went through like a dose of salts and got squared away. I found about 2,456 (OK. I lie. There were over 40 of them, though) throwaway razors, most of which are marked 'sensitive skin' which I do not have. I can shave with a K-Bar with no rash.

I also found a lot of other stuff and that is always bittersweet because you recall that you have had to buy some of the stuff again because you could not find where it was stored.

I emptied half a dozen bags of stuff. Bags are a pain because you do not know what is in them and if you do not see it easily, you don't think you have it and then often buy another one. Generally by the time you find it in the bag it has gone bad if it has a due date. If not, it has probably rusted or eroded or is obsolete. Why do you need a vial of prescription medicine for a cat that has been dead for years?

Closet is done.

Next stop is to the mechanics to see WTF is going on. The deal we have is that he will inspect the vehicle and as soon as I fix the hole I get the sticker. Fair enough, but I have to get the little sports car into the garage and heat it up so the tiger hair and Bondo will stick.

I'll fix it and repaint it. Seeing it is a rocker panel I'll paint it black with black spray-on bedliner and it will look like new.

Bob swung by because his truck is in the shop and Darling Daughter needs a ride home from school. I loaned him mine and he will be back in a few minutes. I hate loaning the truck out, but he has been very good to me.

Next: Lunch, which is running late. I skipped breakfast because I hit the deck running and now I will make up for it with a late lunch.

Slop's on.


Slop's eaten and done with. A fast salad so I can keep my boyish figure.

Next on the agenda is the chair I painted with. I got paint on it, of course, and I can take care of that.

I steel wool the paint off and spray it with deft lacquer and presto!

Meanwhile,back at the ranch, Neighbor Bob tells me that Darling Daughter is running late and he is back with the truck and no daughter. I'm done steel wooling and I wipe the chair down with thinner to get it ready for the lacquer and go to the shelk and find out I've used it up and the spray can is empty. Bob and I hop into the truck and off we go only to find the local place is out. As we leave headed to Lowes, Darling Daughter calls so we change course for a hit and run mission. Darling Daughter is told to be ready.

She's good for it as we enter the school and snag her with a Bonnie and Clyde exit. We drop her off, hit Lowes AND the supermarket for a few things and I return. Bob shakes the paint can for me the whole ride back from the supermarket.

I now have 2 coats on the thing and a call to the mechanic tells me there are a couple more problems with the Mazda. I do some quick thinking and give him the go ahead. I don't like it, but it will get me going and it will give me time, which is in short supply.


ANother quick coat of lacquer on the chair and now I have to check email because I still have to try and conjure up a decent replacement for the combat laptop and as I write there are a few GoBook 3s arriving on eBay which tells me that the .mil has probably shaken a few loose recently and they are hitting the market and will probably be there pretty cheap in a few days or at least inside a couple of weeks.

Email is sort of full and a quick scan tells me I screwed yo when I joined an Itronix group with Yahoo because now everytime someone asks a queation, I get an email and when someone else answers I get another, yet I will let this happen until I get a replacement for the Combat Laptop.

The linen closet got another addition. I have seen extra cell chargers and I now have a pair of laptop chargers and a pretty good spare battery which is good. I found a box and put all of them into it so as to make things neater.

Generally I toss out stuff like this but I know that my next Combat laptop could lose a battery charger at any minute and a spare is a good thing to have. As for the cell chargers, the cell phone I own now is not going to be the last one I own so you can mever tell and besides, I still have a trio of obsolete cell phones which I have not transferred all of the data from and if I ever need the data I'lll at least be able to retrieve it.

The box also contains a lot of other odds and ends and adapters. The PS-2 to USBs are hard to get and with GoBooks only having a single USB port I sometimes use one of these adapters for simple things like external keyboards and a mouse.


I just got out of the bathroom at 1500 having just done what I should have done 8 hours ago. I am now clean and I snagged my Israeli Para T-shirt. As I donned it I made a note to self. If I ever get my dream shot at reporting in Afghanistan I really ought to leave this shirt home. Running around in an Islamic country in a shirt with Israeli jump wings and "Follow Me" and the IDF logo in Hebrew really isn't a truly wonderful idea unless I want to meet up with a guy swinging a scimitar while wearing a turban.

Then again, I actually do own the proper pistol for that occasion. The Webley is just the perfect pistol to bring to a sword fight. Ask Indiana Jones and I'm sure he'll tell you I am right.

But you have to remember that the biggest export from this country that we have is our movies. I better hold off on that because it is pretty likely that a lot of Afghanis have seen the movie and are onto the trick.

Best to leave the shirt at home.


Speaking of movies, why don't the Cav units have "Charge" on air horns attached to their vehicles. As Americans we are the only country that has Western movies, and I'd bet that almost everyone in the planet knows that when you hear 'Charge" on the bugle, there is going to be a pretty serious ass-whupin' coming along shortly.

You can get "Charge" on ait horns out of places like JC. Whitney for short money. Every Cav combat vehicle should have one installed.

This is so stereotypical of Americans that even before WW2 in an episode of the Three Stooges when Moe was worried that the US Cavalry might not arrive on time, a colonel assured Moe that "Never in the history of the motion picture industry has the United States Calvary been too late!"

Yeah, the Cav units ought to get that bugle call installed on their vehicles.

The day is winding down and I think I just have a little picking up to do and I'm going to call it good.


Pic, out.


my other blog is:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A quiet day

Got little done today.

The tech weenie told me the combat laptop was shot and he delivered it to me in a basket.

Oh, well.

Think I will make a decision tomorrow.

Phone calls will be made.

Pic, out

Edited to add, I wish I knew where my overseas readership comes from.

Feel free to tell me in the comments section.

my other blog is:

Monday, February 14, 2011

A trip to the doctors today

and as I was at the head of the line grumbling about being in my 60th year I commented on how fast time flies. I said to the person behind me that when I was here age I was 34. She looked to be in her 20s and acted offended.

Too damned bad. Mistletoe time. It is on my shirt tail. Use it.

Several years ago a 6 year old plowed into me in a store and I just shook my head and smiled. I then asked the kid how old he was and when he announced that he was six, I told him that when I was his age I was nine.

The kid had enough smarts to know I was pulling his leg, but the mother wanted to know how I got to be nine when I was only six. I tolds her that back in them thar old days we had to grow up faster. She bought it.

Over the years I have carried myself with a happy, upbeat, off-the-wall mein and I am not going to change. I have tried to make the world a better, more tolorable place to live in and there is always someone that tries to drag me down to their level of misery. Never fails.

In this world there are enough people that stand in line with a hard face grinding their teeth being angry and I am not going to cop to becomming one of them.

I have seen too many miserable people in this world and have had a hard time not letting the world grind me down and making me into another one of them.

I will continue to be upbeat and cheerful and I will continue to look at the world and it's quirks and be right there to point them out.

Back during my Army days, my CO once told me that I was a hard person to lead until he figured out that all I asked leadership for was to at least try and think a little and TRY to have things make a little sense. When he figured that out he later told me that I was one of the easier ones to lead.

Go figure. He's the one that promoted me to sergeant ahead of my time.

Then again, asking a lot of the human race to think is asking a lot.

As the years go on, I wonder if trying to make sense out of life and try make the world a little better place to live is worth it. I seriously wonder. Is the planet worth salvaging?

I see that as things progress that people seem to get more and more selfish and unable to deal with life's little frustrations. I ran that by the doctor as he was examining me and he pointed out that for about a month after 9-11 people were being kind and patient with one another.

The late John Wayne in a Playboy interview commented that the changing of the Hollywood system bothered him and that he was glad he wouldn't be around to see what it would become has hit me from time to time. SOmetimes I feel the same way about how the human race is changing. I'm in my 60th year and with any luck I won't see the human race implode.

I grew up and learned to live in an open squad bay with 25 other people and can still do so. Because I am outgoing you can bet that inside a day or two everyone will know who I am. They will also note that I am willing to pick up a broom or a mop to make it a little more livable place. What they won't notice is when I either come in late or get up at 3 am to pee.

Most people today can't seem to do that as they are too selfish or too stupid to know how to develop those skills. College kids today have their own rooms and don't even have to deal with a single room mate.

What is happening to this world when you can't comment on things as you see them?

I am also beginning to figure out that as I age, it is both a source of great joy and a source of great depression. The joy comes from looking back at what I have done and the depression comes from realizing that I am running out of time to do what I want to do with this life time.

Right now I am looking forward to spring and planting my garden.

I so want to see the flowers and the earth crawl out from under the snows and rejuvenate itself. I want to see the miracle happen again and the days grow in length and the world burst into new growth.

This year I am planting the garden with a passion because I have realized that this could be my very last spring and I want to see it as a season of great beauty. If it is not my last spring than I want to have it as a spring to look back on when I get too old to plant.

We're not going to be here very long and I have tried to make this a nicer place to live, but sometimes I don't feel to successful.

Pic, out.

my other blog is:

I am renewed. I am still Captain Piccolo.

My renewal came in and that is a good thing.

Several weeks ago I delivered my renewal package to REC Toledo and they forwarded it to the Coast Guard center in West Virginia for them to do their thing.

For the next few weeks the people in WV did an amazing job of keeping me posted. They emailed me as the package went through it's umpteen stages and then lo and behold I got an email saying that my card was in the mail.

Sure enough, it arrived.

I'm somewhat surprised that there wasn't a hitch and that everything went through the first time.

I blame REC Toledo for that as they did a first class job going through the package looking for undotted Is and uncrossed Ts.

I am now a licensed and documented United States Merchant Marine Officer for another 5 years unless I drop dead in the meantime.

This is the one that worried me a bit because the rumor is that the Coasties are being pretty rough on the physicals of older guys and especially of older guys with weight problems.

I think when I'm 64 I'll renew again, but right noow as things stand even if I can't renew in 2016, I'm close enough to be able to retire all right.

This takes quite a load off of my mind.

A couple of things surprised me.

It didn't take anywhere as long as I thought it would and there were no hitches. In a way that is pretty scary.

Pic, Out.

my other blog is:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The combat laptop is shot

It's final. The combat laptop is toast.

The IT guy told me that it's fried and that all I can do is yank the hard drive and recover the data off of it, which is good because there are a couple of pretty good blog stories on it that I want to post here.

Now I have to try and dig up another one, which means I have to get my act together and chase one down. I have a few leads and I guess that I'll get on it when I get up tomorrow as the places are closed on weekends.

I can't blame eCost, as they were just middlemen, and I have to say that I knew I was taking a chance buying something thaat's GI surplus because there is a chance something just sat on the shelf unused or that GI Joe used it hard in the field.

I knew that when I snagged the original one.

I guess I am going to try snag a Gobook III this time.

If any of you readers have any ideas on where I can snag a decent GoBook III leave me something in the comments department.


Pic, out.

my other blog is:

Today will be a simple day of basic house stuff.

Last time I was home I did a ton of laundry. In addition to clothes I did sheets and towels and all of the other stuff that need doing periodically.

Now I have to fold it and put it away.

A lot of guys have huge piles of unwashed laundry sitting next to the machine awaiting wash. I don't have that problem.

Instead, I have a mountain of perfectly clean wash sitting on the laundry table and now I have to put it all away.

Sometimes when I am home I operate straight out of the dishwasher instead of the cupboards. I pull clean dishes out of the dishwasher and after I use them I put them back into it. When they're almost all dirty dishes in it again I simply dump soap into it and run them through.

It makes life a little easier as I don't have to handle them as much.

This blog is not all excitement and living in tipis and Bering Sea crab fishing and shooting and stuff. A lot of it is daily life.

I've met a couple of my readers and maybe they feel let down because I am not a bigger than life character. I am nothing more or less than an old guy that has made his life on the road less traveled.

I have had most of the same little problems everyone else has had. There have been days the car won't start and the morning coffee pot boils over.

One of the things that irks me is when people jump to conclusions.

Yesterday I told someone that I was going out to get some Gold Bond foot powder and they immediately got concerned and asked me what was wrong with my feet.

Nothing is wrong with my feet and I want to keep it that way so I use Gold Bond foot powder.

Many years ago I bought a package of dry condoms and tossed then in the closet. They lasted for a deer season.

A deer season? What does that have to do with condoms?

Simple. I used them as muzzle covers because the weather in SE Alaska was often times wet. They were pretty good for that. On a Garand the front sight would poke through them and I could sight in and fire without removing it.

It's an old GI trick and I'd bet that a lot of guys hit the beaches with one over the muzzle of their Garands.

Of course, when I bought them the druggist warned me that they were not the lubricated kind and I had to tell him I wasn't using them for sex.

I also used to use them for wine making when I'd make swipe with fruit juice and yeast in a 5 gallon water cooler bottle. Add the ingredients, mix them up, stick a condom over the bottle neck and store in a warm place for a while. The condom would blow up like a balloon. When it was deflated the beverage was ready to drink.

When I bought those the drugggist also told me they were not lubricated and I had to conjure up some excuse fast because if I simply said they were not for sex then there would be other questions forthcoming and I didn't want to tell him I was making my own hooch. I think I told him I was using them as muzzle covers for my Garand.


Earlier this morning there was something about France on the news and it reminded me of dealing with a French officer many years ago.

I was overheard telling a couple of the guys that things would work out OK and the officer looked at me and asked me why I was so condident.

I looked up at him and told him, "Because I am a sergeant in the United States Army and if something looks like it isn't going to be OK, I'll make it OK!"

My company commander looked at the French officer and grinned.

"That's why he's a sergeant," he told the confused officer. That really left him confused.

A lot of people in different countries wonder why Americans are so confident and I guess it is because we have the opportunity to change things if we don't like them the way they are.

I have to get back to work so I'll leave you with that.

Pic, out.

my other blog is:

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A day of small frustrations

WIth the traveling combat laptop down, I was on a search to see what I could do. A trip to a discount store got me a pretty good offer from one of the employees there that seems to know what he is doing.

He tried to tell me what I wanted but gave up pretty fast when I described the Combat laqptop to him. Unlike most jerks in retail that have severe hearing problems this guy listened and realixzed he had nothing to sell me. It was a relief. Instead he hooked me up with an IT guy that MAY be able to fix the old work horse for me. We'll see.

The next thing on the agenda is that I went for some Gold Bond footpowder and cat food. That turned out OK. That's a hard one to screw up.

Go to store, grab foot powder, grab cat food, pay, leave, done.

Then the frustrating one set in.

In the likely event that Combat Laptop can't be fixed I tried to locate one on line.

All roads lead to eBay.

Findadeal dot com. We got tons of them.


And now I am looking at a link that goes straight to eBay.

The shopping sites that don't say on their google intro that they have scads of GoBook IIIs for sale. Click.

The next thing you are looking at is an ad for a single screw or stick of memory and a note that they have something close to it like the spark coil off of a Model T Ford for $643.

It's maddening.

If they don't have what you want, why don't they simply tell you instead of trying to sell you something insane like a broken wheel for a Radio Flyer wagon?

There are a boatload of Gobook IIs and IIIs out there, but most of them are missing operating systems as they have had the hard drives scrubbed out.

I suppose I could buy an OS somewhere but then you get back into the whole idea of putting $140 into a machine you paid $140 for and you are back to square one again and that is not going to sit too well.

I guess I could buy an OS and DIY it and that may be the way this ends up unless something interesting pops up.

Still, it's enough to make you want to run amok when the entire internet starts sending you in circles with all roads leading to the first place you started out at.

Later on Neighbor Bobs wafe borrowed a pen of mine and commented how nice it was. I told her it was a free sample from Pen

Ahe went over to her machine and started typing it in and blew a fuse with me and accussed me of trying to send her to a gay website because if you write it as one word it can either be pen isaland or penis land.

I acted all pouty and told her to Google it and sure enough there it was.


She felt a little foolish, but that's OK.

I just got back having handed the laptop off to some kid that looks like he's going to ruin it, but I suppose with it busted he can't make it a whole lot worse.

Bob is coming over for a beer in a minute, so adios for tonight.

Pic, out.

my other blog is:

Friday, February 11, 2011

I got home yesterday afternoon after a regular odyessy

which began in Connecticut and a long train ride.

It made for a long day when you consider we had both been up for most of the previous night.

We got in to Philly about 2230 and I decided not to drive, so I overnighted in Philly and the next morning after a good night's sleep drove home.

I got home yesterday afternoon.

Trains can be pretty neat to travel on.

One woman got on and asked me which direction we were headed in as she wanted a seat that faced forward. I don't think there were any in the car I was on. They all faced backward and she threw a little hissy fit.

People like that annoy me because she doesn't know how good she has it.

The train is warm, dry, fairly clean, quite comfortable and a damned sight better than, say riding in the back of a Deuce 'n half.

Another woman griped that the seats were too small. I kept quiet on that one, but she overheard another woman comment that if she'd have watched what she ate she wouldn't be complaining.

She got indignant and someone else stood up for the woman that had commented. I opted to stay out of it for a change as I suppose I was too tired to make a commentary.

My shipmate is a pretty big guy and he seemed to fit the seat.

Then again when your ass is three axe handles wide you are going to have problems.

For part of the trip the guy across the aisle was a morbidly obese cardioligist and I swear I saw a pack of Camels in his shirt pocket.

He was replaced after a couple of stops by some nerdy little guy that pulled out a lunch box and ate his soup with a spoon and some rice dish with chopsticks and something else with a fork. I think he was trying to show everyone how cool he was or something. He looked like a geek but I suppose geeks gotta eat, too. Oh, well. His chow and he can eat it any way he sees fit.

I can't use chopsticks to save my ass.

Bad news. My other laptop took a hit in the Achilles Tendon of laptops and it may wind up being totaled.

The weak point of ALL laptops is where you plug the charger/adapter in and my basic traveler got yanked somewhere along the line and it is now time to snag yet another one. Maybe I'll grab one and see if I can get a trade-in of some sort. Either that or if I can snag an external battery charger I ought to be GTG.

I'd sure hate to have to get one of those little notebooks as I have little faith in them. The old Combat Laptop has taken a few big spills and kept on ticking. Last summer it almost went over the side during crew change but landed on the deck of the crew boat and still ran like nothing had happened.

Somewhere along the line the charger cord got jerked and I don't know what to do. The woman computer doctor told me that in reality the machine is totaled. To repair the plug will cost more than the machine costs to replace.

This is interesting. I managed to hit the Achilles heel of a damned GoBook.

Leave it to me.

WHich leads to replacing it.

A few months ago refurbished machines were running about $180 delivered.

Now we're in a cusp as the Gobook 3 are out there and are being refurbished and with any luck, I guess I can upgrade a bit for pretty close to the same money IF I can find a refurbished machine.

Tune in and see what happens next.

my other blog is:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I must have some kind of an air about me

that seems to draw me into the damnedest situations.

My whole life has been an improbable mess since the time I got hauled in as a possible suspect for robbing a convenience store back in '69.

It seems like every decade something dopey happens. I come close to getting carted off to the Big House for something.

Now, it was the summer of '69 and yours truly was booting alone with another cronie in my spiffy '63 MGB that I had gotten a pretty good deal on. Believe it or not, I scored a '63 MGB for $200 because the guy that bought it for his darling daughter and then took it away from her for stupidity. In a fit of pique, he offered it to me for $200 and I had the money to him in less than an hour.

Anyway, I was booting along in the damned thing on Cape Cod and we got pulled over and hauled in because some thug robbed a convenience store and got away driving none other than an MGB of the same color.

Of course, when they put us in the police line-up, the victim got pretty hot because the robber was about fifteen years older than I was and looked totally different than I did. The police looked pretty foolish and started digging around for SOMETHING to bust us for. They went through the MG with a fine-toothed comb and found nothing when all was well and done.

I think they tried to accuse me of posession of drug paraphenalia becase a test light lead had an alligator clip on it and there were a couple of brass fittings in the trunk. With no residue on any of it, it was pretty obvious and besides, a call to my hometown police department netted only a report that I was a pretty good kid with no history of narcotic use.

I spent the night in the cooler and the next day I went off on my merry way. No charges, no record.

About a decade later I was briefly investigated for a murder when I was in Alaska. I was on the very long list of people the victim had crossed swords with, but it was a bad joke. I told the officer that I was a fisherman then and fisherman let their victims sleep with the fishes. He didn't care for my sarcasm.

I had a pretty good alibi for that one. On the evening in question I was in the Kodiak jail as an overnight visitor. I had run out of propane on the night in question and the cop who saw me heading downtown carrying the bottle offered me the hospitality of the jail and told me it would be a whole lot easier than getting any propane at that hour. I accepted the offer.

One of the two cops in the room where I was questioned was an idiot.

When he found out that I was in the local pokey on the night in question, he looked at the other officer and said, "That's the third suspect that has used being in our jail as an alibi. Maybe we should stop letting criminals use our jail for alibis."

The other cop and I laughed ourselves silly and when the nitwit realized what he said, he turned purple and told me to leave. He didn't have to tell me twice.

(Eventually someone got smart. With three gunshot wounds in the head, the death was ruled suicide. Go figure.)

The most recent time was about 10 years ago or so.

Some boob shot his girlfriend and an hour later he exchanged about 40 shots with local police at a range of 10 feet and nobody got hit. He escaped and an APB had him wearing a green shirt headed south on Highway 26 in a gray Toyota pickup.

You got it. Shortly thereafter I was southbound on Highway 26 and I got pulled over in my gray Toyota while wearing a green shirt.

It wasn't very comfortable looking down the bore of a police shotgun and the fact that fuzz-nutted rookie was holding the shotgun made it a whole lot worse. I politely told the older officer that it might be a good idea to have the rookie put the shotgun on 'safe' or at least take his finger off of the trigger. The older officer took the shotgun and pointed it in a safe direction and had the rookie search me. The rookie announced that I was clean.

They took my driver's license and ran it and I came up clean.

The rookie started to give me some kind of dopey lecture and I looked over at the older cop and reached into my wallet and handed him my carry permit. The cop looked at me suspiciously and asked me whay I was showing him my permit.

I opened my shirt and told the rookie to spare me the lecture and that if I really was the guy he was looking for, there would have already been a shoot-out. Both officers turned ashen, but for different reasons. The younger one realized he had screwed up and the older one realized he couldn't trust the rookie.

I was summarily dismissed and I took off.

The reason I wrote this is because it has been about ten years since this happened and it looks like I'm due for something else dopey to happen to me along these lines.

Or maybe things just come in threes and I'm off the hook for a long while. Then again, maybe I'll be questioned over something outrageous like being a hatchet murderer of some kind. Who knows?

Time will tell.

my other blog is:

busy night

Getting off of this  slab tomorrow have to get it squared away.

Weatherwise, roughest trip I've had since I cannot remember.

my other blog is:

Here's a link to another blog of my adventures with a cat i once had.

He died a few years back but we sure raised some hell together/

He used to walk with me on a leash and I would wear sunglasses and carry a white cane and pass him off as a guide animal.

SNARF ALERT: No liquids while reading. I accept no responsibility for smeared monitors or ruined keyboards.

That is all.

my other blog is:

Monday, February 7, 2011

think I'm going to tell a few tales of my experiences at the National Matches at Camp Perry.

IA lot of you that have served in the services will have very raised eyebrows when I tell you about what sometimes happens there because you have never been there, but among the various service members a certain change takes place. You get to see a lot of odd things happen.

While military courtesy between the various ranks certainly stays intact, a lot of things differ. People relax. Most of them are here to have a little fun and you see things you would never see happen at a unit level.

The various so-called fun matches have contributed greatly to this because they have allowed people that were intimidated by the fierce competition of the 'official' matches become comfortable enough to enter the fun matches.

The Garand, Springfield/Vintage military and carbine matches are an example. You can simply enter these matches with a basic as-issued rifle and compete. Most of the competitors compete against last years scores.

A lot of officers and senior NCOs that are in charge of, but not firing members of their respective teams often enter these 'game matches' and you never know what will happen next. Over the years I have seen a couple of General Officers shoot in these matches and when the relay is over, they head straight down to the pits to pull targets just like everyone else does.

Squadding is hit or miss and you never know who you are going to get squadded with. Usually I wind up with civilians, of course, as they are the majority of the shooters, but one year the fortunes of the draw got me squadded with a Marine corporal and an Army lieutenant colonel.

I about died laughing when the officer had a complete miss. He looked up at the corporal with a sheepish look and the corporal said to him, "Hell, Sir. If you keep doing that, they're going to have to send you back to OCS!"

The officer's next shot was in the nine ring and the corporal mumbled, "That's more like it, Sir."

The pair of them looked at each other and chuckled. It was a rare thing to see, and you probably wouldn't see something like that happen back in the unit level. Strange things happen at Camp Perry. Especially at the Garand match.

You have to be observant and have a military background to really see it, but for someone who does have a service background it is interesting to watch the subtle things that happen there. You are as apt to see a Pfc give a tip or pointer to a major as you are to see a major help a Pfc out.

I attribute much of this odd magic to the simple fact that virtually everyone there is a shooter. They are there because they love the sport and as much as they can, they simply put as many of their differences aside as they can to enjoy the sport together.

I guess this is the military equivilant of Sturgis, where Doctors and lawyers mingle freely with mechanics and laborers and share their interest in motorcycles.

Housing is interesting, too.

There are barracks rooms to be had for about $10 per night and the squad bays hold 25 people.

Hutments that were build during WW2 and hold 4 people can be rented for the neighborhood of $40/night.

There is also modular housing, other units and a small RV campground.

I prefer the barracks squad bays because it is the most interesting. You never know who or what is going to happen next. If you are an observer of things like human nature, the barracks are the place for you. Some years they are quiet and uneventful, some times they can be a real zoo.

The overwhelming majority of barracks dwellers have had some kind of background, usually military or at least were Boy Scouts and know how to behave in a barracks type situation. They can ghost to the latrine, located at the end of the building and not wake the lightest sleeper up.


Every so often someone without a clue shows up and he either learns real fast or suffers severe repercussions.

A couple of years ago my bunkmate was a serving Army Colonel who had taken personal leave time to shoot. He was on his own nickel and wasn't drawing Army quarters. For whatever reason he opted for a barracks cot. The only problem I had was that I couldn't bring myself to address him by his first name. I'm former enlisted and that is that. I addressed him as 'Colonel' and he addressed me as 'soldier' and we got along fine. One morning when we woke up, he got out of bed and went straight to the end of the barracks and picked up a boot and returned to place said boot on my bed.

"Good shot," he said, "right in the X-ring."

Then I remembered. It was my boot. Someone for whatever reason had turned on the lights in the middle of the night and in a dead sleep had sat up and thrown a Corcoran jump boot at him and hit the offender right smack dab in the chest. It was the best shot I have ever made at Camp Perry.


Camp Perry is just like any other military installation in the States.

At the proper time in the morning, the cannon beneath the flagpole is fired and everyone turns toward the flag as The Star Spangled Banner is played. Military people salute and civvies hold their hand over their heart as they face the colors.

One morning as the last note of the National Anthem faded, some wag shouted, "Play Ball!"

Almost everyone grinned, but a nearby army Sp/4 looked a little confused.

A captain looked at the Sp/4 and grinned. "Son, if that bothers you, you're probably in the wrong line of work," he said. "I chose this job to make sure people could continue to do things like that!"


R. Lee Ermey shoots at Perry every year and has for the past several years. A few years ago I met him outside the auditorium and bet him ten bucks payable to Toys for Tots that I'd beat him.

The kids won that one, as a few months later I coughed up ten buck for the program.

Gunny Ermey can sure shoot a Garand.

my other blog is:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

One of the things a smart seaman does

is to check the weather back home very day or two to see how much beer he has to bring home. So far for this tour the answer is none at all.

However, if there is any kind of a semi serious snow storm while I am gone, I am going to have to grab a case or so because I know good and well I am going to owe someone a case for shoveling out a path to my door and clearing me out a landing zone of some sort. It seldom fails.

I have found out that I am not alone in this matter. There are more than one of the guys out here that depend on good neighbors to make their home lives a little easier.

Neighbor Bob is generally the guy that carves a landing zone for me in the driveway when it snows and another neighbor generally gives the lawn a quick mullet job in the summer. The price is generally right, too. I just drop off a little liquid refreashment or something along these lines.

The weather back home seems to be holding. It is still cold and looks like it is stayinng that way, but there is no snow in the offing at this particular time but that could change.

So long as there is no snow, I probably won't have to stop off and get a case of beer.

Then again there are ten or so more days to go on this tour.

I guess I'll just have to keep my eyes on things.

my other blog is:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Watching the Stooges with the President of the United States

On an earlier post I commented that the Three Stooges are a guy thing to the point where you could put a Korean Vet in a GI haircut on one end of a couch and a 17 year old kid with 17 piercings and a purple Mohawk on the other end and they will sit there uncomfortably because they have nothing in common.

Put the Stooges on the tube and in about three or four minutes they will both start whacking each other and doing Curly imitations.

Never fails.

Almost to a man guys like the Stooges.

I wonder what it would be like visiting the White House and sitting with the president when the Stooges come on.

Maybe not with THIS president. I'd just bet that if you hit HIM on the head with a hammer you'd get a loud 'clang' like when Moe hits Curly on the head. I just can't picture the current president watching the Stooges.

But I'd just bet that if you were watching the Stooges with Ronald Reagan when he was in office he'd have gone 'whoop whoop whoop' and maybe had a pretty good Curly shuffle, to boot. (At least if Nancy wasn't around. Women HATE the Stooges. When they're on the tube, women roll their eyes as the guys horse around.)

Betcha George W. Bush would probably grin and do something Curly-ish, too.

Reagan and W both have it in their eyes. A certain elfin twinkle. They're not going to be able to hold it in.

Bill Clinton I am not too sure of, but maybe. Probably, actually.

I'd just bet that the Secret Service under the Reagan and Bush administrations would give someone a wary pass on certain Stoogisms. If you were sitting there with Reagan watching the Stooges and started to shake and raise your hand, they would probably have the treat of watching the Most Powerful Man in The World grinning like a little kid and following the shaking hand all the way up only to have it sharply dropped.

I can picture the protocol of being able to watch the Stooges with the President. the first thing you would probably see is him looking around warily to make sure there are no female Secret Service agents around because a female Secret Service agent is apt to shoot you dead and have Seal Team Six send your riddled body to Davy Jones's Locker.

For some reason, a woman agent would not give you a pass for Stooges horseplay. I think it is in their DNA.

Of course, you couldn't get away with poking the President in the eyes, but I'd just bet that if you held up your index and middle finger that Reagan or W would just grin like an idiot and put their hand, karate chop style, up and down the bridge of their nose and stick his tongue out at you. Nyeh!

One thing about Reagan, I can actually picture him dealing with an overly protective Secret Service agent.

In his fatherly tone, he would say, "Please allow the President the dignity of watching the Stooges with one of his constituants."

The Agent would look a little humble and then Ronald Reagan would playfully reach over and whack you on the head and say, "Nyuk,nyuk,nyuk".

my other blog is:

Friday, February 4, 2011

A small miracle will occur soon

One of the things that overjoys me to no end is that I will be out at sea for the Superbowl.

Thank God for small miracles.

I am not a sports guy because for some reason I only like sports I can participate in like competitive shooting and things of that nature. Occacionally, if I can find one, I'll watch a 12 meter sailboat race. That's about it.

I think it is nothing but idiocy to see a bunch of grown men sitting on their asses around a damned television set getting all worked up and shouting at it. It is not like the athlete can hear you.

One of the scenes I would watch a game for is to see a football player catch a pass, and avoid a tackler and make it to the end zone and then look up at the camera. "Hey, Larry. Yeah, you, Larry. Third stool Duffy's Tavern. Thanks for the heads up on number 37 trying to take me out at the 20 yard line. I'd have never made it without you! Have the bartender give you one on me!"

I hate dealing with the town if any of our local teams are doing well as too many people getworked up over nothing.

Several years ago when the Penguins won the Stanley Cup I was on my way home from this slab and I guess they had traffic all blocked off in an effort to keep the city from becoming a mob scene. I made my way to the front of the line and when the cop tried to divert me, I stuck my head out the window. "I'm a goddamned sailor and I'm just trying to get home. Can you let me pass?"


"Merchant Marine. Look, my wife just spent $457 at Victoria's Secret and I could give a damn about this foolish sports crowd. I just wanna get home."

He said something on his handy-talkie and let me through the barricade and I got home without having to drive 398 miles out of my way. Still, it was a major aggravation.

Another thing I do not understand is how an entire city takes credit for a sports victory. Nobody in the entire town except a few athletes had a single thing to do with their win, yet everyone in town and their cousin seems to act like they are personally responsible for the victory.

Of course, if they have a bad season, I really don't see a whole lot of people taking blame for the loss. They then refer to the very team they cheered on the previous season as a bunch of bums.

The entire thing makes no sense to me whatsoever.

my other blog is: