Wednesday, August 31, 2011

On nicknames and aliases at sea

I just walked past Boots, whom I have known for probably a decade and a half. I can't tell you what his real name is because I don't have a clue. I do not even know his last name but he is a damned good man at what he does. Few people know his last name and I suppose the only person in the entire company that knows his first name are the payroll people and maybe someone in personnel.

I heard some one of the office people get chewed out by him several years ago and I suppose it was one of those people in the office that had access to his file because part of what Boots said was, "My own mother doesn't even call me that!" so I suppose the office person had addressed him by the name on his paycheck.

There are more people like that working on the water than there are ashore. Nicknames and aliases are somewhat common out here and unless I am told otherwise I simply do not ask as for the most part it is none of my business. As captain I have to check documentation, but when I do I am careful not to address the person by anything but what they tell me to call them. If Thaddeus J. Quirckenheimer tells me his name is 'Ripper' than that is what I will call him. It ends there.

A while ago I got a call from someone looking for someone by the name of Joseph Longman. I told the person that I had never heard of him. A few minutes later an insistint call was made telling me that this Joseph Longman was on the vessel tied up next to mine and they wanted him and would I be so kind as to wander over and tell him to call the office.

I wandered over and asked for Joseph Longman and a guy I know named Clank looked up with an angry look. I knew it was him so I passed on the message. I stuck around to see the results and I have to admit that it was amusing.

"Hello, this is Clank. Piccolo said you want me for something...Yeah, that's me. Clank....Don't call me that...Yeah, I've known Piccolo for about ten years...It's Piccolo. I don't know what it says on his driver's license, it's Piccolo to me...Yeah, the name's Clank. Make a note of that. My mother even calls me that."

I would imagine the office goes nuts once in a while over that sort of thing, but I'd bet it isn't all that difficult anymore with technology. They look the guy up, pull his company ID up which has the person's picture on it.

Then they go to a coworker that's been there a while and ask, "Who is this guy?"

"What? David L. Coughlin? That's Sharkbait. It's also OK to call him Sharkey."


Maybe they even have notes made because I haven't seen too much of this kind of confusion lately.

my other blog is:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A reader sent me some hurricane videos he took during Katrina

and gave me permission to post them here.

They come from the point of view of a seaman as they were taken while aboard a boat trying to find some lee during Katrina.
Best storm I've seen in years.
You may have to cut and paste as sometimes the link heater-upper doesn't work for me but it is worth it.
Having just hid from Irene (which was nothing compared to Katrina) I could relate.
Thanks to a reader.
my other blog is:

Monday, August 29, 2011

Oddly enough one of the most thoughtful, inspiring quotes I have ever heard was at the end of Blow with Johnny Depp:

 "Most peoples lives pass them by while they're making grand plans for it."
I never saw the movie. The comment above came from a poster on a website I visit quite often.

While truer words have never been spoken, I can say they really do not apply to me as much as they do to a whole lot of other people. I can say that I have dedicated much of my life to living my dreams.
Right now as I rapidly approach old age I am still working out a childhood dream through ham radio. I always wanted a small station as a kid and to DX with people overseas and now I am. This is a recent development.

Still, over the years I have simply taken dreams and run with them.

When I bought Karen Lee, my sailboat it was a case of a guy living a dream. I saved up a couple of bucks and went south to the Seattle area, bought her and sailed her home to Kodiak on very short money. All of it was pretty risky, but I did it. The folllowing summer I left Kodiak on her with a load of grub and a very small sum of money to see me by on what became a six-month odyessy of southeast Alaska and western Canada.

When the money ran low, I took odd jobs, fished her for halibut which I sold to a couple of restaurants and then I actually ran a couple of cases of whisky to a dry Indian village somewhere along the line. The classic line of the entire trip was when my crew-of-one saw the ruckus begin and dryly said, "Hey, Cap! Too bad we didn't have a bunch of Henry rifles to go with the whisky!"

The sailboat cruising dream is a pretty common one and a lot of people have it and most of them have grand plans of putting to sea in a 65 foot rig and sailing the seven seas and having adventures in paradise.

A lot of these people were the critics of my plans to cruise the little boat, and just about every one of them told me that they were planning on buying a 65 footer and 'doing it right'.

I'd bet you that of all of the people that told me that when I was putting Karen Lee into cruising shape are still wandering the docks with their little pipe dreams and are no closer to living them then they were 25 years ago when I was busy working on living mine.
Of course, Karen Lee wasn't 65 feet, she was 24'7" in length, but under the circumstances she was close enough because she was all I had.

I found out at an early age that you sometimes have to go with what you have and that is generally not an ideal situation to go with, but that is simply the way it is. You have to go for it when you have the opportunity because opportunity is a fleeting short moment that does not last more than a wink or two.

My fourteen months in a tipi actually came just after I got out of the service and was at ends. I got out in the last part of May and had plans to go back to school the following September. I figured I could either get a job somewhere and save a few bucks or even simply spend little or nothing and save my mustering out pay for school.

When school started, I decided to stay in the tipi as work wasn't too plentiful and without the added expense of rent and utilities I could simply live off of my GI Bill and concentrate on my studies which I did. I did well in school, studying by a gasoline lantern and heated by an open fire. It was a pretty good deal and I stayed there and had a pretty good GPA when all was over and done with.

That proved to be a pretty good deal and it was a childhood dream of living in the woods for a while gotten out of my system.

I left college to follow another pair of childhood dreams. First I wanted to hitch-hike the Alaska highway and secondly I wanted to go hunting and fishing in Alaska. The fact is that I wound up fishing, all right. Commercial fishing and saw more than enough halibut, salmon, and crab to last three lifetimes. I also had a trip up the highway that dreams are made of. I've posted a lot of it here some time back.

I left for Alaska after selling off almost all of my posessions save what fit in a backpack and a tool box and stuffed about $300 in my pocket and stuck my thumb out. It was the trip of a lifetime and I had a ball.

I found work in Anchorage for a while and after some time I hitched to Homer where I rode the ferry to Kodiak and set up shop.

I ought to post that first summer. It was a zoo and looking back on it, it was priceless. Home was where I hung my head and there were a few things I probably ought not post here to keep people from getting ideas.

Still, if I had waited and planned the entire thing out I suppose I would still be in Colorado Springs hanging out telling everyone about my unfulfilled plans to hitch to Alaska and boring everyone to tears.

Johnny Depp's character said something pretty astute and people ought to take it to heart.

Instead of just making grand plans for your life, you'd generally be a whole lot better off just getting out there and doing it. Where there's a will, there's a way. Live your dreams before your life has passed you by and you can't.

my other blog is:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Post 800. Thank you to a reader.

One of my readers made a kind comment about this blog the other day.

He knows from past posts that I have wanted to go to Afghanistan and wrote about the troops. He passed on a link to Michael Yon's blog which I read from time to time.

You may have to cut and paste because the hotlink thing seems to be taking a rest now

It is a damned fine blog and Yon has actually gotten into the fray with the guys there. Yon is a lot younger than I am and he has a Special Forces background. I'm a lot older and a former artillery surveyor.

While Yon does a wonderful job about reporting about what is going on there that the press misses, my goal there would have been a whole lot different and a lot less dramatic.

I have no visions of going out on patrol where at my advanced age all I would do is get in the way of the troops. My plan was to pretty much stay behind the wire and interview the non-professionals.

My interest would have been the National Guard/ Reservist citizen-soldier types, the first termers and the junior officers that are paying off ROTC scholarships.

While the professionals are the yeast that leaven the bread, the part-timers and first termers are the backbone in a way and these are also the people that we know and see when they are home working around our towns when they are not deployed or on active service.

Sometimes I think that it is necessary for us to realize that these people are not superman, but just people we meet every day that have gotten up off of their dead asses and onto their dying feet and elected to serve.

These people are not born soldiers and there is nothing special about their DNA that makes them warriors.
These are just ordinary people that have elected to serve, and I wanted to try and introduce a few to the general public or at least my tiny little readership.

It is a good thing to every once in a while look at out soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen and realize that they were the kid that played baseball in the back lot or he's the guy that is the Little League coach that had to deploy with his reserve unit in the middle of the season.

On the other hand, maybe these people that do serve are pretty different. It is hard to get into the service these days and the majority of our young peole are ineligible for military service because they are either too fat or too stupid. It's sad.

To the reader that commented, thank you for your kindness.

my other blog is:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I was sitting here a while ago and got an email

from Facebook telling me that someone had commented about me. I though of it as being rather odd so I checked it out and sure enough, there was a comment as to if I could remember my own phone number or not.

"Check this out," I said, and showed it to one of my shipmates. My shipmate's about half my age and a pretty damned competent seaman.

"What's that all about?" he asked.

"Damned if I know, I haven't seen this clown for over 40 years." I replied. "We went to high school together."

He gave me an appraising look and a mischevious look came into his eyes. "You know, Pic, You do a pretty good job of keeping up out here and that's kept you in pretty damned good shape. Why don't you..." he said, chuckling.

"Let's not go there," I interrupted. He smirked. Then his look changed.

"When you think about it, that's pretty sad," he said. "Remember Al Bundy from 'Married with Children'? His whole life was all about that pass he caught back in high school."

"Yeah, it is pretty sad." I answered. "You got out of school what? Ten, twelve years ago?"

"Back in '90", he said.

"You the same person that you were when you left school?" I asked.

"Maybe in a few ways, but not really." he replied. "Wonder what the guy was thinking?"

He looked at the computer again.

"That's really, really sad," he said.


In other news, we are sitting in the Hudson up around Newburgh awaiting Irene to blow through here. It will be 36 hours of sweating it out and unlike a lot of nervous people out there that will be sleepless, I am going to take a long nap so I am up and alert when the SHTF.

I may give a blow by blow account here as time goes on.


We lightered a ship yesterday and you just have to love Filipino crews. They are damned good, competent crewmen and are truly funny.

WHen I was passing papers with the chief officer I pointed to the house where on just about all tankers it they have 'No Smoking' painted in 6 foot red letters across it. Beneath it most tankers have 'Satety First' in green letters.

I told the chief mate that I had seen several ships named 'No Smoking' before as I pointed to the letters.He was sharp enough on the uptake th pick right up on it andto told me with a straight face he had sailed on several ships with that name.

So that became his call sign for radio communication. M/V No Smoking.

My call sign was 'Piccolo's boat'.

There was another of our rigs nearby and I guess he was using the same channel and I could tell by his voice he was having a hard time figuring out communications between our two vessels.

"Piccolo's Boat, No Smoking."

"No Smoking standing by."

"Yes, No Smoking, we are opened up and ready to go. Please start us slow."

"Roger, Piccolo's boat. Start slow."

What was funny is watching the ABs on deck, several of which were carrying handy-talkies look at each other with a perplexed look. A moment later one of the guys pointed to the lettering on the house and they all started gleefully laughing.

One other thing I noticed. The guy assigned to be a hose watcher had no shortage of company. Even the off watch ABs would grab him a cup of coffee and gab with him a while. Filipinos are generally pretty social beings.

Had it been an American crewed vessel, the poor bastard stuck on hose watch would have been stuck out there alone, and bored to tears for his entire watch.


My mate was funny. He had been a chief pumpman on ships for years and he started busting the chops of the pumpman on board the No Smoking. It was pretty entertaining watching those two go round and round. Little things like that can be pretty entertaining.

my other blog is:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Batten down the hatches!

As usual the luck of the Irish is a paradox. WHile the luck of the Irish will generally permit an Irisher to survive, the curse that goes with it is that he generally gets dragged into the situation in the first place.

We're on the projected path of a hurricane so we're spending the day battening down the hatches and getting ready for the worst.

The strategy, of course, is to run like hell and get out of the way, but it sure is a good idea to assume the worst.

Off to tie down a few more things.


my other blog is:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Someone has brought to my attention that it was Joe Biden

that identified Seal Team Six as being the people that whacked Usama Bin Laden.

There are also rumors going around that the slaughter of our Seal members was carefully set up by the Muslim extremeists as revenge for that.

Immediately after Bin Laden was whacked it was decided by the Pentagon to keep the unit identity of the seals hush-hush to prevent a possible retaliation. President Obama agreed.

The silence didn't last very long because Joe Biden acted like a little kid wanting attention and identified seal team six to the media as being the people that got him. Of course, the media ran with it.

Biden ought to be tried for treason for and if it can be proven that the deaths of our service people were a realiation than he ought to be charged with capital murder.

WHile I have been an adocate of government transparancy for years, I have also been pretty careful to make sure that they protect our service people and have no problems at all over secrecy being kept by government in cases like this.

In 1942 a group of intrepid airman flew a bunch of B-25s off of the carrier Hornet and bombed Tokyo. The public went wild.

When asked how our service people pulled the mission off, President Roosevelt told everyone that the airmen flew out of our secret base in Shangri-La.

Roosevelt did this to protect the crew of Hornet so they would not be singled out for Japanese retaliation. He did kept the identity of the carrier secret to protect our servicemen.

Althought Hornet was later sunk, it is believed that it was not specifically sought after by the Japanese.

I can wonder how we would have won World War 2 with people like Joe Biden in office letting the Axis know what was going on.

Running off at the mouth like that is unforgivable and he ought to pay for his crime against our servicemen.

my other blog is:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Live from a fleabag in Philadelphia....

It's the Piccolo morning show!!

Yes, you, too can wach a grumpy old man wake up as he gets trady to go to work. Act now!!!! Operators are standing by!!!

U crawled out of the rack and in a few minutes I will be headed to the big city of New York.

Oh, well. At least I got a daily post off.

my other blog is:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

This day has started out oddly.

I crawled out of the rack and pulled on the pair of pants that is headed for the laundry bin, poured a cup of joe and headed out the door to enjoy the morning.

When I sat down I felt a lump behind my knee inside the pants and discovered it was the pair of undershorts I had peeled off and tossed atop the pants last night.

Oh, well. It's a lot better than fishing a fork out of the sink and having your first bite of breakfast taste like cat food.

Good morning, world.

Last night I tried my luck out on the 20 meter USB band and my first QSO was with some guy in Florida, almost 1000 miles away. That ain't bad for a little 30 watt rig.

One of the things I do in my line of workk is to shop for grub. WHile most guys understand how I do things and why, I get a hoot out of a crybaby I dealt with some time ago.

To save space a couple of days before I buy the milk and freeze it and use it as ice to keep things cold for the ride across the state.

This one crybaby indignantly declared "I don't drink frozen milk!"

"Nobody else does, either" answered my mate. "We thaw it out and then drink it."

THe kid pouted for a bit, but he got used to it.
Do not embarrass me by asking why there is a can of asparagus in with the refrigerated stuff. I was in a hurry to pack and it seemed like a good place to park a loose can.

my other blog is:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Got up early this morning and strung another antenna.

A morning of the sling shot and wire and paracord and string and so on and so forth.

I was surprised as to how well it went.

I fell back on the skill of youth and had a difficult shot to make, through about a foot square hole between branches and POW! I sent the one ounce sinker straight whistling through it.

Not bad for an old man.

Then I tried the antenna out and would you believe it?

My first QSO was with Nottingham, England!

(No he wasn't the sheriff)

A pretty good day so far.

Let's see how the evening goes.

my other blog is:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I am up early this morning because I hit the rack early.

It's funny how things change so fast.

As I was planning the lawn the postman showed up with a package for me. It was a ham antenna 177 feet long. I was expecting it Monday, but here it was.

I spent the rest of the afternoon with climbing trees to get the thing set up.

Nothing better for an old man than a day of climbing trees, poison ivy and a bee sting to make him feel young again.

Some of this routing of the antenna was done with the infamous slingshot which probably kept me from falling out of a tree that was too skinny for me to climb.

The slingshot is a basic 'wrist rocket' type with a Zebco fishing reel attached to it. I shoot a 1 ounce sinker over the obstacle and then attach a piece of 550 paracord to the monofiliment and reel it in. The wire is then attached to the paracord and pulled up and over the obstacle. It works pretty good.

I thought of it mmyself and made it and felt pretty smart about myself. At least for about three days until I saw one just like it for almost $100 in a catalog. Mine cost me about 2 bucks to make.

Neighbor Bob saw the slingshot and asked me how I figured that one out and I said to him, "When in doubt, revert back to childhood."

There's something to be said for that. Most people don't think about it too much, but we learned an awful lot of things as kids that can come in pretty handy as we grow older.

Sometimes I think that line about "When I became a man I put away my childish things' is stupidity. A smart man keeps childish things in the back of his head for use as an adult.

About fifteen years ago I was building a cart to carry my shooting stuff around and a neighbor that is now in pretty sad shape commented asked me if I didn't have better things to do than build a wagon like a little kid.

I told him that because I was a man that was smart enough to remember my childhood that I had more things to work with because of that and that because he didn't remember he was consigned to old age at an early time. He scowled and walked off and he is in the process of rotting away now. Figures. He's one of those guys with a stick up his butt. They always seem to rot away miserably when they get older.

We're a sum of all we have learned and can remember and I guess that my childhood did a pretty good job of making adulthood and upcoming old age a whole lot easier simply because I didn't put away all of my childish things.

my other blog is:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The drunk driving laws seem to be getting out of hand these days.

While I have no problem with laws designed to keep intoxicated persons from operating automobiles on public roads, there are a few things that really irk me.

You can easily get nailed in places for simply doing the right thing and it is a crock. In many places you could stumble out of someplace and decide to be responsible and lock your keys in the trunk and hop in the back seat to sleep it off and wake up in jail.

That ain't right.

Of course, our lawmakers will mumble something about how the non-driver had some sort of control of the vehicle and yada yada yada but it is really a crock. The reason the poor slob really went to jail has nothing to do with public safety and everything to do with the state taking his money from him.

Things like this are nothing more than revenue generation at it's worst.

While there are quite a few law enforcement types that would look at someone sleeping it off in the back of his car and say, "God bless you!" there are also quite a few that would look at this as an easy bust to feather their conviction record. Not all policemen have common sense, compassion and a sense of humor.

Insurance companies love this sort of thing because they get to clobber someone with higher rates even though he was being responsible.

It seems to be getting to the point that the laws get stiffer and stiffer over nothing. I keep wondering where it is going to end.

I suppose some lawmaker would just love to see it so they can nail Grandma Botts for having her grandson's spare car key at her home and a 25 year old unopened bottle of Bourbon in the cabinet.

They will justify this by saying she could have walked 36 miles to her grandson's car and driven it because she had the key because she was equipt to drive said vehicle.

Of course, by their reasoning they could probably bust the poor woman for prostitution based on the fact that she was born with equiptment to be one.

WHile the laws preventing driving while impaired are probably necessary they should not be misused to stick it to the poor slob that is trying to be responsible.

If you are not operating the vehcle, you are not driving. If you are not driving you should not be treated like you are.


my other blog is:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Made a pretty good breakfast and I have just finished it.

Sausage and eggs.

I tried out a store brand sausage this morning figuring it wasn't going to be as good as most of the others and was surprised. It was and that makes me wonder where the store got it.

I know it wasn't Jimmy Dean and if I were buying sausage to make patties out of I would have bounced for Jimmy Dean. It's pretty good stuff.

Still, I wonder which one of the many sausage makers out there got the contract to make the store brand sausage links because they are pretty good.

I eat a lot of store brand stuff because grocery prices have skyrocketed and I save a few bucks that way, but only if the stuff is pretty good.

While there are a lot of lousy store brand products out there that are lousy, there are also quite a number of products out there that are just as good as the name brand stuff.

I generally bring a lot of the store brand stuff to work and generally nobody gripes. Generally.

Once someone griped so the next time I brought all of the top shelf brand named stuff in with me and watched the complainer say, "That's more like it!"

Then he got the bill and wasn't too pleased. I had 'gone over' and he had to cough up a couple bucks out of his own pocket.

Next tour I went back to normal and things were just fine again. He didn't gripe at all.

Still, you have to know which stuff is good and which isn't but if you keep your eyes open you can do OK.
Sometimes I post a few 'Suzie Homemaker' things on this blog. The way I figure it is some of the guys, especially the younger ones have not figured out that a big part of life is just general maintainence consisting of cooking, cleaning and doing the wash. Unless you are very rich at an early age, you had better simply get used to it.
Today's post reminds me that I need to pick up laundry soap, dishwasher detergent, toilet paper and a couple of cans of tuna.

my other blog is:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Well, let's see what will happen today

I am up a bit early and I have deciced to get a few things done today.

I have to take down the antenna farm and get the lawn mowed. We're in the middle of the August burn out and the lawn grows slow this time of year which is a good thing as I really do not like to mow it very much.

There was an interesting email today that I am pretty sure is NOT from Yahoo! and I'd just bet a lot of people are going to fall for it.

It says that they are going to delete your account if you don't refresh your information, including password.

Yahoo has said over the years that they will NEVER ask for your password and so the email is bogus.

Thieves like that irk the holy hell out of me. They should simply be taken out back and shot so the rest of us don't have to put up with their crap. As I get loder I get a whole lott less tolorant of crap like that. The person that did that has simply proven to me that he no longer deserves to live in society and should be removed.

We'd ALL be better off without him.

Which leads me to why we tolorate these people and why so many people make excuses for people like that. I get tired of listening to how the poor guy had a bad childhood or how he lives in a bad neighborhood and does not know any better.

SImply remove him from our society and I do not care how. Just get rid of him.

I have to call a few people today and get a few things done so I'll call the daily rant off here.

Stay tuned, Boys and Girls. I'l be back tomorrow. Same time, same channel.

(Dramatic background music plays and Piccolo goes galloping off into the sunset)

my other blog is:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Last night's DXpedition to the mountains was pretty cool

Last evening I packed up my little manpack rig and met up with a couple of other guys I know and headed off to the Laurel Highlands along US 30.

We tried to get an antenna up over a snag tree and after a couple of tries with snagging monofiliment in various bad edges decided that it would be a lot safer on the gear to simply use the nearby light poles as the lights were out, anyway.

The slingshot made fast work of getting paracord over them and the antenna went up OK.

We were trying to get through to the ARFCOM Tuesday night net at 2130 EDT on 3.898 MHz later on that evening.

Reception was pretty good and I managed to snag a station and he said I came in all right, barely above the background noise which is par golf for the little rig.

Although it was not really as good as I had hoped for, it was fun.

Of course, come about 2120 things got a bit noisy on 80 meters so we never got through to the ARFCOM net. I'll try again some time.

Still a good time was had by all.

Here's a picture of two of us sitting on the side of the road with the little manpack set up and running.

my other blog is:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

today is a day of activity

I have a DXpedition planned for tonight, and a target net i want to get in on. I want to get in on the ARFCOM net on 3.898 MHz tonight.

I will be busy charging batteries and packing gear and I had better get started.


my other blog is:

Monday, August 15, 2011

One of the nicest things in life is visiting an old friend

Just like most people that grow up and leave their childhood homes, everybody seems to go seperate routes.

Joe goes to the college of his choice, Tim joins the Navy and Louie embarked on a life of crime. (I did all three, I hacked around in community college, joined the army and the other day I tore a tag off of a matteress)

Anyway, they all seem to ge their seperate ways.

The guy up the street and I did the same thing but we stayed in touch throughout the years. He went to school, married, raised three kids and bought a house a couple of towns over.

When I was in town I would drop in on them and say hi. Frankly, it was a very nice thing for me to do to keep my sanity as visiting family can sometimes be stressful, especially when you were a traveler on the road less traveled.

Anyway, he's done well for himself and is in a somewhat semi-retired state and has a pair of homes, a winter home and a summer home.

I have not been to his winter home, but I have been to his summer home a few times. It is wonderful, on a lake and in the wilds of the northern part of the country.

What is interesting is that he made his living in the financial world and all of the so-called civilization that goes with it. I would imagine he has attended God knows how many dinners with lumpy mashed potatoes, marble peas and stringy roast beef, complete with the cocktail hour where the politically correct up and comers have two drinks, but don't finish the second.

I, of course, took a different tack. While he was doing what he did for a living and had settled on raising kids and working in the financial world, I was out living day to day and was somewhat adrift. I didn't get into my present career until I was almost 40.

Still, we stayed in touch and when we had the chance we met, if for nothing more than a drink or cup of coffee. He is the friend I have kept for well over five decades and it grounds me to a certain extent to have someone from childhood to swap notes with.

What is interesting is that now that he is in semi-retirement he is living in the wild yet in one of the most civilized places on earth.

His summer home is a log cabin and there is no electricity except for what he grows himself with a couple of solar panels, but there is inside running water for a toilet but little else. It is funny to see someone working on a laptop by kerosene lanterns, yet he has everything he needs there.

The paradox here is that I spent a lot of my younger years living in various little places, tipis, camps, a sailboat, and yet after I got older I moved into a house in the burbs like a lot of other people, yet here is my oldest friend spending summers in a wonderful log cabin on a lake with few of the trappings of the so-called civilized world.

People often say that a guy like this has it made, but it really isn't 100% so. He's had things in life happen and he's taken a few knocks here and there. He's had one of his kids stumble and fall a couple of times and I'm sure it has been hard to watch that happen, but the kid is doing all right these days.

In fact, his son is actually on my short list of friends in his own right, and not because of his father. He turned out OK and I respect him.

Few of us truly go through life and get off scot free. We have to pick up our own pieces and get on with our lives as we see fit. He had to bury his wife some time ago and things like that are true equalizers. They happen to all of us and there is noo power on heaven or earth that can change that.

He doesn't know it, but after he lost his wife I was a tad worried about him. I was somewhat afraid he'd find comfort in some babe 30 years younger than him, but my fears were unfounded. A few years later he married a wonderful women about his age. She's a good match for him.

Our lives have been totally different and while his children were growing up and I'd visit it was fun to watch them and hear their stories about school and things that are a part of growing up. Meanwhile I was in some far flung remote outpost doing something that was not necessarily profitable, but interesting to me.

His kids were a little older when I told the family about a certain part of a sailboat trek I took and I started to run low on cash. The youngest asked me where I managed to find work and it was funny to see the look on his fce when I told him I simpply ran a load whisky to the Indians.

I had to be somewhat careful when they were younger to keep them from getting to many ideas.

Still, I have to say that my friend gave me the nicest gift I have had in a couple of decades. He doesn't know it, but he did.

He and his wonderful wife took me to a simple lunch out alongside a small lake and it was dead simple. We roasted a couple of hot dogs. It doesn't get a whole lot simpler.

It wasn't the food itself, although it was delicious. They were not mainstream dogs, but a local product. It was the place we ate. The lake was gorgeous, the wweather delightful and the company superb. It doesn't get any better than that.

We were out in God's little slice of heaven eating basics and although there wasn't a light pole or a toilet for miles, it was the most civilized lunch I have ever had.

To the one person that I have had as a friend for over fifty years, I thank you. I am lucky to have you on my very short list of friends.

my other blog is:

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A post on Alzheimer's

To any of you that are dealing with a loved one with Alzheimer's, get the book "The Long goodbye". Read it.

A couple of weeks ago I heard that an aunt had been diagnosed with this foul trick played on humanity so I made it a personal point to drive up to see her after I got off of my last tour.

This is an open post for some of my relatives. I am posting it here for the benefit of any readers that are dealing with this insideous disease. Quite frankly, if I am the recipient of this scourge of humanity, I have a couple of friends that have agreed to catch me in a lucid moment and let me know it's time. They will then hand me a pistol and leave the room.

Just as my mother was the oldest of her generation, I am the oldest of this current generation and I guess I really ought to share a few things with you guys. Your mother is the baby of her generation, as you know.

As were all of my mother's children, I was born in the hospital right behind your grandparents house.

She was thirteen when I was born and you can bet that our grandparents spoiled the living hell out of me. Your mom got to see the miracle of infancy and I'm pretty sure it tugged at her youthful maternal instinct. She baby sat me often during my early years and she doted on me and spoiled me rotten. I've known your mom since she was 13.

While we are on the subject of grandparents, you grandmother had the obnoxious habit at weddings of pinching my cheek and saying, 'You're next". I broke her of that habit by doing it back to her at a funeral. To those of you that never had her do that dopey little annoying thing to you, I figure you owe me one for that one.

During my early years your mother did a lot of neat things with me. I well remember a trip she took my brother and I on to visit Old Ironsides. We had a blast. She also took us to a few museums and I enjoyed that, too. I consider her an important part of my childhood.

Over the years as I grew up she always had an open ear and a very sharp mind that was open to discuss just about anything. As time went on and I left home to embark on the three ring circus my life has been, I tried to drop in on her when I had the chance.

It's hard to drop by when you live in Colorado or Alaska, but when I could I made the effort. It was always worth it. Then again, it is always worth it to see someone that is willing to discuss something other than the nice looking blue coat you have on. In short, you mother is quite a brain. She's also a good listener and has often had good advice for me.

My visit to her was wonderful. She was very lucid and remembered just about everything and didn't repeat herself more than once or twice. Maybe I got lucky and she was having a good day. About the only problems she seemed to have is getting us to the beach and the clam hut, but that was OK and I played it light as one is certainly supposed to do.

We had a nice long walk on the beach and it was probably a good thing. She was pretty sharp and I think like her big sister she is a water person. It was wonderful walking barefoot in the sand and she's in pretty good shape.

Still, even though I didn't mind getting lost for a few minutes, it was very frustrating to her that she seemed to have started to lose her way around. It bothered her, I could tell. This is one of the parts of the disease that is maddening to someone that has it. They get very frustrated as they KNOW they have gone somewhere a thousand times but now do not remember how.

It upset me to see her frustrated, but I didn't show it. It just would have made things worse.

I am going to be pretty blunt here, I saw what the disease did to my mother. It wasn't pretty and I want all of my aunt's children to know they can call me 24/7 to discuss anything they want, and my email is open, too.

Don't be afraid to give me a call or drop me an email, and don't be bashful about this because the truth is, I owe it to your mother.

She's special.

my other blog is:

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Greretings from the road.

I ahd a wonderful visit with my aunt and reconnected with an old friend fron childhood.

I will write a piece on both of these people.

I'd write it now, but I have a long drive ahead of me and although I would be comfortable writing it here from a rest stop, I feel the need to get home.

Later, Pic.

my other blog is:

Friday, August 12, 2011

Mc Donald's WiFi is where I am.

One of the things I have to admit is that there is a thirty year old guy out here that makes me laugh.

He plays the lottery to the tune of about five bucks a week just so he can sit there and pretend he has gotten rich. He has a pretty good system, actually and it has resulted in him both having fun and getting ahead a little.

Out here he sits with his tickets watching the drawing and pays rapt attention to the drawing and when he loses, which ge almost always does, he carrys on a bit and grumbles and mumbles about how he's going to score next week. We find him to be pretty amusing.

About a month ago he won one of the smaller prizes and when I mentioned that he could use it for a night on the town or for something he has always wanted he told me his stratagy and it made me smile.

Every single cent he wins he banks. Every cent.

If he wins two bucks for spelling his name right on the ticket, it goes straight to his account and stays there. He tells me the tellers roll their eyes when he makes a two-dollar deposit, but that's just too damned bad. All winnings go into his account and that is just that. It stays there.

He's had a couple of small hits over the past six or seven years that have added up and I imagine there is a modest sum there. I suppose that some day he may (or may not) make a good sized hit and get ahead. Who knows?

But he's having fun doing this and seeing what he can do with it and in the process of having a lot of fun he is putting a few bucks aside for a rainy day.

Jeff Foxworthy said that rich people have retirement portfolios and that a Redneck retirement plan is the lottery. Here's one kid that is doing both.

It would be interesting to see how he makes out by the time he is ready to retire.

my other blog is:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

No littering. $219 fine

I drove to Massachusetts to visit an aunt and en route I pulled into the Connecticut reception area to use the bathroom. As I was pulling in I saw an interesting sign.

No littering. $219 fine.

No lie. $219 fine.

Why wasn't the fine $226.11?

$219 Makes no sense to me. Where in the name of Sam Hill (also from that state) did they come up with such an odd number?

Leave it to elected officials.

my other blog is:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

False advertising

False advertising on the Military channel.

'Secrets of Seal Team Six'. Yeah, right.

While a person watching the show may learn a few things he didn't know about the Special Warfare people, you can bet your boots you are not going to get privvie to any classified information on the tube.

Then again, you might. The Navy has made a few mistakes over the years.
The Russians got all kinds of information about our nuclears subs just by purchasing a Revell model kit. There are a number of stories of scouts getting into reactor rooms while on tours given by the Navy. My favorite is the one where a guard refused an admiral admittance to a reactor room by sticking his rifle against the admiral's nose while at the same time a troop of scouts was checking the reactor room out.

I would have loved to see the look of outrage on the admiral's face.
As a former enlisted man I find it amusing seeing a flag officer having a rifle stuffed in his face, but this is one instance that even makes ME think 'WTF?!".

my other blog is:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The night before crew change post. Some loose threads

It is August and where has the year gone? It is hot as hell out and I have a little more outside painting to get done on this boat and I guess I'll hit it when I get up and then take a siesta and knock a little more of it out until it is done.

Still, the year has gone by too damned fast and I have things left to do before things get cold and nasty.

I want to take the PRC rig and do a little DXpedition and bag an overseas QSO or two which means I'll pack the rig up some hill somewhere.


So, Barack, the Magic President is yakking about Socia Security, Medicare and Unemployment insurance as being entitlemment programs, huh?

Since I was a kid, I have been paying into Social Security and unemployment insurance. Later when Medicare started I wound up paying into that, too. I really had no choice. Uncle Sam simply had my employer take it out of my weekly pay.

Now these are the only three things I can think of that an employee has to cough up to the Feds for his own good and I simply paid. After all, it was for my own good.

Now, these are supposidly something along the lines of insurance premiums that the Feds have said they will back. OK, fine.

So how come the people that have been paying into these programs all their lives are going to be the first to take the hits?

Oh, yeah. I know. It's because we have to make damned good and sure that those that are too damned lazy to get off of their asses and take care of themselves can continue to do so.

I keep forgetting about that, but you can bet your a$$ I won't be forgetting about that come election time.

Adios, Barak.

The again, maybe not. When the Democrats started shouting 'anybody but Bush', they ran an anybody and he lost.

I would not be surprised to watch the Republicans do the same damned thing.
So how come every time I turn around I see more government types wanting to take more money away from people that have earned it and give it to people that haven't?

It seems that every time a company or person makes money Uncle Sam is standing there taking it away from them and giving it to someone else that didn't earn it.

We reward laziness and stupidity and punish success which is bad enough, but what irks the holy hell out of me is that when the government runs out of money for those of which we seem to owe a living, they run the budget into the red.

China has recently stated that they want the UN to start to run the federal budget of the United States and of course, a lot of Americans got upset. They said we were going to have to cut way back on our social welfare programs. I sat and thought about it for a second before I reacted.

China's argument has a certain grain of merit. After all, it seems our government is incapable of doing a good job.
Why do women ask strangers if something looks good on them?

A recent ship's errand to Wally World found me cutting through the shoe department and some woman starts with, "YO! Hey, you? Deeze chews look good on me?"

I glanced and hooked my thumb over my shoulder, "Blacksmith's about a mile down the road on the right," I shot back without breaking stride.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Archeologists sometimes make me chuckle

One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is that now all of these archeologist types are digging through the artifacts of WW2. It amazes me because I was born 6 years after the shooting stopped and during my childhood a large portion of my childhood toys and tools came from the resulting surplus sales.

Over the past few years I have seen the price of WW2 gear go through the roof. A German helmet that I almost bought for six bucks as a kid is now going for hundreds. Makes me wish I had bought a ton of them.

Packs, tents and camping gear from surplus stores kept me in gear for short money and the services used to give tons of the stuff to scouts as donations. The scout camp I went to had a pretty good field phone switchboard compliments of Uncle Sam. I'd bet that the system has long been disassembled and scrapped. Wonder how much it would be worth today?

A lot of the younger archeolgist types that run across this stuff marvel at it, but to me a lot of it is nothing more than some of the stuff I played with as a kid.

Hell, one of my mess kits was dated 1917. It was a WW1 holdover. It didn't have the sectioned upper half, it was more of a plate and wasn't even called a mess kit. It was called a meat can.

There are an awful lot of sunken ships in Davy Jones's locker and there seems to be a lot of interest there and I have to admit that watching a Discovery or History channel special on finding and exploring some wreck at the bottom of the sea is interesting. Maybe this is because I never got to play with sunken ships as a kid. Who knows?

Then again, I work on the water and I suppose that there is a carryover. Even though I have been in this business for decades I still love the sea and find things like that fascinating. Over the years a few people have told me that I should have gone to work for Robert Ballard hunting for wrecks. Ballard is the guy that found both Titanic and Bismark. Working for him would have been interesting.

I have mixed feelings on working for Ballard, though.

He is often called on to settle petty little spats. Was Bismark sunk by the Brits or scuttled?

It really does not matter because even if it was scuttled, the Brits tore her up so bad they Germans HAD to scuttle her, so for what it's worth, we have to give the Brits credit for causing her to be sunk. I daresay if she hadn't been sunk or scuttled she very well may have been outright captured. The Brits are superb at good old fashioned 'Stand by to board, and at 'em, Boys' stuff.

Yet the argument rages to this day and I would not want to be in Ballard's shoes when he got into the middle of that one. Uggh! I'd say that one runs along there with the time I was pulling targets at Camp Perry and the guy on my right was arguing with the guy on my left over which brand of vitamin was the best for you. I was stuck in the middle and but of my ears are probably still cauliflowered from the ear beating.

Still, it could be worse. I think one of the biggest fights still raging since the end of WW2 is the one between the guys that served with Patton and the 101st Airborne types that held Bastogne. The guys with Patton say they rescued the 101st and the guys of the 101st will insist they didn't need to be rescued. About a decade ago I saw two old men damned near come to blows in a barber shop over that one. My money was on the old paratrooper, but I digress.

With WW2 not even 100 years old, it is amazing how archeologists have chased it recently. Many of the veterans are still alive and they can be questioned. It is not like, say going to a Civil War site to dig.

In fact, one of the neatest things I recall is that they too a couple of former PWs to the site of the Great escape and unearthed one of the tunnels. They found something or another and one of the vets said, "Hey! That's mine!"

Still, I guess maybe digging while the remaining vets are still here to talk to may be a pretty good idea as they are still here to answer questions.

Still it makes me laugh thinking that some young archeologist that pictures himself as a young Indiana Jones is going all gaga over what used to be the contents of my tool box.

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

One of the things I have been asked about

is how I seem to have no trouble running my antenna wire and setting up my little portable station. I attribute this to using a little discretion and some common sense.

For one thing, I run a simple discreet little show and stay out of the way. When I set up shop in a Wally World lot a while ago I looked around and found the most out of the way part of the lot, set up shop and minded my own business. The slingshot was out for just a couple of minutes and then placed in a pack which went into the bed of the truck. Out of sight out of mind. Generally nobody will even think to ask you how you got your antenna wire up into a pole or tree. If they do, evade the subject if you can.

Incidentally, think before letting fly with a one ounce sinker in a slingshot. Take a worst case scenario view before you let fly. Breaking a car windshield is not a good thing to do because for some reason, people get upset over things like that. If there is any chance at all of a miss or of breaking something either change your position or just go somewhere else.

Using a Garand and grenade launcher really isn't too bright of an idea to run a wire with even with a reduced load as people tend to get a little worried about things like that. Even an inert rifle grenade will make a lot of people get pretty upset.

The other thing is that I do not set up shop dressed like a coastwatcher complete with a Webley revolver strapped to my hip. You blend in and leave anything that draws attention home. You do not want to look too much more out of place than you already are. Leave as much of the surplus gear that you possibly can at home, especially anything that looks like a weapon.

This may surprise some of you, but sometimes camoflage gear can actually draw attention to you instead if hiding you. Believe it or not, sometimes jeans and a T-shirt will hide you a lot better than Marpat does.

Although a lot of us may find that taking OD mast sections and stenciling them to look like Bangalore torpedoes is funny, there are an awful lot of policemen out there that would read 'Torpedo, Bangalore M1A1 Lot AP-663 6-44' on the side of a harmless mast section and call the bomb squad immediately.
Expect to be detained for a while if you do this. In this day and age some people do not have a sense of humor.

Setting up an OD field desk with a Garand leaning against it and setting up a camoflauge net over it is also a pretty good way to be the recipient of unwanted attention, while the rig resting on a pickup tailgate and a guy dressed in a pair of jeans and a T-shirt sitting in front of the rig is not really going to draw a whole lot of attention.

Being seen sitting there drinking beer is not a good idea, either. Even if you have a designated driver it looks like hell and doesn't do much for your name or the hobby. Leave the beer in the cooler for after hours or better yet, in the refrigerator for when you get home.

Although I have not been the recipient of any police attention yet, it's a pretty safe bet that one of these days some officer is likely to roll up and ask a few questions. I have a few casual answers because I will be doing nothing wrong. I keep a copy of my license in my pocket and that generally covers a lot of ground and I am not creating a scene of any sort. My guess is that if the police show up I will have a few questions asked and he will roll off.

(Update: I was at a Starbucks after hours and a cruiser rolled up and looked around, asked me how I was doing and drove off. I attribute this to the Starbucks people calling them and telling them I would be there for a while after hours. I had asked permission and showed them my license and for some reason they OK'd it.)

Unless you are using something like a park, scenic turnoff, large parking lot ala WallyWorld, you can generally get permission if you know how to ask for it and you'd be surprised how willing people are to help out. Hams fall into the same catagory as merchant mariners. Most people have heard of them but few people know very much about the. As a seaman, one person asked me, "Merchant Marines,huh? Don't they fight pirates?" That time I wished I had a copy of my profile picture from this blog in my pocket, complete with sword.

Hams have a reputation of getting messages through at the right time under adverse circumstances and years ago before I licensed, someone once told me, "It was a ham radio guy that saved Apollo 13 when NASA lost communications with them!" Of course, I didn't believe it then and I don't believe it now, but there are countless stories of ham operators providing emergency communications over the years.

While there are a lot of people out there that do not know that hams are simply radio enthusists of varying degrees, they do share a reputation of being on the list of good guys. Incidentally, whatever you do, do not do anything to smudge that reputation. Be polite.

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

WHere is moose and squirrel?

One of my crew is a High Jedi Master out of making a colossal thing out of absolutely nothing and I have to admit that it is quite a talent.

Yesterday he swept out a couple of corners on deck in preperation for painting. He did such a good job that it made it rain which of course, sent him back to square one. When it dries he will have to do the job over again because I didn't get to paint it yesterday.

His good natured griping about it made me laugh.

"You didn't do anything?" he accused. "You didn't cover the entire vessel with tarps and lay out hundreds of towels and get the shop vac out to suck up any water, did you?"

He went on and on and on, obviously making a colossal project of totally epic proportions out of nothing and it made me laugh myself silly as I saw that he was simply making fun of just another dopey little thing that happened out here.

The other day when he woke up, he poked his head out of the bunk room, turned his head in either direction and looked at me as I sat there drinking coffee.

"Vere is moose and squirrel?" he asked me, in a heavy Russian accent.

I snarfed.

It went right over the head of the younger guy sitting across from me, probably because it came from a cartoon series that ran in the early 60s. Right out of nowhere, I had to deal with none other than the Rocky and Bullwinkle show's world famous evil Russian spy, Boris Badenoff.

His imitation and accent was letter perfect and came right back to the period of the Cold War where I recall having to hide under a desk at school.

And in one funny gesture as he was waking up he brought all the humor and pathos of being a kid in the middle of the Cold War back to me. It made me recall the time I got a QSL card from Radio Havana right smack dab during the middle of the Cuban missile crisis. I remembered hiding under my desk at school. I remember the fear and all of the things that went on during that period, yet I remember laughing about it as a little kid watching Rocky and Bullwinkle.

The cartoons of the era were a lot less politically corret than they are now. Many of the ones I saw as a kid were reruns from the WW2 era with buck toothed Japanese and monocled Germans in them. They really were not made for kids with their underlying tones and little things. Even Popeye was always muttering things that went over our young heads. I wish I could see them now that I would understand them, but I fear they have been put in deep storage somewhere by a politically correct society.

As an adult I realize they were little subliminal messages to encourage us to buy war bonds.

In one stupid little impromptu skit my shipmate brought it all back to me.

It takes a lot to make me snarf, yet this guy has a knack at catching me off guard and the truth is, it sure makes time pass out here. I hope he keeps up the good work.


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Friday, August 5, 2011

"C'mon, Pic. Be a GOOD GUY."

In a pig's eye I will. Every time I hear that old saw I cringe because it generally means I am going to have to tell someone to do something anatomically impossible because someone is getting ready to try and take me for a ride.

Generally the person in question IS a good guy, a lovable enough character of sorts that you would just love to help out. Unfortunately there is generally something wrong with him somewhere on down the line.

Back when I was a young newbie in this business I pulled into a dock and the dockman hooked up the hose, got the discharge started and pulled out a 12 pack of beer and started drinking. I was aghast. Even back then I was smart enough not to get on the radio and say anything so I hooped ashore and wandered up to the main dock operations building and had a quiet word with someone about the fact that the dockman was well into his third beer and someone really ought to relieve him.

I didn't want anyone to get into trouble which is why I tried to be discreet.

What was I told? I was told "Just keep it under your hat, that's So and So and he's a real good guy."

I kept my mouth shut and when the transfer was over and the man was passed out in the dock shack I hopped ashore again and closed the shoreside valve (his job) and went back up to the operations building and reported that we were done and that So and So was passed out and wouldn't someone like to come and disconnect the hose?

"Would you be a good guy and please disconnect it?"

"What else do you want me to do to keep on the good guy list? Paint this operations building?"

"But So and So's such a good guy." he replied.

I called our office and told them nobody was disconnecting the hose. They made the necessary calls and a couple of guys showed up and disconnected it, and we sailed. I spoke to my captain and flat out told him I was no longer going to be a 'good guy'. He looked at me and grinned.

"Now you're learning," he said.

A couple months later I was no longer in training and I showed up at the same pier. So and So was there. I fired up the boom and dropped the hose on the dock and watched him hook it up. We got the transfer started and he opened a cooler in the back of his truck and pulled out a cold one.

"Stop right there," I said. "I was a good guy the last time I pumped off here. You have used up all of your good will last time I was here when you passed out."

"The boss doesn't mind," he said.

"I'm not going to call your boss," I replied. "I'm going to call the Coast Guard."

He paled.

'I'm not going to risk my license over you're stupid crap," I said. "Who is going to do your job if there is an emergency? If you think I am going to jail for you, guess again."

A few minutes later the boss showed up and I told him pretty much the same thing. "If he's such a good guy," I said, "Go drinking with him or tear up a whorehouse with him or take him bowling. That's what good guys are for."

I wasn't going to go to jail for this lovable slob of for that matter, anybody else. If being a good guy means risking my career and my freedom I am better off being a gold plated bastard. It is employment that keeps me from poverty. The boss knew it wasn't going to end here if he didn't end it so he pulled the guy off the dock and replaced him.

This little indident took place over 20 years ago and I have been there many times since. So and SO is no longer on the dock, which is fine by me. Truth is, the industry has cleaned itself up a lot over the past two decades since the Exxon Valdez/ Prince William Sound oil spill back in '89 and I suppose that is a good thing. A lot of sad sacks have left the industry and it has gotten a lot more professional. That IS a good thing.

Over the years I have actually been a damned good guy. I've helped out quite a few people and covered for some good men that have almost gotten themselves into hot water, too. I'm not really a bastard, but I am not a pushover, either.

The late Tip O'Neal once said, "To get along, go along." That holds only a certain amount of water. Things only go so far and although I will go along with a few things here and there I will draw the line well before things get out of hand because by then it is too late.

Even though I was told 'be a good guy' well over twenty years ago, I have not forgotten it and when someone hands me that line I still cringe and get ready to get into a donnybrook of some sort.

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

One of several reasons I'd be a lousy big cheese

One of the things I see that make me think that I should not have been a big shot is that they are always seen being being carted around in limosines.

I have been in a couple and I can say that the convenience of not having to deal with parking and fetching the car is a pretty good deal. The rest of it doesn't impress me, though. All you do in the damned things is ride and look out the window for the most part.

I suppose some big shots do business in them, read reports or work on laptops etc, but I can't seem to do this because for some reason I tend to get a little carsick while trying to read. I also really don't like being a passenger for any length of time, either although I don't mind driving.

I suppose if I became some kind of a big shot I would probably not have a limosine because they are too big and unwieldy. I'd have a smaller car, but a pretty comfortable one and I would have a driver to take care of the annoyances like parking and picking me up, but that's where it would end.

I suppose it would look a bit odd. It would look something like the big Cad pulling up for the Godfather and out of the building comes the Don who walks around the car and hooks his thumb. Dutifully, the driver slides over and the Godfather hops in and drives himself off to meet with the Tatagglio brothers to get someone whacked or to go somewhere to bribe a judge or congressman.

While I am not saying I am aspiring to be the Godfather or any other big cheese, Senator Piccolo would be doing the same thing. Senator Piccolo would drive while his chauffeur rode shotgun.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

After Indiana Jones found the Ark

of the Covenant and the government took it away from him and parked it in a warehouse where it probably resides to this day, according to the Hollywood movie, Old Indy was assured that it would be closely examined by 'Top men'. Of course, the government would not let Indy know who these so-called 'top men' were.

We all know it was a big snow job and that the Ark was destined to sit in the warehouse undisturbed for the next jillion years or so. My guess is that it sits next to the German stealth airplane we snagged at the end of WW2. The one we didn't let the stealth researchers know about lest it save us billions in taxpayer dollars.

The 'top men' snow job still goes on, though.

My favorite that I have seen in recent times is the one Oprah used from time to time, enter the 'noted authority' who in reality is nothing more than a self-appointed person who may or may not know a damned thing about the subject they are discussing.

I suppose they have to give these people, some of which looked pretty dubious to me, a title of some sort. 'Noted authority' sounds pretty impressive, but I simply want to know who noted them. I have never heard of any board that issued noted authority credentials. When you ask, they will often refer to the so-called noted authority's educational credentials.

"He has a master's degree from such and such," someone is apt to say.

OK, he has a Master's degree. What is it in? Botany? Business? Archeology?

So we have a guy here with a Master's degree in underwater basket weaving or business or botany here trying to pass himself off as an expert in gun violence in the inner city when his only real credentials are that he was in the hospital for a hemmoroid operation when a shot up gang banger was admitted and now he claims to know everything about inner city gun violence or something along these lines.

I hate a snow job. It is out and out dishonest and people have been doing this to the public for years and I am tired of it. I am tired of seeing so-called experts try and tell us how to live our lives and what to do when they have a big degree yet not enough sense to come out of the rain.

Some of these people try and propose that we all become nails instead of hammers and will come up with pie graphs and charts to prove it, yet any high school dropout carpenter will tell you that it is a lot better to be a hammer than a nail because the first day on the job he probably slammed a box full of 16d nails while framing a house up. He saw it first hand and probably has a little common sense.

There is a bumper sticker out there that says, "Question authority" and I think it's a pretty good one although it does seem like a red flag to policemen and that is why I do not have it on my car. Of course, the police themselves ought to question things, too. Higher up police supervisors are generally either appointed or elected and have political aspirations and will throw the officer to the wolves to further a political career.

You do have to think a little and snoop around when someone gets hearalded as some sort of amazing expert and check up on his credentials. Question the person and make sure he/she is not just some clown with a knack for self promotion.

Now what is it you wanted to tell me? Noted authority, huh? What noted authority board gave you your credentials?....Well, I'm listening.... A doctorate?.... In geneology? ...So I suppose that make you an expert in economics, huh?

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I might as well explain myself

as far as what both got me into and where I am going in ham radio.

I figure there are enough mainstream hams out there so that there is room for someone like me to take the road less traveled. Someone should and I will cheerfully volunteer as I will get satisfaction out of going the route I chose.

I got my ham ticket so that I could set up a little manpack portable station which I have done via the MilSurp route. I have a little Prc 320, made in UK that brings me joy simply making a QSO of any sort on it.

Although I am in my 60th year, I seem to still have a lot of spunk and mischief left in me so the rig seems to fit me like a glove. I take quite a bit of joy out of tossing the thing in my pickup and setting it up in various places and making a simple QSO. What I do I refer to as guerilla radio. I'm in and out of somewhere before you know it.

Armed with my trusty slingshot a tree or light fixture becomes an impromptu antenna mast and one of the nicest little sessions I have had with the rig took place when I sent my antenna aloft over a light fixture in a Wally World parking lot after hours.

One of the nicer things about doing things like this is that the police, who are usually pretty cynical about a lot of things rend to leave hams doing things like this alone as they generally are aware of them being good guys come disaster time. A little DXpedition can always be truthfully explained as an emergency communications drill, whis is is in a way. Just do not use an M-1 grenade launcher as a line throwing gun, that sort of thing and I suppose that keeping the slingshot out of sight is a good idea, too.

I have a small DXpedition or two in the offing, too. There are a few high points in US-30 I want to check out with the little 30 watt rig. What's nice about this is that a couple of guys from an internet forum I am on are interested in coming along or meeting up. New friends to be made.

I don't intend to bust my butt and haul the rig up to the top if some far flung remote peak somewhere out next to BFE, I'll keep it simple and maybe try places that are vehicle accessible as my boonie stomping days are nearing an end and hikes packing rucksacks are not up my alley anymore.

The IC-718 is sort of a winter thing and I'll probably run it in the winter and see what happens as I do not like doing cold weather any more.


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Monday, August 1, 2011

Just some half-baked stuff of of my word pad.

The First Lady goes to South Africa to tell the people there to pay attention and to eat right. More of our tax dollars went down the toilet sending her there.

What is she thinking? The people there are sucking on rocks, for God's sake. They were probably looking at her, salivating and thinking: Pork chop.

Of course, they were not because nobody poor or hungry got within a mile of her. I'd bet that her audience was probably a pretty well fed group.
Someone told me about a group at MIT that are trying to figure a way to build a laptop for under a hundred bucks so the third world can afford to go on the internet. Hmmm.

There is also supposidly a group there that is a little more down to earth. They are working on a toilet that will simply make feces burn up and disappear. This is in an effort to cut down on disease.

Guess what, people? There are actually problems WORSE than no internet service.

And another thing, you have to be able to eat to use a toilet.

Why are you wasting your time on the wrong problem?


In the background the other day there was a program about Northrup-Grumman getting the OK to see a WW2 German airplane that has been in a secret government warehouse since the end of the war. It is some kind of a flying wing. I was busy at the time and did not pay very close attention so I may be wrong here.

Northrup-Grumman recently put a team together to build some sort of a duplicate to see how stealthy it was and I guess it was pretty stealthy and could sneak past the radar to a pretty fair extent.

Of course, you can bet that the government, in their quest for secrecy didn't make the airplane available to the defense contractors that were studying stealth technology back when they were designing our stealth bombers because it was a big secret. They probably kept the old plane in a government warehouse, presumably a couple aisles down from where they keep the Ark of the Covenant which Indiana Jones supposidly snagged back in the 30s, where it was supposidly examined by 'Top Men'.

Letting the scientists responsible for designing our stealth aircraft check the old German airplane out was out of the question because it was a classified item. Instead, the government sent the team back to square one to start from scratch even though they were going to have to pay for all of this research even though they already had a sample of it.

We spent millions researching technology we already had. While I'm sure the old airplane wasn't as good as our stealthy planes are today, I'd bet we could have saved quite a huge chunk of change if we had looked at what we already had in our national attic.

What gets me about this World War 2 airplane and the secrecy around it is that some of the people in R&D should have been going over this plane in the 40s. Why didn't they have 'Top Men' look it over?

What good is a secret like that if we don't exploit it?

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