Sunday, September 30, 2012

I'm a veteran and I enlisted for one simple reason

I wanted a right to complain.

As far as I am concerned you have no right to complain unless you have at least something invested in the country. It does not have to be military service but it has to be something. Peace Corps, Vista, candy striping at the local hospital, something.

I know a guy that spent a couple of summers planting trees in Oregon for the Forest Service many years ago. That counts in my book. You don't have to be a war hero or invent a better light bulb, you just have to get off of your dead ass and onto your dying feet and do something for the rest of us.

There are just too damned many people out there that skate and then have the nerve to gripe when Uncle doesn't give them yet another freebie.

As a vet I have earned nothing more than the right to complain with something to back me up. If someone asks me what right I have to say such and such, I can say that I earned the right to gripe because I served in the United States Army. Generally when I ask THEM what THEY did they hem and haw.

Once I asked someone what they did and they told me thay had spent a couple of years in an inner city program teaching kids to read. The guy that said this to me said it in an uppity, effite tone of voice that made it clear he had little or no use for the military and I suppose I could accept that, but I didn't like his snotty delivery.

Still, I was halfway decent about it. I told him that he had done something and he, too, had earned the right to gripe. He had at least put up and that counts for a lot in my book.

While I don't really like the guys attitude I have to respect the fact that at least he didn't spend his life sitting on his ass doing nothing.

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

The damned VA ought to do something instead of

handing out checks.

A couple of months ago I ran into a former GI that went to Perry to shoot. He was still in the same wheelchair and looked like hell to be honest. He seemed to have lost the optimism he had when I first met him several years ago and I defended him from some jerk of a line officer that wanted him to shoot his Garand from a wheelchair.

The Garand ain't no little pop gun like the so-called assault rifles the do-gooders want to ban, it is a full sized Old School .30 caliber battle rifle and the blast and recoil would have likely upended the wheelchair he was on.

Back when I met this guy he was pretty optimistic about the future and now he looked uncomfortably comfortabe just sitting in a wheelchair and collecting a damned check.

You don't just buy a guys legs with a damned monthly check. A good GI deserves more. He deserves his dignity. He should have been working somewhere and doing something constructive. There are an awful lot of jobs out there that he could have been doing because there are a lot of things you do not need a set of legs to do.

Someone ought to take this guy, jerk him out of his wheelchair and give him a good swift kick in the ass and tell him to get his act together. Just because a guy lost a couple of legs doesn't mean squat in this day and age. There's a lot he could be doing instead of sitting in a damned wheelchair feeling sorry for himself.

This guy is fairly bright and could be doing something useful like, maybe running a company payroll or designing a bridge or something. There are an awful lot of things a person doesn't need a set of legs to do these days. We've changed and the percentage of people that work at desks has gone up.

When I was growing up the guy up the street who was a banker lost his eyesight in a car accident and he recovered and a couple of months after he was back at work. I suppose if he was like a lot of the other dads in the neighborhood that worked with their hands he might have had a harder time but the fact still remains that this guy raised three kids after the loss of his eyesight. The man had guts.

This is where sometimes I think the VA ought to show a little tough love and replace the softies that work there and simply hand out checks and go home feeling good with GOOD retired sergeants.

GOOD sergeants, not the supply daddy of Company B, 368th Dempsey Dumpster battalion, but the kind of guys that teach things like Ranger School. Pricks. Bastards. The kind of guys that will accept nothing whatsoever but success and turn them loose on a lot of our guys.

We're talking about the kind of guys who look at a group and say simply, "You WILL succeed!" and then step back and give these former NCOs a LOT of latitude because what is llikely to go on in the back room is not likely to be a very pretty sight.

Good NCOs are born teachers and surprise their students because with a simple glance the NCO just instinctively knows what a guy can and can't do. They generally don't force a guy to try and do something he can't but they sure make someone do what he can do. Often the student is shocked by the results because he has just found out that he is capable of something he didn't think he could do. This happens to a lot of youngsters in boot camp that have all their arms and legs. They leave boot camp astonished because they found out they can do more than they thought they could.

The loss of arms or legs is a terrible shock to go through and isn't to be taken lightly. While some recover quickly, others don't. Sometimes these that do not recover quickly simply need to be shown how capable they really are and getting over self-pity sometimes requires a bigger shock than the shock they got when they lost their limb in the first place.

The kind of NCO I am talking about isn't garden avriety, but isn't all that uncommon. He's the kind of guy that can administer a quick boot in the ass one moment and then hold a guy in his arms and let him cry his eyes out until the tears dry up and then throw him back into the program with a boot in the ass.

It's high time we stop fixing things with monthly checks and start fixing things right and get a lot of these guys back into the game. We owe it to them to give them their pride and sense of self worth back, but there's something a lot more than that.

Our society needs these guys badly because we need someone to look up to and show us all the meaning of guts.

It is a lesson I learned as a kid from the guy up the street. His terrible loss became my gain and I think that the general public could learn a lot from these guys.

They ought to jerk the whole VA out of it's place and put this entire issue right on the lap of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and tell them, "You made these guys, and then you broke them. Now fix them because we sure the hell need them."

Let the services take care of their own.

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Friday, September 28, 2012


is a killer.

It drives me nuts. I have to go in for an appointment soon and I am up early.I am in waiting mode.

This isn't going to be much of a post today because I am a little too keyed up.

Only new news is I bagged Serbia and Jordan yesterday.

Jordan is the first Middle East station for me to log. I would have had Israel but some donkeybreath decided to come on the air a kilohertz away with about a kilowatt and a half and read the Gettysburg Address to someone and that killed that.

Someone yesterday at therapy that is somewhat of a do-gooder asked me about how we ought to help the poor.

I told her that we could eliminate it by taxing it out of existance. Instead of the more you make, the more they take, you do the opposite. Legislate a tax on the poor. A totally burdomsome poverty tax. Tax the living hell out of poverty and it will go away.

Truth is, we don't have a whole lot of poor in this country.

my other blog is:

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Good morning a little late

Which I guess is a good thing because it is better late than never.

I think I finallly trained the cat to use the litter box in the bathroom which means I'll be sharing the head with the cat. It took more doing than training him to take to the leash which reminds me.

I think I'll take Kitty out for a walk today and visit someplace. Maybe the vets as they would appreciate seeing that I have trained the cat to perform seeing eye cat duties.

Most of the people there that used to take care of Tokie are gone and I have a couple of them wound up with my telling them that cats can be trained to be guide animals. This ought to be fun.

Ten bucks bought me a white cane off of eBay and another five snagged a  harness.

A lot of people remember the adventures Tokie and I had when I'd pass him off as a guide animal. We visited all sorts of places together as a team and raised all sorts of hell together.

While this cat isn't Tokie, he's still a pretty good cat.

We'll see what happens this afternoon if I can get back from te business I have to attend to today.


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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I had beer pancakes for breakfast yesterday

 for the first time in quite some time and they were pretty good even though I didn't make them from scratch. I used the basic Aunt Jemima 'just add water' mix only instead of adding water I used beer. The night before I opened a beer and left it on the counter overnight.

It reminded me of a visit to one of my friends several years ago and he had one of his relatives over that he quietly explained to me waas a pain in the ass. I was passing through town and he had offered to let me stay if I promised to make breakfast as he had acquired a taste for my cooking while we roomed together in Alaska for a while.

I think his relative wa a cousin and he warned me that he was a little on the do-good side and he said he wouldn't interfere if she pissed me off which she did almost instantly.

I had planned on beer pancakes and one of my then well known omelets consisting of whatever I could scrape out of a refrigerator.

I opened a quart of beer and put it on the kitchen counter and almost instantly the cousin put the cap back on and put it back in the refrigerator. I pulled it out and uncapped it and said nothing.

He recapped it and told me it would go flat.

I simply uncapped it and crushed the cap and tossed it in the wastebasket and said nothing and put the bottle back on the counter.

Of course, he complained to Bill and Bill told him simply to leave things alone.

"I don't understand, The beer will go flat." said the cousin.

"Not as flat as your head will end up if you don't learn to leave things that don't concern you alone," I interrupted. "Stop trying to save people from themselves. All it does is puts gets you in trouble."

"Well, the beer is going to go flat," he said, knowingly and with indignation in his voice.

I paid him no mind and walked off and told him to leave things alone and learn something.

The next morning I made breakfast and he watched me make up the pancakes and looked in horror as I dumped beer into the pancake flour.

"You can't start drinking this early!" he cried. "You'll be drunk before noon!"

I gave him a dirty look and he wandered off.

"Did it ever occur to you that the alcohol will burn off when he cooks them?" Bill asked him.

"Oh," said the cousin.

We ate breakfast and shortly after I left.

Several months later I asked Bill if his cousin had learned anything and he said he hadn't.

I told Bill that I figured he hadn't because some people won't learn.

I have met people like this for years and it wasn't until Ron White put it so eloquently when he said, "You can't fix stupid."

I've got half a flat beer in the fridge and I think I'll make more pancakes tomorrow morning and I'll end this now because I have to take it out and put it on the counter
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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Last night I got fooled

I thought I had hit the mother load last night when I went on 40 meters and heard Asian voices speaking theiir native tongue. I figured that the band had opened up and I was getting the Pacific rim or something, yet something was a little odd about it as I listened.

Every so often I would grab a callsign and look it up in the QRZ database and it led to Philly, New Jersey or New York.

When they started to break up I threw my callsign in and one of them answered it with a definite New York accent. He sounded like a native, which he probably was.

I wasn't the only person fooled, just the quickest because after he and I swapped signal reports there was a little pile up of people wondering what it was.

I guess it was just a small group of Chinese Americans practicing the language they grew up with in their homes or something like that. Anyway, they fooled me and had me believing the band had opened up and I don't mind being fooled every so often. It keeps me on my toes.

In other news,  Yesterday I went to renew my passport and thought I was on a government website. I wasn't I had been tricked into a government looking site that wasn't the governmental passport department, but was a private passport expediter that wanted a pretty good size chunk of change for doing what I can do on my own for free.

It would have been one thing if it had been aan obvious non governmental format, but it wasn't. It looked an awful lot like it was governmental and that's just plain dishonest when you represent Uncle Sam.

If I put on a police uniform and a GI haircut and wander around you are going to at least get hassled and if you do anything whatsoever to actually act like a police officer you can bet your ass you are going to visit the Cross Bar Hotel for a while.

It wasn't until I was well through the process when I figured out that this may not have been a governmental agency so I made a phone call and out and outright  asked if this was a bona fide governmental agency that I got my answer and I had to fight for that because the woman started hemming and hawing.

I told her a simple Yes or No would suffice and I got a no. I told her to cancel the order instantly and made it clear that if I suffered any unauthorized charges or had any problems whatsoever that they were the first people I would have checked out.

Doing business like that is patently dishonest because it is a misrepresentation.

Today I'll get my own passport and although it may take a while, I'll get it. I'm not in a hurry.

my other blog is:

Monday, September 24, 2012

I'm just sitting here looking out the window

before I go in for physical therapy which I actually enjoy going to because it gets me out of the house and gives me a little more exercise than I would normally get here even though I do stay active.

Yesterday I had a pretty good recreational fire and managed to burn up a lot of lumber scrap that I will never need. It was a pretty good day and now I have a lot more roomm in the garage. I just went outside and felt the bottom of the firepot and it is still hot so I stirred it up and the coals are still going pretty good.

One of the things I notice from time to time is how much junk people seem to collect and from time to time it is a good thing to get rid of it.

One of the things I got rid of was a huge, 2x2x5 foot blanket chest that was in the house when we moved in.
I was using it to store a couple of nail guns and a small compressor in and it simply took up too much floor space. Already I can see that getting rid of it was a pretty good idea.

Now that I have the garage dejunked, I think I'll move on to the basement. This ought to be good as there is an awful lot of crap in it that ought to just go away. The only problem I see is the actual disposal of the junk as there is a limit to how much trash I can put out at a time. I'm only authorized one of those trash hoppers that they use these days. It's sort of a mini dumpster and while it holds enough for day to day use, it isn't enough for a good fall cleaning.

I think I'll just check up on the dumpster schedule of a couple of local businesses and cut a deal with them and a couple hours before the truck comes I'll stuff my junk into them. Most of the people I know are pretty good and the guys that run a nearby gas station have already OK'd it.

Getting rid of stuff isn't as easy as it used to be and a part of that is that an awful lot of stuff wwe buy these days are throwaways.

The firepot I use is made of cast iron and hasn't burned through yet after over a decade unlike the mild steel ones they sell these days that only last about a season before they burn through and have to be scrapped. The same can be said for a lot of the patio stuff they make these days that rusts, rots or cracks after a few months.

I generally try and buy stuff that lasts because I hate replacing stuff and I hate having to figure out how to get rid of stuff ever since the township got a new trash service.

Right now I figure a lot of Americans are into the buy something, use it a while and junk it and as time goes on we are either going to have to change our habits or be drowned in our own junk.After all, while most of what we used to use would rot or break down, there are an awful lot of plastics and man made materiels that will easily outlast the pyramids of Egypt.

Today I also have to clean kitty's litter box and I will put the used kitty litter in a flat pan I have and put it in the attic because it keeps the chipmunks out. One whiff of cat urine and they simply will not enter.

I gotta go.


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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fall is here.

Yesterday I chopped ip an unused project along with a bunch of other scrap wood and decided to burn it today. I couldn't yesterday because it was too windy. It's that time of year again.

In about three weeks I will have a serious hankering to go out into a hardwood forest with an airline miniature of Jim Beam which is just the thing to enjoy in small quantities outside in the middle of a hardwood forest.

You notice that I specifically said Jim Beam instead of any of the fine top shelf bourbons out there. A walk in a hardwood forest isn't the place for a top shelf bourbon, it's a place for Jim Beam because there is something about Beam that isn't too polished.

If you come along with me please do not bring a top shelf bourbon with you. You'll ruin the whole thing.

I'm sitting here looking out back and thinking thaat just yesterday it was spring and that a doe gave birth to a fawn less than 100 feet from where is sit nice and warm inside. Time passes. It passes quickly.

I think I might do a little hilltopping today as it would be nice to get out into the fall air for a bit and maybe see if I can knock another country of of my DXCC list. A glance at my sheet says I have 71 countries, and it would be nice to snag another one on the PRC 320.

The neighbors are interested in that little project and ask about it from time to time. The guy across the street sometimes checks his post office box to see where I am mailing a QSL card to and I've seen him smile and shake his head.

You may wonder why he is looking at my outgoing mail, and jump to conclusions but even that is a part of a system.

My mailbox is a little up the street and his is directly across the street. I can see his easier than I can see mine. When I toss a piece of outgoing mail in his box and raise the flag it is easier to see and when I look out and see the flag is down I know the postman has come and gone so I can check the mailbox.

Anyway, Happy Sunday morning.

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

SO many pictures seem to come into my mind from time to time.

A morning QSO on the rig the other morning netted what I believe to be Tonga.

Probably because of atmospherics the voice on the other end sounded pretty drunk and when realized that I was communicating with what I believed too be Tonga I instantly pictured some Fuzzy Wuzzy type with  Don King hair, wrapped in a colorful sarong of some type sitting in a thatched hut somewhere.  Outside the hut is a spear stuck in the ground.

Outside the hut was a fire next to an upended humongous cast iron pot and next to the fire was the head of the missionary that previously owned the radio in a stick slowly shrinking in the heat as the native that had just had eaten him for lunch sat in the radio shack happily babbling away on 20 meters.

As he finishes off another coconut that had been full of some kind of native hootch, the empty goes whistling out into the fire.

Of course, that is not what likely happened. It was more than likely a fairly well educated guy in a colorful shirt but it was a lot more fun to picture things the other way.

Incidentally I could not find his callsign on any of the ususl registers so I asked on a couple of websites and the consensus is that it is still a bna fide QSO as there are a few countries out there that do not send licensing information into any of the usual places. Incidentally, someone found that a few guys have contacted this guy before.

As one guy put it, likely they probably keep the licensing information on a small pile of 3x5cards in the national building, which also happens to be the post office.

This contact interests me and I am going to try and track him down. I have a letter out to the local radio club. Maybe they know him and can get my contact confirmed.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

shoot the hostage.

RIght now there is a hostage situation going on in downtown Pittsburgh. I heard about it in the physical therapy waiting room.

I glanced up at the tube and commented, "Shoot the hostage."

Of course a couple of women gasped and gave me nasty looks like I was the cruelest person in the world which I am not.

Surprising me, another person looked up thoughtfully. "He gets it," he said. "In places overseas they do just that and as a result there are not anywhere near as many hostage situations as they are here."

"It saves lives in the long run if you make it a 100% no exceptions policy that you don't negotiate in hostage situations," I said.

Of course, Suzy Heartstrings tried to play her ace in the hole and I didn't bite.

"What it the hostage is a 2 year old girl?"

"I suppose the police could save a buck or so by using a .22." I replied.

The guy laughed.

The truth of things is that our so-called kindness costs us in lives on a daily basis.

When you allow the bad guys to get away with something they will simply do it again.

When you let blackmailers get away with it they di it again.

The only way to deal with this is to face it haed on and got it done and over with and deal with the perpetrator harshly and pay the price up front.

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

I have been in physical therapy

 for a few weeks and I have seen about four people there that have had either knee of hip replacements and only one of them is even close to being thin. The thin guy of the lot is thin and muckled his knee in some kind of accident. This is to be expected.

The other three are just plain fat. The polite term is morbidly obese or some such crap but the truth is that they have noone but themselves to blame because they have simply overworked the original equipment the good Lord gave them.

I have a friend that never seems to get it and generally ruins pickup suspensions because he doesn't understand the weight/volume equation. He just keeps figuring that if he can cram his pickup bed full of flowers that there is no reason he can't fill the same bed full of lead ingots.

A couple of years ago we both got a pretty good deal on concrete blocks and we both started loading out trucks. When my springs told me it was time, I stopped loading and commented that it looked like I had three loads. He looked at me like he was thhe smartest guy in the world and kept loading and told me he wasn't going to waste time and besides he had room to get them all.

I left first and was on the way back for my second load when the cell phone went off and sure enough, there he was on the side of the road with a broken spring.

Of course, he blamed General Motors.

It's the same way with the skelatal structure of the human body.

A bone structure designed to carry a 170 pound man is simply going to overstress when you pack 350 pounds onto it. Somethings going to give.

Infantrymen have an awfully high rate of skeletal injuries and I attribute that to all of the crap they carry with them into battle. They most likely suffer more injuries because of it that they sustain bullet of shrapnel injuries in combat, and when they are not either training or in combat they at least get to take all that crap they carry off their backs.

An overweight person is carrying the extra weight 24/7.

No wonder there are so many knee and hip replacements among the obese.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

And, of course, they generally blame McDonalds for it. my other blog is:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My shoulders are broad

. I will always help the helpless and like the Marines say, I will always fight for those that can't fight for themselves.

Truth is, there are not too many helpless people out there and I am getting pretty tired with a bunch of lazy slugs on my back.

I'm just going to say it. The poor are not poor. In a lot of cases they are doing better than I am and I bust my ass at sea as a professional mariner. I go away from home and hearth to make my living and it galls the living hell out of me to see people that don't do a damned thing living in many cases a lot better than I do.

Ben Franklin had the right idea when he said that the way to make poverty go away was to make it so hard for them they would find a way to escape it, yet our beloved government makes it so easy to be poor that there is no real reason whatsoever to get off one's ass and take care of one's self.

Don't pi$$ on my back and tell me it's raining, either. I've seen it too damned many times at the supermarket and other stores and seen shopping carts full of shrimp, steaks, potato chips and other spendy items, generally pushed by a morbidly obese person go through the checkout lines and watch the EBT card come out as I am pushing a cart with hamburger and chicken in it.

It simply isn't right. I'm paying for somebody that is supposidly poor to live better than I am.

Well, guess what? If they are living better than I am, they are not poor.

Follow the paid for shopping cart out the door and you can generally watch the groceries loaded into a pretty good car. Often better than the one I am driving.

While I have not followed one of these vehicles full of EBT paid for food, I wouldn't be surprised to see the car pull up to a pretty expensive looking home paid for by none other than Section 8 housing.

All of it is a travesty. The poor in many cases are living better than the people that are supporting them. It ain't right.

Of course, the powers that be keep upping the definition of what poor really is creating what turns out to look an awful lot like trickle up poverty.

They also keep lowering the amount of money you make before you get put in the catagory of being 'rich' and therefore pay a higher tax rate.

In short the middle class is shrinking because of trickle down poverty and I am not poor yet and therefore have to go out and work to pay for the poor who are not really poor, but they ARE lazy.

If we ARE going give these so-called poor and disadvantaged people a check then I want to see these people earn it. I'm getting pretty tired of driving on an interstate highway and seeing litter strewn bumpy roads, I want to drive to work on a sheet of glass amooth highways and look at the sides of the road as well manicured as a golf course.

Want a government check?

Earn it. Get out there and bust your ass like the people that sign it do.

Don't like earning your government check because it's too demeaning or beneath your dignity?

Get your act together and get a job in the private sector.

Want government housing? Fine. We still have a number of abandoned WW2 barracks available and you can use them free. Don't like them? Fine. We'll supply the materiels. YOU fix them up and you can learn a trade in the process. Don't like that?

Get a regular job and rent or buy your own.

I'm getting pretty sick of the poor and disadvantaged because they are simply costing me too much damned money. The truth is I am pretty damned tired of the poor and disadvantaged. I don't want people poor. I want them successful. After all, I am just getting damned sick and tired of the poor just dragging me down.

I've busted my ass and paid into social security and been promised that it will be there when I retire. It would have been there if the damned government haden't simply given it away. They simply gave it away under the guise of social programs. Back in the Johnson administration they took the entire social security account and added it to the general fund and in the course of a scant two years they simply gave it away.

They gave it to the so-called poor and disadvantaged.

Poor by choice. The advantages in this country are there. There isn't a state in the union that doesn't give anyone that wants if a free high school education. In fact, in most places it is against the law to quit school before you are at least 16 years old. There are also GED programs galore for those that decided that maybe quitting school wasn't such a good idea. We are a country full of second chances.

And don't you dare try and whip the race card out and KKK me, either. I raised quarters for Dr King and the Freedom riders back in the 60s and as a child supported Dr. King who didn't ask for a whole lot. He asked for basic rights and he got them. He also supported the then poor and disadvanted of all races and fought to make sure that everybody got a fair and equal chance and fifty years later anyone of any race can get into just about anyplace they are qualified for. Please remember that Dr. King, unlike Fat Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, was a republican. He believed in personal responsibility.

It's up to the individual to get the qualifications. The road to personal success is open to anyone that wants to take it.

I'm tired of making things easy for the poor and disadvantaged. Let's make it hard enough on them so that maybe they won't think that poverty is a good way of life and that they will, as individuals, find their own way out of it. It's not hard.

As for the truly helpless, the part that likely runs about 1% of the people that truly can't take care of themselves that we're paying monthly checks to, I have nothing but compassion for you.

If you simply can't take care of yourselves and have nobody to take care of you, no problem, but you damned well better be truly handicapped and unable to help yourself.

Screw the damned poor.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Someone made a comment the other day

 about handful of people that seem to get into ham radio with more money than brains and treat it lie a drag race. They get their license on a Saturday and Monday morning the team of experts from Motorola shows up and installs s 1500 watt state of the art unit in his house sand he goes on the air.

It made me think that this hobby is little different than a whole lot of others. There is always someone out there that doesn't seem to get it.

Take the Hometown, USA hot rod club.

Something like this is generally a bunch of guys that build their own rides in their garages of for that matter, in their driveways. They do their own engineering as best they can, their own mechanical and body work and build their own ride. Some of the members are talented and maybe they will swap skills here and there but the bottom line is that they are doing their own projects and share interests.

Enter some rich guy that doesn't even know what a wrench is and goes out and buys a $125,000 rebuilt Shelby or something like that from some custom builder and shows up with his ride at a meeting and wants to join.

Or the wooden boat club that consists of talented guys that have either built or rebuilt their own wood boats that really are in the under 25 foot class.

Neeedless to say there comes a day when someone with a 65 foot wooden boat with a crew of three shows up and wants to join the little boatbuilders club even though he has never picked up so much as a paintbrush. He's had everyone else do it for him.

A club like that is more of a builders club than a boat/ham/hotrod club. It is not a show-off club, unless you are showing off something you made or did on your own.

Quite often the club in question will be nice about things and let the guy join, of course, and sometimes the new guy gets it, sometimes not. Occasionally they might politely explain why he might not fit in.

Many moons ago I was in a sports car club and some guy with a hopped up lineburner came and joined and found out he was an orange in a barrelful of apples.

There is a saying that has a grain of truth to it. "Straight lines are for fast cars, curves are for fast drivers."

The lineburner guy with his powerful Daddyboughtme V-8 kept trying to get the rest of the club to straighten the course out because his hopped up lineburner was a fast car that could rip two black lines of tire from here to the horizon but couldn't turn for sour apples. Of course, we refused and he wound up getting angry and finally quit the club in a huff, running his mouth that he had quit because he had the fastest car in it and we were jealous.

A few weeks later at the pizza place he ran his mouth and got challenged to a race by a fast driver. He accepted and in the first tight turn lost because he ran his lineburner into a tree after he lost it trying to keep up with a nimble Triumph. He was lucky he didn't get hurt too badly.

What was kind of sad about this is that there was another club in the area that was a drag racing club where he would have fit right in.

I've also seen it in service rifle competition when some guy shows up with a target rifle and gets told he can shoot but in ineligible for prizes because his rifle doesn't fit into the class of rifles we are competing with. Sometimes the guy with the high tech rifle gets it and has no problem in which case he is cheerfully respected, sometimes not and the service rifle guys get an ear beating about how it's not fair.

Something like shooting is a pretty broad field when you look at it. There are all sorts of little niches in the shooting sports and my field is service rifle, both current and obsolete. While I occasionally hunt, I consider myself a service rifle shooter.

If these people would think a bit and look at things and see where they fit in they might be a little happier before they got into something they do not understand.

I entered ham radio knowing I was going to be in a small niche and with a fairly limited group to be a part of a very broad area and I was surprised to see that an awful lot of people opened up to me.

What is interesting is that the hobby has a bit of a reputation of being attracted to techies and that I am not. I can't fix a radio. However I can figure out a way to get an antenna up onto someone's roof or get it set up in some out of the way place, so I guess there is some use for me.

When I got into the hobby I had no real desire to set up a high powered station and all of the stuff that went with it. I just wanted to hilltop with a backpack set. While I have set up a modest station at home, it is the little backpack rig that brings me the most joy.

While I have long figured out where I fit into the shooting sports, I have also found out where I fit in as a ham.

I'm surprised to see how much I have been accepted. I think it's also nice that I feel I have something t offer, too. One of these days I am going to have to get someone to drop by and teach me PSK 31.

my other blog is:

Monday, September 17, 2012

THis is going to be a quick post becaause I screwed up and forgot

what time my appointment is this morning.

WHat's new?

My DX count is now Heinz.


Yeah, Heinz. I now have a total of 57 entities in the logbook.

Kitty is fine and later today we are going for a walk on his new leash.

my other blog is:

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Jackpot justice cost us all

A few years back the big issue during a governor's race was the price of auto insurance.

I remember thinking that there were an awful lot more things more important in New Jersey than auto insurance as the place in general seems to be poorly run but I won't go into that.

I listened and read a few things and most likely have a part of it figured out after I heard from a couple people that someone we all knew just got awarded a humongous chunk of money for a mildly broken arm.

Seems there was an auto accident and the person in question sued which these days is the norm. The jury had most likely just gotten their auto insurance bills and decided to get even with the nasty old insurance companies so the awarded the guy a big chunk of change. I do not know the exact figure because it has slippeg my moldering old mind as I write, but suffice to say it was enough for him to retire on, even after he paid the lawyers a third.

Now all he really deserved was to have his arm fixed, his car fixed, a few bucks for lost wages and maybe a few bucks for his trouble but I think the jury decided to wallop the insurance company because they figured they were giving the guy a little free money or something. I think the jurors decided to get even with the insurance company after having just paid their bills.

Anyway, what were these jurors thinking?

You can bet your ass that the next time their insurance bill comes in it is going to be even bigger because the insurance company is going to have to up the rates to absorb stuff like this. Either that or stop doing business in New Jersey.

The jury was pretty damned generous with someone else's money but the problem with that is that the someone else either runs out of money or raises their rates. When they raise their rates it starts becoming YOUR money but I suppose there are an awful lot of people that are too stupid to realize that.

As for the guy that got the pile of money, it didn't last him very long. He bought a bunch of stupid stuff and then lost the rest of the money investing in some pimplebrained thing, but that's another story.

my other blog is:

Saturday, September 15, 2012

An observation

One ot the things I have noticed about do-gooders is that an awful lot of them are using their particular cause to avoid their basic responsibilities.

I have seen an awful lot of people that are out there getting involved in various causes that have not done a very good job of taking care of their families. It makes me wonder because the family is the basic brick of society and I have always figured that that should be taken care of first.

Yet it seems that an awful lot of people that get involved in one cause or another seem to let their family go straight to hell while they are off parading around somewhere in support of something like the supporting the Eskimo coffeebean pickers or making sure the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay are not getting beaten up after they throw urine at the Marine guards.

While a lot of these people are off protesting somewhere in their self-rightous indignation making sure the poor get their EBT cards on time, their kids ar off somewhere running amok and getting into seventeen different kinds of trouble or their spouse is out checking out the local meat because they are not home enough.

Of course, most of these people will tell you how important it is to make sure the Sudanese Snow Shoveler's union gets a fair contract and for sake of argument we can say it would be nice to make sure the Sudanese Snow Shovelers get a fair shake. But they ought to remember that it is also important that these people try and do a decent job of raising their kids so the rest of us do not have to suffer by dealing with an out of control drug addicted 12 year old or a 14 year old stick-up artist.

Things start at home and after that is taken care of I suppose that then one can go off looking for causes to support. An awful lot of people seem to forget that.

It would be interesting to see how many of the Occupy Wall Street crowd are good family people. I would imagine some are but I'd bet there are an awful lot of people that were out there raising hell and carrying on while their kids were hanging out somewhere raising themselves by hanging out at the local clubhouse of the friendly, local, neighborhood outlaw motorcycle club learning how to start a thrilling career as a cocaine dealer.

Of course, as soon as you point out that their little Johnny just got hauled in for peddling crack to elementary school kids the excuses start to abound. They will explain to you thet their little neglected Johnny isn't a drug dealer, he's an unregistered pharmicist. If he gets nailed for pimping out his kid sister they will explain to you that their kid isn't a pimp, he's a love broker and those pesky laws ought to be stricken down.

If you look at a lot of these people out there that are supporting a lot of couses you are certain to find a number of people that are there either because they want to avoid their responsibilities or are trying to make up for being failures in their personal life.
my other blog is:

Friday, September 14, 2012

general gnus

My white cane came in the mail and I now have no problem getting kitty in his little harness so one of these days in the near future I am going to start to take kitty places with me.

I did this years ago with a former cat, Tokie and we had a lot of fun. The only 2 places I ever got challenged as to if Tokie was a guide animal or not were Wally World and a bookstore.

We'll see what happens next with the new Seeing Eye Cat.

Last night I did what a couple of hams have said was impossible.

I contacted the Swain's Island DXpedition with the PRC-320.  They were on 18.140 and I picked them up and listened for a while until I heard the operator say, 'Go ten up" so I clicked the decade switch up a notch and listened for a few minutes until I was sure I was going to transmit on the right frequency and then I threw my callsign in and instantly dropped back to the original frequency for about 20 seconds.

No answer for me so I repeated the process several times and finally, BAM! I heard my callsign and a signal report of 5x9. I clicked back, gave him a fast signal report of 2x2. (It was a real scratch for me), clicked back down and he acknowleged my 2x2 and then said, 'Q R Zed'  and it was over.

Swain's Island is a north of Paga Pago and is inhabited only by 37 coconut pickers. There is no infastructure to speak of and the guys that planned and are executing this DXpedition have had to haul every single thing they need for this two week DXpedition.

A lot of people say that things can't be done simply because the solution isn't handed to them on a silver platter. SOmetimes you have to simply look at what you are trying to do and figure out an alternative with the  stuff you have to work with.

One time I had a flat tire out in the bush when I was in Alaska and to my dismay I found the jack was shot. I simply scouted around and found a likely looking recently felled tree and lopped a few limbs off and used it as a lever to lift the truck. Sure, I had to pile a bunch of stuff on the end to keep the truck up and sure it took me a while, but I got it done.

Another time in the army I got a flat in a jeep and simply took the lug nuts off and got a bunch of guys to lift the ass end up while I took the flat off and quickly replaced it with the good tire. The actually took me LESS time than it would have if I had farted around with the GI jack that came with the Jeep.

The French officer I was hauling around was amazed.

I guess the same holds true with my little Oceana QSO last night. I just figured out how to make the little set work.

I do have a big set at home that I can program for split operation but when I tried that some time ago I must have pushed the wrong button to try and get it back to simplex and haad to take the entire set back to default and reprogram everything. Ouch. I think I am going to make ann idiot sheet for that operation.

Anyway, I'm pleased and hope to get a QSL card from them in a few months as it will take them forever to get things taken care of when they get back to the states.

my other blog is:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A few things.

I just dug through my old logs and records and found I have a total of 49 different countries in the bag. Of course, someone will tell me I'll have 100  in no time but they are wrong. It doesn't work that way. The more you get the fewer you have to get and the pool of eligible QSOs shrinks.

The ARRL has a list of places and while it is something like well over 300, a number of these are really remote and some have no infastructure like an uninhabited island in the middle of nowhere. In order to bag one of these far flung remote outposts you have to wait until some intrepid soul does on a DXpedition to it.

There is one in Swain's Island right now, a remote outpost with 37 copra workers on it and no infastructure. A group from California is there now as I write and maybe I can bag that one. We'll see. The island is near Pago Pago and is administered by American Samoa.

One of the things I have to have learned to live with having this particular cat is that he has a fascination with ball point pens and will bat one off my table and slap it around until it gets under the rug. Yesterday I wanted a pen and lifted the carpet, picked one up and used it to make my shopping list. When I was done I simply dropped it on the floor for Kitty to put back where he keeps them and inside a minute he was batting it around and inside a couple of minutes the pen was backunder the carpet.

Most people would go nuts with this, I suppose but esterday when I rolled up the carpets and swept and mopped the floor I picked up the pens and put them in a drawer. When the rugs got put back down I put the pens back where the cat has decided to keep them.

It is not worth the effort to argue with a cat and when you think about it, I suppose it is a good thing because now I know where to look for a pen.

My morning coffee is done and I have to get back to other things so good morning.

Update: I now have 50 countries now as I just bagged Japan.

The map grows

my other blog is:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Today I am going to clean this pig sty up.

as it has been a while.

Today is a day that is one of the reasons the blog satys pink.

Tough guys can clean up after themselves.

my other blog is:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How I handle election based phone calls

I answered the phone three times today and all three times it was about who I am going to vote for.

There were 2 for Obama and one for Romney. I expressed annoyance at being called at home to the first caller, an Obamaite, and then hung up. I realized then I had missed an opportunity.

A couple hours later someone from Romney's campaign called me and when he asked me if I knew who I was voting for I told him that I hadn't made up my mind yet because it wasn't election day yet.

He asked me why I was waiting until election day to make up my mind.

I explained to him that the campaign people were going to be the ones that made up my mind because I was going to vote for the one that causes me the least aggravation. I was planning on voting for the person whose campaign people called me the least. He asked me what I meant and I explained to him that I had a sheet of paper next to the phone and I keep track of the campaign calls. The candidate I get the fewest calls from gets my vote.

"RIght now it's a tie. This call tied the score up." I said. "The best way to get my vote for Romney is not to call me anymore because I'm pretty sure a member of Obama's campaign will call me up by the end of the day."

A couple of hours later the phone rang again and it was an Obama supporter that asked me the same questions the Romney supporter did and I told him the same thing I told the Romney guy. I told him the score was tied but not to worry beecause it was likely a Romney supporter would call shortly.

It's not too likely that the phone will go silent but maybe this tactic will minimize the calls because it seems that maybe the people that call me probably won't call me twice.

my other blog is:

Monday, September 10, 2012

MY DXCC project

I am thinking of taking a different tack on my DXCC project.
I am trying to establish 2 way communication with 100 different countries right now and I am at the early stage where I am just racking them up. Most likely it will go the route of my Worked All States project in that the last 5% will take more work than the first 95% did but I digress.

On my WAS project I made sure I had paper QSL cards for every state and took them to an ARRL card checker for confirmation and went through the ARRL to get their certificate. I figure I had maybe $100 total in QSL costs when you figure the cost of having the cards printed and the cost of postage, under a buck apiece.

Foreign QSL is a lot more expensive than that as overseas postage is running $1.05 or so just for an overseas stamp. The process is generally that you send the QSO overseas a QSL card, a self addressed envelope and either a couple international postage doodads or two bucks to cover return postage.

It adds up pretty fast and you can figure about $3.50 to $5 every time a QSL card goes overseas, depending on location as there are a few places where postage can run as high as 3 USD.

I have a 100% QSL policy in that if you send me a card I will cheerfully send you one in return because I consider this to be good manners and generally the guy that sends you one needs it for a project he is working on.

However, as far as my DXCC project goes, I am not going to try and get a certificate because it will wind up being not only a hassle getting 100+ paper QSLs, but because it is downright expensive.

I've had several guys that have done this tell me that.

While there are a couple of electronic QSL forums out there, a lot of hams do not use them.

Because I am not going for a certificate of proof and am just doing a DXCC thing for myself I think I'll use my logbook to keep score.

After all, I don't havve to prove anything to anybody.

my other blog is:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The lawn sheriff. Another self-appointed idiot.

I am thinking of looking for a goat to borrow to shut the old man down the street up.

He is retired and six days older than dirt and has nothing better to do than mow his goddamned lawn three or four times a week. I mow mine as needed. It may be every four or five days when it is growing fast or maybe every week or ten days when the growth rate slows down. I simply keep it neat and presentable which is all anybody else around here does, except the old guy.

When I am at sea one of the neighbors gets it when starts to look shabby. In return they generally pour themselves a drink or two out of the bottle of hootch I keep under the porch which I keep there just for that reason.

Anyway, the old man saw me out in the yard while he was taking a walk and asked me why I don't mow my lawn thrice weekly like he does. Of course, I told him that I had better things to do and I guess that started him going.

He told me how nice things would look and how it would improve the neighborhood and how it's such a damned shame how everyone in the neighborhood doesn't take the pride that he does.

I was just about ready to tell him that maybe he ought to fnd something to do with his life that was a little more useful to society like maybe drinking or keeping the economy going by dropping in at the Kit Kat club once in a while but I decided to take a different tack.

"I live a pretty busy lifestyle," I said. "Maybe I ought to just get a couple of goats."

"Goats?" he asked.

"Yeah, goats." I replied. "Goats do a pretty good job of keeping a lawn mowed and they also keep children off of the lawn because because children are afraid of them. Besides, they do not pollute the air with gasoline exhaust like you do several time a week with that lawn mower you use. They are 100% organic and do not use up precious resources."

"But they poop on the lawn," he protested.

'Which you simply spread out with a rake and it fertilizes the lawn and makes the grass healthier," I reponded. "That's a pretty good idea. Thanks. I'm going to have to look into that and seee about getting a couple of goats. I'll have a better lawn than you and won't have to bust my ass mowing it all the time."

"You can't do that!" he said, angrily.

"The hell I can't," I shot back. "Show me where it says I can't have a couple of 100% organic powered lawn mower/ fertilizer spreaders. If something is not against the law I can do it."

"You can't farm in this neighborhood," he protested.

"It isn't farming. It's lawn maintenance," I answered.

"We'll see about that," he answered angrily.

"Who's this 'we', Kemo Sabe? You got a mouse in your pocket? While you are wasting your time telling me how to mow my lawn, I answered, "How about you doing something constructive with your life and instead of being the lawn sheriff of the neighborhood. How's about doing something useful like going to the hospital and volunteering a little time helping out. You're in good enough shape to push a wheelchair around and help out instead of being a pain in the ass. Hell, buy yourself a case of beer and drink or hang out at the Kit Kat club and put dollars in g-strings for all I care. Do something even if it's wrong. Just leave the rest of us alone. Stick around. I'm going inside to get you an egg."

"What are you getting an egg for? he asked. He was still a bit angry.

"So you can put it in your shoe and beat it."

He left in a huff.

I am thinking of putting an ad in Craigslist looking to borrow a couple of goats for a few days just to give him something to cry about. The wailing and gnashing of teeth would be something to behold and when I return them the relief he would express would make him so happy he'd likely be so glad he'd just leave me the hell alone.

my other blog is:

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I had to deal with stupid yesterday. What's new?

On the way home from a ride in the sticks I decided to stop and pick up a few items at the local supermarket. What a mess that turned out to be.

First of all the supermarket has been designed by idiots that make it difficult to get any shopping done because instead of putting, say, the peanut butter, jelly and bread in the same aisle, they scatter them all over the place to make you negotiate the entire store. I suppose this is to make you walk past everything so you'll see something you don't need but will buy it anyway.

So I gathered my 4 items and headed to the deli for a sandwich and a bottle of beer to take home with me along with the other stuff.

I order my sandwich and go to pay for everything and when I got to the deli I was told I couldn't pay for my 4 items there because of some rule that I couldn't buy beer in a grocery store. Apparently the supermarket people were running it as 2 different businesses so they could get a beer license.

Of course, the reason I had gone in the supermarket in the first place is to have the convenience if a 1 stop  shop. Now I would have to face the damned checkout line that was a mile long.

Next the guy wanted an ID for the beer which is a joke because I am sixty and show it. I handed him my Z-card, a document that oftentimes serves as a passport but the damned kid didn't know what it was. So I handed him a pistol permit which is prima facia proof of majority because you can not get one issued unless you are 21 years of age, but for some reason  that was not good enough.

He wanted a driver's license, a document that can be had for about $20, custom made in any college dorm.

OK, my license is in the section of my wallet that has the little window and has been there for an awful long time. I show him but he wants it removed, something which takes a pair of pliers to do as it is jammed in there tightly. I am not alone here, I know a couple other people that have the same problem and, like me, carry a pair of pliers in their glovebox in case they get stopped by the police.

The kid wanted me to take the license out of my damned wallet and when I asked him for a pair of pliers to use to get the damned thing out he gave me the doe in the headlights look.

I finally decided that enough was enough and I looked at the kid and said, "This is more trouble than it is worth. I am not going to play your silly little game."

With that I simply put my wallet back in my pocket, left everything where it was and walked out. Not my problem anymore.

I started home and en route I snagged my beer at a pizza and beer to go joint and was in and out in about a minute, and a couple miles from home I stopped off at my local supermarket and was in and out is a jiffy.

No hassles, no headaches.

The other place isn't going to get my business simply because they make it too hard for me to give them my money. I guess they think that I have to do what they want if I want to get my grub and beer but they forgot one thing. They are not the only show in town.

They also forgot that I am an American and have choices. I chose not to play their silly little game and chose to go elsewhere.

While the first place decided to make me jump through a bunch of unnecessary hoops to let me give them my money, the second place made it easy for me to give them my money. It's as simple as that. It is my money and I will spend it anywhere I want. If you make it hard for me I'll just take my money elsewhere.

my other blog is:

Friday, September 7, 2012

I just got back from physical therapy

and I got there early. So did the old B-29 flyboy and the first thing he asked me is how I was  going to get the old paratrooper wound up again. I told him I needed a little help and we plotted for a couple of minutes until the old paratrooper came in.  I got up and went over to the spot on the wall where they have little biographies of the threapists.

The paratrooper saw me and said, "You again. The wise guy. How come you are such a pest?"

"It's your own damned fault. Your generation of old bastards raised me," I shot back. "GI Joe came home and was fruitful and multiplied and I am the product of that."

He scowled, the pilot laughed outright and said, "He's right. We did raise him."

I asked the old guys if they had read the biography of our therapist and neither of them had. I started reading them about all the schools she had gone through and her career and so on. When I got to the part it says what they do when they are not working, I ad libbed. "When not working or raising my three children, I sit on the third stool at the Foxtrot and drink gin."

The paratrooper was on his feet like a shot. "It doesn't say that!" and then realized he had been taken. He sat back down and grumbled. "Smart ass," he said.

Then the pilot said something about hearing on the news that a couple of Japanese ham radio operators reported getting a message from a Japanese holdout in New Guinea someplace and thet they are reading a search party on Iwo Jima to go to New Guinea and find him.

The paratrooper went agape and looked at me with amazement.

"If you get caught you'll be in a lot of trouble," he whispered. He turned to the flyboy. "The Japs believed it?"

"They must have," he said. "I guess they are forming a search party on Iwo and are supposed to fly them down to New Guinea."

"Holy mother of God! said the paratrooper Those poor kids! They'll be stumbling through the jungle on a wild goose chase!" Then he started cackling.

The therapist camn in and looked at the three of us. "Now what are you three up to?" she asked. "We can start early. The sooner we start the sooner we're done."

"Just so long as it's the sooner we get started the sooner we leave instead of the sooner we start the longer I have to huff and puff," said the paratrooper. I smirked. Spoken like a former GI.

my other blog is:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

" How are you today, SEERRRGEEAAAANNNTT?"

Said the old paratroper with a sneer as I entered the waiting room. "I was hoping I had seen the last of you but I didn't think so because there is no justice in this world. Did they call you and reschedule you to make my life miserable?

"No, they didn't call me to come and make life miserable, I called them and rescheduled myself so I could keep an eye on you," I shot back. "You know the only easy day was yesterday! How you got that old without learning that is beyond me."

He looked up at me with an annoyed look and then furrowed his brows. "You're right," he said. "The only easy day WAS yesterday."

With that I sat down next to him. A second later another old guy sat down next to me on the other side. I turned to him and introduced myself and the old paratrooper to the new guy who looked at him and asked him where he had been stationed.

I then realized I was between a pair of WW2 vets. I asked the new guy what he had done and he told me he had flown B-17s, B-24s and B-29s. He had been in Europe AND the Pacific. He was in the Pacific when the war ended.

All three of us had arrived early and I listened to the pair of them gab a bit about who was where when the bombs fell on Japan and ended the war. The paratrooper was in Europe and the B-29 flyboy had been on Tinian when the war ended.

The paratrooper said the only thing he got home with was his ass in one piece and a German officer's belt he got in trade for a carton of Luckies. The pilot laughed and said he had paid the same thing for a Japanese helmet from a GI.

Then the old paratrooper said he had stopped smoking Luckies about 40 years ago but even now still wanted one every once in a while.

"So light up," I said. "Any man your age ought to do whatever the hell he pleases and that an occasional Luckie isn't going to kill you."

"Some health nut will give me hell," he pouted.

"Tell him it's none of his goddamn business and that you've smoked 4 packs a day since you were twelve years old and that you ran a marathon last week because it was on your way to the liquor store," I shot back.

"I think I will have me a Luckie," he said.

Then I snickered and asked them if they wanted a hand getting a little payback for the war and they both looked at me with curiosity. The paratrooper looked at me and sneered, "What are you going to do? The war's been over for almost 70 years."

"I'm a ham radio operator and I have a portable rig," I said. "I could climb a hill and send a Morse code message to Tokyo saying I was a leftover Japanese corporal still standing by in New Guinea or someplace and eating rice out of my helmet." Both old men started laughing like hell.

"That's a good idea! Maybe the bastards would send out a rescue party," said the paratrooper.

"I can picture the poor guys stumbling through the jungle and tripping over all of the junk we left behind and falling into old rotten bunkers," said the pilot.

"Do it!" said the paratrooper.

"You're buyin' the beer," I said. "Gotta have something to drink while we're watching it on Fox."

"Fox?" asked the pilot?

"Fox. They'll put Geraldo Rivera right on it." I said. "He's just the man for the job of reporting on wild goose chases. Remember Al Capone's vault?"

The pair of them laughed. "I can picture that Rivera guy crashing through the jungle with a bunch of Japanese kids that are as young as we were and tripping over all that crap we left behind in the Pacific!"

"Pick a real hellhole," said the paratrooper. "I hear parts of the Solomons still have headhunters and plenty of alligators. Big snakes and huge spiders, too."

The pilot laughed. "Christ! Give the poor kids a break!" he said. Then he laughed. "Some place in New Guinea will work just fine."

"How about that Rivera guy? Make it easy for him, too?" asked the paratrooper.

"Good point." He turned to me. "Pick a real hellhole!"

We all laughed.

I mimed working a telegraph key. "Corporal Toyota Corrolla, IJA, SB, hill 883, New Guinea. Send help. I am getting old. Long live the Emperor!" I said, while making beeping noises.

"Hey, Corporal Toyota Corolla come with me," said a voice.

I looked up and it was my therapist. The three of us got up and followed her.

We went our seperate ways in the machine room and the old paratrooper asked me, "You really going to do that?"

"Damned right I am," I said, stoutly. "Don't forget to do an extra one for the airborne."

A minute the old paratrooper was griping and bitching and bellyaching and back to muttering about how he should have joined the Navy and how he wouldn't have to do extra exercises if he had beeen a sailor instead of a paratrooper and how the Navy didn't have no goddamned sergeants in it and there was no damned justice in this world. When he was done, he groaned and did one extra. "One for the airborne!" he almost shouted.

I was in earshot trying not to crack up and while I did my exercises I started thinking up some kind of wild tale to tell him about sending a Morse message to Japan when I see him the next time.

I'll bet you I can get him ALL wound up.

my other blog is:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

One of the things that SHOULD be mandated by law

is something that wouldn't cost taxpayers a  single dime.

It is nothing more than a couple of lines on our federal income tax returns.

you fill out the taxes as normal but at the bottom you the total amount of tax you paid and put it in a box where it is subtracted from  the amount you should be paying.

You simply taake every bit of government spending and debt and divide that number by the number of people living here legally and take that number. That is your 'fair share'.

You duduct what you have paid in taxes from the 'fair share' number and come up with a number that is labeled "Your share of the debt that is being passed on to your children and graandchildren."

Betcha at least a few people would open their eyes and start to think that maybe continuing these failed plans of the sixties isn't such a good idea, after all.

my other blog is:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I am going to wade into a major fray and let the chips fall where they may.

A few months ago a wannabe gangsta named Treyvon Martin got shot. From what I have been able to gather it was a justified shooting and it should have ended there but it didn't.

The usual gang of hate mongers moved in and decided that because the incident crossed racial lines that it was racism or something and the uproar went as far as the White House and the president even went so far as to comment on the incident and make a fool out of himself.

I'm sick of it. I am sick and tired of people fighting over race, creed, color, sex, national origin and sexuality. There are a whole lot more things we can fight over than that stupidity.

As a seaman my sworn enemy is the sea which is constantly trying to kill me. While I am out there I have to stay on my toes and be surrounded by people I can count on and I really do not give a damn about who they are. What they are is imperative. Lives and big money are always at stake here and I cannot afford the luxury of having to be assigned a shipmate based on something stupid like race or color. Competence is imperative and that is that. The rest is bullshit. Frankly, this is one place where things become very clear. This lifestyle has a clarity to it that is generally not experienced by a whole lot of landsmen except for some of the people in military service and not a whole lot of them when you consider that most GIs are in support roles.

I was born white. That is to me nothing more or less than a simple accident of birth. Two white people married and I am the product of the union. It is as simple as that. I feel no sense of guilt nor shame over this because I really had nothing to do with this whatsoever. I am guilty of nothing more than simply being born. I do not owe anybody anything because of this.

Prior to the sixties there were an awful lot of places that were denying black their basic civil rights that are guarenteed to all people under the constitution. There was a hue and cry in the sixties and Martin Luther King came to the head of the line as a leader of the black community. He was right in what he wanted then and years after his murder he is still right. He simply wanted a place where people of all races and colors could eat together as equals at the table of freedom.

Legislation was passed and enforced and many blacks were given their basic civil rights and guarenteed their freedoms. It simply should have stopped then and there because they had been given the tools to work with to make their own lives for themselves.

There's quite a difference between legal and social equality. Legal equality is just that. You are equal under the laws of the nation. It should be this way for everybody and to a certain extent it is, minor corruption, nepotism and a few other things notwithstanding. Right now just about every government sponsered program of any sort is open to everyone that can meet the requirements for entry.

I suppose some non-rocket scientist out there is going to ask how come the FBI agents that infiltrate white supremecy groups are all white but let's not get stupid here, people.

So there it is. The tools are out there and you now have something to work with. Get to work.

Of course, a bunch of people said that blacks were not being allowed into the oaken paneled back rooms where the brandy and cigars are served with the old men and the old money. I know that this may come as a surprised, but I haven't been invited there, either. Then again, I really don't care for cigars a whole lot and instead of brandy served in crystal glasses I'd really rather have a cold beer served in the bottle it came from. I'd also rather drink it on my back porch. So no great loss.

What may surprise you is that I was invited to join a yacht club once and I did. The reason was simple. I had been spotted in my sailboat several times in the Tongass Narrows running the holy hell out of her with the stern squatting down in the water obviousy exceeding the hull speed of her. For a boat that size I sailed the holy hell out of her and it was noticed. She also sported a hailing port of Kodiak, which was several hundred sea miles of an open ocean crossing away from where I was when I was asked to join.

I guess someone in the club chased me down and followed me into a waterfront ginmill where I was invited to join. To this day I do not attribute being invited to join the club to be anything more than the fact that I was one hell of a sailor and that someone felt I had something to bring into the club. I still think to this day that if I had been a minority of some sort I still would have been cheerfully invited to join.

When you couple the fact that I was a fisherman/carpenter/cab driver at the time and had a less than stellar reputation as a loose cannon I believe I was asked to join on merit alone. I could have been purple for all they cared.

In short, all of the crap we have done in this country for minorities is a bunch of hogwash that actually keeps them down. It sounds an awful lot like Rudyard Kipling saying that 'we must take up white man's burden' because all of the poor little brown skinned people are incapable of taking care of themselves and that IS a bunch of crap. Minorities are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. I have faith in this because I see it all the time.

When you reserve a percentage of contracts for minority run companies it is just another way of the government saying that they do not believe that minorities can compete on an even playing field. It simply isn't true. They can.

This well intentioned plan only serves to create friction and continue the belief that minorities are not as capable as everyone else.

Just like the people that hate illegal immigrants the most are legal immigrants that have gone through the system, the people that hate these policies the most are successful blacks because it robs them of the status of success. People look at successful minorities and wonder if they were successful because government made it easy for them. I can't blame a successful minority for being angry over these policies.

He's mad as hell because his credibility is in question. His success has been undermined. HE made HIS success (for example)as a contractor by having HIS projects built to specification, on time and on budget and not because some governmental agency saved a slot for him. He'd damned proud of that and damned well should be.

Incidentally, speaking of financial success and money, over the years I have been handed cash money from the hands of just about every race, creed, color, sex, national origin and sexual preferance. I happened to have noticed that not once has this money ever not been accepted by anyone. For example, I was paid for a load of fish by a Jew and I took the money down to a Chinese restaurant where the money was accepted without so much as a glance.

The government sector is one place that makes people ask a lot of questions. Let's use DMV as an example as it is something many of us can relate to. When you go into the DMV office and see a minority behind the counter an awful lot of us wonder if he/she got there on their own or were simply hired to fill an arbitrary quota of some sort. I know I have. If they screw things up I figure I was right on that call and if they make things right, I generally figure they were likely hired because they were the right person for the job. I'll admit I'm not always right but like a lot of us I do tend to think along these lines.

Recently I went downtown the the county building to have something taken care of and was greeted by a pair of black women. I admit to being skeptical at first but it didn't take long for me to find out that these two women knew what they were doing and were there to help me. They were extremely helpful and I went home thinking that for once someone in recorded history the county building put the right person on the right job. My guess is that they were hired because they were the right people for the job as it should have been.

A while ago there was a short-lived little movement to start teaching 'Ebonics' in public schools. It didn't go very far but the fact that the subject even came up is nothing more than an insult to an entire race.

The language in this country for the most part is English and most states require four years of it to be taught in high school before one can graduate. It should also be noted that a high school education in this country is free to anyone that wants it. Mine didn't cost my parents a dime.

By even suggesting we teach Ebonics, which is nothing more or less than poor English we have just suggested again that an entire race was incapable of learning the basic language of our country. I am not bashful and one day when I was downtown I asked three successful looking black women what they thought of teaching this language and I sure got an earful, not that I didn't expect it.

These successful women, and I asked three of them, considered it to be an insult to their race and I can't say as I can blame them for feeling that way. After all, all three of them sat through four years of English classes in high school and likely at least freshman English in college and passed. They learned the language and as one woman said, "I may not speak English as well as the Queen of England, but I can read, write and speak in coherent sentences!" I liked this woman. She had a lot of pride in herself and quite a bit of polish.

One field of endeavor where minorities seem to do well without a whole lot of help is in the services in general and the Marine Corps in specific. The Marines have a few friends on the hill and generally manage to avoid having social experiments crammed down their throats.

When I see a Marine uniform my eyes go straight to the sleeves. If the sleeves are empty, I look at the collar. Then the chest to see his resume. Then my eyes go to the face. If I see the man is a Staff NCO or an officer I generally assume he's a squared away Marine and there are none of the other questions that go along with how he got there. I know. He was promoted to that grade on merit alone. This is how it should be.

Incidentally, blacks comprise about 11% of the country's population. The percentage of blacks in the Corps is a hell of a lot higher than that. That tells me that there are quite a number of blacks that have decided that they want to be judged simply by their own merits and on a level playing field.

Some minorities may moan and bellyache about the white man keeping them down but I don't want to hear it. It makes no sense to me to keep anybody down. It's just poor business. It's a whole lot easier and cheaper to let someone rise to utilize their talents and drive. With any luck they just might make or invent something that makes my life easier. It's also easier to let someone take care of themselves so I don't have to suupport them.

Dr. King once said that for every black man being held down in the gutter, there's a white man sitting on top of him keeping him there. The truth is that I have a whole lot better places to sit than on top of some guy in a gutter. My porch steps with a cold beer sounds a whole lot better and while I am sitting on my porch, feel free to climb out of the gutter. I simply do not have the time or the inclination to sit either on someone or sit in a gutter.

I have heard for years that people want to rid the country of the scourge of racism. I do, too, but it isn't likely to ever go away 100% as there will always be those that blame their failures on someone else but we can sure eliminate the brunt of it.

Racism is nothing but a waste of time and talent and we have a shortage of both but for as long as people are held to different standards it is not too likely to go away.

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Monday, September 3, 2012

I now have Russia under my bellt as I have QSO'd with a Moscowite.

I did it on my PRC-320 with a wire in a tree antenna.

I dragged the '320 out into the front yard and one of the neighborhood kids came by and wanted to know what I was doing. When I told him he decided to stick around and join the party. The kid is about ten or eleven. He knew what to do. He started turning the crank on the generator.

I grabbed the half-gallon Jack Daniels bottle full of of iced tea out of the refrigerator and took it to the radio and had a slug. Then I turned to the kid, "If you get thirsty help yourself," I said.

Just as the idiot down the street drove by slowly to see what was going on the kid picked up the bottle and had a pretty good sized snort. She stopped and her window came down.

"You're giving that little boy whiskey?" she asked in horror.

"Yeah. It washes the dope out of his system and we're rehabbing him for when school starts." I answered.

"That's not funny!" she shouted.

I turned to the kid. "Another self-appointed funny director," I said to him. "They appoint themselves to tell you what's funny and what's not."

"I have my father's permission to be here," said the kid.

"See? It's OK with his old man. Now leave us alone," I said and she drove off. I knew we'd heard the last from her.

A minute later I was talking to a Moscowite with a real clear and strong signal. I was impressed and so was the kid.

Just as I finished yakking with the Russian, none other than Nebby Larry hove into the offing and I turned to the kid. "Make damned good and sure that Nebby Larry sees you drinking out of that bottle," I said. I glanced at my watch and looked. I knew which one of the local gendarmes was on duty and it wasn't too close to watch change to ruin his day.

Of course, Larry saw the kid take a belt and got all goggle-eyed and told me it was against the law to serve liquor to kids. I told Larry that I was just helping the kid wash the dope out of his system so he wouldn't be jonesing and sick when school started. Larry's jaw dropped and he increased his pace.

I turned to the kid. "When the police car pulls into the driveway which it is sure to do, take a big drink in front of the cop. You won't get in trouble."

Sure enough, I was working some guy in Indiana when the cruiser pulled in. The window rolled down and the kid sucked down about a quarter-pint of iced tea. The cop laughed like hell and turned to me.

"Awful nice of you to help this fine youngster get cleaned up to start the school year off right!" he said.

When he said that I knew Larrry had flagged him down on the way over and given him the details. I didn't figure dispatch would relate all the details to the officer.

"Pic, that looks like hell!" he said. "Then again, it really is kinda funny."

We chatted a few minutes and he drove off.

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Sunday, September 2, 2012

The WW1 guy's little rant. Circa 1963.

It is a Sunday morning and I have my coffee going. As usual the cat is running around being a pain in the ass which is what cats are supposed to do so I suppose everything is normal.

Yesterday's post about the WW2 guy seemed to be popular. In it I mentioned the rant a WW1 guy made years ago while being transported in a school bus to the downtown section of the Memorial Day parade.

It was about  '63 and Jack Kennedy was president because it was in May of that year. There were still quite a few WW1 veterans around back then. I understand that time has won out as to be expected and now there are none.

Anyway, the parade was in sections. There was the first chunk of it that started at the GAR hall, something most New England towns had. They would march about a half mile to the cemetary and have a little service and the guys in the Legion would fire a salute and we'd march back to the GAR hall load up into the school buses and head down to the town center and march to the memorial and have a service and fire a salute there. From there we would march down the highway for a bit and the parade would break up behind the school woit a bunch of Cokes handed out to the participants.

I was a Boy Scout and the Boy Scout troops marched in the parade.

The bus that was supposed to take the scouts to the downtown section was full and the one the Legion guys were in had a few spare seats in it so my scoutmaster stuffed me into that one, most likely to get a little relief from my antics.

Most of the guys in the bus were the parents of my buddies and classmates so I figured I had best simply sit down and shut up because back in those days a recaltricent kid could get a slap on the head by someone else's dad if he had it coming. There was no use coming home and complaining about it, either or your old man would just give you another one for getting into trouble in the first place.

I got on the bus and sat down and a few secoonds later, Mr. Prish sat down next to me. Mr. Prish was a pretty neat guy. In private I could call him Bob, but in public it was 'Mr. Prish'. He treated boys like young men and was well liked by a lot of us youngsters because of that.

Mr. Prish leaned over and softly said, "Pay attention, Pic. I'll betcha Al Lewis is gonna get Thompkins worked up again this year.  Keep your mouth shut and listen. You may not understand it now but you'll appreciate it later if you ever wind up in the army."

Thompkins was an old man and a town character. Nobody over the age of maybe ten or so called him anything but Thompkins because he would get grouchy if you called him Mr. Thompkins unless you were with your parents. Thompkins was well known for his little rants about just about any subject under the sun and generally the rants were funny as hell because he was a master at convoluted reasoning.

Al Lewis was a guy who had been some sort of radio guy during WW2 and he had a knack for getting Thompkins worked up over nothing.

The bus hadn't even gotten rolling yet when AL Lewis started in on Thompkins about how it was another year and another parade and that it was an honor to be with a guy that had served with Blackjack Pershing in France and how enjoyable the parade was.

That was all that it took!

Just then another one of the men, another WW1 guy that had been a machine gunner, winked at me and put his finger to his lips as a signal to keep quiet and listen.

Thompkins started carrying on about how being in a parade was a pain in the ass because it was nothing more than another goddamn road march and back when he was in France every time he turned around someone was telling him to suit up and fall in for another march if they were not in the lines.

He went on and on about having worn out a dozen or more sets of government issue boots just traipsing over the outskirts of Paris going up and down hill after hill over nothing and how the marches didn't do one goddamned thing for winning the war and only served to make their lives miserable. He went on to give aa step by step description of a twenty-mile march describing tripping over roots and falling into creeks and other hilarious misadventures.

Nobody said a single word but by the smirks I saw on everybody else I knew that everyone on the entire bus was dying to just crack up.

I started to titter a bit and Mr. Prish put one hand on the back of my head and the other hand over my mouth hard and whispered sharply into my ear, "Quiet, Pic! He's getting to the good part!"

Then Thompkins astarted in on how having to be in a parade after all of thsoe marches in France was nothing more than a bad deal and carried on about having to march around again 45 years after he got out of the army. He said that if he knew that twice a year he would have to go on another damned road march for the rest of his life he never would have enlisted to go to France in the first place. It was then he started to simmer down a bit.

Of course, Al Lewis wasn't going to let THAT happen. Nosiree, Bob!

"What do you think they ought to do for us?" Al asked Thompkins.

"They ought to set us up in a reviewing stand," Thompkins said. "With nice tables and umbrellas to keep us nice and cool and give us beer and lemonade and things and then the entire town should march past US. Then we  could see how much THEY like having to go on a damned road march! Make it a twenty mile parade for them!"

About this time everybody did start laughing.

"You're right," said Al Lewis. "Hell, I could use a cold one right about now!"

Then Mr. Prish leaned over and whispered to me. "Remember this when you get older. It will be funnier then."

He was right. A decade later I was on a dusty road wearing my 2 USGI black Cadillacs sweating like a pig and humpint the receiver of a Browning M-2. It was then I remembered the bus trip and the Thompkins
rant and suddenly I fell over laughing uncontrollably. After a few seconds I lurched back up and kept going but I had to stop a couple of times because I kept busting up.

I got back into line and started griping.

"Ya know, when I get out of this man's army I sure the hell am NOT going to join tha American Legion because my road marching days are going to end when I get my damned DD-214 in my pocket. There's no way in hell I am going to spend Memorial and Veterans Day on yet another damned road march!

"That'll be enough of that!" said my platoon leader. The battery commander called for an instant halt and walked up to the platoon leader and me.

"Lieutenant, I am going to over ride your last order," he said, grinning,  and then he turned to me, "Pray, sergeant, please carry on!"

So I ranted and raved for a few minutes that it was okay for the army to march my ass off but when I got out there was no way in hell I was going to put my pickle suit on every Memorial and Veteerans Day and go for antother road march and how WE ought to be sitting on our asses and having everyone else march past us for a change  and that I was going to spend Veterans amd Memorial Days sitting on my ass and watching everybody else march by.

Even the officers were laughing and my lieutenant looked red in the face and turned to my platoon sergeant and said, "He's right. Everyone else should march past us twice a year!"

Thompkins has been dead for a few decades and I heard Al Lewis is gone. last year someone said Bob Prish isn't in very good shape and I suppose he's going to be gone soon if he isn't already but I suppose they will live with me for the rest of my life because they were some of the people I grew up with.


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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Yesterday at therapy. I met a WW2 vet.

Yesterday I was getting my foot worked on at physical therapy and when they sent me to a machine of some sorts the therapist warned me that the old guy on the next machine could be a little cranky.

I had heard the old guy beforehand and I thought he was funny as hell because if you listened to what he was muttering it was funny. The man was a complainer, but in reality he was one of those people that wasn't just a complainer, but a true artist at the fine art of griping. Most of the therapists are women between about 25 and 50 so maybe they just didn't understand the old coot.

The man looked like he was in his early eighties but I was to later find out he was ninety. I also noticed that when he came in he was wearing a WW2 ball cap with jump wings on it. I knew just how to fix this guy.

The therapist came by and told him to do thirty of these pull exercises. I interrupted.

"This man is a U.S. paratrooper. He has to give you thirty and then do one for the airborne," I said.

"I'm not a paratrooper," said the old man.

"I saw your hat and I don't see you layin' in no pine box. You're still a paratrooper. You still gotta do one for the airborne," I said.

"Hmmph." said the old man. "Bet you were a sergeant."

I confessed that at one time I wore three stripes on my sleeve and when I did he snorted.

"I'm not taking orders from any sergeant anymore, especially one as wet behind the ears as you!" he snappped back. "I got out almost seventy years ago! As a first lieutenant, too!"

He had taken the bait and at this point I was treated to one of the best old man rants I have heard since I was a kid and an old WW1 vet griped about having to march in a Memorial Day parade.

"Sergeants!" he snorted. "My whole time in the service it was sergeants that made my life miserable. I went to basic and sergeants kicked me out of bed every morning and like to kill me every damned day until I got done with basic. Then I thought I'd like a little more money so I went to paratrooper school and then it was more sergeants. I had some college so I found out I could become an officer so I went to officer school and I'll be damned but officer school was run by sergeants. They made my life miserable."

"When I got overseas they put me in charge of a platoon but the captain told me to let the sergeants run the show. Then I got hit in Holland and more damned sergeants worked in the hospital and made me do exercised that hurt worse than it did when I got hit. The bastards. The oonly thing I got for being a lieutenant was that they had to call me 'sir' when they told me what to do."

"Then when I got discharged it was held up two days because some damned sergeant noticed my shots were not up to date and I was supposed to shoot at the rifle range. I went to the rifle range after they stuck me in the ass with about a dozen dull needles. When I got my papers it was too late to find a room because they were all taken so I had to sleep on a park bench like a goddamned bum!"

"Yeah? Well ya stil gotta do one extra for the airborne!" I shot back.


Then the treat came as he started his exercises. The whole time he muttered, mumbled and grumbled things about the army in general and sergeants in specific and how there was no justice in this world until he got to his thirtieth. The man was simply hilarious. I had a very hard time keeping a straight face. Then he stopped and said, "Hey, you!"

I turned.

He pulled the elastic and looked at me. "One for the airborne. You happy now?"

"That's more like it," I said.

I had finished my exercises and we both went to seperate areas. My therapist looked at me agape.

"What did you say to him?" she asked.

"Ya just gotta speak the language. Betcha he gives you a pretty good workout today and I'll bet you he gripes the entire time."

She shook her head.

A minute later I looked around and there was the old goat pulling away on some other elastic device for all he was worth. He was griping and bellyaching the whole time. I turned to what I was doing and smirked. A couple of minutes I heard someone say, "Hey, Mac!"

I turned to where the old man was. He pulled once more. "One for the airborne. You happy now, sergeant?" The tone of voice as he said the word 'sergeant was a real sneer. I had one hell of a time keeping from laughing.

"Yes, sir. You did just fine," I answered.

He had a few more exercises to do and repeated the process, sneering at me every time. Then he left.

He made my day.

I grinned.

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