Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It cost me fifteen bucks to vote yesterday.

That's because I voted absentee downtown. The Fifteen scoots was for parking.

No no matter what happen or who wind I have a right to gripe.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I'm prepared. I bought a bottle of bourbon.

Yesterday I had some errands to run and got to see some pretty good stupidity on the part of people that were supposidly stocking up in case the big storm knocks the power out. Of course I glanced into a few shopping carts and what I saw made me wonder. Some people are just plain stupid.

Here we have people worrying about losing electricity and yet they are stocking up on frozen foors and stuff that needs refrigeration. Yessiree, we'll just sit out the storm eating ice cream.

Of course you have to remember that you are going to have to start eating the ice cream either as soon as or very shortly after we lose power or else you will be eating some awful kind of goo.

Just before a major storm really isn't the time to stock up on things that need refrigeration.

I posted somewhere else that my entire preperation for the storm consisted on buying a bottle of bourbon and someone I know asked me about it. I told them that when I heard the news that a major storm was brewing I glanced into the cabinet and saw that I had enough stuff to last me several days and only really needed a jug to get by reasonably comfortable.

After all, I really don't plan on spending a storm grilling steaks in the back yard during a hurricane. There is enough stuff in the fridge to get me by and if we lose power and that stuff goes bad I can go into the cabinets and conjure up something halfway decent to eat. It may not meet the approval of Martha Stewart but it will keep me alive and healthy.

A storm like this can really do some damage and it is best to be somewhat prepared for the worst but it is pretty unlikely that anyone is going to lose power for more than a few days.

One thing I really ought to get, though, is a generator large enough to run the furnace and maybe the refrigerator. A quick calculation says that a 3.5 KW rig would get me by running a refrigerator and the furnace. I suppose a 5 kw would be about right. There would be a little extra for lights and a few other odds and ends.

WHile I suppose that this isn't the time to think about that, maybe this summer I can scam one off of Craigslist because that seems to be the time that stuff like that sells cheap.

Oh, well. I'm prepared.

After all, I bought a bottle of bourbon.

It beats buying ice cream.
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Monday, October 29, 2012

I am prepared for Hurricane Sandy

WHile everyone and their cousin was busy tearing everything edible off of the shelves of every food store in town, I made my preperations.

I bought a bottle of bourbon.

I'm prepared.

I do not see why people stockpile all sorts of food before a storm. It is ridiculous in most cases because just about everyone has enough stuff in their cabinets to last a week of push comes to shove.

My mother used to stock up on bread and milk when we were growing up and that made sense because she was feeding 5 kids. What DIDN'T make sense is she kept doing this long after we were out of the house.

What's a little old lady going to do with 6 loaves of bread and 3 gallons of milk?

The other thing is that when she got older she STILL insisted on going out in the middle of a snowstorm to get a little thing that could wait. Once it almost cost her her life when she ran off the road in a snowstorm.

One should not have to go out and stock up on stuff they should already have.

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Well, I got my 100th DX entity.

Yesterday I sniped my last several countries and entities I needed to say I've got 100 of them under my belt.

The term '100 countries' is somewhat of a misnomer. It is really 100 DX entities as some of theplaces in my log are not really countries and I can think of three of them that are basically uninhabited islands that someone hauled radio gear ashore on and set up.

I guess an example of this might be Puerto Rico. The United States owns it but for radio purposes it is a seperate entity. France owns Corsica, Italy owns Sardania and Sicily yet these are seperate entities from the mother country.

My favorite QSO was Portugal proper because I kind of upset a pretty good apple cart when I QSO'd.

There was a pretty hefty pile up on this guy and there must have been thirty or more hams trying to get through to this guy. I was thinking of passing on him but I saw he was putting out a pretty good signal to me and figured that I had a chance to bust through the pileup. I threw my callsign into the fray and the third time I did I was rewarded by being picked out of the rabble.

There was something in the man's voice that was smooth and suave. He reminded me of Dick Clark back when he was in his prime, no yet. It was just a little too confident and smooth for my tastes and I realized that in front of me was a real apple cart.

Now we are not talking about some run of the mill Italian neighborhood apple cart run by a little guy named Luigi, we're talking like an apple cart out of a Norman Rockwell painting with every apple perfectly shaped and highlt polished and stacked perfectly.

There are times a man just has to do what he has to do.

He pulled my callsign out of the pile and said, "You are a 5x9 plus into Portugal,"

"What? Portugal?!!?"" I shot back. "You gotta be kidding me!! On this rig? This is my nine year old grandson's science fair project! I was trying to get his friend three doors down the street on it to tell him to come home for dinner and I got PORTUGAL on it? Boy, is he going to be surprised when I tell him."

"Ah...err..ah...Yes, I am in Portugal and you are a 5x9." he replied.

"Hey, that's neat! Well, I'll see you later. I gotta go get Jimmy for dinner. We're having chicken the way he likes it and he sure wouldn't want to miss it. I gotta go get him. Maybe Jimmy can talk to you later. Goodbye."

He managed to recover a bit.

"Hope you enjoy dinner. Nice talking to you. I'll send your grandson a QSL card through you."

The pile-up was silent for a good ten seconds before it resumed.

Sometimes you have to keep them guessing.

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

It is almost noon and the day is already shot

because of people that havde put things off until the last minute which really irks the hell out of me.

They have a couple of weeks to get things done but put it off until the last minute and then they get upset when I tell them I don't have time because I have important things to do.

Of course there are a (small) handful of people that I will drop things for and help because they have their act together.

Someone needed help loading a dryer into the back of a pickup and I know that I will be in and out of there in about two minutes because he will have everything cleared out and all I have to do is grab my end, walk it straight to the truck, stick it on there and leave.

Generally when you arrive to do something like that the person looks at you like a startled fawn and starts moving stuff and digging the whatever out from behind thirteen tons of crap it is buried behind and you wind up losing an afternoon.

So far I have told three people thay will have to wait a while before I can help them and when two of them griped, they were told that it is their own damned fault because they procrastinated.

Not my problem.

In other news the guy down the street got a new car and it is some kind of hybrid and he is bragging about how he is going to get super gas milage.

Bob and I are going to do what we did the last time someone ran their mouth about good gas milage. A couple of times a week we toss a gallon of gas in his tank when he isn't looking. He then thinks he is getting 165.2 mpg. The first time he services it we stop adding gas to his tank and the milage drops to what it is supposed to be and then he goes back to the dealer and makes a fool of himself by bellyaching about how his milage dropped since he had it serviced.

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Friday, October 26, 2012

I am up to 92 entities as of last night

and my goal is 100. Getting them confirmed is a different case altogether but we'll see what happens.

Most people think that I am talking about trying for 100 countries but it's a little different because of the way the ARRL and other ham groups have things set up. It actually makes sense the way they have it when you think about it.

The United Kingdom is divvied up into N. Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England for example. The Isle of Man (Manx) is a seperate entity also.

Several of my entities are islands that people have hauled their radio gear onto and set up. Conway Reef and Swain's Island are two that come to mind. I have both of these. Conway Reef is uninhabited and the only people on Swain's Island are 37 cocoanut pickers as the place is nothing more than a copra station.

Anyway, we'll see what happens this weekend.

This morning rthe cat is being a real character and making me wonder as I changed one of his litter boxes yesterday. I am trying to get him back to feline pine with a lack of success. I do not want to just go cold turkey as he may simply decide to refuse to use it. When that happens it isn't really the cat's fault. He is just being a cat and any cat owner knows that cats are cats and do what they please.

My entire home is there entirely for the benefit of the cat.

That's all for today, folks.

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Of Marvel Mystery Oil and Charlie Chan

I just picked up a quart of Marvel Mystery oil because it has occurred to me that we have decided to switch to winter gasoline which sucks because of a number of reasons, one of them being ethanol.

You do not get the top cylinder lubrication with the winter gas that you generally do with the summer gas and come winter gas season it might be a good idea to dump in about 3-4 ounces of Marvel Mystery Oil into every 10 gallons of gas to add a little something to it.

Unlike a lot of people that trade their cars in fairly often I generally keep mine for a decade or more and I want it to last.

Someone asked me how the stuff works and of course I told them "It's a mystery. Go ask Charlie Chan to figure it out."

Speaking of Charlie Chan, about fifteen years ago at a place I worked a lousy sledge hammer showed up missing. I figured a deckhand had lost one over the side and glommed the one he saw ashore. A Port Captain overreacted and carried on like Captain Queeg and the missing strawberries.

I got tired of the carrying on and told him I could likely get the mystery solved and I'd get right on it.

I promptly wrote a sarcastic letter to Honolulu Police department and describing the mystery and asking the whereabouts of the famous detective, Charlie Chan.

I do not know who got detailed to send me an answer, but the best I can make of it is that the letter was likely handed to a pair of pissed off hard-boiled robbery detectives that were likely on someone's personal $hitlist.

If any of you out there have seen any of the old Charlie Chan movies, you remember at the end of a lot of them they offer to let Charlie hand out for a few days to relax and he always refuses the offer showing them a picture of a little bitty Chinese woman and about 20 kids and explains he has to leave because he has a large family to support.

Anyway, the answer I got from Honolulu is that the police department has been looking for Charlie for back child support since about 1953 when he skipped out to Rio with some showgirl he met on a case.

Shortly after I got the letter I crossed paths with the port captain and he hadn't forgotten that I was supposed to have tried to get the mystery solved. I had already given copies of both letters to a couple of his peers who laughed themselves silly when he read them.

When the port captain asked me if I had any news I handed him copies of both letters and told him that I had done all I could. Much to the amusement of one of my admirers I handled the resulting explosion pretty well.

When the bulk of the tantrum was over with and he asked me how I was going to handle things now, I shrugged and said, "Maybe I could try Sam Spade," I suggested innocently.

About that time a smirking more senior port captain charged in and ordered me back to the boat and I would imagine told my port captain to settle down. After all, it was only a $10 sledge hammer that likely was on the back of some damned tugboat where it was being used by someone to make the company money.

I wish I had a copy of the letter but it seems a lot of the letters I have written over the years have turned up missing. It was written back in the days when a little more of the world had a sense of humor.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

This afternoon I will have completed the backyard project.

The wayback is wooded and as usual there are abunch of little weeds and suckers that grow and every year I take the mower and level everything so Mother Nature has to start all over again. It keeps the wayback like a little fairy land and the spring suckers and shoots give the deer something to eat and also provided them with bedding and a place to have their children as almost every single year I see a newborn fawn.

Anyway, we lost a number of trees back in June and summer whipped by too fast and when I could finally get to them they were entrenched in a season's worth of weeds.

I'm finishing up now and have a little touch -up left following about a full week's worth of hack-slash, chain saw madness and grinding everything up. The trees have been bucked up and piled up for firewood for anyone that wants it.

There's a lot of it and I suppose it will just rot in peace unless someone with a huge truck and an army of husky kids wants to hump it up the hill and load it. Sometimes Neighbor Bob will run his pickup down through the backyard and snap up a load, but that doesn't happen often enough.

As I type I feel a touch of the itch that preceeds a poison ivy rash so I guess I had best wash the arm with bleach. I just stopped typing and have done this. I'm back and it stung like it always does which means I think I have headed this one off at the pass.

The radio has been on and I have checked in with Jim and Jda on the YLISSB and snagged a nice little chat with some guy in Scotland which is always nice.

Maybe later tonight I will hilltop somewhere and tomorrow I might break out one of my rifles and make sure I can still hit a bull in the ass with a canoe paddle. A few years ago I would have been at the range to make sure my rifle was sighted in for fairly close range as there is a ground hog running amok.

A few years back I would have simply baited a certain area to serve as a backstop and shot the animal but these days things have changed and I dare not do this. The town has changed and you have to be cagey and sometimes either change with it or go underground. I suppose you can say I have done both.

Several years ago I took a ground hog out that was in a yard about 4 lots away. There was a berm that would safely stop a bullet and we baited it. I got a call from Neighbor Bob reporting the ground hog was nearing the bait so I went outside with my rifle and slinged up and got on my belly. When the ground hog was eating the bait, I squeezed the shot off and rolled him up in a ball. The bullet went straight through the animal and was stopped safely in the berm.

The second the shot stopped echoing I heard a loud voice a couple doors down shout "You got him. I'll call Mark."

Mark simply went out back with a shovel and buried him where he laid and that was that.

Of course, it was illegal then and it is illegal now but things were a bit different as times have changed and the population has grown in the neighborhood. Even back then you had to be cagey but the police were not as agressive as they are now. They used to overlook stuff if you used common sense, planned ahead and did things safely. When I say they overlooked it, I simply mean that there was no big investigation unless someone did something stupid or got caught red-handed.

The people I got the biggest kick out of were the ones that would condemn you for doing something like that until Mr. Groundhog showed up in THEIR lawn and started tearing up jack. Then they would start kissing up to you to remove him.

Nine times out of ten I would refuse simply on safety grounds because they would not have a berm or other safe place to stop a bullet as most lots are fairly flat. Trying to explain to them that a NATO 7.62 round isn't going to simply stop after it exited a small ground hog was sometimes difficult. Such a round coming out of a bore at 2700 feet per second will go straight through a lot of houses with ease. It is nothing to take lightly.

Besides, if their neighbors see a guy slinged up on his belly with a rifle in their back yards you can expect to get popped and I mean right now. There is no explaining to a wierded out soccer mom because they generally can not listen to good sense or reasoning. I remember one saying to someone "Your husband SHOT an animal?"

Lady, this is Pennsylvania and on the opening day of deer week you have a million armed men in the woods. Do you think the deer you see in the back of pickups are suicides that people pick up out in the woods? Maybe we can prevent this terrible rash of suicides by putting out salt licks with some kind of anti-depressant drug in them.

Anyway, there is another ground hog in the yard and I guess that I am just going to have to trap him and release him somewhere else. My 'Caddyshack' sense of humor tells me that I ought to release him at the golf course a few miles away and my other sense says I ought to drop him off in a million dollar neighborhood just for the hell of it so they can deal with it.

Then again, maybe I ought to find a liberal neighborhood and drop him off there and watch the hand-wringing and listen to the 'puppies are poeple, too' set try and figure out what to do with the poor animal.

Oh, well. Off to the wayback to spin the wheels of industry for a couple of hours.
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

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.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

How necessary is college?

In many cases, not necessary at all. In other cases it is imperative.

I worked under a guy that didn't finish high school for several years and he made out all right and did a hell of a lot better than an awful llot of people with a degree. I also worked under a guy with a degree that seemed to be OK and I came to the conclusion that it wasn't so much the degree as it was the man.

Then again, there are a lot of career fields that genuinely require a bachelor's degree or even more than that. I suppose that a physician needs a little more than a bachelor's degree even though some of the best medical treatment I have ever recieved was from people that have never ever seen a college classroom but I won't get into this in detail except to say I have gone under the knife of a high school graduate. When I got a physical a couple of years later the (real) doctor asked me about the resultant scar and commented that it looked like I had been operated on by someone pretty expensive.

Yes, I am being vague.

Anyway, I am not trying to overthrow the medical system as I write this even though I once got treatment for a broken bone from a (real) MD that didn't finish high school. He was a perverse bastard that was proud of the fact that he didn't finish high school yet was an MD. He got drafted during the Vietnam war and got sent to Ft. Sam Huston for Medic training, proved himself in combat and got offered a deal from the army, retiring after about 25 years as a colonel. Leave it to the United States Army to take a high school dropout and turn him into an orthopedic surgeon. Go figure.

Then again, the guy was a real character and knew his stuff and had good advice and aligned all the parts so the miracle could occur which is what doctors really do. Anyone that says doctors perform miracles is full of crap. They just align things so the REAL miracle can occur.

But I digress.

College is nothing more or less than a tool to put in a toolbox and as a tool oriented guy that has a lot of tools in his box, I can honestly say that there are a few tools in it that I should have not coughed up my hard earned cash on. They will sit in the box and rust in peace but I think the tools I have coughed up for are a whole lot cheaper than paying for a useless degree.

These days in places Starbucks is hiring. They hire a lot of people with college degrees and there are a lot of people there that are serving coffee with a college degree. Then again, Starbucks hires people that have not finished high school because they are still in high school.

I have not been able to figure out the difference between the coffee that is served to me by a high school student and a college graduate. Maybe I am missing something but I sort of doubt it. Then again, I have been told I could comfortably live in a concentration camp comfortably which may or may not be true.

Truth is there are a lot of worthless degrees out there and anyone that is stupid enough to believe that a mere degree guarentees them a good job should guess twice. There are a boatload of people out there with unmarketable degrees.

I really have little sympathy for someone that goes into debt to get a degree in, say, photography to find that all she can find to make a living is to serve coffee at Starbucks. Incidentally,if they took out student loans I want my money back. They got their degree, I want my money back. I diddn't choose their majors. They did.

There is a guy that I know that mows lawns for the neighbors, he has about 100 different lawns he mows and has first class gear to do the job. He started his little business to put himself through college and after he graduated he discovered that if he went from part time mowing to full time mowing he would end up making more than any of the offers he got when he graduated. He's mowing lawns full time now and has someone else working for him, too. He's now a small businessman.

Right now we have an awful lot of people getting degrees in various humanities which is generally useless and not a whole lot of people seem to be interested in hard sciences which likely has something to do with why we are hiring a lot of engineers and the like out of India. Part of the reason we hire engineers and scientific types from overseas is because too many Americans go to college for the humanities which is a a pretty flooded market these days.

We produce enough humanities types in this country to keep state in the union supplied with photography, basketweaving, and kumbaya types for the next three generations and that includes Texas.

What we don't seem to have are specialists, scientists, engineers and tecnicians. It seems we get many of these from somewhere else.

Of course, the humanities types all get upset when they graduate and find out that there are no decent jobs for them out there and bellyache about it, but they have only themselves to blame. They didn't do their homework and look before they leaped. I still want my money back, though. They still have to pay their student loans off.

Another thing people don't realize is that it is really pretty easy to be successful without a degree if you have a skill. Anybody out there hired a plumber recently? They make pretty good money and seem to be in pretty good demand these days because if they were not in demand they would not be as expensive to hire if the market was flooded.

Electricians are in another in demand trade. They command a pretty good paycheck and generally are booked up. After a few years as a journeyman you can take the test for Master and open your own business. I hired a guy to do some electrical work for me a while ago and he seemed to be doing OK. I paid him with a trade because he told me he was trying to keep his income DOWN for some reason. Most likely taxes.

I chatted with a body and fender guy that teaches the trade in a community college and he reported to me that every single one of his graduates that have any talent whatsoever are fought over by local businesses that need skilled people. I am not surprised as good body and fender guys are magicians.

Of course, a lot of parents are still stuck in the mentality their parents were stuck in years ago and that is that you can not be a success without college. My mother believed it, I do not think my father did even though he had a degree. As I have aged I have seen a number of people of the generation of my children are dissatisfied and are sweating bullets over mortgages and raising kids. A few of them have confessed thay would have been better off in a steady trade.

The college mentality still persists. MY kid is going to COLLEGE and that is that because I want him/her to be a success.

College in itself is not going to make him a success. If he gets a marketable degree he will simply have another tool to work with. If he gets another worthless degree he will likely wind up underemployed.

One of the most interesting people I have met over the years is a guy that had a father that insisted on college for a son that wanted to be a plumber. This was back in the day when college educations were more affordable. He is now a plumber running a small plumbing business.

His goal of being a plumber was not put aside in college. He took business as a major and after he graduated he went straight into a plumber apprenticeship program and burned up the league and in record time became a master plumber and opened his own plumbing business. He had a few employees during the period he raised his family.

He raised a couple of kids and after the kids were up and grown he shrunk his business and simply picks and chooses his jobs and does well.

I do have to admit that it does make me snicker when I get a cup of coffee served to me by a newly graduated humanities major.
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Sunday, October 21, 2012

My sweetie dropped by the other night.

She's four years old and already a charmer.

A couple of years ago I wrote about her when her dad put up the Christmas lights. She was really shy and I offered her my index finger so we could walk across the street and look at the lights. Her curiosity overcame her shyness and she took my finger and I got to see her face light up. It was truly a precious moment.

Ever since that she has been my sweetie and now she is four.

Her dad, her brother and I had a little business to conduct as his son had taken care of my cat for a day and it was payday and I had to cough up six bucks. When my sweetie heard they were coming over she wanted to visit so they took her.

When they walked in I took one look at her and she took one look at me and she 'wanted to come up' so I lifted her and looked at her dad and brother.

"Now, THIS is business," I said and the little girl and I traded hugs and she gave me a kiss on the cheek.

The dad thought that was pretty cool because I had my priorities straight. He laughed when I said that I was attending to business first.

Then I put her down and paid my bill to her older brother and made it clear he had done a good job. He had.


Someone asked me why I moved to Pittsburgh from Alaska.

I told them that it was unsafe. I found out that 87% of all accidents occur within 10 miles of home so I figured I'd best get the hell out of there so I moved to Pittsburgh.

Watching him try and figure that one out was worth watching.

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Piccolo meets a pretty good cop.

I was scoping the water tower area out again to set up my PRC 320 on for the weekend and when I got there there were a few people in the lodge right next to it doing something. I paid them no mind and pulled out my compass and started shooting a few azimuths because I want to orient the antenna wire toward Australia.

I was pacing off what looked like a pretty good line and walked past the lodge building and someone asked me what I was doing. When I told them a woman nearby came over. I asked her if there was anything going on in the lodge tomorrow and she told me there was going to be a wedding and that she had rented the lodge.

I told her about my planes and made it very clear that I was going to stay well clear of any doings and would post no problem as I would set up shop in an out of the way part of the lot. She acted pleasant but I smelled something I did not like the scent of. I walked out back into the lot and waited.

I figured she was going to call the police as soon as my back was turned and not more than three minutes later a policeman arrived on scene. He drove straight up to her, listened to her and then drove over to me and asked me a couple of questions about my plans on setting up radio gear. I gave straight answers, telling him I had planned on staying on the other side of a nearby fence and using the unused ball field and staying out of their hair.

We recognized each other. We have seen each other before when I went hilltopping in the same spot a while ago.

He nodded, and told me that as long as I stayed on the other side of the fence I was good to go.

Then I said something to the cop. I told him that I had spoken to the woman and she was all right with things and there would be no problem and as soon as my back was turned she called you guys. I told the cop that that was just plain wrong. I hate being stabbed in the back like that.

He told me he gets calls like this all the time and I told him I wasn't surprised at all. I told him likely twenty five percent sounded right. He said probably more than that.

"Are you working tomorrow?" I asked.

He was. I told him that no matter what I did it was likely the woman was going to call and accuse me of something. Two faced people are like that. I asked him if he knew of any other spots and he suggested Nob Hill and I agreed it was likely a good spot.

We chatted briefly about how he had seen me a couple of times before and he commented on how nice I had been to the woman and her kid. I smirked and reminded him of the brassy woman that had demanded to know what I was doing and he smiled. I had told that women, "It's classified, Ma'am. If I tell you, I have to kill you." He remembered that one and smirked.

"How about if you tell that woman that the best way to keep me away tomorrow is to rent the ball field," I said. "If she doesn't want me near this place, she should rent it so I can't. That way she has nothing to gripe about. The again, she can think I am coming tomorrow and here entire wedding will be ruined by some guy in the ball field across the fence."

"I can do that." he said and backed up to the lodge. A minute later the woman came out of the lodge, got in her car and left. The cop returned.

"She's renting the ball field," he said.

"Good deal," I said. "I'll go to Nob Hill tomorrow. Thanks for getting me my pound of flesh."

"How's that?" he asked.

"She's renting the ball field. It'll cost her money," I replied. "I wouldn't have pushed the issue if she hadn't backstabbed me. I would have likely gone somewhere else if she had asked nicely, but she didn't. She backstabbed me."

"Yeah, I guess you're right. Actually I hate calls like this."

"I hate having to deal with them myself," I replied. "Like I said, if she was straight with me I would have simply offered to go away if she wasn't so dishonest. Let's call this a win/win. You won't get another call tomorrow and I get Nob Hill. Maybe you can take a leak and not have your radio go off as soon as you unzip your fly." He laughed.

"Sounds good to me." he said.
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Friday, October 19, 2012

Today is a day of boots and utes in the backyard

It is a day that will be spent chopping down all the growth of the past year and there sia a lot of it.

I also have to cut up another tree that was felled and make that go away.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

I am now an Amateur Extra

having passed the test last night. Until my paperwork arrives I can use the Extra frequencies simply by adding AE to my call sign.

Yesterday was a gold plated bastard. I arrived home at 0400 and sacked out at 0500 until about 0830 and then did a bunch of "I just got back home' chores. Around 1600 I decided I felt OK so I impulsively hopped in the pickup and hauled my tired ass over across the state line to a school where they were giving the ham radio tests.

I walked in expecting it to be as informal as it was when I took my Tech and General tests but the club that was giving it made things a little more formal. Everyone had to be there before any paperwork started and yada yada yada. Still, I guess it was OK. The worst part was waiting, as usual.

As soon as I got the test I wanted to sleep but I slugged it out and as soon as I found out I had passed it I instantly felt invigorated so the drive home wasn't too bad.

 I passed with an 86% which ain't too bad.

This is a pretty good deal for me because it allows me a little more band space on a lot of the bands, nost notably 40 and 20 meters.

I was the only one there upgrading to Extra, two other guys were upgrading to General and the rest were taking the entry level test for Technician. As is often the case, I was the last one to be handed my exam and my exam had more questions than anybody else's and I was the first to hand mine in.

I generally 'test fast' because either you know it or you don't and when I pore over a question I often overthink it and confuse myself, generally to my loss.

Not a bad day for just doing something on a whim.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I am now an Extra Class Amateur operator

Just passed the test a couple hours ago.

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Monday, October 15, 2012

One ot the things I have noticed that appears to me to be as racist as hell is that a Florida school board has just decided to pass a plan for racially based academic goals.

What a crock! This is a major insult to an entire race and when you look at it, it is stuff like this that keeps the black man down.

If I were a minority I would be livid at the insult! I guess some liberal do gooders have decided to pick up White Man's Burden and carry our little brown brothers on their shoulders because they think minorities are not as smart or talented as the rest of us.

Sorry about that, but that $hit doesn't flush in the Piccolo realm because unlike the people that have passed that little insult to a race, Old Pic believes that race has nothing to do with talent and that there are talented people out there of all races and colors.

I have posted before that racism is not going to go away until a number of things happen and one of them is that we all have to be judged by the same equal standard.

Why have we just insulted an entire race? It makes no sense to me whatsoever.

I suppose you readers have pegged me as a cynical old man, and to a point I'll fess up and say 'You got that one right', but there is one area I am not a cynical old man. I have a faith in the human race that says that if someone wants to they can succeed, but they have to work at it and meet the existing fair standards. Success is not determined by race. It is determined by brains and hard work and nobody has convinced me that any particular race has a monopoly on brains ot the ability to work hard.

This policy is also one hell of a hard slap in the face to those minorities that have gotten up off of their asses and made something of themselves because it undermines their personal success. It's too easy to have your success undermined when people can whisper behind your back that the only way you got where you are is because you are a member of a minority group.

Things like making academic goals based on race do nothing more than tell people that we're different and the truth is, we're not. I still believe in what Dr. King said when he said, "There's only one race and that's the human race."

I wish that the do-gooders of this world would simply put down white man's burden and sit back and be patient because when we are all judged by the same standard and stop treating each other differently because some whack job pipe smoker with a beard that pretends to work in a college somewhere decides something stupid that things will work themselves out.

I think the best way to hande this situation is to force every single one of our elected officials to utilize monority professionals for their financial and medical proceedures. Not a competent self made minority professional, either, but a product of their own making. Someone that was graded on a lesser scale.

When the clowns that voted this kind of crap have to go in for a major operation and as they go under the anesthesia and notice that the the doctor has a bone in his nose and is shaking a rattle that maybe that wasn't a very good idea.

Then again, he may not notice it because he is wondering how he is going to pay for this operation because the accountant he hired to take care of his financial matters has just left him wondering which bridge he is going to sleep under when he gets released from the hospital if he doesn't get planted in the dirt after the operation.

I simply wish that they would hold everyone accountable to the same standards and leave well enough alone. If you do this in a generation or two a lot of the minorities that want into the professions will decide to take advantage of things and the problem will likely solve itself.

Put down white man's burden and let these people take care of themselves. In a generation or two you had better get the hell out of the way, though because they will be your fierce competition.


We have too many laws in this country to protect the stupid. We ought to remove all of the safety stickers from things and simply let the problem solve itself.


This post is up a little early because I have a big day tomorrow.

my other blog is:

The mind is willing but the ox is slow.

Back in the day when my day was still alive I went home for a visit and we sat there watching the tube together.

When dad and I watched TV the rest of the family would generally evacuate because dad and I would start bouncing off of each other and the chaos interrupted the show for everyone else. There were times we could both enjoy a little TV crap together quietly and admit to each other that 90% of it was crap and take it for what it was.

Still, the time I remember most of all were when dad would run a commentary on the show which most of the family hated him to do, but I enjoyed the hell out of it. He was really funny, or at least I though so.

One time we watched the show "Kung Fu" together and although he had never seen it, he pretty much predicted just about everything that was going to happen, and when, only he would make his predictions in a sarcastic tone. It was funny.

"OK, now, the cowboy with the big mouth is going to be the last one to enter the fight and the first one to turn tail and run after what's his face knocks the hell out of the other six."

And that is what would happen.

Of course, the main character, Caine, would say something in his slow inscrutinable way, like the time someone roasting a turkey on a fire offered him something to eat.

"I do not eat game," said Caine.

"Bull$hit," my father would retort to the television set. "In this house you'd eat what the hell was put in front of you or you'd go hungry!"

"Damned right," I'd answer Dad, in a serious tone, but inside I was rolling on the floor laughing myself silly.

We got near the end of the show and Dad said, "Now watch, he's going to say something that makes no sense at all but is supposed to have some deep meaning like he's some kind of Indian guru or something. Let's see, something like 'The mind is willing but the ox is slow' or some such crap. What the hell's that supposed to mean? TV is such a waste. The real reason anybody watches this stupid show is to watch a skinny little dinky Chinaman whale the living dog snot out of eleven cowboys. Besides, who else but a TV actress wallpapers a house in a sexy dress? Everyone else wears work clothes. Hell, for dirty work your mother puts on a pair of blue jeans that look like some damned cowboy threw them away."

Of course, he was right and I had to hold it in. I was dying inside. He was also right about the blue jeans. They did look like hell.

A few days later I was watching one of thost movies with a moral. A white officer gets stuck running a black outfit and has to take them into combat. I was watching it, mostly out of boredom when dad walked in and after a couple of minutes casually said that the officer would successfully lead his outfit, the scared one would die bravely and the officer would be filled with guilt and remorse for having doubting his men and pointed out that there was cold beer in the basement refrigerator.

We went down and opened beers and I asked dad how the black units made out during the war. He told me that they did just about as good or bad as everybody else. Some units were good, some bad. He also pointed out that the hotshot flyboys that ran a couple Messerschmidts off of the tail of a crippled B-17 he was bombardier of were colored boys. (The term 'colored' was then a respectful term of the WW2 generation for blacks.)

He pointed out that the guys in that outfit were pretty disciplined and stuck with them instead of chasing enemy fighters all over hell. Fighter pilots were notorious for chasing enemy fighters all over hell and leaving the bombers to fend for themselves. Dad said the black flyboys would simply run the enemy fighters off and immediately return to escort duty like they were supposed to.

A while later dad stopped being disgusted with everything and decided to just let it amuse him. WHile it was likely a good choice, it wasn't anywhere near as funny as his disgust was.

Over three decades later, I remembered my dad saying 'the mind is willing but the ox is slow' and I used that saying in something I wrote for the Zen shooting team. A couple of people asked what I meant buy that and I told them that I had no clue whatsoever but it sure sounded pretty official.

I was made a member of the team and got a shirt for writing that piece and someone actually made a sticker up with that on it. I put one on my pickup and one morning at the 7-Eleven a cop leaving with his coffee saw it as I was getting out of my truck and curiosity overwhelmed him and he asked me about it.

I told him about the Zen Shooting team and how it came to be because of a rift in the PA state team policies and I told him that the slogan was just a bunch of crap my disgusted father made up when we were watching 'Kung Fu' together years ago because it sounded mysterious.

The poor cop snarfed his coffee when I said that.

Anyway, here's today's post.

Oh, yeah. Ah, so. Man who pee uphill get feet wet.

my other blog is:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The rest of the story.

Bill and Trina had been going together for a while. Bill was a fisherman, and Trina worked as an office girl somewhere in town. It looked like a pretty good relationship.

Bill had just finished a pretty good crab season and was flush. He had done quite well and in addition to to paying off all of his bills he was quite a tidy sum ahead. He had promised Trina he'd take her to Hawaii if his season was good. It was and Bill was good for his word.

The two of them hopped on a jet and off they went.

About three days later, Bill walked into the bar and I was surprised and commented that he was supposed to be in Hawaii with Trina.

"Aw, she asked me when I was going to get a real job so I pushed her into the pool," he said, a tad shamefaced. "Now she won't talk to me so I came home."

I forgot about it for a couple of weeks and one day I saw Trina come into the bar. She sat near me and I looked up at her. "Seen Bill?"

"No, and I hope I never do see him again!" she snapped.

"Aren't you being a little hard on him?" I asked. "After all, he only threw you into the swimming pool."

"From a third story window!" she shot back.

And that is how I learned to look around for the rest of the story.

my other blog is:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

We choose our own paths in this life.

A few years ago at a pistol range I started gabbing with an off-duty cop that had pistol qualifications coming up and decided that maybe practicing might be a good idea.

We were gabbing about some high profile case that was on the news and I was interested not so much in the trial, but how the thug in question actually got caught. I wanted to know what mistake he had made to get nailed because it looked pretty mych like the prosecution had all his ducks lined up in a row.

The policeman told me he had been watching the case and explained in detail to me how the accused had left a trail. He also told me what he could have done to escape detection and how if he hadn't done such and such and made such and such a mistake he would have gotten clean away.

I grinned and told the cop he had a pretty good mind for this sort of thing and told him he'd likely make a pretty good criminal if he had decided to take that bent.

He looked at me a little confused and I explained to him that it takes a criminal mind to catch one and that he seemed to have a pretty good one.

The look of confusion subsided and turned into a thoughtful look.He said to me, "I never looked at it that way. I guess it's just a matter of which path we choose."

We do choose our paths in life and while making a huge pile of money was not on my list of priorities, I simply have not gotten rich. I suppose if I wanted to I surely could have. I chose a different path. Many of us have.

Others have made choices that have gotten themselves rich, others have chosen to be poor, and the most of us have chosen a path that they are comfortable getting by with.

It's true for all of us. We generally turn out the way we do because of the choices we make along the way.

In other unrelated crap, my shipmate has told me that Autumn has been cancelled due to lack of interest. We are going to go straight into winter. He's generally right.

my other blog is:

Friday, October 12, 2012

I am not a political analyst of any means.

 When I write something about the election it is generally an observation based on what I have seen simply by noticing things I see on a day by day basis.

When I say that I see fewer bumper stickers and home signs that is all it means. I simply make my predictions on what I see.

I do travel up and down the northeast coast and see a lot of the world out of a porthole but from time to time I get to see what's going ashore. It should also be carefully noted that because I do see the northeast coast the cities I deal with tend to be pretty liberal. I do not see the rest of the country.

Still, what interests me about this election is that in these bastions of liberals along the east coast I fail to see as much Obama activity as I have seen four years ago when he was elected. Four years ago in Philly for example, you saw nothing but Obama stickers everywhere. You couldn't drive fifty feet without seeing an Obama sticker or poster or something.

Philly has been a democratic town for decades and there are a lot of people there that do not even know who the candidates are but go to the polls and pull the straight democratic ticket lever. Yet I do not see anywhere near the number of Obama stickers I saw four years ago.

While I am not so naive to think that there is going to be any difference this year in the way Philly goes, I simply see that people do not seem as stirred up as they were.

Philly is basically corrupt and the stories regarding voter fraud in that city are rife. Come election time it said to be time to break out the vans, hit the projects and get them to vote at one set of polls and then load them up and take them down to the next precinct. Vote early, vote often.

I think partly because of this, the entire state of Pennsylvania will vote blue as it often does. It takes an awful lot to overcome the voter fraud in Philly.

Incidentally, I think that voter fraud should be taken very seriously and prosecuted. Anyone voting illegally should get at least a year of hard labor picking up trash or working on infastructure projects out in the weather and those organizing it should simply be executed.

On this, to the "Gee, he only organized people to vote", I will reply that he organized people to vote FRAUDENTLY and as a result tampered with a free election which is the basis of our civilization. An organized effort to vote fraudulenty is something intolorable. It ought to be paid for dearly and I think it should be a capital crime. (Try getting a politician to vote that one in, especially one that has been put into office by a corrupt machine.)

While I am on the subject of fraudulent voting, the recent efforts to pass voter ID laws are a fair and reasonable thing to do to promote fair elections. When I hear someone babble that voter ID laws are not fair, I simply ask them why they support fraudulent voting. Generally it is the crook that hates to see law enforced.

Back on topic.

This election appears to me to be the most blah one I can remember and like I said in a past post, it looks like Mitt Romney may very well win.

Today's unrelated tip. If you know you are going to be out of cell range for any length of time, simply turn the damned thing off. You are not going to be able to use it, anyway and when it is out of range of a tower it simply goes nuts trying to acquire a signal and really uses up an awful lot of battery. What we do when we are running the coast is turn them off when we know we are out of range and every so often we turn them on and check to see if we're in range. If we are not we simply turn them off again.

my other blog is:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The reason I think that Romney might be able to pull this election off

I just got through squaring the deck away and now have a couple minutes to make my post of the day.

I am not a good typist as I have said before and generally when I post I don't do much more than give things a fast scan because these posts are generally made on the fly.

Anyway, we have an election coming up and it isn't much of an election because I do not see any enthusiasm toward either of the candidates like I generally do. Four years ago the match was a little more spirited and I saw a lot more signs and stickers.

Truth is that I think there is a pretty good chance that Mitt Romney is coming out of this one on top because I do not see the enthusiasm toward President Obama that I did four years ago. The general consensus among a lot of people is that he has failed and failed miserably.

The general consensus about Romney seems to be that he is just another lackluster party hack of some sort that the Republicans have put up.

Nobody is fired up too much about either candidate and from the way I look at it, there's pretty good reason but I won't get into that.

 is because the people that voted for Obama four years ago are not as likely to muster up the time or energy to even go and vote and the people that can't stand Obama are likely to go to the polls just to vote him out.

If Obama gets the boot this election it will not be because the majority of the people in the country voted FOR Obama as they voted AGAINST him.

I suppose the same holds true if Obama is reelected.

This to me sounds like another election that people go to the polls to vote against someone rather than for someone but this is not a new thing because we haven't had anyone to really to vote FOR in quite a while.

my other blog is:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I just read an article about governmental job placement services in New York

  and the truth is they do not work at all. The reporters said that all these places do is sign people up for welfare, food stamps, the free phone program and about everything else you can imagine and make no effort whatsoever to find peope work.

The person that was investigating this sent 4 people out to look for work and the 4 people came back with about 40 job offers including one restaurant owner that said he'd hire 12 people if they would just show up and apply. Twenty-four of the 40 job offers were entry level jobs which generally means the hiring company is willing to train applicants.

When I got out of the army back in the 70s I went to the unemployment office and they actually tried to help me find work. They had none, of course so they signed me up for unemployment which I stayed on for a couple of months until I started school. I had to scout around and hunt for work and because I knew school was starting soon, I will admit I played the system a little. I dragged it a out a couple extra weeks out until school started.

Still, when school was over with I had to find work and it only took me about two or three days to find work framing houses. While there wasn't a construction boom, there was work and I hired on as a framer.

Because I didn't know squat about framing, I got canned after a couple of days and found another job which I got canned from after about a week. The third job I found I kept and wound up getting a raise after my first couple of weeks because I was experienced. A year later I was doing my own jobs.

While I have tried governmental employment agencies over the years to find work I have never even gotten so much of an interview with a prospective employer from them. All they really seem to want to do is hand out checks.

Admittedly I have not been to one in years but the report I read from New York tells me that they have not gotten better, only worse. Much worse.

It seems that the only thing the government does these days is to hand out checks which would be one thing, but when they push people to take them it irks me to no end. Most people would rather have a paycheck than a government check and I suppose I am no different. I'd simply rather take care of myself than have someone else take care of me.

It seems that just about every program the feds come up with isn't really very efficient. There really isn't a whole lot of real world in many federal programs when you look at them and besides, they are inefficient, big, cumbersome and unwieldy. Not to mention just plain expensive.

Federal job training programs have generally been a joke because they are not fast moving to keep up with the changing needs of industry. By the time thay start a training program as often as not, the market for the trainees has already been flooded or they have been trained on out of date methods and/or on outdated equipment.

Incidentally, I have mat a total of one person that was doing well after learning a skill in a federal program. The Job Corps trained this shipyard worker I met to weld but you can bet your boots that he learned to shipfit on his own. Looking at the guy I met I think he would have been successful anyway because he had it in him.

If you want to see a job training program, go to private industry because they have to be flexible to keep up with markets. They also have to take a person and get him up to speed and making the company a profit because until the trainee is actually doing something he is nothing more than an expense.

I wish that most of the federal programs would simply go away and be replaced as needed by either the individual states or even the counties. The further down you push the responsibilities, generally the more efficient things run. The state or county could likely do a better job of tailoring things to meet local needs.

One of the things that seem to be halfway decent are community colleges that have halfway decent hands on programs run by people that have had real working experience in the private sector. I met a guy that teaches automotive body work a couple nights a week at a community college and he reported to me that virtually every one of his students finds work upon graduation in a decent shop.

Interestingly enough, this guy has no college, but he does have a couple of decades of working in the field under his belt. Betcha he teaches a pretty good course. I believe the county signs his paychecks.

I suppose if the feds did, he'd have to have a degree under his belt and there are not a whole lot of degreeholders that have twenty or more years in the body and fender business. The feds would just hire a college idiot and produce little more than people that have real skills other than what they read in a book.

I just wish the feds would step out of the game and leave it to either private business, the states or the communities.

my other blog is:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Someone asked me if I had had any dealings

with pirates over my career and the answer is simply 'no', at least in the traditional sense of piracy.

When I was asked the question I grinned and thought of writing one of those "I put my cutlass in my teeth and swing across in the rigging" stories but why bother. Maybe some day I'll try my hand at fiction but not now.

Actually I did post one here for someone at work to read but that's another story You can go look it up sometime.

I suppose it could be argued with maybe a little success that I have been GUILTY of piracy, but I certainly am not going to post that on a public internet forum. There are only three crimes mentioned in the Constitution. They are treason, counterfeiting and piracy and I am not stupid enough to admit to any of those three.

A couple of decades ago I was a potential mutineer as several of us discussed putting the skipper in the raft with a case of cheap store brand diet cola and setting him adrift in Long Island Sound.

Cut the bastard loose! Watch the 6 O'clock news cameras roll as he washes ashore on Long Isand, a blithering wild-eyed wreck babbling incoherently about a mutinous crew out of an 1800s pirate movie. "The incarnate of Fletcher Christian himself cast me adrift!"

The interrogations of the crew would have been priceless.

As the Coast Guard was entering the area, the mate telling the deckhand to take the bandanna off of his head and telling the engineer to shave his pencil thin moustache off before the interrogation begins.

"I just went into the wheelhouse to bring the skipper up a coke and he was gone and the boat was running on autopilot!" This the deckhand.

"Jeez! I saw him a couple hours before he turned up missing and he was acting nervous as a cat! He was wild-eyed and flitting around with a terrified look in his eye. Something wasn't right!" This the engineer.

The mate: "Who? Me? I was asleep when I got woke up by the deckhand telling me the skipper was missing."

He was shorting us on our grub and that's a BIG no-no to a sailor.

When we got back to New York harbor I had a yardbird run up the street and had him pick me up a bag of limes. I served a quarter-lime every night with dinner to all hands. It took a couple of meals for the skipper to figure out what the limes were for and when he did he blew up with me. That proved to be a mistake as the crew backed me up and took over the fight. We got the skipper to loosen up the grub money purse strings after that and we started eating like normal sailors.

The only thing I recall that came after that was a couple of months later when my shoreside supervisor asked me if I really did serve limes at dinner. I innocently asked him if it looked like I had scurvy. When he said it didn't, I simply replied, "There's your answer," and shuffled off.

I did have a shipmate that was running deep sea for a while and twice he was boarded by pirates. I guess the first time they just sneaked aboard and stole a bunch of loose stuff, but the second time they ran through the ship and robbed as many crew members as they could find.

Anyway, to answer your question, the only pirates I have dealt with out here for the most part were shipmates and friends. That ain't a bad deal.

my other blog is:

Monday, October 8, 2012

Last February 13, I posted about how women sound

 when they tell you someone has just given birth to a child.

It was when Mrs. Piccolo said that someone we knew just had a new baby. I asked Mrs Pic what they did with the old one and chaos ensued and confusion reigned.

It's not so when a guy announces his wife just had a new baby. Then again it is because chaos still ensues but there is no confusion.

One of the guys just announced that his wife had a new baby and my instant reaction, of course, was that I asked him what he was going to do with the old one.

Immediately someone else suggested selling it on Craigslist so we could have a few bucks to buy a case of beer with. Someone else suggested just tossing it in the trash because nobody wanted old babies anymore and someone else growled ala Joliet Jake Blues that he wanted to buy the new father's children.

Instantly a bunch of instant good natured ribbing started and the new father was left grinning and a bit red faced. He sheepishly said that he had announced that one wrong and that he should have simply said he was a father again.

This is quite a difference between asking a woman what the mother was going to do with the old baby as women get confused at first when you ask them that.

my other blog is:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

So some terrorist that the Brits extradited is griping

 because they took his prosthetic arms from him during the flight to the States. Too damned bad.

Of course the do-gooders of this world will feel sorry for the guy, but I am not one of the do-gooders of this world. I feel sorry for the widows and children that guys like this create. I feel sorry for the dismembered people they are responsible for dismembering. I feel sorry for the poor federal marshals that had to go and get this son of a bitch because they will be pretty tired after a long flight.

But for some reason the needle on my care-o-meter fails to lift off the peg when I hear that they took his prosthetic arms away from him during the flight.

If the poor bastards that had to fly across the ocean to haul this animal back to the States for trial decided to beat him up for causing them the trouble I might have said something. I would have suggested that they were fined a dollar. That's about it.

While for well over the past decade I have had a bellyfull of Islamic terrorists and their assaults on my way of life, there is something that I have had a bigger bellyfull of and that is whiney little people running to their defense.

The do-gooders all gripe that our prison at Guantanamo Bay is a national disgrace and this is one thing I agree with, but for different reasons. It is a disgrace that we are so kind to these miserable bastards. We follow the Geneva conventions and treat these people with respect and feed them a diet approved by their religion yet they throw urine at the Marines guarding them.

Feed them what the MArines eat and call it good and if the Marines decide that all of a sudden they want ham, bacon and sausage three times a day, then too damned bad. You don't want it? Don't eat it.

Do these people follow the Geneva convention? Answer: No. They butcher any of our troops that capture and there is one miserable little secret that the GIs don't talk about that they learned from history from other people that have fought in Afghanistan.

Tommy Atkins, the British equivilent of GI Joe generally kept a round in his pocket in case he ran out of ammunition fighting these people. He kept it seperate and he kept it for himself. I'll bet a lot of our GIs do the same damned thing because Al Quida and the Taliban don't play by the Geneva convention.

We do, and we're suckers for it.

As for the guy griping about not having the use of his prosthetic arms, that's just too damned bad.

What they ought have done to him while he didn't have the use of his hands is prophis eyelids open and tie his head facing the airplane's on-board movie screen and run back to back X-rated porno movies.

As for the apologists, whiners, do-gooders and crybabies, that's just too damned bad.

Want something to cry about? I can think of something.

my other blog is:

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I think I am going to study

 to upgrade my ham ticket.

These days it isn't hard as there are a number of programs out there that make it easy and are either free or cost very little.

One of the things that has made things a bit easier are the numbers of home study courses out there that will help a guy along and you do not have to schedule classes. I just spent an hour on an introductory session and the best part about it is that I could just drop it and do something else whenever something important came up to deal with.

Nobody is likely to steal the course from me and if I leave it or turn my back on it when I return it will be right where I left it.

I can take my final when I feel like it and get my upgrade in a couple of days. In fact, as soon as I pass the test I can go on the air as an "Extra" even though my name isn't yet on the FCC database. All I have to do is carry my test reciept with me.

The reason for this is that a lot of DXpeditions use frequencies that are not available to guys with general class licenses and don't start taking callls from Generals for the first several days. When they finally do they generally transmit on the Extra frequency and listen on the General frequency which means I have to set up my rig for split operation.

Being able to use the Extra frequencies will give me alittle more to work with.

There are actually a lot of other non radio courses out there. Back when I was studying for my Able Seaman and Captain's license there was no internet, or at least it was in its infancy and it wasn't readily available. I'd bet they are out there now.

Once I have my Amateur Extra upgrade I think I am going to start getting a little more education off of the web. While I have no real burning desire to get my degree, I figure that maybe I can learn a little more in some technical area because I sort of like the sciences.

Maybe I can become an orthopedic surgeon in my spare time. Dr. Piccolo, MD.

While that rates right up there next to being elected Pope Piccolo the First, the idea of learning to fix, say, the family air conditioner isn't all that too much of a bad idea. I'll bet the Air Conditioning makers have something out there that wil teach me how to fix it if I dig around a little.

Manufacturers like to teach people how to install their products because the guy that knows how to install one is likely to buy one he understands as opposed to one he has to read through a book to understand as he is installing it. They also know that there are a number of do-it-yourselfers out there that will buy one of their machines if they can get instruction on installation.

While I do not know what I am going to do after I upgrade my license, I do know that I am going to do a little snooping around on the web and maybe find something interesting and as I write this now I already have a pretty good idea.

I haven't used my celestial navigation skills in quite some time and maybe I'll brush up in them and when I do I'll bring my lifeboat sextant to work and shoot a couple wheels of stars while running up the coast.

Sometimes polishing up an unused skill isn't a bad idea.

Anyway, first things first. I think I'll upgrade my ham license.

my other blog is:

Friday, October 5, 2012

Yesterday I mentioned getting dragged into someone else's business.

It was a woman nagging at her 24 year old son to get married so she can have some grandchildren to bounce on her knee.

What a selfish, forgetful one-way bitch!

Did it ever occur to her that maybe her son is gay or that he doesn't want to get married or one of another of a string string of good reasons?

No. She just wants grandchildern she can spoil and send back to the parents after undoing their hard wrk of parenting. She doesn't give a damn about if her son marries some dumbass, but she should.

Picture the scenario that her Sonny Boy marries some 20 something little chickie that's going to roll out a couple or three fast kids just because she''s looking for a meal ticket. Ten years down the line she decides she's not happy after he has been coming home every night to a house smelling like boiled cabbage. She leaves and takes the kids and moves out of state leaving her Sonny Boy paying through the nose to three kids he can't afford to even visit.

The only place he can see his kids is when they show up on The Jerry Springer Show.

Maybe Sonny Boy may in fact WANT to settle down and raise a couple of kids, but he's putting it off a while until he gets his career stablized because he knows that it will open the availability of another entirely different class of women to him. He's looking for a successful woman to marry because he knows success breeds success and that failure breeds failure.

Successful women are not really interested in risking getting tied down to a deadbeat and I can't say as I blame them.

One of the things in this world I really do not think very much of is designing parents that are trying to design their kids to do things to make them happy instead of just letting their kids find their own happiness.

While my own mother used to kid me once in a while, both my parents put my happiness first and did a pretty good job of letting me decide how I wanted to live my own life.

They seemed to be disappointed in me at first but over time they learned to respect me for living my life the way I chose.

I'm pretty grateful for that.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

I screwed up on the PA turnpike.

. My E_Z pass had fallen off and I didn't realize it until I was in the slot. I saw a trooper in the waiting area so I just drove through and drove up alongside him and explained what had just happened.

"I like to face up to things as soon as possible and get them behind me," I said.

He smiled. "What taught you that?" he asked, grinning.

"Ahh, a coupla Halloweens ago I got all drunk up, grabbed my chain saw and hacked up about six or eight of the damned teenagers that were out soaping windows. When I realized what I had done I went straight to the police station and turned myself in. The cop appreciated my honesty so much he just wrote me a summons for disorderly conduct and I got a $50 fine," I replied.

He chuckled.

"It was the $2 parking ticket I tried to skip out on that really made it sink in. I wound up with a hickory shampoo, kissed the pavemant and got my head cracked against the roof of the police car a coupla times. Then the cop pulled strings with the judge and I got 90 days."

He busted up laughing when I said that.

"I wish you'd teach my kids to face up to things," he said.

"Nah, ya don't want that. A coupla weeks ago some mother of some 24 year old kid was bugging him to get married so she could have some grandchildren. I was well dressed and I think she mistook me for a Hugh Beaumaont type that had raised a bunch of kids and she asked me to tell her son what I did when I was 24."

"What DID you do when you were 24?" asked the trooper.

"I told the woman and the guy that when I was 24 I hitchiked to Alaska and got picked up by a 40 year old retired Las Vegas showgirl in a powder blue Lincoln Continental. I shacked up with her and drank 12 year old scotch for about six months until she ran out of money. Then I ditched her."

The cop laughed. "That's what you're SUPPOSED to do when you're 24," he said. "What did the woman say?"

"She got all bent out of shape and I told her to leave the poor guy alone because he was probably waiting for a decent woman so the kids don't wind up on the Jerry Springer Show," I replied.

The cop laughed.

"Here's what we're going to do, said the cop. I'm going to take you around again and let you go through with your E-Z Pass. It'll likely screw their system up and they'll figure it was a glitch and throw it out. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Follow me."

I reached under the seat, found my E-Z Pass and put it back on the windshield where it belonged.

I followed him and he took me through an official use only exit and I went through and waved. He waved back. Then I reentered the highway and noted that this time the light turned green. I was good to go.

Sometimes when you screw up the best thing to do is face it then and there. Cops are generally guys that like to help people if the people are honest and ask for help.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

too jammed up today

to make a decent post. Maybe later today.


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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

of grub shopping and a Seeing Eye Cat

Yesterday I went grub shopping at WallyWorld and it was miserable. I had a hard time getting my moneygram from the CVS I sometimes use so I went to WallyWorld to get the cash and then decided to shop while I was at it.

I was not in the best of moods, but remained civil until I saw a mother getting after her kid to make him behave. She did a good job of it and I stopped to compliment her on being a good parent and doing her job. Her face lit up, which happens. When I see someone doing a good job of parenting I compliment them.

About 5 minutes later I ran into some broad with a terrible kid that was letting out 'the screech'. The one that hits one's ears like an ice pick. I decided I wasn't going to hold it in and told her she was a lousy parent and she ought to get off her dead ass and onto her dying feet and discipine that damned kid.

She didn't like that very much and started to snap back at me to mind my own business and went agape when I told her that being forced to deal with a screeching little whelp WAS my business and to go and get sterilized so as not to make the same mistake twice and get her spawn from hell out of my earshot.

She said she wished her husband was here.

"So do I, Lady. Widowhood would look good on least until the insurance money runs out."

"You belong in prison!" she snapped.

"Lady, I just got outta the joint and I'm on on parole. Twenty-five to llife for icing some mouthy broad's husband after she made him stick up for her. I don't like life on the outside very much. I wouldn't mind going back."

It took a minute to sink in but when it did, she left like a shot.

I turned and there was a guy looking at me and he smirked. I looked at him for a second and he said, "She DID have it coming. That screech the kid made was hideous. Thanks."

"Anytime," I replied.

I continued shopping and got to the dairy case and saw the straw that broke the camel's back.

In the seat of a shopping cart was a little fleabag of a dog, a sloppy little yappie wet-faced, drooling fleabag. He was wearing a vest that said "Emotional Assistance Dog" on it. I like to $hit. Has it gotten this far?

I turned to the woman behind me and quietly pointed it out. She was about my age and looked like she baked pies for the church, a real Barbara Billingsley type. The woman that raised Wally and the Beav.

She wandered up and took a look and returned to me. "You gotta be $hitting me," she said. "I don't believe it."

It surprised me to hear a woman like that say something like that, but I guess she was shocked to see an 'Emotional Assistance Dog'.

"Blame the Kumbaya crowd," I said. "If she can't leave that damned fleabag home for a couple of hours to go shopping than she ought to buy a pistol and one round and go somewhere and do the right thing!"

"Yes, she should," replied Barbara Billingsley.

"Tell you what I am going to do when I get my groceries home," I said to her. "I'm going to go home and put my cat on a leash and put on sunglasses and grab a white cane bring him to this zoo and call him a Seeing Eye Cat."

She laughed and asked, "How are you going to get away with that?"

"Simple. I'll blame it on Obamacare," I replied.

"That's rich," she replied. "I want to see that!"

"Be back here in a couple of hours," I replied.

"I live fifteen minutes away. Here's my cell number. Call me when you're 20 minutes out! I want my husband to see this, too!"

I finished my shopping. Of all the luck, the woman I had complimented on being a good mother was in front of me. She told me the other mother I had told off was a neighbor and that she had complained to her about my telling her she had awful kids.

I said that I was just telling it like it was and she turned soft and thanked me,and admitted that her neighbor didn't do a very good job of disciplining her kid. We parted on friendly terms.

Then I went home and and got squared away and grabbed Kyoto Kitty and put on his harness and took a brief walk in the yard and realized he hadn't been very well trained yet but decided that if the Army could press cooks, bakers and mechanics into duty as riflemen, I could take the cat with me and train him as we went along.

Two minutes later I was on my way and when I was 20 minutes out I called the Barbara Billingsley look alike woman and told her I was 20 minutes out.

I grabbed Kyoto Kitty and we got near the door and I got out my cane and with a quick flip unfolded it. This is a real cane and folds up with an elastic core which unfolds and locks it.

Then I put Kitty down and we headed for the door and of course, the cat didn't want to go in but a couple of gentle tugs on the leash changed his mind. In he went and he started leading me. He stopped to sniff the people greeter and she told me it was the first time she had ever seen a Seeing Eye Cat. Then she asked me why I didn't have a dog.

"Obamacare," I said, seriously. "Dogs are too expensive."

She looked shocked.

We moseyed past and headed straight for the deli and then went down past the meat counter. I peeked behind me and the Billingsley look-alike and her husband were behind me pushing an empty shopping cart.

We went past a Coca Cola end display and Kyoto Kitty jumped up and saw a hole where a case had been removed and wedged himself in there.

I started to try and play along and followed the leash and when I got to the cat I started to gently get him to come out. As I was doing this some do-gooder offered to help. This wasn't a person that was just being a nice guy, this was a professional do-gooder, the kind that treats everyone like a small child because they think they are smarter than everyone else.

'Hold this," I said, and handed her my cane.

Then I started digging the cat out, "Damned Obamacare! I ought to take you down to a Chinese restaurant and see if Chin Ho will give me three bucks a pound for you," I said to the cat.

The do-gooder looked horrorfied.

When I had dug Kyoto Kitty out, I reached out and she handed me my cane back and looked shaken.

I saw the Billingsleys trying not to wet their pants laughing.

I put the cat down and short leashed him and we ambled over out of grocery to the place where they sell cell phones and asked the guy there if they made smartphones in Braille yet. He had sold me my present phone a few months ago and recognized me. He smirked and quietly under his breath told me he wasn't going to rat me out and showed me one with a keypad that had raised numbers.

I thanked him and left.

On the way out some little kid asked me it Kyoto Kitty was a real Seeing Eye Cat and I seriously told him it was. His mother asked why I had a cat instead of a dog. I told her to ask President Obama as Obamacare was his bright idea.

She asked me if I liked having a cat as a guide animal and I told her that if the cat keeps running me into posts I was going to take it to a Chinese restaurant and see if Chin Ho would give me three bucks a pound for him.

The woman didn't know whether to go into shock or laugh herself silly.

We moseyed toward the door, my anger over the shopping trip had subsided and I was again in a good mood.

The Billingsleys were outside the door, laughing themselves silly and approached me and thanked me for making them laugh. He shook my hand and I blushed a bit and I started back to my pickup carrying Kyoto Kitty.

"Hey, you dropped something," shouted Mr. Billingsley and came running toward me.

When he got near me he quietly said, "My wife was just diagnosed with breast cancer. We caught it early and she's going in tomorrow. Thank you for making her laugh so hard. She needed it."

I was humbled.

I guess my lousy day really wasn't too lousy after all.

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Well, time for my daily post.

and I have half a mind to just let the damned cat write this one as I have already had to start over twice as he has crossed the keyboard twice. Why cats do that is beyond me. They take to keyboards like the moon draws water.

The HF rig is on for background but it is suprisingly quiet as I have not heard Jda, Jim or Nancy yet on the YL system. This is rare. I have a bellyful of beer pancakes and tactical bacon and am washing it down with some of my nasty coffee.

I have a lot to do today.

Today is Ocoober 1st and I looked at the calendar and saw that in a few days we celebrate Colombus Day which is a joke as he was nothing more than a ruthless murderer and enslaver of the natives of the islands he supposidly discovered.

Of course, he discovered nothing because they were already people there. It is like me hopping on a jet to Rome and when I get offf I announce that I have discovered Italy.

You can bet your ass that if I did that they Italians are not very likely to name a day after me and label it a holiday. I might get to meet a couple of nice young men in clean white coats and be given a very long sleeved jacket to wear, though.

Piccolo Day, Italian National holiday, named after the discoverer of Italy. Yeah, right.

Then again, it the 'anything for a party' gang got their hands on it and ran with it, it could become a day of celebration as the Italians celebrate taking some idiot American to the booby hatch.

I just mentionedearlier that Jda, Jim or Nancy have not shown up on the air for some reason. I heard a faint call for check-ins and answered and I'll be damned if I wasn't a member residing in Australia. He was fairly readable so I checked in. Cool!

There are members of the YIISSB system all over the world.

Anyway I suppose life is now pretty good. I have bitched about Colombus, checked in with Australia and the cat is nibbling on my toes for some reason.

I suppose it gets better than this, but this ain't so bad so I'll just enjoy it while I can. After all, I have a lot of stuff to take care of today.


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