Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Things every guy should own.

1. A leather flight jacket. Either an A-2 or a Navy G-1. They're expensive but buy once and cry once. They last for decades, probably a lifetime as they NEVER go out of style. They run snug so get one a size or two bigger so you can wear a couple layers under it in the winter. 
Also, get a name tag and maybe a couple patches sewn on to personalize it and keep it from disappearing. When you do this find a shoemaker that knows what he is doing and splits the zipper and sews the patches directly to the leather itself. Sewing through the inside liner will make the jacket self-destruct quickly. Trust me on this one. Buy this one new unless you can get one that's virgin. The real good ones are made by San Diego Leather. The SDL models have a deeper inside pocket that can hold a 1911a1 GI .45 if necessary. Incidentally it takes about ten years to break one of these in right. 

2. A tweed sports jacket, preferably grey. A Harris tweed is a good way to go. They last forever and never seem to go out of style. They're great for those 'not quite a tie' events and you can put a tie on if you want to. This need not be expensive. A 'gently used' Goodwill find works just fine. This can be worn with everything from jeans to nice slacks.

3. Keep at least 2 pairs of khaki and a pair of plain black trousers on hand, a plain front and a pleated front. Khakis are great for semi dress-up events and again, never seem to go out of style. Goodwill gently used is just fine.

4. Suits. I won't get too deep into this except to say that if your job requires you to wear one then have several. Buy them by fashion and style and NOT by fad. Buy them so they will last a few years and not go out of style after a single season. 

People will notice a faddish suit. If you are in a position where you are dealing with someone else's money they will be taken aback as it is an indication that you don't spend your money wisely. Fad is pimpish and people spot this. Buy new, especially if you are in the business world and don't cheap out on quality. 

If you are like me and do not have an eye for style find someone to help you. In my case I use my kid sister. Maybe by now when you read this you sisters can be helpful. If not go to the nearest Brooks Brothers outlet and find someone there that knows what you want. Tell him you want a suit you can hang in the closet for five or six years and then don without having it say, "'Saturday Night Fever' called. They want their suit back."

Don't be bashful about having someone help you select a suit or dress up outfit. You ain't the Lone Ranger here. Most men have an atrocious sense of style. You can bet your ass that guys like Donald Trump don't pick out their own outfits. The have someone else that knows clothes do it for them.

5. A Zippo lighter, spare flints and a can of fluid. Yeah. I know you don't smoke, just get one anyway. Leave it in a drawer. Make sure it is a real Zippo. You'll know when to carry it. A garage sale or Goodwill for a buck or two will do just fine. Just get one. While you're at it, get a cigar cutter and throw that in the drawer next to the Zippo.

6. A genuine US Navy pea coat. Get it big enough to wear comfortably over a suit. You can wear this with jeans, a suit, whatever and they last forever if taken care of. 

7. Hats. A genuine Navy watch cap, a decent fedora and a wide brimmed western hat. The latter is great for outdoor events in the summer. A straw western hat is good for hot, sunny day summer events and is socially acceptable just about anywhere. So is one made of felt. If you go with a Western hat of real felt one buy one of good quality. A fedora can make you just about anyone you want to be.

8. A decent wallet. Nothing expensive or fancy. Your choice, leather or nylon. I tried nylon for a while and returned to leather. I pick mine up on Turnpike rest area leather kiosks and they last me several years. Incidentally guy's wallets become a catch-all so plan on cleaning it out every so often. Nothing like getting rid of those scraps with a phone number and no name on them. You also accumulate plastic so get rid of those cards when they go out of date.

9. A half-pint gentleman's flask for sneaking liquor into dry weddings and other events. Even if you don't drink it is a good thing to have even if you only use it once or twice. Learn how to hide it in your sock. Remember, this list isn't for when you're in high school. It's for when you get out of college. Don't get any bright ideas until after you're out of college. Underage drinking is a bust and the world does not have a sense of humor anymore. 

Incidentally, women see things like Zippos, cigar cutters and flasks as potential that you're going to start smoking or closet drinking. Even if you're not. The first time they see these items tell them to keep their meat hooks off of them. If you don't they will try and save you from yourself by throwing them away. Trust me on this one. Tell them if they throw them away you're going to replace them with more expensive models. If they do throw them away be good to your word. Show them the receipt and after the wailing and gnashing of teeth is over they will likely leave them alone.

10. Shoes. 1 pair of GI low quarters, one paid of cordovan 'beef roll' penny loafers and one pair of western boots in addition to the shoes you need for work and play. Also if you don't work outside, have one pair of decent outdoor hiking/work boots. Think comfort and utility here. If you do work outside this will take care of itself. Also get a shoeshine kit with at least 3 colors of shoe polish, black, brown and cordovan. Learn how to shine shoes to a mirror finish. People DO look at your shoes. The western boots should be natural but keep them clean, oiled and brushed.

11.  At least one pair of 501 button fly Levis blue jeans. The John Wayne originals. Not Wranglers or Lee Riders, but Levis. You're an American. Be able to look like one. Enough said.

12. Two western shirts, one blue denim the other in a plaid of some sort and a western tooled leather belt with a big buckle. Every American male should be able to go to a rodeo without looking like they just got off the the subway in downtown Manhattan.

11. A COMPLETE set of dinnerware, service for 8. Learn how to set a table properly. Learn which fork to use for what. Ask your dad.He was an Army officer and I think they still send officer candidates to knife and fork school. If not, go on line and FIND OUT. 

A gentleman should be able to appear to be comfortable in a bar, strip club,  waterfront dive, five star restaurant or embassy ball. He should be able to sit next to the President for dinner and be just as comfortable and not embarrass himself or his host. Present White house occupant excluded. If President Obama asks you to dinner start a food fight. I would. 

Don't worry, when you don't have distinguished guests over you can still eat out of the GI mess kit using the utensils you stole out of restaurants when you were in college. Drop by sometime when I am eating and you'll see I do.

12. A P-38 can opener attached to your key ring. You'll find a million uses for it from opening cans to cutting tape on packages to God only knows what. I've had mine since about 1963 and I'm still finding uses for it. I might have a spare. I'll try and dig one out for you. 

13. One switchblade knife, West Side Story type. Never bring it out of your home. Use it as a letter opener. They are illegal in several states but there is a special satisfaction of snapping one open to open a letter. I don't really know why I put this on the list but get one anyway after you get out of college and have your own place. Keep it in a drawer and out of sight. These seem to disappear if kept out in the open.

14. Every gentleman needs a cat and a dog of some sort in his life. They don't have to be the actual animals, they have to have their personalities. You need a dog to lick your hand and a cat to remind you that you are not as important as you think you are. 

In short you should be able to be the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and, after planning an invasion, be able to come home, see the floor needs mopping and mop it.

If you can not afford a dog and a cat, get a cat.

15. A few basic Winsdor button down collar shirts. At least 2 whites, one powder blue, and one that is soft pink. It you are going to wear the pink shirt with a necktie, the necktie should be a flat black.

16. Firearms. You should have four firearms in your home. One is a large caliber pistol for basic home defense. A 1911 or maybe an old school double action revolver is suitable. For home defense backup a pump 12 gauge shotgun is desirable. In addition to these two, a pair of rifles is good to have for SHTF (Shit Hit The Fan) or TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) Incidentally, these are 2 different situations. SHTF is short a short lived situation. TEOTWAWKI is  long term. A scoped .308 hunting rifle and a .22 LR rifle will be helpful in this case. Having a half-dozen bricks of .22 on hand isn't a bad idea.

If you decide to carry concealed a small .38 caliber revolver with a 2 or 3 inch barrel is ideal. Carry it in such a way as to not be asked to see your permit. (which you should have) Concealed means concealed. Don't advertise you even own any firearms to anyone, even your friends. People talk.

17. A bug-out bag. You know what to pack in this. I don't have to tell you.

18. Cast iron cookware, an 8 and 10-12 inch skillet along with a Dutch oven of appropriate size. These can be used to bake with and if taken care of will last several lifetimes. My 10" skillet is probably over 100 years old. Learn to cook on cast iron. If you learn to season a pan it will work as well as Teflon.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I got this story from a shipmate

. It involved another former coworker. After I heard the story I asked the coworker if it was true and he said in fact it was. Some of the details may be screwed up but one fact remains. This man was a guest of the Cuban government so he could watch a couple of baseball games in Cuba.

I used to work with a man I will call Bob. If anyone reads this and knows Bob they will laugh like hell because the man is a real character. Bob's passion is major league baseball.

He held (and probably still does) the record for having attended the most major league baseball games in a single day. Don't ask me how he did it, there were a lot of plane flights involved and the International Date Line fits in there somehow.  
This man is known at baseball stadiums all over the country and most likely in several other countries. I KNOW he's recognized in Japan.

Several years ago the CEO of the company I worked for went to a Phillys game and had press box seats. From the press box he was spotted in the bleachers and mentioned it. The CEO heard it and sent someone down to get him figuring Bob would be impressed with being able to watch the game from the press box. (He was wrong. Bob likes to watch the games from the bleachers with the other fans)

When Bob entered the press box all of the sports writers there turned and greeted him by name. There were a lot of 'Hi, Bobs' from the writers. Then the errand runner looked at Bob and said "That guy over there, whoever he is, told me to get you." The CEO was humilated. 

Anyway, Bob was in Venezuela watching a game there and a Venezuelan fan suggested they catch a couple of games in Cuba. Bob pointed out he was forbidden from visiting Cuba. The Venezuelan pointed out that the only thing Bob was forbidden to do is spend money in Cuba and that all 

He didn't have to ask Bob twice. The hopped on a plane and landed in Havana. He handed the Cuban authorities an American passport and said, "Look, I know our countries don't get along but I just came here to watch a couple of baseball games. Is that OK?"

I'm fairly sure at that point the Cuban customs people took one look at him and said to themselves that he was a CIA agent of some sort.

They took one look at him and whisked him into the back room and began asking a lot of questions. I'm sure the Cuban customs guys were looking at each other wondering what to do with Bob. As they questioned the older overweight guy with a couple missing teeth that found he was without guile and was nothing more than a naive baseball fan looking to watch a few games. There was simply no way in hell the CIA would hire someone like that. Simply no way. 

They must have had a hard time understanding that he was the exception to the rule, though. He was nothing more or less than what he said he was. That made him a very rare bird.

Of course, they couldn't shoot him or throw him in jail. I guess at first they didn't likely know what to do with him. I believe they decided to use him to wipe the eye of the State Department.

When he emerged from the back room he was wearing a huge badge. The badge decreed that he was a guest of the Cuban government. He was told that his money was no good in Cuba.

He and the Venezuelan were given transportation, free game tickets, food and overnight lodging for his stay and the two of them took in a couple of Cuban baseball games. After they took in a few games they flew back to Venezuela.

I would imagine the Feds found out about this but he never heard anything about it. Most likely they researched him and found out that he was simply a baseball fanatic that had gone to Cuba and watched a few games.

The Venezuelan and Cuban government footed the bill so he was in no way violating the economic blockade. He had spent no money there. Likely there was little the Feds could do to Bob.

Actually there was no real proof as the Cubans had given a seperate piece of paper to put in his passport. The paper had his Cuban entry stamp on it and could be thrown away if he felt the need. My guess is he kept it along with the ticket stubs from the games. 

My guess as to why the Feds didn't at least question him is that they did their homework and found out what kind of guy he was. and decided they didn't want to touch the issue with a ten-foot pole.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Monday, December 29, 2014

Too bad Mel Brooks is getting too old.

The other day I posted that the only person capable of making an American Western movie anywhere but in the States is Mel Brooks. 

Hmmm. I wish he was 10 years younger or so because I sure would like to see a High Noon type showdown on the Champs Elysees and a bunch of Normandy farmers stampede a herd of cattle through the Arc de Triomphe.

I do not know why I think that Paris would be the place to make a western but I'm sure some sick puppy like Mel could do a fine job of it.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Sunday, December 28, 2014

I worked over Christmas Day for a guy with 3 little kids

so he could have the day with them.

I just got back last night and came home to a really nice gift from a neighbor. It was a pair of stockings, one for Kitty and one for me. Kitty's was chock-a-block full of kitty toys and mine had shooting stuff and a few other things in it.

I have great neighbors. I am truly blessed.

The son is the guardian of my kitty cat and when I am out of town he keeps an eye on the place when Mrs. Pic has to go somewhere. He also keeps a eye on Mrs. Pic and makes sure she's not snowed in. I'm grateful to have him as a neighbor. He is a damned good young man.

I think that I am going to start a new project of sorts. This one is going to be open ended for a while until I complete it.

The young man across the street is getting older now and maybe I can help him when he gets into the working world.

I think I'm going to make a list of stuff every guy ought to have tucked away. Things that are classics and never go out of style.

I'll print it up and give it to his mother to pass onto him when he gets ready to move out. I'll probably be dead and gone by then.  

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Saturday, December 27, 2014

One of the things I dealt with very briefly

 while I was in the Army was a French officer that was sent to us as an observer.

We were in a field problem one time and I was told to take my people and set up guard posts covering a pair of intersections. I did this and returned to the battery to let the powers that be know I had done this before returning to the intersection I was going to take charge of.

I had actually been briefed by the Battery Commander personally on this. He was annoyed we had been given the job. C Battery was a lot closer to the intersections. When I was looking at the map I pointed out that there was a Cav unit closer to the intersection than we were.

When I suggested we ask the Cav unit for emergency backup the BC looked at me and grinned. "They have their own field problem seperate from ours," he said. "If you want to swing by and try, go ahead but I doubt they will. Then again, maybe they will on paper if we promise not to actually call them. I'm not officially okaying it, though." 

I ran into the Battery Commander first and walked up to him where he was talking to the French officer. When he saw me he turned to me and asked me how I had made out.

"Everything's gonna be OK, Sir," I said. 

The French officer turned to me and said, "Sergeant, you seem pretty confident in yourself." It was sort of a condescending tone he used.

"That's because I'm a noncommisioned officer in the United States Army, Sir. When I say something is going to be OK, it is. If it isn't I make it OK."

The BC grinned and said to the Frenchman, who seemed taken aback somewhat. "You have just met Sergeant Piccolo."

The BC turned to me. "Presumably you have fallback positions, and escpe route for your guys if you are getting over run?"

"That too, Sir," I said, "They won't get over run. There's a cav unit about three clicks away and my people have their frequency. Their quick reaction force is keeping their ears open."

He looked at me and grinned. I think he was surprised the Cav unit had agreed to help. "I see.  How do you figure this is the way to go  and how did you arrange all of this? This officer is an observer and would probably like to know."

"We both know that C Battery should have logically gotten the responsibility for the intersection. They're closest.  We got screwed. What's new? They it dumped on us for whatever reason. The Cav unit is actually closer than we are. I drove over to the unit and spoke personally with their S-3 and he agreed," I answered.

"And how did you convince the major there to add your two guardposts to their list of responsibilities?"he asked.

"I pleaded to his sense of history, Sir," I replied. "I told him I preferred the cav looking over our people to our battalion QRF because the United States Cavalry has an unbroken record of never being too late to save the day."

 "God! You said that to him? How cliche," He laughed. "That's pretty good. Who gave you permission to go over to the cav unit?" 

"You sorta did, Sir," I replied. "You told me to insure the safety of the position and I did."

"And, of course, you figured it was easier to ask for forgiveness than permission," he said, dryly.

"Sir, I don't believe I have to ask for permission to insure the safety of my men," I replied. "We discussed this."

"No. That you don't," he answered. "Hey, how did you get past their guards, anyway? You didn't have a password."

"When they challenged me I told them to quit the dopey  GI crap and take me to S-3. I'm from another outfit and I don't give a rat's ass about your stupid password. They took me to S-3."

He turned to the French officer who looked totally confused with what he had just heard. "That is what Sergeant Piccolo meant when he said that if something isn't OK, he'll make it OK. I generally try and push responsibilities down the chain. Most of my guys are pretty good. Some are astounding. I have to keep an eye on Piccolo, though. Sometimes he does things a little too well." He turned to me and gave me a look of approval  and smiled.

"Go get something to eat and then draw chow for your people. Real food this time. I'm tired of hearing about your hillbilly squad eating rattlesnakes, raccoons and porcupines," he said. 

"Yes, Sir. Real food," I replied, grinning.

I took my leave and tried to figure out why the BC had acted the way he just had. Then it occured to me. The French Officer was with him. He was putting on a show.

A couple of days later when we had returned we were cleaning up the vehicles and the BC sauntered over. He pulled me aside.

Good job on handling the guard post detail," he said. "That French officer was a little on the arrogant side. You floored him when you told him you contacted the Cav S-3 without orders to do so. Apparently France doesn't trust their people as much as we do."

"I didn't do anything unusual," I said.

"No, you really didn't," he said. "That was what I thought was interesting about it. I gave you a basic job and you did it. Then again, I guess France doesn't trust their people as much as we do."

"Did you really have him believing we ate porcupines on field problems?" I asked. The BC laughed outright.

"Yeah, I did," he confessed. "I couldn't resist. I told him your squad would eat anything that walked or crawled."

"A couple of hours later PFC Gashion almost stepped on a rattler," continued the BC. "He pulled his blank adapter off his rifle and blew the snake's head off. Top was nearby and said, 'Don't eat that! Take it to the mess hall and tell Sergeant Waffing to save it for Piccolo's squad'!"

"Top said that?" I asked.

"Yeah," said the BC. "I don't think Top has a whole lot of use for the French, either. He said to just let them keep thinking we're a bunch of cowboys."

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Friday, December 26, 2014

A while ago a thread

 on an internet forum came up on what to do about a squalling baby. Answers ranged between strangle the infant to just get loaded on drugs and go to sleep.

Someone pointed out that they sell baby-sized alcoholic beverages for a reason. Good point.

Anyway I put my two cents in and I have to admit I have rethought my answer. Babies are babies and to tell the truth, the parents should likely travel in airplanes with babies as little as possible. I will admit sometimes it can not be helped.

Infants can't figure out how to relieve the pressure on their ears and as a result their ears hurt. There are many adults that also fall into this category but I'll save that for a later post.

When there is a squalling infant on a plane I look at the parents. I watch them carefully. If they are doing the best they can to calm the child they generally get a pass. They are doing the best they can with what they have to work with and that goes a long way with me.

It makes me happy to see parents that are parenting instead of being irresponsible.

Now for the other side of the story.

If I see the parents sitting there with headphones on ignoring the situation and letting the infant bawl then they ought to get slapped up alongside the head and reminded that they are responsible for their children.

If they are the kind of parents sitting there with a 'look at my precious little snowflake' look on their faces while the kid screams they ought to be reminded that last winter I shoveled billions of individual snowflakes out of my driveway and into the street to get flattened out by passing cars.

Not only are they being iresponsible, but they are being stupid. While you can't fix stupid, it ought to at least hurt.

This policy runs parallel to the policy of people that let their dogs crap on someone's lawn without cleaning up after them. When that happens it's BB gun time. 

You don't shoot the dog in the ass, you shoot the owner.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The average cop

 isn't a storm trooper or a jackbooted thug. He's a working stiff like the rest of us. He probably went into the business because he felt he could make a difference. That's a damned good reason to enter a line of work.

Right now the police are being vilified and to a great extent it is a bunch of crap. Granted there are a number of people that entered that line of work for the wrong reasons but that can be said for any line of work.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Most policemen thrive on being peace officers. It's where they seem to do the best to serve the public. There are not a whole lot of cops that like being revenue generators (aka ticket writers). Very few of them like being blind law enforcers, either.

An example of what I am talking about here is one state's DUI law. As we know, DUI laws are supposedly designed to keep drunk drivers off of public roads to insure public safety. A couple of states have enacted legislation that goes well beyond that.

In more than one state if you leave a watering hole and decide you're bad too much to drink and decide to catch some sleep in the back seat of your car you can get arrested for a DUI.

Of course, a blind enforcer of a cop will cart you off in a heartbeat as will a revenue generator of a cop. Generally speaking neither of these two really want to, they feel compelled to by higher-ups.

A true peace officer will generally look at the guy and be grateful he had enough common sense to do the right thing and will overlook this kind of thing. No harm, no foul. It's actually a win/win for the citizen and the officer. The citizen isn't being carted off for something stupid and the officer isn't handed a load of paperwork. The only person that loses is the politician that doesn't get to see the revenue come in for fines following an arrest but politicians don't count for nothing, anyway.

Truth is, good cops, trash guys and decent plumbers do more for society than any politician that ever lived. 

The average cop just wants to raise a couple of kids and have a beer after work. He's no different than the rest of us. He wants to come home at the end of his shift.

People tend to get the kind of police department they ask for. If they demand city hall enforce every little law on the books they wind up with blind enforcers. If they let the politicians run things they will wind up with  police force full of revenue generators. If they make it clear to the politicians they want a  common sense department they will generally wind up with a pretty good department.

Getting back to the beginning of this post, we have to look at the goings-on in several areas regarding the use of force.  

Right now there are a few high profile cases out there involving police killings of citizens. In Ferguson and New York both of the killings involved people that physically fought with the police.

The Gospel According to Piccolo says that when you start a physical altercation with someone else-police or not- you automatically get your name put on the list of candidates for a Darwin Award. 

Nobody wanted Eric Garner or Michael Brown to die, especially the officers that killed them. Truth is that neither Mike Brown or Eric Garner deserved to die, either. They simply decided to take a course of action where they put their lives in jeopardy and lost.

In short, Brown and Garner brought it on themselves.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

During the year

 I went nuts and shot umpteen jillion rounds for score, and X 3-4 plus God only knows how many bricks of .22LR for practice I went to matches in a several state area.

I was trying to see if I had the talent to actually get anywhere as a competitive service rifle shooter and really went for it.

I did OK but my offhand scores kept me out of the winner's circle which seems to be the story of my life. A couple years after when I mentioned this during a routine physical the doc offered me a pill and as I am inclined to do, I refused the medication.

Anyway, I shot at God knows how many sportsman's and shooting clubs that were CMP affiliated.  Some of the smaller ones were not used to having non-club shooters show up and once in a rare occasion I would be questioned. 

A couple of times I'd hear someone ask the range officer ask what I was doing to the match. Actually it was a reasonable question. Most of these were private clubs and guest policies varied widely. When someone asked the RO he'd generally explain that the CMP match itself was open to all CMP shooters regardless of membership.

The guy that asked the RO would generally nod in understanding. It was obvious the question was just curiosity and not belligerence of any kind.

Generally the guy that asked the RO about me would come up to me and welcome me. Often they would watch me to try and learn something. For example, I had a brass deflector to enable me to pick up my brass at the end of each string. The deflector made the brass go straight down instead of flinging it all over. They would make a note of it and often asked me where I had gotten such a thing.

The clubs generally had the same course of fire, the National Match course and depending on the size of the range the targets were reduced accordingly. A very few actually had pits where targets were pulled up and down.

Some clubs had a somewhat serious CMP program, some not so serious. I'd just show up with my gear and when I was scheduled to go to the firing line I'd set it up.

While some of my gear is hand made (my shooting mat is made of a leopard skin print couch cover, for example. Thanks to my niece. Chicks dig it.) most is pretty professional. In some places people would look at it and wonder, never having seen a real shooter's rig before. Other places the guys had the full setup. It was all somewhat hit or miss.

The firing range commands varied somewhat but were all pretty much understandable. In the smaller or more disorganized clubs the rules were not adhered to as much as they were in clubs with a serious program but that was OK. I'd adapt quickly to their ways.

I showed up to one small-club match and the RO seemed a little sheepish when he explained that the program was relatively new and asked me for help. I had a spare copy of the rule book with me and I gave it to him. He looked shocked asked me to run the match!

I ran the range for the first relay and shot the second. By that time he got the hang of it. He was a Marine veteran and realized he already knew what he had to know, having learned in boot camp. The commands are pretty much the same as they are in boot camp. Any Marine vet remembers them well.

I recall I did okay that year and only had one situation where the host club was at all rude. It was actually pretty funny, looking back on it.

I had been advised by someone to ask directions at the local police station and was glad I did. It was some dopey little East Podunk club out in the middle of nowhere and I drove through ten miles of bad roads to get there only to find the range was little more than a cut between a pair of piles of some kind of mine trailings.

I arrived early and ssaw the clubhouse. It looked like some kind of mine company leftover. It was rough.

Someone else was there already and I helped him set things up. Apparently I was the first outsider that had ever shown up for a CMP match. The guy also gave me the lowdown on how things worked. It was one of those deals where the guy that owns the land 'just happens' to be the club president. I was warned that he could be  jerk to outsiders.

When I asked if I should shove off he said I should stick around because the program was open to all.

When the president of the club showed up and saw me and my gear he announced that it was a private club. I in turn asked it it was CMP affiliated. He said it was.

I told him that the match was then open to any CMP shooter that was qualified.  

"But it's a private club," he repeated.

"When you shoot a CMP sponsored match the match itself is open to the public, private club or not," I replied.

One of the other members spoke up. "He's right," he said. "The match itself is open to the public, Jimmy. When you accepted the CMP rules you opened any CMP matches to anyone that wants to shoot them. It's in the charter and I explained it to you before you signed on."

"Yeah, well I still don't like it," said the president.

"If you don't let him shoot and he reports it you'll lose your charter and have to return everything," said another member. "Including the 5000 rounds of ammunition you bought from CMP."

When he heard the part of having to return the ammunition I realized at once what the deal most likely was.  The president had probably ordered a large quantity of CMP surplus ammunition and was selling it at a huge markup.

I shot the match and did rather well. I smoked the president of the club and listened to him mumble about an outsider with a trick rifle.

"Nothing trick about it," I said, conversationally. "Want to trade rifles for a couple spotters and ten for score? You'll see for yourself there's nothing trick about it."

He looked pretty uncomfortable when I offered. I had been careful not to have a snotty tone in my voice when I made the offer. His attitude needed an adjustment and I wanted the chance to give him one but he refused.

"I'll take you up on that offer," said the guy I had met when he arrived. His tone of voice was simply a guy that wanted to try my rifle.  I handed it to him, showed him the proper way to sling up and coached him through ten rounds. We had agreed not to shoot for score, but for group size.

Then the dam broke and a number of the guys wanted to know more about the CMP matches elsewhere, especially at Camp Perry. I answered as many questions as I could and showed them some of my gear that they were unfamiliar with.

I told them to round up their scorecards and to print up a march results bulletin because at the time having one served as proof of CMP involvement and was a requirement to get a Garand from the CMP.

The president looked pretty uncomfortable when I explained how to get a government issued Garand. When I saw the look on his face I knew he probably had been getting CMP ammunition and reselling it. Now he'd have to make it available to Garand shooters.

A couple of years ago at Perry I met two of these guys at the John C. Garand match. They grinned and thanked me for showing up and letting them know they were eligible to purchase Garands. They also let me know the president of the club was still a jerk but was at least giving them ammo at cost like he was supposed to.

One of them had quit the Podunk club and had joined another club some distance from his home.

The shooting had stopped at around noon and it was after two when I got to leave and go home. If I recall I got home a little after 1800 and went straight to the reloading bench and started reloading my fired brass for another match.

The next match was a local weekday match that didn't count for anything. It was sponsored by the Marine Corps League. I went and mentioned my experience to the Range Officer, whom I have known for years. He was surprised but did say he had heard rumors that there was a club somewhere that didn't like outsiders. He commented that their CMP charter ought to be yanked.

Still that was an exception. Generally when I shot matches at other clubs they opened the clubhouse for all CMP shooters. Often they had free coffee and sometmes doughnuts. At a couple clubs I got breakfast for a song, and in one or two cases, free. 

A couple of clubs hosted a barbecue after the match which I thought was great. It was astonishing that they could do this for a ten or fifteen dollar match fee.

One of the things I liked about that year was all of the people I met that were so kind and helpful.

Over the years at Camp Perry I met a few people that I had run into during that year and more than one told me that I had convinced them to show up. A few said that I had dispelled the rumors thay had heard about how you either had to be in the military or in a state association to attend. They didn't realize that the nationals are open to all shooters.

It was one of the most interesting years of my life and also one of the most fun years, too.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

We've all eaten

 in or at least seen Chinese restaurants.

 I just at glanced the the news and saw where someone is bringing American stuff to Chinese restaurants. When I say Chinese restaurants I am not talking about Ming Fu's in Hackensack, New Jersey somewhere. I'm talking about real Chinese restaurants. The kind the have in China.

While I will cheerfully admit I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to the passing news item on the tube, I did see cans of Heinz 57 ketchup labeled in what I presume is Chinese. 

Leave it to the Americans to export stuff like that. I do not know how stuff like ketchup will be received in China but I have seen stranger things take off. It doesn't take a whole lot of imagination to picture some Chinese guy dumping a slug of Heinz 57 on the old fried rice.

Once they start doing that in Peking you can probably rest assured that Ming Fu's in Hackensack is going to put ketchup on the table as a condiment because it will make their restaurant 'authentically Chinese'.

They say that art imitates life and they are most likely true most of the time, but I see another case of life imitating art coming up.

I don't eat out often but in the next year or so I am going to check into a Chinese restaurant or two here and there to see if stuff like ketchup on the table.

Of course, only an American would try and peddle ketchup to the Chinese but that's likey the way we are. After all, you can get a Coke just about any place on the planet.

In fact I would not be surprised to be able to get a pretty good burger, fries and Coke in Nepal.

I also wouldn't be surprised on down the road to see authentic Chinese restaurants in the US of A making burgers and fries just like they will eventually in downtown Peking.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Monday, December 22, 2014

I don't have a whole lot of time and I have to whip out a post.

Two New York City police officers were murdered a couple of days ago and a lot of people have cheered. A curse be upon those cheering what is nothing but a cold blood murder.

Some call it revenge for the killings that took place in Ferguson and New York. Revenge for what?

While the killing of Eric Garner could be possibly considered a little murky, depending on a number of things, the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson was a simple case of self defense.

There is no joy in a murder like the one that just took the life of 2 police officers and no justification for it at all. There is also no joy to be had in the killings of Brown and Garner.

I will be the first to say that the police should be watched because in many situations letting them run without any supervision does lead to corruption. It's just human nature. People will do what they can get away with an for some officers the urge to take shortcuts will win if they are not supervised.

Maybe in a few places the police are getting out of hand, maybe not. Frankly I think it depends on the community but I'll let that one rest for now.

Fact remains that murdering policemen is not the thing to do to change things. It is the job of the community to let the police know what is acceptable and what isn't.

The whole truth in a nutshell is the community gets the kind of police force it deserves.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Sunday, December 21, 2014

I just read where a celebrity of some kind

 wants to be a reserve cop but can't because he has a violent felony on his record. He wants a pardon.

There are a number of celebrities that have law enforcement credentials of one sort or another. I don't know why but they do.

I am pretty ambivalent on this.

I'm sure he has cleaned up his act and isn't likely to do anything stupid and violent again. I'm generally a forgiving type but this kind of sticks in my craw a bit for a number of reasons.

First of all I don't like how celebrities seem to get breaks that Joe Average can only dream of. If I pulled half the stuff some of these guys did I would be in jail for decades. Yet the courts seem to let these singers and actors slide or at least don't punish them like they'd punish one of the unwashed masses like myself.

I'm going to have to vote no pardon on this one. They would not pardon Joe Average so why should they pardon him?

It should also serve as a message to Hollywood types being a celebrity isn't a license to do what you want.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Saturday, December 20, 2014

On the tube last night

 someone gave a speech of some sort and next to the speech maker was someone interpreting in into American Sign Language which I find to be a joke as the program had the closed caption option.

I'm not here to comment on the useful or uselessness of ASL, I just thought it was a duplication of efforts when the program had an option for closed captioning.

A friend of mine with a deaf aunt once told me about some guy that got hired by a network to provide ASL-type captioning that didn't even know the language. He just got up and made everything up as he went along and got away with it for months until someone finally figured him out. I'm not surprised to hear that.

When the guy told the story to several of us, most of us said they'd never be able to keep a straight face and pull something like that off. When I pointed out what the television people were likely paying him they decided they likely COULD keep a straight face.

I think it's funny as I love a good hoax or imposter story. 

I have always been a supporter of helping the handicapped become more independent but tend to draw the line when the point of diminishing returns has been met.

For example, at a bank or ATM the various buttons are marked in Braille. That is a pretty inexpensive and practical thing to do. In enables the blind to do some of their banking without anyone else's help.

However, I think that putting Braille on the drive-up is a little bit too much. It's not too likely that someone blind is going to drive up in the family Chevy to make a deposit on payday. Detroit has not built a car that allows the blind to zip around town in yet. They may eventually but it's going to be a while so until then Braille at a drive-up is just a joke.

My IC-7200 ham rig has a sound option on it, presumably to aid the blind, however I have never used it because I prefer to simply look at the screen while I spin the dials. However, I do have a part of it turned on so as to remind me when I go out of band.

I think that before we set something up at great expense for the handicapped we ought to stop and think for a minute and ask if it is really useful or not. We also have to ask if it is fair to everyone else. 

We also have to realize that there are a few things where it is not practical to allow handicapped access. One example is visiting a submarine. No matter what you do within reason, a submarine isn't going to become wheelchair accessible.

A few years back I hauled a crippled kid through a submarine on my back. He had a great time and I look back on it as one of the few decent things I have done in my life. He was a pretty good kid and he and his mom was damned grateful.

The kid had enough sense to know that a submarine couldn't be made wheelchair accessible and wasn't resentful, though. He was smart enough to know his limitations. He also was willing to accept the fact that he was likely going to pick up a bruise or two because I do not have eyes in the back of my head. He was also warned I'd likely have to park him on top of a torpedo or bunk from time to time.

In short, he was probably going to have to pay in a few lumps for the tour. He knew it and so did his mom and as a result the two of us had a pretty good tour. I imagine he took a bump or two but he never said a word.

Still, that was an exception.

Incidentally I daresay that most handicapped people recognize their limitations and take it for what it is. I'd bet most of the ballyhoo we hear comes from social workers and the like creating a ruckus where one is not needed. Call it job security. 

There are places where a wheelchair accessible ramp can be easily installed and places where it would take millions to install a ramp. Let's be reasonable. For example, in some instances one could more easily tear down and rebuild an entire house than install wheelchair accessibility. The solution is for a handicapped person to live somewhere else.

I just wish common sense would dictate.

Still, I do have to admit that I laugh when I see Braille at the bank drive through. 

Which reminds me. I ought to get out the white cane and sunglasses I used to wear when I walked my old cat, Tokie. Then when I go to pay my Visa bill I could stick the cane out the window and wave it around as I enter the drive through. Then I could fumble with the Braille markings on the buttons a little and pull a little Inspector Clouseau act. The look on the drive through teller's face would be priceless.

With my luck, some dumbass social worker type would capture the moment on camera and use it to justify their stupidity.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Friday, December 19, 2014

I just got a return email from Arnie Coro, CO2KK,

 a Cuban ham radio operator. Arnie is considered the guru of Cuban ham radio and is am amazing man. He pretty much runs ham radio relief efforts in the Caribbean when the weather tears things up down there which it does periodically.

A couple of hours after I heard the news I was on a website and someone suggested getting in touch with Arnie and seeing what kind of stuff we could send Cuban hams to help with their projects.

Arnie has a radio program on Radio Havana that runs a couple times a week called DXers Unlimited. Much of it is a self-help hands on type of thing and I've listened to it a couple of times in the past few years. Arnie is held internationally in high regard among the worldwide amateur radio community, a position he has earned.

For what it's worth, I vaguely remember Radio Havana before the blockade. I do remember it shortly after the blockade and it was venomous toward the States. I can't say as I blame them. Then I didn't bother much with shortwave listening for decades. However years later circa 1985 I heard Radio Havana one night while I was living in Alaska. 

The consensus of the three of us that listened was that it was a rather nice Caribbean national radio station. I've heard it several times over the past three or four years and it's still a nice station. The DXers Unlimited program is still there.

I remember one time running it for background a few years back as I was doing paperwork and picking up pieces here and there as he was describing how to run PSK 31 using recycled parts. I wish I wasn't so busy at the time and could have carefully listened. I do remember something about recycled speakers and cardboard tubes.

Incidentally I will tell you a little story here about Radio Havana. I had sent a shortwave listener card to Radio Havana and was looking forward to getting a QSL card back from them. It arrived at the post office in the height of the showdown. At the time my father was terrified of being called back into the service again as a father of four children.

He handed me the card and seemed pretty upset about it until someone said to him, "For Pete's sake, it's a young kid with a shortwave radio that just got a QSL card. Nobody cares."

Dad settled down immediately when it was put into that context.

An awful lot of Cuban hams are pretty amazing and clever people. Many of them are  born-again recyclers, scroungers and home brewers that build a lot of their own equipment. A lot of them are pretty amazing people. I am proud to have a number of them in my log book.

Incidentally there is a Cuban QSL card framed in a place of honor in my house. It was mailed directly from Cuba which is a rarity. Most Cuban confirmations come from Spanish QSL managers. 

I will admit if I had to do what a some Cuban hams do to get on the air, I would not have gone through the trouble. It is no less than astonishing. Next to the Cuban ham that has built his rig, I am little more than an appliance operator...if even that.

I have not understood why the blockade wasn't lifted a long time ago. When you think about it, all is did was to make a lot of decent people a little more miserable. It also kept a lot of people like me from visiting a beautiful tropical island which irks me every winter while I shovel snow. Come to think of it, shoveling snow instead of sitting on a beach makes ME a little more miserable.

I have always wanted to visit Cuba. I have a friend that did. It's a pretty funny story and maybe I'll tell it sometime. It involves baseball. Then maybe again maybe I won't. He's still alive and I imagine there could be trouble for him if I did.

I will say this about my friend's visit to Cuba. They decreed him a 'Guest of the Cuban Government' and his money was no good there. It is a hilarious story where one man's personality and character overcame the policies of two governments.

I don't like mixing politics and ham radio. One of the things I like about ham radio is being able to put our politics and differences aside and just be people. We need more things in this world like that. Therefore on this post I will not comment on things of a political nature.

The return to normalization of relations is still in the infancy and it is going to be interesting how things work out. From what I have read it's going to be a while before the floodgates open and Americans are allowed unrestricted travel and trade. 

Still, it's a start and I'm optimistic.


Incidentally Arnie Coro and I have another thing in common besides being hams. Arnie is a sailor and used to sail regattas when he was younger. He's won a number of races.

It's interesting to see what we have in common instead of harping on the differences.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Something else I probably should have been shot for

One of the things I recall doing during my travels was helping a kid get a prom date. I suppose I should be shot for it, too.

A friend of mine and I were traveling for a while in Washington state and needed money. Who'd have thought such a thing.

So we saw a construction job and asked around and they needed siders. Simple solution here. We became siders. We broke out the tools and went to work siding condos for so much a square foot. 

It was spring and on weekends or odd times the developer's son worked on the project and it was inevitible he started hanging around with us to some degree. We were considered the job's whack jobs because we were always drinking beer after work and chasing women.

He had the usual American high school kid problems which is to say he had none other than the usual peer pressure kind of stupid stuff kids have when they have a good life in this country.

His problem is he didn't know who to take to the prom. He said there were three girls pressuring him. "Then take someone else," I said.

"Who?" he asked. He was actually kind of a shy kid.

"I dunno. Just somebody else," I replied. "We'll keep our eyes open to see if we can fix you up or something."

We rolled up our tools a little late that day and while we were, the utility guy, know to us as Filthy Herman, came by. we told him we were looking for a date for the kid and he laughed. "I'll join you in your quest."

After a bath in a nearby creek we headed off into the bowels of the lower Seattle suburban area dive strip clubs. Filthy Herman knew them all which made things easy. We were in and out of them with a quick glance. Nobody looked right.

Herman then directed us to one more upscale and we entered. There was actually a cover but when we told the bouncer what we were up to he laughed, wished us luck and let us in for free... after we promised to behave ourselves.

Herman spotted her first and when he pointed her out I knew she was a definite candidate. She was stripper hot and just what the doctor ordered. 

When we told her we were looking for a prom date for a shy high schooler she looked at us like we had two heads and then after a minute softened. She said she wasn't interested but laughed and said knew someone that might be. We were to hang around for a while.

We did and a babe sat down and asked us what the deal was. We told her and she blushed slightly and laughed. She said she wanted to meet the kid. Actually she was a bit older than most of the strippers, she was probably thirty and had a pretty easygoing way about her. She was educated and knew the ins and outs of her business and was supposedly working for her master's in something or another.

After I looked her over I decided she was most liely a true professional. She looked healthy, had no signs of drug use and was willing to put money and effort into her profession. She obviously knew the inside of a gym and likely had spent some cash on body enhancement. She actually looked like the stripper types you see on TV which is very rare.

We promised her no money except for something to compensate her for expenses. What was interesting is she said she had a closetful of clothes and just about everything needed. I knew that if she decided to go to the prom she'd show up looking hot. We got her phone number and said we'd call.

The next day we talked to the kid and told him that we had someone  to meet and made arrangements for the two of them to meet at a local coffee shop after work.

Of course, she showed up in her 'I'm an off duty stripper uniform', meaning she looked like a real honey hormone squash. A total sexpot with her makeup, big hair and an enormous pneumatic pair of boobs trying desperately to ooze out of a low-cut top.  It was funny seeing the kid go agape when she walked in. Doc, Filthy Herman and I bailed out and left the two of them alone.

Later that night we went back to the club to see what happened and she reported she was going to go to the prom with him! 

We were busy for the next couple of weeks and chuckled about it a bit but worked our asses off as we were getting ready to return to Alaska and needed the money. After a couple of days we forgot about it.

A couple of Fridays later Filthy Herman came by after we got paid and suggested we take Monday off. He said it was prom weekend and the developer was likely to be in Monday morning going ape $hit if he even thought any of us had anything to do with his prom date. It proved to be pretty good advice.

Filthy Herman came to where we were holed up that Monday during his lunch break with the word. We were likely in trouble. We hadn't taken into consideration the kid was a few weeks shy of his 18th birthday and if he ratted us out we could likely be nailed for corruption of a minor or something along those lines. 

Sure enough the boss was looking at the guys on the job as being the culprits of setting his kid up with the stripper and was out for blood. Herman said he'd check in with us after work.

Sure enough the boss man was madder than a wet hornet. Apparently the kid had a hard time getting his new thirty year old prom date into the prom in the first place. Likely this was because whe was probably just pouring out of some stripper-type dress she showed up in. It doesn't take a whole lot of imagination to picture the scene.

After about an hour the two of them got kicked out because of the way they were dancing. This makes sense because if there is anything a good stripper can do, it's dance like a stripper. I can picture easily how the private school staff wouldn't like that at all.

Some stuffy old prude likely came charging in blowing her whistle and throwing penalty markers and gave them the full twenty-five yards. "Out! Now!" Then they likely called the kid's parents probably went frantic. 

When the two of them left, they disappeared and were not seen until the kid wandered home on Sunday night looking like he'd had way too much fun. Apparently his little private high school world had truly been rocked by the older woman.

The truth of the matter is that none of us really know for sure what happened between the two but it isn't too hard to imagine. Then again they could have just hung out on the beach together but that's really not too likely. Besides, it makes for a juicier story the first way so we'll run with that.

Filthy Herman showed up after work and filled us in as best we could. He also said he had almost gotten fired when he told the developer that he was just being jealous because he didn't get to dally around with Hotsie Totsie all weekend. The whole crew howled when they heard that, I'm sure.

He also had a pile of lumber, siding and nails for us to build a cover of sorts for my pickup as he figured I wasn't about to drive to Alaska with the oversized camper I had on the back. Actually he was wrong. I wasn't headed back to Alaska right yet.

Filthy Herman also told us where we could find another siding gig about 40 miles north. A quick cash count said we had what we needed if we had to bolt but having a little extra couldn't hurt. We kept the camper and headed north. The gig turned out better than the one we had just bolted from.

By my reckoning the kid is about 52ish now and likely has a comfortable job somewhere and is probably looking at becoming a grandfather if he isn't already. I bet he thinks of the prom from time to time but never told his kids. Still, it's a pretty neat story to tell his grandchildren when they get a bit older, although it's a lead pipe cinch he never told his kids about it.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Post 2000

Be the first kid on your block to read them all!

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I just read where there is another remake of King Kong

 on the drawing board slated for 2017. It sounds like a waste of time and money because they got that one right the first time back in 1933.

I ought to write a screenplay and call it The LAST remake of King Kong and mix and match all of the characters of the previous versions. I'll add a couple, too.

Of course, Henry P. "Crash" Murphy, 107 years old, and one of the original aviators would be in it. He'd steal a biplane off of the museum ship Intrepid and be seen charging in there with a reluctant gunner that tried to stop him but was too late and found himself in the rear seat.

Old crash would be doing a few mauevers to get used to flying again. The rear gunner, a graduate of Top Gun, would be in the back seat scared stiff and puking out the cockpit as Crash heads for the Empire State building snap-rolling the old two winger.

Picture old Crash wild-eyed and cackling as he bears down on poor old Kong with the guns a-blazing having the time of his life.

The Skull Island business would be a pretty good deal, too. Instead of being a native village it would be a think tank of various engineering types and mathamaticians living there but with a caveat in their rental agreement. They have to act as natives if anyone shows up to hunt for Kong. So you see these guys all pissed off over having to get into native costumes and practice dancing around before the Kong hunters arrive.

Watching a bunch of engineers and mathamaticians practice speaking gibberish so as to pass as natives should be a pretty good sight to behold.

The gas bombs used to subdue the oversized primate would be huge clouds of marijuana smoke provided by none other than Cheech and Chong.

There would be more involvement of political officials, too. You'd get to see the mayor flipping out and doing what politicians do which is worry about votes instead of trying to save the public. 

Of course, the screams of Fay Wray would have to be lifted from the original sound track because we have never found such a scream queen as her. Jamie Lee Curtis, scream queen extrodinaire, was a not very close second to Fay Wray.

As for Kong himself, he'd be the original 1933 version instead of the newer creations. They got that one right the first time, too.

If I had the time to write a screenplay for this I'd be on it in a heartbeat. It would be a service to the American public and keep them from having to sit through another sad remake of an American classic.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Monday, December 15, 2014

If you are

 a serving GI on active duty and especially if you are overseas I have a little piece of advice for you. I have been reminded of this little trick because of the old black and white western I am watching right now.

If you are in danger of being over run by an enemy force get on the horn fast to the nearest Cav unit. It doesn't matter where they are, just call them.

According to my observations of 63 years I have never heard of or seen the United States Cavalry arrive too late to save the day.

I'll also add that back in the old west all the woman wore bullet bras. Check it out sometime when an old horse opera comes on the air.

Big hair was also popular in the old west, too. The woman all looked like the Dallas Cowboys cheer leaders.

There is also always a guy in a fancy suit that stirs up a lot of crap. I have always wondered why nobody ever just socks the guy. I figure if he got his face rearranged a time or two he's stop making trouble for everyone else.

There is also a special rifle they had back then that was popular with pioneer women. If a woman pointed it directly in the air, closed her eyes and pulled the trigger she would knock an Indian off of a fast horse at 600 yards.

Back then revolvers were more accurate, too. A sheriff could be leading a posse chasing the bad guys 600 yards ahead of them and knock one of them out of the saddle.

It was a double edged, sword, though. A bad guy could turn around in the saddle, shoot and knock a posse lead rider out of the saddle where he was sure to be trampled by the horses of the guys behind him.

What is interesting about the American western movie is that they are 100% All-American entertainment and one of the biggest exports Hollywood has ever created. They can only be considered American.

You likely could not pull off a High Noon type showdown on the Champs Elysees or Red Square very well unless you were Mel Brooks. 

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Sunday, December 14, 2014

As usual

 I am trying to get by and make a living and it seems to get harder and harder. None of this is employer related. It's actually the way the economy runs.

It seems the more the government makes it harder for companies to get ahead the harder it is for the guy doing the actual job to get things done.

A lot of people criticize the term trickle down economics but from where I sit, Reagan seemed to know what he was talking about. 
Things do in fact trickle down.

They also trickle up and I feel the term 'trickle up poverty' is as valid as trickle down economics. Trickle up poverty is when the lower end of the middle class drops into the poverty class. It happens a lot more daily as the middle class shrinks.

It seems to me that the harder the government tries to make things even out the worse things get for ALL of us.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Saturday, December 13, 2014

If you have been following

 this blog for some time you might recall that I became an ordained minister a while back as somewhat of an insurance policy for my nephew's wedding.

I put the sticker on the back window of my pickup and have had a couple of people ask me about it. Generally this is when I look particularly scruffy for some reason or another. Most likely because a scruffy clergyman looks out of place in most areas.

Generally I am kind and politely explain that I am an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church and people leave it at that.

I have had one guy that asked me in the wrong tone of voice, though. When he asked belligerently why I had a minister sticker on my truck I snapped back at him, "Because I'm a f***ing minister, A$$hole!"

The look of shock on his face was priceless.

The other time I fell back on my ministry to get something done was when I was sitting in the galley and some newbie came charging in most likely carrying another rumor or other tiding of great joy.

I pointed at my certificate and told him, "I am hearing this man's confession."

He stopped and tried to figure it out. He read the certificate.

"He's getting to the good part and we would like a little privacy," I added.

I guess what he read sunk in.

"Uh...sorry," he said, and fled like Old Beelzebub himself was chasing him.

Sometimes being a minister has its advantages.

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Friday, December 12, 2014

The way it is.

One of the things I seem not to really sweat is what I sleep on. I really don't know why but I'm not really picky just so long as it isn't a rock pile of some sort. I don't know why this is but it's pretty much the way it is.

Some people I know seem to lose sleep if someone places a pea under the mattress.

I do not know where this comes from, most likely from being a hard-nosed camper as a kid. Maybe it was the army, hard living in Alaska or a combination of a rough earlier lifestyle.

I can sleep on a bench seat of a pickup and zonk out like a baby and I have done so on countless road trips. Just last year I got tired while driving home and crashed out for a couple hours on the bench seat of my pickup. I had to put the shifter in 5th to get it out of the way but then I was good to go.

I consider it to be one of the things I have been blessed with.
Another thing that seems to happen to me is that I always seem to have good luck finding parking spaces. I swear, I could show up at the Superbowl fifteen minutes before game time and get a spot fifty feet away from the entrance. It's uncanny.

A couple of years ago I went out for Black Friday because I had never done it before and I pulled up in front of Wallyworld ten minutes before it opened and someone was pulling out for some reason or another and I wound up parked in the spot closest to the door. I don't know why this is.

On the other hand, when I am driving on a rural US or state route it seems that I always get stuck behind a slow mover for several miles, I suppose this makes the parking space business is a wash.
Sometimes I can't for the life of me figure out why the dear Lord made me this way, but he did and I ain't complainin'.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The kid across the street seems to be doing pretty well in science and math

which is a good thing. I'm hoping he gets his degree in some kind of science or engineering as it would likely permit him to get a halfway decent job and be useful.

I was talking to another guy a while ago and he made me laugh. It seems the Social Justice Warriors were up to something useless and it was on the news. He was sitting at a computer and heard it and commented that the Social Justice Warriors most likely have degrees in things like Woman's Studies or  something along these lines.

He's probably right. These people likely do have useless degrees. If they had degrees in science or technology they's likely be doing something useful.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What will I write about today?

I don't know and I still haven't figured it out yet. I gotta pull something out of my ass.

This is the season I do not do very well and it goes back to the Vietnam war and a trip I made to Florida to deliver a car for a neighbor. It was  Christmas Eve and Day '68.

The car had been delivered and I was at the airport and got socked in. I believe it was Orlando. Then they bussed us to Tampa where I met a GI headed home for Christmas. He had just arrived from Vietnam and was kind of a mess.

I swapped flights with him for 2 reasons. One was I wanted to see him get home and the other is that I wanted to arrive home after the family left for Grandma's for the usual Christmas disaster.

I am the oldest of the generation and all the cousins are younger. Truth be known, I was generally a monster sized Irish Catholic zoo and something to be avoided if possible.

While we waited at Tampa airport the GI and I rounded up a bunch of people and started caroling people at the various gates and then the ticket counters. It was pretty good, really. It was one of those rare times people were not angry over something they could not control, namely the weather. 

We were socked in and that was the way it was. It seemed the mood of the crowd was pretty good. Suddenly the weather lifted and the GI had his plane called and disappeared. The PA announced my later flight was a go and I left 30 minutes later.

My plan to miss the family zoo was foiled, though.

When we landed at Logan I knew the family hadn't left yet so instead of calling home I opted to hitch-hike.  (Try hitch-hiking out of Logan today!) I hadn't been on the road five minutes when fate intervened.  

One of my mother's friends had picked up her husband at the airport and spotted me and drove me straight to the door. I was spotted getting out of the car as Mom and my brother and sisters were loading up. I didn't even have time to hit the woods and hide.

When I pointed out I hadn't had any sleep in almost 48 hours, Mom started in on how I just HAD to go and then Dad came out. He took one look at me and told me I looked like hell and to hit the rack.

Mom argued and Dad gave Ma a terse look and said that when we got to Grandmas I was going to hit the rack the instant we arrived. 

"But..." protested Mom.

"But nothing" Dad shot back. "He's been awake for two damned days!"

When we got to Grandmas I simply went in the door, charged upstairs, grabbed a bed and zonked out.

It wasn't long until one of the little cousins woke me and I shoved him and told him to beat it. He started crying.

Dad was infuriated. He had told all of them to stay away from me but knew he had to do something. He went upstairs and started cussin up a storm and punching his palm and making it sound like a fist fight out of a John Wayne movie. It sounded like I was getting a real beating and when an uncle came up to intervene he was told loudly to butt out even as my dad was looking at him and whispered that it was OK.

My uncle went downstairs and calmly said I was putting up a pretty good fight and all my aunts were horrified.

Dad then came down calmly and sat down while I went back to sleep. It was hard to get to sleep because I was laughing but I zonked out.

A few hours later I was awakened and came down to dinner and the aunts looked at me expecting to find me battered and wondered why I wasn't.

At least dad had made the day survivable. He always seemed to know what to do.

I have hated Christmas ever since then.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY