Sunday, August 31, 2014

I never did enjoy bar room braggarts.

I remember one time I was having a drink at the Beachcombers in Kodiak before the band started and some drunken braggart started bragging about his sexual conquests.

I picked up a newspaper to act like I was reading so as not to get dragged into his crap. People were mildly aggravated and a few were looking at me wondering when I was going to say or do something. I had a  reputation of not suffering fools for long.

Truth is, I was waiting for an easy knockout shot. I was being patient. I knew if I waited he'd set me up for one.

Two shots of schnapps later he claimed that he had slept with just about every woman on the island but his mom and sisters.

From behind the paper, without looking up, I dryly commented cheerfully and loudly that between the pair of us we had gotten them all.

The whole place busted up laughing and after a while it sunk in and then swung a hard backhand at me that I ducked because I expected it and had watched for it. I pushed his arm and let the momentum of the blow get him off balance and he fell off of his stool.

The bouncer simply stepped in, grabbed his feet and dragged him outside to the amusement of everyone.

Now there was an empty stool next to me. I hooked my thumb and pointed at the empty stool. "Next!" I shouted and the stool was soon occupied by a fairly attractive woman in her late thirties that proved to have a delightfully sarcastic sense of humor. She proved to be a delightful change from some jerk with a loud mouth.

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, August 30, 2014

It was one day in March

 in Kodiak that I was sitting in a bar at about 8 am waking up to a cup of morning coffee.

This is actually not as bad as it sounds for a couple of reasons. Bars served as a lot more than watering holes. They were meeting places, message centers and several other things. A bar that was just a bar didn't generally do very well.

I was there that morning looking for something to do. It was often a hiring hall of sorts for people looking for odd jobs. On the rare times I had nothing to do I'd drop in the bar early on and more often than not I'd get grabbed for a job of sorts.

The day was Seward's Day. It's an Alaska holiday celebrated in March. It's not to be mistaken for Alaska Day which is in October.

Seward's Day is the day Seward made the Alaska purchase. Alaska Day is the day the United States took formal posession of the new territory.

I was sitting across the bar from an ignoramus named Elrod. He was basically a self appointed big shot. To his credit he was a pretty good equipment operator and had seniority. This meant he generally worked almost year-round. Hence, he had a pretty good income.

On the debit side he was self-important, arrogant, egotistical, bigoted and thoughtless. He was ignorant as hell and would get angry if proven wrong over just about anything.

He wasn't violent, but his little snits were a real horror show to be around. I generally avoided getting him upset.

In short this guy was an asshole.

We were discussing Seward's Day, a statewide holiday. It is the day Seward purchased Alaska from the Russians.

Elrod said that it was the day Seward discovered Alaska.

I commented that Seward didn't discover Alaska because there were already people there before.

"Just a bunch of ignorant savages," he replied.

At the time the word 'savage' was often used as a racial slur when referring to native Alaskans. Tlinkets, Aleuts, Athabaskans and Eskimos, all native Alaskans took offense to being called savages.

The Aleut next to me was doing a slow burn. I suppose if he had a few drinks in him there might have been a row of some sort.

I turned to him, grinned and winked. He gave me a look of confusion and curiosity.

"Hey Elrod! They ought to make April 29th Piccolo Day," I said.

"Who the hell is Piccolo?" he asked in an irritated tone of voice.

"Me. I discovered Alaska on April 29, 1978," I replied.

"I was here over twenty years before you got here!" he answered back indignantly.

"Yeah, but when I got here, all I found was a bunch of ignorant savages!" I answered, dryly.

Two people snarfed, the owner of the joint turned red and surpressed a smirk. The Aleut laughed outright and the bar braced for the horror show they figured was coming. They were surprised.

Elrod  simply got up and left in a big, angry huff. There was a confused, sudden silence.

The Aleut broke the silence. "Give that white man a drink!" he said. The bartender, half Aleut, came by and poured about an inch of Bailey's into my coffee.

In seconds every native in the joint found out what I had said and I was faced with a number of beers stacked up in front of me. 

"Looks like I know what I'm doing today," I said to the bartender. "Put these on ice. I'm going to be here a while."

Thank God I had nothing planned for that day because it took me a long time to even put a dent in the drinks I had been bought. The bartender ended up giving me token chips after I decided I had enough to drink to make sure I got them all.

Someone even bought me lunch to keep me going!

It was late afterrnoon when I had to stop and go m
home and sleep it off.

For the rest of the time I lived in Kodiak I seldom had problems with any of the natives.

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, August 29, 2014

One of the things I look back on is when I was in my early to mid thirties.

Looking back on it there were a lot of people that were pretty envious of me. Unless a guy was in a solid, dynamic marriage and had a career they loved a lot of people out there would have gladly traded places with me.

I had the world pretty much by the ass.

I lived on a sailboat that cost me $250 a year in slip rent. My bills were about $12 a month for electricity and in the heating season about two bucks a week for heating oil. That's about it.

My electricity was paid for a year in advance. One day when I was flush I gave the power company $150 and told them to let me know when it ran out. I actually told them to leave word at the Anchor bar. (Things like this were far from unusual in Kodiak at the time)

I had what I'll call an 'income on demand'. This means I could work whenever I wanted to and make as much as I needed.

If I needed a couple of bucks to eat on I'd do an odd job of some sort. If I needed a bigger chunk of change for something expensive I'd hop on a boat and go fishing. If I didn't want to fish there were contractors I could work for that paid pretty well.

Many of the local restaurants and bars kept books on that they owed me for fixing stuff and otherwise helping out.

While some of my food came from the local supermarket, a lot of it came from the fat of the land. There were fish to catch and ducks and deer to shoot. If I caught or shot too much that was OK, too. I knew people that would let me use their freezers in return for a piece of the pie.

Single women and divorcees were plentiful and for a bar stool sniper it was a target rich enviornment. 

Beer was too easy to be had and I had to be careful I didn't drink myself goofy. I easily could have if I wanted to.

In short, life was incredibly good.

You could tell how another person's life was pretty much by the way they showed approval to your life style. Miserable people hated me. Truth is they would have changed places with me in a heartbeat. These were either people that found that their money didn't buy happiness or the guys that had married poorly and felt trapped.

Happy people and I got along well. We seemed to respect each other's happiness. I also got along very well with the Filipino community, which I attribute to Filipinos being basically happy to begin with. They are actually kind of like the Irish of the Pacific.

A lot of this I attribute to being pretty handy, not greedy and flexible. When I needed a spinnaker for my boat I didn't feel the need to have a world class racing 'chute built. I just needed something for light airs.

I could make my own if I had the materiel. A parachute would do.

One day I put the word out on the docks and in the bars that I was looking for a parachute and presto! A couple of days later someone came up to me and offered me ten bucks to move a tote of stuff for him a couple of miles. There would be a fork lift at either end to unload it. I could either tale the ten bucks or the parachute he had in his garage.

A parachute at the time on the surplus market ran about $40 so it was a no brainer. The job took me 20 minutes and I got the 'chute.

The next morning when the bar opened I took the chute and lofted the pattern on the dance floor which was not being used.  I whipped the sail up over the next day or two and was good to go.

The 'chute was multicolored, half orange, and the other half was split between white, brown and OD so as to provide camoflage for a downed aviator. The resulting sail looked like hell but actually worked pretty good when I tried it out.

It proved quite servicible and a few of the people that laughed at it later respected it when they thought about it a bit. It did the job it was supposed to. It caught wind in light airs and propelled me.

In a nutshell I was able to live like a king with very little effort and there were people that envied it.

When I re-entered the 'straight' world several years later I had skills of all sorts to fall back on and compliment my re-entry.

The biggest thing I brought with me was the ability not to sweat the small stuff coupled with the ability to see that about 99% of it IS small stuff.

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, August 28, 2014

I always get a kick out of the people

 that have proposed gun registration schemes and other things that PROMISE the government won't use the registration lists to disarm or otherwise harm the public.

They seem to forget the track record of the government.

The government has broken every treaty thay made with the Inidans and it hasn't been until fairly recently that the Indians have started to get things made right through the courts.

The government tacked a tax on telephones early in the 20th century that was supposed to pay for the Spanish American war and then go away. The war has been paid off for decades yet we still pay the tax.

When FDR passed the Social Security Act back in the thirties the government said that the money would be set aside and not used for anything else whatsoever. The fund was plundered during the LBJ administration and was spent in less than two years on a bunch of failed programs.

The social welfare programs of the FDR administration were supposed to be temporary programs until the country could get back on its feet. The programs are still there and have bloated out of proportion.

The most recent of the big governmental lies is that you can keep your doctor.

I have has people over the years call me whacked out and I'll say simply that it is a matter of opinion. However, I am certainly not stupid enough to believe a government with a track record like ours has.

Yes, it really IS that simple. I trust them about as far as I can throw them.

If you think I will trust them with ANY of my rights, guess again.

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, August 27, 2014

Someone asked me where I got off being a tough guy.

It goes back to the time of the Oklahoma City bombing.

Shortly after the bombing the media decided to make militia groups pop out from behind every tree so as to further whatever agenda they had against the right.

The CMP marksmanship program came under subtle pressure and local TV stations would show up at matches and take videos of the rapid fire segments to palm off on the gullible public as being militia training instead of what it is. It is nothing other than a sport.

The guys generally wore old BDUs to shoot in because they have a lot of room in them and are pretty comfortable. Truth is it added to the militia scenario the media was feeding the public.

Some of the guys in the program were stubborn stupid and refused to trade the BDUs in for jeans. The dumbasses played right into the hands of the media and a local club's program had to go underground for a while.

At a local club I started showing up in hot pink camo to aggravate the BDU wearers and it actually did some good. A couple of the stubbornest BDU wearers told me that if I'd ditch the neon pink camo they'd fund non-camo BDUs.

Shortly thereafter someone I didn't like very much bet me I didn't have the guts to wear the pink BDUs to Camp Perry. 

Normally I wouldn't have taken him up on it but I knew he'd try and squirm out of paying me and i wanted to embarrass him. Bam! I wore them to Camp Perry and the women that run things there loved them and asked me to wear them next year. 

For years they were my trademark.

Shortly thereafter pink became the breast cancer awareness color and I can sure support that. I'd don a pink ribbon or something. 

Occasionally some insecure guy would give me a little crap over it and being the kind of guy I am I decided to make pink a routine part of my wardrobe.

Actually for years beforehand I'd wear a pink shirt and a black tie to some events so adding a little more pink wasn't much of a change.

What cemented it firmly was when some snot nosed kid started flipping me crap one day. I guess the gay rights people were in the news and he was probably a homophobe.

A friend of mine stepped in and pointed to the youngster that any guy like me wearing pink was likely bad enough to be able to take care of a whelp like him and that further pestering would likely land him in a deep quarry somewhere wearing concrete golashes.

The kid looked dubious and my friend told him I was an Old School Tough Guy that didn't play games.

While he was doing this I flipped out a knife and started cleaning my fingernails and the kid fled. All in all it was an Academy Award performance and from then on I became a self-appointed Old School Tough Guy.

It's been fun.

What was funny was the time at Camp Perry I was wearing my neon pink BDUs and a young private asked a senior NCO about them. The NCO told the private that I didn't have a whole lot of marks on my face and that the best thing he could do is leave me alone.

The private avoided me and the NCO met me later and we shared a laugh. A couple years later he saw me in a pink CMP ball cap and told me he was going to get one for himself.

He did, too. He wore it the following year after he retired and came to Perry as a civvie shooter.

Tough guys wear pink... if they feel like it.

Actually, tough guys wear whatever the hell they want to.

They also do whatever they want to. If a tough guy decides to feed a baby who is going to stop him?

Tough guys mop floors because their mother is not there to pick up after them and they are not pigs.

My favorite wannabe tough guy was a sailor that was on an aircraft carrier running a mop and decided he wanted to be a badass. He put in for SEAL training but his division officer wouldn't approve it. He told the wannabe that before he could go to badass school he had to prove he was a tough guy by taking care of himself and his shipmates first.

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, August 26, 2014

Old School Tough Guy.

Doing what tough guys do when babies start crying. They feed them.

I showed this picture to one of the newer employees today and he asked me if it was a grandchild.

Being the evil sort that I am I told him that it was my firstborn because I married a younger woman.

Being the nosy sort he seemed to be he asked me how old my wife was. 

I told him she had just gotten her driver's license and when she finishes high school we're going to have another six or seven.

It didn't take a half hour before people I know started calling me asking me what kind of story I had fed the kid.

It's actually my grand niece. What a sweetie she is!

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, August 25, 2014

reunion 45

Reunion 45 was pretty interesting. A bunch of people from my past showed up and we got to chatting here and there until the band started and about 1/4 of the people there bailed out.

One of them that bailed was a woman I have wanted to thank for a few kind words she made about 37 years ago. I was bummed. I wound up getting her address from someone else and sending her a letter. When we ran into each other years ago I was at a crossroads in life with the ink not even dried on my divorce decree or Army discharge.

Her interest in what I was doing made me feel good about myself and gave me a sense of value that stayed with me for life. She very well may not even remember the encounter but it has stayed with me for life.

She really looked wonderful. The years have been very kind to her.

Can't say I blame the people that bailed. With music you really can't talk save to shout. Personally I think having rock band wasn't the best idea in the world. An awful lot of us booked flights to the outside porch to be able to continue our conversations.

All in all it was a good reunion and I was glad I went as I met up with a few people I have not seen in almost a half-century.

There were a couple people I had wondered about over the years and it was good to see what they were up to.

What was interesting is that there was someone I hadn't ever thought about over the past 45 years that I struck up an interesting conversation with. He's been driving a truck for years and looks pretty good. One thing we shared in common are DOT laws and we share a phobia of illegal drugs. Both of us are too close to retirement to be able to start new careers. We can't afford to fail a drug test. We'd lose it all.

The years have been good to some of them and have been hard on others.

There were a number of women that had managed to stay fairly attractive and that says a lot considering we're talking an average age of about 63.

The Class of '69 was a crossroads class. The Old Guard was taking a beating and the new age was entering. It was truly (according to the hippies) an Aquarian Age we were living in and it was a confusing time.

The Vietnam war was hot and there were differing opinions of it. Some joined the Marines, others ran off to Berkley. Although the Summer of Love had passed a couple of years earlier, it was the Summer of Woodstock.

To a certain extent we were a class torn in two. The drug scene was in full swing and tune in, turn on and drop out was in the air. 

To be honest I was surprised to find as much common ground with my classmates as I did. 

There was some sadness. One of the sharpest minds I had ever met had been dulled by medication. He said he had been forced to using anti depressants.  We have all heard the ad that a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Seeing one dulled like that is just as bad if not worse.

Another thing that was scary and that was that one of the people there was still a pothead and started in on how the state was getting ready to legalize cannibis. It didn't bother me as I have thought that the war on drugs is a waste to begin with. It served as a mild warning not to go to the after-hours party as likely someone would light up.

I can't even afford to be around a dope smoker at this stage of my career. When I was offered an invite to the party I simply refused it gracefully.

Interestingly enough, both of the banes of my existence were dead. The guy that sat behind me for six long years in homeroom grades 7-12 was gone. As was another that never did seem to grow up.

Another thing is one of the organizers told me that the vice-principal asked him to get invited. Thank God he refused to pass the invite on to him. He was a jerk then and likely hasn't changed. He'd have had a lot of apologies to make had he shown up.

Another interesting thing happend and I guess one of my classmates came out of the closet and came onto me a little. I just ignored it and chuckled inside. What the hell, at my age it's nice to know that SOMEONE thinks I'm hot. As I age my perverse sense of humor just seems to be getting a lot dryer.

Many people were not there. I was hoping that the kid that lived across the street from me would show but he didn't. We grew up grades 1-12 together but by high school we were on different paths. Last I ever laid eyes on him was at a rock festival in Canada in '70.

I think that one of the mistakes that was made was that organizers didn't realize is that sometimes less is more.

For a 45th reunion I don't feel entertainment is necessary. We generally bring our own. It's about people meeting people. To have a successful reunion all that is needed is a few tables and chairs, a source of food and a source of beverages. A bar is great, but not absolutely necessary. A tub  full of iced beer and soda and a pile of sandwiches will work.

I think that people go to these to swap notes and satisfy curiosities. I'll admit that I did.

There was so much I couldn't bring up because I knew nobody could relate to it. I spent the first twenty years after graduation making a hard living in far flung remote outposts that most of them have only seen on the Discovery Channel.

For example the concept of eating an animal you have just shot is a concept that is totally alien to many of these people. As is having to take a shotgun loaded with slugs with you to go to the toilet fifty yards away from camp because you are in bear country.

One thing, though. A number of people aske me if I had recently gotten remarried and started a family. I'm going to blame that on one or two of my mischevious close relatives. 

One person asked me how long I had served in the French Foreign Legion which amazed me. Apparently the rumor (not true) was about 40 years old and started life as a sarcastic comment I had made to my sister when I was in the army.

One thing I did was that I think I got two people back in touch. 

I mentioned seeing another classmate in Kodiak back around '86 and knew the woman I mentioned it to was a friend of hers back in the day. I also gave her a clue as to how to get in touch with her and I think they might reconnect.

Even though several of the people I wanted to spend time with bailed and I spent most of the reunion on the porch where it was quiet, I was glad I went.

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, August 23, 2014

There are a lot of things

 that are more obvious bull$hit than acting like your 8 year old grand niece has just finished a six-pack.

One of them is telling someone that you shot your neighbor's pet dinosaur. 

After all, they have been extinct for 600 million years or so, give or take a millenia.

Some kid just got bounced from school and stuffed into the system of troublemakers for writing that he had shot his neighbor's pet dinosaur.

I wonder how far I would have made it through school if I had to start all over again in this day and age. Probably not very far at all.

You would think that the people in the school system would have a little common sense but it sure doesn't seem so.

Common sense in education is getting to be a scarce commodity these days.

Where do they get these idiots?

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, August 22, 2014


 in Ilion, NY has just laid over 100 people off as they slowly transfer their business out of New York.

Actions have consequences and the SAFE act was likely the final straw. 

Of course, Governor Cuomo is claiming he had nothing to do with Remington taking their business elsewhere and his supporters are making the usual claim.

"My gubner din't do nuffin.'"

Huntsville, Alabama seems to be winning this one. They offered Remington lower taxes and a nonunion workforce. They took the offer and I can't say as I blame them.

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, August 21, 2014

People of value.

One of the things I hear all the time is that some people make too much money. 

I suppose that the argument would hold some water if we were talking about people who made it dishonestly or by not producing something and just shuffling paper.

A while back I heard someone say that Henry Kaiser profiteered during WW2. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. What he did do was build ships. Lots and lots of ships.

The ships must have been worth what he charged for them because they were paid for. Another thing, too. They likely were more expensive, too because there was a lot of overtime involved. The yard ran 24/7/365 as there was a war on.

A big part of Kaiser's success was that he popped ths ships out fast. They were needed.

The biggest headache generals face is getting things moved. Logistics is the key to victory. You can have the best troops in the world and without the supplies needed the quality of the troops is moot. 

Kaiser managed to speed up production of ships so that they were sliding down the ways at a rate unheard of prior to the war. He was innovative.

I suppose there are people out there that will say that the ships he made were obsolete the day they hit the water. They're probably right. They were of an older design. However they could be made fast and relatively inexpensively. 

Another fortune that was made during WW2 was made by Andrew Jackson Higgins, another boat builder.

Higgins made landing craft and motor torpedo (PT) boats. He's famous for his landing craft. The versitile 'Higgins Boats' hauled troops and equipment from transports to the beach. Their design made it so they could beach them, discharge men and cargo and pull themselves off the beach for repeated trips.

Higgins at one point was set up shop on the streets of New Orleans while his boatyard was being built. He also paid everyone the same regardless of race or sex. This was, at the time, somewhat unusual because often blacks and women were paid less money for the same job. Higgins didn't give a damn. As far as he was concerned, a boat builder was a boat builder.

These men made fortunes during the war and I suppose there were a lot of gripers that accused them of taking advantage of the situation to line their pockets.

The truth is that both of these guys earned every dime they made because they built the tools the arsenal of democracy needed to win the war.

Today one of the current game changers is Bill Gates and he has certainly made a fortune. He earned that fortune, too.

Bill Gates changed the very way we do a lot of things from business to communicate. He made things a lot easier, faster and comfortable for all of us.

Yet Gates, like Kaiser and Higgins, have detractors. The one I heard most recently is that "Bill Gates doesn't need all that money."

Well, maybe he doesn't but it's his. He earned it. It's as simple as that. 

Of course people don't seem to like it one bit when I point out that they don't need a 3 bedroom house or a car that will go faster than 65. When I suggest that they be forbidden to own these things they indignantly tell me that it's their money and they earned the right to own the house or car.

That's when I point out that Gates has earned his money, too.

When they say, "That's different," I point out that the only thing different about it is who is having their money taken away from them. The truth generally quiets them down.

The truth of the matter is that these guys have made so much money because they are worth it.

Generally the gripers don't have what it takes to run a shipbuilding business or a computer company like Microsoft because if they did they would be.

As for me, I'm just a dumb old sailor.

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, August 20, 2014

What got me into ham radio makes little sense to anyone, I suppose.

I was actually looking for a WW2/40s era communications receiver as a decorator piece for my man cave/room and happened into ham radio

The unit I was looking for was something along the lines of a Hammerlund, a National or a Hallicrafters and I droppped into a ham forum. I got some advice and then went looking on eBay for something local.

Those old sets are generally pretty big and I wanted something I could snag locally as shipping is pretty expensive.

I was scouting eBay and a Chinese 102e military radio set popped up. It was from the early Vietnam era and was complete with a bicycle generator. It looked like something a WW2 coastwatcher might have used, actually.

A shipmate was looking over my shoulder and laughed.

"Get that," he said. "I could picture you setting it up somewhere and sending out Morse code messages saying that you are a leftover Japanese corporal in New Guinea that doesn't know the war's over!"

I had heard that the code requirement for ham licenses had been abolished a few years back. I looked at my shipmate.

"You know," I said. "I'll bet can get a license to go on the air with that thing fairly easily."

"Yeah, right." was the reply.

I had just come back to work and had about 12 days left on the tour. I clicked off of eBay and went to a website forum I am a member of and asked around.

Then I Googled a bit.

An hour later after my shipmate made the comment about sending out Morse messages in the identity of a holdout Japanese corporal I was studying. I put all of my spare time toward learning enough to pass the tests.

Two days after I got off work I drove out to a small town emergency center and tested. I left the place with a General class amateur radio operator's license. It really was as simple as that.

Before the ink was dried on my ticket I started looking for a rig to get on the air with. 

The eBay seller of the Chinese 102e told me that he didn't think the rig would be good for a new ham and suggested I take another route.

That's when Lady Luck smiled at me.

I knew I didn't want to go on the air with a true ham rig because they were too complex. I wanted a fairly modern military type rig. I knew from experience that basic military rigs were designed to take an uneducated kid and make him into a radio operator in a couple of hours.

I knew how to run an AN/PRC-77 from my service days.

I spotted a PRC-320 on eBay, found some literature on it and knew then and there I could easily run one. Then I found a seller that offered me a fair deal. I paid for it and when it arrived I was on the air.

Several states and DX entities under my belt and I decided to set up the modest home station I have.

I still take the PRC 320 out often, though. Setting up on the fly is a lot of fun.

I never did get the decorator piece I had been looking for.

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, August 19, 2014

I have been told that I am bitter and cynical by someone.

Who would have ever thought such a thing?

Moi? Bitter? Cynical?

You don't say!

Truth is that I am pretty disgusted with my generation and the mess they will be leaving their kids and grand kids. Instead of leaving them a solid government we're turning over a debt-ridden mush.

It wouldn't be so bad if it was the way we found it, but we're just compounded it with our laziness and greed.

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, August 18, 2014

Before I write about the reunion

 I might as well tell you about raising hell with my grand niece. She's eight and sort of quiet.

Anyway part of being an uncle is just spending time with the kids and it really doesn't have to be a whole lot. I took her out for a few hours when I was running errands and picked up a few things.

When I picked her up she had just left a gymnastics class and had her hands taped up to prevent blisters from using the bar. I told her to leave the tape on.

We were heading back and I offered her something to drink and she said she wanted chocolate milk so we wandered into a convenience store. There were a few people in it and when she was headed over to the refrigerated case for the milk I looked at her and said to her, 

"Don't grab another beer. You've already had a whole six-pack since lunch!"

She turned and smiled at me and headed over to the dairy case. The guys in line chuckled but the woman went off on me. "You're giving that poor child beer!" she almost screamed, accusingly. I knew I had a live one.

"She's too young for bourbon and I need something to wash the dope out of her system," I calmly replied. "Besides, it's my kid and  the way I raise her is none of your business.

The guys were actually laughing out loud. They knew what I was doing.

"And why are her hands taped up like that," she almost screeched. She was getting pretty worked up.

"She just got back from her boxing lessons," I shot back. "She just won in the fourth round by a knockout. Knocked out a guy a year older and 20 pounds heavier that her."

"What?!" was her shocked reply.

"She's two for two by knockouts. Last weekend she won her first bout my a TKO. Hit the guy so hard he was stumbling around and the ref called the fight," I answered.

By this time the guys watching this spectacle were rolling on the floor and she finally figured out she'd been had.

"I'll bet you think you're funny," she snapped.

"They do," I replied, pointing at the guys.

She left in a huff.

The clerk spoke up, "Her drink is on me," she laughed.

Later when I told that story to someone at the reunion they said that I was lucky she didn't call Family Services. I wonder about that. Even in Massachusetts they would be hard pressed to do a whole lot.

They would find an obviously loved, well fed, clean and well taken care of child with no signs of alcohol or drug use. When it was over and done with the lady would have still come out of it looking like an idiot.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

It's 0433Z. 1230 local for you non hams

I just got home from HS reunion 45.

Will post an AAR soon.

Glad I went.

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

An old memory.

Back when we were kids we played ball of some sorts all year round. If we had a baseball and a bat, we'd play baseball. If we had a football handy we played that. Seasons had little to do with anything. Having a ball of some sort generally meant a game of some sort. Kids were kids.

Anyway, I was the kid of a pickup football game somewhere behind the North Community Church. I only got to play because I raised enough hell and probably got pretty beat up playing with the bigger kids. If I recall there was only one other kid my size.

I was not big for my age to begin with and when you look at it even six months is a lot of difference for a growing boy. These guys were probably three or four years older than I was.

I don't remember a lot about the game except that I sacked the quarterback about a half-dozen times and probably galled him to no end.

I was a hornet in that game and the poor quarterback, probably a foot or more taller than I was was tormented by the half-pint that kept hitting him as hard as he could below the knees and kept bringing him down.

The game was about 50 years ago and I believe the field is still there for kids to play in if they want. It's been about fifty years and I guesss I can let the cat out of the bag now.

Jan and Dean and the Beach Boys were singing a lot of surfing and hot rod songs at the time. It was either the very late fifties or the early sixties. 

The quarterback would recite all sorts of stuff until he hit the chosen word. When the center heard the word he'd snap the ball.

The quarterback would start calling his numbers by using a current tune on the top 40 charts. When it had anything to do with a hotrod I'd listen and when he mentioned something about a deuce coupe the ball would snap.

I simply figured it out and when I heard 'deuce coupe' I'd take off like a shot after him. I think I was only offsides once but only by a second and it went unnoticed. When I took off I made a beeline for him and hit him as hard as I could and as low as I could to jerk his feet out from under him.

All of his calls came from top 40 songs.

This had been out of my mind for decades. 

The only reason it came to mind is that I have been invited to a party back in my hometown and the quarterback I sacked as a kid is supplying the music. He has some kind of band he plays in.

When I heard the name I grinned and said to myself that it was a name I have not heard in decades and wondered how he had gotten involved in music. Then I remembered the game and it came to me. I remembered the game.

Tonight I am going to the HS reunion and he'll be there. I think I'll tell him how I was able to sack him, although I wonder if he remembers the game.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

They say you can't go home again.

And I didn't believe it until yesterday. 

Over the years I always got back home on either Christmas or Thanksgiving. It's been over thirty years since I've been home in the summer and the whole thing seemed surreal.

It was like something out of the Twilight Zone.

The vegetation made roads I thought were big and wide into narrow, somewhat spooky lanes. It changed the whole outlook I had in my mind.

Thirty years is a long time and to any of you that return to your childhood homes after a long period should think carefully and realize that a lot of changes can take place in thirty years.

I found myself having to stop and be very careful after I almost went the wrong way down a one way street that used to be a two way back in the day.

Stop signs have appeared where there were none and a few lights popped up out of seemingly nowhere.

I was lucky to have a 10 year-old niece's daughter with me because she kept an eye open and was helpful.

I actually drove past my childhood home and had to back up because the vegetation almost hid it. The trees that were little had grown up and made the house look like it did back in '55 when we moved in. It is set back in the trees.

Over time a lot of the trees had died off and were replaced with saplings that have grown to climax over the past several years.

The house used to be grey but is now yellow. I did like it grey but the yellow isn't too bad.

The whole trip down memory lane after I visited the grave of my parents became surreal, kind of like the effects of a low powered psychedelic drug or something. 

My trip to the old Coast Guard station was wierd and I sort of had my mental artificial horizon tumble a bit when I got spun around having to deal with a one way street situation that was a two way years ago. It threw me off.

My neighbor's house that was so big now looked a lot smaller than I remembered it.

The whole trip was kind of eerie and sort of weird. 

A few things were still the same as I remembered them.

A few years ago I went looking for my grandparent's houses and they looked pretty much like they did back in the day. They were just as I had pictured them in my mind.

This trip was strange. There was no feeling of melencholy of a trip down memory lane. It was more of a strange trip through the twilight zone.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Interesting post coming up soon

Be patient.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

busy today

Possible post later today,

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Overcast and rainy today.

The deer were up as usual this morning and the buck is still losing velvet.

It's kind of nice being able to he lazy and loll around the plantation but that gets old after a while and I have to get a few things done.

It's about 66 degrees out which is cold for August. 

Yesterday I dug a bee stinger out of my hand. A few days ago I got walloped by a wasp and it was itchy so I figured there was still a stinger in me. I glanced around and noticed the family K-Bar had a pretty sharp tip so I used that to dig the stinger out. It must have looked funny to see a guy digging at his own hand with a knife about a foot long. 

Tomorrow is going to be a long day because I have things to do that will keep me busy from sunrise to sunset. 

Life is going by very fast and summer is almost over and then winter and maybe I can see another generation of deer being born come next spring. I feel fortunate to have known at a very early age how short life is and to have started scratching things off of the bucket list when I was young and strong.

Mrs Pic just scratched another one off of her bucket list and I am glad for her. It feels good to see that happen.

Still, time passes too quickly and I realize that we're likely going to miss part of the summer's plans. I wanted to sail a small sailboat on Lake Arthur and it looks like I won't be able to because we're just plain running out of time.

Part of my oceangoing roots are sailboats. I had a dream of cruising in a small sailboat and saved up, bought one and did it. I'd like to take a small sailboat out in a lake for an afternoon to get pushed around by the wind to remind me of my roots.

Soon it will be over and a young generation of Navy sailors will lay me to rest in the deep which is where I eventually belong.

We came from the seas and the water and I think it is fitting that I return to the waters and make my life come full circle.

We took down a maple tree last year and lo and behold one has popped up in the garden. I plan on transplanting it on the side of the house where the big maple was and seeing something that went around go around. A new tree! 

There is also a baby for me to visit. My nephew became a father and he's the kind of guy that's going to do his best to raise the kid well. He'll be a good dad.

I still have a lot to do, though and I hope I can get things done.

One thing I'm glad of is that I got most of my bucket list out of the way before I grew old.

If anyone reads this, my advice is to follow your dreams, especially your childhood dreams.

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Give generously to the retired strippers home.

This all started at the local supermarket cafe when some bitchy looking woman asked me if I had any ideas to draw in a bigger crowd. She was from corporate and some of the employees had quietly griped to me that she was miserable.

Being a guy that sticks up for the troops I figured I'd jerk her chain. I have a knack for keeping a straight face and saying things as innocently as Gomer Pyle when I feel like it.

"Maybe you could get a couple of strippers in. You'd get everyone from the building trades to come here for lunch," I suggested, cheerfully and innocently.

It made her real uncomfortable and it was fun watching her squirm. More importantly, a couple of employees heard it and saw her squirm. I knew that they'd start filling my sandwiches a little heavier when I bought lunch there after that.

Anyway, when you go through the registers the cashiers have to ask you if you'd like to donate of one of a list of charities and they spout off the list.

I used to scowl and they'd stop the spiel but one day I said I'd give a couple bucks to the Retired Strippers Home. The woman thought a minute and told me it wasn't on the list.

It had gone right over her head.

Over the past few months of shopping there I've used that line when the cashiers give their spiel and the results have been interesting. Some give me an angry glare, others snicker and here and there some tell me it's not on the list. The latter are generally not too bright.

Yesterday I did it when I picked up a loaf of bread and the cashier told me it wasn't on the list but the girl bagging my groceries laughed outright. She picked up on it and asked me what retired strippers look like.

"Pretty grim," I replied. "They ought to rename it Battersea Dog's Home. After all the meth they have snorted in their careers they generally look pretty beat up."

The cashier, that had just let my original request go over her head finally picked up on it and told me it wasn't funny. I replied that humor was just the way you looked at things.

I looked at the girl that had bagged my bread and stuff. "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?"

"That's terrible," she laughed. "Your know, they really ought to open a retired strippers home."

"You mean there isn't one?" asked the cashier. The bagger and I rolled our eyes.

I picked up my stuff and walked off. She'll figure it out.



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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Another day another post.

I have the Southern Cross net going in the background but have not checked in as the bands are not favorable for me and I don't want to be a pain in the ass. All I can do is get in the way of others as the Gods of Propagation are not nodding my way.

The deer have passed by and the buck in velvet is starting to shed his velvet. 

I have a pair of lawns to mow today and will get on it shortly. Mine and a neighbors that is out of town. He's good to me. I owe him.

His son watches the cat when Mrs Pic and I leave which is interesting because I was just thinking that four of my neighbors have keys to my house. I wonder how many other people have good neighbors they can trust like that. Good neighbors are a precious commodity.

Yesterday I went shopping and decided to have lunch at the supermarket cafe. The supervisor from corporate was there, saw me and avoided me. Some time ago I arranged that. It was easy.

She asked me what they could do to improve the place and eagerly and innocently I suggested she get a couple of strippers to come in during lunch. "You'd get every building tradesman for miles around!" The look on her face was precious.

Yesterday was a day of monitoring the radio as I had joined an impromptu net. We were watching the storms in Hawaii.

I had the rig set on digital, monitoring both Olivia 16/500 and JT-65 which we agreed on as the protocol. There's a ham on a forum that is in Hawaii and we were keeping an eye on him.

The net was spread out all over the States and the guys did what I did. We left our rigs on and from time to time we'd check our laptop screens. Digital communications are computer to computer via the airwaves. Had he sent a message out we would have seen it on our screens.  It's a lot easier than having to sit around listening all day.

We got word he didn't get beaten up too bad so we decided to stand down. He reported that the infastructure based 

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I'm up and trying to remember what I was going to post today.

This happens all the time. I get a good idea for a post and don't write it down somewhere and forget it when I get to the keyboard.

For the life of me I do not know why every so often a kid asks me to tell them how rough I had it growing up. Then again maybe one of the kids got a kick out of the time I told him that my daddy worked in a forge making engine blocks and every so often he'd get a broken one to take home for us to eat.

It wasn't too bad, though. Momma would soak it in acid overnight and cook it up so tender it would melt in your mouth.

One time I had a kid ask me why I would tell him about having to walk for 5 miles through 4 feet of snow uphill both ways to get to school.

I told him it was my job, just as it was his job to listen respectfully and call bull$hit when I was out of earshot. I explained that this is part of the life cycle and one day it would be his turn.

Life is like that.

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Wow! What a morning!

I was having coffee in the driveway which I generally do and one of the neighbors came by on their way to work and told me that when I was out of town a Marine officer was looking for me.

I couldn't for the life of me figure out who the hell it was until the neighbor said the man told him that his Marine Corps career started on my couch. Then I knew who that was.

Time flies and it must have been fifteen years ago when I did a kid a favor.  I let him crap out on my couch and have the recruiter pick him up at my place. 

What he was doing was running away to join the Marines.

Had his parents found out about it there would have been hell to pay and he didn't want the recruiter to show up at his house. Later I found out why.

The kid had to write home during boot camp so I got his letters. He had left word that he was running away to work in a marine environment which led the trail straight to me. A cop asked me a couple of questions and I told him I'd check the union hall to see if he had shipped as an ordinary.

Then I told him that it would be a good idea for him to swing by the house for a cup of coffee after he was off shift and out of uniform.

Surprisingly, he did and I told him the kid had gone into the service and to keep it under his hat because if the parents found out they'd go straight to the boot camp and try to pull him out.

A couple of days later the cop swung by the house and simply said 'Thank you' and that pretty much ended it. I don't know what the cop told the parents but I do know what happened when he came home from boot camp.

I got a call from him to come over to his parents house immediately and when I got there I instantly dialed 911. It was a domestic fight of the Nth magnitude and there was a young Marine PFC with a frantic look in his eyes trying to settle his father down after he had knocked him on his ass.

From what I made of it, the father was trying to kick the kid out of the house and the mother wouldn't let him. She was just glad to see her son. Dad shoved Mom and the kid intervened and wound up clocking his old man. Actually he did a pretty good job of it, looking back at it. I saw the makings coming on of a real Norman Rockwell painting of a black eye. A real classic shiner.

The cops showed up and pulled everyone apart and the father wanted the kid arrested. It was a mess.

I looked at the kid and said to him, "Why are you all shook up? Isn't that what Marines do? They fight for those that can't fight for themselves. You were just protecting your mother."

The kid looked a bit relieved and the cop looked curiously at me. Then he looked at the mother carefully. There were no marks on her and he sighed. He looked at the father and told him he had two choices. Be taken to a motel or go to jail. Any arguing meant jail.

Dad left with the officer and I bailed as fast as I could. The next day I found out that dad would stay at the motel a few days and the kid would cut his leave short.

I had to go back to work otherwise I would have offered to take him to the airport.

I wish I had been home to meet the kid because I'm curious as to how he commissioned. The last time I heard from him was almost ten years ago. He was a sergeant.

The parents have long since moved. I don't know if they're still together or not.

What's sad about this is that I don't remember this man's name, although I suppose if I heard it I'd remember it was him.

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Home is the sailor

And I'm glad to be here.

Over the years I have had a minor bit of difficulty adapting to the schedule change I have that differs between the sea and shore-side.

Last night it was a snap and I feel pretty good this morning.

It is going to be interesting this time home because I have lots to do and a lot of driving coming up. I really don't like driving.

I got home to a pair of confirmations. Uzbekistan and Andorra confirmed.  Their QSL cards were in my pile of mail and I was happy to add another pair to my list. I believe I have hit 175 entities confirmed.

I also just woke up to an email from Uzbekistan telling me he had received my package.  Uzbekistan was a mess to confirm

I did the usual stuff, sent him my card, self-addressed envelope and postage money and a few weeks later found out that he had just gotten several that he sent out returned. Apparently the US mail screwed up and sent it back to him.

I emailed him and promised to send him postage so he could try it again with his envelope. He agreed and instantly resent it. 

Anyway the card was here when I got home and he emailed me to tell me he got his postage and thanked me because I sent him a US overseas forever stamp as a bonus. Now he can send an SASE if he wants a QSL from anyone stateside and doesn't have to send cash.

ANyway I'm home and that is a good thing,

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Never give up your life preserver.

Someone posted something on Facebook about a woman that had her home invaded and pulled out a gun on the burglars and ran them off. During the incident she dialed 911 and the dispatcher instanty told her to put her gun down.

She didn't and likely as a result didn't she get hurt.

This isn't the only time a dispatcher at a police station has told a homeowner to disarm themselves and I'm sure it won't be the last. My guess is they do this for officer safety so that when the cop walks in. That way the cop gets to walk safely onto a house to find a dead homeowner instead of a live one that's shaking like a leaf with a gun in their hand.

The system is presently set up to protect the criminal and not the decent citizen.

Let's look at the truth of the situation.

The dispatcher is sitting in a warm, dry, safe police station. They are doing what they are trained to do and will do just that if they want to keep their job. I would not last very long as a police dispatcher because I would likely tell the beleagured home owner to put a couple rounds in the thug's X-ring and refer things to the coroner but I digress.

The next part of the equation is that the courts have stated that the police are not there for anyone's personal safety. They are there for the safety of society as a whole. This means that the police don't even have to show up if they don't want.

From there we look at the police who are not there to prevent this from hapening in the first place. They are generally retroactive and not proactive. They don't come unless called and when they are called it takes time to get there.

It is often said, "When seconds count, the police are only minutes away". This isn't the fault of the average cop, it's just the way it is. I'm not writing this to bash the average street cop. They generally do the best they can with what they have to work with. The average cop is going to get there as fast as he can. The average cop wants to help. However he can only do what he can do.

Still, police response times vary. Where I live it's generally well under 5 minutes. Our local gendarmes are pretty good. However a lot can happen in five minutes. Or for that matter, even one minute.

The bottom line is that when push comes to shove you are on your own. There is nobody there to help you. You have to help yourself. The last thing you should do is put down the one tool that can save your life. 

Hopefully you won't have to use it and the fact that you have it and are willling to is enough to either get an invader to surrender or flee.

If you do you can generally figure that the responding officer that didn't get there on time is going to be a whole lot happier to see a home invader with a hole in them than a homeowner in those shoes.

Truth is, a policeman once confessed to me that he'd rather do the paperwork that goes with 100 bad guys getting shot then ever have to make another murder or sexual assault report.

It's often your choice as to whether to become a victim or not. Don't let some two bit police dispatcher sitting in a warm office with no vested interest in you talk you into becoming a victim.

Never give up your life preserver.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I just found out about someone from my high school days and he deserves a post.

I must have been a freshman or a sophomore and class was out. I wasn't going home, I think I was headed downtown for some reason or another. I had no car, nor for that matter, a driver's license.

Chances for a freshman getting a ride from a senior were not all that good but then again it often happened.

There was this big, rugged guy I knew by name and face. He had kind of a DA and jellyroll haircut which meant something at the time, I suppose. Almost everyone else had Beatle hair or was growing hippie hair. I had a short haircut that today would be Navy regulation, or maybe a touch longer.

Anyway, the big guy had a big mischievious grin. I'd seen the grin on his face between classes and figured he was OK. He wasn't a threat.

The guy was standing next to a car and I wasn't sure if it was his or not. I asked him for a ride downtown if there was any room. I figured he'd be full.

It wasn't his car and he simply said "Stick around." to me. A couple of seconds the owner of the car showed up and hopped in. Someone else hopped in the shotgun seat and Joe said something to the driver, hooked his thumb, grinned and told me to hop in.

He was sitting in the back seat behind the driver and I was behind the passenger. He grinned at me and leaned over the back of the seat to give directions even though the driver knew where he was going.

We left the lot and started up Furnace Street to where we had to turn left to get onto the highway leading downtown. There was an island that had to be gone around and the sign on the island guiding drivers around it said "Keep Right".

Joe, giving directions, said to the driver, "See that 'Keep right' sign?"

"Yeah," replied the driver.

"Turn left," ordered Joe. With that he turned to me and we both laughed ourselves silly at the incongruity of it all.

I remember the laughter in his eyes.

I was a humble lowerclassman but he hadn't dropped to my level. He had brought me up to his. He was a really neat guy.

after that until he graduated he and I always said 'Hi' and occasionally shared a funny comment.

This is really a very insignificant incident but I remember it well and for the past forty seven years I have thought about it often.

I just found out he lives in Florida now and I am going to send him a link to this post because he ought to know that one small act of kindness has stayed with me for forty-seven years.

Thank you, Joe.

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Monday, August 4, 2014

I had a great great something or another down the line

 that was a member of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union.

Back in the day they raise hell and eventually managed to get prohibition passed and turned the nation dry for a while.

When you look at it, my guess is the old bags would gripe about menfolk hanging out in saloons when they got off work and having a few.

The likely reason is that a lot of the womanfolk probably didn't give the guys much to come home to. This is a situation that persists a lot to this day. 

Still, I would not be surprised if the old bags who were griping about the menfolk tipping a few were  knocking back a half- bottle of Lydia Pinkham's Tonic or some other patent medicine and heading down to the WCTU meeting coked up and stoned  out of their minds.

I saw an old tintype of the great great whatever she was and as far as I can tell by looking at her I'd head to the saloon after work if I was married to her, too.

Actually in the picure it looked like she'd been into the patent medicine bottle a little hard.

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Why is gambling illegal?

One of the things I do not understand is why gambling is either illegal or regulated by government so much.

It really isn't anybody's business if I decide to shoot craps or play cards for money. The only people that should be involved are the actual players and maybe the keeper of the game(s). It really is that simple.

I don't play games of chance as a regular rule. Every so often I do buy a lottery ticket just to be able to watch the evening results but it has been a couple of years since I did that.

Still, I wonder where government gets off regulating or outright forbidding this sort of thing.

Of course, the moral police will likely come charging right in and decide that it is a sin and therefore ought to be banned. Then again, the Gospel According to Piccolo says the moral police ought to start by putting their own personal behaviour through the mill first and clean themselves up.

There are an awful lot of two faced moral policemen out there.

I have no real interest in gambling but I simply wonder where government get off regulating it. I often hear that we live in a free country but I do wonder when I see things like government stepping in and regulating something that is essentially victimless.

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

One of the things I saw with the hippies was their amazing ability to tear things up.

Razing a building to replace it is a pretty good thing sometimes. You can take a useless building somewhere and replace it with something useful. A while ago I saw a strip mall and a couple of other buildings disappear and be replaced with a shopping center. It was amazing how fast the entire thing happened.

Still, before you raze something you really ought to have something to replace it with. Even the razing of an an eyesore and replacing it with a nice, grassy field is acceptable. You have to replace it with something.

The problem with the hippies was that after they tore something up they never seemed to have a workable plan to replace what they tore up with anything.

I remember the hippies I met at the Powder Ridge and Strawberry Fields rock festivals back in the summer of '70. Many of them were anti-capitalist and griped about rich old men running things.

(I won't get into the fact that they spent good money on the official hippie uniform of bell bottomed jeans and other things. Many of them also had hefty music album habits. Both of these were cheerfully supplied to them by capitalists.)

Anyway, they wanted to tear down what they considered and unfair system and replace it.

Asking them how we would manage generally got something about how we would live on 'good vibes' or something else that was pretty vague.

Unfortunately, 'good vibes' doesn't put chow in one's belly.

I watched a group of alternative lifestyle people called the 'Cosmic Labs' people organize feeding people at Powder Ridge. They set up the same type of system that business and the military have used since Day One. The good old fashioned chow line. It worked. They just fell into the tried and true old methods.

The truth is that the hippies were little more than vandals, tearing up all they saw and leaving nothing but ruins and calling it an improvement.

I have been in a number of 'crash pads' during those years and they, for the most part were filthy. Some of them were in terrible shape. I have been in a couple where the people in it decided that sheet rock was some kind of capitalist symbol so they tore it out and left bare studs.

It would have actually made sense if they had insulated it and repaneled the walls with something, anything, but they opted to leave the walls with the bare studs. 

I suppose that after the sheet rock was gone they celebrated their big victory over capitalism or some such crap. However, I didn't see anything even planned to replace the ugliness other than some crap sprayed on the walls with Day-Glo spray paint.

I was offered housing by a hippie type couple once while I was on the road that was actually owned by the people that put me up. It was well taken care of and I was expected to pitch in and help. The reason this place was different is because of pride of ownership.

The truth of the matter is that the hippies never seemed to have anything workable to replace what they tore down.

The other side that they seemed to alway want to tear down were always building things. They made food, clothing, shelter, cars, airplanes and just about everything under the sun. You name it, capitalists seemed to build it.

I suppose some of it didn't impress me. I never did acquire a taste for oversized gas guzzling Detriot iron but it was there for those that did. 

A lot of it did impress me. Even though I was only making about three bucks an hour I could afford a lot. It cost me about an hour a day, sometimes even less to feed myself because the American farmers and food manufacturers were efficient. I didn't have to bust my ass all day in a field growing my own food.

I had a car that cost me only about $50 and was reasonably reliable and got me to where I wanted to go. Life wasn't all that bad when you thought about it.

I looked at a commune in western Massachusetts and saw how the other half lived. Everyone there threw everything they owned into the common pot and it seemed to me like everyone who did wound up poorer than they were beforehand.

Of course, there was the big charismatic 'spiritual advisor' there who never seemed to want for much.

Needless to say a lot of the conversation there was about how much a mess the rest of the world outside the commune was. They offered me a meal during the visit and I couldn't help but notice all of the government food packages. I had a meal there consisting of government issue macaroni and government issue cheese, washed down with government issued Kool-Aid.

This was before Jonestown so the Kool-Aid then was safe to drink.

Yet these same people that wanted to tear down the system were relying on it for their daily bread.

One can criticize capitalism with its faults yet there is one thing you have to admit. It's actually the basis of it.

Capitalists are constantly building things.

The build buildings, planes, trains, automobiles, toys, shoes, widgets and frammuses to install the widgets on. They are constantly building better mousetraps and trying to get the world to beat themselves to their door.

Even when a capitalist has to tear things down to replace them they seem to do it more efficiently. Witness some of the building implosions in places like Las Vegas when they dropped one of the older casinos a while back. One boom and the trucks drove in to pick up the rubble.

With capitalists there is always another angle, another thing to build or try out in the never ending chase of the almighty dollar.

Nothing has changed the times like the products of capitalism. They built cars that made the horse retire as transportation. They created marketing empires that brought food, clothing and convenience to your neighborhood.

In time of war they figured out how to build a cargo ship in a week's time.

The biggest game changer in recent times is the computer. It created immense strides in math, science and communication. The internet has made the world shrink and what used to take days and weeks now takes a nanosecond.

The truth her to me is which side to choose. I can join the side of tearing stuff down or I can join the side of building stuff.

I think I'll build stuff.

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