Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween

Time to crank out another post as now have a break in the action.

Life has been busy and likely will stay busy for a while. This means I am not posting 'live'. I'm writing on Wordpad and doing a quick cut and paste when I either get up in the morning or after midnight when I hit the rack.

I do like to sit down and write my daily post early in the morning as a wake-up exercise but when push comes to shove you do what you have to do.

One of my favorite places to post from is home, sitting and looking out the back window at the deer and the other animals. Another for some odd reason is an airport while waiting for a plane. I check in quickly, get into the sterile area, find a place and set up shop if I can get AC from somewhere.

Anyway, I am pretty busy these days but still have a 'The Show Must Go On' attitude. 

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, October 30, 2015

I have noticed

 that when I return to my hometown that I tend to be decades behind on my references.

I noticed this about ten or fifteen years ago when I said to my sister "Go to Hit or Miss and take a right."

She laughed and said Hit or Miss changed to another business ten years ago but said I had a pretty good memory.

Because I don't live in the old neighborhood any more I tend to have it frozen in time in my memory. As I drive down the street I grew up on I know nobody on it except for two families and both of them are elderly.

As I drive down my memory says to me "Smith's house". Bob and Mary Smith have been dead and gone for probably thirty years. 

Ot maybe I'll thing the 'Alice Savage place'. Alice savage was around 90 years old when I was just a kid. She lived there with a companion of some sorts. I suppose she has been gone since the early 70s.

What is interesting is that there is a gap between two of my sisters. I might mention the Donton place. The Dontons moved after Mr. Donton was killed in an accident. The Willis family moved in.

I might refer to the place as the Donton place and likely my baby sister might think of it as the Willis place.

I really don't have Clue One as to who lives where on the street anymore.

The last time I was there I went to the post office and passed by one of my mother's bestest buddies. She didn't recognize me and I made a snap judgement not to reintroduce myself, probably because I looked like hell at the time.

They say you can never go home again and to an extent it is the truth. The old neighborhood certainly isn't the same. 

I don't see the armies of kids playing out in the yards. Partially because people are having fewer children. The other reason is that it is so damned expensive to live there. One can likely not afford to live there until the kids are gone. 

A trip to my old stomping grounds on the river lets me see that it isn't the same. The old wood float has been replaced by a new aluminum float. The old railroad bridge is gone save a couple of pilings. There's no place to dive off of anymore and it certainly isn't nearly as inspiring as it used to be.

One thing is the same about the place, though.

About fifty years ago one of my pals said "You'll never meet an a$$hole at the Point at 3 am."

I imagine that's true today.

On rare occasions I used to sneak out of the house in the middle of the night to fish there. There was often someone else doing the same thing. Quietly fishing and just thinking aimlessly. No conversation, just a person left alone in his thoughts. His face sometimes lit up briefly by the glowing ember of a cigarette.

One time I was walking to the point carrying a fishing pole and a bored town policeman pulled up alongside and asked me where I was going at 0300. I told him I was headed to the Point to go fishing.

He told me to hop in and hold my rod outside the window and gave me a ride. He asked me where my tackle box was. I dryly told him that I wasn't going to let some dmned fish ruin my evening thoughts. He grinned and grunted. 

He knew the fishing pole was just something to give legitimacy to just standing on the bridge and doing nothin'.

I remember the time Dad caught me sneaking out at about 0200. He softly asked me where the hell I was going at 0200. I held up my fishing pole. He told me to wait for him.

Out he came carrying his pole and two beers.

Less than a minute later we were stuffing the rods into the old Ford Falcon and pushing it into the street quietly.

We let it roll down the street for a couple of houses before he turned on the headlights, flipped the key on and slowly let out the clutch. He handed me a beer which I opened as we drove down to the point.

We stood on the bridge quietly sipping our beers and never said two words to each other.

We both grew sleepy and quietly drove home. He took the long way so we would be coming downhill on final approach to the driveway. Then he cut the engine and lights and we ghosted back into the driveway in silence.

I would imagine now that any kid carrying a fishing pole late at night would be stopped and hassled unless he was actually at the Point. Even then he'd likely be questioned.

Anyway, the neighborhood looks a lot like it did when I grew up there but when you loo past a few things it sure isn't the same place.

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, October 29, 2015

One of the things I generally avoid

 is the tyranny of being a club member.

While I am a member of a sortsman's club and a ham radio club I am not really too active in either. I pay my dues, attend the work days when I can and pretty much leave it at that.

It seems that most clubs and organizations draw a couple of people that wheedle their way into positions of authority and start pushing their agenda on the rest of the membership.

A few months ago I kind of pissed off one of the biggies in the local ham club over Field Day. He wanted to drag out the extension cords and set things up outside but not in true field conditions.

He explained the importance of the laptops and so on. I pointed at my PRC-320 army field radio and said I didn't need electricity.

He asked me how I would record my QSOs and I held up a pencil and suggested that maybe some of the older guys could show the younger guys how it works. 

As usual I upset the apple cart.

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, October 28, 2015

Someone else wrote today's post for me.

every now and then someone writes an interesting article and I think it is worth sharing.

I don't want this daily epistle to consist of nothing but hot links but every so often something comes along worth sharing. 

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, October 27, 2015

We tend to recommend businesses by what they do for us.

The other day when I lost a tire on the turnpike I changed the tire with my semi-useless spare. Then I limped into a small BP service station close to the off-ramp.

They had a pair of tires in stock at their warehouse ten minutes away and for a reasonable price had me up and running in a relatively short period of time.

I would have to recommend the place to others based on how they treated me and the service they provided.

Over the years I have done business with a lot of places and for the most part been treated fairly.

I recall very well one of the places that treated me like a king. After I was done doing business with them I was informed by several people that the place was the biggest rip-off in town. 

The business was an auto wrecking yard and the kids were angry that they were paying fair market value for the parts they needed to keep their clunkers running. They saw it as the owner getting wrecked autos for next to nothing and selling the parts for an outrageous profit. Of course, they were not having to pay bills and meet payrolls. 

Looking back on it, I was in a college town and the people I talked to were college kids. Likely that few of them understood the basics of running a business. It was a liberal arts college. They were probably upset that they were not getting something for nothing.

It would be interesting to talk to these same kids ten or fifteen years after they graduated and had been in the real world for a decade or so. 

Still, a business either often succeeds or fails based on its reputation. 

I don't know what kind of place I did business with. For all I know it could be a front for a mob guy or something. I don't know.

What I do know is that I came limping in on a spare and a front tire with a cut in it. I left with a pair of skins that matched the ones I had. I left with two new ones on the rear and paid a fair price for them.

There was no bait and switch and they didn't take advantage of the fact that I was in need.

I will speak well of them.

On the other hand, I suppose that if I hung around town and asked a bit I very well may find some people that have not had good experiences with the place.

Still, all I can do is report on how they treated me.

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, October 26, 2015

The electric chair switch.

I have a pretty good eye for cool stuff and it's pretty astonishing as to what I have snagged over the years.

One of the things I'll have to dig out is this HUGE knife switch I scored somewhere along the line. It's MASSIVE and old and neat and just plain cool. It was about a foot long!

It looks like it came out of a Frankenstein movie or maybe was the turner-oner of 'Old Sparky', the electric chair in an old James Cagney movie.

Anyway I had it bolted to a wall and hooked up for a while. All ti did was turn on an end lamp with a 40 watt bulb in it. Stil, it was inspiring to turn on a light with such a switch.

Of course, someone just had to play with it and got themselves a nice 110 snap and I figured that in this day and age I had to take it down.

It galled me. I figure we ought to change the rules and remove all the safety stickers off of things and let the problem of stupidity simply fix itself. However, that's not the way it is.

It's a shame, though. It would be fun to read about idiots that tied the safety device and lifted a running lawn mower up to trim hedges with or some other dopey thing.

Eventually a woman visiting my wife asked me about it and I reached into the Piccolo bag of B.S.

"It's from the old Oklahoma electric chair that they fried my great-uncle Dave in back in '34."

"Really? What did he do?"

"It was when the banks were foreclosing on all sorts of farms during the dust bowl years. He robbed a bank and besides the money he went into the back room and took a bunch of deeds and gave them to the farmers, saving their farms.  He was quite a local hero for a while."

"They executed him for that?" she asked.

"No. Someone eventually ratted him out and he was excecuted for his unruly conduct during the heated and rather loud discussion that followed."

"They executed him for that?" she asked.

"The discussion was conducted with Tommy guns and afterwards they buried three FBI agents. It led to the FBI intensifying their firearm training."

I watched her figure it out.

"Oh," she said, turning a little red.

"Anyway after Oklahoma went from the electric chair to lethal enjection they removed the chair. I wrote the warden explaining that the chair executed my great-uncle Dave and asked if I could have a part of it as a family heirloom and he sent that switch to me."

"Really?" she asked again.

"There's the switch," I replied. "A genuine electric chair switch."

Of course she ran her mouth and it didn't take long before the neighbors started asking me about it. Most of them knew it was likely a tall tale and were amused when I fed them the details.

Which reminds me. I ought to dig the switch out out sometime. Maybe hang it somewhere but I'm not going to hook it up 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

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Louise 'Pizza Face' Murphy for the Acme Zit Removal System.

Yeah, right.

I was sitting here doing something with the tube on for background and caught the last part of an ad. It was for some kind of clear skin thing. It kind of reminded me of a Milwaukee grinder of some sort.

I didn't get to see the whole thing, just the last part when they showed a beautiful young woman with wonderful skin. Movie star playing Snow White skin. It was followed by the 'before' picture.

It looked like before she used the product she had a beard that caught fire and ten guys put it out with ice picks and track shoes. 

So I guess she used the grinder and just kept at it until she managed to buff out the pockmarks and craters. I suppose it's easier than using a Brillo pad. Maybe there was a part where they use Bondo to fill in the holes and build up the dimples or something. I might have missed that part.

C'mon, guys! How about if you at least make things look somewhat believable!

Then again maybe I'm wrong here in judging the intelligence of teenagers with acne.

I suppose there were kids back when I was growing up that considered a pimple to be the end of the world. I didn't.

I'd go to the bathroom mirror and squeeze them hard and fast to see if I could get the juice to hit the mirror. 

I was fortunate enough to see it for what it was. It was simply a part of growing up. I didn't need to spend my money on anti-acne products. I spent my money wisely. I used my money for its intended purpose. I used it to buy beer and build up a '57 Chevy like I was supposed to.

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, October 24, 2015

You just gotta love your friends.

I had been out of the army about 4 or 5 years and was living in Kodiak. I forgot what holiday or celebation it was but some outft of the Alaska National Guard showed up and set up a display of some sort.

I had run an arms room for a while. I had learned to field strip and reassemble all of the small arms I was assigned to take care of. I was, and probably still am, pretty good at this.

There was an M-60 machine gun in the display and I looked up at the lieutenant and bet him $10 I could field strip the M-60. He smiled and gaveme a curious look. It was then I added the word that hooked him.

"Blindfolded," I said.

"I'd like to see that," he replied. 

I tipped over the sign describing the weapon to use as a place to put the parts, picked up the M60 and sat down next to the sign. Then I told a private to cover my face with his shirt. The private grinned and did what he was told.

I cocked and decocked the piece, opened the feed gate and pulled out the buffer yoke. As I was doing this the lieutenant started to tell me I was doing it all wrong until he saw me shake the buffer out of the buttstock.

The way he said "Oh..." when the buffer fell out of the stock let me know he realized I knew what I was doing.

Off came the barrel, the operating spring, the operating spring guide and the op rod.
I pulled the bolt off the op rod and stripped it, placing all the parts on the sign I had sat next to. I put the bolt plug and retaining pin in my shirt pocket to keep them from getting lost.
Then off came the pistol grip retainer, the pin and the pistol grip. As soon as they were off I replaced them.

Then I reassembled the bolt and fiddled for a second while I aligned the bolt plug hole with the bolt and installed the retaining pin. It only took about a second or two.

The bolt went back on the op rod and I put it down and replaced the barrel. In went the bolt and op rod. That was followed by the spring and guide. I used the buffer to push the spring and guide back in and when it was in place I put the yoke back in to hold it. Then slammed the butt onto the end.

With that, I recocked the piece and decocked it again and handed it back for inspection.

The lieutenant told a sergeant to make sure I did it right. The sergeant replied that he had watched carefully and I had done it right.

The lieutenant felt inadequate and I was smart enough not to ask if he or any of his guys could do the same thing.

"The army trained you well," said the lieutenant.

My friend interrupted. "He wasn't in the army. Don't you know who he is?"

The lieutenant looked confused.

"No, I don't," he said. "Who is he?"

I smelled mischief afoot and started to walk off slowly.

"That's Macine Gun Piccolo," he said. "He just got out of Atlanta last year. He had his conviction overturned last year."

"For what?" asked the shocked lieutenant.

"During the Days of Rage in Chicago he got one of those and kept an entire company of Illinois National Guardsman pinned down for 34 hours. Between that and a sniper rifle he kept the entire company dug in. You never heard of that?"

"No," said the lieutenant.

"You were probably still in grammar school," he said. "He never killed anyone, he just kept them pinned down. He might have just nicked some colonel in the ass but that was about it. When the machine gun got hot he amused himself by shooting the gumballs offa cop cars and stuff with the rifle." 

I walked out at this point. I knew when to cut my losses. God only knows what other crap my pal told the hapless lieutenant. 

As soon as I left I saw a blue suit next to me. He had followed me out. It was a member of Kodiak's Finest and he was fighting to not break out and laugh. I realized he had seen the entire thing.

I also knew he had served in Vietnam on a Coast Guard patrol boat in what was sometimes referred to as the 'brown water Navy'. They interdicted enemy supplies and supported ground assets with supporting gunfire. He knew I had been in the army and wasn't a hippie type.

Every time he looked at me he had to turn away to keep from laughing. Finally he settled down.

"With friends like your's, you don't need enemies, Pic," he said quietly chuckling quietly. 

In Tony's later that evening a sergeant came up to me laughing. "Hey, Machine Gun Piccolo," he said. "Between you and your friend you have all the officers shaken up. Were you a grunt?"

"Artillery surveyor," I replied. "But I ran an arms room for a while." 

"I figured it was something like that," he said. "What kind of beer you drinking?"

We were sitting there drinking a beer and the same police officer off duty came up to the pair of us.

"I see you have met Machine Gun Piccolo," said the police officer to the sergeant and grinned. He turned to me.

"Hey, Pic," he said. "That lieutenant came up to me and asked me about you."

"You let the cat out of the bag?" I asked.

"No," he said. "I didn't have the heart. I simply told him Kodiak draws all kinds and give them a second chance. That's not a lie. Besides, he's a second lieutenant. They're supposed to be confused."

Then he bought us both a beer and joined us for a while.

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, October 23, 2015

When it rains it pours.

I am still working for 200 confirmed DX entities. I was stuck at 194 confirmed for several months. I bagged Southern Sudan about a month ago. Suddenly in a period of two weeks I hit 7 ATNOs (All Time New Ones).

I bagged Zimbabwe-voice, Angola-CW, Niue-voice and CW, Marshall Islands-CW, Seychelles-voice, Market Reef-voice and Fiji on CW. It was amazing. Adding Southern Sudan to the pile and as soon as I get QSL cards I should hit 202 confirmed.

All of the afore mentioned should send me cards as I have sent for them.
The Japanese girl I QSO'd with from the Marshalls has emailed me and told me that she's getting a new batch from the printers and I should be getting one soon.

Amazingly enough, Angola has already confirmed bringing my confrmed number up to 195.

For the life of me I can't figure out how a guy in Angola can shoot me a card and have me get it in under 10 days! The only other time that happened was when I got a card from Papua New Giunea in 10 days.

The Fijian told me to make my QSL card look as unhamlike as possible. I had a women with girly handwriting address a powder blue envelope with lavender ink and I took it home, put a lipstick kiss on it and tossed it in the mail. 

Fiji is a French posession and there isn't a Frenchman alive that would touch that one with a ten-foot pole.

A quick pass of lighter fluid on a Kleenex took the lipstick off me quickly and I tossed the letter in the mail.

Southern Sudan should be headed my way.

Zimbabwe, Niue, Market Reef and Schyelles are all DXpedition contacts and can take months but they will confirm.

Anyway, it looks like I can put this project to bed soon.

I suppose I'll continue to work ATNOs as I see them but now that I have reached my goal I'll do so with a more relaxed attitude.


In addition to that I may have Chesterfield Islands and Minami Torishima. Chesterfield Islands I believe I QSO'd on CW but for some reason never made it into the log. I've emailed the QSL manager and we'll see. My CW is lousy and perhaps he didn't get it right. Likely my fault.

Minami Torishima was a fluke contact and I believe I made it into his log but am not too sure. The operator is a Japanese weather person there and seems to have no email nor does his QSL manager. I sent him a paper card and will either get his QSL or my card back with 'Not in log' scrawled across it. We'll see.

Update on Chesterfield Island: Not in log.

Oh, well.

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, October 22, 2015

This mess is what it is.

It is nothing more or less that the grumblings of an old school wayward sailor. 

I am that. I am an old sailor. Nothing more, and nothing less. I am not a professional journalist, a pundit, a columnist or anything else. I am a sailor. Period.

I do not have a degree from college. I am a high school graduate that got a shaky 60s high school education back in the days before we clubbed our schoolchildren senseless with drugs and made up a bunch of excusess for their poor behavior.

Every so often I hear from various Nazis. There is an occasional visit from a Grammar Nazi and I've had a visit from a Feminazi to name a couple off the top of my head. When they visit they get back twice of what they paid to read this blog under my double your money back guarentee.

They get TWO nothings. 

I have no political insiders in my pocket and get my news from the same place most everyone else does. I sometimes comment on what I see. I do often notice that the news says one thing and a lot of the people I meet say another.

I generally trust what I see on the street as opposed to on the tube. The press seems to have an agenda.

Truth is if you are looking for someone to bicker with please go somewhere else. Talk to my new complaint manager. Her name is Helen Waite.

If you want to try and pick me to death simply go to Helen Waite.

I also think it is going to be a bad winter and hope I am wrong. Still, I have decided to grow a winter beard.

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, October 21, 2015

Where Charlie Chan fits in.

Charlie Chan is a fictional detective from Hawaii, an American born Chinese. The character was created my an Earl Derr Biggers and loosely based on the exploits of a detective named Chang Apana.

I guess the reason I sometimes suggest calling Charlie Chan when a mystery of some sort shows up goes back to my dad and a rainy Saturday.

We watched a couple of these old black and white movies together on the tube over the years. Dad, the same way he was with old westerns, would conduct a running commentary. It was better thn the movie and funny as all hell.

I guess he had seem some of them when they first came out. What was interesting is that for a month or so afterwards Dad would address me as 'Number One Son' after Charlie Chan's oldest son. 

"Hey, Number One Son, get over here!"

Charlie's oldest son, Lee, would always be running around taking the bait, jumping to conclusions and in general screwing things up.

Charlie, of course, was slow, methodical and very inscrutinable. You never saw him move fast or get upset. He just stood there thoughtful looking with an all-knowing look on his face.

I suppose that today the movies may seem mildly racist but I don't think so. They never seemed to put Asians in a bad light. Charlie was always portrayed as being a very sharp cookie, and astute thinker and highly logical. He was alway the Good Guy.

He was a famiy man, too. At the end of every mystery the person that called him would offer to let him hang out for a few days R&R. He'd always reply "Must go. Have a large family to support." Then he'd show a picture of a bitty little CHinese woman surrounded by about 20 kids of varying ages.

Still, I suppose there was a certain stereotype shown toward Asians.

"Ya know, when I was a kid, we were told to stay out of Chinatown," Dad said."We were told it was full of opium dens and evil Fu Manchu kind of stuff. What a crock! The Chinese are probably the cleanest living people in the whole damned country. You never hear of them involved in many crimes."

I guess because of the couple of rainy Saturdays watching the exploits of Charlie, coupled with Dad's funny commentaries that Charlie is the 'go to' guy in my mind when a mystery pops up.

Which reminds me. I have to give Charlie a call. Something here has turned up missing.

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, October 20, 2015

One of the things drill sergeants did when I went through basic

 was interview their trainees.

Mine did. One of the questions he asked me was why I joined the Army.

I told him I wanted to earn my right to complain. It kind of confused him.

"Eventually I am hoping to become an older man," I said. "When I do and gripe about something Uncle Sam does there is likely someone that will ask me what I have done to make things better. I figure if I can say I served a hitch in the United States Army I've earned the right to complain."

"Never thought about it," said my Drill Sergeant. "But now that I do I believe you are right."

It was interesting that he changed his attitude toward me after that.

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, October 19, 2015

I wonder what's going to happen next?

April is over and it has been a pretty dry month. Usually April showers bring May flowers but there were not a lot of April showers.

It makes me wonder what kind of summer we're in for.

Maybe I'll ask a couple of Dutchmen. Those Amish farmers are generally pretty good with the weather. A couple of years ago I asked one and he was spot on.

He said the winter wasn't hard enough to kill a lot of burrowed insects and we'd likely have a pretty buggy summer. Boy, was he right!

I wrote this last May and never posted it.

It's now mid-October and I think that the next chance I have a couple of hours off around dinnertime I'm going to drive up north and drop in on a couple of Dutchmen I know. I'll ask them what kind of winter we're in for.

I don't think the Amish have special skills in predicting the weather but nobody else, does, either. Their guess is probably just as good as anyone else's.

It's just a sneaky excuse to go north and see the sights and smell the air. 

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, October 18, 2015

Chesterfield Island

I am not in the TX5X Chesterfield Islands log and I am of the opinion that maybe I should be. I do believe that I made a legal contact but my code was mistaken and I have a busted call sign. I could be wrong, though.

I did write in and see if there is a call similar to mine in the log at the time I made the contact(s).

Frankly I heard the DXpedition referred to as the Black Hole DXPedition because propagation in general was lousy. Internet posts made by the DXpedition team said that they were sure that they were not receiving people as well as we were receiving them. None of this was their fault nor the fault of their gear.

During the entire time I heard them on voice only a couple times and it was a very weak signal. It would have been doubtful they would have heard me. When you add the equation of the Big Gun pileup then my chances were nil so I didn't bother to add to the chaos.

I decided to go the CW (code) route and did a very quick brush up consisting of sending a few sentences with a practice oscillator. Then I got on the air and went hunting for the pile-up.

Although I found the pile-up on the internet clusters I confirmed that I actually had TX3X on the listed frequency and set my rig to work a CW split. I would be transmitting on one frequency and listening on the fequency they were transmitting on.

Confirming I had the DXpedition was a chore. I had to listen repeatedly to slowly make out their call sign. DXpeditions generally transmit at about 25-30 words per minute and I can't read it much faster than a couple of words per minute...yet.

I can read my call sign at maybe 20 words per minute...on a good day.

The next step was to wait for the lulls, when there was a hole I could squeeze in my call in edgewise. When things slowed down I started keying my call as fast as I could, waiting after each time to hear the reply. Of course the bulk of them were for someone else. 

Eventually I heard something that either was or was pretty damned close to mine so I sent a fast 5NN TU and that was that. I logged it. Later I would try an 'insurance call' to make sure.

You also have to realize that this was well into theDXpedition. Operators are human and get tired. Sometimes they get a little grouchy. I sure would. How they sit there making call after call is beyond me.

I played hell a couple of times simply being a net control for net of six or eight check-ins some time ago. These guys are taking calls all day long and a tremendous rate.

I'd be burned out in a few minutes, yet they do it for hours on end, day after day for the length of the DXpedition.

What irked a lot of us is that a Cuban station started transmitting on the same frequency on one of the bands. I know I am in his log because he slowed down for me and I heard my call very clearly. 

I wasn't too pleased with that and waited until the Cuban got run off before I started in again.

My last try on 40 meters is the attempt I believe made the log. I do believe that he sent back my call.

I'm not too worried about this because it is actually up to them to decide if I made it or not. It's my responsibility to be able to send legible code, and to be able to at least read my own callsign at 35 or so words/minute.

If they decide I didn't make the cut I have nobody to blame but myself.

My rule of thumb on these expensive DXpeditions is that if I ever have to ask why my call isn't in the on-line log then I send a donation to pay for the QSL manager's time...after he gets back with me either way. I don't want it misconstrued as an attempt at bribery.

Why would I want something I didn't earn? This is, after all, a hobby and I would only be cheating myself.

Personally I thing there ought to be a $5 or 10 fee to 'challenge the electronic log'. Of course, if they did that people would gripe.

These affairs can be horribly expensive and the guys are making no money doing this. Any donation I make is to help defray some pretty steep expenses.

While I hope I make it, if I don't I very likely only have myself to blame. However, as an American citizen and a veteran I reserve the right to gripe about it.

Still, it is only a hobby and not worth yanking one's hair out over like some people do. If I start doing that I'll just find something else to do.

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, October 17, 2015

A while ago I had a reader get in touch with me for what hams call a sked.

 It means he wanted to make contact with me at a scheduled time. This guy was working for an award.

He wanted my county on the twenty meter band for some award or another.

The guy lived a few states over and it really was no big deal. I think I had to reschedule grocery shopping for about twenty minutes. Big deal. I was glad I did.

When I got to the store a clerk was labeling a coffee I like at $5/can on an overstock. I bought 6 and saved a bundle.

I worked Fiji on a sked recently. I had emailed the Fujian to see if I was in his log and he said I was not. He had heard my signal but couldn't get it right. He had sent part of it back to me and told me where and when he'd be on the air next. It was the following morning. 

I ended up working him. He knew I wanted him, he likely had QSOs in his log from my area so he didn't need another. He was simply being kind. I sure appreciate it.

Actually this worked out well. He has halfway around the world and was on the air in the evenng before he hit the rack at a resonable time. I was up and starting my day and having my morning coffee. 

I also am grateful he took the time out to work me as my CW is still very poor. He deserves a medal for patience.

There are a number of place I want to work. The problem is that propagation and the liklihood of making a solid contact is on a definite time frame. It's apt to be at very odd hours for one of us or maybe even both.

I always wondered how you ask a guy on the other side of the planet for a sked.

"Hey, would you mind waking up at 0300 all sleepy and gummy-eyed and then trip over an end table, step on your cat's tail and get scratched on the way over to your rig to try and make a contact with some guy you have never even met halfway across the world so he can make an entry in a logbook that will likely never be seen by anyone else?"

Or this.
How about skinning out of work for a couple of hours and losing a day's pay to go home on the off chance you might make radio contact with some dope in Pennsylvania so he can then mail you for a QSL card?

It makes sense to use the propagation tables and figure out when the best time is to try. There is little use trying at times when all the bands are dead. One has to make hay when the sun shines. Hams have no say over when the propagation gods open the bands up.

Anyway, there are a couple of people out there I want to work and before I do I'm going to have to wait on propagation until I'm the one that is inconvenienced.

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Someone else wrote today's post for me.

This is a pretty damned good read and I highly recommend it.

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

One of the things I can't seem to figure out

 is why people keep trying to deny the rights of the opposing party.

I suppose the classic example of this would be the New Black Panther party versus the Klan. They hate each other and spend their time trying to take away each other's rights.

What they are too pigheaded to realize is they're both setting themselves up to lose their rights. If government can stifle one, it can stifle both.

The founding fathers that begat this nation based on liberty were well aware that there would occasionally be trouble because of our basic freedoms.

They knew that Americans as a whole would likely be a heated pot and that it would sometimes boil and occasionaly boil over.

They figured that there would be occasional fights and riots. They figured that while the country could live through things of this nature it could not live very long as a free nation if the government interfered.

It's called liberty and to me it trumps butt-hurt.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

"This product is known by State of California to cause cancer."

So that leaves the remaining 49 states in the union a bunch of dumbasses, huh?

Idaho is putting the stuff in baby formula and people in Kansas use it as after-shave. Meanwhile, in Maine someone adds it to maple syrup and in Texas it is routinely added to feminine hygene products. I suppose this is because the women are tougher in Texas. They must have some pretty hard core mamas down there. 

But by God and all that is great, the Amazing All-Knowing State of California just KNOWS that the stuff causes cancer.

What is it that makes California so damned smart?

Actually I think it's more likely that they're a bunch of idiots and have defined cancer causing substances to regulate behavior.

Then again,maybe the stuff ONLY causes cancer in California and is safe to use everywhere else.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Well, it looks like Cecil the Lion's killer won't face charges in ZImbabwe

Supposedly he had legal authority to hunt.

My guess is Mugabee got his palm greased but that's neither here nor there.

My guess now is that the professional hunter duped him into thinking it was a legal kill. It makes sense as PHs are paid for getting results and Palmer probably paid a pretty penny for his services.

Frankly, I have no problem with the way this has ended.

Of course, Walter Palmer has been tried, convicted and executed by the court of public opinion. His bleached bones are hanging for all to see.

Still, it appears to me that he was only guilty of being duped by a professional hunter. His permits seem to be all in order.

Right now a lot of hippies are crying their eyes out and that makes me smile. These are the same hippies that showed me how stupid they really are. 

I had someone photoshop my face on a picture of Steven Speilberg sitting in front of a prop from a Jurassic Park movie. The photoshopper also added an AR-15 variant in his hands.

It looked like I had just shot a triceratops, an animal that has been extinct for several million years.

The hippies took the bait and my Facebook page took a bunch of hits and I got comments of disapproval and a few threats. Of course the threats were proof positive that the person that made the threat was patently stupid. I think he forgot that the same rifle used to shoot a triceratops would likely work do defend one's self from such an activist.

I have always wondered what people would say if there was the stuffed head of an activist hippie hanging on my wall.

"Here's the hippie I took that tried to take me out after he thought I had shot a triceratops! Note the look of shock and outrage on his face! I carefully shot him in the chest to make sure the head wasn't damaged so I could mount it here." 

"Good shot, Pic!"

While I have no burning desire to go to Africa and shoot something, the fact still remains that hunting is probably the only reason the animals are not extinct.

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Monday, October 12, 2015

A couple of days ago I wrote about letting sleeping dogs lie.

In that particular case it made sense. That sleeping dog can lie there undisturbed.

There is another sleeping dog my instincts did tell me to roust and I am glad I did. 

I won't get into any details here to keep from embarrassing anyone but after being out of touch for thirty some odd years we are in touch again and it is a good thing.

She's raised a trio of sons and done well and she and her husband are retired and doing quite well.

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sewing the AVG blood chit on the inside of my jacket was a good idea

because I have some control over who sees it.

There is a pretty good sized Chinese population in my neck of the woods. I think one of the Chinese here think I'm a former AVG pilot or something.

This started when I had my pickup fixed. There is a Chinese restaurant next to the dealers and I wandered in for a snack while my truck was being worked on. When I sat I put my jacket on the back of my chair with the inside facing out. The waiter took one look at it and called the woman that runs it. 

She came over instantly and read it and then asked me if she could take a picture of it. Of course she could. Then I asked her for a translation and she pointed out the characters to me, one by one.

"I am an American airman. My plane is destroyed. I cannot speak your language. I am an enemy of the Japanese. Please give me food and take me to the nearest Allied military post.
You will be rewarded."

The above is the generally accepted translation but it's actually different. Chinese is a string of characters that leaves the reader to put together the story. It is a damned difficult language to learn and it appears to me that it's kind of clumsy and needs the reader to put the story together.

I've had this translated three times by three different Chinese around here. They all seem to agree on the meanings of the various characters on the blood chit. What they differ in slightly is the final translation but they all come up with the general idea.

The Chinese I have dealt with are all from the mainland and the first thing they saw is that the flag is of Taiwan. Today it is. But back between 1928 and 1949 it was the flag of the Republic of China.

It was before China became the present day People's Republic of China.

It takes a few minutes for a Chinese to figure out that this isn't a Taiwanese blood chit, but one worn by fliers in the mainland.

The reason a lot of guys sewed the blood chit on the inside of their jackets was threefold. First nobody wants to be running around the countryside with a big, red target on their back. It would have made too good of a point of hold for a Japanese rifleman. Secondly the flier wanted control of who he could show it to if he were in questionable territory. The third reason is that if he had the bottom and two sides sewn and left the top open he could use it as an inside pocket for escape maps and the like.

I sewed mine on this way to be able to carry frequency cards when I run my ham radio in the portable mode.

Yesterday I was visiting someone that lives in a town house and the neighbors are Chinese. I saw  a trio of older Chinese wandering around the grounds and showed them the blood chit.

They took the time to read it and a conversation in Chinese took place and one woman headed off toward the house. The other woman looked at me and said, "No English". Incidentally she did NOT say, "No Engrish." She pronounced her L correctly. 

Then I realized these were visitors of the Chinese resident and  spoke no English. A moment later the woman that left returned with the Chinese neighbor that lives there. She speaks damned good English.

Apparently the three older Chinese can't count very well because I guess they thought I was a Flying Tiger and hence some kind of hero. The resident woman laughed and told them I wasn't that old and that the chit had likely come from a relative of mine.

Actually it didn't come from a relative. However, as a kid I met one or the guys that flew in China with Chennault and later in the Pacific with the Air Corps. My dad later said he was probably a pre-war screw-up that was given an opportunity to redeem himself by flying for China. Many guys, including 'Pappy' Boyington were.

Anyway, I got invited for dinner by the resident. That's pretty unusual if you ask me. I did beg off by explaining that I was leaving town soon and had too much to do but maybe when I got back.

My chopstick skills are poor and it probably would have been embarrassing so it was for the best.

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Saturday, October 10, 2015

I think I'll let a sleeping dogs lie.

Back in my twenties I had a really whacked-out relationship with a woman that was in her early to mid-thirties. It was really a three ring circus of sorts. I look back on it and chuckle sometimes.

She must be about 70 now and for a while I have wondered how her life went after I broke it off with her and headed back to Alaska. Maybe reminding an old woman about a go nowhere relationship in her past isn't such a good idea.

I know it was a weird time in her life and it was a period in my life when I was still on the road. She had a kid and had returned to college in her thirties.  She was in an art program of some sort. Looking back on it, whe was headed to disappointment as even back then the way to go was STEM.

My guess is she graduated with a semi-meaningless degree and found lousy employment but I digress.

I was thinking of looking her up but have decided against it. 

Time changes things and you never can tell about the  way something or someone is looked back upon. When the relationship started she knew it wasn't going to last. I came into her life when I was on the road and literally kept my sleeping bag rolled up behind her couch.

When we split I headed south to work construction and then headed north to Alaska again. 

My gut tells me she would not really like to look back on that period of time for some reason or another.

I think I'll let this sleeping dog lie.

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Friday, October 9, 2015

This was forwarded to me in my email I feel it belongs here.

Why the Gun is Civilization.
By Marko Kloos

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that’s it.
In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.
When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force. The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gangbanger, and a single gay guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.
There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we’d be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger’s potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat–it has no validity when most of a mugger’s potential marks are armed. People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that’s the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.
Then there’s the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser. People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don’t constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level. The gun is the only weapon that’s as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weightlifter. It simply wouldn’t work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn’t both lethal and easily employable.
When I carry a gun, I don’t do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I’m looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don’t carry it because I’m afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn’t limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation … and that’s why carrying a gun is a civilized act.

Original material on JPFO is copyright, and so it cannot be used or plagiarized as the work of another. JPFO does however encourage article reproduction and sharing, providing full attribution is given and a link back to the original page on JPFO is included.

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

The cat is still there being a pest

which is what cats do.

Mine does a pretty good job of it which is fine. It's good seeing an animal doing their job.

The other day I saw a husky pulling a wagon and the animal loved it. Huskies are bred to do this and love to. 

Enter the dip $hit do-gooders and PETA types. 

I asked the owners, a young couple, about this and they reported to me that letting the animal pull the wagon draws comments from the do-good set every so often. They think it's cruel and have chastised the owners a couple of times.

Typical of the do-good set. Most of which don't have a clue. Many are so dumb that they really believed Tokie was a real seeing-eye cat.

For those that don't know, I had a cat that would walk with me on a leash. I'd take him anywhere simply by putting on sunglasses and carrying a white cane.

The same fools that likely give the owner of the husky a bad time for letting it pull a cart were likely the same dummies that really believed Tokie was a guide animal.

This country would be better off if people tried to learn a few things first before they went charging out there trying to change the world.

As for the cat being a pest?

He's just doing his job.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

To anyone interested.

I did a before and after weigh-in before and after my colonoscopy prep.

I dropped over 8 pounds in a couple of hours.

That's the weight of a gallon of water!

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Back from the horse pistol

after a colonoscopy.

Amazing how smooth it ran. I walked out one hour and forty minutes after I arrived.

What a great team they have there!

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Busy this morning

Have a medical procedure.

Might get back to this later.

Pic, out.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Another day another post.

Facebook is getting awfully nosy.

They're starting to ask people what their relationship with each other is. It's none of their business. 

Unfortunately they ask and give you boxes to check. It's too bad they don't give you a blank to fill in instead. That way I could give them smart answers. 

I'd tell them my 83 year old aunt is a whore I am pimping for or that my nephew is my cocaine connection. The possibilities would be endless!

The coworker now becomes your partner in a recent bank robbery. The guy that you went to high school could become someone you blew up an ROTC building with in the 70s. After a couple of things like that you could save $50 a month bu not having to subscribe to ADT for burglar alarms. After all, the cops would be watching your house like a hawk.

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Do you have room in your trash for another black trash bag?

Yeah, I own a pair of black combat boots. Why do you ask? Just bring it over.

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen is the kind of neighborhood I live in.

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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Boil water. Just boil water.Lots and lots of it.

I may have posted this story before. I believe I did, at least part of it.

Still, back in '62 or '63 a couple months before my baby sister was born, Dad and I were sitting in front of the old Black and White TV set watching a movie. It was a western, a real oater complete with every cliche in the book. INCLUDING 'Head 'em off at the pass".

Ma was in the bed heavy with child and watching it, too. Truth is she was waatching Dad and I watch the movie. It was a pre-WW2 oater and I believe Dad had seen it when it first came out. We had both seen it a couple of time before now that I think of it. 

We were really getting into it even though it was pretty damned hokey. We were bouncing like we were riding horses and had our fingers out like six-guns. Dad taught me that fun can be made if it's in you.

Anyway, there was the typical western pregnant woman scene where the rancher's wife was giving birth while they were waiting for the Indians to attack again.

One of the women folk had told the expectant father to boil water as per SOP in old oaters.

I asked Dad why they always make the guy boil water.

"To get him the hell out of the way so he doesn't make a pain in the ass out of himself," chuckled Dad. "Which reminds me..."

"What?" asked Mom.

"Nothing," replied Dad. He winked at me whe he said it.

A couple days later I caught Dad sneaking a small hot plate and a big pot into the cavernous spare tire space in the old Dodge station wagon we had at the time. He grinned at me.

"Don't tell your mother," he admonished. "The expectant father's waiting room a pain in the ass. It is always full of expectant fathers pacing the floor chain smoking and bugging the living dog snot out of the people behind the desk. I figure I'll just boil water like I'm probably supposed to. I've already been through this four times."

That's what Dad did when he got Mom situated in the delivery room. He ran out to the car, grabbed the hot plate and pot and got someone from behind the desk to fill it. He moved an end table over, plugged the hot plate in and put the pot on and just sat there reading a magazine and checking the progress of the boiling water.

When the woman behind the desk announced that Dad was father to a baby girl he unplugged the hot plate and went in to see Mom. On the way out he recovered the hot plate and put it back in the car.

The people behind the desk were greatly amused. They thought it was pretty funny. "Just like in the movies," said one of the women.

I think I am the only one he ever told that to and now it would be a nice thing to tell my kid sister. That's why I wrote this.

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Saturday, October 3, 2015

The last 5 of the 200 countries I was after


Marshall Islands


North Cook Island


I bagged Niue both on voice and CW. It's a major DXpedition

The Marshalls I bagged on CW via a nice Japanese lady that was there on some sort of vacation. It was a mess but we connected.

A man in Angola has me in his log and vice versa following a real CW melee on the 17 meter band. The pileup was a real mess of dits and dahs as everyone was walking all over everyone else.  WHen the smoke cleared I emailed him and he had gotten my call sign straight so we're in each other's logs properly.

The North Cook Island contact was an anti-climax on 17 meters. It was a voice contact and basically I sniped him. I saw him on the on-line clusters, tuned to his frequency heard him in a whisper and then ran a propagation prediction and saw he was on the upswing. I waited and did a few things in the basement.

Sure enough when I came upstairs he was strong enough to work and the pileup was very small. I just sat down in front of the rig, threw out my call sign once and he answered it. We swapped calls and signal reports and that was that.

Fiji was a case of being a scheduled QSO. I heard him one night on CW and tried to no avail. I did make out his call and then I emailed him and asked him he he'd do a Sked. (Scheduled meeting on the air) He was willing and for the next two mornings we tried chasing each other until I finally made it into his logbook.

I do believe that all of these will QSL me. Niue will be the last one to send me a card as it is a major DXpedition and things take time.

The Fijian told me that mail theft is rampant and to make the card look as unhamlike as possible. I put my card in a lovely powder blue envelope and put a big, red lipstick kiss on it. It SHOULD get to him.

When these cards arrive I'm going to play hell organizing them. I have to get an ARRL printout to see which ones I have used for my DXCC and which ones are my second hundred.

There is no separate award for this. It's been a personal project.

Pro tip: Lighter fluid on a Kleenix takes lipstick off one's lips nicely. If you're careful you don't taste too much of it.

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Friday, October 2, 2015

I almost got kicked out of Lowe's yesterday.

I had a few items I was taking up to the register and the assistant manager tried to divert me into the self-service checkout which I hate.

It really doesn't work all the time and I often get screwed up with an item with a smudged bar code or other glitch. A human generally does it quicker and easier when you hit the usual snag.

Anyway, I told the manager I'd wait because the self-checkout sucked. He scowled. Then said he was just trying to save me time.

That's when I went in for the kill. I went straight into my 'Jerry Mathers as the Beaver' mode. I looked up at him with the look of a young naive boy that was totally incapable of any guile.

"Gee, Mister! If that poor old woman loses her job she might hafta become a prostitute or something!" I said.

He turned purple as the people nearby started laughing out loud. The older woman behind the register looked up sharply  like she had been insulted. Suddenly she understood the context of what I had said and started laughing herself silly.

She looked over to me with mischief, laughter and with clear, sparkling eyes.

"Hey, Sweetie! Ya lookin' for a good time?" she asked.

Now everyone busted up except for the assistant manager who stormed off with smoke coming out of his ears.

What a great way to start a day!

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Thursday, October 1, 2015

As usual, the kid gets it and the mother flips out.

I got a call from a young man yesterday. He wanted to cash in a favor and needed a ride to make it someplace on time. Apparently his mother was running late.

Unfortunately I was miles away and likely wouldn't be there on time. However, I was inspired. "Where are you?" I asked.

He told me.

"That's about a block from the police station," I said. "Walk down to the police station. The woman behind the desk is Phyllis. Say hello to her for me."

"You mean  the police will give me a ride?" he asked.

"No, and don't ask them to." I replied. "Tell Phyllis I said 'hello'. I've known her for years. Then have her call you mother and ask her to pick you up at the police station. Tell Phyllis that when your mom asks what is going on to say 'Nothing too serious. He's not being charged with a major felony.'"

He later reported to me that his mother was there in less than ten minutes and he made his meeting.

It's a part of an old man's job to teach the young guys a few tricks here and there.

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