Tuesday, July 21, 2015

HALF-STAFF, HALF-ASSED

The governor of our great state assigned me to my first duty this morning.
Not directly of course but via email to all the state properties including the State park of which I was working security today. The first order of the day for security usually is to run "articles" back and forth to all the gates. Seeing how we have some 30 miles of incredibly beautiful roads on this the largest park in the state, it takes a good while to make 2 trips to all the gates.
It is of course a fantastic way to spend the first half of the day.

As I was leaving the park office, the property manager told me he got an email from the Governors office to have all the flags lowered to half-staff. It was in honor of our service members who were killed in Chattanooga as the latest victims of radical Islamic terrorism.
He walked out with me and he lowered the flag that was in front of the office building he works out of.
I told him I would be honored to lower the rest of the flags in the park.
I got in the DNR truck and headed down the hill.
My first stop was not a gate but a house reserved for the Governor and family when they visit this reverie from big city life.
This old, but well kept cabin has its own overlook. After I took my hat off and lowered the flag I stood back and took this picture.

As I coasted down the steep switchbacks heading to the first gate I contrasted in my mind an image of what Obama deemed worthy of honoring that had stuck in my crawl since the shooting. 
Obama finally gave in later this day and had the White House flag lowered after Mitch McConnell, my Governor and others shamed him by lowering the flags under their purview.
I continued making my rounds delivering "articles" and lowering flags around the park and I seemed to remember a flag that was at the Lodge so I headed that way.
There are many guests staying at the lodge this time of year and there was a group sitting on the "porch" within close proximity to the flag, laughing it up and enjoying a rare rain-free morning.
I again took my hat off and lowered the last flag in the park, I got back in the truck and drove around the lawn and looked back on the half-staff flag, but it just didn't look right to me.
It seemed way too low so I stopped the truck, took my hat off again and adjusted it to a level I thought my Governor and Property Manager would approve of.
I turned to leave when I heard someone from the aforementioned group holler out to me (we don't yell down here, we holler).
"Hey what's the flag being lowered for!?" He hollered.
 "The Governor ordered all the State properties to lower them to half-staff in honor of the murder victims in the Chattanooga terrorist attack", I hollered back.
"Ok, thanks," he hollered in return.
As I headed back I wondered how they would process this information.
I didn't have to wonder too long because in just a few steps away from the flag I heard their conversations return to the same care free manor complete with laughs and guffaws aplenty.
I turned back and looked while thinking I could understand this if it were a bunch of teens or even young adults. But these were people around my age, a bunch of old farts.
I wasn't expecting wailing and gnashing of teeth, or even the donning sackcloth and ashes.
But maybe a few minutes of conversation diversion to the tragedy in question.
Not that what they did was anything vulgar like going out and playing a round of golf just minutes after seeing an American beheaded by Islamafacists.
No, I just would have felt better if they would have shown just a few seconds of solemn attitude, just long enough for me to get back in the truck and head back up the hill.

Oh, the image that I had in my mind that Obama deemed more worthy than the lives sacrificed by our military......

Like they say, a pictures worth a thousand words.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

THE PARTY'S (almost) OVER

O

Sitting here in what has become a ghost town within a ghost village trying to figure out how the hell four months slipped through my fingers so fast.
Well, almost four months, in just two weeks I will be hitching my wagon and heading up north. Hopefully way after the other snowbirds have completed their great migration North as well as the spring breakers.
I've made that trip home before in the middle of spring break caravans, it's took all the worth of spending a week in Clearwater away. Can't even imagine trying to make that journey hauling my home behind me.
My time here has had mixed results, mostly on the plus side. 
The one negative aspect would be going from having the entire area where I park at my home park all to myself, to having many fellow volunteers all around me. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed making friends with most of my comrades, but I am not used to the drama created by one or two misfits who have a need to create angst where none exists.
I don't do drama and I don't have time to waste one minute of my life on those who do.

On the positive side:
This has been the shortest winter I have ever lived through.

Also, I have for the longest time had a great interest in South Florida's geology, geography and history.
Every since my 2nd marriage went to hell I have had a fantasy of having my bike down here, spending months and getting to know south Florida and the Keys.
Now sitting here in the Industrial Area of the park, the park visitor numbers have definitely slowed to a trickle giving me time to debrief myself on what I was able to do and see this season.
It's safe to say I have left a lot on the table for next year and years after that.
January and February's weather was not conducive for long road trips on the bike (sorry, I don't ride in shit weather anymore). And the half-day schedule for 80 hours a month make stringing more then a few consecutive days together a bit of a challenge.
In all, I've made the trip to the Keys 3 times, two of those being to Key West where a great time was had by all.
The last time was when I went to Key Largo alone for some camping and scuba diving and a great time was had by me.
All those ventures to the Keys was by truck, not by bike. Even the trip I did to Key Largo by myself, the hauling of a hundred pounds of scuba gear made the bike impossible.
I guess I could have got geared up in my scuba attire, tanks, BCD, weights, dive mask, fins and all and rode the bike. Wouldn't that have broke the internet with people snapping pictures, creating memes and such?

I have made some nice short 250 mile runs on the bike though. Maybe not as grand as riding across Seven Mile Bridge while tracing Standard Oil and Florida East Coast Railroad baron Henry Flagler's "overseas railroad to Key West".
But I did get to ride to Lake Okeechobee, Everglade City and many little hole in the wall places in between.

I do have one last 3 day break coming up next week and I've got one more road trip in mind.
I would like (weather permitting) to ride to Palm Beach and tour the home and museum of the oil and railroad tycoon, Henry Flagler. He and his FEC railroad are responsible for bringing the masses and development that changed Florida forever.


---------------

I've just finished the book The Last Train To Paradise, it was a non-fiction about Henry Flagler and his vision for developing Florida's east coast via his intrepid railroad building prowess.
Powered by Standard Oil profits he created a network of swamp crossing rail and developed most of Florida's east coast paradise, including but not limited to, Palm Beach and Miami.
Then he set his aging sights in his "overseas railroad" to link the Keys to the mainland all the way down to the most happening to town in all of Florida, Key West.
I've always stole glances at what remains of the hurricane cursed sections of the railroad bridges that run along side the "overseas highway" while driving to Key West.
Before there was a Seven Mile Bridge for cars, there was a Seven Mile railroad bridge.
Much of the Roman style viaduct arches and spans are still standing giving testament to the the men who toiled like ants rebuilding an anthill over and over as hurricanes came and killed many and threw lengths of rail into the sea like Pickup Sticks.
The hurricanes that seemed hellbent on destroying Flagler's Key West pipe dream during construction in the early 1920's seemed to have offered Flagler an uneasy truce after completion.
That is until 1935, the Labor Day weekend hurricane made the others look like pikers.
A rescue train from Miami was sent to rescue hundreds of men who were building the overseas highway.
The train arrived to the first group of people just in time to get them loaded only to have the railroad cars ripped off the track by a 30 foot tidal wave.
Didn't matter to the Engine 447, the rail bed was mostly gone anyway.
The only saving grace, Henry Flagler was no longer around to see it. He also was no longer around to save it and to pour countless more millions into a project that never really ran in the black.
Though the "overseas railroad" may have hauled thousands of paying paradise seeking passengers, it never did haul much of the bigger revenue generating freight that Flagler envisioned.

But even though the Overseas Railroad never paid anywhere near the Standard Oil dividends, having that link to the Keys and all of the east coast of Florida made much of what the Sunshine State is today and Henry Flagler is credited for the development of Florida, and rightly so.


-----------------


Now just two weeks out from the morning I will break camp and head to Indy I am beginning to feel that tug of homesickness. I miss my beautiful home park, my little hillbilly cracker house on the lake and Nashville Indiana itself. What a great little town I have adopted as my own.
But of course it goes without saying I miss my peeps the most.
Thank God and Steve Jobs for my Ipad and the FaceTime app, but seeing my grandson growing up without me on a tablet will just get you so far.
I miss all my family, well except for little sis, she and my buddy Bob her old man have been here just a 20 minute drive up the Tamiami Trail.
It's been lots of fun hanging out with them, not to mention all the free great meals I copped and free laundry service!

The friends I have had the most contact with since last May are my coworkers of the DNR persuasion.
Things will be different there with the loss of a friend who was a DNR employee. I got that message while on a road trip to Okeechobee.
He was a really good dude, he dropped dead of a heart attack in the shop, we were the same age.
It will be sad to not see Shawn any more but will be great working with my DNR pals again.
I feel really appreciated there and I'm proud of the work I've done for the park.
Nashville seems to be as much my hometown now as any place I've took up residence in my closing in on 60 years.
Left Loogootee as an infant, lived inner city Indy for the first 6 or 7 years, moved to the Greenwood area for my Wonder Years, got married and moved to my folks back yard. Got divorced..... Got married again and moved to Martinsville. Got divorced and moved back to Greenwood, then to Camby. Got married and moved to Indy, got divorced and moved to Grenwood again. Got a home in wheels and moved to Nashville. I guess my home still is in Nashville even though me and my home on wheels are here in SW Florida.
All the above locations save Florida are in my home state.
So I guess my one true home would have to be the entire state of Indiana.
Just not in the wintertime anymore.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

FALLING IN LOVE AGAIN JUST LIKE BOGEY AND BECALL


Tomorrow I will head down to Key Largo in hopes of falling in love again.
I can't think of a better place to do that.
There is an old hit song of the same name and I still like hearing it on the radio.
"We had it all, just like Bogey and Becall, starring in our own late late show, sailing away to Key Largo.........here's looking at you kid".

I'm will be down in the Keys trying to rekindle the lost love that first turned my head back in 91'
That song will no doubt be playing on a loop in my brain all the way down there.
Don't worry this love will never cheat on me or have a divorce lawyer try and bushwhack me.

I'm going to John Pennekamp State Park for 3 days of camping and scuba diving.
I first fell I love with diving many years ago in Cancun.
I had never done it before so I did a resort course and after some pool instruction I got aboard a dive boat and with the aid of a dive master as my dive buddy I did my first dive on the reef off the coast.
It was love at first breath under water. When I got back to the states I looked into getting my C-card and the following year I got certified.
I used to do a lot of diving and have logged some pretty cool dives.
Then the world turned to shit, well my world anyway. Some wrecks, some operations, some heart problems, some divorces took the wind out of my sails and the air out of my tanks.

Slowly I have been trying to get back into the sport that gave me just a hint of what being weightless in space might be like. After all that is how they train astronauts to do space walks.
I still have all the gear, in fact I have some new gear, some of my old stuff was too worn out to be safe.
I have done some dives in the past couple years. Not very many and not with the same excitement and thrill I used to have for this sport.
Mostly I have not gotten real comfortable yet under water.
This is a sport you need to keep your skills up to enjoy it, after all it is a sport that will kill you if you do it wrong.

We were in Key West in January and I did a couple shore dives off the beach at Fort Zachary. 
Last year I did a couple shore dives in Pensacola.
Not much to brag about just getting my fins wet.
Nothing like doing the Devils Throat 135' deep off Cozumel or wreck dives in the gulf.
I will need to work up to that again.
But mostly I just need to fall in love again with this amazing sport.
Right now I'm just in like.

I hope after these next few days I will be rewarded with Bogey telling me "here's looking at you kid".
I know, wrong movie....... But same cool guy.

 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

TIPPING POINT

Nixon sure had one. It came after only one scandle. The most open and honest administration in history has had more scandles than... (insert your favorite simile here).
In an effort to avoid redundancy I won't list them all again as I have in previous posts. Just to simply, jot down any 3 letter government acronym of all the US agencies that Obama has his hooks in and you will have the list. Better yet, use a spreadsheet.
This latest scandle with the Hillster and her devious email server should be added to the list. So far the leftist propaganda machine has reluctantly ceded that Hillary may be guilty of a slip of judgment. As of yet the media has failed to hold Obama's feet to the fire on this scandle or any other of his illegal acts.
Hillary is holding a presser this afternoon to try and get her media buddies to lighten up and help her fool the public to believe her nest of lies.
It will be interesting to see if you the media take the bait and fall in line. Or will the heir apparent to the throne finally find herself on the other side of the tipping point. 


Thursday, February 26, 2015

TO CATCH A PREDATOR, OR THE 50 YEAR GRUDGE

Dateline NBC used to be worth watching when they ran this gotcha series on perverts trying to meet and molest children online.
Working with the online watchdog group, Perverted Justice and local law enforcement, young adults posed online as 15, 14, 13 and younger waiting for trolling creeps to make contact with them for the purpose of meeting them online and later in the real world to do God knows what.
The series was riveting and very successful at catching these creeps and getting them off the streets. One of these freaks of nature was actually caught twice on this show, recidivism at its finest.
The series went on for months, until a deputy prosecutor was caught up in the sting.
He was on his way to meet up with a supposed 13 year old boy and got spooked and drove by the supposed meeting place.
Since the crime of solicitation of a minor online had already been committed, a few days later local law enforcement showed up at his house with Dateline NBC in tow to execute a warrant.
The perv took the cowards way out and shot himself when he saw the jig was up.
Comes now the pervs family, they wanted to get paid because their freak son and brother killed himself because he got caught.
NBC paid them off for having a freak for a son and brother and NBC discontinued the To Catch A Predator series.

I will relate a To Catch A Predator episode that did not make the NBC show because NBC was not doing that series when this happened.
The crime took place in a quiet neighborhood in Anytown America.
A boy about 7 years old was at a neighbors house just goofing around, most of the kids there were older than the boy. He hadn't been in the area that long, maybe a year or so.
One of the kids who was at that house, a kid that lived maybe 3/4 of a mile away and was maybe about 12 approached the 7 year old.
He offered to show the little boy a robins nest if he would do something for him.
The boy went with him and after he saw the nest the older boy took him down to the creek,(or crick as we called it) behind the house. The little boy was confused but naive so followed.
When they were isolated the 12 year old turned aggressive and grabbed the boy by his shorts and said he wanted to see if he was a boy or a girl meaning he was going to pull the boys shorts off.
The boy tried to pull away and began crying.

The older boy, when he saw this was not going his way rethought his disgusting plan.
He decided to stop but now he needed to cover his tracks, he did not want the boy to tell.
The little boy pulled away and started back up the trail that led to the house, his bike was there and he needed a fast getaway. The older boy followed and kept repeating the same two threats if the boy told anyone. "Don't tell anybody or I'll kill you! Don't tell anybody or I'll hit you!"
He got on his bike and while the little boy petaled across the bridge towards his house just across the creek the older boy followed on his bike and kept repeating the same two threats.
Across the bridge and into the boys yard he spotted his mother, the distress in her sons face brought her full attention. Through sobs the little boy could only tell the mother the the older kids on the bike following him was going to kill him.
This was no soccer mom, this was a souped up wildcat, she lit after the older boy who did an abrupt u-turn and bid a hasty retreat.

When the boy had collected himself he related the whole story. The mother got out the phone book and looked up the kids last name and reamed out the kids grandmother before she was told they were not the parents. The mom related later that the grandmother did not seem too surprised. The parents were notified but that's where it ended.

The house where this event began was where the older kids creepy girlfriend lived.
The creepy girlfriend started a smear campaign saying he little boy had made it all up, even though the little boy was too young to even know what a homosexual or molester was.
Nothing came of it and the dust settled after a time.
That was over 50 years ago.
And that little boy was me.
I have a hard time remembering the events of yesterday, but the details of that day over a half a century ago never dimmed.
I still think about how many little boys or girls in that situation are not just threatened with death, it is carried out.
I grew up in "the valley" never seeing that boy again and was glad of it. I heard he eventually married the creepy girlfriend who was more like a boy herself than a girl.
Come with me to now to present day.
I don't often dwell on ancient memories from the past, but when I do it's for a good reason.

If you have read this forgettable blog of mine, you know that I am spending the winter living in my camper while volunteering in exchange for a free campsite in southwest Florida.
I've been here 2 months now and having the best winter of my life.
There are many volunteers working and living here as well as paid rangers at this State park.
There are many group activities and one night a week is Game Night in the rec hall.
I came in late but decided to stop in and say hi.
There were the usual suspects but one unfamiliar face at the table.
I said my hi's and one of the guys I work with called me over to make introduction with the unfamiliar face. 
"Mark this is a retired Ranger John Highland", (some names have been changed to protect the perverted).
"John this is Mark........ Sorry your last name escapes me right now Mark", (a common malady around here).
We were already shaking hands when I realized who this was.
.
I looked at John or Johnny as I remember him being called in the old neighborhood and announced my full name while looking him in the eyes.
I looked for any sign of recognition in his eyes, none were noted.
Not surprising given the 5 decades and 1100 miles since our last encounter. His name may even have slipped by me if my cousin working here hadn't mentioned a former ranger who grew up in my neighborhood and told me his name.


I didn't see any reaction in his face when I told him my name, but if he would have looked in my eyes he would have seen something.
He would have seen shock in my eyes at first, then he would have seen controlled rage. He would have seen a grown ass man whose was spinning thoughts in his head about how the tide has turned, how I could lure him to my "crick" and though I'm pushing 60 I still have enough strength in my body to snap him in half, cut him into little pieces and feed him to the local population of alligators.

I stood behind him and studied about it for just a bit. The 20 year old me would have waited outside the building for him to come out and do something less than murder, but a hell of a lot more than what the 60 year old me did.
In the end I walked into my camper and washed my hands, washed them real good.


Epilogue:
I heard many years ago that the perv and the creepy girlfriend who was more like a boy than a girl had gotten divorced after having some kids. I often wondered if maybe he had grown up to be a child molester and maybe did something to his own kids and wondered if that had caused the divorce.
I just found out today that John Highland had come out of the closet and was now living in the Keys as a gay man.
Can't say I'm too surprised.

Monday, February 9, 2015

LEGEND IN HIS OWN MIND


I can't remember what happened yesterday, but I think if I had ever been in a helicopter that had been hit by RPG fire it would be burned into my memory for the rest of my life.
I have known 3 men who lived and survived that experience in Vietnam.
One vet recounted his experience of being shot down at night, crash landing and dodging tracers to make it to a rescue chopper.
Another vet was a door gunner that served 3 tours and was shot down 3 times. Another vet and fellow blogger and friend Pitchpull, probably has memories that would make my hair stand on end, if I had any hair.
 
Trauma does have a tendency to imprint much detail into ones mind.
I have one incident from my early childhood that was a near death experience that was forever imprinted in my feeble mind.
This occurred in the 50's when we lived on Rural Street before it was a no-go-zone for white people.
I was maybe 4 or 5 and was innocently innocently walking next to Rural Street balancing my young tender body on the curb testing my balance against the speeding Edsels and Desotas 
I looked up to see my towering father making a beeline towards me. Towering, all 5'8" of him. I started to greet him with a "hi daddyeeeeeeeeeee!"
Ass meet belt, belt meet ass.
I learned my lesson about playing in or in close proximity to traffic that day. If I didn't fear the oncoming traffic but I sure as hell feared dad's belt.
Now the fog of war, or the fog of 55 years has not changed that memory one bit. I could not conflate that experience with the multitude of ass whippings I got during the rest of my childhood. It's possible to forget major instances that occur in our lives but to say you misremembered a near death event that never happened to you is not, unless you are psychotic.

Brian Williams is certainly not the first anchor or journalist to make stuff up or "misremember".
In fact MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR, PBS and most of the print news wouldn't have anything to talk about if the didn't make stuff up.
They are the propaganda arm of the left and they have to lie to make things like the debacle-in-chief not look like a complete ass.
The left claim that Fox News is the propaganda arm of the Right.
But that's just because news that is presented in a balanced form and not filtered through the prejudices or ulterior motives of leftists so it looks so foreign to them and does not serve their purpose.
In closing I do think Williams should give up the anchor gig but I don't think he should be drummed out of the business.
I still believe there is a place for him that would be very suited to his particular talent.
I hear they have an opening over at Onion News, can't think of a better match.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

"PEACE BE UPON YOU" THE GOD OF THIS WORLD

If you read my last post you know I am spending the winter at the Koreshan State Historic Site here in Estero Florida.

It is the site of the now defunct attempt to create a Utopia, a New Jerusalem based on the teachings of self proclaimed Messiah Dr. Cyrus Teed in the late 1800 hundreds.
To be a good Messiah though you need to be able to live forever or in lieu of that, be able to rise from the dead.
Dr. Teed did neither.

When I became a Christian many decades ago,  (I know, I'm not the best example of one these days), I developed an interest in the study of other religions and cults. I just wanted to know more about what others believe and why.
I have come to feel that in most cases one mans religion is another mans cult.
If a cult gains enough believers, takes root, spreads and hangs around long enough it pretty much gains acceptance and if it becomes large enough will be referred BY SOME as one of the Worlds Great Religions.

I know what I believe and I know why I believe it. I don't disparage others who have chosen a different path as long as that path doesn't tread on me or other innocent victims whose beliefs differ.
The cult of Islam was invented in the seventh century by a man who would marry and sexually assault a six year old child and begin a reign of murder and terror that continues today.
I felt the need to vent about the cult of Mohammed after what I witnessed today.
I never wanted to see these barbaric acts of fundamentalist Islamics, I never watched these Ninja wanna be pigs when they cowardly behead some innocent victim.
I just didn't want that image in my mind or my soul.
Today after much internal debate I watched the horrific murder of the Jordanian pilot. He was burned alive by ISIS.
It was indescribable and it has darkened my soul and fueled my rage just by watching it. It was just a walk in the park for these monsters, after all they have no problem burying men women and children alive, beheading, crucifying or raping children. These Islamics are worse than the Nazis and like the Nazis have given up the right to he considered human beings. Chris Kyle called them savages, I'm not sure I want to insult savages by calling Islamic radicals that. 


Mohammed's followers call him a prophet of god but they worship Mohammed as a god and will not even allow drawings to be made of him under the threat of death.
But you can name your damn kid after him, just not a stuffed teddy bear. That mistake almost got a teacher in the Mideast executed.
They are compelled to murder anyone who even respectfully attempts to replicate an image of the barbarian Mohammed.
These worshipers of Mohammed are themselves guilty of the mortal sin of idolatry.

Defenders of this cult love to try and attempt to deflect the guilt of these terrorists by dredging up the past and citing things like the Crusades or the Inquisition.
Like if God grades on a curve this will have some relevance.

To say I have complete contempt for this cult is the ultimate of understatement.
Of all the "Great World Religions", of all the cults large and small, new and old, in the parlance of the Star Trek junkies, Islam is the Klingon of religions. They are compelled to slaughter anyone who does not fall down before Baal and worship their false god. Their god does entertain the concept of free will. What kind of a god would accept worship gained at the barrel of a gun or the glint of a knife blade?
It is clear that the fundamentalist Islamics worship the god of this world.

Liberals love to argue that Christians are guilty of the same atrocities in the past.
They are referring to medieval minds hundreds of years ago, who were not acting on New Testament teachings or following the example of Christ.
As if to add to my point, just now I read that Obama during the National Prayer Breakfast said Christians were as guilty as ISIS for things done during The Dark Ages. 
Me thinks Obama is living in the dark ages with his head up his own ass.
Islamic fundamentalists are following commands of their Quran and are emulating the actions of their so-called Prophet.
Islamics will point to writings in the Quran that talk of peace, when they attempt to persuade the public that they are the religion of peace. They gloss over the multitudes of the Quran's scriptures that calls for murder, rape and enslavement of infidels, which is anyone who won't bow down to their false god.
Obama and his band of terrorist apologists want you to believe Islam is all rainbows and Unicorn farts.
I have to just shake my head and laugh every time I see those Coexist bumper stickers.

I wish I would have been the one who thought up this response to that stupid bumper sticker, this is genius!

I would add a pithy comment here but I just can't out-pithy the above.




"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
                                             II Corinthians 4:4 KJV