Monday, December 22, 2014


Hope and change was mantra fed to low information voters. It became their Allah Akbar exclamation. To be sure, Obama has brought about change in this country. 
"The most honest and open Administration in history"?
Do I need to list all the corrupted governmental agencies?
Do I need to list all the scandals?

Remember Obama was going to make the word "racism" obsolete?
I have not seen racial division this ugly since the 60's.

Obama and his race-baiting minions have been stoking the fire and oiling up the machinery for 6 years now to great effect.
Obama's street minions are burning down the cities for supposed retaliation for the deaths of thugs. 
They are also cheering the cowardly murder of two NYPD cops.
Obama and his Cabinet of race-baiters are trying to wipe the blood off their hands and condemning the cop killings, "wink wink".

Monday, December 15, 2014


Sitting in my spacious living room alternating my focus between the TV and the front end of my motorcycle that looks like it's getting ready to mow me down while I sit in my camper recliner sipping my morning coffee.

Last week I popped open the rear cargo door and drove my bike into my house, literally. I have been getting ready for my migration south in stages. Since this is the maiden voyage of my Grey Wolf to the Sunshine State there have been many things to work out as far as logistics. The big question was how would having a two wheeled roommate work out.
So far no complaints from either one of us. Since I haven't been using the rear space where my Honda Shadow now lives for a week or so I don't really miss that living space.

I already have winterized the my little shack/cabin at the lake and now that the bike is secured to the tie downs my next project will be the disassembly of my makeshift insulated skirting under the waterworks of my camper. Then a week before my departure I will unhook sewer and water and power and take this rig on a shakedown cruise. 
I have installed backup cameras on the rear of the truck, inside the camper and on the rear of the camper. I have and AV switch box by the drivers seat to switch views hooked to a small TV monitor. Sound anal enough?
I really needed he backup camera on the truck. Going from my small SUV to this behemoth I drive now makes me feel like I'm going to run over somebody every time I put it in reverse.
I wanted the camera on the back of the camper for obvious reasons.
I wanted the camera inside the camper in case the bike falls over or attempts to drive through my kitchen and ends up in my bedroom.
I have my route all planned out with rest stops located when the need to pull over and crawl into my camper for some shut eye.

I only have 2.5 days left of work here at the park next week. I have enough good time and good will built up so I can take off work my last week here.
I will surely miss this place and the people who I work with, by all indications they will miss me as well. God willing I will return to my spot here among the 15,000 acres next April.
My seven months here have flown by, I have been everything from weed killer, grass cutter, park security, trash picker upper, heavy equipment operator, mechanic, roofer, carpenter, 
HVAC&R technician, inmate guard and even horse-shit hauler.

One project I started 4 & 1/2 months ago I was able to finish just this Wednesday.
The project was siding a solar wood kiln that has been sitting here unsided since it was built a few years ago. I used native lumber that was harvested here at the park from fallen or sick trees. They have their own portable sawmill here so rough sawn lumber is plentiful.

I could have done this project in 4 & 1/2 days but starting projects and getting pulled off to begin another before you can complete the other job is commonplace here. It is something I have had to get used to around here. Due to lack of funds and lack of personnel, crisis management reigns supreme here.
This park is not mismanaged, it is woefully underfunded and it will only be worse next year.
At the risk of straining my arm trying to pat myself on the back I am glad I was able to help get some things done here that may have been put on the back burner for yet another year. 

There were however many projects started that never got completed but I will be back in the spring and I have been assured my spot will be here waiting on me, the big boss has even jokingly threatened to flatten the tires on my camper to prevent my winter escape.

Early this year when I formulated my plan to insinuate myself in this amazing refuge took much effort and persistence on my part to meet the right people and convince them that this idea of mine would be mutually beneficial. I have made believers of them all. On Christmas morning I will hitch my wagon to 320 horses, head 1100 miles south and attempt to prove my worth all over again.

I pray that I am up to the task.
Wish me luck!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 28, 2014


The Constitution rolled around a cardboard tube hanging in the Oval Office restroom has taken a media hiatus the last week. Some say it was by design. I'm still pissed about it.
Watching the animals shitting in their own mess kit under the lit SEASONS GREETINGS display in Ferguson had me cursing at my TV until the wee hours that night. Watching the carnage and hearing the gunfire, I kept flashing back to The Divider-In-Chief during his news conference doing his best to fill the Molotov Cocktail bottles and fan the flames.

His Coup-de-gras was the line, "and that's understandable".
He said that in reference to his statement about the decision of the Grand Jury will make some people angry. By saying "that's understandable", he was telling the rioters and looters and anarchists, that he was of like mind with them. He was saying it was understandable to be prejudice and ignore the facts, ignore the evidence and especially ignore the law!
It's more than likely that Obama through Valerie Jarred pressured the Governor of Missouri not to offend the rioters and looters and anarchists, by deploying the National Guard. Well the rioters and looters and anarchists, not only were not offended by the no-show of the National Guard, they took full advantage of the show of weakness and had their way with the town of Ferguson.

I naively believed I could off-vent my pissiness about Obama, Black Privilege, Al Charlatan, and people who don't use their turn signals in one post. Not gonna happen. While draining my pen of bitter ink, I was also channel surfing as I am want to do, when I came upon this gem of a movie and intrigued by the title I hit the Info button.

White privilege not withstanding, I feel like kicking the living shit out of someone right now.
And that's understandable.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Earlier today I was working in the shop and heard on the radio that the Grand Jury in the Michael Brown case had reached a decision. I kept listening to hear what that decision was.
No answer to that question came. Then later I heard they would be announcing that decision at 8:00 PM Central Time or 9:00 PM for us a little east of there.
9:00 O'clock? Why the hell wait until 9? I knew what would happen no matter what the decision was. It's like some cities during an NBA Game Seven, whether the home team wins or loses there's gonna be a damn riot complete with arson and looting.
Now why give these Ferguson rioters the cover of darkness?
As I listened to the Prosecutor layout the details of the process and give a lengthy synopsis of the evidence the delay in revealing the decision became evident. It took that long to try and come up with a way to explain the facts of the case and try and reason with the unreasonable.

The Prosecutor I thought was very diligent and understandable in his explanation of how this Grand Jury came to the conclusion that the only crime that was committed here was committed not by the officer but by the so-called "Gentle Giant".
I was able to understand what the Prosecutor was saying but clearly giving some of the questions posed by some of the reporters in the briefing most of those reporter were lacking in intelligence or objectivity to understand the THE FACTS.
To some, THE NARRATIVE is what matters, THE FACTS are just pesky little inconveniences that one needs to navigate around or just shout down, right Al Sharpton of Tawana Brawley fame?
The movie I referenced in the title, The Bonfire Of The Vanities, addresses the Al Shaprtons,  Eric Holders and Barrack Obamas of the world beautifully. 
In the coming days we will see Obama and Eric Holder show there lack of objectivity and do there damnedest to make a federal case out of this, literally.
I can see Holder ending his sham of a career leading the charge for a Violation of Civil Rights charge against the officer whose life has been horribly altered due to the stupidity of the drugged up Gentle Giant who committed a strong arm robbery, assaulted and attempted to disarm a cop.

Seasons Greetings, the holiday display hanging above the heads of a pack of lunatics seems to be a bit of dark comedic relief.

The same Seasons Greetings display seen from the back side in reverse seems to be irony at its finest.

Friday, November 21, 2014


As the Allied armies boots echoed in Hitler's ears he ordered his Minister of Armaments and War Production to commit an atrocity against his own people, it was known as the Nero Decree.
It would be his last hissy fit, he wanted to deny the advancing Allied Army any resource possible, but mostly he just wanted to punish his own people for failing him and Germany.
Albert Speer deliberately failed to execute Hitler's order and by the time Hitler found out it was too late and der Fuehrer took the cowards way out.
Hitler certainly did not invent Scorch Earth, it has been around even before Nero Caesar supposedly fiddled while Rome burned.
But it almost always has been used as a last ditch effort to weaken an advancing army in the hopes they can later be repelled in a counter attack. Joseph Stalin used it to great effect against the advancing German army as the Germans were Goose-stepping there way towards Moscow.
It's hard to fathom a leader of a country tearing apart his own nation. How do you understand or explain it? Is it madness, ego, or just plain evil personified? Maybe some combination of those three?
Now calling someone a Nazi or labeling them a Hitler usually is the lame tactic used by the leftists to attack a conservative trying to hold on to some tiny bit of sanity in this country.
So I'm not trying to draw some comparison between what Nero or Hitler did to their own people to what Obama has done and is doing to his own people.
But, a man who grew up surrounded and indoctrinated by radical leftists, Alinsky disciples, communists, socialists, domestic terrorists, Obama is fulfilling a life long fantasy of giving America its comeuppance as the left sees it.
What else would explain implementing policies that will weaken and do irreparable harm to America?
I'm not just referring to this latest shitting on the Constitution, it has been a pattern of divisive governing, irresponsible politicking and abuse of power. It is not just incompetence, it is purposeful, it is intentional, it is malicious, it is malevolent.

You may wonder why would anyone "shit in his own mess kit?". 
Rest assured Obama and his band of misfits will be insulated from mess they make. Just like the pigs in Orwell's Animal Farm. 
"All animals are equal, but some more equal that others".

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


It's like someone flipped a big people switch up here on the top of the hill today. We went from bumper to bumper traffic and campers to a virtual ghost park in a matter of days.
The leaves have lost their luster and have been stripped from the mighty trees by brittle twigs and gusty winds that sometimes have we waking mid-slumber, reaching for my 2nd Amendments and circling the camper in search for Bigfoot or any other maniacal intruder that body slammed my castle on wheels.
Today is Election Day, it is also a paid holiday for my coworkers. As a result the parking lot was empty save two vehicles as I left my camper for the 30 foot commute to the shop.
I was to work with "The Plumbtrician" today winterizing most of the park.
The park will remain open all winter, believe it or not there are some hearty campers out there who do not eschew the cold temps and deep snow. They will have to travel farther to use the only camp shower and restroom that will stay open all winter. All others exept the pit toilets are being shutdown.
The outside hose bibs and fountains are also being shutdown.
I too am in the process of winterizing my camper, just enough to keep it safe from damage long enough for me the get the hell out of Dodge next month.

But that project can wait, at least for one night. Tonight is election night and I will be doing what I usually do on election night. I like sitting back with an adult beverage or three and watch the returns come in. I actually enjoy the whole process of counting and calculating and polling and punditry.
This election cycle might even bring some measure of hope and change, the good kind.
Will a Republican takeover of both Houses of Congress bring utopia to our land? Not hardly, I'm not that naive. We will still be hampered with Boehner
as Majority leader in the House and will have the same problem with McConnell as Senate Majority leader.
Don't get me wrong, we will be a damn sight better off with a Republican led Congress and Senate, but we could really get the Nation back on the rails it both Houses were being led by politicians with some big brass balls.
We will see, the soothsayers have been encouraging for the most part, but it don't want to jinx it.

Well some of the polls are beginning to close and I need a drink.

Friday, October 31, 2014


I suppose it was just a matter of time.
They say the disease originated in Chicago. No one knows what triggered the mutation that made the virus jump from a local problem to full on pandemic zombie voting apocalypse.

It was about 5 years ago when I saw the first sign of attempted zombie voting in my area. I was living in Indianapolis 4 hours south of Chicago when a voter registration card addressed to the previous owner of the home I was living in arrived in my mail. She had been in the grave many years and now I was to bear witness to the horror of her rising from the grave and stagger her way to the polls.

The Zombie Party has multiplied exponentially since then. The CDC has proven just as competent in dealing with this crisis as you might expect from any 3 letter acronym the Obama administration misuses for his own perverse power grab.

The Zombie Party is fueled by pure desperation this voting cycle and the "dead/voters" will be out in force on Tuesday. 
As with the AMC hit " The Walking Dead", the leftist "dead/voters", will not be stopped just because they are brain dead. Although the "walkers" from The Walking Dead can be exterminated if you destroy their brain, the "dead/voters" can only be stopped with Voter ID laws.

You can judge the effectiveness of Voter ID laws from the wailing and gurgling sounds emanating from the shuffling masses of rotting flesh as they randomly stagger and bump into walls looking for voting booths that will accept their fraudulent ballots.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Winter is approaching fast. My preparation for it is vastly different this year.
My checklist expands and contracts on a daily basis. I need my checklist nowadays, I need one just going to the IGA for more than two items. Moving my existence 1100 miles south for 3 months will demand the mother of all checklists.
I never envisioned I would be living this vagabond life at his time, in this manner, with so few strings holding me down. And I could not be more happy how things have turned out.
Serendipity has been redefined. Do I deserve it? No. Am I going to take full advantage of the crazy shit that has brought me to this junction in my stupid little life? What do you think? 

My 5 months of living "up the hill" on this incredible 15,000 acres of "my park" has been the happiest time of my 59 years of life on this batshit crazy ball of dirt spinning around the universe.
I have become friends with some of the best people on Earth up here on the hill. I have made some contributions that have been acknowledged by these "best people on Earth". 
If that sounds arrogant you will forgive me as I admit that no I did not cure cancer, no, it did not stop Ebola from migrating to the U.S.
What I did do was, haul horseshit, pick up trash along side of the road, repair everything from 35 year old refrigerators and airconditioners, dump trucks, tractors, mowers, appliances, use native cut lumber to side a solar kiln, drive tractors on perilous overlooks to kill all manner of invasive weeds, pull shifts of Security detail to ensure the sanctity on my park.
Yes boys and girls I have done it all and no one has tried to force me to sell one damned maintenance agreement to the customer!

This is the Fall destination not only for folks of this state but I have seen license plates from all around.
It is beautiful here.
I walk out the drive that connects the Service Area of the park which happens to be where me and my camper reside and there are 3 amazing overlooks that beckon my attention every day. There are beers to drink and thoughts to ponder there. Sunrises to admire when I cannot sleep and sunsets down the road that are worth the hike.

It will be difficult to leave my new home in a little over 2 months though I have been assured that I amwelcome  to stay and welcome to return.

It has been an extremely rewarding 5 months here and sitting in my little camper as I write this, I stare at the back wall. That wall opens up! This is a toy hauler travel trailer, the couch and table fold away and the cargo door opens and my bike will roll up and be straped in.
My time in Fort Myers will be devided up in segments of working at the beautiful Koreshan State Park, hanging out with baby sis and my bro in law and best friend, riding my bike down to the Keys and camping in all points in between.

I am in a very good place right now but I know that life can turn on a dime.
I just hope it waits a little while.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


They keep telling us not to worry, just wash your hands and don't swap spit with West Africans for 21 days and you'll be fine.
Another health care working has been diagnosed with this desease from hell.
Here in the U.S.
Contracted in the U.S.
Now if health care workers who should be up to speed on he proper precedures keep getting Ebola, what are we missing here?
Another case of politics mingling with infectious desease.
Move along folks, keep moving.

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Heading down south this weekend. Leaving my leaving my little redneck paradise here in Nashville Indiana to hang with family down to the big Nashville in one of my favorite states Tennessee.
I thought I might leave a bit early and do some recon for my first winter migration after Christmas.
I usually make the drive to Florida in one day. No way I want to do that hauling my home and two vehicles. I plan on taking my time and enjoying my migratory flight knowing when my ass gets tired all I have to do is find a safe rest or truck stop, pull over, climb out of my truck and getting in the camper for a comfortable snooze. I will have as my roomie my Honda Shadow to keep me company.  I can't think of better lodging. Thanks to my baby sis, the real estate mogul Rita, my rental house is sold and will be but a distant memory. I will miss the park where I now reside, but am assured that I will be welcomed back next spring. I will miss my little lake getaway a mere15 minutes from here but I know it will welcome me back next spring as well.

At the risk of throwing my rotator cuff out from patting myself on the back I feel like I have proven myself to the good folk that run this incredible park. It's been a balancing act of not trying to ruffle feathers at he same time trying to show off my mad skills of doing a lot with a little.
It feels really great to be appreciated, something that was sorely lacking at the mega company I retired from. And it feels great to have my tools here and to be able to build things and repair things as needed.

I didn't start this post off as an ego boosting self promoting ponderous prose. It just kinda took on a life of its own. I guess I just can't help but be greatful for the bizarre turn of events my life took in the last few years that brought me to the summit of the highest point of my life.
I now reside at the highest point in southern Indiana, some 1058 feet above sea level.
How I got here was serendipity on acid. If I sound like I'm bragging I have nothing to brag about. It's just one on those "shit happens" things. The only thing I will take credit for is being so damn stubborn that when the shit happens and some big foot stomps on my anthill, I piss and moan about it for about a day then get back to the work and start the process of rebuilding my meager anthill once again.
It's a tremendous help having a family that backs you up on this mission and I have one of the very best!

Well ok, I guess I'm done here, two beers and a Long Island ice tea have taken their toll and I have rambled on long enough. Don't know why I wrote what I just wrote and I won't even go through the anal retentive attempt of proof reading I usually attempt.
Guess I just got the warm fuzzies and am in a very good place right now.
Even the horrific news headlines can bring me down at this moment.
Like Ebola knocking at our door, or ISIS or ISIL, or the stock market going to shit, of they forgot to bring our girls back #, or the president using the Constitiution as toilet paper, or the cost of fuel to haul my camper down to Florida, or ............????

Wait,what the hell was I grinning about a second ago?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


So Lois Lerner's latest claim is that she is not as bad as Jeffery Dahmer.
Wow, that is a bold statement. Given her track record with the truth I decided to evaluate the evidence and make my own judgment. 
Hmmmm let's see............

Well I don't have any firm evidence but judging from her gaunt look and snooty attitude I would swear Lois Lerner is a Vegan.
Lois Lerner probably a Vegan, bad!

Jeffery Dahmer, a definite meat eater.
Jeffery Dahmer meat eater, good!

Jeffery Dahmer did some very bad things, but Jeffery Dahmer was sent to prison and paid for his crimes. He was even beaten to death by another inmate with a broom handle.
Jeffery Dahmer paying his debt to society and getting beaten to death with a broom stick, 
Very good!

Lois Lerner despite being beaten in the face with an ugly stick, survived the attack and seeing how her co-conspirators are in the White House and running the DOJ she will never see the inside of a prison.
Lois Lerner not paying her debt to society and surviving an ugly stick attack,
Very bad!

Jeffery Dahmer was a homosexual, being that it is fashionable to be politically correct, homosexually is very good. Granted Jeffry Dahmer was a homosexual that ate other homosexuals (not the good kind of ate)  I can't give Jeff a very good on that. Cannibalism mitigates it somewhat so.
Jeffery Dahmer was a homosexual, with an * for the cannibalism thing = good!

According to Wikipedia Jeffery Dahmer was "a keen tennis player".
Jeffery Dahmer being called a keen tennis player, good!

Lois Lerner was not listed by Wikipedia as a keen tennis player.
Lois Lerner probably not a keen tennis player, bad.

Lois Lerner worked for the IRS.
Lois Lerner worked for the IRS, very bad!

So there you have it.
Lois Lerner scored 2 bads and 2 very bads.
Jeffery Dahmer score was 3 goods and 1 very good.
That means Lois Lerner's claim that she is not as bad as Jeffry Dahmer is unfounded.
By my calculations Lois Lerner's is 11 times worse than Jeffery Dahmer.

Bad pick Lois, care to try any other ultra sinister figures from history? You could try digging up Adolf Hitler. Let's see how you do against him.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


Joe rattled my chain again.
I don't know why even in my semi-retired state it seems like I can't find the time to write anything. It's not like Obama's antics aren't still perfect fodder for prose.
Life in the park and at my little lake shack has tempered my pen full of bitter ink, but here goes nothing anyway and I do mean nothing. Joe be careful what you ask for. I fear all you have done is awaken a sleeping giant jackass.

This summer has swept by like an Obama appointee dodging another scandal. The good part about that is getting loose ends taken care of in advance of my winter escape for the frozen tundra that is the Indiana winter weather.
Obama has been so successful in his attempt to save the planet from Global Warming that now the Earth is too cold! He needs to dial his efforts back a bit so that the Great Lakes don't totally freeze over again and Indiana winters aren't like Wisconsin.

One huge weight off my shoulders was getting rid of my rental house. Thanks to baby sis Rita, the up and coming real estate mogul, my house sold in 11 days and I got a really fair price for it! We closed on it last Thursday then went out and partied like rock stars.
I can only hope that my semi-retired state continues to be this good. I love my work at the park and living in the camper up on top of the hill there agrees with me as does staying here at the lake a short and beautiful 15 minute drive to the north.
About the lake shack/cabin/shed, I'm sure Al Gore would not be pleased to hear I'm no longer totally off the grid here. Yes Al I still do have the 12 volt system powered by batteries charged by solar panels. But as of last week I also have a hundred amps of magnificent whirling electrons whooshing to and fro in my cabin thanks to the good folks of REMC.
Getting on the grid is a real game changer here and will enable me to make this more of a home and less like a Unabomber hideout.
I'm still a little light in the Internet department but at least I do have some slower than I like free Wifi in the building next to where I park my camper.
I'm not sure how I can steal some Wifi when I get to Fort Myers but at least I will be able to steal some great food from baby sis! Glad she likes to cook!

As for tending to my meager blog I need to get more irate and deranged about the comings and goings in this crazy world we inhabit. I'm afraid my contentment has rendered me too mellow for my own good. It's like the episode of Star Trek when Kirk got split in half. One Kirk was all ISIS like and the other Kirk turned into a big pussy.
By the end of that episode Kirk learned that without the badass side of his personality his pussy side was as useless and inept as @$&&@&.
Pussy Kirk tracked down his Al queda self and held him tightly as he consoled himself telling badass Kirk that the two halves needed to be recombined to be a fully functional Star Fleet Captian.
So you see that there is a downside to living a simple but stress free life like I'm doing now. It's difficult for me to get worked up about things that I need to vent them on this blog. I guess my happy-with-life pussy side needs to find a way to hug it out with my old formally overworked, chronically divorced, grumpy landlord self.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Yes Joe, it lives! Be carfule what you wish for. All you have done is awaken a sleeping giant jackass.
I shall return,

Saturday, July 19, 2014


And of course anyone who enabled him, i.e. The amazing flexible President Gumby.

Friday, July 4, 2014


Happy 4th of July! A good day to reflect on the goings on in Washington, the former bastion of freedom.
Let's review, long ago I'm a galaxy far away someone wrote and we adopted, 
We the people of The United States of America, in order to form a more perfect Union.
To establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare.......
Ok let's pause right there.
Notice it does not say promote the common defense and provide the general welfare!
I don't believe the  words "provide and promote" were used for defense and welfare without intention.
Providing and promoting, one is handing a guy a fish, the other is telling a guy ok there's the lake and the fishing is great.
That's all I got to say about that.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


NASA the arm of the Government that used to be the gold standard for space exploration and technology development, today launched a rocket to study CO 2 emission and Global Warming, err Climate Change or whatever the hell they are calling it this week.
Waste of money, why didn't they just leave the damn thing on the launch pad and just release the "data" they want the outcome to be. trust me if the data does not match the "settled science" it will by the time they manipulate or "hockey stick" it.

Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Saturday, this is the day. My son asked me several weeks ago to be his Best Man. I was trying to recall ever hearing about a father being his sons Best Man. Don't know of any instances. I know my son has many friends, he is a very outgoing and likable kid. Kid? That kid is now 30 years old. Still don't know how 30 got behind me or around me so fast, so stealthily.
I had been trying to figure out for weeks now what I was going to say when I made the traditional Best Man toast/speech.
I know with my memory or lack thereof I needed to write it down or I would just stand up there with glass in hand having another senior moment.
Day after day would pass and still the words did not come. Saturday morning, the day my son would become a married man I sat down with my Ipad, opened up the Notes app and typed the word "Toast".
It never occurred to me to just sit down and start writing and just let the words write themselves.
So I started writing what I would say to my son, his new wife, my xwife 2X, my family, and all the rest of the assembled.
I will relate what I said that day as best I can cause mom asked me to write this.

                                                             The Toast
"Several weeks ago my son asked me to be his Best Man, I tried several times to think of what I wanted to say but I just could not come up with the words for some reason. This morning I finally just sat down at my computer and stared writing. So you will forgive me if I have to read some of it, or all of it. These days my memory is receding faster than my hairline.

I want to first say that I'm honored that my son asked the old man to be his Best Man. I have served in this capacity a couple of times before. Unfortunately I've been a groom more times that I've been a best man.
In all the weddings I've been in, been at or been the victim of, when the Best Man makes a toast he usually gives a brief history of how he met the groom and relates some of the more memorable events of their history or in some cases their shananigans growing up.
In my case I remember very well the day I met Marky.
Some 30 years ago I met Mark at University Hosptal in a delivery room after some 18 hours of grueling and painful labor and delivery. Thought I was gonna die, his mother had kind of a rough day too.
When the doctor delivered Mark he did not cry or make one peep. He was purple, not breathing and more dead than alive. 
Through the night thanks to the doctors and nurses of the Special Care Nursery Mark steadily improved and by morning was just fine.
Through the intervening years from infancy through adulthood it could be at times very challenging to keep up with Marky, and it could be very challenging not to strangle him at times. As Mark grew up my hair fell out and was sometimes pulled out.
He had a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time hanging out with the wrong friends and hooking up with the wrong kind of girls. I don't know where the hell that kid got that from.

Just when things looked the worse for my son he met Jannett, Landon and Logan. That was the day my son began to turn things around. You three made a tremendous difference in his life and I thank you for that. Last night we had a bachelor party for Mark at my brothers house. It was an evening of debauchary and lewd and lascivious conduct, playing Xbox watching reruns of the Science Channel and going out back to look at the full moon. 

We did have a few beers and after a couple shots of tequila Mark just kept saying over and over again how happy he was.
I'm happy too. I not only finally have a very happy son, I have another wonderful daughter, I also hade two new very wonderful grandsons.
Landon and Logan have made me smile since the first time I met them. They always called me Marks dad. Hey Marks dad, can we have a drink? Hey Marks dad, do you have any toys here?
Well I don't know what they will choose to call from now on but I have a tip for you boys. Papaw gives much better Christmas presents than Marks dad, so there's that.

Before we raise our glasses or cans I want to say this. During the trying times that was the years my son drove me crazy, when I would tell my mom and dad how frustrating my son could be and what his latest screwup had been. They would just shake their heads and smile that smile. You know that smile. The smile that says heh heh heh, you are getting your just deserts my son. 
 So when Mark comes to me with wailing and gnashing of teeth when Landon or Logan or my next grandchild does something stupid. He will look at me and I'll just stand that grinning and smiling while I watch his hair fall out.
Oh yeah the toast. Congratulations and may you stay as happy as you are all right this moment. But I still hope you lose your damn hair son. Salute!"

So the Toast finished, I wiped my eyes raised my glass and we toasted to the bride, groom and my two new grandsons.
That was it, short and sweet, not much controversy and a few tears between my son and me.
Why had it taken me so long to write this brief summery of my feelings? To answer that would require a volume of text. It would necessitate the opening of some very deep wounds me and my son shared during the darkest days of both of our lives. Those demons are better  kept locked away in the dungeon below the basement of my mind. I will say that as I wrote those words that morning I knew why I had been so hesitant to begin.

The memory of a little 14 year old boy who shaken to the core of his adolescent being, coming to his father with information that no child should have to bare. Information that would lead to the destruction of his safe little family unit nestled away in the boondocks of Morgan County.
That next year for that boy would be hell, I know it was hell for me.
I also knew it would affect him in ways I could not predict and I feared for him, hell I still do fear what that time in his life would ultimately do to him. It is no great mystery to me why my son waited so long to get married to someone he deeply loved. That summer of 1998 and the following year would change anyone much less a 14 year old boy who had discovered something that would change all our lives if he shared that information with his father.
If he kept it to himself it would have only changed him.

Through the years when I would think about that night when our family began to crumble I am still in awe of the courage it took. How many little boys would have just swallowed up that "thing" that he knew and just kept it to himself? I just remember the look on his face when he revealed it, his terror that his own father would not believe him.
Oh, I believed it, much like you believe it when you are told someone close to you has suddenly died. You believe it but the shock mercifully will not allow you to absorb it for a time.
I believed him because it explained some things that until that night had only been a series of unconnected insignificant little oddities about my then wife.

While I wrote those words and while I spoke those words the memories of that 14 year old boy and the courage it took for him to come forward would assault both our eyes with all manner of smoke, dust, allergies and motes and would test our abilities to be men, just suck it up, man up, rub some dirt in it and hold back the flood.
We failed.
I was that night as I am today so grateful to that 14 year old boy. I think he saved my life at the cost of his own innocence.
The Best Man? The best man is the one on the left.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


"I know I don't get there often enough
But God knows I surely try
It's a magic kind of medicine
That no doctor could prescribe"
(Jimmy Buffet, One Particular Harbor)

Haven't been on here much lately. Been pretty busy getting moved out of my bro's house and setting up my new digs here at the State Park.
As of yesterday I have completed my first work week at the Park as a resident volunteer. That work week consisted of 20 hours of refurbishing some specialized benches, killing some weeds, doing some repairs to the old covered bridge at the North Gate and spending an entire day on the worlds fastest lawn mower trying hard not to get too distracted looking at the vistas all around and running the Dixie Chopper off some cliff.

Still getting organized a week after getting my new camper set up at the park. It's 25RR Grey Wolf Toy Hauler with plenty of room for my Honda Shadow and me to make the trip to Florida for the winter after Christmas.

 I'm at the lake now, hanging my laundry to dry and storing some things in the little cabin. Between my camper at the park and my shed/cabin at the lake, I have just about enough room for my "stuff". Seems like I have been spending the last 15 years downsizing. I keep thinking about the line from an old Jimmy Buffet song One Particular Harbor. 

"I used to rule my world from a pay phone
and ships out on the sea
Now times are rough I got too much stuff
can't explain the likes of me" 

My existence seems to be a reverse order of that song as I downsize, simplify, prioritize, dematerialize and homogenize.
When I say homogenize I am referring to the need to blend my campsite at the park with my camp away from camp here at the lake.
My two homes are 7.5 miles apart. There is no busy commute or traffic jams to fight. In fact I can make the trip by bicycle if need be. I did that on the day my camper arrived at the park so I could bring my big bike from the lake to the park. The trip out of the park on the bicycle was a piece of cake as it was all pretty much downhill off of Indiana's Little Smokies. When I got close to the lake it was a different matter due to some killer hills that needed conquering.
I needed to do some laundry today and I knew that would require a trip to town just 1 mile from the park entrance. I also needed to organize and store some of my "too much stuff" in the loft of the cabin-shack. I decided to bring my washed wet laundry to the lake and hang it out to dry like in the days of yore.
After a quick trip to Bear Hardware (one of my favorite places here), for some wooden clothes pins I hung up the tighty whitey's and such and let the nice breezy day do the work. 
This seems like a good system for laundry day!

There is a competition as to which place I want to be when I think of the this part of the song
"But there's one particular harbor
So far and yet so near
Where I see the days as they fade away
And finally disappear"

I have closed out many days here at the lake watching the sun slide over the trees and the night creatures on the water and in the woods begin their shifts.
The stars come out in enormous count, far away from the lights of the big city.
But now there is the other place. My camper sits next to the service area 1 mile from the campground. The sign on the drive says "Authorized Vehicles Only". Seclusion is the result.

A few steps away from my camper I pass through a stand of huge pine trees that opens up to a large field of grass that makes for a nice place to lay on a blanket and star gaze. A few more steps and I'm at the vista where I think if Got would have pushed just a little harder here Indiana would have a full blown mountain range.
A short walk or bicycle ride down the road is a fire tower where a guy can pack some beers in his backpack, climb the steps and watch the sun melt away from the highest point in Southern Indiana, yeah checked that off my list the first night.

In the daylight with my family and friends swimming in the lake and my grandson playing with his trucks in a pile of sand or do we want to go see papaw's camper then go hiking in the State Park?
"And there's one particular harbor
Sheltered from the wind
Where the children play on the shore each day
And all are safe within"
So you see my dilemma. I can't be in two places at one time. The two places are 15 minutes apart.

When I was a young man I had no idea the weird winding path that would take me from there to here, I just lived for that particular day with not much thought about the future.
"But now I think about he good times
Down in the Caribbean sunshine
In my younger days I was so bad
Thinking about all the fun we had"

Ahhhhhh, this particular song by the great JB hits me on so many different levels.
"I've seen enough to feel the world spin
Mixin different oceans meetin cousins
Listening to the drummers and the night sounds
Listening to the singers make the world go round"

Yes sing it Jimmy!
"La OraTe Natura
E Mea Arofa Teie Ao Nei 
La OraTe Natura
E Mea Arofa Teie Ao Nei"

Jimmy I have no idea what the hell that means.
"Most mysterious calling harbor
So far but yet so near
I can see the day when my hairs full gray
And finally disappear"

Ok JB both our bald heads can relate to that.
You know, I didn't intend to write about One Particular Harbor becoming my new theme song. It kinda just took that turn like so many things do.

Although I still cannot rule my world from a pay phone, I have been making great strides toward ruling my world from the Internet and a P.O. box.
I'll get there.

Till then my one particular harbor is right here.

Monday, May 12, 2014


I started my new job today. Well technically I guess it's not a job since no money will be changing hands. I will be getting a free campsite in a beautiful State park located just a few miles from my place at the lake so there's that. I have been looking for a way to move to Nashville Indiana and this looks like my ticket. I'm still looking for a travel trailer, that will be my new home for the foreseeable future, here in Indy and 3 months in Florida during the winter.
Still working on getting a site lined out in Florida doing the same deal, working part time as a volunteer at a park in exchange for a free campsite. If I don't get a free site in Florida I'm going anyway and just pay for a place to park my camper.

Even though I don't have my camper yet, I decided to go ahead and start working at the park today. Although I have an extensive background in construction, HVAC and appliance repair I told the Park Supervisor I was not above picking up trash or cleaning bathrooms. Well I didn't have to clean any bathrooms today, I did do my share of menial tasks and I didn't mind it one bit. They paired me with a young fella, nice kid who lived in that area his whole life.
We stated the day doing touch up work on the pool. What we did really didn't help, it needs a major renovation to the concrete surface but this is the State so the money's just not there. I learned a long time ago not to let the screwed way the Government operates get to me too much.
We spent most of the day driving around looking for trash, I really enjoyed that the most. We drove all through the park and I saw parts of it I have never seen before. Stan may only be 23 years old but he is an old soul.
As we drove through every nook and cranny of the park on our quest to pick up every piece of trash we talked about lots of things but mostly about our love of the outdoors and music. He asked me if I liked Bluegrass music and he was delighted when I told him one of my favorites was The Dillard's, they played the Darlin's on The Andy Griffith Show. That was one of his favorites too. Stan is in a local band that plays Blues, he also loves Rush and Pink Floyd, yeah this kids alright. The kid was only hired to work at the park a month ago and is making minimum wage, but he is happy with his job and he plans on working his way up. What the hell is the matter with that kid? Doesn't he know how he is being oppressed?
I thought about my last job while we were winding through the park, the difference in the stress level is beyond comparison. I told Stan that he may not be making big bucks but the view from his office was hard to beat. It was not a big surprise to me that Stan already knew that.

Friday, May 9, 2014


I'm not going for a cheap joke that's in bad taste here, although that would not be out of character for me. I just simply cannot hear news about the Nigerian Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram without Whiter Shade Of Pale playing in my head.
Yes I know Boko Haram have no connection to Procol Harum and I doubt these particular
Muslims are big fans or a tribute band. I just think it was a bad PR move on their part.
They are disgusting baby raping assholes (Boko not Procol) who kidnapped hundreds of young girls and are threatening to sell them off as sex slaves. Yes Virginia slavery still exists in Africa and a few other countries on that side of the world and in pockets on this side of the blue marble.
Islam is no stranger to pedophilia, after all the inventor of this "religion" "married" a 6 year old child!

Yeah I know Muslims claim that Mohammad generously waited till she matured to the ripe old age of 9 before he raped her. Well if you're like me and your a bit more evolved than these Neanderthals you are disgusted at the thought of  Mohammad and these other freaks raping children. It gets more sickening when you read what Mohammad's apologists say about the prophets sexual practice during Aisha's maturing period  from age 6 to age 9. He did in fact sexually molest this child in every way except vaginal penetration when she was just 6.

If I were in Great Britain or Dearborn Michigan I could be jailed for pointing out the truth about a man who is worshipped like a god in the eyes of Islam. I am just reporting what Islamic propagandists have been using for arguments to try and explain why their women are treated worse than livestock.

It's odd that the left show red hot hatred for Christians who they claim oppress women because most oppose dismembering pre-born babies. But the left will bend over backwards trying to accommodating Muslims who can truly be documented as to their war on women.
Ok, that's all I got to say about that. Fuck Boko Haram, enjoy Procol Harum.

Thursday, May 1, 2014


Looks like the Obama Adminstration is doubling down on the Benghazi coverup. How would I describe Jay Carney defending the undefendble position of the White House coverup?

Gonna need the thesaurus on this one, I will start with the word incredulous and see what words they come up with, hold on a minute I'll be right back.........

Synonyms for incredulous:
Doubtful, hesitant, quizzical, skeptical, suspicious, unconvinced, unsatisfied, disbelieving, distrustful, doubting, dubious, mistrustful, questioning, show-me, suspect, uncertain, wary.

I dunno, none of these words seem adequate to describe this dog and pony show designed to sway voters.
And the amazing thing is it wasn't even a Fox White House corespondent that took Jay Carney to task, it was ABC, one of Obama's usual lap dogs that hammered home the points that it took a court ordered FOIA to get the Benghazi talking points prepared by Obamas White House for Susan Rice released.
Think about all the coverups perpetrated by this Adminstration and the coverups committed by both the Clinton's during, before and after that Adminstration. 
Soooo, what was all this hubbub about Watergate?

 We need to did up the body of Richard Nixon and apologize to his corpse.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Ok Susan, here are your talking points for the 5 Sunday morning news shows. It was not a terrorist attack, it was all YouTubes fault. No we can't put this one on Bush so we have to go with the YouTube  sham. Now remember your body language is very important when you're trying to get America to believe a lie. My decades being married to Bill have taught me a lot about how to be an effective liar, that and being a crooked lawyer at the Rose Law firm.
So when you are on camera don't look straight at the camera and point your thumb out and bite your lip, Bill has played that out. Try this instead, shift your whole body to the left and cock your head at the camera just like dogs do when you are talking shit to them. And you need to put the stupidest expression on your face possible. 


Monday, April 28, 2014


So I'm laying in bed minding my own business and about 3:00 AM I am attacked in my right eye by a rogue eyelash. What else could it possibly be? I'm not laying under a car working on a rusty exhaust system. I'm not working on a crappy oil furnace that exploded in my face and sent me on an ambulance ride. I'm not riding a motorcycle without the good sense to wear eye protection. I'm just laying in bed with my peepers closed tight in blissful sleep.
I assumed it was the eyelash because unlike most foreign objects that invade the delicate world of human optics, the eyebrows seems to always get stuck on the eyelid not the eyeball, making it a pain in the ass to evict.
It started out being a minor nuisance at 3:00 AM, by 6:00 AM it was a full-fledged nightmare of non-emotional tears. This was not the first time I suffered an eye attack in the middle of the night.
And it sure as hell was not the worst.
I may have been 18 or so and still living with he folks, about 3:00 AM I awoke to feeling of being sandblasted in both eyes with shards of hot glass soaked in battery acid followed by a clawing frenzy by a heard of ill tempered rabid kitties. It hurt.

It hurt to have my eyelids touching my eyeballs, it hurt even worse to open my eyes and expose them to the air. I was effectively blind. I got out of bed and was seeking aid while bumping into walls and tripping over unknown objects. "Mommy Daddy help me!" I finally made enough ruckus and woke up my parents. I had no clue what was causing this incredible pain, dad started quizzing me about what sort of work I had done on the job that day. I worked at Arvin's muffler factory in the evening shift at the time. That night I had been shifted from my usual line and was running an auto welder, this required mounting a muffler assembly on a machine and stepping on a pedal that mig welded both ends at once. The eye protection was not a regular welders mask, it was a green tinted face shield. Of course you are not supposed to look at the contraption when it welds but if you've ever working on a factory line you know how mind numbing line work is and sometimes you get out of sequence. That how people chop off fingers and such.
As I told dad I had been running this welder he said something like, "you dumbass kid, you got welders-flash." It's like a severe sunburn of the eyes. 
Between dad's home remedies and generous amounts of whatever prescription drugs they had on hand I got through that agonizing night.
He next morning my bloodshot eyes looked like Teddy Kennedy did the morning after he drowned the women he was trying to screw then left the scene of the crime so he could sober up and pay off the cops with his dads ill-gotten gains from bootlegging and stock manipulation. Whew! I had to get that out.

Anyway fast-forward to last night, after several attempts to expel this eyelash from hell I gave up on sleeping and sat up in the living room and tried to old pulling the top eyelid down over the bottom eyelid in hopes of scraping the lash off. I had tried this method for the last three hours to no avail but his time the lash finally gave in and like magic it was gone!
As I settled in the chair with a cup of coffee and my Ipad, I picked up my spectacles and as I raised them to my face i saw on the inside of the right lense another eyelash!
What the hell? Was this some sort of lash conspriacy? Was my eyelash going bald? Or did the rogue mutant eyelash from hell make its way to my glasses to wreak havoc once more?
What ever the case, you can be sure I will be sleeping with one eye open tonight. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

MADE IN VIETNAM (Repost for the Nam Vets, thanks for your service)

                         Repost, Happy Veterens Day, special thanks to our Nam vets!

Many years ago in a galaxy far away, I was moving some dirt with my somewhat used wheelbarrow. I noticed the tire was a little flat so off to the barn and the air compressor I went.

That's when I saw it, I had looked at that wheel many times but had never noticed the words "Made in Vietnam" on the tire, I was pissed! Every since John McCain and others decided to make nice with the commies more and more stuff from Vietnam had made its way over here.

If I would have had the receipt I would have returned the damned thing. As with most wheelbarrow tires it had a slow leak so whenever I wanted to use it after that day I would have to make the trip down my own little Ho Chi Minh Trail to the barn to air it up. That damned phrase now unavoidable to see, would piss me off every time.  Since the embargo was lifted I made every effort not to purchase anything manufactured there, so how did this slip by me?
The wheelbarrow was manufactured in some other shit hole country, but the tire was made in Nam.  No, I didn't serve in Vietnam, the closest I have ever been to a firefight was shooting M16 blanks in war games at Camp Atterbury.

 I did learn how to take the brass from a spent M16 blank and jam the tip in the end of the barrel and fire it downrange into the trees to convince your opposition that they were being fired on with live rounds.  This is most effective in the dark when being attacked by the aggressors.  We were bunked down in our tents one night when the enemy attacked our position.  We all started returning fire with our blanks, me with my brass flinging weapon. After shooting brass into the trees above our "enemy" for a while I decided to try some friendly fire on a buddy's tent down our defensive line. It was illuminated with the occasional flare so I took a bead on his tent and nearby trees and peppered the hell out of it.
I took a cease fire after awhile and in a bit I heard a noise over the now sporadic gunfire. It was my buddy whose tent I had been flinging brass at, he was hugging the ground, low crawling up to my position.  "Man some son of a bitch is shootin live rounds at me!", he said.  "No shit? Better keep your head down" I said with the dark of night masking my huge grin.  I must confess the idea for the brass flinger was not my own. I got paired up to tent with a guy who was back from Nam finishing up his active duty time in the Reserve.  Each soldier had in his field gear half a pup tent, about a quarter of the guys still had the shelter halves that buttoned together and all the rest had the newer snaps so I had to match up with another guy with buttons that's how I came to be paired up with this guy.

He also suggested that instead of buttoning our shelter halves together, we lay one shelter half on the ground and the other one was made into a lean-to facing the perimeter.  This little trick made it so we didn't have to get out of our sleeping bags when the fake shit hit the fan. All we had to do was sit up in our sleeping bags and fire away at the supposed enemy.
He had learned a thing or two from Charlie don't you know.  

Although I didn't serve in Vietnam I knew a lot of guys that did and most of the D.I.'s in Basic Training were fresh back from Country. In high school we had thoughts about ending up in Nam then Nixon started the whole "Peace with honor" thing and it became apparent we had literally dodged the bullet.  But I had retained a general hatred for that country especially after the North broke that bullshit "cease fire in place" deal.  When the U.S. dropped the embargo against Vietnam I was pissed. I was shocked John McCain was in favor of it after the hell he suffered at the hands of Jane Fonda and the Hanoi Hilton.  It took a long time to bury the hate for that reunified by murder country. Over the years I thought about all the "what ifs" when thinking about the 58,000 plus guys we lost over there. Mostly I wondered if our involvement would even have happened if France hadn't hung onto their colony and let those people determine their own fate. Maybe that asshole Ho Chi Minh wouldn't have gotten the support he needed to start that war.

 Things turn out the way they turn out and fate has some interesting twists and turns. During the fall of South Vietnam a young Vietnamese man who had fought in the Navy for the South escaped with his wife and baby and became refugees eventually coming to America. They came with nothing but the drive to work hard and they built a successful business. Later they had another son who would graduate from Purdue University with degrees in Molecular Biology and in Chemistry.
That young man would marry my daughter.  Together they used some of that Molecular Biology and Chemistry and made a grandson for me.

 A while back I stopped thinking about all the "what ifs" and focus now on the what is.  My grandson is now a year old, I can't imagine not having him around. I can't imagine him looking any differently than he does, he is beautiful.

Although some think he has some features from our side of the family like my "butt chin", he sure looks like he was made in Vietnam.
And that's just fine by me. 

Monday, April 21, 2014


She really gave the old guy a funny look followed by a helpful but somewhat confused smile. The old guy smiled back while it slowly became clear to him the comunication problem was not a lack of intelligence by the "associate" of the sporting goods store, it was just a "senior moment" on his part.
The conversation that began this inquiry went like this, "excuse me, can you tell me if this store carries the old style percolator coffee pots?". 
"I don't know what that is". "Well it's the type of coffee pots people used before the Mister Coffee drip coffee maker was invented".

She looked at me like I had aliens crawling out of my butt. The more detail I went into about watching the coffee brew as the water turned darker and darker in the little sight glass on top, the more she turned her head with a quizzical look like dogs give you when you're talking shit to them.
It would have been frustrating if it hadn't been so damn funny. I was sure they would carry them, after all, campers still used them. I wanted one for the fishing shack so I could stop using those expensive coffee singles and I don't care for instant.

She finally called Rick on the radio, Rick was a little closer to my age group, although he grew up after the Mister Coffee made its debut he knew about the old perkers and gave her the location so we walked right to the same area I had scoured moments before and they magically appeared.
They had a nice selection of them, all non-electrics of course. As we stood there I waxed nostalgic on the "good ol days" of the world of yesteryear. God, when did I turn into that guy? The days of yore, when if you had a cell, it meant your ass was behind bars, back before "the bomb" was a way to describe something cool, it was something that Nikita Khrushchev wanted to drop on you so he could laugh his ass off while you duck and cover. The closest we came to lasers and computers was watching science fiction movies and the internet existed only in Al Gores head.

I could just see in my minds dimming eye, mom busy getting breakfast going on a cold dark winter morning. On the counter would be the coffee pot plugged in and perking along making that sound that we all remember if our hair is gray or gone. I remembered that commercial, I knew it would be on YouTube. You old timers will know this commercial, that song that Maxwell Coffee makes when it perks. Go ahead and Youtube it, you know you want to hear it again.
AMC's Mad Men has begun its final season, this show is great and it's fun seeing life in the 60's recreated so accurately. At least in my mind and memory.
Life was simple back then and good to the last drop.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Going through mini yo yo's on my weight and big yo yo's in my retirement account. I obsessively monitor both. I have a good handle on the former. I have little to no control on the latter, (did I get that right)?
I feel really fantastic health wise except for occasional knee issues, oh yeah and the drinking problem. By drinking problem I'm referring to the cervical spinal fusion on two levels of my neck that inhibit me from tipping up the can of beer to get that last drink. I really have to lean back and get my whole body into it to get that can cleaned out. I wouldn't want to be wasteful.

I started to get in shape a year and a half ago. Walking many miles and working out regularly. I have lost between 50 and 55 pounds and kept it off for the better part of a year. I had to drop 2 of my blood pressure meds because losing the weight made vascular system so happy.
I saw my Cardioligist this week. I love seeing this guy smile, when I first met him he didn't smile at me at all. I thought someone had just pissed in his corn flakes or something but it was me. It was 3 or 4 years ago and I was about to be hospitalized to be cardioverted out of Afib for the first time of my Afib career. He was also not smiling at me back then because of my lack of energy, getting winded after a short walks and high blood pressure even though I was on several meds and being stuck in Afib for days.

Although I may feel 20 years younger now, I have to remind myself that I don't look 20 years younger. It helps me keep things in perspective. I'm not out chasing after 30 year olds, or even 40 year olds. I'm happy staying in my own age group, they're slower, it's easier to cut them from the heard.
I understand maintaining the weight and keeping fit will be an ongoing battle for the rest of my life.
I also understand that just because I feel great, that is no guarantee of longevity. Pistol Pete Marivitch always comes to mind when I'm feeling euphoric. But I figure as long as I keep this guy smiling I'm doing the best I can.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

STONE, MARBLE AND METAL (hollowed ground and more hollowed ground)

I'm glad we walked to this place instead of taking the Metro. At first it was just a matter of expediency that saw us walking across the Potomac. The Potomac, I can't say that word or hear that word without remembering the Apocryphal tale about young George Washington throwing a silver dollar across the Potomac River.
Seems like I was taught this in school at a very young age. Back in the early 60's when I first heard this, a dollar was big money. Back in the 1700's when Washington supposedly did this, a dollar was a fortune!
Today you can't even buy a Hershey Bar with a buck. The current president throws trillions of dollars into the river and he doesn't bat an eye.
But I digress, anyway the Potomac is a wide river, you would have to have an arm like Randy Johnson to make that shot.
We made it to the Arlington Visitors Center to wait for Renee and while milling around I came to a large black and white photograph of the Arlington Memorial Bridge that we just walked across. In the photo there were thousands and thousands of people lining the way as a horse drawn caisson carried the body of 46 year old John Kennedy the 35th President of the United States. 
"Ask not what your Country can do for you, ask what you can do for your Country", you sure this guy was a Democrat?
Anyway there is history every place you walk, stand, or look around here.
Renee finally arrives and we take off. There is much ground to cover and lots of things we want to see. Of course, The Changing Of The Guard at The Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier, is top of the list and if we hustle we can just make the next one. We get there right as it begins. Standing on the steps high on the hill watching this unfold gave me chills. I doubt that it would give Chris Mathews a thrill up his leg, but it was a very profound moment for me.

After quietly observing this very solemn and honored ceremony we slip off behind the steps and walk along the Amphitheater. There were openings at the back and Renee spotted something and asked me what it was.
I didn't know exactly, but it kind of looked like a mast with a crows nest mounted in a concrete structure.
We decided it warranted a quick look.
I was immensely glad we did. It was a mast, a very old mast from a very old ship.
We walked around the front of the concrete structure and I read the bronze plaque that read "USS Maine". "Remember the Maine!", I said. The rallying cry that moved a nation to war with Spain after the Maine either blew up in the Havana harbor or was blown up by the Spanish in 1898.
I remember reading about the events surrounding this pivotal sinking. I had no idea the mast, anchor and ships bell were salvaged and brought here as a memorial to the 168 souls lost on board that day.
The chills just keep on coming!
I could spend the rest of the rapidly depleting day right here among the memories and the ghosts of The Maine, or walk back to the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier, but Renee eyes our next destination on top of a hill. 
Arlington House, the home of Robert E. Lee or at least it used to be. Of course when war between the States broke out Lee was not in a sellers market and he had to walk away from equity. 
Again something I did not know, actually, seeing how History class was nap time for me it's not surprising I didn't know General Lee once had a home here.

The Arlington House although a thing of beauty, the view of the porch is what held my gaze the most. And just a few short steps away I could see the enormity and the relative closeness of the Pentagon.
Again I am getting schooled just by looking around. I guess I have always known the approximate location of the Pentagon but now I really know it, I can see it, I can walk to it. It's a shorter hike then what I'm used to. Standing on the hill I could imagine what it looked like on that day of infamy.

As we were looking down at this amazing building where the best military minds in world punch the clock, a couple struck up a conversation with us about it.
They had just been there and saw the 9/11 Memorial that is located on what used to be the parking lot at the side of the building where some murderous cowards crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the side of The Pentagon.
The couple was persuading us to go see this Memorial, we didn't need any convincing, we were going. We had just one more stop to make here at Arlington. We had to see the JFK Memorial and the Eternal Flame.
Renee and I don't agree much when it comes to politics, but this is one thing we can see eye to eye on.
In a few short minutes we walked downhill to where President Kennedy rests. Again my memory shifts around all the history I'm surrounded by and settles in a third grade classroom some 51 years ago. The intercom crackles and a muffled unintelligible radio broadcast comes through the speaker and into the ears of several confused 3rd graders.
After the announcement, the teacher had to explain to us that the president had just been shot.
I was, we were, too young to understand the immediate impact of this event, much less the historical significance.
Today, this old man can understand some of it, bit not all. It is profound to be this close to the body of JFK and turn around and see the route the funeral procession took to bring his body here.
My memory of those few days goes from hearing that static filled news over the intercom, to the day I was standing in our living room watching a black and white TV showing the coffin of Kennedy laying in State while thousands upon thousands of world leaders, dignitaries and just ordinary peoples shuffled by to pay their respects. I don't know why but I couldn't stop watching it. I just remember while this was going on they were walking Lee Harvey Oswald down some corridor and they kept switching the coverage between the two events. Then I saw on live television Jack Ruby shoot Oswald.
I ran through the house yelling my head off trying to get everyone's attention. I was the only one in the room.
Lots of things happen to a kid, I imagine you forget 99 percent of it, no matter how feeble minded I may be now or will be in the future, I will never forget that black and white event.
As if today day couldn't get anymore poignant, it was time to make the pilgrimage to The Pentagon.

We jumped the Arlington Metro to the Pentagon City (I never heard of Pentagon City), Metro for lunch. After lunch we chose to walk to the Pentagon, I wish we would have gotten a pass to tour the inside of the building but you have to apply way in advance to do that. Understandable. I would have wanted to see this amazing building even if it hadn't been one of the targets of 9/11. It's a name that is synonymous with America's power and strength.
They broke ground for the Pentagon September 11th 1941. It stood impenetrable for 60 years. 
The Pentagon Memorial is unlike any I have ever seen and a lot of meaning is built into its layout. There are 184 bench-like structures with a matching water feature under each. Each one with a name of one of the victims inscribed on the end. The ones that have the ends that face away from the building represents the victims who were in the Pentagon. The ones that face the other direction is a memorial of the victims who were aboard Flight 77.
We were there in the daylight. I got this picture off the Internet that was taken at night.
This day began with me standing before a flag from the War of 1812 and it is ends honoring the victims of 9/11 and rememberence of the sacrifice made in all wars before, in between and still occurring.

The whole day has been somber to say the least and very sobering. Now I think I could use a drink. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

STONE, MARBLE AND METAL (paying respects)

A new day dawns in DC and as usual when I wake up at the Hinkley Hilton I walk to the window pull back the curtain to look at the Washington Monument.
I  looked, rubbed my eyes and looked again. It's gone! The whole damn Monument!
Construction accident? Terrorist? David Copperfield?
No, fog. Thank God!
Renee has 1/2 day left of her seminar, me and her son will hit the Smithsonian Museum of American History after that we will go pay our respects at the war memorials, then meet up with Renee at Arlington National Cemetery. Although she lived in DC for five years, she never made it to Arlington.

Back on the Metro at DuPont Station, I'm getting the hang of this now. Get on the Red Line to Metro Center, jump on the Blue Line to the Smithsonian Station, piece of cake.
I really loved the Metro, very clean and efficient.
I very much enjoyed the museum of American History, my favorite displays, Archie Bunker's favorite chair and the huge flag that yet waved that infamous night back in September of 1814.
I had no idea that the actual flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore even existed anymore and it was right here in front of me. I just stood there and stared at it thinking about Francis Scott Key held captive on a British ship in the midst of the War of 1812, staring at this very same flag and writing a poem that would become a song using a melody of lifted from an old English drinking tune called "To Anacreon In Heaven".
That was the start of an emotional day from here it would only get more solemn.

After we left the Smithsonian, we walked around the closed for repairs Washington Monument staring up at it as far as my cobbled together neck would allow.
We walked up to the still new looking WWII Memorial. It was opened in 2004. This is an outstanding tribute to the rapidly disappearing group of men and women that saved the world. It's shocking to think they waited that long to build this monument, but what a monument it is!
From there we went to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Compared the memorial we just saw, The Wall is very subdued, I remember when it was first built, it had many detractors. Some even saying the plain black granite angled wall "looks like death". Given the 58,249 names engraved on the Wall you could describe it that way. 

I have friends and family that served in that war, my friends and family have friends and family whose names are on that wall. It was a little rainy and a lot gloomy as we walked along the Wall, walked among the veterans looking for their family and friends names on the Wall. The volunteers who were veterans themselves helping people locate those names on the Wall.
No this memorial is not ornate and not as large at the WWII Memorial, it does not even compare with the Korean War Memorial which also has a black granite wall.
When I think about the shameful way the returning Vietnam vets were treated by the anti war creeps, I don't think and I believe most vets of that war would agree, I just don't believe a large loud ornate structure would be appropriate. 
Most guys came home in civvies so the peace loving leftists wouldn't spit on them and call them baby killers.
This plain black granite wall just seems to fit in the landscape, quietly and unobtrusively, much like the soldiers who came home and just tried to forget it all and quietly blend into the landscape. Some were successful at this, many were not.

Walking in the rain we made our way to the Lincoln Memorial. I have seen this iconic statue sitting there with that thousand mile stare since I was a kid, but not in real life. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president, the Republican president who freed the slaves at a huge cost of lives including his own.

I spend a long time in there looking up at the huge statue, then I stood beside him looking out in the same direction, straight ahead at the Reflecting Pool and at the Washington Monument.
Old Honest Abe has had plenty of time to ponder. I have just about used up my pondering time so we make one last stop before we plan our trek to Arlington, the Korean War Memorial.

My father served in this war so did his friend, my Uncle Kenny. Dad altered his Birth certificate so he could join the Army at 16.
The memorial is similar to the Vietnam War Memorial only in that it also has a black granite wall. But unlike the other wall it does not have the names of the KIA's or the MIA's. Instead it has ghostly images of soldiers engraved in the stone.

There are several larger than life size statues of soldiers clad in metal ponchos that are on what looks like a large patrol in weather kinda like what it was that day in DC. 

Looking at the statues all in different poses carrying M1 Garrands and Carbines I was reminded of on old war story told to me many years ago by an uncle long gone now.
Me and Uncle Kenny were talking while imbibing whiskey and coke.
Mine mixed to half strength, Uncle Kenny's was mixed by me just he way he liked it. Fill a glass with whiskey and add just enough coke to give it a little coke color but no coke flavor.
I've been known to get combat veterans to talk about things not discussed in the light of day or sober. Like I would get my bro in law Bob who is also my buddy many years later to talk about some things that happened in Nam, things that hadn't seen the light of day in a long long time.

Uncle Kenny told me a few stories but the one that brought vivid images to my mind was the way he found out that the Communist Chinese had entered the war on the side of the villainous North Koreans.
It was a very cold November night and he was out with small patrol not expecting much contact with the North Koreans. It was a dark night but suddenly they were confronted with the sight of thousands of Chinese moving around and through their drastically outnumbered patrol. The patrol hadn't been spotted and they had no chance in hell surviving a firefight. So spread out, they all just hunkered down and waited for the hordes of Chinese to pass by. I could just see young Kenny crouched down in the dark, heart pounding so loud he was sure the enemy could here his heartbeat. 
Kenny related the story (as best I remember), "we all just crouched down in the trees and waited, seemed like forever, then I saw one of them walking right up toward me. He just kept getting closer and closer. I couldn't shoot him, we all would have been dead, there was just too goddamned many of them. I took out my bayonet and just waited. I knew I was gonna have to cut his fuckin throat. I just squatted down beside that tree, then he just walked by me like I was a ghost". Old Kenny shook his head and stared at the wall like he was back there again in his minds eye. He finished his story, "Mark it musta been 20 below but I had sweat running down my face". We drank a lot that night.
I hadn't thought about that story in a good while. I guess this is an appropriate place to recall something like that.

A short time after that memory of Uncle Kenny came and went. I got a message from Renee, the seminar is winding down. I pull up Google Maps on my phone and start calculating distances. Looks like the nearest Metro is just a little closer than our next destination, in the opposite direction. I ask Renee's son if he's up for a hike, sure lets go!

Walking the historic path from the Lincoln Memorial across the Potomac on the Arlington Memorial Bridge was a fitting tribute and I'm glad we walked it. It was the route taken when the horse-drawn coffin brought JFK to his final resting 41 years ago.

 We were heading in the same direction to visit with him and thousands of other hero's.