Saturday, October 31, 2015

Quote of the day

"Sometimes, despite what one may want, the door just has too many locks."

Monday, October 26, 2015

Wisdom from "Once Upon A Time"

"If you want a lad to fight, give him something to fight for."  - Merida
"If you want a lad to fight, give him something to fight for."  - Merida

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Monday, October 19, 2015

Pieces of my mind....

When I was a kid, I couldn't wait for the Sears "Wish Book" to come out every year. I'd go through it and mark the pages with everything I wanted. This is my wish book now. :-)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Quote of the day - Wisdom from Criminal Minds

"Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity, nothing exceeds the criticisms made of the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed."
- Herman Melville

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Remembering Operation Tidal Wave

72 years ago today Operation Tidal Wave was launched against Nazi oilfields in Ploesti, Romania.

According to Wikipedia it was one of the costliest operations in Europe with 53 aircraft and 660 aircrewmen lost. I have a couple books on the subject, but I'll use those numbers for illustration.

One of my favorite quotes is this:
"He was convinced most of the planes would go down and there would be enough wandering Americans in Romania 'to call a general election, vote the Germans out, and make peace with the allies'"
from Ploesti: The Great Ground-Air Battle of 1 August 1943 by James Dugan and Carroll Stewart
M. Gerald Kennedy
My uncle, M. Gerald Kennedy was one of the "lucky" ones to survive that day...oddly enough in a plane named "Lucky"...only to go MIA/KIA 3 months later over Bremen, Germany

This is how the story goes:
The "Lucky" and part of her crew before Operation Tidal Wave. 
"Some of the Libs [B-24 Liberators] landed in Turkey - some of them even got down okay in Romania - some landed in Malta - some even went on and found freshly conquered fields in Sicily to land on. Capt. Harold Kendall, from Charlton, Iowa, was one of the joes who landed in Sicily.
     They found a half-finished fighter field. The crew was still standing by inside the "Lucky" with ears cocked for the bail-out gong when Kendall landed, with all the red lights showing on the last drops of gas in the tanks. "Lucky" hit the end of the landing strip, plowed into a flock of P-40's dispersed beyond the runway, and came to a stop, literally leaning against the sides of a hill. The crew piled out and kissed the ground, and waited to be congratulated by the ground crews on their magnificent emergency landing. Top-turret gunner Jim Goodgion, from Ruston, Lousiana, described a very different welcome from what they expected:
"Them grease monkeys, instead of giving us a glad hand, damn near blew their tops. They had just taken seven cracked-up P-40's and made two good ones out of them and here we come along and mash the hell out of the whole seven of them all over again." "
citation: I don't have it in front of me, but if you want it, I can find it.

All that being said, I have been unable to actually identify my uncle in any of the crew photos associated with the "Lucky" or Harold "Hap" Kendall's crew. My information comes from various sources identifying him as the navigator of that crew.

Thinking today of the heroes of that day, those that survived and those that were lost, and of the good people of Romania who, by most accounts, were hospitable and helpful to our downed airmen.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Five years ago...

Five years ago today I posted this on my Facebook:
"I never get tired of this....Wonderful voice, classical guitar, desert evening, and hot brunettes...what's to get tired of?"
Still true.

Questions that bother me so....

If you don't know where I get the reference, it is here:

...but more on that later perhaps. On to the questions:

1) Why are so many people all fired up about a lion being killed in Africa, and so few people fired up about Planned Parenthood selling baby parts?

2) Why do we listen to the men who are making millions of dollars a year complain about how raising the minimum wage is "outrageous"?

3) Why do people want to believe that the "automation" being found at McDonald's is a direct response to raising the minimum wage?

4) Why do people believe everything they read on Facebook, and take it as gospel?

I'm sure there are more, but those are at the top of my list today, and each is probably fodder for it's own blog post. I think that in lieu of that I will pour another whiskey, grab a book, and sit on the balcony.

Some if it's magic, and some of it's tragic, but I've had a good life all the way.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

I don't know....

Ok...let's is Saturday, right? I worked day shift Thursday....slept for 8 hours...ran errands and did housework for a while and slept (kind of) for 4 hours...then to the House of Mouse for an 8 hour graveyard. Came home and slept (kind of) for 3 hours until the damn phone woke me up (reminder to self: when you're working graves, turn the phone to silent).  Now I've been up for 3 hours, and in about an hour and a half I need to lie back down in the heat of the day and put my sleep mask back on and try to rest for a few hours before I go back to the House of Mouse for another 8 hours from 2200 today until 0600 tomorrow....then I will probably sleep for another 3 hours so that I don't lose my whole Sunday..then graves back to back Monday and Tuesday night....

Sunday, April 26, 2015


A "series of events" led me to search my old blog posts for a particular post. While I did not find it, I did find this one, written almost five years go: Musing on an empty nest

Not much has changed, and in an already melancholy mood, that is just damn depressing. Sarah is now 23, and still lives with me, so the "empty nest" has not happened, but the feeling is much the same most of the time. She has her work, her friends, her life....and that doesn't include me for the most it should be at this point. 

To make matters "worse", I retired from my full-time job, of over 30 years, three years ago. I am not complaining. It's just that I never saw this coming....I thought that retirement would be great....not having to get up every day and go to work. Not great. At least not from my point of view. As I said in the earlier post, "I don't know how to do alone". Well, it seems at this point that I don't know how to do "not working" either. You see, there's no one to spend the days with, and since I am an apartment dweller, there's no home upkeep or yard work to do. You can only clean an apartment, polish a motorcycle, do laundry so much before there's nothing to do.

I know this is true...I did one thing for over 30 years, since I was 18 years old....through lots of other stuff in life, I did one thing five days a week, fifty or so weeks a year, and I was good at it. And for 18 or so of those I had a second thing, Dad, that I was at least competent, if not "good", at. They were my "raison d'être", according to Webster, my "reason or justification for existence."

They are gone. While I am still Dad, and my usefulness as such still comes in to play now and then, it is not the same. And I still work part-time at that same 30+ year job, but it is sporadic, and not the same.

I have lost my train of thought. I don't know what to do, and that's the problem.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

I just want you to understand....

We don't think we're "better" than you. The few that tarnish the badge, the uniform, don't represent the thousands of us on the streets, all over the United States, and the world, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in the rain, in the snow, in the heat....there when you call us....just as soon as we can be.

Yes, there are few that tarnish the uniform or the badge....we despise them. We do NOT stand with matter what mainstream media tells you.

Yes, we do violent things sometimes. Things you do not understand. Things we walk the streets so you do not HAVE to understand.

We wear the badge, the emblem, the uniform, proudly. To paraphrase Lt. Col Dave Grossman, the badge, the shield, the patch, is a direct, intentional reference to the Knights of Old that carried their shield in their left hand to protect their hearts.

We are ready to do violence on your behalf, so you don't have to suffer. Please understand that.

#uniform #badge #knight #understand

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

There are no words

If this doesn't at least give you goose bumps, let alone bring a tear to your eye, you're dead inside.

Friday, February 27, 2015

You see things differently on a motorcycle.

Transfagarasan Road, Romania
"You see things on a motorcycle in a way that is completely different from any other.  In a car you’re always in a compartment, and because you’re used to it you don’t realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV.  You’re a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame. 

On a cycle the frame is gone.  You’re completely in contact with it all.  You’re in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.  That concrete whizzing by five inches below your foot is the real thing, the same stuff you walk on, it’s right there, so blurred you can’t focus on it, yet you can put your foot down and touch it anytime, and the whole thing, the whole experience, is never removed from immediate consciousness. 

(…) Plans are deliberately indefinite, more to travel than to arrive anywhere.  Secondary roads are preferred.  Paved county roads are the best, state highways are next.  Freeways are the worst.  We want to make good time, but for us now this is measured with emphasis on “good” rather than “time” and when you make that shift in emphasis the whole approach changes.  Twisting hilly roads are long in terms of seconds but are much more enjoyable on a cycle where you bank into turns and don’t get swung from side to side in any compartment.  Roads with little traffic are more enjoyable, as well as safer.  Roads free of drive-ins and billboards are better, roads where groves and meadows and orchards and lawns come almost to the shoulder, where kids wave to you when you ride by, where people look from their porches to see who it is, where when you stop to ask directions or information the answer tends to be longer than you want rather than short, where people ask where you’re from and how long you’ve been riding.”

- Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Bucket list....

Ride. This. Road.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Scientists May Have Discovered The Real Cause Of Addiction

Saturday, January 31, 2015

"You're the one That I Want" from in Sign Language with Paul and Tina

I Ride A Motorcycle, Therefore I Am Better Than You

This is not my essay, and before anyone jumps on it, "better than you" *might* be a little harsh....but this essay does say a lot. I appreciate, at some level, and for some instances, people telling me that riding is dangerous. But honestly folks, don't you think I know that? I'm the one dodging you in your SUV; I'm the one constantly scanning the road for danger; I'm the one riding by and seeing you texting with one hand and drinking Starbucks with the other; I'm the one wondering when you're creeping out slowly if you are going to be the one that turns in front of me, and calculating my escape route if you do; I'm the one feeling the wind and air whether it be hot or cold, smelling the smells, tasting the rain, experiencing life, not just "driving". I know it's "dangerous"....maybe that's a small part of why I do it....but certainly not all.

"It dawned on me after the umpteenth person decided to provide a public service announcement to my face and inform me that motorcycle riding was dangerous. Not motorcycle racing, just riding in general. A form of transport used by hundreds of millions of people around the world. Instead of arguing with this caring soul, my emotions were that of pity for them. Pity that they actually believed what they were saying and they themselves would never know what I experience on a near daily basis while riding. And then it clicked as I looked into their eyes – I’m a better person than you.
I should probably qualify that I mean by ‘better’. Riding a motorcycle doesn’t turn you into Mother Teresa. Riding a motorcycle doesn’t automatically turn you from a wanker into a saint. What I mean by better is that as a motorcycle rider, I’m better than you because I’m better able to experience what it’s like to be a human being. To feel alive and live, instead of just existing. I’m pushing back from the continual encroachment of rules, regulations and conformity that modern society is moving towards. It’s a one fingered salute to political correctness, conservative values and herd mentality. And it makes be better than you, the non-rider.
There’s a lot of clichés about motorcycle riders and riding. But like stereotypes, clichés are often spoken and applied because they can be an accurate reflection of reality. Comradery, brotherhood, freedom. While those things are nice, what to me is the greatest part of riding a motorcycle is feeling so alive.
But motorcycle riding is dangerous, you say. You’ll get yourself killed, they say. When did we as a society and a culture become so pathetic? Wars rage all over the world, children are recruited into armies, men and women work in dangerous conditions so that you and I can buy the latest crap Apple wants to sell  – and you’re scared of riding a bike? Stop being so pathetic and learn to live properly and not in fear.

Fear of terrorism. Fear of Ebola. Fear of whatever the next talking point will be. All those things don’t matter when I’m riding through beautiful mountain scenery, taking in sweeping turn after sweeping turn. I’m pushing back against the expectations of what society deems acceptable, and I’m doing it in a way that hurts no else.
I see other riders doing the amazing, the beautiful. Riding through Egypt, Nepal, the Andes, visiting remote and distance parts of this amazing planet. But instead, you enjoy your cruise on a boat full of self-absorbed people who think learning about and understanding other cultures involves a day trip to their local beach.
Even the worst things of modern life turn into positives on a motorcycle. While you’re stuck in traffic on the freeway doing your daily two hour commute, I’m riding past you between your car and every other person who feels the need to drive a five occupant vehicle with just themselves to their daily grind. Yes, traffic actually becomes a positive on a bike and I get no greater satisfaction then when a ‘cager’ tries to block my path while filtering, as I just manoeuvre around them on the opposite side of their car. I pity you, but only a little, because it’s your choice to be in the situation that you are, and that’s why I’m better than you.
You hate your vacation trip in the car because of all the sharp turns and bends and undulations of the road. I pass you exiting a hairpin and feel the wind rushing me, the smell of the trees and the sounds of life and enjoy the journey just as much as the destination. Cliché, but so true.
You might think I sound egotistical, but I’m not. You can be better too, it’s not difficult. But for every person I encounter who looks down on me for riding a bike, I can’t help but grin and say to myself, I ride a motorcycle and therefore I’m better than you."