Memorial Day and Red Meat

BBQ

All you self righteous pundits who have played the guilt cards and chastised us this Memorial Day, about Bar-B-Ques, parties and such, GET A GRIP. It is true that Memorial Day has a much deeper meaning, but you miss the point. Ten to one most of them have not lived through a war that threatened the very base of those outdoor pastimes. I lived through WWII as a child, praying our boys would “beat the hun”, that they would be safe in doing so, and selfishly worrying if I was going to be okay. Red meat was a rarity in our home during the war, and Bar-B-Ques were unheard of. For over four long years of my childhood, the war slogged on, our boys persevered and were victorious. I remember how glorious was the day the war was over.

Every Memorial Day I find the best piece of beef I can afford, throw it on the Bar-B-Que and let it smoke and sizzle. I savor the juicy meaty flavor and firery aromas and thank God and every Allied soldier, that has laid down his life for my right to indulge.

So……you snowflake talking heads, who want to make me feel bad about celebrating Memorial Day with a Bar-B-Que, listen up. Unless you are a vegan, (which you probably are), next Memorial Day (one of the two biggest BBQ days in America, and there is a reason for that) go out and buy the best piece of red mead you can afford, grill it up and salute the great men and women of our great society that have given their lives for you and the freedom you have to do that. Stop the guilt crap for crying out loud.

Floaters? Who Needs Em?

Floaters

One day when I was learning to fly, my flight instructor asked me what the pattern altitude was for an airport at which we were preparing to land. In order to answer I had to locate the airport in my Jeppesen Pilot Manual. That was easy, it was in big, bold print and easy to find. Next I had to locate the runway elevation and then add 400 feet. I hemmed and hawed for what seemed a lifetime and sheepishly looked over to my intrepid instructor, Gary Jestice and said, “Print’s too small”. “That’s it, no more flying until you get glasses”, He harumphed with authority. So I started wearing glasses when I was 40 and lost at 6500 feet.

The glasses got thicker and thicker as time went on, when along came cateract surgery. I first registered my desire to have cateract surgery when I was about 67 or so. Dr. Janet, my supersweet Optometrist, who I taught to make fresh pasta, told me she didn’t like to recommend cateract surgery until age 75 or more. Finally the day arrived and 20-20 returned. Everything went fine until I started to develop an irritating haze. No problem, Zap, Zap with another laser and it was gone, or so I thought.

Two years of marvelous, clear, un-squinting vision ensued. One morning I woke up and there were two worms swimming in my right eyeball. “Floaters? What the hell is a floater?”. I asked. That happens when your eyeball tears away from your retina. Dr. Janet and I looked at the orange eyeball photos she began to amass on her computer, and sure enough, there they were, floaters. I asked a million questions, fearing some worsening condition and the upshot was, “Live with them, the cure is worse than the condition.”

Living with a floater is easier said than done. For the first week I would swear that something was skulking in my peripheral vision so I constantly jerked my head to see what is was, …… nothing. When the one in my left eye occured, I was sure there was a small bug crawling across the arm-rest of my Lazy Boy, and I constantly looked down, but he scooted off before I could swat him.

Eventually your brain says, “These aren’t worth looking at.”, and they drift off out of your field of vision. I imagine that the drifting off will continue, but I wonder what it will be like when the area they drift to gets filled up with so many of them that they have nowhere else to go but back into your field of vision. I’ll worry about that when it happens, I suppose.

To Blog Or Not To Blog?

Blogging

Blog: a website that contains online personal reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks, videos, and photographs provided by the writer; also :  the contents of such a site; i.e. Blogger.

Thoughts and ideas often come to me, that energize me in such a way that I have to share them. It’s not that they are necessarily earth shattering, or momentous or colossal, rather inescapable , inexorable and unstoppable. I get a burning NEED to put pen to paper and (via Word) and share.

I haven’t felt that need, of late, because I am so bummed by the current political commentary that it has invaded and decimated my yearning to communicate.

I have subscribed to the local newspaper (where and when I could) for nearly forty years, avidly reading the news, chuckling with Mallard Fillmore, and puzzling the crosswords. Peter Jennings was a fixture on my six PM TV fare and I replied him a fond “Goodnight” at the end of each broadcast. Since his early death from cancer, “over 9/11”, I have searched for a replacement, finding no one, save Bill O’Reilly, to take his place (and we see what happened to him – ‘come back Bill, wherever you are’).

I can’t stand the Political news segments on any of the uber biased liberal prime time news stations; and since USA today came to town and liberalized our moderate newspaper; I have none of my lifelong habits to fall back on, the habits that gave me a sense of stability, patriotism and belonging.

In eight years, my world has been turned upside-down, sideways and backward; not a good place to be at my age.

I have ordered Will Shortrz’s puzzle books, found comickingdom.com/mallard-fillmore on line, watch local TV News and have found a new sense of self, order and serenity. F— the Prime Time Political News reporting.

I hereby promise to continue to share my thoughts and ideas with any of you that care to listen, and do it lovingly, enthusiastically, and devotedly.

Growing Older

Growing Older

As I grow older, I realize that it is a time in my life to savor. The obvious why, is that time is running out. The less obvious why, is the realization of how little I have learned during my lifetime. Let me give you a case in point.

For 78 years I have been peeling banana skins from the stem end. It seemed obvious to me to grab the stem, bend it backwards and boom, the peel splits and peels right off. Actually that happens alot of the time, but when the banana is fresh and new, often the stem won’t snap, and that pesky peel splits, lengthwise, and mashes the stem end of the fruit. You’d never ask someone how to peel a banana though, would you? They’d probably tell you to go ask a monkey, or some smart aleck answer like that. So for 78 years, I have blissfully struggled.

I was watching the Nat Geo channel the other day; it was a series about our closest animal relatives, the chimpanzee. We are 96% alike, BTW, according to the people that know this sort of stuff. I was carefully watching one of the chimps, sitting on a treelimb, peeling a banana. He held the banana in one hand, and with the other, without incident, rapidly peeled the skin. I pressed the rewind for another, more scientific, look. Bing, bang, boom, the peel was off. I rewound again and I noticed the stem end was pointing down. I rewound again and this time, tapped the slo-mo button and sure enough the mystery unfolded.

He held the banana with the stem end down, with the other hand, thumb and forefinger, he pinched the opposite end and pulled. I learned three things. You are never too old to learn; second, if you want to learn the right way to do something, ask and expert; third, laugh at yourself, you are funny.

INTERSTICE – A Word To Remember

Interstice

Interstice: a small gap that lies between things.
Pronounced: In-tur-stiss.

I really love words, and this is one of my favorites. To me, the word itself describes exactly what it is. Inter; meaning between, among; Stice; meaning, I don’t know, but it sounds like a ‘small space’ to me. I like saying the word.

Why, in the name of all things holy, would anyone know that word, much less care about it. Well if you are a Civil Engineer, and you have taken a Properties of Materials course, you had to be exposed to the word, if not; you probably, never in a lifetime, would run across it. So what is it all about.

Concrete is made up of 1.) Large aggregate, 2.) Small aggregate, 3.) Sand, 4.) Cement and 5.) Water (There are other things like ‘water reducers’, ‘accelerators’ and ‘retarders’; collectively ‘additives’ – not for discussion here). If you filled a bucket full of the first three ingredients you would have a fairly solid, dense mixture, strong enough to stand on, but if you turned the bucket upside down, you would be left with a pile of loose rocky materials that would ultimately blow away. The reason this happens is because the interstices between the various aggregates are void and filled only with air. Nothing holding the group together.

You need to add a slurry of the materials 4 and 5 to fill the tiny interstices between the aggregates to form a tight, solid mass as the water drys, or hydrates. Voila! Concrete. Who knew?

SEDITION, An Old Word That Needs Reviving

Sedition
SE.DI.TION
səˈdiSH(ə)n/
noun
Def. Conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state
Is SEDITION illegal?
Sedition is the crime of revolting or inciting revolt against government. However, because of the broad protection of free speech under the first amendment, prosecutions for sedition are rare.
Sedition is an old word, that in my opinion, needs to be revived. The First Amendment guarantees that we, United States Citizens, have freedom of speech. It is a guarantee that I have hung my hat on many times in the past, and a right that under no circumstance can be denied. We must all feel that we have a right to express ourselves.
A Senator’s Oath of Office:   “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”
Having offered all of the above, I believe, in my heart of hearts, that Charles Ellis “Chuck” Schumer stepped beyond the First Amendment and went against his oath of office during a NYC Rally against President Trump’s recent immigration order. Schumer, within his rights and oath of office, laid out his beliefs that the immigration order went against everything that America stood for. So far, he is within his First Amendment Rights and just barely within his Official Obligatatory Oath. However, he then pumped and riled the crowd to a frenzy, and at its peak, repeatedly pounded the podium, screeching and screaming, over and over again, “DUMP TRUMP, DUMP TRUMP, DUMP TRUMP”. By doing so, Schumer, in my opinion, overstepped his bounds, revoking his Constitutional Rights and invoked an ACT of SEDITION.
We, law abiding, tax paying, well meaning United States Citizens, have heard so much of this type of oratory lately that we tend to shrug it off as “dissatisfaction and reaction by the losing opposition”. Well, enough is enough, for me at least. The President of the United States is the Constitutionally anointed leader of these United States, which Schumer, and others of his ilk, have Constitutionally sworn to defend, and to bear true faith and allegiance.
“SEDITION”, I shout at the top of my register. Schumer needs, as a minimum to be censured and as a maximum removed from his Senate seat.

A Date That Will Live In Infamy

FDR let us know, in no uncertain terms, that another country had overstepped its bounds. No uncertain terms, meaning that the United States, as unprepared as it was at the time, was not about to let a foreign power attack its sovereignty without serious repercussions. It took over three years of blood, sweat, and tears before the sting of December 7, 1941 was finally erased, but it got done. There has never been another attack on US soil since. We must never let history repeat itself if we are to remain the country we are meant to be.

I Heart Words

Words2

I thank my Danish born, Naturalized American Mother for my love of words. She always told me that if I wasn’t sure what a word meant, I shouldn’t use it. “Always look it up in the dictionary first,” She advised. In those days, ‘look it up in the dictionary‘ meant going to the bookshelf, opening the largest and heaviest book there and leafing through many, very thin pages to find your answer, taking several minutes. Because Mom was insistant, I looked up the words, but I am sure I was among the few. Today we have Google, answer in seconds, there is no excuse. Words can be tricky.

Take, for instance the words, dumb and stupid. People seem the use the words interchangeably. No doubt because they have never looked them up. I have often made the statement that “I was really dumb in highschool, but I wasn’t stupid.”
Dumb: Mute, speechless, toungtied, at a loss for words.
Stupid: Lacking intelligence or common sense.

I used to think that vilified meant; excused, acquitted, but now I know that it means belittled, desparaged, libeled.
Untenable used to mean; not useable, incorrect, unworthy. We all know it means; weak, unsound, shakey.

There are probably hundreds of examples, all to which I elude, seem to allude me at the moment. Whether you play with them or just communicate with them, make sure to use the right ones, look them up.