Sunday, July 10, 2011

Running out of My_____..

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Running out of My_____..

I only know of one other person who is still on My_____. I am not even sure Tom is anymore. The plans for the Fire Sale got leaked last week, and it made me start to think. I gave up on My______ a long time ago, heading, like everyone else, to the security breach that is Facebook.

But, in its day, My_____ served its own purpose for me. I blogged. Inane rambling, rants, prayers and dreams, about everything from soup to nuts. Friends. Enemies. Work. Politics. Love. Hate. Stupidity. Observations. Foolishness.

Just for the hell of it, and before they pull the plug, I am going to post some of those blogs here. I could care less if you read them. Its for my own purposes. They won't be in any particular order. Or of any particular subject. if I edit them, to match changes for today, you'll know. I'll date them as to the day they were first posted.

Just putting some things away, before they pull the plug. Oh. If you offended. Oh well...

Our finest generation

Our finest Generation - Aug 5, 2010

Current mood:thoughtful
I managed to get in a couple of shows at the VABFB and the RVAFB over the last couple of weeks. Shows I had planned on attending before my retirement. Still have one or two more, but those are not for a couple of weeks.

Saw DL Hughley, a comedian from Portsmouth, who had a TV show for years. Funny guy, who changed his act due to the Mel Gibsom "pack of niggers" line.

I support the comedians who are on Opie and Anthony. DLH has been on the show many times, so I ws not going to miss the chance to say hello, get a WOW sticker signed, and to show my support.

Jim Breuer came to the VABFB store front a week or so ago.

He is just plain exhausting to watch. Frenetic and frantic on stage, he slipped in and out of voices and impression, like one takes breaths of air.

One of his bit was about taking his aged father someplace in the car, and he has an accident in the car. He crapped himself. In passing he mentioned that his pop was a WWII vet who had fought in the pacific.

I won't lie. Those vets are passing out of our lives at an alarming rate. In their 80's time is just catching up to them.

When I met him after the show, I was my usual tongue tied self. Said hello. Thanked him for coming to see us. Signed stickers and a DVD I bought. But no mention of his pop.

After I got home I kicked myself in the ass. How had I done that? I was going to stand up and cheer, but was not sure how the club would react if I stood up, to show my respect for his pop. Iwould have disrupted the show, and not being one that likes to speak in public, it would have been messy had I done so.

I wrote him on Facebook and told him this, and asked him to tell his pop Thank You for his servic to our country. Kids today, as I, do not have any idea what it is like to be a combat vet. especially in those times. Brutality, does not even come close to describe the conditions they went thru. Fighting an enemy that was fanatical in their beliefs.

To my surprize, he wrote me back. I was not expecting that. We exchangted a couple of notes back and forth, and that was that.

Its a crying shame the leadership in this country does not realize what these men and women went thru, so that we could sit here, in relative safety and twitter each other to death.

In a couple of weeks the Pacific set will be released. I watched and I plan on buying it. Though it does not have the character attachemnt of Band of Brothers, it is, as best as I can tell, a reasonably accurate look at the horrors these men of our finest Generation went thru.

Mr Breuer. I salute you. Thank you for your service. You will be remembered. At least by me.


105 - Aug 5 2010

Current mood:amused
Its been a bit since I posted. Been keeping busy with a lot of things. Trying to get retirement issues straightened out. The endless job hunt - which I am not trying hard at, at the moment.

Got a call right after I retired from one of my kids I trained (Trifecta #3) inviting me to come to his station and have dinner. I demured for a bit, so that I could get a ID card. That way I would not have any trouble getting in thru the gate.

M and I went up there and had a decent firehouse meal. Talked of good old times, and bad new ones. The fox is definately running the henhouse now, and if it be known, I got while the getting was good. Its a mess. Kinda like spilled oil on the floor. The mess is spreading, and getting worse and worse, each and every day.

George's wife made me a cake, and its the first time that I can recall getting heartburn from a cake. So says she: her oven went out (they ran out of propane) in the middle of the baking process and she finished it up in a toaster oven. GAWD in heaven, it was awful. But she walked in the door telling me this, so to no ones surprize, it was.

They made me a plaque, commerating my 23 years in the Fire Service. Too bad it is 29 years. I busted George's ass on that, and on another level. He is going to get it remade. [I posted a picture of this plaque in my Fire Department memoroes photo set on facebook].

    Waiting for the women to show up, I started to hand George things to eat. I tsk'd his protest, and he did as he was told. Fed him 3 fiber bars, with a total of 105 per cent of the daily percentage of fiber. It didn't take long after I left, for those to kick in.

Messages from the hapless victims in the station started shortly. What in the hell did you give him? He is killing us here.

Ah, butt for the old days....

Good times being freeze dried

Good times being freeze dried - Aug 5 2010

Good times being freeze dried

Current mood:animated

Guess I am really behind the power curve these days. I was digging thru a cabinet and found my old Sony D6C cassette recorder. Which means nothing to anyone anymore, and in light of modern technology has quickly went the way of the 45. But. There is always a but.

Thats the tape deck I toured with when I went to Grateful Dead shows. I taped many a show, and when the tour veered off from my ability to travel, I passsed it offf to friends, who taped other shows on the tours for me. They copied the tapes and mailed the stuff back to me.

I had thought it was dead. No pun intended. The last time I tried it, it did not work. Turns out it was old batteries that I had left in there. Ahem, I have to clean up some minor battery acid leakage, but the last couple of days I have been in a time warp, listening to 25 plus year old Dead tapes. Some I made. Some by others. Some copies of copies - such is the nature of tape trading in its day.

Surprized that the tapes have held up. I guess I need to get them transfered to audio file before it is too late. I completely missed the then come and now gone DAT revolution. On my meager Fireman's salery, at that time, a DAT recorder, and the tapes, were way out of my I can afford this range. So, I bought what was in its day, the best portable tape recorder available. About the size of a small hardback book, it made, and still might make excellent recordings.

Doubt I can find fresh tape anyway. So,. todays, its JFK stadium in the heat of the day. Listening to a show I did not attend. reliving simplier times in my life.

My Captain and chief at the station thought I was nuts. I would be on the phoine, waiting for a whif of tour dates. I would start putting in carpet bombing runs of leave slips, trying to hit the days of the tour.

Went to Hampton, of course, many times. Greensboro, Pittsbuirg, Atlanta, Washington, and other places I have forgotten. My kit (*deck, cables, boxes of tapes, batteries, cables of everykind, and Rocky and Bullwinkle traveled the length and bredth of the country.

I was easy to find in a sea of mic towers. I ran a camera tripod up with an extension pole about 15 feet into the air. Cross beam and mic holders. A bouiquet of roses and Rocky and Bullwinkle on top. I always told my friends, that if they were looking for me, look for Rocky and Bullwinkle, as they were my way of making my set up findable in a crowd of toght people all trying to get that perfect place, and perfect tape.

So, for the forseeable future, this kid will be sitting and reliving good times. Eyes closed. Dancing as only one can dance at a Dead show.

Iko Iko!!

Mel Gibson and the "H" Bomb

Mel Gibson and the "H" Bomb - July 14, 2010

Current mood:thoughtful

I grew up in the 60's. The tail end of the old era's and the beginnings of the new ones. Where George Wallace still ran the roost. And JFK and LBJ were hated men.
I started out as a flaming liberal. I came into and thru the Summer of Love stuff and fell for it. My dad, being more old school, hated that one of his son's had left the reservation.

As I got older, I withdrew from the liberalism of my youth. Being able to see the destruction it was wrecking on the country, and slipped, ever so slowly into a conservative mindset.

Though I have went the gamit from the young Democrat, to Reagan Republican, my stomach is now turned by the ilk that runs either party now, and I just see myself as uncommitted, or at best a libertarian.

What has not changed much in me is my staunch opposition to hypocricy. of, its now a thing of daily life. I have no voice. Nor do I want one. I am happy in my little piece of the world. I do get aggravated by the ones who cry loud and long about something, say using the word 'nigger'. Yet, their cries are one sided. While dragging some thru the muck and mire of personal attack and destruction, they will sheepishly march past those they have given a pass to.

Though there are millions of examples, lets use my two favorites: Jesse Jackass, and the 'Rev' Al ( ....Reverend? Then I am the frak'n Pope..)

They went after Imus. Michael Richards. Full bore. Guns a blazing. Walking right past the rap musicians who use 'nigger' and 'nappy' on a re-occuring constant basis. Help me out here. if that word is so awful, isn't it awful no matter who says/sings it/uses it in a joke/drunken rant?

Do these jackasses know this isn't Animal Farm? Where all users of a word are equal, just some are more equal than others.

There's a word, that IMHO is far worse than 'nigger'. Its hypocrite. You can't hold people to a language expectation, that you will not hold yourself.

I won't lie. In my younger days, I got plenty of use out of that word. And it has excaped my lips in modern times, on occasion. But, generally speaking, it has no weight to me. I am a satirist, at heart. And if I can shread you with an insult, comment or observation, that comes at you from several directions, or I can just go the easy route and call someone a 'nigger', what do you really think will satisfy me the most?

In the grand scheme of things, I could care, or care less about Mel Gibson's rant. Or Micheal Richards, or even Imus. In the country we live in, they are afforded the right to Free Speech. In theory. On one side, expression of that Free Speech should come with some self-control, and the other, if the speech is Free, then all speech is free. Even if it goes where your goat is parked. In the examples above, its hard to tell if it was errant humor, drugs, alcohol or rage that drove these rants. Whatever the case, until I hear the likes of Jesse Jackass, and 'Rev' Al condemn all uses of that word, instead of a select few, then its of no real concern of mine. And, at best these people are ignorant hypocrites, or worse, fools.

   I can't say it the best. Because it already has been said. By Lenny Bruce. Here is a transcript from the 'Lenny' film. Hopefully, it will do several things in our lifetimes. It'll take that word, and others like it off the table, and secondly, it will put race vampires like Jesse Jackson and 'Rev' Al out of business.

If you can say it better than this, let me know. If you are offended by whats below this, unfollow/defriend me. We're on two different wave lenghts..

From 'Lenny"...

"Are there any niggers here tonight?

Can you turn on the house lights, and could the waiters and waitresses just stop serving for a second?

And turn off the spot.

Now what did he say? ''Are there any niggers here tonight?''

There's one nigger here. l see him back there working.

Let's see. There's two niggers.And between those two niggers sits a kike.

And there's another kike. That's two kikes and three niggers.

And there's a spic, right? Hm?

There's another spic.

Ooh, there's a wop. There's a Polack.

And then, oh, a couple of greaseballs. There's three lace-curtain lrish Micks.

And there's one hip, thick, hunky, funky boogie. boogie, boogie. Mm-mm.

l got three kikes. Do l hear five kikes?

l got five kikes. Do l hear six spics?

Six spics. Do l hear seven niggers?

l got seven niggers. Sold American!

l'll pass with seven niggers, six spics, five Micks, four kikes,
three guineas, and one wop.

You almost punched me out, didn't ya?

l was trying to make a point, that it's the suppression of the word
that gives it the power, the violence, the viciousness.

Dig. lf President Kennedy would just go on television and say ''l'd like to introduce you to all the niggers in my cabinet.''

And if he'd just say ''nigger, nigger'' to every nigger he saw,

''Boogie, boogie, boogie, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger,'' till it didn't mean anything any more!

Then you'd never be able to make a black kid cry because somebody called him
a nigger in school."

'nuff said, Mel. More than nuff said, Al. Jesse.

My fathers son

My Father's Son - Jun 20, 2010

My fathers son

Current mood:contemplative

With each passing day of remembrance I have, it gets harder and harder. Spent the day reading the recollections of others. Some sad. Funny. Acid filled. Reflective. Its hard to sum up the worth of someone in the confines of a day. Thousands of days and who knows how many memories compressed into a family gathering ending in a dinner. A trip to the cemetary. Or a trip into the depths of ones memories.

I have scant pictures of my dad. He, like I am today, didn't like to have his picture taken. I have memories, but with age they will fade. I can't lie.

My dad was a paradox. In his youth, I am told he was a handsome man. A ladies man. A man with a wild streak in him. He told me tales of his youth running the hills of Tennessee. Hot rod cars. Beer joints. Fights. Dust ups with other rowdies and occasionally the police.

He grew up in destitute poverty. He enlisted in the USN during WWII, but was put out for being too young. He joined the Army and served in the Army of Occupation in Japan. I have photos of this rake, hat cocked to one side, with Japanese barmaids at his side.

He left Tennessee and came to Virginia to find work. I know he was in the City Fire Department, and he worked on the C&O. Nor sure where my mom came into this picture. She, living 200 miles away. I know nothing of their courtship or marriage.

I then my brother came along. I secure in the knowledge I was the eldest child. We were raised in a strict household. Dad drank, more than a little when I was a child. I can still remember some of the fights.

One day, I got sat down and told we had a visitor. His name was Danny. At the time I did not know I had a older brother from dad's previous marriage. Apparently mom did not either. He came visited, left, and I have never seen him again. If I needed a drop of his blood to survive, I would not know where to start to find him.

Dad managed to get himself onto the railroad in Civil Service. This resulted in a move, from the apartment we lived in. It was a secure place. We knew everyone and they knew us. Little did I know that my special by myself trips to the market, were watched by many eyes. Each watching that I looked before I crossed the street. Doubtless, my mom followed me, quietly, making sure.

My brother and I shared a room. The house still stands. I drive by it occasionally. The apple tree that we used as a snack pantry in the summer time, is long gone. The neighbors I grew up with moved on, or passed.

We were middle class. Maybe a little higher up in it. Dad had a good job, and he made decent money. We were the first on our block to get a color TV. Which might sound strange in todays world, but for a time, seeing something in color on the TV was a big deal. We tore into the Sears Wish Book each year, and made the trip downtown to Sears to see Santa.

On another day, mom and dad took us aside for another talk. I had a sister coming to live with us. Huh? Now I was number 3 in the pecking order. My half-sister - whom I have always refered to as my sister, showed up from Tennessee. Leaving a brother and sister of hers, that dad would not acknowledge as being his. If you looked back, this was the beginning of the end. Mom apparently did not know about wife 2 of 3. Nor did she know of kids 4 and 5 and 6 of six. Between a butchery of a female operation she endured, and her own feeling of betrayal, she and dad just tollerated each other from that point on. I grew up in a house, where there was little love, and no contact. Happiness and love left. This lesson haunts me to this day.

We outgrew the house, and with one final move, moved into the last house they owned in Virginia. It too still stands, though it has been forgotten and neglected. The den that Dad, Mr Moss and his son Ronnie built is still there. I helped as a kid could. I was never too good with my hands. Never had mechanical or trade abilities.

I guess all in all I was a disapointment to them. Kinda a mommas boy. I was more into books and sciences, instead of sports. Doubtful I was what they had hoped for.

Mom and dad made us do our schoolwork. They insisted that we get an education. I guess there is where we fought the most. Restriction awaited any of us that brought home a failing grade. Failing meaning anything below a C. And the C's brought them to push us to do better.

When college time came around, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I gave the railroad and the Fire Department thought, but was unable at the time to get on either. I drifted. Dad took ill and had to retire. They moved to Tennessee, getting a house in the outskirts of Chattanooga.

We had made many trips there, during my childhood. All I could remember was the poverty, and the people who I could not comprehend. I stayed behind, in VA, when they left, working 2 jobs, and thinking I was going to make it on my own.

When I got ill, and had to move there with them, I saw it as failure, and not a new beginning. I became closer to the family there. Again drifting, I was at a loss at what I wanted to do. I joined the military, basically in a display of waving the white flag.

I was never good with romance. Be it the knowledge that I did not know how to treat others, or some other combination of things. I had my shares of loves of my life. Gail, who I boldly told everyone I was going to marry as a first or second grader. A gal named Karen, who I thought might be the one, till I asked my dad if I could become Catholic - not even knowing what that was. His answer, when given to me, ended that. A couple of others. Nothing ever worked. I was the square peg in the tiny hole when it came to relationships.

I had a long running love, for many years. Thought she was the one. It unraveled in an act of betrayal on her part, and we both died slow painful deaths as things fell apart. She became a Ghost to me. But that was long, long ago.

In the same light as my joining the miltary, I married a gal I met while in the Army. To this day I can't say if I was in love or not. Just thought I needed to do this, and after believing I had lost the person I really wanted to be with, it just happened.

I guess I am my fathers son. I was not very good at marriage either. It ended badly. Divorce is always painful. But a necessity, at times.

I came back home to VA and started my career. Minus the ex-wife, I figured I was done with all of that. I had no idea how to be with someone. Just figured that was that. The one I wanted to be with turned me down when I proposed to her, so that closed that door, as I found out later.

Met another gal, who seemed to be able to put up with me. My emptiness and unability to let anyone come in close to me, seemed to balance out with her ability to sooth and comfort me.

I almost lost her when I thought about that gal from my past again. Things changed here - just retracing my fathers steps - and they will never be the same. But we endure. Not sure if it is just comfort, or what. We exist in this house, with little or no friction.

After the passing of my grandmother, father and mother in a 25 month span, I have spent the time afterwards trying to reconnect with my family in Tennessee. The half-sister, and half-brother that mom and dad denied, are now parts of my life that I am trying to make up for lost time, as fast as I can. I guess if I was to be angry with them over anything it would be this. Denying me a chance to have part of my family. Trying to make up for the damage that my father did to them. And to me.

For me, there is little else. Money, fame and fortune do not motivate me. Self-satisfaction, accomplishment, and family do. My father withheld these things from me. The disapointing kid, who never quite measured up. Like a 10,000 piece puzzle with a bunch of pieces missing.

But I am my fathers son. In many ways he and I are identical. And today, as so many folks spent the day reliving memories of their past, I do as well. Some good. Some bad. But it is all I am. The sum of the total of the parts. I wish I had 10 minutes to thank him, flaws and not, for making me the man I became. He might not say so, but I think he might be proud of what I accomplished.

At the end of the day I can look myself in the mirror. And thats OK with me.

Lights Out

Lights Out - June 12, 2010

Lights Out

Current mood:miserable
The realization that my career as a Fireman is over has been hitting harder these last few days. The how's and the why's as well.

Got my final paycheck yesterday from a life I gave my best to. Pay off for my unused leave. About what I expected. It's the body pain that is in my immediate thoughts now. It's not much of a trade off.

My back is so torn up I can barely get out of bed. I soldiered on as best as I could, for as long as I could, before the reality finally caught up to me. I am paying the price now.

Years upon years of giving the best I had has left me a broken shell of what I used to be. It's frustrating and disheartening to think that for a scant payoff, we're all squared up. We broke your body, and at times, spirit: now go.

But I'll take the blame for some of it. I carried myself as far as I could with just a HS and Jeopardy education. Further than I deserved? Further than I ever imagined.

So today, I sit. My back is on fire in a handful of places. Slowly coming to the conclusion I am going to have to turn myself over to a back surgeon. Once where I would fall into fitfully sleep in a moments notice, I now find myself tossing and turning with my broken back until sheer exhaustion finally overwhelms me.

I loved the Fire Department. It was good to me. I was good to it. It gave me a living. And it retired me as well..