Well, hello there!  I’ve been doing my best to keep from going outside for any reason at all.  This is hard to do since the wife has gone to Colorado for moral support and washing machine replacement.  Over the last week, the daily average has been somewhere between hell and a much warmer spot (Phoenix).  I have a Mini-Max thermometer and it told me on Friday that the highest temperature reached was 101 degrees (fahrenhot).  Since the actual thermometer is on the front porch, I aimed my camera out the front door and zoomed in on the reading.  Hah!  I didn’t have to go outside!

At night is has been a little more reasonable – only hitting the low 80’s.  I’d mow my jungle lawn, but I’m afraid that the lawn tractor will go up in a burst of flame (not to mention the plastic of the seat adhering to my seat).  Mowing at 0300 is probably not a good idea either.

Yesterday, a little lost cloud passed over my house and in a freakish set of circumstances let loose with a huge blast of thunder at exactly the same time my cat landed on the floor after jumping off the couch.  I jumped a foot, but suffice it to say that the cat jumped further – around 15 feet if I measured correctly.  When last seen, she was headed horizontally across the floor in hovercat mode about three inches off the floor.  She didn’t even respond to my calls of ‘crunchy!’ until the storm had passed.  Even then she repeatedly looked at me as if I’d done it on purpose.

Today it is only as hot as the approaches to hell: a mere 84.  It is partly cloudy (a condition the weather-guessers insist on calling ‘partly sunny’) and there is a very small breeze blowing once in a while.  I did get my lawn mowed however.  It was rapid and required that I actually leave the house so I made it fast and ducked back inside right away.  As I gaze out the window, I can see little ridges of grass where, in my haste, I didn’t quite get over far enough and left a trail.

Boredom has set in.  I’ve watched enough satellite TV to pay for my outrageous billing for the month and have reverted back to books.  I’ve started Tom Clancy’s latest book, which weighs in at approximately 5 pounds (weight, not monetary) and contains over 700 pages.  I’m halfway through it and enjoying it thoroughly.  A week ago, I ended up at Ollie’s (a local “we have everything” store) and bought three more backup books just in case this heat wave continues past December.

I sat at the table this morning eating my cereal and had a random thought: Why did all the cereal companies drop the use of waxed paper for liners?  Waxed paper kept a great seal and allowed you to have more than one box open at the same time without any of them going stale.  Now, they create these Kevlar liners that takes a bazooka to open and, in the process, scatters cereal all over the kitchen floor.  This is excepting, of course, Shredded Wheat.  These little bales of hay come three to a packet but, if you note on the specifications box, the figures are for TWO biscuits.  This means that you have to figure 1.5 times all the figures to actually arrive at what you ate/are eating.  On the other hand, you can re-pack one biscuit for the next time.  This means that when Shredded Wheat comes around in breakfast rotation (about a week later) the one biscuit you saved has gone stale.  Bummer.

Fixing my own meals doesn’t stop at breakfast.  I now have to do both lunch and supper (or dinner – depending on where you were brought up).  I wouldn’t mind so much, but I have to go out into the garage and open the freezer door to select an eatable.  Once that’s done, I fix it in one of two ways: 1) boil it in a pan, or, 2) nuke it with microwaves.  Done either way, the meal kind of tastes the same – bleh.

I haven’t included any animal pictures lately because even the squirrels are holed up in their air-conditioned condos awaiting cooler weather.  I imagine it’s pretty hard on them because they start out with a fur coat and get warmer.  Even the birds are panting when they land on the lawn.  Their prey (worms, one presumes) are dug in deep enough so that even the sharpest robin’s beak can’t reach them.  I know this is true because I saw a robin just the other day with a shovel over its shoulder.

Random thoughts are cool; one never knows where they will end up.


Squirrel Attack!

I was looking out the window of my computer room and spotted a squirrel getting ready for a run at my corn cob bungee cord.  I snapped some shots as (s)he crept up on the unsuspecting quarry:

I like the last one.  It’s sort of a “go away and leave me alone” shot.


My Birthday

Well, here it is again; another birthday.  This one is a milestone though.  It isn’t a decade gone by, but an end to a decade – my 60’s.  Today I am 69.

I will have to cram a load of stuff into this year because once I trun 70 it’s supposed to be all downhill.  I thought of starting a bucket list, but couldn’t think of anything I’d really like to do that I already haven’t done.  Normal stuff seems a bit mundane and some of the more exotic things are now memories.

Like, for instance, driving a steam locomotive; I’ve done it.  Not one of those amusement park rides, but a real, honest-to-goodness, smoke spewing, steam hissing, black-painted locomotive coupled to a string of three passenger cars, a diner, a generator car, and a kitchen galley car.  This was while I was on vacation up in Connecticut, on the scenic rail line known as The Essex Steam Train (Or, the Valley Railroad).  Their web site is found here:

If anyone else is interested in doing something like this, check out the part of the web site called “Your Hand on the Throttle”.  It is an awesome experience.

Here is a shot of me in the hot seat:

For years I wanted to do some flying.  Not in an airliner (although I’ve done a whole lot of that) but doing it myself.  One of my past birthdays my daughter and a couple of friends set me up at a local airport for a series of sailplane lessons.  The introductory package consisted of three launchings (and, hopefully, an equal amount of landings).  The first, from 4,000 feet was handled completely by the instructor who sat behind me.  He guided the plane upwards behind the Cessna towing us and yanked the T-handle to disconnect the tow rope.

Then he showed me some basic plane-handling maneuvers.  I followed him with my hands and feet lightly on the rudder pedals and the stick.  We turned for the home field and landed.

The next launching went up to 4,000 feet and I got to pull the disconnect handle.  The instructor then showed me how to use the wind indicators to find thermals to keep us aloft.  I had to “unlearn” some things from powered flight in order to learn about gliding.  For instance: when you feel a wing lift in a powered plane, you try to stabilize the plane.  But, in a glider, you turn INTO the rising wing and gain lift.  It’s not quite that simple, but that’s the general idea.  You look down and try to overfly light-colored fields and roads as thermals will rise off them and take you upwards.

The third, and best, launch took us to almost 6,000 feet.  We couldn’t go higher because of the runway patterns from Greater Cincinnati Airport (in Kentucky) or CVG for short.  On this flight, I did pretty much all of it from release to even attempting a few mild aerobatics.  I was too chicken to try a full loop, so the instructor took me through a series of three of them in a row.  It was grand.  I turned for home and lined up for the landing and then he took over.  I even have the logbook to prove it.

Here are some other things I’ve done (and some of them I don’t want to do again).

I spent five, almost-year-long tours in a war zone (Vietman &Thailand)

Gone through a major typhoon in an old Liberty ship (USS Oxford – detailed in this blog).

Been in two larger-than-normal earthquakes (in Japan – also in the blog)

The wife and I have taken 4 wonderful cruises (East & West Caribbean, Panama Canal, and Mexican Riviera) for a total of over 30 days.

Lived in Alaska back long before it was a state (1946-1950).  While I was there I learned how to drive a four-dog sledding team at age 7.

I’ve milked many a cow.

Been present at the birth (finally) of a relative.  My granddaughter, 21 years ago.  Holding that pale, squirmy little girl was indescribable.

Watching that self-same granddaughter pass her driving test for a license 20 years after her birth.  The grin was ear-to-ear (hers, too).

Watching a huge thundershower cross the Continental Divide when I was higer than it at almost 14,000 feet.

After hunting in Colorado for over ten years, bringing down my first Elk.

And, finally, the most awesome one of all:  being married to the same wonderful person for just under 50 years.  We will celebrate that in 2013.

Observations on life

An Alabama State Trooper is patrolling late at night off the main highway.

He sees a parked car, under the trees near the river, with the interior light brightly glowing. He carefully approaches the car to get a closer look.

He sees a young man behind the wheel, reading a computer magazine. In the rear seat, filing her fingernails, is a very attractive young woman.

Puzzled by this situation, the trooper walks to the car and gently raps on the driver’s window. The young man lowers his window.

‘Uh, yes, Officer?’

The trooper asks: ‘Sir, is everything OK here?’

The young man says: ‘Well, Officer, I’m just reading this magazine…’

Pointing towards the young woman in the back seat the trooper says:

‘And her, what is she doing?’

The young man shrugs: ‘Sir, I believe she’s filing her fingernails.’

Now, the trooper is totally confused. A young couple, alone, in a car, at night in a lover’s lane … and nothing obscene is happening!

The trooper asks: ‘What’s your age, young man?’

The young man says: ‘I’m 22, sir.’

The trooper asks: ‘And her …. what’s her age?’

The young man looks at his watch and replies: ‘She’ll be 18 in 11 minutes….’

= = = = =

ONE –>

Recently, when I went to McDonald’s I saw on the menu that you could have an order of 6, 9 or 12 Chicken McNuggets.

I asked for a half dozen nuggets.

‘We don’t have half dozen nuggets,’ said the teenager at the counter.

‘You don’t?’ I replied.

‘We only have six, nine, or twelve,’ was the reply.

‘So I can’t order a half dozen nuggets, but I can order six?

‘That’s right.’

So I shook my head and ordered six McNuggets

(Unbelievable but sadly true…)

TWO –>

I was checking out at the local Walmart with just a few items and the lady behind me put her things on the belt close to mine. I picked up one of those ‘dividers’ that they keep by the cash register and placed it between our things so they wouldn’t get mixed.

After the girl  had scanned all of my items, she picked up the ‘divider’, looking it all over for the bar code so she could scan it.

Not finding the bar code, she said to me, ‘Do you know how much this is?’

I said to her ‘I’ve changed my mind; I don’t think I’ll buy that today.’

She said ‘OK,’ and I paid her for the things and left.

She had no clue to what had just happened.


A woman at work was seen putting a credit card into her floppy drive and pulling it out very  quickly.

When I inquired as to what she was doing, she said she was shopping on the Internet and they kept asking for a credit card number, so she was using the ‘ATM thingy.’

(keep shuddering!!)


I recently saw a distraught young lady weeping beside her car. ‘Do you need some help?’ I asked.

She replied, ‘I knew I should have replaced the battery to this remote door unlocker. Now I can’t get into my car. Do you think they (pointing to a distant convenience  store) would have a battery to fit this?’

‘Hmmm, I don’t know. Do you have an alarm, too?’ I asked.

‘No, just this remote thingy,’ she answered, handing it and the car keys to me. As I took the key and manually unlocked the door, I replied, ‘Why don’t you drive over there and check about the batteries. It’s a long walk….’

PLEASE just lay down before you hurt yourself !!!


Several years ago, we had an Intern who was  none too swift. One day she was typing and turned to a secretary and said, ‘I’m almost out of typing paper. What do I do?’ ‘Just use paper from the photocopier’, the secretary told her. With that, the intern took her last remaining blank piece of paper, put it on the photocopier and proceeded to make five ‘blank’ copies.

Brunette, by the way!!

SIX –>

A mother calls 911 very worried asking the dispatcher if she needs to take her kid to  the emergency room, the kid had eaten ants. The dispatcher tells her to give the kid some Benadryl and he should be fine, the mother says, ‘I just gave him some ant killer……’

Dispatcher: ‘Rush him in to emergency!’

= = = =

Perks of reaching 50 or being over 60 and heading towards 70!

01. Kidnappers are not very interested in you.

02.. In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.

03. No one expects you to run–anywhere.

04. People call at 9 PM and ask, “did I wake you?”

05. People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.

06. There is nothing left to learn the hard way.

07. Things you buy now won’t wear out.

08. You can eat supper at 4 PM.

09. You can live without sex but not your glasses.

10. You get into heated arguments about pension plans.

11. You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.

12. You quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks into the room.

13. You sing along with elevator music.

14. Your eyes won’t get much worse.

15 Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.

16. Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the national weather service.

17. Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can’t remember them either.

18. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to manageable size.

= = = =

Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night