OK, Where is the Global Warming?

For the record, Kansas was once covered with ice and the glacier brought red rock from Minnesota and we have them all over the place.  Since then, the climate has been warming up and we no longer have a constant snow cover.  But, today it is 20 degrees outside with a 15 MPH wind blowing and that will blow you hair back and freeze it in place.  I had grand design to go find a Christmas tree today but that will have to wait.

Tonight, there will be a football game in Kansas City.  Heck, I wouldn't walk from the parking lot into Allen Field House to see the Women play Harvard last night.  I know that I will have friends there but not me.  I hope Oakland can't handle the weather and we can tie up the league.  Oh well, it is only football and there is a whole season of Big XII basketball soon to start.

Bill Self has 600 career wins under his belt.  The other day Facebook showed him in his office with all the trophies from over the years.  I sure hope he continues to be a winner and a recruiter that brings a lot of talent to KU.  I am sure that he gets a lot of help from his assistant coaches and staff.

Dave stopped by last night to pick up a package that UPS delivered here instead of at his house.  Actually our neighbor brought it over as it was not only not delivered to the wrong Petty house, it was left on the neighbor's porch.   It is always nice to see Dave and get a chance to catch up on things.  What I really want for Christmas from him is about an hour of Tech time to look over my computers and see if he can help them return to the fast speedy versions they once were.  I don't want to brag, but I have worn off the E, O, A and L on this keyboard and it is a good thing that I can still remember where they were (or are I guess)

The other night, I was at the KU men's game and I always sing with whoever sings the National Anthem.  The lady ahead of me turned and said that I complemented the group singing.  I told her that several years of singing with the Barbershop Chorus would do that for you.  We sang it several times each year for the local hockey team's home games.  I just went over to YouTube and listened to Pentatonix sing a few songs.  I am now listening to their last Christmas album.

Several time this past week or so, memories of my father have surfaced from unknown places in my mind.  I grew up a had a very troubled relationship with my father as he had manic depression and it wasn't until very much later on in my life did I have a chance to understand.   It was a problem for me that when my dad would call me to him, I didn't know if he was going to kiss or whip me.  Not that I didn't probably need both most of the time, it was the uncertainty that made me worry.  One time that just sums it up for me was for my 12th birthday I had saved up a few dollars and with my birthday money, we went to Sears to buy a new fishing rod.  When I picked out the nicest rod I could afford, Dad surprised me by buying me a new reel.  That winter, Dad was in and out of the Hospital for treatments.  The next spring, dad asked me if I wanted to go fishing.  I really didn't have much of a chance to use my new rod and reel that past fall.  When we got to the lake, I went to the trunk of the car to get my new rod and reel.  He looked at it and asked me, "Where did you get that, steal it?"  Sure took the fun out of that day.  Later on, Mom shared a story that dad had been given shock treatments and he had to get out of bed and look at the chart to remember his name.  No wonder that he didn't remember the rod and reel.  I don't remember fishing much after that.

Oh well, what a downer on this cold day.  I wonder if this is part of why I don't suffer fools gladly.



When was the happiest time in your life?

I grew up as a Baby Boomer on the Far East side of Wichita.  Most of us were fairly poor and for the most part from working families.  The Neighborhood we lived in was built during the pre and war years of WWII.  Cheap houses with no air conditioning and for the most part no central heat.  Our dishwashers were for the most part our Mom's or in my case when I got another D in Algebra. 

All you had to do was walk outside in the summer and you could get a bunch of kids that were willing to baseball on the lot on the north end of Byrd Street.  For the biggest part, only the older kids had ball gloves and for the most part they were second hand.  All of the ball gloves were used by both sides when their teal wasn't at bat.  I would say we had batting orders but heck, I don't remember the names any better today than I did then.

The other day, some one made reference to hitting the cover off the ball and most of the under 40 kids didn't have a clue what this meant.  We would play with the old base balls until literally someone  would hit the ball and the cover would fly off into nowhere.  I can remember a time or two when we tried to play with the uncovered ball but it would very soon unwind the string and it would be unplayable. 

My Dad worked for Beech down at the end of the street and the Beech Aircraft Employees club had several activities for the kids of the Beech employees.  I guess you could say there were a lot of little son's of Beech - Crafters out there.  I played little league baseball several years and had a lot of good times.  Every summer there would be a day at Joyland where we could basically ride for free and mom and Dad could play bingo or whatever event they had that day.  At least once a month, Beech Employees Club would have a free late night skate at the Skating rink in Kiddie Land.  We did that a lot. 

One of the major past time activities among my friends was riding our bikes as far as we could.  To accomplish that, we often had to tighten chains and grease the wheel bearings.  One on trip, my bike got so hot that the hub of the front wheel started to smoke.  There was water in the ditch and I dipped the wheel hub in water.  It cooled off enough to let me get home.  That afternoon we tried to grease the bearings and they came out of the housing as individual balls with out the metal retainer.  We had to cannibalize on of the old bikes to find a wheel that would first of all fit and then work. 

One of the kids I went to school with had a Dad that ran a trash truck.  Leon would help his  Dad and he had first choice of the bikes other people would throw away.  He would take pieces and parts of the bikes and make custom bikes that really looked neat.  You could buy one from him pretty cheap.  The only bad part is they really didn't last long.  I spent $8.00 one summer on a bike that didn't last until fall.  I had to mow lawns to earn that money but hey I didn't really expect much.

I guess the point of all of this rambling is that this weekend we drove through the old neighborhood and it sparked a lot of memories.  So as I smiled away the short drive, I had a flood of good thoughts.  If that is what happiness is, I would take another trip through that time just for the kicks and giggles.

MUD (aka Wheezer from the Our Gang Comedies)


How do You Define Happy

I guess this need a jumping off point and because it is my blog, I need to be the first Frog in this contest.  So, here goes.

First I think the fulfillment of needs and wants should be on the list.  I refer back to Maslow's Hierarchy of needs and say that I am well past the "need" for shelter, safety, and food.   I also mix in a little of the Leadership training I taught to Officer Candidates a few years back.  It is the area of motivators that a lot of lives fall short.  Recognition even if it is self provided is a basic given.  If you remember to praise in public and punish in private you have a good start.  Where do you start and end that journey? 

Once upon a time, (for you Military types adjust this to hey, this ain't no shit.)  I was given an Artillery Battalion that for many reasons had not passed an Army Readiness and Training test (ARTEP) a couple of times in a row.  To me, it was a simple thing to make sure that everyone knew what their job was and to make sure they could do it.  It was a great big elephant but no tough task for 400 guys to eat one bite at a time.  Instead of trying to do everything, I tried to make sure that the leaders knew what they needed to do.  That worked and we passed the ARTEP.  At the end of the big formation on the parade field at the end of camp, I shook the hand of each man in the battalion.  My hand hurt but they all knew that "we" did it.  I went home happy that day and it still gives me a warm spot in my memory.

Now that I am retired, I think about the things I need to do to be a social animal and talk to others.  I sang with a Barbershop chorus but it felt like I was asked to do more and more and the only feedback was negative.  I have stopped going to meetings and I am not sure if there is room for me to bring that back into my life.

With the last election in the bag, I have a lot of friends that think the majority (or at lest the Electoral College) and me, got it wrong.  I won't go into the reasons why I did not vote for Hillary but only to say that our system needed change and I didn't see Hillary as much other than more of the same.


1-92nd FA Newsletter

This is an article that was printed in the 1st Bn, 92nd FA Newsletter.  The only part that is incorrect was the unit I was assigned to.  I was in SVC Battery, 1-92nd FA not HHB.  The jobs I did for the Battalion was while I was in Svc Battery and an additional assignment because the Battalion really did not have room for me to be assigned to HHB.  The Information about B Btry is correct.


Changing Things

I feel honor bound to start a new phase in my life.  I truly need to find new avenues to keep me occupied with life.  The joy of singing has lost it's allure and I am for the second time going to stop singing with the Topeka Capitol Men's Barbershop Chorus.  I have both men's and women's tickets for the KU Teams this year.  I intend to attend as many games as I can.

I am also going to find a new way to get more physical exercise.  I don't intend to find myself in worse shape as I start next year.  In the past, I found the downtown YMCA a great p[lace to swim and work out.  I hope that I can fins a way to get Barbara to participate with me.  I owe her the same opportunity to be at her best as I can hope to be.

I will also use this change to start accumulating my many posts on this blog into what I hope will mount to more than just a way to pass a few hours.

I will do my best to be charitable, somewhat truthful , and to remember as many humorous things as I can.



Have I Told You How Much I hate Getting Old?

Yes Dear one's, I know the alternative is worse, but I really do hate not being able to complete projects with the same energy I had even a few short years back.  Even getting up off the floor is a challenge.  Can you imaging me crawling under the floor in my son's house to fix a leak in a Pex water line?  If you knew just how hard it is to get up off the floor you might understand. 

I have a brother-in-law that shared with me that maintenance on his rental's finally caused him to sell them.  I think I am nearing that point faster and faster each year.  The problem is that keeping them is just going to diminish the profit point as I have to have more and more maintenance hired out. 

Every time I go out somewhere, I see more and more Vietnam Vets wearing their baseball caps proudly.  The problem is that they are all old guys.  Hell, I went to Vietnam with a bunch of kids not a bunch of old farts. 

Being retired from the National Guard, I get their newspaper monthly.  I find it more often than not, the new Generals and major unit commanders are people that I don't even know.  I guess the fact that the Adjutant General was a Captain that worked for me should tell me something.

I am considering buying a member ship to the YMCA again.  I found a regular workout/swimming schedule was great a few years back.  I will admit that the hot tub really made it nice after a work out.  

Oh well, here I sit complaining about getting old and I need to get up and go do something.  I did notice that I have nearly a million view on my blogs.  I wonder if there is a time I need to stop even this effort.


Have I Told You How Much I hate Getting Old?

Yes Dear one's, I know the alternative is worse, but I really do hate not being able to complete projects with the same energy I had even a few short years back.  Even getting up off the floor is a challenge.  Can you imaging me crawling under the floor in my son's house to fix a leak in a Pex water line?  If you knew just how hard it is to get up off the floor you might understand. 

I have a brother-in-law that shared with me that maintenance on his rental's finally caused him to sell them.  I think I am nearing that point faster and faster each year.  The problem is that keeping them is just going to diminish the profit point as I have to have more and more maintenance hired out. 

Every time I go out somewhere, I see more and more Vietnam Vets wearing their baseball caps proudly.  The problem is that they are all old guys.  Hell, I went to Vietnam with a bunch of kids not a bunch of old farts. 

Being retired from the National Guard, I get their newspaper monthly.  I find it more often than not, the new Generals and major unit commanders are people that I don't even know.  I guess the fact that the Adjutant General was a Captain that worked for me should tell me something.

I am considering buying a member ship to the YMCA again.  I found a regular workout/swimming schedule was great a few years back.  I will admit that the hot tub really made it nice after a work out.  

Oh well, here I sit complaining about getting old and I need to get up and go do something.  I did notice that I have nearly a million view on my blogs.  I wonder if there is a time I need to stop even this effort.


What did we Learn in School?

It never ceases to amaze me that young voters think this is the worst race for the President.  Over the years there are elections that said horrible things.  "Ma, Ma, Where's my Paw?  Gone to the White House, Ha, Ha, Ha." This  was an attempt to pin paternity on Grover Cleveland. ( I have no idea if there is any truth in it)  Goldwater was going to blow us all up!  The press printed the results that Truman lost when he really won. 

I am sure that back to the beginning there have been campaigns that said and did things that were bad and in a lot of cases wrong.  The report was that Lincoln would lead us into a Civil War when it was the inevitable thing for a house so divided. 

The real sad thing today is that the press lacks credibility in reporting so bad that no one really knows fact from fiction.  Today a Gary Heart's picture on the poop deck of  Monkey Business would not be believed.   How did our past Presidents get such a free pass and candidates today are excoriated at the first drop of any hat.  

If you can make sense of any of this, you are a better man than I, Charlie Brown. 

The United States presidential election of 2016, scheduled for Tuesday, November 8, 2016, will be the 58th quadrennial U.S. presidential election. Voters will select presidential electors, who in turn will vote for a new president and vice president.     



How do we fix this mess?

This morning, I had a nice talk with a black professional man and we agreed on more than we disagreed on.  Because he is a professional, I will not divulge his name.  He has worked hard to become a success in his field and I will treat him as such.

First of all, we agree that our Country is in trouble.  His biggest complaint is that there is some strange trend that thinks that adding new laws and layers of paperwork will solve problems.  I think that all laws should have a sunset and a published cost.  In case you don't know, we right now are incapable of funding all the laws on the books.  Each budget cycle, is more burdensome in cost and in the mix, something must get left out.  If our Tax code was simply a table with what you pay based on the amount you make.  Cut out the loop holes and don't allow changes.  (Except to raise the percentages as it costs more)  No free rides no tax loopholes.

I think Congress must first agree on what the heck they first must fund.  The cost of having a Federal Government is pretty much at the top of the list.  Second, our Military Defense is a requirement.  You can list the other Government functions until the money runs out.  But, they must really understand how much it costs and how much of it they can fund. 

If Dave Ramsey was the OMB Director, he would make them first write down what everything costs and to develop a budget that is realistic.  If the President wants to import 80,000 Syrian Refugees, what in his budget will he cut to do that.  You and I might want a new car but we sure as heck don't get on if we can't pay for it. I am not sure where I draw that line but I am sure that we can predict what Natural Disasters will happen and build in a slush fund to pay for them. 

Congress needs to cut out the Petty squabbles and get to work on funding how and what we are going to do as a nation.  I promise you that if the first time they can't it was taken out of their pay that failure would be not repeated. 

How the hell did someone convince the congress that allowing Companies to move their operation over sea's would help us?   Instead of the $20 - $30 per hour job in manufacturing, we have the state of California giving Burger Flippers at McDonalds $15.00 per hour.  Instead of having our young  youths have jobs that they can live on, we let Mexican Immigrants cross the border and take the hard labor jobs at a rate our citizens can't live on.  Then, in spite of the difference in pay, the Mexicans are allowed to send home Millions of dollars each month without the Government taking a bite out of it.  Can you feel that somewhere down the line, some bright bulb in the Congressional pack is going to tell us that all the illegal workers need to be given Social Security even if they haven't paid in to the fund?  Anyone want to take that bet?

The problem really boils down to the fact that the Democrats and the Republicans aren't made to get together and do their jobs.  In fact, it is easier for them to sling mud at each other than do the real hard work of Government.



Water Leak again

Yesterday I spent the majority of the day fixing the water leak at Dave's.  The old Plastic fasteners on the PEX lines from the 80's are prone to break and because they are under the house a major pain in the backside.  This time I opened the floor in the master bathroom to attack the problem from above.  I still did have the problem of getting my big old body through a hole and then back out.  I got the leak stopped but I need to work on replacing the broken T adapter.  Then I will have to fix the hole in the floor.  Oh well...

Today will be a pretty nice day to get out and do some yard work here at Rabbit Run.  Barb has a lot of her plants that she will want to bring inside.  There are three trees that need planted and black walnuts everywhere.  If the squirrels would do their job, the nuts wouldn't be a problem.  At least they are not eating the nuts on the sidewalk and leaving nut hulls that become shrapnel when I mow.  The other thing I hate is the nuts falling on the roof and banging their way to the ground. 

The Barbershop chorus is getting to elect the 2017 officers.  Seems like my name just slipped off the list this year and I do not have a job other than to attend a few meetings and work on a committee or two. 

Oh well, gonna close here and see if I can get a few things done.



Rain Again

A few years back, the Master Gardener told me that in the fall we should put the plants and trees to bed for the winter with their feet wet.  Well, we won't have to water to achieve that this year.  The other day I got my tractor out and moved a couple of dead trees.   Even in 4 wheel drive, the wet muddy ground caused me a lot of trouble.  Then last night was got over an inch of rain.

A couple of years ago we bought a tractor to help with the chores around the farm.  It seems that I have had about the worst luck with the charging/starting system on that tractor.  I have replaced a good portion of the starting system and now it sits dead in the storage building again.  I have replaced most of the switches and still can't get the starter to energize.  Oh well, there is always another day.

On the internet today, there was a guy that had restored a 53 Chevy truck in all its glory.  I'll bet he spent $50,000 doing just that.  He didn't put in a v-8 or any of the great parts available for old trucks.  He basically put it back into shape so he could drive it on the highway.  I guess everyone is welcome to do what they can afford but I would rather have one that is capable of stopping as well as it goes forward. 

Sometime in the next week, Barb and I are going to see if Space A flights are what they are supposed to cracked up to be.  I don't think  we will go outside of the Continental US but not sure where we will go.  Oh well, I am sure it will be fun.

Better get cracking and see what I can conjure up to do today.  My good book and a nap doesn't sound too bad.



One of the Good Guys

I had an old friend tell me that we were one of the Good Guys and it reminded me of what another friend told me a few years back.

When I met my old friend, I asked her how she was doing.  I knew she had been ill and had taken a Medical Retirement from the Guard.   She replied, "Oh, Dennis it is almost embarrassing to tell you that because of Cancer they have removed so much that I could shower with the guys."  Was that TMI?   You would have to know just how special this person was to me and I wouldn't spoil her name by sharing it.



What's the Difference?

The other day I walked past the bookshelf and discovered a book called "8,789 Words of Wisdom."  I read a little way into it and found it while kind of funny in places, it caused me to wonder what is the difference between words of wisdom and snarky comments?    In one place it tells you to stop and smell the roses and then it tells you to never get caught doing nothing.  I  guess there is no real end or beginning in a book that is a bunch of stuff made up and compiled to keep you from doing important things.  Besides, I have trouble enough remembering snarky things without the clutter of good advice.

I think this is kind of like the story of my life.  I have tons and tons of good advice rolling around in my mind, it just doesn't always stop rolling when I need it.  Sometimes it does stop and then I find myself in a place totally inappropriate.  I guess that's why about half of us are Trump supporters.  My only problem with his is that he is pretty repetitive and needs a lot of new material now and then.  

Do you know what I think is the biggest problem with Facebook?  It doesn't provide a good way to tell you when or why your followers or "Friends" unfriend you.  Wouldn't it be nice to have a small check box that tells you when you have offended someone and the silly reason they feel that way?  We live in  a country where we demand free speech.  Wouldn't it be nice to have an ex-follower  tell you in plain English why they will stop communicating with you.  Imagine a series of boxes that tell you that either you are an asshole or a buffoon.  You can make up the boxes in between.  Or perhaps like me, you don't write for them, only for yourself.  

So, in short, and I don't usually keep it short, there is a limit for a subject and when you find yourself saying something opposite of what you just said, STOP. 


Sunday Morning

When I was a kid, I delivered the Newspaper in Wichita.  My favorite day was Sunday and I would come home with a pristine paper and sit down and get to be the first reader.  It seemed to me that there was more news and less ads in the paper but I might be wrong.   I do remember that back then, I didn't have to drink coffee to stay awake and read it.  Must be getting old.

This morning, TCM had the story of Samuel Clemons on and I had forgotten a lot about his life as Mark Twain.  I did remember that as Ulysses Grant was dying of Cancer Samuel stepped in and wrote the Biography of Grant and published it.  It saved Grant from dying in debt and forcing his widow to declare Bankruptcy.  I had forgotten that it did force Clemens to go on a world wide lecture tour to save him from declaring Bankruptcy.  It did make me wonder how many of the kids of today get the opportunity to read about the life on the  Mississippi in the early 1800's.  How many of you read about the jumping frog in California and the contest to see how far they could jump.  One of these days I will try to find a copy of the Grant history and read it. 

This morning I read that the daughter of one of our friends was selected as Co-MVP of a volleyball tournament.  I reminded Barb that we had attended the wedding of her friend about 20 years ago.   Barb didn't seem to remember it very well and I seemed to have a clear memory of not only the wedding but the reception.  I am not sure if it is a blessing that I can still remember the minutiae or for her that she doesn't have it all cluttering up her memory.  I guess it is all in what you want. 

 For most of this week, it has been pretty rainy and the ground is way to soggy to get out on the mower or the tractor to move the downed tree that fell in the last wind.  I guess one of these days that it will be dry enough to get something done.  Not today I guess.

Are you a sport's fan?  Other than last year's run for the Royals, I haven't been a fan of Baseball since the time that overpaid bunch of brats went on strike so they could make more money per game than teacher's make in a year.  Now there is the professional (or unprofessional as you may see it) rant by Pro Football players and I never did like pro wrestling.  Oh well, KU Basketball is just around the corner and we have season tickets.  We have both women and men's season tickets.  It does somewhat embarrass me that the women's tickets are about what the per game tickets for the men's games are.  Oh well, no system is prefect in spite of the goals of Title 9. 

Do you know what I find kind of frustrating?   When I get ready to do a job, it generally takes me more time to get ready than it does to do the job.  The maintenance involved in having all the tools and vehicles  is almost discouraging.  I don't want to hire all the jobs done, I just need a handyman to get the tools laid out and then put away when I am furnished.  I know, do I want some cheese to go with that whine (wine get it?) 

Better get moving or I might find my butt frozen here in my chair.  That's another thing, this damned chair is losing it's cover on the fake leather.  It looks like an old dog with mange.   I guess if I had a fat old guy playing solitaire sitting on me all day I probably wouldn't look much better. 



Hate, How Deep and how long.

I listened to a video clip about African Americans and how they had to fight for equality, freedom , equality and finally they now feeling left out of the fight altogether.   I would love to ask them who do they think did the bulk of the fighting?  Yep, for the most part, the northern White men died in way more ways that all the black people have.  We saw that there was a gross injustice done and stood up.   Had Abraham Lincoln not started the discussion in the battle field of the polls and been the President, no one would know how long it would have taken us to wake up to equal rights and the freedom to live like the rest of Americans.  I don't want the blacks in America to feel sorry for us, but it would be nice if now and then the people in the party of Lincoln would get a little less hate back. 

One of the speakers brought up the subject of reparations.   There is just no way that our country can solve any more problems with more money.  We have spent ourselves into a hole saving the world's problems.  Like the threat of Regan's military spending threat, the people of today need to understand that we fought the good fight and now need to turn our sights internal to the US and stop spending more than we take in.  Every dollar we spend on someone else is a dollar that could go to increasing the money to our schools, roads and people.  Bring in another 100,000 refugees from Syria and you will have to cut the funding to people here in the USA.  Money is a problem, not the solution. 

Why does the message of Donald Trump resonate with the half of the population that are described as the basket by Hillary?  Because the Democrats haven't been awake since the 1960's that more money didn't, won't, can't solve all the problems.  Every job sent over sea's is another job we don't have here in America.  A dollar is said to turn over 7 times if it is spent here in America.  How many time do you think it turns over if it goes directly to China, Vietnam or Japan.  Count the container ships coming here every day and you might understand how we have taken away our ability to manufacture things.

End of Rant!



Nearing the end of the season

Barb mentioned that her garden is slowing down it's production and things aren't doing nearly as well right now.  For the first time in many years, the grass in the yards is still green and there seems to be no end for the green grass until the first frost.   On top of that, it rained again last night.

What's on your agenda in the summer when the ground is too wet.  The idea of riding on the pavement at the lake is not such a good idea with goose poop and no bike fenders on the recumbent.  There is also the matter of the recumbent being a little rear wheel heavy and slick causes accidents.  The good news is that you don't have far to fall but at 69, even that could be a real game changer.

Barbara had me go to the hardware store and buy her a 10 foot ladder to help pick fruit in the orchard.  Yes, I am still on a "No Ladder" ban for a while.  I seem to do OK on the bike but somehow ladders aren't my best thing to do.  I can carry it out and hold it steady while she climbs it but I'll stay on the ground.

There is a new Jason Borne movie out but the only local showings are in the evening (6 & 10 PM)  I would love to take Barb to red Robin and take in a show if it were earlier.  Oh well.

Today Barb was adding up some numbers and got out the calculator.  It glitched and  I told her that was the story of my life.  I told her that I would need a balance sheet to add up the numbers.  She doesn't have one on her Mac.  I may have to dig in and help her. 

I put a couple of funny stories about my mother on Facebook.  I really do miss her and some of the funny things she said and did.  It seems that several Sundays Mom would put a pot roast in the oven and they would be burnt by the time she got home.  Dad would complain but he never did anything about turning the roast off.  I think if the bathroom wasn't just off the kitchen he wouldn't go there hardly at all.   No, that isn't correct...  Every day at 11:30 Dad would walk the block fro Beech to our house and as he went through the kitchen,  he would open a can of Oyster Stew and put it on the stove in a small pot.  He would go into the bathroom and wash his hands. (Plus whatever he needed to do)  As he walked back by the stove, he would pour the soup in a bowl at whatever temperature it was.  He would add a half of a stack of crackers and a squirt of catsup and sit down and eat it.  Dad worked at Beech for 40 years and I'll bet that noon time routine didn't vary much.  I'm pretty sure that Mom bought Oyster Stew for Dad because none of the kids would touch the stuff.  There was always five cans in the storage cabinet that no one but Dad would eat. 

The other day we talked about the peculiar things our parents did and Mom was right at the top of the list.  The Jewel-Tea man cam by about twice a month.  Mom would always buy some popcorn and a few other small things.   When we moved Mom to Arkansas, there must have been about 20 boxes of that popcorn on her shelf.  Barb's Mom would always go by the 2nd hand shelf at the store and buy the discount items.  With 6 kids to feed, I'm sure she needed to do that a lot to keep everyone fed. The problem was that even when they all went away she continued to do that.  First thing Barbara did when her Mom got sick was to get in the cupboard and throw all the stuff away that was out of date.

 The other day, I am not sure why or how, I found that the Artillery OCS on Facebook.  It has been kind of fun to see what my fellow classmates write about our time there.  One of these days I will get the book up on line and remember what I wrote about it.  One of the funniest things I remember was the first overnight pass we had one of my classmates replayed to us the story of his night out on the town.  Seems that he a couple of the other guys went to a bar in Lawton and near the end of the evening they picked up a couple of chicks.  They went out on the road by Mount Scott and proceeded to fall asleep.  He said that his pretty Indian Princess turned out to be a duplicate of Chief Sitting Bull.  I don't think he went back to that bar again. 

Oh well, moving on...



Day After

Last night we had a deluge of rain and some wind.  A friend in Lawrence had a tree fall on his car but luckily it didn't do that much damage.  They did have to take a chain saw and cut the tree off but it was still mobile after that.   I notice there are a couple of branches broken here but nothing too dangerous.

I brought my Cub Cadet mower home from David's and it would not start.  Even with the battery freshly charged, nothing would happen when I turned on the key.  With the battery out of the mower, I could see the bottom of the battery box and there seemed to be one small wire not fastened to anything.  I imagine that one of the pack rats chewed it off.  It just so happened to be the ground wire to the ignition switch and without it, nothing worked.  Minor problem to fix once I found where the problem was.  

Again, I needed the plastic box of connectors and the crimping tool to put a splice in the cut wire.  I looked everywhere but could not find either.  I got out the soldering iron and fixed the wire on a lot more permanent style.  A short trip to harbor freight put me back in business but I will probably find the missing items in a day or so.   The girl at Harbor freight said to pout the box in the first place I looked for the old one.  Now if I could just remember where that was.

Next year will be the 50th anniversary of my graduating from OCS at Fort Sill.  I wonder how many other guys will show up for that.   I went to my 50th High School reunion last year and had a good time.  Perhaps I can get my High School buddy and OCS fellow attendee to go.  Oh well, Perhaps Harvey won't be interested as he went on and made his career in the Construction business and I retired from the Military.

Have you noticed that most of the popular writers are having someone write parts of their books?  In a lot of cases I can't tell where one starts and the other ends.  In some cases, it is plain.  W.E. B. Griffon (William Butterworth) has a son that co-writes with him.  When Dad is writing, the information that fills in more than the conversation is good.  When the son writes, the conversation is OK but the background is very flat.  Oh well, he is getting old and perhaps it is the dad that is forgetting some of the details.

'Better run and get some things done.



Yep, the Olympics are finally Over

If that is the real case, why are the reruns still on Cable TV?  Oh well, I have other things to do now that the temperatures are back in the normal range.  I will do my best to get everything done this fall before winter really sets in.

Today there was an ad in the paper for a car I wanted to buy but someone got there before I did.  They wanted $4,000 for an 04 Mercury with about 40,000 miles on it.  Today it is in the paper for almost $7,000.  Dang I hate it when that happens.  I have been looking for a newer car for Barb but so far haven't found anything as cheap as I am. 

Today I am going to the store and will get some fixin's for spaghetti squash dinner that I have in my mind.  We have plenty of squash and I have this idea that a spicy (Cajun) dish might be right on point.  I will use some bratwurst and some Cajun tomato seasoning.  Just for the heck of it I have Okra and I might add some of that to the mix. 

Some time this week I hope that the trail is dry and we can get in another bike ride.  Today we are going to take our Daughter-in-law out to lunch.  I am not sure that Barb thinks we can get in a ride before that.  Oh well, it doesn't hurt to ask.

Just for kicks and giggles, I am going to propose for the Grammar Nazi's some changes.   Everyone is all up in arms over your and you're.  If we could just call it UR and move on.   There, Their and They're could be just TR.  Now wasn't that easy?   Move on boys and girls.

Last night on my way home from singing, I had my radio on and the Talk Radio guys were going on about how the media is all in favor of Hillary.  Then they spent about 15 minutes making up stuff about Donald Trump.   Sheesh, I will be ever so glad when this is all over.  If you really want to ready the funny papers go to Facebook and just see the crap there. (or TR)

Better go se if the wife has plans.



Yep, It's Monday Again

As an old retired fart, the idea of an alarm clock has gone out the window.  I needed to get up early yesterday to sing with the Barbershop Chorus so I looked for an alarm clock app on my cell phone.  There it was.  I set it and laid it down next to where I would sleep.   At 6:30 the most terrible music blared out of that little phone.  I had selected the William Tell Overture sang by the Vienna's Boys choir.   The opening to that song was like someone had played it with a bad set of trumpets.  The edge in their voices had to be loud enough to wake the Devil.  It worked for me.  In case you haven't listened to the Bill tell song in a while, I hum it every time I go to the dump.  "To the Dump, To the Dum, To the Dump, dump, dump."  Once it gets into my head, it just sits there and I have to sing along.

Our Barbershop Chorus sings three times in the summer at different churches.  It is so the choir can have a day off.  It is really a lot of fun and worth the effort even if I do have to come home and take a nap.   Who do I think I am kidding?  I would have taken a nap either way. 

This morning I was wearing my new KU shirt Barb bought me for my Birthday.  I told her it was my birthday shirt.  She turned down an offer to see my birthday suit.  Dang, I hate it when that happens.

Old retired guys have to put their pills in one of those containers with the days of the week on it.  Lord help me if I miss a day.  The good news is that I am not taking anything dangerous that could really cause a problem if I doubled up.  If it were not for the days of the week on the pill container, I might have trouble knowing what day it is.  When we sing on Sunday, it is like it is Tuesday when it is really Monday.  Oh well.

Better get ready to do some chores around here.



Where Do We Go From Here?

The age old question was "What do you want to be when you grow up?"   Now at 69, I ask myself where do I want to go from here?  That will entail a trip or two more to Oklahoma to settle some legal maters and then what?  I have the last home I will probably ever buy and nearly the last car.  There are one or two toys I want to buy but not many or much that I really need. Every once in a while I buy lottery tickets but really don't know why.  I guess it is because I can.

This morning "Love Story" was on TV and between cat naps I watched it.  It was sappy but sad.  It does make me wonder if it would be a hit today?   I think it would need some jazz to help it in today's action packed world.  Perhaps some nudity and sex could help it stay up there as an all time hit. 

We had a nice rain last night and some wind with it.  I don't know how much moisture it had with the storm but I am sure that Barb has been watering to keep all her garden plants growing so it was only a nice addition not an absolute requirement.  By this time in the year, most lawns have gone dormant but we still have green grass that is growing.  I will probably have to take a day or two next week to do at least one more mow.  There are about 9 acres to mow more or less.  I will have to take Dave's mower back over to him as it needed fixed again. 

I am working on a spread sheet for the music for the Barbershop Chorus.  I am trying to work out a schedule for the music that makes sense and is correct.  I have a small attention to detail problem and that is holding it back some but my low degree of care and concern is mostly why this two hour job has taken most of a week.

Oh well, I had better stop procrastinating and get on with the schedule.



Last Time at Mary Lou

My last visit to Mary Lou was with Battery B and I was the Fire Direction Officer.  We did a lot of H&I fires and a few missions in direct support of the DS Artillery units supporting the 4th Division.  For the FDC, it was a 24 hour a day job and it seemed like there was never enough food or rest.  I did begin to find ways to cut corners in the area of Meteorological reports that came in every 4 hours. 

After the second week, I began to compare the results by report and time of day.  I kept the hard copy of the earlier reports and compared the final results.  At first it was to make sure that we hadn't made any (many) errors and then to see if the results were different enough to spend a couple of hours doing the figuring and then changing the Met +VE settings.  Guess what? It was clear that the weather in the Central Highlands was not like Kansas or Oklahoma.  Day after day the wind and temperature stayed the same and it was only when it was raining that it was different.

Inside of the FDC, the guys had hours and hours of time and we had to work on ways to fight the boredom.  Someone found that the board game Jeopardy was one way and immediately the word went back to the States what versions we didn't have.  I am pretty sure that the families back home went through their closets and second hand stores for versions we didn't have.  By the time we finished playing the entire games with each version, they were pretty well worn out. 

The other game we played almost endlessly was Rook.  If you played enough cards, you could pretty much tell what had been played and how they cards were distributed.  I am pretty sure that later on, it made me a pretty fair bridge player.  I was never great but I had fun.

One of the nice things at Mary Lou was that there was a shower point there and hot chow.  You cannot imagine the rations of C-Rations on an endless basis.  As the FDO, I seldom got to get away for meals but someone almost always brought me a plate of something.  Even a cold plate of food was better than C-Rats on an endless basis.  You can imagine how your palate would just fade away if your breakfast was cold powdered eggs and toast that had just escaped being moldy.  Thankfully I don't even have a memory of what the lunch and dinners were.

One thing that I always feared was that the perimeter of LZ Mary Lou was set up to make sure there were no enemy allowed to sneak in.  The problem with that was the endless flow of kids that came and went like it was an open gate.  We were fortunate to never have been hit by a ground attack. But, it was always there in the back of my mind.  At least when we were out on a mountain top firebase there was almost always a perimeter guard there and they would be some help. 

I had been on R&R when the unit moved to Mary Lou.  I had no call to where to put the FDC.  It was way too close to the latrine and  I could see that if we were still there when the Monsoon season started, the hole would be a swimming pool.   We moved long before that would ever happen.  Did I mention the proximity to the latrine?   The biggest challenge each day was keeping the fly count down to a manageable level.  We killed thousands of flies each day and the body count had to be near 100,000. 

Speaking of Body counts and missions.  Each day we sent in a report of the number of rounds we fired and the results of any mission.  Most of the time there were no after action numbers on the Harassment and Interdiction fires as they just went out in to the jungle and no US troops were there.  One kind of funny mission was when we had a request to fire a round out in the vicinity of a Long Rang Reconnaissance patrol.  Seems like they were off the air and probably had the radio operator fell asleep.    We picked a grid location not too close to them and fired one round.  Pretty soon they were back on the air.  In our daily after action report I marked the one round as a Wake up Mission for a LRRP.  Man did the shit hit the fan over that comment.  I did my best to not lie but that one time it seemed appropriate to add that comment.  I had a visit from the Battalion Commander and the FA Bde Commander within the next week.  The both told me to make something up and not to use that in a report. (again)   Oh well, it was only one day and one report in what seemed like a couple of hundred there at Mary Lou.  I am pretty sure it wasn't that long it just seemed like it.

That's all from Mary Lou and I was glad to leave.



Hello Mary Lou 2

One of the assignments I had when I was in the 1st Bn, 92nd FA was when I got to go out as a Forward Observer with one of the Ground units of the 7/17th Air Cav.  It was a mechanized unit and we went all over the place at a very rapid pace.  Probably my biggest job was just to stay located on the map and who to use for artillery support.  I know that the unit commander was hesitant to really use the Field Artillery because he had Aviation gun ships and a lot of organic firepower. 

On one adventure, we were north of Pleiku and were sent to a river crossing site that was not supposed to be there.  When we got to the closest place, the commander requested a bridge and we used it to move along the side of the river to the point where we discovered  telephone poles set up to be a bridge somewhere out in the future.  The unit commander decided that the poles needed to be blown down and he had enough C-4 and Det cord to get the job done.  He offloaded a bunch of the explosives and a team and withdrew the rest of the unit.  It took us several hours to get out there and several hours to get back.  He didn't want to blow the bridge with his unit in what could be a very vulnerable place. 

We left one of the Mortar Recon Sergeants out there and I rode back with the main body of the unit.  When we got back to a good place, one of the guys said that he had just got a package from home and his family had sent him a lot of canned sea foods. I did mention that I was from Kansas and the limit of my sea food was canned tuna.  Well to make a short story longer, they also had a couple of cases of hot beer and we just chowed down.  I can't even begin to tell you just how bad drunk I  could get on smoky herring and hot Carling's Black Label in a red rusty can,  can I? 

The only good thing I can tell you is that we were headed for a stand down and maintenance day at LZ Mary Lou that evening.  It included a trip to a shower point and real hot food instead of the c-rations we had been on for the better part of a week.  I remember sitting down in a lawn chair beside the unit commander's track and then I remember waking up the next morning.  I had been fast asleep and must have needed the rest. 

That afternoon, several of the guys in the unit wanted to go down to the river and go swimming.  That river was probably way to muddy to get in but we went anyway.   am pretty sure that the sight of 25 naked guys must have been pretty funny.  We all had what was called a farmer's tan here in Kansas. The parts of our bodies not normally exposed to the sun were shinny white and our arms and faces were brown form a tan and dirt.  I am not sure what the rest of the guys did, but for me, there was a trip back past the shower point and a good nap.  I'll bet I slept 18 hours in one 24 hour period.  Then I went to bed. 

In the middle of the next day, a Special Forces Colonel showed up and he was mad as hell. Seems he and his guys had been working on establishing a foot bridge across the river and it had taken several weeks.  We blew it all up and he now had people across the river from his Camp that he could not support.  How were we to know.  I guess the ground combat channels were not the same as my Fire Support Channels.  Had we tried to blow up the bridge piling with artillery, they would have contacted the Special Forces and the District Chief.  oh  well what the hell, what the heck did I care.

 We stayed there for the next couple of days and when all the tracks were up to snuff, we headed out to places unknown.  The good news was that we made a trip past Pleiku and my replacement was there.   I had been out with several different kinds of units, but that was my first and last with a mechanized unit.   

My father in law was in a Mech unit in WWII and I was kind of startled when he said he didn't really know where he went, they just played ducks and the officers and their commander had all the maps.  He knew he went in to Anzio as a replacement and at least once went through the edge of Rome.  After trying to keep up with the maps, I knew what he had done. 

The next time I got to Mary Lou, it was with the firing battery and I was assigned as the Battery Fire Direction Officer.   More on Mary Lou three tomorrow.



Hello Mary Lou

Near Kontum in Vietnam, there was a base located on the south side of the city called Mary Lou.  No, I don't have a clue where the name came from, only that it was centered in my time in Vietnam on several ways. 

Near the start of my time in the 1st Bn, 92nd nd FA, I was assigned as the battalion Ammo officer.  It was early in the year after the TET offensive and one of the jobs we had was to restock the Ammunition Supply Point in Dak To.  For about 6 weeks, we made daily runs from Pleiku Through Kontum to Dak To.  I would take the ammunition trucks over to the ASP in Pleiku every night and the ASP and my men would load the trucks.  I felt it was my job to be there as much as I could.  We would load up the trucks and head back to Artillery Hill in the early hours and somewhere about 8AM we would drive over to the Convoy point to get ready for the trip up the highway to Dak To.

I would either be in the convoy in my jeep or a Bird Dog would land at Artillery Hill and pick me up.   During my time in that duty, we were a bunch of lucky pups.  The convoy got hit in the front when my trucks were on the back and in the back when my trucks were in the front.   During all that time, I had only one soldier even wounded while I am sure there were dead where the main ambush hit.  In fact, there is a report in the daily Sitreps about LTC Cade and the Battalion Commo officer got a medal for being there as I fired artillery at the ambush site and the retreating Viet Cong.  I didn't need any medals for doing my job so I really didn't even know about that until just this last year.

There were two places where the road was just ripe for an ambush.  One we called Ambush Alley and was the scene of many ambushes over the years.  The second point was north of Kontum where the road crossed a river.  It was there that this story is about.

I mentioned that I flew a lot of convoy cover and on one of the trips north,  our convoy was hit by small arms fire and the aforementioned soldier was hit.  When I Landed in Dak To, I went over to my trucks to see how it all turned out.  I seems that one of the 2 1/2 Ton trucks that had a few supplies in it was hit and for some reason it got sent to Kontum hooked to the back of a wrecker.  I knew that there was a few mail sacks in that truck and I really wanted to gather them back under our control.  I took my jeep and with the approval of the Commander in the Forward TOC headed back down the road towards Kontum.  Yes, it wasn't the safest thing to do but I figured that any potential ambushes would have been busted and the enemy scattered.

I found my truck on the back of the wrecker just as it was turning in the gate at Mary Lou.  I stopped the wrecker and asked him where he was going to take the truck.  He said he had no clue where it was to be taken.  I climbed up in the back of the truck and saw a lot of things covered with canvas.  I threw back the canvas and had to step back for the blood and gore in the bed of the truck.  There in the bed of the truck was the bodies of three soldiers that had been killed in the ambush.  The wrecker driver said their Tracked Ammo Carrier had been hit in the front by a recoilless rifle and these guys were killed by the concussion.  

About that time, I saw an MP jeep going by and I asked him if there was a Graves Registration point there on Mary Lou.  He took us over there and I went in to get some help.  They came out with some rolling gurneys and I asked the wrecker driver and his assistant to unload the bodies.  "No Way LT."  They weren't going to handle no dead bodies, they were truck drivers and that was final.  The SP4 from the Graves Registration Unit and I wound up unloading the bodies.  I never did find out who they were or what unit they belonged to.  The wrecker driver did haul my truck over to one of our firing batteries that was at Mary Lou.  It had a bullet hole in the radiator and it got fixed by a team sent up from my unit in Pleiku.

About an hour later, the convoy from Dak To arrived back on it's way to Pleiku.  I led the convoy the rest of the way in my jeep.  When I arrived back at Artillery Hill, I was called up to the FA Brigade Headquarters for a short After Action Review.  Mostly I sat in a room full of people that were as bored as I was.  Other than the two dead soldiers, the ambush was pretty minor.  In fact, I am not sure that anyone even called on me to tell what happened to my truck.  Somehow the mail bags had been transferred to one of my trucks and it turned up for distribution to our batteries scattered all over the hills and fire bases near Dak To.

My next visit to Mary Lou was much different and will be in tomorrow's Mary Lou II  post tomorrow.



Short Story Told in the Long Version

I was contacted by the editor of the news letter for the 1st Battalion, 92nd Artillery.  That was one of the two units I served in during my tour in Vietnam.  He asked me to write a short write up about my Military Career and the time I spent in the unit.  So put on your 5 buckles and sit down for a tale well told. (or at least as well as I can tell it.)

I was a Baby Boomer born in Wichita, Kansas about 9 months after my father returned from his tour in the Pacific.  When I was a child, we played war games almost every day.  We were the Cavalry fighting Indians, the US Army fighting the Germans and the Japanese and most of us were fairly well armed. Between the fanner 540s and bb guns, we thought we were a pretty well armed force.   I personally read about everything I could about famous warfighters.  I am not sure that helped me in my career, but it didn't hurt.  I also was in scouting most of my years growing up but I wasn't really in it for the rank, mostly the fun of camping with my friends.  I did learn to cook over a campfire and loved the friendships I gained there. 

I attended High School in Wichita and started my college career, at Wichita State in 1965.  I soon grew bored and only finished the first semester there before I went to work doing construction, drinking beer and basically goofing off.  In 1966, on your 19th birthday you either went to college with a Student Deferment or the Draft Board would pick you up and send you to places you didn't want to go or they wanted you to go and sometimes it was both.  In September 1966, I was sent to Fort Leonard Wood as a Private for Basic Training.  I had the same battery of tests that all other trainees and because of the score on my exams I was also given the Officer Classification Battery test to see if I qualified for OCS.  I took that test and convinced a board I should go, and was accepted in the Career Field of Field Artillery. "Go to the sounds of the guns" was the only Military Quote I knew.
Pvt Petty, Fort Leonard Wood, MO  Oct 1966

At Fort Sill, I was sent through the OCS Preparatory Training (13E) and then directly to OCS in January 1967.  23 weeks later, I was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in Cannon Artillery and sent to Fort Irwin, CA to train up with a unit that deployed in February 1968.  I will skip the reports of the 6th Bn, 84th Artillery as it was not the highlight of my Military Career.  After 3 weeks in Country I was infused into the 1st Battalion 92nd Artillery. This was to keep the entire 6th Bn, 84tht from going home on the same date. They had been hit pretty hard in a mortar attack so they really needed a good dose of experience.  Four Lieutenants were sent to Artillery Hill, Pleiku.  I asked to be sent to a 155 unit as that was the kind of Artillery I knew.

The 1st Bn, 92nd Field Artillery was a 155 Toed Howitzer unit with their headquarters located in Pleiku and I was given the job as the Battalion Ammunition Officer.  For about a month and a half, we ran daily convoys from Pleiku to Dak To.  The ammunition dump there was blown up during Tet and we had almost all the 5 ton trucks from the battalion at our disposal to haul all the ammunition we could to put the Ammo Dump back to a normal basic load. I was either in the convoy or flying air cover for the convoy.   There were no truck companies available so someone had to do it. 

The first person I met in the 1st Bn, 92nd FA was the Battalion Commander, LTC Alfred J. Cade.  He welcomed me to the unit and asked me to take a tough job prior to moving to a Firing Battery.  That job was filling up the ASP at Dak To.  I did manage to have the duty officer job in the battalion TOC a couple of times during that month and a half and in the  evening LTC Cade would come in and read the daily reports and review the status of the unit.  During those times, I got to see a good example of what a commander did.  He would also talk to the duty staff and ask great questions that the reports didn't cover.  LTC Cade went on to be a Major General on Active duty before he retired.  I could never say anything bad about Colonel Cade and in fact he stands out as one of the finest officers I served with in any part of the Army. 

Somewhere near Pleiku

About the time we had the ASP in Dak To up to snuff, I was assigned to several small Forward Observer jobs and went out on trips with the ARVN's, a basic training company of Montagnards and a couple of weeks with an ARVN Cav unit just north of Pleiku as a liaison officer.  One day, the Battalion XO called me into the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) and told me that I was going on a short assignment as a Forward Observer with the 1st Bat 503rd Rgt, 173rd Abn.  The XO and I expected it to be an assignment of at most a couple of weeks. I went to the unit as the only "Leg" in that unit. The Recon Sergeant and I compared pay one day and I found that he made more money than I did because of the jump pay and separation pay.  After a week, I expected to be told that the next week the Forward Observer would be back.  Nope, I found out that he was in the VA Hospital in Wichita with Malaria and my stint there was extended until they could find a replacement.  I spent over 6 weeks with them and finally returned to the 1st Bn, 92nd FA.  I was assigned as the FDO and then the XO of B Battery and remained there until I came home in Feb 1969.  We moved three or four times during my assignment with them.

My Recon Team with Sebastian Cabot on a Fire Base

As the Fire Direction Officer for B battery, I met a bunch of guys that had every right to be pretty pissed off.  They had been in Officer's Candidate School when the rules changed and because they didn't have a degree they were kicked out.  I didn't have a degree and they made sure that I knew they thought they were every bit as good at their jobs as I was at mine.  For the most part, they were right, with the exception that I worked about as hard as anyone could.  I can truthfully say that I never let one of my men or unit I was assigned to get hit by my artillery.  I did loose my Radio Telephone Operator to a mortar in the 6th Bn, 84th FA but there was nothing I could have done to prevent that.

When I came home from Vietnam. I went to Fort Carson, Colorado and was there until my 2 years ended in July 1969. They offered me a promotion to Captain but I knew that without a degree there was no way I could make a career and there was always a rift waiting for those of us without one.  I went home to Wichita and went back to school at WSU.  when my wife finished her degree in Education, we moved to Leavenworth, KS and I joined the National Guard and attended my last 2 years at KU. 

When I graduated from KU, I went to work full time as a Battalion training Officer in Ottawa, KS in the Kansas Army National Guard.  I spent about five years there and then moved to the State Headquarters and worked my way up through the ranks in the Plans, Operation and Training field.  I did have the opportunity to command the 1st Bn, 127th Field Artillery and took them through a successful ARTEP. 

In 1997, on my 50th Birthday, I retired from the National Guard as a Colonel, 06.  I retired to our farm here near the edge of Topeka and am the head laborer for a Master gardener I have been married to for 48 years. 

One of the things I took away from my time in the 1st Bn, 92nd Field Artillery was the skills that helped me be a good officer for the rest of my career.  We were an Air Mobile Unit and planning to move a Field Artillery Battery from one place to another took great skill and hard work.  1968 was years before we had computers and I had never had any training in planning.  I learned everything the hard way and found that attention to detail was more than a saying.  One of the things I will always remember was the great men I served with.  I hope we can all meet one day and share a cup of grog at Fiddler's Green and tell war stories and laugh till our cups run dry. 


Do Not Reduce it to Simple Things

Today I read a letter from William Tecumseh Sherman written to reply to a letter to save Atlanta when his troops were set to go there.  Simply said, he told those people that he was there to wage war and that he did.  The fact that war is one of the most brutal things an Army can do on  their enemy, shouldn't change what the better Army does during war.  His words were that when the war was over he would do everything he could do to feed and house the people but as long as their leaders wage war, he too would battle as well and as hard as his troops could.

In short, in this world of instant entertainment and mass communications there is a rush to simplify everything to a lower level until it makes sense in spite of the fact that some things just don't make sense.  I wonder what will be Nature's adaptation to the fact that today's generations no longer have the use of both hands because on hand has a cell phone in it finding Pok√©mon.  Will there be a generation of people with enlightened senses that makes them aware of dangers as they walk around distracted or will the carnage from the inattention finally outrage us to put the damn phones down and look where we are going. 

In certain political races, things get said that no one believes.  During the last Presidential race, Obama said Hillary wasn't qualified to be the President.  This last week he said she was the best qualified person to ever run for the office.  I agree that she is better qualified than Bill Clinton was but even Jimmy Carter spoke the truth a higher percentage of the time.  Even if he did lust after women in his heart.

WAR in Hell,  There is nothing in life that is free,  The only certain things are death and taxes.  What simple things do you pay attention to?  How well do they resonate after the sun goes don at the end of the day? 

Oh well, gotta go vote soon.



Mean Uncle Denny (MUD)

I hope you all know by now that my Non de Plume is like a funny saying and really doesn't reflect who I am or what I do.  I was given that nickname by a niece that I love a lot and I hope she feels the same way about me and the wife Barbara. 

I am an old retired Colonel from the Army and living what I call the good life.  We have enough money to do as we wish and share some of it with our son and his wife.  I also hope there is some left over when I go to Fiddler's Green that the kids will be able to continue in the style we have.  Fiddler's Green is that mythical place where all soldiers go when they die and the legend is they get to share a canteen cup of grog with their friends until they run out of war stories to tell.  If George Parker is there telling jokes and I am telling stories there will be a horrific traffic jam as soldiers are waiting to get in (or Out).

I am what I call a compassionate conservative.  I want our Government to cut spending and yet support those that are truly in need.  Not in greed, but in need.  I think that old saying that teaching a guy to fish is way much better than feeding him fish.  When we were in Maine a few years back we were told that the Prisoners there actually complained about the large number of Lobsters they were forced to eat.  I saw one in a tank the other day at the store and they want $20 for a fairly small lobster. I personally didn't think all that much of the lobster but the blue berry pie was simply the best.  Throw on a scoop of ice cream and I would be in hog heaven.

Once upon a time a good friend told me that he eats to live and I told him that I live to eat.  Guess who's skinny butt had a heart attack first?  Eating all that beans and rice can kill a guy.  You really don't live longer, it just seems like it. 

Yesterday morning Barb said we should go on a bike ride.  I loaded up the bikes and we went over to Lake Shawnee.  The first thing I noticed was that there was something poking me square in the middle of my back.  I stopped to see what was wrong and I noticed that several of the straps I use for support had just given out.  I buy those hard black bungee cords at Harbor freight and they dry out and break after a couple of years.  I replaced the broken one's and will soon be riding back in style

This is how I feel


Oh well,    See ya, MUD


How to get where you Want to Be.

First of all, I need to say that being smart is a fine talent but I know a lot of average people that made it to the top of their world with average intelligence.  Here are some of the factors that were important to me.

READING - One or both of my sisters loved to read and the started me down that path real early in life.  I attacked reading to quiet some of the ADD demons that led me places I really didn't need to be.  I read every book about Military Hero's that were in the Minneha Library.  Is it any surprise that I chose to make a 30 year career out of the Military?  Not to me. 

Working Hard - If there was ever a skill that led me to get better jobs, it was the fact that I worked pretty darned hard at every job I had.  I did have a few mentors that showed me what to do from time to time but outworking the other guys on the job gave me a leg up when the next job was ready to get filled. 

Ideas - I am not sure where the skill came form, it was some from reading and some from making a few (OK many) mistakes as I came up through the learning and job systems that gave me a lot of ideas.  Given a problem to solve, I would rather be with a room full of people and find the best ways to look at problems and solutions that fall out of the process.  Yes, I am an extrovert and love to problem solve with groups.  The real good thing is that I survived getting to the top and I am not afraid of making decisions that implement change.  I listened to all the frogs but when it came time I could say "Watch my Lips."

Finding the right person. - I had a girl friend in High School that was a cute as she could be. The sad part was that deep down I knew she did not always make anything near the right choices in her behavior.  It would have been easy to stop my growth and get married but that just wasn't the right thing to do.  I really lucked out when I met my wife on a blind date.  Cute, smart and always made the right decisions.  She had really good goals and made sure that I knew she was on her glide path to those goals and if I wanted to join her I could but her goals were clear, achievable and measurable.  I won't say that she hated to be poor but that was not one of her goals.

TRUTH -   I am not sure who instilled that in me but telling the truth when it mattered was on the top of my list.  Lets not confuse that with story telling where a god embellishment went a long was, but when it matters, tell the truth.  In my work, one trait that I always did was go to my boss and tell him when I made a mistake.  If it is not obvious, you generally don't get fired for making a mistake, what you do get fired for is using obfuscation to hide a mistake. 

Good Common Sense - Occam's Razor is a wonderful guide.  Generally the obvious answer is the right one.  I am blessed to be able to see the right answer right out of the box and make it work.  The principle of KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid) also works well.  I was blessed to have a Systems analysis once ask me to try out a program he was sent.  It looked at what you wrote and not only spell checked, it gave a grade level for the writing you sent out.  I was blessed to get a good education but needed some help to dummy down what I wrote to a level others could read and understand.  I had on Boss that sent out a letter to start a new program.  The first paragraph sent me to a good dictionary three times.  I'll bet a lot of other people just ignored what was said and waited for someone to re-write it in simple English. 

That's it, pretty simple.  I also would advise you to find out what Dave Ramsey says about money.  His program of spending less that you make is good advice that I just can't beat.  The great news is that my Wife had us on the Dave Ramsey system prior to knowing who the heck Dave was. 



Hot days in July

This year had been kind of different from a lot of Kansas summer days.  Starting in July, the clay soil here in NE Kansas is just starting to show cracks from the dry heat.  We normally have had really hard times growing many of the plants grown on vines.  Not this year, we have managed to have about at least and inch of rain per week and the green growth here has just taken over.   Barbara says that her vine plants think they are Kudzu from the south and have about taken over in her garden.

It got fairly warm in June but July had either normalized out or we are just adjusted to the heat.  The humidity has been high but nothing like some of the days in Arkansas or Vietnam.  Today there is a nice breeze blowing.  I will go outside and work on the mower again.  This damned Cub Cadet mower is just not any way near the heavy duty they advertise.  If I mower greens on a golf course it might do that job well.  Get it off the concrete and it will bend a blade or blow a housing.  I am on my 7th or 8th blade and today I will replace my third tower that runs through the deck.  The blades run about $50.00 for two and the housing are running about $88.00 plus shipping.  I think I could have hired my mowing done and been dollars way ahead.

Barb and I haven't done nearly as much bike riding this year but I hope we can get back on track soon.  We don't ride on the weekends as the bike paths at the lake are just way too crowded with people and dogs.  It is fairly obvious that most of the dog owners here in Topeka don't listen to the Dog Whisperer and let their dogs just walk where they want.  My big concern is those little yippy dogs on those retractable leashes.  Just because it will go out 25 feet, doesn't mean the owner needs to let them roam that far.  It will break my heart if I ever hit one of them.  I just hope it doesn't break anything of mine including my body.  The beauty of a recumbent is when I fall I don't have far to the ground but none the less I don't need the damage.

Well, I had better get rolling.   Just for the record, there are a lot of good bargains at the local nurseries.  I thought we had almost one of everything but it seems that we don't. 



Good Sayings Gone Bad

With the election ahead of us looming large on the Horizon,  I feel compelled to provide some of the word plays that symbolizes how I feel.   Donald Trump is a jerk.  He is the kind of bully that rolls over people and I grew up with this kind of self centered a-hole my entire life as a child.  There were a lot of kids that I went to school with that felt some kind of privilege based on who their parents were.  A prime example of this was Tommy's ball glove.  When we played baseball at recess, we had to share what few ball gloves there were.  Not Tommy who was sure that sweat from the kid in the outfield would forever stain his glove and make it less than the best glove in the whole school. 

Did I mention that I had a father that hated liars worse than about anything else.  I have it in my mind that Hillary might recognize the truth three times out of ten but can be counted on to make up a pack of lies instead.  It was a "vast Right Wing Conspiracy" that publicized Bill's fooling around with an intern.  "What difference does it make"   and finally "No classified information ever was on my computer."   There is a bunch of us that might, just might forgive her if she just told us that she did it and move on.  Nope, she had to tell us a pack of lies to cover her ass.  Yep, it does need covered.

I shudder to think that the Law of Unintended Consequences may be looming just over the horizon.   How can the biggest "Wheeler Dealer" in New York be counted on to bring the needed change to Washington where brokering a deal is a part of getting up in the morning?  Instead of fixing problems, I shudder to think that a man that has used chapter 11 four times is going to be in charge.  Without the support of even his party, what kind of brokerage will he use to realign our Government?

I am just amazed that in spite of all the snehagians done in the Clinton Name that even the most liberal party can find it in their heart to want Hillary in Charge.  Wasn't the last 8 years enough.  Just who are they going to blame all the failures on when the inevitable happens?   I know, George Bush is still alive. 

I have often read that the solution to our problem is throwing out all of the Senators and Representatives and starting over.  At least people want term limits.  What that would do is to fill the ranks of Washington D.C. with more and more just unelected people to lobby the newbie's to change everything they way "Big Money" wants it to be.  That is one unintended consequence I do not look forward to.

Oh well, at least I got this off my chest this morning without offending the sensibilities of Facebook.  Thank god they do have a few people to screen the pictures for really stupid selfies.  There is a pack of stupid people with cameras out there and they just think Mega pixels don't count.  Well some of us can count that high even if we don't care to.



Another Guy Story- Buckslip Lashinsky

In 1967, I attended and graduated from the Army Artillery Office Candidate School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.  During my time with class 25-67, Aka B Battery, I had the opportunity to meet about as diverse a group of guys as was ever assembled.  Because of pretty high entrance standards, the majority of the Candidates were squared away and could really represent what we wanted the Officer Corps to be when we joined that rank. 

That is, except one guy who I was assigned to share a 4 man cubicle with.  For some reason he had hurt his foot and he had a slip that excused him from marching, running, and many of the physical exercises we were required to do.  That slip of paper was known as a Buck Slip.  It was not a thing that you wanted but occasionally were required to have.  Somewhere about the end of the first 8 weeks, it appeared that Candidate Lashinsky was somehow destined to retain that slip until he became associated with the term Buck Slip.  Remember that we were the cream of the crop there at that training center and I guess there is always someone at the bottom of the pile.  He somehow floated there like a turd in a punchbowl. 

For the most part, the candidates were single or if they had been married, their wives were waiting for them at someplace called home and far away from Fort Sill's arm pit aka Lawton, Oklahoma.  Not good old buck slip, his wife was living right out side the gate and during the 8 weeks we had been there, he was allowed to only stand at Parade Rest beside their car and talk.  No contact, no hugs, no kisses nada, zip zilch except the passing of pleasantries.  That alone would have killed me.  The part that was kind of funny about the whole matter was that most of us were not allowed off the post yet anyway.  As we went along, it appeared more and more that buck slip was never going to pass anything near the standards that would ever let him off on the weekend and into the loving arms of his wife.

I had gone straight out of Basic Training to an Officer Candidate Preparatory Battery.  That meant that I knew how to stay straight and had those 8 weeks to get my gear into tip top condition.  Buck Slip had come to Fort Sill straight out of Infantry Basic at some shit hole in Louisiana and his gear was worn,  torn and  so ragged that even on a regular Post would have needed to be replaced.  Put him in OCS and he looked like he had slept in his uniform.  I'll bet he piled up enough demerits each week to carry his restriction on to Graduation. 

One evening, very late at night, I noticed that Buck Slip was not in his bed.  I went down to the latrine where  late night studying was done.   There he sat on the floor reading his gunnery manual, FM 6-40 about high Angle fire.  That exam was due that week and he could not seem to get his head around the subject.  The common story about high angle fire is think about a garden hose.  If you aim it at your feet and start raising the hose eventually the water would move away from your shoes.  At some point out there, the water would start coming back to you as you continued to lift the nozzle.  At that point, all of the effects of elevation are in reverse.  Simple concept, just not simple enough to let Buck Slip pass the test we all would take the next Friday.  I spent about an hour with him and he finally started to cry.  He knew that following the High Angle test would come the Met + VE test the next week.  If you think the concept of High Angle was tough, it was child's play next to Met + VE.

The only thing I could tell him was that there is a world full of guys that would give their right arm to be able to pack up his gear and be home the next night with his wife.  I am not sure if I pushed him over the edge or if I just made sure he knew where it was.  The next day, when the rest of us were leaving for class, I saw Buck Slip standing outside the Orderly Room and by that night all traces of him were gone.  Someone even came in to our cubicle and removed his upper bunk and then there were three of us and soon to be down to two.  Yep, about 50% of us didn't make the cut.  Oh well, Life goes on and I'll bet good old Buck Slip spent the next three or four days and nights making up for the  forced celibacy.