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.



4th of July

To my friends I want to wish you all a happy 240th Birthday to our country.  I don't have a clue why, but the 4th has always been one of my favorite holidays.   It doesn't hurt that I graduated from Officer's Candidate School on the 3rd of July and that cemented the Holiday as my all time favorite.

See you later.