Thursday, February 28, 2013

Casual Friday...

... that would be tomorrow, right?  Or Not.



Heh.  That's pretty good as well as bein' pretty much the ONLY hockey you'll see on ESPN.

But while we're on about "Casual Friday..."  I used to HATE that day, coz "casual" really isn't; the day should be called "Corporate Casual Friday."  When EDS broke down and authorized a Casual Friday I had to go out and buy a whole buncha new clothes, mainly because there was nuthin' in my closet in between suits and Levi's... me bein' the sort that would NEVER do "Dockers."  But then we did.  And sport shirts instead of tee shirts.  All that crap.

It got worse, too.  About a year later EDS went to an all-corporate-casual dress code so WE went back to The Men's Wearhouse (and similar places) to acquire a new wardrobe.  It ain't cheap to dress casual, lemmee tell ya.  I was also stuck with about seven or eight suits hangin' in the closet, none of which would see more than one or two wearings for the remainder of my civilian career.

That said, we (a) saved back a couple o' suits when we retired... one dark, one light (for weddings, funerals, and other formal events) and (b) took one of those suits to the cleaners today.  It's been hanging in my closet since this occasion:


That would be SN1's commissioning ceremony in May, 2000 which, coincidentally, was also the last time I wore that particular suit.  So, yeah... it needed to go to the cleaners.  I have a wedding to attend in March and we DO want to look our best.  Or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

Ur Doin' It Wrong...


Air Frame: The Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team practices a new routine on the drill pad at Keesler AFB, Miss., Feb. 19, 2013. (Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

The pointy end goes the other way.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

We Are Pissed

I did my 2012 taxes this afternoon, seein' as how we were in receipt of our final outstanding 1099s a couple o' few days ago (that would be sometime around the 20th of this month), and we are shocked.  There have been numerous articles published in the press and elsewhere to the effect that roughly half of all Americans don't pay ANY income tax.  Here's an excerpt from one such article:
1) About 46.4 percent of U.S. households didn’t pay federal income taxes in 2011. Mitt Romney’s right about that.

(Tax Policy Center)

So there's that, for starters, and I am NOT in that 46.4% of Americans who pay no income tax.  Imagine my surprise and disgust that, after about three hours of labor-intensive tax preparation, I find I have to write checks to both the Feds and the State o' New Mexico, the latter of which will ding my bank account to the tune o' just slightly less than one thousand Yankee Dollars... and that's after deducting about 15 grand in uncompensated medical expenses.  I find it both interesting and troubling that a person living on a pittance of pensions from a military retirement, private pension plan, and Social Security  pays that goddamned much (85% of said SS payments are taxable, go figure, as is all of both my other pensions). I don't mind paying my fair share... but what the feds and the State o' New Mexico consider "fair" and what **I** think is fair are widely divergent.

Yeah, I know... First World Problems... we has 'em. I suppose I shouldn't bitch, piss, and moan, mainly because I'm blessed that I live in the USofA and not somewhere else. Still and even... I don't get it.  I must not be doin' sumthin' right.

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack...

... is inspired by a photo in this month's Nat Geo:


Forgive the serious reflections down the center of the photo... I could have taken the time to fix them but I didn't.  The photo is most definitely worth viewing full-scale, which is actually larger than the original in the magazine.

On to our tune...



I had the occasion to view sakura on numerous occasions while I was in Nippon; each and every opportunity was memorable.  I never did view the blossoms at night, though... and never realized what I missed until I saw this month's NatGeo.

Ah, well.  There are a LOT of things I've missed in life; this is but one.

O! The Humanity!



" ...it's a terrific crash, ladies and gentlemen. It's smoke, and it's flames now ... and the frame is crashing to the ground, not quite to the mooring-mast. Oh, the humanity and all the passengers screaming around here. I told you, I can't even talk to people whose friends are on there. Ah! It's–it's–it's–it's ... o–ohhh! I–I can't talk, ladies and gentlemen. Honest, it's just laying there, a mass of smoking wreckage."

Don't recognize the quote?  Go here.

About Time




The meme is near and dear to my heart; mebbe the US will lift the embargo after Raul fades away in 2018.  That would make perfect sense and I would have the option of buying Cuban cigars legally.  Not that I would, mind you... the things are seriously overpriced and the product from non-Cuban manufacturers is just as good, often at half the cost.  It would be nice to have the option, though.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Today's Happy Hour...

... will be slightly delayed while I wait for feeling to come back to my upper lip.  Yes, I'm recently home from yet another installment of Adventures In Modern Dentistry, this time it was to take impressions for my new bridges and implants.  Dr. Thompson had to numb me up for a little laser clean-up work and to remove and replace the temporary upper bridge I've been wearing since September last.  There's light at the end of the tunnel: our new implants and bridges are scheduled to be installed on March 20th.  Yays! and Huzzah!

There's no reason to delay today's Happy Hour soundtrack, though.  We'll be listening to a lot of this sorta stuff (sambas!) once I can feel my lip again...



I heard this tune on XM while I was out and about this afternoon.  There was a point in time when I was a BIG fan o' Brazil '66 and I'm still pretty much a fan.  Just not as much as I used to be.

The Sky Is Falling... In a Couple o' Different Flavors

First a couple o' toons from the Usual Source o' such things...




Mr. Ramirez kinda puts this in perspective, doesn't he?

And then there's this, from the Usual USAF Source:
BRAC Again: With the sequestration deadline just days away, Air Force officials are once again urging Congress to consider another round of base realignment and closures. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said last week the Pentagon's forthcoming Fiscal 2014 budget request, which is set to go to Congress in a few weeks, would include a request for more base realignment and closure. "We continue to believe BRAC authority is a tool we urgently need to allow [the Defense Department] to divest excess infrastructure and meet other needs, including modernization," said Donley on Feb. 22 at AFA's Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla. "Given sequestration, it's even more important for Congress to give DOD BRAC authority to pursue health care reforms that will help us control costs," he added. Air Combat Command boss Gen. Mike Hostage said he realizes BRAC is a "touchy topic," but said it could be critical to ensuring that the command remains mission capable in light of the steep budget cuts that sequestration would bring. ACC is set to transition to a state of tiered readiness, which means that the command will place any unit not deployed or preparing to deploy in "dormant status," said Hostage during a Feb. 21 interview with the Daily Report at the symposium. "I need to close one out of every three" ACC bases, he said. In its Fiscal 2013 budget request, DOD asked for two new rounds of BRAC—one in 2013 and one in 2015—but Congress turned down the proposal.
—Amy McCullough
Yeah, Congress can't agree on relatively easy budget reductions and/or something as simple as enacting Simpson-Bowles... so they'll entertain more base closures.  Don't hold your breath, Mr. Donley.  

On a better note...


Air Frame: Airmen prepare a B-1B Lancer for a night mission in US Central Command's area of responsibility on Feb. 21, 2013. The bomber, assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth AFB. S.D., is operating as part of the 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron from a undisclosed air base in Southwest Asia. (Air Force photo by SrA. Joel Mease)  (Click on image above to reach larger version.)
I think the Bone is THE most beautiful aircraft in the inventory today.  YMMV, Gentle Reader, but that's my pick.

Monday, February 25, 2013

An Update to Today's First Post

The sun came out about 20 minutes ago, which event prompted ME to get out, as well.  A couple o' few different views o' the latest WX event...



That would be the Portales Intra-city waterway, winter and summer versions.  Just for the contrast that's innit, Gentle Reader.  Here's the view of the intra-city, looking west (heretofore unseen):


For those of you unfamiliar with the southwest... we have no drainage systems like all y'all do back east.  That's what the streets are for in this part o' the world.

And finally... contrasting views of the Casa Inmóvil de Pennington...




I much prefer the latter over the former.  That will come and I hope it's soon.

Lunch

We've been savin' a couple o' these for some sorta occasion...


... and I think a snow day fits the bill.  That's a Partagas Spanish Rosado in the ash tray (a stick that's not a stranger in these parts) and the beer is in a Chimay glass, which is the only thing I have that's close to a tulip.  We might do two o' these Fin du Mondes but we might not.  The brew has a 9% ABV content so one of these will make me happy, two will ensure a nap.  But Hey!  It's GREAT sleepin' weather.

Petty Larceny

Stolen from the Shoebox blog...


I'll opt for "too much fun," thank ya.  Every time.

Not a Nice Day


P-Ville has a lot in common with other southern tier states: everything shuts down when we get a couple inches o' snow.  Witness:
A spokesperson for Clovis public schools has announced Clovis schools are closed Monday due to the threat of continued snow and high winds.
Other delays/closings reported to Clovis Media Inc:
• Muleshoe schools are closed.
• Portales schools are closed.
• Clovis Community College is closed, according to a text message sent out by its emergency alert system.
• Cannon Air Force Base has announced only mission essential personnel report to work on its Facebook page.
• Texico schools are closed.
• Eastern New Mexico University is closed.
There's more; not a school district in the area is open.  The worst thing about this stuff... for me... is the wind is out of the south, so that makes things a right mess in my immediate vicinity outdoors.  Examples:


A carport doesn't do much good when the wind blows right into it.  We have an immediate and further grasp of the obvious, too:


There won't be an outdoor Happy Hour today.  But Hey!  It's kinda-sorta pretty out and I don't have anywhere to go.  So like Frank sez...


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Word!



Yeah, Candy, Rachel, and Soledad... eatcher heart out.

Me?  PAB, without a doubt.

Advice


I have several fortune cookie fortunes in my wallet.  None of them have panned out... yet.

H/t: nothingvia on Tmblr.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Usual Saturday Post...

... critters edition, beginning with a cute frog.  Wait.  Did I just put those two words... "cute" and "frog"... together?  Yeah, I did.  (I've done that before... here's another cute frog)



And then there's more screaming goats.  We posted a short clip o' screaming goats before, but that was NOTHING like this...



That makes me laugh while feeling just a little bit creepy.

Best and Worst States for Retirement

I was cruising around the inter-tubes after the hockey games last evening and was lookin' at Forbes' take on the best and worst states to retire in.  I was kinda surprised at this...


We're tied with Florida for #7, believe it or don't.  Hawaii was named "best state" to retire in, despite having the highest cost of living in the USofA.

This didn't surprise me at all...


Yup.  You can add the fact that Michigan is also home to the #1 (Detroit) and #2 (Flint) "Most Miserable Cities in America."  My former home has fallen on hard times, indeed. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

We Have Lived Too Long




Alternative title: Stuff I Never Thought I'd See.  WTF, over?

Old Days



Yup... and the bureaucrats OWN the serfs these days, too.  Who don't seem to mind all that much.

Speaking of Old Days... there was this in my latest love note from Amazon:


Not the price differential between the different media; today you pay a significant premium for vinyl.  That brings on a "who'd a thunk it" response from YrHmblScrb, while making me wonder how much the 8-track version would cost.  (Not really.)  I've been known to wax nostalgic about my vinyl and the fact I don't have possession of it any longer.  My vinyl got a LOT of airplay while I still had it, at least as much if not more than my CDs.  Part of that is the fact some of my music is ONLY available on my LPs, what with a lot o' stuff goin' out of print years ago, and part of it is my BEST vinyl (i.e., the half-speed mastered and Euro-pressings) sounds better to my ear than CDs.

I'm gonna get my vinyl back.  Some day.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Oh So TRUE

A paean to hockey fans, penned by Will Leitch at Sports On Earth...
There is no such thing as a casual hockey fan. When you go to a baseball game, or a football game, or (especially) an NBA game, you will always find people only sort of keeping one eye on the game, checking their phones, there for conversation or social engagement rather than the game itself. There's nothing wrong with this, of course: Everybody who pays to get in can pass the time at the game however they'd like.

But you don't see this at hockey games. Hockey fans are into it, across the board, screaming and chanting ("Potvin sucks," still!) and stomping and going nuts, essentially for 2 ½ hours straight. Everyone's wearing a hockey sweater -- and it was a little crazy how many different names I saw on the back of Rangers fans' jerseys. Everybody at a Knicks game has Carmelo on their back, but I counted at least 35 different names on the back of jerseys in my section alone -- everyone's intense and everyone knows everything about everyone on the ice. It's like a massive family of people glaring in one direction.

Hockey fans are just so dorky, and I say that with nothing but respect: As a sports fan, I consider it the ultimate compliment. There is no posing, no ulterior motive, no nothing other than obsession with the game itself. There's a manic look in the eye of a hockey fan that doesn't compare to anything you see in the other three major North American sports; I might be a lunatic during Cardinals playoff games, but you can still tell, no matter how much I'm jumping around and biting the shoulders of everyone in my vicinity, that I'm aware the world will not, in fact, end if the Cardinals lose. The planet outside of the game exists, and I plan on returning to it. You don't get this from hockey fans. Hockey is all there is, and hockey is all that matters.

[...]

This is why discussions of whether hockey can "break through," whether it's a "mainstream" sport, are completely beside the point. Hockey fans could care less whether or not you accept their sport, whether you think it worthy of coverage, whether it won its time slot in the Nielsen ratings. You are a mere visitor to their lands. If you enjoy the game, that's great, but if not, they don't need you. This will always be their game.
Wanna understand us puck-heads better?  RTWT, as we citizen-journalists (and puck-heads) say.

Speaking of fans...



That would be Buck and I in the Blue Note Lounge at the Scottrade Center a while back.  You've seen these pics before, Gentle Reader.  And this one, too.

Not Your Father's Air Force XXVI

It's pretty easy to go all "Get Off My Lawn" over this...
Pentagon Defends Precedence of New Medal: Pentagon officials justified the precedence of the new Distinguished Warfare Medal, which ranks above the Bronze Star Medal. "We are not diminishing at all the importance of the Bronze Star—that remains an important award for our combat troops," explained Pentagon Press Secretary George Little in the Defense Department's Feb. 19 release. DOD created the Distinguished Warfare Medal to recognize the combat achievements of personnel who aren't physically present on the battlefield, but whose actions have a direct effect on combat success. An example is a remotely piloted aircraft operator stationed far from the battlefield who controls an RPA in the combat zone that drops a bomb to take out a target. The new medal does not recognize valor, while Bronze Star awards may come with a Valor Device. That's one reason DOD has received some pushback over the precedence of the new medal after announcing it on Feb. 13. "We expect this award to be granted pretty rarely, and that factored in to the decision," said Little. Military leaders agreed that service members at rear locations are "doing incredible things, and we wanted the ability to recognize them," added Juliet Beyler, DOD' acting personnel management director. (AFPS report by Jim Garamone)
I really do expect this award to become known as the "video game" medal, or something similar.  I'm not disparaging the efforts of those who fly RPAs, or the weapons controllers/sensor operators who sit beside them.  Everyone's efforts and contributions are important to the team, but we already have decorations that are suitable for such service... like the MSM, AF Commendation Medal, and so on.  Just sayin'.

You can see the complete order of precedence for awards and decorations here, and kudos to The Wiki's editors for updating the chart so quickly.

Another Reason Why I'm an Anglophile

I saw this in an article in Business Insider:
The NFL is ramping up its efforts overseas, playing games in London and even hinting that a Super Bowl might be played across the pond.

In response to these English flirtations, artist Dave Rappoccio had some fun and British-ized the current NFL logos of all 32 teams.
Heh.  That's an example at right and Mr. Rappoccio is one helluva lot closer to the truth than he realizes when it comes to the Raiders.  The rest of the logos are quite funny and some are better than the "official" logos used by the teams.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

Ella Mae Morse...



Ella Mae is a blast from my past, in that she was a favorite of both the Ol' Man and my Mom.  I was raised on a virtual smorgasbord of Big Band music, Barrel House, and classical.  My folks were nothing, if not eclectic.  It's too bad I couldn't convince the Ol' Man that rock 'n' roll was worthy of his attention... but Hey!  We all have our flaws.

It's one of the wonders of Our Modern Age that a great part of Ella Mae's oeuvre is available today on the Tube o' You.  And I'm FOREVER grateful for that.

What? ANOTHER Re-run?

I'm afraid so.  I seem to have hit that point in my blogging career where my old stuff seems much better than anything I can come up with today.  It's either that or my Muse is AWOL again.  Prolly both.

It's stuck, we are.

Stuck

Sometime right around or just before my 50th birthday I made a vow to myself, on the order of "I'll never get stuck in the past… at least where music is concerned." This "getting stuck" phenomenon is something I had noticed quite a long time ago, beginning in my mid-30s or so. My peers and contemporaries seemed to be stuck in the '50s or '60s and most had a tendency to listen to those damned Oldies stations that played lotsa doo-wop, Motown, and Elvis songs at the time… not that there's anything inherently wrong with that music — I love it to death and have a LOT of it — but as a steady diet?  No. Not us.  Not ever. We wanted to keep up, keep current, and keep discovering new stuff.   And for the most part we managed to do just that.

It was sorta easy to keep up when I was that young, given I was living in London during my mid-30s (which had the BEST frickin' music scene in the early '80s, bar none), and continued to live in major metropolitan areas when I returned to the US of A. Even Oklahoma City… where I first landed after living in London… had a great college radio station out of Norman and at least one or two "progressive rock" stations. Moving right along… I was in Dee-troit as I approached my 50th birthday and while you may not think of Detroit as a musical hot bed it did have its share of progressive radio stations and a decent club scene. It was pretty easy to keep current and the music was also pretty danged good at the time… think REM, Soul Asylum, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Cranberries, yadda, yadda… and hip-hop wasn't dominant quite yet, either. Ascendant, yes, but not dominant. We probably added four or five CDs to our music collection each month and went to many more than a few concerts, as well.

So… we remained "unstuck" through the mid-'90s and a lil bit beyond. I remember quite well when my musical life took a turn for the worse: it was in 1999 and the aftermath of  The Great Divorce Crisis. I went off pop music entirely at that time and moved to jazz, country, and classical. I simply couldn't stand to listen to pop (be it current or from the near-past) and nearly all of my music collection: too damned many memories, too much pain. We diversified our tastes and managed to remain "unstuck" as it were, given there was all this great music I was discovering (or rediscovering) for the first time. That went on for about five or six years… or so. And then we slowly but surely began to return to our pop music collection and what was once familiar and comforting.


And here we are today, and the strangest thing has happened: I'm stuck. I noticed I'm mostly listening to Pandora these days, and the stations I've defined are all from my past: Van Morrison. Joni Mitchell. Neil Young. Rolling Stones. Santana. J.J. Cale. Roxy Music. James Brown. Warren Zevon. Dylan. (There are more, but they're all in the same vein.) And most recently: The Beatles, driven by my acquisition of the first two re-mastered albums. I racked my brain and tried to come up with new artists I've bought over the last two years and can only think of a few: Jet, Norah Jones, and Diana Krall (who isn't really new… just new to me). We are well and truly stuck.
So… perhaps getting stuck in the past was inevitable but I had always hoped it wouldn't be so. Dang. I hate it when this happens. 
That's from two and a half years ago.  We're not so much musically stuck these days, but we ARE more into "roots" music.  My last three or four musical purchases have been recordings from old bluesmen, like a five-CD set of old Lightnin' Hopkins recordings and an RL Burnside "early recordings" CD, just to name two (illustrated at right).  I don't consider that bein' stuck... it's more like filling massive holes in the collection and that effort is on-going, as we speak.

Our Pandora experience has changed a lot over the last two and a half years, as well.  Yeah, we still have all those '60s and '70s stations defined, but we've added a few new ones.  So I suppose my old complaint ain't quite what it seems.  We're still pretty well-rounded, if not bleeding edge.

61398

That's not a ZIP code... it's something a LOT more nefarious.  The big story on Tuesday was the revelation...  to some... that the Chinese gubmint and more specifically the Peoples Liberation Army have long been involved in a huge and highly sophisticated cyber-spying activity.  That "61398" number is the unit designation of the PLA unit leading the cyber charge, and more about that in a moment.  But first... Chinese cyber spying was the lead item on last night's edition of the McNeil-Lehrer Newshour (yeah, I KNOW that ain't the show's name any longer, but I've been watching the show since 1983 and old habits die hard.).  Take a couple of' minutes and watch this, if'n yer interested:




That's just for starters.  As for PLA unit 61398... just do a Google search on "61398" and be amazed; you get 13 pages of news articles from around the world on this search term.  Here's an excerpt from one such item, from the El-Eh Times:
WASHINGTON — A clandestine Chinese military unit has conducted sophisticated cyber espionage operations against dozens of American and Canadian companies, according to a private report that provides unusual new details about China's involvement in cyber theft of economic and trade secrets.

[...]

Mandiant said it traced computer penetrations to Unit 61398 by telltale digital signatures left in malware, the use of Shanghai phone numbers and social networking information posted by some of the hackers. The report profiles three operatives associated with the unit, including one known by the moniker "Ugly Gorilla."

The report said Unit 61398 has stolen "technology blueprints, proprietary manufacturing processes, test results, business plans, pricing documents, partnership agreements and emails and contact lists."
It said it's impossible to inventory the losses since hackers often copy, rather than remove, digital data and erase all but traces of the theft.

Mandiant, which signs confidentiality agreements with its clients, did not name the companies targeted. The New York Times first disclosed details from the report Tuesday.
We... speaking of the US gub'mint... have known about these activities for years.  The BIG question is what are we (the gub'mint) gonna do about it?  What CAN we do about it?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

GOML!

So there I was... watching the Red Wings game... and THIS came on the tube:



Yet another reason why I wouldn't be caught DEAD in a fucking Honda.  For shame.

And about those Wings... this season's turning out to be a masochist's delight.  The team is riddled with injuries and can't seem to BUY a win, what with bein' on a three-game losing streak with every indication of said streak becoming four.  They're down 2-1 to Nashville at the end of the second period and I'm not optimistic.  (small sigh)

Yet More Cigar Art

Bands from some of the sticks that have made their way through El Casa Inmóvil de Pennington of late...



I especially like the band from the San Cristobal cigar; the parrot is oh-so-colorful and the cigar wasn't bad, either.  The image is embiggened; there's no need to click it.

In Which We Edit An Old Post

I originally put this up back in February of 2006; I edited the Hell out of it for this post.

Some Thoughts on Love Wimmen and Me

Joni Mitchell may have said it best when she sang:
I've looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It's love's illusions I recall
I really don't know love at all
Perhaps it’s love’s illusions I recall. I don’t really know but what I DO know is this: I’ve been in love once; I think I’ve been in love twice. I’ve been infatuated hundreds of times and I’ve been in lust at least once a day for the past few years, which translates into "thousands."

My memories of my first puppy love are strong. Her name was Pam, she lived next door, and I spent the best part of a summer (read that: the entire summer) mooning over her. My affections were returned, at first, but then the girl got more than a little scared of my intensity. She withdrew. I didn’t. Both sets of parents were concerned about this infatuation; my behavior made life uncomfortable for all concerned. I was a mere lad of thirteen at the time; the year was 1958. My love was never consummated in any way, shape, or form. All I got out of my feelings was a boatload of trouble and I mean a boatload. My first lesson at love’s altar: Love Hurts. But Puppy Love isn’t love, now, is it?

Fast forward to the early 70s, to the time where I think I was in love. I’m still not sure, after all these years, which is why I say “I think I was in love.” What a sordid affair that was: we were both married, but not to each other. My first marriage was foundering and I was on my way out of it; I just couldn’t summon up the nerve to go, mainly because I had severe guilt feelings where my children were concerned. I had been decidedly unhappy for several years but I couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger; my “keep it together for the kids” feelings overpowered any desire I had to leave. But then came that affair. The affair accelerated the end of my marriage, I made up my mind to go. The affair lasted nearly two years, and it was an “on-again, off-again” sort of relationship. We never spent a lot of time together, not near enough to develop a relationship that would stand up over time. Our time together was measured in hours, and we nearly always got together for “that” reason. The sex was great, perhaps the best I ever had; certainly the second-best.

So why do I call this affair “love,” and not the all-too-obvious alternative, lust? The woman made me feel things I had never felt up to that point in my life, and would only ever feel once again. I was obsessed with the woman. I wanted to be with her all the time, forever. I tried to talk her into marrying me. I think she was quite a bit wiser than I because she ultimately rejected me and stayed with her husband... for a couple of years, anyway. She ultimately left him and remarried. Her second marriage failed, too. I have no reason to believe we would have stayed together, had we married. As I said, she was wiser than I.

I met the love of my life in 1975, in Tokyo. She was an exchange student; I was stationed at Yokota AB. There were 11 years in between us, she was 19 when we met and I was 30. We traveled Japan together, partied together, lived together for a little under a year while in Japan, and again for a summer in North Dakota. We had an extended, three-year courtship, marrying in 1978. She left me in 1998, the divorce was final in 1999. In the mean time, we had 20 mostly good years of married life, and I say “mostly” only because the last six months were absolute-frickin’-HELL. Other than that, I was happier than I’d ever been, before or since. So, what happened? Love went missing... not on my part, mind you, but on hers. (Chase that link. Best essay on the subject I’ve EVER read.)


I used to carry a huge flaming torch for The Second Mrs. Pennington.  I spent a lot o' time trying to change that and I've kinda-sorta succeeded, to a point.   I’ve finally learned to live with it at the very least, and that ain't half-bad.  Part and parcel of the learning process is the realization that there’s no going back, even if I could.  Another part is realizing that I don't much LIKE that woman any longer; her life changes have taken her places I simply do not want to go.  We don't get on very well these days. 

As Gerard said at the "Love went missing" link:
Once gone missing, for whatever reason, it can't be just taken back as it was even if it is found. For if love gone missing is found and returns, it always remains a shattered vessel.
Yes, I know that in the endless bromides of our modern Therapeutic State Religion one is supposed to find the heart, the mercy and the compassion and the patience to pick up every little shard of what has been shattered and, with our ample supplies of therapeutic superglue, painfully and tediously put it all back together as it was. Except, of course, it can never be what it was.
The man speaks The Truth. (Again: chase that link.)

I’ve dated more than a few women since my divorce and have lived with two. I’ve been open to love. But, love is strange, to invoke a well-worn cliché... and here's another: you don’t choose love, it chooses you. I have serious doubts if love will ever again “choose” me, and that’s OK. I’ve been around that block at least once, maybe twice, and the experience and memories from those times are enough to see me through until the end.  If I had the power to change the past I would have chosen to remain in love, as I knew it.  Which means...

It’s love’s illusions I recall.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

The inimitable Lucinda...


I just wanna live the life I please
I don't want no enemies
I don't want nothing if I have to fake it
Never take nothing don't belong to me

Everything's paid for, nothing's free
If I give my heart
Will you promise not to break it
I think I lost it
Let me know if you come across it
Let me know if I let it fall
Along a back road somewhere
Money can't replace it
No memory can erase it
And I know I'm never gonna find
Another one to compare
Ah, my.  How we DO relate.  The story of life, as we know it.

Well now.  THAT Happy Thought aside, it's a beautiful winter's day here on The High Plains o' New Mexico... which is to say brilliant sunshine, little to no wind, and rather balmy temps, as long as you're in the sun (53 degrees, as we speak).  Which I AM, Gentle Reader.  Oh, yes, indeed.
 
Pour me another, Barkeep... we've only just begun.

Ephemera

I went into the archives last evening lookin' for sumthin' specific... that I didn't find... but I found sumthin' else that will serve as blog-fodder, as usual.  Small-Tee tim made a comment the other day about how he saves concert tickets and has more than a few from Led Zep concerts past.  I used to save tickets as well, but the great majority of MY ticket stubs got away from me.  All I have left are these, suitably annotated.


The top two tickets are from my days at Yokota AB just outside Tokyo ('75 - '77); note the start times for the concerts, quite early.  The next two are pretty self-explanatory; Arena Bands playin' arena gigs.  The bottom tix are from the Zoo Amphitheatre in OKC, one of the nicest concert venues I've ever had the good fortune to visit. (Click all the pics to embiggen, if'n ya wanna)

These are all pretty much self-explanatory, with two exceptions.  That lil yellow thing is a Paris Metro ticket, saved for sentimental reasons.  The Van Morrison stub is from my PEAK rock'n'roll experience -- rushing the stage for Van's encore that evening, a rousing rendition of "Caravan."  It never got any better than that, ever.

One ticket, one photo, and two souvenirs.  That would be YrHmblScrb perched on his RD350LC before he modified it and my Royal Automobile Club member card.

Ah Former Happy Days were pretty damned happy, when ya get right down to it.

Fulfilling

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

Ray LaMontagne, with a tune that's simply beautiful...


Don't lose your faith in me,
and I will try not to lose faith in you.
Don't put your trust in walls,
'cause walls will only crush you when they fall.

Be...be here now... be here now.
Be...be here now...be here now.
Well, we're here.  And now what?   Enquiring Minds™ wanna know.

Jes a Couple o' Things

First...


Perfect metaphor, indeed.  And Congress ain't nuthin' if not a Carnival, too.

Second, a short article from the WSJ about the middle class, which included this graphic:

Click to embiggen

There's "insufficient data" for my county here on The High Plains o' New Mexico, prolly coz there are insufficient numbers of people to count.  I dunno about you, Gentle Reader, but I didn't find any surprises within this article.  Some people might could be surprised that a family making almost $150K is called middle class, but I'm not.  I know quite a few folks in that category.

Wait.  I AM sorta surprised that I still fall solidly in the middle class, what with my pittance of pension and Social Security income.