Monday, March 31, 2014

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

{sarcasm}

One of the things I love about rock 'n' roll is the sheer truth and profundity in the lyrics.  Case in point:


People come, people go
Some grow young, some grow cold
I woke up in between
A memory and a dream

So let's get to the point, let's roll another joint
Let's head on down the road
There's somewhere I gotta go
And you don't know how it feels
You don't know how it feels to be me
Brilliant, Tom!  That's right up there with "Louie Louie."  Nice video, though.

{/sarcasm}

In other news... we're out on the verandah at an early hour today, mainly coz it's really nice outside.  Like this:


Warm and breezy; what's NOT to love?  Rock on.

Happy Birthday, Number Nine

Gordie Howe turns 86 today.  That's the good news.  The bad news is he's battling dementia and we all know that's a losing fight.  Helene St. James, hockey writer for the Detroit Free Press, has a great article celebrating Mr. Hockey on his birthday.  An excerpt:
Gordie Howe never was one to sit around, and that hasn’t changed even as dementia roils his health. He turns 86 today, an event that will appropriately be celebrated in Detroit, because no city ever has celebrated Howe more. He reigned here as a local hockey folk hero for three decades, defining what it meant to be talented and tough.

Howe doesn’t come to Detroit a whole lot any more, because he cannot be on his own. He has spent the past four months in Lubbock, Texas — staying with his daughter, Cathy, and her husband, Bob — escaping the harsh winter that would have impeded his physical activity. The man who six decades ago dominated opponents in hockey remains a man who doesn’t like to be still.
I never got to see Gordie play... except on The Tube o' You... but I have a special kind of love for the man, like Wings fans, hockey fans, and most all Detroiters do.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Howe.

Too Much Choice

I spent a bit of time in the car this weekend and I listened to a lot more NPR than I usually do, including this lil gem from the TED Radio Hour.  If you chase the link you'll see the show was all about misconceptions, specifically five snippets from TED Talks about various and sundry things we think are true but in reality aren't true at all.  All in all, a very entertaining hour but the show left me wanting to hear more of Mr. Barry Schwartz's dissertation on freedom of choice in these United States.  So it was off to the TED Talks web site (their embed code doesn't work) The Tube o' You (YouTube's code ALWAYS works) to retrieve this...



My takeaway quote from the talk?  "The secret to happiness is low expectations."  Like this:



That's a screenshot... paused... from Mr. Schwartz's talk to illustrate his point.  Somehow or other I've always known this but never articulated the concept in that manner.  Watch the whole thing.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Do It for Denmark!

Mebbe we should call this Saturday, Part II.



That agency DOES have a point about sex frequency and vacations... at least after you've been married for a few years.  Don't ask me how I know.

Friday, March 28, 2014

I Need One of These



Just for the hell of it, yanno?  On sale here.

Thanks to the folks at the Shoebox blog, who have saved my ass (heh) more than once when I had nothing to post.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

What's On Tap for Happy Hour, Buck?

One (or more) of these...



I was gonna record my own Nitro slam-pour but I thought "somebody else HAS to have done this."  Yup... more than a few somebodies, actually.  You can't do this with very many beers unless you want a world-class mess on your hands.  It sure is fun to do with Left Hand's Nitro, though.

Excuse me, but I think I hear beer calling my name.

Added, somewhat later:



Why, yes.  Yes, we HAVE been sampling all those various and sundry pour videos.  I like this one coz you can see the swirly nitrogen bubbles in the beer after it's poured and also coz it's from the brewery.  Who would give better instructions than the guys that make it?

Diversity

Courtesy of HMS Defiant, a look at New Mexico's diversity with my county highlighted.  Roosevelt county just ain't very diverse, but we ARE underpopulated as compared to most other parts of these United States (I think that's a good thing).  



The legend for this map indicates one dot represents 5,000 people, Green (dot) = White, Blue = Black, Orange = Hispanic, Red = Asian, Gray = Other.  

And here's the continental United States:



The beauty of this map is you can get down almost to street level... it could be a real time-sink for those of us caught up in minutia.  Go here to see the whole thing (subscription may be required if you've used up your monthly quota of ten free New York Times articles).

In Like a Lion...



... and out like one, too.  We're having another wind event here on THPoNM so it's not nice outdoors, even though it's relatively warm.  Kinda like Mr. Varvel's 'toon, actually.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

Albert Collins with my theme song...


You done the right thing, I wanna thank you, too
Now, let's have a little drink, just me an' you
I don't care, what the people are thinkin'
I ain't drunk, I'm just drinkin'

(But you're so high)
Who me? I ain't high man
(But you're so high)
I don't know why you all talk about me like that
(But you're so high)
 
You've gotta mind your own business, brother
(Stay drunk all the time)
You, you oughta watch yourself too
You don't understand what I'm sayin'
Well, that might could be ONE o' my theme songs but it'll do for today.  And now it's back out to the verandah to continue as we've begun.  And yeah, just to clarify matters... we kicked off Happy Hour slightly early today, mainly because we CAN.

What Do You See?



Here's a short treatise on optical illusions, including a blurb on the image above.

H/t: Digg.

This Isn't as Far-Fetched as It Seems

From The American Military's Most Trusted News Source...


That's obviously a screen-cap.  RTWT here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Broadening Our Horizons LXXVII

We made a re-supply run out to Cannon Airplane Patch earlier today... for booze and victuals... and as we browsed the available beers at the Class VI store we noticed this on the shelves: 


That would be a New Belgium Spring Blonde Belgian style ale so... but, of course... we had to pick up a sixer of this new to us... and the rest o' the world, too... brew, whereupon we placed it in the fridge immediately upon our return to base.  It's cool enough to drink and now that we're half-way through the first bottle I have to say we're impressed.  This beer will make a nice session beer, in that it goes down most easily and has a light-on-the-palate, slightly sweet and flowery sort of taste.  I like it on first blush and predict we'll run a few more sixers of this brew through El Casa Inm├│vil De Pennington... while it lasts.

In other news... we tried to take Happy Hour on the verandah today but... alas.  It's just too damned fresh outdoors at the moment to make such activities comfortable and appealing.  We were supposed to hit 65 degrees today but we're only at 58 degrees as we speak, and this under cloudy skies with a fresh breeze.  So it was back indoors to continue as we've begun.  No matter... it's ALL good.

In the Mail

That would be today's overnight mail.  There's this, for starters...


About which, this, from the Usual USAF Source:
And Eight Become Seven

President Barack Obama, who is in Europe for the Nuclear Security Summit, met with leaders of the G-7 (the US, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan) in the Netherlands Monday to discuss the situation in Ukraine. The seven nations, along with the Presidents of the European Union and the European Commission, expressed continuing support for the country through what is being called The Hague Declaration. The document denounces Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and once again makes a plea for a diplomatic solution. However, it also reaffirms that there will be "significant consequences" for Russia's actions. "This group came together because of shared beliefs and shared responsibilities," states the declaration. "Russia's actions in recent weeks are not consistent with them. Under these circumstances, we will not participate in the planned Sochi Summit. We will suspend our participation in the G-8 until Russia changes course and the environment comes back to [one] where the G-8 is able to have a meaningful discussion … "
And this:
James: Air Force Ready to "Step Up" in Ukraine if Asked
 
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said the Air Force is "ready to step up to the plate" in Ukraine if it's asked, noting the service already has "kicked it up a notch with respect to some of our training, particularly with Poland and the Baltic policing mission." Speaking to Stars and Stripes at Ramstein AB, Germany, during her first trip to Europe and Afghanistan since becoming Secretary, James said the Air Force is able to surge if necessary. "The situation between Russia and the Ukraine is not currently affecting our operations here in Europe, in terms of the way we project to reshape the Air Force in the future and our current operations," she said.  
What the Hell does "step up to the plate" mean?  I don't like the sound of that at ALL.  

I like the looks of this, though:

Air Frame: Four Air Force Thunderbird F-16 Fighting Falcons zoom by the visitors of the Lightning in the Desert Air Show March 16, 2014, on Luke AFB, Ariz. The event was open to the general public to view vintage aircraft and the F-35A Lightning II. (Air Force photo by SrA. Marcy Copeland)
It's been years and years and years since I've been to an airshow.  I saw the Blue Angles (<== not a typo) perform over the San Francisco Bay back in 2000 or mebbe 2001 and that was the last airshow (sorta) I attended.

I also like the looks of this:


My next book or possibly two will be "free."  I use the scare-quotes coz that settlement means I overpaid for books I've bought in the past.

And now it's off to make the blog rounds. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Americana, c. 1963

A promotional film about Ra-cha-cha, Noo Yawk... made by Rochester Gas and Electric in 1963.  Fascinating!



A couple of things... I lived in Ra-cha-cha for four wonderful years... 1995 - 1999... and loved almost every minute of it.  Why almost?  The winters, Gentle Reader, the winters.  You'll note there's not a single winter scene in the 27 minute length of the film and there are several good reasons for that... all of 'em having to do with SNOW.  Like this:



The second thing?  1963 was the year I (a) graduated from high school and (b) enlisted in the air force.  America really WAS like it's portrayed in the film at that time and I'm serious when I say that.

It's Too Early

Make of this what you will:
 


H/t: littlelimpstiff14u2 on Tumblr.

In other news... Why am I up so danged early?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Sunday Re-Run: Ever the Pedant, Part II

The title is in reference to the post immediately below, where I take issue with Verizon taking liberties with the language.  Which, of course, brought to mind this old chestnut from my blogging way-back.  This is the third time I've put this post up, the second being back in 2009.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Lessons in Writing Humility

(OK… I was saving this post for tomorrow. But My Bud Dan’s comment to the post immediately below cut me to the quick. He’s right. I’ve been phoning it in of late. So here’s something that contains a lil bit more “substance.” Not a lot, mind you…just some.)

Apropos of not much…but, by way of introduction, this: I’m often struck by the quality of writing I encounter in my wanderings around these here inter-tubes. Or, more better, the absolute dismal state of most of the writing I encounter. Present company excepted, of course. All y’all write well, for the most part. There are exceptions…and all I can offer is: “if the shoe fits…” But in most cases it won’t fit. Mainly coz I have little or no tolerance for poor writing, there being some exceptions. I’ll leave it at that… criticizing others is not what we’re on about in this post.

The Second Mrs. Pennington and I, the both of us being professional writers (of a sort) and more to the point… she being an English teacher (of a sort)… used to have this on-going argument discussion as to whether good writing can be taught, or not. My position has changed back and forth over the years and still isn’t firmed up to this very day. On the one hand, the mechanics of writing most certainly can be taught… which is to say grammar, punctuation, subject-verb agreement, and the like. Anyone with half a brain can go out and buy a copy of Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style,” study it intently, absorb all the lessons therein, and call himself a writer. And a lot of people do just that. On the Other Hand… good grammar and punctuation doesn’t begin to make what we know as “good” writing. It’s a start, but only a start.

Once upon a time I considered myself a “good” writer. I’d taken several undergrad courses in English and composition, I had a fairly extensive writing background acquired as an additional-duty Public Affairs Officer (NCO, actually, but the title was “PAO”), and was recognized by various and sundry Air Force supervisors and such as a “go-to” guy when it came to putting words on paper. So, it came to pass (in my post-USAF career) I was assigned to a proposal writing team sometime in 1986 or thereabouts. And here for your illumination, Gentle Reader, is my very first effort in this space, as returned “for corrections” by my proposal editor:




(click for larger, if you have the inclination)
Bloody. Literally dripping with blood, in the form of the dread red editor’s pen, and this is but four of 14 pages, all similarly deeply scarred and dripping red. Including all 14 pages in this post would be overkill, not to mention boring beyond belief. My draft was returned with a post-it attached that said “Good Work!” (the post-it has gone missing after all these years). I scanned my draft, bloody as it was, and immediately went to my proposal manager/editor and said words to the effect of “You think this is Good?”… to which she replied “Yeah. I didn’t tell you to re-write it, did I?” Well, OK, then.
So... I returned to my desk, made the corrections and re-submitted my draft, which was accepted without further edits. Things got progressively better for me (and my editor) as time went on. At the end of the six-month pursuit cycle I came out a much better writer than when I went in. My first proposal was a learning experience of the first order.
I became very, very close to my editor… a woman by the name of Mary who later went on to become an EDS corporate VP, and I had the delightful opportunity to work with her on a couple of other proposals while she was still doing that particular gig. I learned nearly everything I know about writing today from that woman… lessons that are much too detailed to repeat here but had a lot… nay, everything… to do with word-choice, economy of language, what to leave in your writing, and… much more importantly… what to take out. Another thing Mary emphasized is one needs to recognize good writing before one can even begin to emulate it. In other words: good writers are voracious readers. Mary was also of the opinion that the best writers read a wide variety of “stuff…” fiction, non-fiction, op-eds, soup cans, cereal boxes, and (she emphasized) poetry. Mary maintained poets are all about economy of language, which, to her way of thinking, is the very essence of communication.
Mary was a wise woman indeed. My only regret is I failed to keep in touch with her. So... take what you will from this, and leave the rest. Such as it is.

Committed to The Inter-tubes by Buck on 4/25/2008 07:19:00 PM 17 Astute Observations
So... one point I didn't make in the post above is any tendency towards flowery, "poetic" language I may have had in the past was bred out of me during my brief career as a technical writer.  We're mostly about "short and to the point" these days, and that serves me well.  And you, Gentle Reader?  Mebbe not so much.
So there's that.  And then there's this:
"The term, then, is obviously a relative one: my pedantry is your scholarship, his reasonable accuracy, her irreducible minimum of education and someone else’s ignorance."—H. W. Fowler, Modern English Usage
Heh.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ever the Pedant

I grind my teeth every time I see one of these frickin' ads...



FOMOH?  No.  If you're gonna capitalize the "O" in "Fear OF Missing Out On Hockey," you should also capitalize the freakin' "O" in "On."  So it should be FOMOOH... pronounced Pho-Moo... instead.  Get a freakin' clue, NHL and/or Verizon.  You're killin' me.

In other news... it's the second intermission in the Wings-Wild game and the Beloved Wings are up, 2-1.  Continue as you've begun, Boys.

Saturday: Near Misses

Not all of these are Russian, who are world-famous for their dash-cams, but all are pretty damned hair-raising.



The bullet through the window is the one that got ME.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack: A Change In Attitude

We're feelin' a lot better than we did earlier, which is a function of our beautiful weather (72 big-ass warm, wonderful degrees and soft caresses of a gentle breeze), our first beer, and the music we're listenin' to.  About which, this:


Click to embiggen, as always

I loves me Amazon's Cloud Player.  One of the better things about it is the fact that some... just some, not all... of the albums I've purchased on Amazon are available in their entirety for our listenin' pleasure.  You'll note that amounts, in my specific case, to 32 albums and 443 songs, which, when you choose the Cloud Player's shuffle-play feature, results in hours upon hours of great songs that you know and love.  It also provides for some interesting segues... like RL Burnside to Emmylou Harris to Lyle to Johnny Winter to Dylan... and so on and so forth.  The variety amuses me and greatly so.  So... what have we heard most recently?  This:


I don't want to hear a love song
I got on this airplane just to fly
And I know there's life below
But all that you can show me
Is the prairie and the sky

And I don't want to hear a sad story
Full of heartbreak and desire
The last time I felt like this
I was in the wilderness and the canyon was on fire
And I stood on the mountain in the night and I watched it burn
I watched it burn, I watched it burn.
Oh, go on Emmylou... break my freakin' heart, whydontcha.  That woman's voice is just SO heart-achingly beautiful.

Next To Nuthin'

That would be us when it comes to posting today, mainly coz we're in one of our "Meh" moods.  We've read the overnight mail, reviewed the blog-feed, perused a limited amount of news-fodder, and nothing clicks.  But Hey!  There's always plane pr0n, right?
Bagram Nights

Air Frame: A Halvorsen loader pulls away from a C-130J Super Hercules at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Feb. 11, 2014. The airfield is the busiest single runway in the Defense Department. (Air Force photo by Capt. Brian Wagner)
OK.  You can say it, I don't mind: that's a piss-poor example of plane pr0n.  But it IS a cool photo whose subject just happens to be an airplane.  

I might have more later if or when my mood improves.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack: Another Warren/Linda Two-fer

Warren has to be first with these two-fers, seein' as how these are HIS songs...


She's so many women
He can't find the one who was his friend
So he's hanging on to half her heart
He can't have the restless part
So he tells her to hasten down the wind
And Linda...


She tells him she thinks she needs to be free
He tells her he doesn't understand
She takes his hand
She tells him nothing's working out the way they planned
Ah, well... OK.  Whatever.

In other news... We'd be remiss if we didn't note today is the Vernal Equinox.  Like this:
There are two equinoxes every year – in March and September – when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal. Seasons are opposite on either side of the equator, so the equinox in March is also known as the "spring equinox" in the northern hemisphere. However, in the southern hemisphere, it's known as the "autumnal (fall) equinox".

March Equinox in Portales, New Mexico, U.S.A. was on
Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 10:57 AM MDT
That would be the first day of Spring, of course.  Our weather here on The High Plains of New Mexico is VERY spring-like today... which is to say warm (70 degrees) and breezy (~6 mph).  It's damned near perfect out, actually, so let's get back out in it rather than wasting any more time at the keyboard.

Getting Sillier and Sillier



And then there's this that's making the rounds...



(click)

In other news... We went to bed at an early hour last evening and as a result our eyes popped open at oh-dark-thirty this morning.  I'm really not sure which is worse: staying up into the wee smalls or getting up at that hour.  Each comes with its particular brand of drawback.  Oh well... time for a refill.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

Ray LaMontagne...



So when you're lying in his arms
Think of me and know
The choice you made ain't free and clear
It cost me a heavy toll

Sit and think
Drown in drink
And sing this sad, sad song
You can bring me flowers, baby
When I'm dead and gone 
I like Ray... a lot... what with owning three out of four of his albums.  He does heartbreak songs pretty well and I like the instrumentation he provides, along with his lyrics.  This particular tune is from his "Til the Sun Turns Black" album (arguably his best) and is representative of the things you'll find there.  Good stuff, Maynard.

We're reveling in the change in our weather and have spent the last two hours sitting in the sun out on the verandah.  I think we'll pour us another beer and get right back out there... to continue as we've begun.  Dang... life is SO hard, sometimes.  free smileys

Apropos o' Not Much...

... and just for the hell of it, this:



I find things like this interesting... in every sense of the word.

H/t: High Fructose Magazine's Tumblr page.

I Found This Amusing



YMMV, of course.

In other news... It's dead calm this morning; the whirlwind has moved on.  And for that we are most thankful.  But it left behind a reminder of its visit:


I suppose I know what's on my list today... wash the car*, or "reaping the whirlwind," so to speak.

* Which was immaculately gleaming before yesterday's dust extravaganza.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hey! We're (In)Famous!

Here's an article in the Daily Mail about the dust storms that rolled over us a few days ago, with lotsa pics... like this one:


Rolling in: The gigantic dust storm is seen from a plane as it headed towards Amarillo

We're experiencing another such event today, with more "brisk" winds and way too damned much dust in the air, which some people call haze.



"Haze," my ass.  That's dust, fellas.

No outdoor Happy Hour today.  (sigh)

What Drives Traffic and a Mystery




You'll note the "All time" box in the upper right corner is checked, so this means the five posts highlighted are the all-time page view champs here at EIP.  I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why Number One has so many apparent page views.  That 54,779 number is clearly bogus but that particular post is number one no matter if the criterion is all time, month, week, yadda, yadda.  I just don't get it.  So much for the mystery.  But what drives real traffic?

Well, just for drill, the all-time Top Four posts at EIP, counting up, are:
a drawing of a boiler system,  
a photo of a transrectal prostate biopsy procedure
photos of D-Day
and... drum roll, please... this is Numero Uno:

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Again?


Yes, again.  Note the wind chill: six below.  But I take comfort in the fact that at least a few people are having a good time somewhere on the planet at this moment... perhaps in the south of France, on some Greek island in the Med, or down in Rio.  Like this:


Puritanism is sometimes defined as "the pervasive feeling that someone, somewhere is having a good time" and hedonism is the exact opposite.  You prolly know which camp beach I'm in on, Gentle Reader.
The message?  Titties get traffic.  LOTS of traffic.  The other message?  EIP is primarily a blog for googlers.  (sigh)

Love Them Go-Pros!



Pretty danged creative.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Promoted to the Main Page

That peripatetic bon vivant and everyone's favorite commenter... Mr. Virgil Xenophon hisownself... said this in comments:
Buck/

OT, but have you any Mississippi Fred McDowell? (That was part of the post blogger swallowed) PS: I know I've been distracted from my promise to provide posts, but I'll alert you and your readers to two new posts I''ll be sending you. The first, a one part called "A death in New Orleans." and the second a two (or three) part post entitled: "The Day in 1971 when the 78th TFS @RAF Woodbridge, UK., pulled the functional equivalent of a (very serious) Mutiny" ( sort-of) And why the "Big Kids" couldn't do anything about it.  
Zounds!  It's with bated breath we await the arrival of the long-promised guest posts.

Peripatetic?  Why, yes...
per·i·pa·tet·ic
adjective
adjective: peripatetic; adjective: Peripatetic
  1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, esp. working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant, migratory, unsettled 

  1. "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
    Aristotelian.
noun
noun: peripatetic; plural noun: peripatetics; noun: Peripatetic; plural noun: Peripatetics
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.
That most certainly fits, nu?

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

We're early today due to a confluence of events... abed at 2130 hrs, up at 0530, and the magnificent weather here on The High Plains of New Mexico... so we called Happy Hour just about an hour ago.  And then there's this, besides:
innominatus has left a new comment on your post "Yowza!":

Apropos of almost nuttin', I've had this stuck in my head all morning. So I'm counting on you to come up with a most excellent Happy Hour Soundtrack today to chase that earworm back to hell.
Aiiieee!  Well, OK, then.  We're under the strictest of moral obligations here and it's incumbent upon us to do our best... and what passes for our best today includes two takes on the same song.  First up is the original by Warren Zevon:


Well, I met a girl in West Hollywood
I ain't naming names
She really worked me over good
She was just like Jesse James
She really worked me over good
She was a credit to her gender
She put me through some changes, Lord
Sort of like a Waring blender
Poor, poor pitiful me
Poor, poor pitiful me
These young girls won't let me be
Lord have mercy on me
Woe is me
Well, I met a girl at the Rainbow bar
She asked me if I'd beat her
She took me back to the Hyatt House...
I don't want to talk about it
Poor, poor pitiful me
Poor, poor pitiful me
These young girls won't let me be
Lord have mercy on me
Woe is me
We relate to almost all of the above, except for the BDSM bits.  I've never understood that aspect of sexuality... whatever floats yer boat, eh?  But the blender bits?  Oh, my... yes.  Nearly every woman I've known in my life put me through that Waring blender.  I don't regret a single minute, either.

And then there's La Ronstadt, who made Warren's composition sort of a signature tune of hers.



Oh, my... the images in that vid!  Was Linda a hottie in her prime, or what?  That brings to mind an event that happened in the way-back, wherein my best friend Chip and I were sitting in our lil house in Westby, Montana, listenin' to Linda during a late, late night of drinking and assorted other things when Chip gets this brilliant ideer that we should call Linda  up and tell her just how much we love her.  So, we tried.  Long story short, La Ronstadt had an unlisted number (big surprise, eh?) and there was NOTHING we could do to convince the El-Eh operator to give us said number... and we most certainly tried.  Oh, yes... we DID.  That was prolly a great good thing, Gentle Reader.

Yowza!

The post title is in reference to our WX forecast today...


All week, actually.  Our beer and cigar consumption goes up dramatically with the increase in temps, most especially the cigar part.  That's a direct reflection of the amount of time we spend on the verandah, of course, and it looks like we'll be out there a lot this week.  Finest kind.

Let's see... I thought I had something else.  Oh, yeah!  Today is the equivalent of Black Friday for the Guinness brewery.  I'd wager more of that watery brew is consumed today than in any given month, otherwise.  The other abomination seen today is green food coloring added to run-of-the-mill swill like Bud and Coors Lite, and I really can't decide which is worse: Guinness or green beer.  We'll partake of neither today.  We'll also be staying in this evening, for tonight is another one of those Amateur Nights, second only to New Year's Eve.  I'll not be wearing any green today... mainly because I'm not Irish in any way, shape, or form... and that final note completes Buck's St. Patrick's Day Trifecta of Negativity.

But... if you're really Irish or of Irish extraction:  Happy St. Paddy's Day.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Sunday Re-Run: Sartorial Elegance

Our tongue is firmly in our cheek with that "elegance" bit.  That said, we do have our own personal style in garments.  From November of 2008:
We’re currently in the midst of a pretty good cold snap, as noted elsewhere and below. I kinda like that because this is the time of year I get to drag various coats and jackets out of the closet and renew my acquaintance with ‘em… an acquaintance that goes back over 20 years in two cases and nearly that amount of time in one other.
 
Like most guys, I don’t own a lot of outer garments. As I matter of fact, I have five…which is probably a little bit more than most men. But two of those garments are relegated to storage; I wear three outer garments on a regular basis. Strangely enough… all three are military-issue items. Today was the first day of the winter season that I wore my favorite jacket… an M-65 field jacket. (Full disclosure: I actually have two field jackets, only one of which is still serviceable enough to wear in public. The other is really worn… ripped here, torn there, the Velcro is gone, and it has all sorts of grease stains and such on it. It’s worn as a work jacket… if it’s worn at all, given as how I don’t do much “work” these days.)
 

My daily-wear M-65 was issued to me in 1984, the year before I retired from the Air Force. I knew I was gonna go, my retirement papers were in and approved, and I wanted a new field jacket to last me into retirement, as my old one was looking a lil bit the worse for wear. So… I beat feet down to supply, requested a new field jacket, got it, signed the receipt, and was on my way, a Happy Troop if there ever was one. I’ve worn that jacket every winter since. You cannot beat the thing for utility, what with its four large cargo pockets, collar-concealed hood, a button-in polyfil lining that keeps you oh-so-toasty, and the fact it’s waterproof… provided you give it an annual spray-down with Scotchgard. And when it gets dirty? Just throw it in the wash. That’s it. The M-65 looks damned good, it’s utilitarian, and it’s low maintenance. What else is there?
 
(Me and my M-65 in Yellowstone, May of 2000. It was frickin’ cold that day… and I was on the bike, too. But I stayed warm.)
 
Well, it turns out there IS something else. The M-65 is casual. VERY casual. For more upscale occasions I wear my pea coat. (Don’t laugh… it’s true. And I’m weird, I’ll freely admit.) My pea coat is The Real Thing and not some sort of knock-off (one sees a tremendous amount of knock-offs advertised as “Navy Issue” or some other such blather. Most aren’t even close.) And how do I know my pea coat is real? Coz it used to belong to SN2 when he was on the E-side of the Navy house (Pea coats are only worn by enlisted sailors. Ossifers wear Bridge Coats [scroll down for pic]. I’m serious.). He gifted it to me the year he was commissioned… the culmination of literally years of me badgering him to “get me a pea coat!!1!!” And so he did.
 

I love this coat. It, too, is quite versatile, and being 100% heavy wool it’s also very warm… especially with the collar turned up. I’ve been wearing my pea coat for about 15 years now, assuming I’ve done the math correctly. From the looks of things I’ll probably get at least another 15 years out of it… maybe more. The thing simply doesn’t show wear at all.
(Pic: Me, Grandson Sean, and SN1 on San Francisco Bay… an appropriate milieu for a pea coat, no? c. 2001.)
 
Last, but not at ALL least… My A2 flight jacket is perfect for Spring/Fall weather and is the jacket you’ll see me in most frequently. My A2 is over 20 years old and was made by Cooper, a firm that’s out of business now but was the official supplier to the USAF, back when the Air Force re-authorized the A2 for wear in the 1980s. The A2 I own is made of goatskin and is the “older” design, which precedes newer gub’mint-issue items manufactured after 1987. You can still buy the older model here (from Cockpit USA (formerly Avirex LTD), the current manufacturer and supplier of the A2 to the Air Force). Or… if you prefer the current, updated model (which is visually identical to the original A2 but has internal pockets)… you can buy that here.

 
Digression: The Second Mrs. Pennington about had a cow (man!) when I told her I wanted this jacket in the way-back. She looked at the price and flipped out… being the frugal woman she was and probably still is… telling me I could get something “just as good” for about half the price at any six stores in Detroit. But that wasn’t the point, I countered… “this is an official Mil-Spec A2!” And so it went… back ‘n’ forth. I obviously won the battle (I lost the war, but let’s not go there) and I feel somewhat vindicated, too. The jacket has lasted lo these 20+ years and looks just as good as the day I bought it. Better, even, since it’s acquired that patina one sees in old but well-kept leather. Besides that… It’s Teh Quality, Gentle Reader.
(Further digression: TSMP and I had a “one hundred dollar rule,” meaning consultation was required prior to purchasing anything over that amount. That’s a really good rule to have in a relationship, btw. It stops a lot of arguments… not to mention regrettable impulse-buys… dead in their tracks.)

(Pic: Me wearing my A2… somewhere in the Wilds of New Mexico (which is shorthand for “I don’t remember”), c. 2004.) 
 
And those other two outer garments? One is a Yuppie-looking windbreaker with an oh-so-discreet EDS corporate logo embroidered on it. It’s nice but it’s not me. I wore that thing rarely… most often to casual corporate events back in the day where it was de rigueur to fly the flag. I don’t know why I keep it. Souvenir value, I suppose.

The other item is a Burberry trench coat, another relic from corporate days. It, too, is most versatile, warm (with the liner zipped in), good looking in a “Bond. James Bond.” sort of way, and probably never will go out of style. I love that thing (as much as anyone can “love” an inanimate object), but it doesn’t quite go with the levis and tee shirt ensembles that are en vogue around here. But: I can’t bear to part with it and who knows? I may have to go to a funeral in a cold rain some day. And if that happens… I’m ready. 
 
Well. That was much ado about not much, eh?
I said we had style.  I didn't say we had GOOD style, yanno?