Wednesday, October 31, 2012


So I told all y'all earlier that I didn't buy any candy this year, given my nine-year track record of ZERO trick-or-treaters.  So... there I was... sitting on the verandah, minding my own bid'niz, sippin' on some Woodford Reserve, and drawin' ever so often on a Tabak Especial when I was accosted by a mini-coven of witches-in-training, none of whom older than five tender years, yet all of whom cute as the proverbial bug.  

"TRICK OR TREAT!" they yell... in unison.

Oops, we are caught out.  So what's a boy to do?

I have a pewter tankard full of quarters left over from laundromat days, so I gave each of the diminutive witches a quarter and let it go at that.  And they were all smiles after my initial "Sorry, ladies... no candy."

Immediately after they walked away into the night I got to thinkin'... was I too cheap?  What does a quarter buy these days, anyhoo? I don't eat candy, never buy it (except in bags for trick-or-treaters, in previous years), so I don't really KNOW.  It didn't help matters that my neighbor came home shortly after our encounter and confirmed the fact one cannot buy a damned thang these days with a lousy quarter, but to her everlasting credit she said "a quarter feels like five bucks to kids that young."  That might be so, but it didn't assuage my guilt in the least.

Sigh.  More bourbon, please.

I Normally Don't Go Anywhere Near Here, But...

... this ain't that bad and it made me laugh:

The hat-tip goes to an Occasional Correspondent (you know who you are).


I will have been in P-Ville for ten years come December, so this is my ninth Halloween on The High Plains o' New Mexico.  Strangely enough, I have not had ONE single trick-or-treater come to my door on these nine eves o' hallow.  I've always bought candy... candy that **I** like... in anticipation of visitors who never materialized.  But this year?  I didn't buy a thing.  So you KNOW what's gonna happen, dontcha?

Mebbe I could take a page outta Obama's book:

Nah.  That wouldn't work.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tonight's After Dinner Whiskey Hour Soundtrack...

... was mostly (but not all, see below) Van Morrison's new album "Born to Sing, No Plan B."  There ain't any Tube O' You videos for the tracks on this album, and more's the pity as it's great good stuff.  But, Hey... your loss, my gain... I suppose, in that I have the album and you don't.  Mebbe I'll rip a couple of the cuts and post them myself... or mebbe I WON'T.  Rumor has it Van and his lawyers are pretty tough in this space.

So... no music.  But we will tell ya about that Jack Daniel's Single Barrel... which is what we consumed during tonight's ADWH extravaganza.  We did two fingers of said whiskey... X3.  The first two fingers we took neat and we were impressed.  The burn that we normally object to... and mightily so... was there when we took the spirit neat, but it wasn't all that objectionable.  The mouth-feel is astringent but not overly so... and the swallowing gives one a very nice warming feeling in the belly that isn't off-putting in the least.  The overall taste is magnificent... characterized by a certain sweetness that's offset with various spicy favors that escape me when it comes to describing them.

We took the next two fingers with a single ice cube and this was the highlight of our night.  The ice mellows out the burn quite nicely and one is left with a most pleasing and complex assault on the palate that's beyond description... for me.

Our third go-round was Jack with a splash... defined as no more than two tablespoons of spring water.  The water worked as well as the single ice cube where the burn is concerned, opening up the flavors while mitigating the burn.

Our bottom line:  While we prefer Woodford Reserve, we'll add a bottle of the JD Single Barrel to the likker cabinet from time to time.  I like it.

Addendum... We're also listening to Lyle this evening and this tune is one of the best on his new album:

Dang, but I love Kat Edmonson's counterpoint vocal on this tune.  Marvelous.

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack, Musings On Wimmen, and Broadening...

Today's yet another brilliant day, whereby we have our windows and door thrown wide open and are listening to our own music collection, vice the UCR Pandora.  Our first album today was Joan Osborne's "Relish,"about which we've posted other songs in our back pages.  But here's a live version of "Ladder..."

I'm standin' here in your closet
Unbuttonin' all your clothes
I sleep in your bed tonight
But I never find you home

You're givin' me crooked answers
I'm crackin' your little code
I'm learnin' another language
So full it's about to explode

You give me a ladder now
I surely believe I'll climb
It don't even matter now
I'm willing to take my time

I'm gonna love you anyway
Today and everyday
Today and everyday
I'm gonna love you anyway
Today and everyday
Today and everyday

I wanted it to be easy
I know that I'll make you tired
Some tell me you're slow and lazy
Some tell me you're so inspired
Ah... Dear, Dear Joan. One of the reasons I dearly love "Relish" is the unmitigated, raw, and overtly sexual lyrics on a few of the album's tunes.  "Ladder" makes me think of a few conversations we've had with Lady Loves in the past, other songs on the album bring to mind that ol' joke that goes like this:
My father said to me... "Son, when looking for a woman... you want a witch in the kitchen, a lady in the drawing room, and a whore in the bedroom."

Well, I got all three.  Unfortunately I got a whore in the drawing room, a witch in the bedroom, and a lady in the kitchen.
Badda-da-boomp, and all that.  Ms. Osborne strikes me as the sort of woman described in the first part of the old joke.  I've had the great good fortune to know two such women during my short, sweet life... but the first one left me for her husband and the second?  Let's not go THERE.  I think the take-away here is ALL women are whores for the right guy... at the right place and time.  I've been looking for the Holy Grail of that trifecta for a long time now, with no success.  Those wimmen are few and far between.

Now for the broadening bits... We made our bi-monthly trip out to Cannon Airplane Patch today for to do a commissary run and whiskey re-stock.  We were semi-astounded at the HUGE display of gift packs from virtually every spirits manufacturer known to man at the Class VI, nearly all of which included a bottle of Their Best and various and sundry other amenities, mostly consisting of glassware.  I almost picked up a bottle of Patron tequila and a couple of pieces of stem ware (for margaritas, dontcha know), until I saw the Jack Daniel's package... which included this:

I have it on good authority that JD's Single Barrel offering is worthy, this from a good friend who's something of a bourbon connoisseur.  We shall find this out for our self later on this evening, but I will say this:  the glassware is worthy, in and of itself.  While the glasses aren't crystal they are very solid cut glass with an impressive heft.  I hope the bourbon is the equal of its containers.

Sumthin' Weird and Strange

This has been in the back o' my mind for some time now, and that's the fact that I am the ONLY person in my block of eight apartments in two separate buildings who EVER opens his blinds.  I emphasized "ever" for a reason... because I have NEVER seen any other apartment with open blinds.  Is that strange, or am **I** the weird one here?

The sun streaming in my windows has a positive effect on my mood and it also has another effect when the WX turns cold:  free solar heating.  Like this:

I was gonna post a "blinds drawn" illustration but a Google image search didn't discover anythang I thought was suitable, so ya get me sitting in my sunlit office.  Lucky you.

That's Not Funny...

... but it IS true.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Birds and Stuff

From the Usual USAF Source...
Baby BUFF Reaches 50 Years of Service: The final B-52 bomber delivered to the Air Force—the youngest B-52H—last week reached 50 years of operational service, announced manufacturer Boeing. This airframe, serial number 61-040, is assigned to Minot AFB, N.D., where it flies with the combat-coded 5th Bomb Wing, according to the company's release on Oct. 26. It was on that same day back in 1962 that Boeing delivered this airplane to the Air Force from the company's production plant in Wichita, Kan. Between 1952 and 1962, Boeing built 744 B-52s in eight different models, states the release. Today, the Air Force's B-52 fleet comprises 76 H-model aircraft, including two used as test aircraft at Edwards AFB, Calif. Barksdale AFB, La., hosts the service's second combat-coded B-52 unit, the 2nd BW, as well as Air Force Reserve Command's 307th BW that runs the B-52 schoolhouse. The Air Force intends to keep B-52s in service out to around 2040.
Isn't that amazing?  I'll be long dead before the BUFF kicks it, but I got a little bit of a head start.  Boeing sez 61-040 has over 21,500 flight hours (these pics are from Boeing, as well).

Added, somewhat later:  Those flight hours add up to 896 days or 2.45 YEARS in the air.  Yowza.

Also from the Usual USAF Source... local color:

Air Frame: An AC-130W Stinger II gunship rolls down a newly opened taxiway at Cannon AFB, N.M., through a stream of water ceremoniously shot from base fire trucks, Oct. 19, 2012. (Air Force photo by A1C Ericka Engblom) (Click on image above to reach larger version.)

There's a LOT of construction goin' on out at Cannon, one of the reasons The High Plains o' New Mexico hasn't felt the economic downturn over the past few years.


A bird of a different feather... 

The red on that pheasant is about as close to the red in the poppies as it gets.


And then there's this:

I haven't seen that many political ads on my teevee, at least not to the extent depicted above.  The Romney campaign, however, is spamming me to DEATH ever since I gave 'em money a while back.  I swear I get at least five e-mails a day from those guys... but that's why Google thoughtfully put a "delete" button on my in-box.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tonight's ADWH Soundtrack

Dido with a tune that's kinda jazzy, kinda laid back, kinda reminiscent of Former Happy Days...

I drank too much last night, got bills to pay 
My head just feels in pain 
I missed the bus and there'll be hell today  
I'm late for work again
And even if I'm there, they'll all imply  

That I might not last the day  
And then you call me and it's not so bad 
It's not so bad
And I want to thank you  
For giving me the best day of my life  
And, oh, just to be with you 
Is having the best day of my life
Yeah, it was like that... often.  These days?  Not so much.  No one's gonna fire me, but no one is gonna call me or stroke my forehead and tell me everythang's gonna be all right.  The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away... or so they say.

I mentioned in our first post today that we broke out our lil electric space heater for to warm our bones during last night's late night inter-tubes surfin' extravaganza.  So, we took said space heater out to the verandah this evening, given the fact it's just a wee bit chilly outside.  Like this:

The space heater... sitting mere inches from our frail lil bod... worked, but only in a manner that calls to mind standing before a campfire on a cold winter's evening.  To wit:  the front o' you is nice and toasty but yer ass is COLD.  And this in temperatures that could in no way be called "cold."

(sigh)  I'm already missing those warm summer evenings where we would sit on the verandah deep into the wee smalls and never feel a twinge o' chill.  And my mind turns, once again to stuff like this.  I think we'll do sumthin' in this space, and soon.


... was a real treat for a guy like me, which is to say a geezer who's basically anti-social and reclusive.  By that I mean I got to spend the entire day in the company of others... most, but not all, of whom were immediate fam'bly.  The day began when DIL Erma rang me up around 0930 hrs yesterday morning, askin' sweetly "Are you up?", to which I replied "I am now..."  So we made the coffee, DIL Erm arrived shortly thereafter, and we set out to gallivant around the countryside for a couple o' hours. The gallivanting was followed by a couple o' few hours fixin' the world and consuming barley pops on the verandah, followed by dinner at Erma's sister's house, followed by a GREAT football game and more barley pops.  

On that last:  the BEST part of that game might have been watching it in the company of a buncha Boomer-Sooner fans who got decidedly boomed and doomed, and NOT in a good way.  For them.  But it was for ME... the sole ND fan in the audience of a lil less than a dozen folks... and we didn't bother to ask them the ol' proverbial "Was it good for you?" coz we knew the answer to THAT.

Sing along, coz you KNOW the tune:

Yeah, Baby!

So, we're back to normal today... which is to say talkin' about the WX and publishing right-wing propaganda.  Like this:

It's almost frickin' criminal the way the media is in the tank for Obama.  And our WX?  It's fine; we've gone nearly a month without turnin' on the AC OR the furnace.  It was a near-run thang last night where the furnace is concerned, though... and I admit we got our lil portable electric heater out whilst doin' some late-night inter-tube surfin'.  Coz Baby, it was COLD outside.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Broadening Our Horizons L

That would be Roman Numeral L, as in 50.  Today's newness is Abita Amber, which my local likker locker added to their normal stock o' Abita products.  Like this:

Our go-to guys where brews are concerned rate Amber as "exceptional," and I have to agree.  The long and the short of it is "MMMmmm... malty!"  I'm glad our local beer emporium added this fine, fine beer.  I've yet to meet an Abita product I didn't like and I intend to keep it that way by avoiding Purple Haze... mainly coz we're pretty much done with fruit beers, unless they're Belgian Lambics.

And now it's out to the verandah to sit in the sun and NOT think about housework.

A Minor Case o' Aiiieee!

It's 1330 hrs and I'm still workin' on the coffee, haven't hit the shower, and the blog-rounds are only half-done as we speak.  On top o' that I have company comin' this weekend and have housecleaning and grocery shopping to do.  I need a haircut, too, but that ain't gonna happen today, either.

Is this a First World Problem or just a simple case of acute and possibly terminal laziness?  Enquiring Minds™ wanna know.

Lawn Darts and Fishbeds

From the Usual USAF Source...

Air Frame: F-16s from the Alabama Air National Guard's 187th Fighter Wing fly in formation with two Romanian air force Mig-21s during the recent Dacian Viper exercise near Campia Turzii Air Base in northwestern Romania. (Air Force photo posted at Lockheed Martin's Code One website on Oct. 11, 2012) (Click on image above to reach larger version.)
There was a time when the only possible occasion you'd see these two types... from these two countries... together would be a in a big-ass fur-ball.  How times change.

If you look closely at the embiggened image you'll note the F-16 in the foreground is named "The City of Tuskegee."  I did a lil lookin' around in The Wiki to see if I could find out the modern significance of the historic Red Tail color scheme and it turns out that it's a commemorative paint job adopted by the Alabama ANG's 100th Fighter Squadron in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen.  The 100th has an interesting history, which you can read here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Even a Stopped Clock Is Right Twice a Day


Yeah, what he said.  I'm not gonna hold my breath waiting for the second instance, however.

This One's Been Around the Block a Few Times...

... but it bears repeating:

Truth, if there ever was such.  Which reminds me of another old joke in this space, sorta:
Well, it's not a midlife crisis, but here's how things worked out for me. Married 32 years, took a look at my wife one day and said, "Honey, 32 years ago, we had a cheap apartment, a cheap car, slept on a sofa bed and watched a 10-inch black-and-white TV, but I got to sleep every night with a hot 20-year-old. Now we have a nice house, nice car, big bed and plasma screen TV, but I'm sleeping with a 52-year-old woman. You're not holding up your side of things." 

My wife is a very reasonable woman. She told me to go out and find a hot 20-year-old blond to sleep with and she would make sure that I once again would be living in a cheap apartment, driving a cheap car, sleeping on a sofa bed, and watching a 10-inch black-and-white TV.
Badda-da-BOOMP.  The h/t for the image goes to My Buddy Ed In Florida, I remembered the joke all on my own.

Damned Good Question!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Plane Pr0n

A lovely shot of a Warthog from the Usual USAF Source:

Air Frame: An A-10 Thunderbolt II from the Arkansas Air National Guard's 188th Fighter Wing at Fort Smith flies off the wing of a KC-135 assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing at RAF Mildenhall, England, during a coronet mission, Oct. 12, 2012. A coronet is when a tanker escorts other aircraft over long distances, regularly topping off their fuel tanks along the way. (Air Force photo by SSgt. Austin M. May) (Click on image above to reach larger version.)

"Warthog" is pretty appropriate, given this A-10 is assigned to the Arkansas ANG.


This is a lil bit like the way I feel after a confrontation... in that I always think o' the best comebacks the next day.

But it's true, none the less.

I didn't get to read a lot o' reaction to the debate yesterday, bein' otherwise occupied with life, but I did read a lil bit.  One of the better expository pieces on the wrongness of Obama's snarky "horses and bayonets" comment was this extended piece by J. E. Dyer at Hot Air: "Bayonets, horses, and ships, oh my."  A couple o' few excerpts:
There are so many ways to criticize President Obama’s now-infamous “horses and bayonets” comment from last night’s foreign policy debate that one hardly knows where to start.  The snarky attitude alone is worth a column.  What is Obama, a blog troll?  If he has a case to make about having a smaller Navy, he could surely have made it without being snide, specious, and condescending.


But what is it we are trying to do with these naval forces?  Mitt Romney’s approach is to assume that we intend to exercise control of our ocean bastions – the Atlantic and Pacific – and effectively resume our position as the primary naval influence on the world’s strategic chokepoints: the approaches to Central America; the maritime space of Northwestern Europe; the Mediterranean; the chokepoint-belt from the Suez Canal to the Strait of Hormuz; and the Strait of Malacca and South China Sea.  Being well briefed, Romney no doubt has in mind as well the increasingly maritime confrontation space of the Arctic, where Russia and Canada are competing, but the US – with our own Arctic claims – has in recent years been passive.

Romney thus sees the Navy as a core element of our enduring strategic posture.  For national defense and for the protection of trade, the United States has from the beginning sought to operate in freedom on the seas, and, where necessary, to exercise control of them.  We are a maritime nation, with extremely long, shipping-friendly coastlines in the temperate zone and an unprecedented control of the world’s most traveled oceans, the Atlantic and Pacific.


Obama’s approach has been budgetary.  Under the constraints of the defense budget reductions proposed by Obama – $487 billion through 2022 – the Navy proposed decommissioning 11 ships in 2013, including four Ticonderoga-class Aegis cruisers whose service life has another 10-15 years left.  Three additional cruisers with more than a decade of service life remaining are to be decommissioned in 2014.  As noted at the Navy-oriented Information Dissemination blog, when the proposed cuts were first outlined in late 2011, the decommissioning plan will take out of service cruisers that can be upgraded with the ballistic missile defense (BMD) package – now a core capability for the Navy – while keeping five cruisers that cannot receive the BMD upgrade.
Read the whole thing.  It turns out that Romney DOES get it and Obama doesn't... which surprises me not a whit.  It's too damned bad our sound-bite debates leave no room for extended discussion of these issues, particularly when it comes to enlightening people who are predisposed by nature to vote for Obama.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

There and Back

So... we got off to Lubbock on schedule and arrived at the urologist's office an hour and a half before the appointed time, which is our habit.  To wit: if you're early, you're on time; if you're on time, you're late; if you're late, you're F*CKED.  That's an ol' Air Force... and prolly all the other services, too... axiom that's served me well throughout life.  I was fortunate in that the Good Doctor saw me much earlier than my scheduled appointment and we were done and back on the road to P-Ville before our scheduled appointment time.  We were happy about that, but not so pleased with the visit.

Long story short: the urologist and his tech took more blood for to run another PSA test.  If the results come back the same as last time we have to undergo this great good time.  From The Wiki:
The procedure may be performed transrectally, through the urethra or through the perineum. The most common procedure is transrectal, and may be done with tactile finger guidance,[2] or, more commonly and precisely, with ultrasound guidance.[3]

About a dozen samples are taken from the prostate gland through a thin needle - about six from each side. If the procedure is performed transrectally, antibiotics are prescribed to prevent infection. An enema may also be prescribed for the morning of the procedure. In both the transrectal and the transperineal procedure, the doctor inserts an ultrasound probe into the rectum to help guide the biopsy needles. A local anesthetic is then administered into the tissue around the prostate, similar to the local anesthetic administered for a dental procedure. A spring-loaded prostate tissue collection needle is then inserted into the prostate, through the rectum (or more rarely through the perineum), about a dozen times. It makes a clicking sound, and there may be considerable discomfort.[3]
Aiiieee... "considerable discomfort?" There's this, from that third footnote, above:
“OK, Mr. Stuckey,” he says, “you’re going to feel another little pinch.” Doubting that I can tense any more, I manage to. “Schtick!” The spring-loaded needle makes an odd little clicking sound. Oh. My. God. I am being sodomized with a knitting needle. Eleven more times? Hah! I manage to avoid screaming, probably only because I am busy trying to find the words to tell the doctor and nurse that I obviously can’t handle the rest of the procedure without large doses of morphine and Valium.
OMG, to the tenth power.  What HAVE we gotten our self into?  I think Happy Hour might be SLIGHTLY longer than usual today.

There's that and then there's this:  EIP has a very high probability of becoming sumthin' of a major downer; all we can do right now is wait and hope.  And drink.

Last Night and... a Death Ray!

From the Usual USAF Source...
Driven by Strategy: President Obama hammered Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney during Monday night's Presidential debate for championing a budget plan that includes "$2 trillion on military spending that our military is not asking for." The nation cannot afford such wasteful spending at a time of fiscal austerity, he said. At the same time, Obama said his defense budget is "driven by strategy" and maintains a strong military while positioning the nation "so we can start rebuilding America." But Romney said that approach is not sound. "Our Air Force is older and smaller than at any time since it was founded in 1947," for example, he said during the Oct. 22 foreign policy debate in Boca Raton, Fla. Accordingly, "we've got to strengthen our military long-term," he said, adding, "I will not cut our military budget." Romney said his budget plan would "cut about 5 percent of the discretionary budget, excluding military," and lead to "a balanced budget within eight to 10 years." Both he and Obama came out against budget sequestration. "I will not cut our military budget by a trillion dollars," asserted Romney. Sequestration "will not happen," stated Obama. (Debate transcript)

A Critical Opportunity for American Leadership: The Obama Administration has failed to act decisively in the past year in support of Syrian opposition forces seeking to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad from power, said GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the final debate with President Obama before next month's Presidential election. "We should have taken a leading role, not militarily, but a leading role organizationally, governmentally to bring together the [opposition] parties" and promote the establishment of "a responsible government" in Assad's place, asserted Romney during the Oct. 22 foreign policy debate in Boca Raton, Fla. "We are playing the leadership role," countered Obama. "We're doing exactly what we should be doing to try to promote a moderate Syrian leadership and an effective transition so that we get Assad out." Obama cautioned that "for us to get more entangled militarily in Syria is a serious step, and we have to do so making absolutely certain that we know who we are helping; that we're not putting arms in the hands of folks who eventually could turn them against us or allies in the region." (Debate transcript)
I find it interesting the Air Force Association is neutral when it comes to politics and the above statements are illustrations of their apolitical stance.  AFA does a good job of highlighting issues of interest to the Air Force and its supporters.  Of the two issues above I find the candidates' positions on the military budget, and particularly sequestration, most interesting.

Me?  I'm definitely NOT apolitical yet I think last night's "debate" was a draw.  Neither man drew any blood... although Obama came close with his "less horses and bayonets, too" retort to Romney's statement about our navy bein' smaller than at any time since 1917... and neither man committed any serious mistakes.  Charlie Rose's gaggle o' Talking Heads gave the debate to Obama "on points" yet all agreed Romney performed well and didn't lose any ground.

Also from the Usual USAF Source...
Works Like a CHAMP: The non-explosive missile known as CHAMP completed a flight test over the Utah desert, successfully knocking out electronic targets with its high-powered-microwave-emitting payload while causing no collateral damage, announced contractor Boeing. "Today we turned science fiction into science fact," said Keith Coleman, Boeing's CHAMP program manager, in the company's Oct. 22 release. He added, "In the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy's electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive." Boeing and the Air Force Research Lab's directed energy directorate conducted the test on Oct. 16 at the Utah Test and Training Range, according to the company. CHAMP "successfully knocked out" the targets—personal computers and electrical systems—in a two-story building on the test range during the one-hour test, according to a separate company release. Boeing is developing CHAMP, which stands for Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project, under an Office of the Secretary of Defense-sponsored project. (See also Getting to the Point.)
While CHAMP ain't exactly a death-ray it's pretty danged close. I always wanted one of those when I was a kid...


In other news... you'll note I'm outta bed at an hour sufficient to make my target departure time for Lubbock.  I'm not all that happy about bein' up in the middle of the gotdamned night, tho.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

More Joni....

The Minus is loveless
He talks to the land
And the leaves fall
And the pond over-ices
She don't know the system Plus
She don't understand
She's got all the wrong fuses and splices
She's not going to fix it up
Too easy

The masking tape tangles

It's sticky and black
And the copper
Proud headed Queen Lizzie *
Conducts little charges
That don't get charged back
Well the technical manual's busy
She's not going to fix it up too easy
And she holds out her flashlight
And she shines it on me
She wants me to tell her
What the trouble might be
Well I'm learning
It's peaceful
With a good dog and some trees
Out of touch with the breakdown
Of this century
They're not going to fix it up
Too easy


We once loved together
And we floodlit that time
Input output electricity
But the lines overloaded
And the sparks started flying
And the loose wires
Were lashing out at me
Complete lyrics here.  I was still fixin' radar when "For the Roses" came out in 1972 and I was struck by how Ms. Mitchell got it SO right in her lyrics about electricity.  Add in the fact that The First Mrs. Pennington and I were playing out the end-game of our marriage at that time and you can see how the song had significant meaning for me... at the time.  Fast forward some 25 years or so and the song became pertinent once again but for entirely different reasons... and it turned out we weren't able to fix it up too easily.  Not at ALL, actually.



It sure doesn't feel much like Fall outdoors... witness:

Today's one of those days when we go directly from coffee to beer, taken on the verandah in our usual, customary, and reasonable fashion.  It's downright warm on the verandah today and the only sop at Fall Mother Nature is throwin' our way is the fact the sun is hangin' lower in the southern sky... putting 90% of the verandah in full sun.  It's pretty warm out there... almost freakin' hot... as we speak.  Pretty nice, tho... if you ask me.  Our windows and door are wide open, Joni's serenading me, the beer is cool, and the cigar is great.  Does it get any better than this?


I have an advanced and highly developed case o' acrophobia, so just LOOKING at this picture made my knees all watery:

Air Frame: A loadmaster with the Nevada Air National Guard's 192nd Airlift Squadron looks out the back of his C-130 Hercules transport at a trailing C-130 as the airplanes fly over Lake Tahoe, Oct. 4, 2012. (Air Force photo) (Click on image above to reach larger version.)
I know these guys and gals... loadmasters... wear safety harnesses, but still...


Aiiieee, Part Deux:  I have to be in Lubbock around this time tomorrow for my follow-up appointment with a urologist (explained here)... instead of just beginning my second cup o' "morning" coffee as we are right now.  My appointment is at 1300 hrs MDT, which means I'll have to leave P-Ville NLT 1000 hrs tomorrow morning... which is a full two hours before I rolled outta bed today.  I don't feel bad about sleeping until noon, especially considering I didn't go to bed until 0600 this morning.  But I'm gonna have to live a lil differently today and tomorrow and I'm NOT lookin' forward to that.  I foresee some sorta sleep-aid in my immediate future.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

The Sunday Re-Run (below) prompted me to go lookin' for "Hejira" in my CD collection, which is a task much more complicated than it sounds, given that I've yet to alphabetize my CDs.  Our search revealed that I might have lied about "Hejira" bein' my (arguably) favorite Joni album coz it's nowhere to be found in my collection.  Nearly all o' my Joni albums were on vinyl... including "Hejira"... and we only have "Blue," "For the Roses," and "Court and Spark" on CD.  So we have yet another item for our Amazon Wish List... which is gettin' quite long.

But we digress... given that we went to Pandora's Joni station for today's soundtrack where we heard this tune (from "Blue")...

Just before our love got lost you said
"I am as constant as a northern star"
And I said "Constantly in the darkness
Where's that at?
If you want me I'll be in the bar"
Yup... that's still true:  "If you want me I'll be in the bar"... even though the bar might only be on our verandah.

A quick search on the Tube O' You for "A Case of You" reveals quite a few famous artists (and some not-so) have covered the tune.  One of my favorite covers is this one, done by Mrs. Elvis Costello:

I have this version on a Diana Krall album and I dearly love it.  Dang... what a beautiful woman, with such a beautiful voice.  Ms. Krall's version o' this tune meets or exceeds Joni's original... and that's sayin' a LOT.

The Sunday Re-Run

One of my earliest pieces... I had been blogging for about two and a half months when I wrote this... and got zero comments.  The impetus for this re-run is a discussion Occasional Reader VX and I had some time ago about college radio... which was my principal on-line listening source before Radio Paradise and Pandora came along.  The piece:

Just Ramblin' On...

So. Just had to get the Stein thing out of the way earlier. In one respect, it’s not a pleasant thing to begin your day by reading some such twit. On the other hand, it does get the blood and bile flowing, especially when you see that many, many others share your view.

Now it’s on to mundane, hum-drum, everyday life as I know it.

Today’s soundtrack
is being provided by KXLU, the Loyola Marymount college radio station in West LA. I’ve written before that one of the best things about going back to a desktop as my primary computer is I can listen to internet radio again. The laptop’s tinny speakers just didn’t cut it. The desktop’s audio is adequate in terms of volume and fidelity, even if it doesn’t come close to my stereo. And adequate is sufficient as background, as opposed to serious listening.

I love internet radio, especially the college variety. College radio exposes me to stuff I’d never hear on commercial radio, some is lame, most is good. Commercial radio is entirely lame. If you disagree, give me an example. I’m willing to change my mind. In the mean time, here’s a
good resource for college radio, 77 stations from which to choose, to be precise.

I was first exposed
to college radio back in 1967. I’d come home after a swing shift up on the radar site and wasn’t quite ready to go to bed. So I flipped on the stereo, grabbed a beer and began twiddling the dial, winding up on KCSB 91.9FM, Santa Barbara (Isla Vista, actually). And my life was changed forever. No hyperbole here, I really mean it. I stayed awake the entire night listening to the most amazing music I’d ever heard, groups like Jefferson Airplane, Cream, Moby Grape, Buffalo Springfield. While it sounds strange today, those groups got next to zero airplay on commercial radio at the time. The sun came up, the First Mrs. Pennington walked out of the bedroom, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes, and said “You’ve been up all night?” Indeed I had. We had breakfast and within an hour we were on the road from Lompoc to Isla Vista. I dropped an obscene amount of money (for a poor USAF three-striper) in the campus record shops that day on music I’d heard the night before. Hearing KCSB was an epiphany quite unlike any other, before or since. My politics changed, my circle of friends changed, my outlook on life changed. If that ain’t epiphany, I don’t know what is.

Two more college radio
anecdotes. First: If you didn’t click on the KCSB link above you don’t know that Sean Hannity was fired from his student DJ gig on KCSB for making a “disparaging remark” about homosexuals. The great irony is the ACLU came to his defense and KCSB offered him his slot back. Hannity refused, demanding more air time. The A-C-frickin’-L-U, one of Hannity’s biggest targets these days. The ingrate. Second: The great thing about college radio? Earlier this morning, the 20-something female KXLU DJ played Joni Mitchell’s “Song for Sharon,” off of Hejira, quite possibly my favorite Joni album. Why is this unusual? Joni turned 62 back in November. I find it amazing a 20-something would even listen to someone old enough to be her grandmother, let alone play her on the radio. But that’s college radio. And by the way, the First Mrs. Pennington and Ms. Mitchell share birthdays: November 7th. I had a thing for older women back in the day. They could buy me beer.

Last year around this time
I wrote a 14-page illustrated story titled “When I Was Eight” for my youngest son and my grandson on the occasion of their eighth birthdays. Sean, my grandson, is five months older than my youngest son. I’m thinking of serializing that story for the blog, but I haven’t made up my mind one way or the other. The most interesting thing about my eighth year? I attended the third grade in three different countries: Atlanta, Georgia; London, England; and Paris, France. I also was victimized by a cross-country road trip from Sacramento, CA to Atlanta, GA, including an unprogrammed three-day layover in Salome, Arizona when the family car broke down. This was in 1953, well before Interstate highways criss-crossed the country. A road trip back then was a serious adventure; it was a lot more serious for a young Mom, alone, with an eight-year-old and a two-year-old in the back seat. I had an “interesting” childhood. In a lot more ways than one, lemmee tell ya!

Well. Enough for now.
A short editorial note: I did post the "When I was Eight" story, in three parts.  There are links to the posts in my sidebar under "My Favorite Posts."  Further... You'll note there were neither photos nor video with the post above.  We since changed our style and illustrate everythang we put up, which is a lesson I remember from my tech-writing days: always illustrate your narrative.  Always.  

Video works pretty well, too.  Here's Joni singin' "Song For Sharon," the tune we went on about in our ramblings above.

Good stuff, innit?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday, Or...

... too damned much work but interesting, none the less:

Ahem.  I pour a perfect pint EVERY single time.  This is another one of those "studies" that purports to inform but is only mildly entertaining.  I hope this wasn't gub'mint funded, not that it's MY tax money.  (h/t to Occasional Reader Rob; the Usual Source for Saturday's post hasn't updated in two weeks)

Friday, October 19, 2012


... box o' cigars, in today's mail.  Like this:

That's a pic o' my favorite cigar... the Drew Estate Cafe con Leche... of which we are now in possession of 21 examples o' such.  We've already lit one off for today's Happy Hour and are most pleased.  (That's an old pic, but the packaging doesn't change.)

And a new hat...

That's a new pic (but it's the same ol' me) and features one of my FAVORITE tee shirts.  Back to hats, though, and we're decidedly short on suitable USAF chapeaux, what with our inventory of hats we wore during our career bein' shabby and not suitable for public appearances, given they're over 25 years old.  So today we happened to encounter a gentleman who was selling LOTS of military ball caps in the promenade o' the Cannon Airplane Patch BX.  There's a short story behind the hat and it goes like this... Said gentleman stopping me in the promenade and sayin'...
Gentleman:  Sir?  Wait a moment... Oh, that must be a different USS Mason.  The original MASON had an all-black crew, the first such in the Navy.

Me:  (Wearing my USS Mason ball cap) Yessir, I know.  This MASON was my son's first Department Head ride, which is where I got the hat.  And I'm aware of the history behind the name, there bein' a tribute to the original MASON in the ward room.  (And because I've done my homework)

G:  Your son is Navy... career Navy, still serving?

Me:  Yessir, on both counts.

G:  Annapolis?

Me:  No sir, Rot-Cee, Mustang.  He's also an embarrassment to the fam'bly, seein' as how he's a Squid and his grandfather, father, and older brother before him were ALL Air Force.

G:  Be careful now, I'm a Squid.
Followed by laughter all around.  So we bought the hat... I mean, how could we not?  The crest on the hat is the old Air Force Communications Command (AFCC)'s emblem, which is where I spent the final five years of my career.  I spent a total of seven years with AFCC, which is about a third of my career. I spent more time with Air Defense Command... like 12 years, and three years with USAF Security Service... but AFCC gave me the foundation for my civilian career, to which I owe them a tremendous debt and my enduring loyalty.

So.  We're now able to fly an appropriate flag when we go out in public.