Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

1 Peter 1:3

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead...

Image: Sistine Chapel. Hendrick van den Broeck (1519-1597) — Scenes from the Life of Christ: The Resurrection of Christ (H).
(Yes... it's the same thing I posted last post every year.  Some things cannot be improved upon.)

Saturday, March 30, 2013


We seem to be all about anniversaries of late.  Here's another:

I've been on Twitter since November of 2008, or a lil over half of it's life.  That said, I don't tweet often (only 234 tweets, lifetime) but I DO follow 68 people or organizations and dial into the hashtags once in a while when something big is happening... like the Green Revolution (what a misnomer!) in Iran and the tsunami that hit Japan.

Congrats, Twitter... and thanks.

Speaking of technology... check out Arthur C. Clarke:

How's that for prescience?  From the Usual Saturday Source:
In 1974 Arthur C Clarke, standing in a computer bunker, told a stunned kid on Australian television that when he was as old as the presenter – which would be the year 2001 – he would have compact version of one of those computers. He predicted he would be able to use it to get all the information he needed: bank statements, theatre reservations. The presenter worried what it would mean in social terms. "It would mean people would we able to live anywhere on earth [and do their jobs]," replied Clark. Aah, those crazy pipe dreams ...
Science fiction, science fact.  We truly live in a wonderful age.

Ah... but let's not get TOO carried away with Teh Tech...

Sight from Sight Systems on Vimeo.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Another 40th Anniversary

From the Usual USAF Source:
Anniversary of US Pullout from Vietnam  Forty years ago, on March 29, 1973, the last US ground troops withdrew from Vietnam, marking the end of direct US involvement in the Vietnam War. President Nixon addressed the nation that day, saying: "For the first time in 12 years, no American military forces are in Vietnam. All of our American POWs are on their way home." The withdrawal came two months after the United States, South Vietnam, and North Vietnam concluded the Paris peace accords. They failed to bring peace as Saigon would ultimately fall on April 30, 1975, to North Vietnamese communist forces, ending the long conflict. (C-Span webpage with video of Nixon's address.)

For a selection of Air Force Magazine articles over the years on the Vietnam War, see:

Commissioned in Hanoi
Leaving No One Behind
The Lessons of Vietnam
Linebacker II
Return to Vietnam
Stennis Slams McNamara 
Click for larger
We were in Vietnam for 12 years... from 1961 until 1973.  One of my very first... mayhap even THE first... war stories revolves around our involvement there and my relationship with the war.  It's September, 1963 and I'm in the end-game o' basic training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, part o' said end-game being spending a couple o' days on the obstacle course, or whatever they call it now.  My flight was taking a smoke break after spending a couple o' hours running through mud, walking across logs, and climbing vertical obstacles when this fat Staff Sergeant TI (that would be Training Instructor, for you non-mil types) started barking at us.  He said something that IMMEDIATELY caught our attention, to the effect o'...

"You Ladies better gotdamned well pay ATTENTION to what we're teaching you here, coz you'll NEED it when we send yer asses to Veet-Nam!"

"Veet-Nam?" sez one of my fellow airmen... not me... "What's Veet-Nam?"

"We're fightin' a WAR there, Boy!  So pay attention!"

We all looked at one another and silently mouthed "war?"  What war?  Who knew?  The answer is that in 1963 damned few people in these United States knew we were at war in Vietnam but we... the members of my flight and the nation as a whole... would find out soon enough.

Cross-posted at The Lexicans.

What's For Dinner, Buck?

Well, it's more like what WAS for dinner, given that dinner is long over and this is the first post for Friday... written late Thursday night.

Last week... on the occasion of completing our latest Adventure In Modern Dentistry... I wrote:
And now we can eat sammidges, and tacos, and pizza, and apples, and... well, you get my drift, I'm sure.
We've done all of the above except for a sandwich or two and we rectified that situation this past evening.  I had a number of things to do on this our first full day back at the ranch... stuff like replenish the beer and whiskey supply, pick up meds at the Cannon Airplane Patch pharmacy, and last but not least, restock the larder by visiting the Cannon commissary.  We were on a mission while in the commissary, which was to pick up the ingredients required to make a world-class sandwich or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

If this were a perfect world I'd have satisfied my sandwich lust by making a trip (or trips, plural) to the local delicatessen... the local Jewish delicatessen.  There ain't no such animal in this part of the world and I doubt the locals would understand the concept of a delicatessen, let alone a bona-fide Jewish deli.  That whole concept is kinda-sorta limited to the bi-coastal cultures and to the Midwest... Chicago and Dee-troit, in particular... but not so much in the southwest.  Not at ALL, actually.  I could go on for days about delis I've known and loved in the past but doin' that is like a lot o' other things: if you understand there's no sense in flogging a dead horse and if you don't there's just no explaining it.  Shorter: you either get it or you don't.

What I had in mind looks something like this:

A big-ass roast beef sandwich, in other words, with all the trimmings.  A corned beef sandwich, or a REAL Reuben, would come in a close second.  We settled on roast beef because commercial corned beef just doesn't cut it... never has, never will.

So we picked up a good supply o' thinly-sliced roast beef at the commissary's deli counter, a big-ass package o' provolone, a loaf o' whole wheat bread (I wish I had access to a real bakery, while we're moaning) and those were the makings o' tonight's dinner.  I already had a supply o' Claussen pickles and a bag o' potato chips laid in, so we were set.  Cutting to the chase... we made ourself two humongous, cholesterol-laden, big-ass sandwiches that would give Shelly Obama or any other "healthy eating" scold a case o' the vapors.  And we enjoyed every single bite... both the physical act o' biting into the sammidges (glorious!) and the gustatory goodness of roast beef, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, and horseradish... all of which combined to produce something on the order of an orgasmic sensation.

I prolly should have taken pictures of this modest feast but frankly the thought didn't occur to me that dinner was blog-fodder until well after we were done eating and clean-up complete.  So... look at the image on the right and use yer imagination; it's a close approximation of what we had for dinner this evening.  Yup, our sammidges... with layer upon layer upon layer of beef, cheese, and the other ingredients... were Dagwoodian in proportion.  Is there any other way?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack, In Which We Are MUCH More Than a Day Late

The Floyd (note - the first 40 seconds are VERY quiet; there's nothing wrong with the vid.  Or yer 'puter.):

Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I'd something more to say. 
Well.  We'd comment on THAT, but let's don't.  Let's just say those lyrics hit much closer to home than they used to.

But we digress.  There are any number of seminal albums in the history o' rock'n'roll... the first Elvis album, "Abbey Road," Led Zep I, "Workingman's Dead" (and you know there may be more)... but "Dark Side of the Moon" does it for me in that "seminal" category.  (Aside: chase and read that link, if'n you're a music geek.)  It's been 40 years and 27 days since the album was released... FORTY FREAKIN' YEARS!... yet it still sounds as fresh today as it did all those years ago.  Which, I suppose, makes me feel less old.  Still and even... 40 years?  Really?

Admin note:  I disabled anonymous comments this week, mainly because recently I've received many more than a few salacious spam comments for sex toys.  That was the straw that broke my camel's back, again because some of those damned things were getting through Blogger's spam trap.  I know more than a few o' you Gentle Readers comment anonymously... choosing to create your own nicks... and I apologize for the inconvenience.  I'll ban anonymous comments for another month or so and will re-enable them once the spammers figure out EIP ain't as easy as it used to be.  This is why we can't have nice things...

Posted Without Comment

My Car Is Officially Old (And So Am I)

Cadillac unveiled the New! Improved! 2014 CTS this past Tuesday, making The Dowager Tart officially obsolescent, if not obsolete.  There's this about that...


Cadillac generated a lot o' press with this unveiling, with articles here, here, and here.

So, here we are... our Tart bein' less than a year old and already out o' date.  This isn't the first time this has happened; we bought our 1983 Baby Beemer which was upstaged by an all-new platform in 1984 and our 1996 Impala SS was discontinued the year we bought it.  History repeats itself... always and ever.  That said... we love our Tart and will continue to love her even as she's been pushed aside by the New! and Improved! model.  (sigh)

Tuesday was also my birthday, wherein we turned 68 years of age.  That ol' cliché that goes "if I knew I was gonna live this long I'd have taken better care o' myself" certainly applies here.  That said, we don't look all THAT bad... witness this cheesy cellphone pic from Monday evening:

We... Diego (who took this pic), Felicity, great-granddaughter Mya, great-grandson DJ (not pictured), Buck, grandson Sean, and me... celebrated my birthday with drinks and dinner at El Pinto in ABQ, an establishment I've gone on about in the past.  El Pinto could very aptly be described as "the Restaurant At the End o' the Universe" when it comes to quality... there are none better as far as Mexican restaurants go and precious few restaurants, in general, that exceed El Pinto's quality.  They make damned fine salsa, too.

We split our actual birth date between family and friends, more specifically the SN1 family in the morning and Blog-Bud Lin and her friend (and house renovation contractor) Kyle in the afternoon.  I arrived at Lin's place early Tuesday afternoon at which time we proceeded to drink copious quantities o' beer and smoke cigars, plural.  I let it slip that Tuesday... this day... was my birthday and Kyle immediately responded with "Well, if today's yer birthday, then you need a present.  Wait here, I'll be right back."  Kyle went out to his car and returned with this:

That, Gentle Reader, is a Ruger 22/45 target pistol.  My mouth fell open and I sputtered protestations that I couldn't accept the gift but Kyle wouldn't be denied.  So, there you... and me... have it.  Is that cool, or what?

Our evening ended with a scrumptious dinner of Salmon Almondine accompanied with prodigious quantities of fresh asparagus.  We would have topped off the evening with tumblers o' Johnnie Walker Green but, alas.  I hit the wall and fell into bed at 2230 hrs.  We'll save the scotch for another time.

So.  We're home and it was a wonderful week away, spent with family and friends.  It was almost TOO much fun, Gentle Reader.  Almost.

Monday, March 25, 2013


Steve had a follow-up meeting with HR later that day and got in touch with his attorney shortly thereafter.  Poor Steve.

H/t: the Shoebox blog.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

It Was a Beautiful Wedding

Congratulations, Felicity and Diego... you're a fine looking couple with much happiness in your future. 

More pics may follow.

Update, 1345 hours:  We've been reviewing and sharing pics at the SN1 house today. Here's one taken by Uncle Phil...

I got drunk happy enough to actually light the thing before the end of the evening.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


This is just pretty cool:

One wonders exactly HOW the vid was done... it seems so fluid and "of a piece."

In other news... today is wedding day.  Here are a few shots from yesterday's rehearsal.

The Principals - Felicity and Diego

The Venue - a country club in Rio Rancho.  It'll be a short trip from the ceremony to the reception.

Diego, Felicity, and Felicity's Uncle John, who will be officiating.

This is pretty much self-explanatory, no?

The Real Deal is at 1700 hrs today, more to follow tomorrow.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Why Yes... It Happens ALL the Time

I have a spam folder for people... it's called "ignore."

H/t: the Shoebox blog.

Not Your Father's Air Force XXVIII

This is pretty unusual:
Col. Bush (right)
Grand Forks Commander Relieved Due to Waistline: Air Mobility Command this week relieved Col. Tim Bush of command of the 319th Air Base Wing at Grand Forks AFB, N.D., due to his failure to meet the service's physical fitness standards, according to a command release. "Bush was not relieved for alleged misconduct or wrongdoing," states the March 20 release that came out the same day as his dismissal from the post, which he had held since July 2011. Instead, the reason was Bush's waist size, which exceeded "by inches" the Air Force's maximum-allowed girth of 39 inches for men, reported the Grand Forks Herald. "I failed to meet the waist measurement component of the physical fitness standard," said Bush, 47, who stands six feet, one inch tall and weighs 227 pounds, according to the newspaper. He added, "That's the only component I failed." Maj. Gen. William Bender, US Air Force Expeditionary Center commander, took the action since he has administrative control of the wing, according to AMC's release. Bender appointed Col. Christopher Mann, 319th ABW vice commander, as interim wing commander. Bush, who was reportedly a "well-respected" leader, has requested retirement, according to the newspaper.
Looks like Big Air Force (heh) is pretty serious about the Fat Boy program these days.  That wasn't always the case, IIRC.  I think this is a good thing.  

That said, this lil item is a day late and a couple o' pounds short of helping the good colonel:
You Are What You Eat: The Air Force has launched a pilot campaign called "Better Foods, Better Bodies" to motivate airmen and their families to eat healthier. "We want airmen and their families to live long, healthy lives and we know a lot of that depends on what they put into their bodies," said Mary Balch of the Air Force Medical Operations Agency, who is directing the campaign, in a March 19 release. The Air Force surgeon general's office and AFMOA's health promotion office are leading this effort, which is under way at three pilot locations before its potential rollout across the entire Air Force: JB Andrews, Md.; JBSA-Lackland, Tex.; and JB Langley-Eustis, Va. From online tools and resources, like recipes, to posters and coupons, the campaign seeks to educate airmen and their families in making smarter food choices, such as eating more fruits and vegetables, states the release.
I don't think THIS is a good thing.  Money's pretty tight right now and throwing it away on what's basically a "feel good," nanny-like effort doesn't make much sense to me.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Off the Grid

We're off to ABQ early this morning to commune with family, drink beer, smoke cigars, and attend a wedding.  SN1 should have arrived in ABQ yesterday if all went to plan and I've not touched base with him yet, seein' as how he prolly has more important things to do on his first day home from the desert.  I did speak with DIL Erma yesterday and confirmed everything is on track and goin' according to schedule.

So blogging may (or may not) be light for the next couple o' few.  Well, check that... original blogging may be light.  The Deity At Hand knows we have lots and lots o' re-runs we can post.

Why, here's one now (August 2009)!

Inertia... and Related Stuff

So. A couple of things. In my previous post I mentioned "Inertia" and I don't want you Gentle Readers to think inertia is a bad thing… because it isn't. Not in the slightest. At this stage in life "low and slow," or inertia is most definitely a GOOD Thing. Mainly because things as they are these days are eminently predictable and safe. We've had our fill… and then some… of "experience" in this life; these days we are more than comfortable with the sedate and mundane.

Which brings us to our next point. Most of you are familiar with those Facebook or Blogger memes that ask you to list 25, 50, or 150 "things" that you may or may not have done at this point in your life's journey. I've posted a couple of them, and they're kinda-sorta mundane. But only in the sense that those things are ALL safe… meaning they are stuff that one could have done without fear of intervention on the part of The Authorities or condemnation from one's peers. I'm thinking it would be interesting to deviate (ahem) from the safe and predictable and post a list of stuff I've done that goes beyond the pale… things that transcend, in a manner of speaking, the usual "swam with dolphins" and "watched a meteor shower" sorta stuff. So, without further ado, a list of life experiences you may or may not relate to… but most probably do NOT… and in no particular order.

1. Reclined naked on a verandah whilst watching low clouds scud across the night sky... periodically obscuring a waxing moon... enjoying sweet sweat emanate from your body… and hers… San Miguel in hand, with a "for hire" sweetie in the wee small hours in the oh-so-sultry Philippine Islands clime. It don't get no better than this, Gentle Reader. But you hadda be there to appreciate the fullness of the moment.

2. Gone "window shopping" in Amsterdam… for a week or more… followed up with a sojurn in Prague, doing more of the same. The event was a combination of pleasures of the flesh and aesthetic pursuits (think: museums, architecture, food, drink), none of which I skimped on. A subject for conversation over many beers, this. (The photo is of a friend and I in Prague, never before published.)

3. Been run over by a motorcycle not 25 yards off the starting line of a race. And enjoyed every minute of it.

4. Let your competitors at said racing events in the wilds of Hokkaido, Japan get you shit-faced drunk the night before the race… and enjoyed every minute of it. But not so much the race-day that followed… when our racing endeavors were less than impressive in our hung-over state.

5. Rejected the gift of a rice-bug from yet another "for hire sweetie" whilst vowing never to kiss her again… ever… but going back on that vow not four hours later. And loving every minute of it. Ooh, yes… we DID love every minute of it!

6. Stood on The Great Wall of China. Nothing too deviant about this… but an experience, none the less.

7. Spent an evening discussing US politics into the wee smalls with a Turkish courtesan in the Black Sea port of Samsun whilst disposing a couple of bottles of raki and incurring the wrath of my buddy… who had previously negotiated an assignation with said courtesan… only to watch said assignation slip away into an alcoholic fog. And awakening the following morning to find my clothes gone missing and me in the bed of a woman at least 80 years of age who could ONLY be described as "coyote ugly." With a world-class hangover. And laughing about it later. Much later. Payback, as they say, is HELL. I can testify…

8. Rode Mad Sunday across the top of Mount Snaefell well in excess of 100 mph and broke no traffic laws (there aren't any speed limits on the closed portions of the public roads... which double as the race circuit... on Mad Sunday). This is deviant only in the sense that this sort of thing could NEVER happen on public roads in the US of A. Yet it happens every year in the Isle of Man, and I'm proud to say I both partook… and survived.

9. Watched a Tucson monsoon thunderstorm from underneath the eaves of the Davis-Monthan AFB BOQ in the wee smalls with a woman I thought might could be my life partner but later decided otherwise. But… Omigawd… what a night!

10. Committed three felonies before breakfast once upon a time… ALL of which were victimless crimes and did the participants involved much good, including YrHmblScrb… and not getting caught. We shall forgo the details of this adventure, even though I'm quite sure the statute of limitations has long since expired. It was the Best of Times, it was the Worst of Times… as Mr. Dickens said.

11. Sang karaoke in an after-hours bar in Singapore… in suit and tie… and lived up to the Capitalist Pig image in each and every respect. My co-worker and I delivered a spirited rendition of Barrett Strong's hit "Money"… and you hadda be there to understand where I'm coming from. (The "Singapore" link isn't karaoke related but it is me, pictured on that particular trip.)

So. Now do you see why we think inertia is good? We've "been there and done that" to an extent that causes me to wonder at my good fortune from time to time, not to mention marvel at the fact we managed to escape the foibles of our youth (relatively) intact. But I wouldn't change a thing, Gentle Reader. Not ONE. It is what it is… or was.
I'll be checking mail on my phone and will prolly answer comments, too.  That's only fair, innit?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

We Are the Happiest o' Happy Campers

Why is that, you ask, Gentle Reader?  Coz we've recently returned from Dr. Thompson's office (my dentist) and we can now do this:

That would be clench a cigar between our teeth, something we have NOT done since early September last.  Oh yeah!  And now we can eat sammidges, and tacos, and pizza, and apples, and... well, you get my drift, I'm sure.  We've only had three teeth in the lower part of our mouth for the last six and a half months or so.  And how bad was that?  Well, it looked kinda like this:

That's a prosthesis I was given at the outset of our latest Adventures In Modern Dentistry and the white teeth with the red dots... the teeth not embedded in ersatz gums... were the ONLY teeth in the lower half o' my mouth for the last few months.   As for the prosthesis, it was useful only as a paperweight.  A bizarre paperweight, to be sure, but seein' as how I couldn't eat with the damned thing... well, paperweight.  I never once put that thing in my mouth.

But we're all better now and we're definitely lookin' forward to a mess o' tacos for dinner.  Yum.  But first there's Happy Hour, which will be happy today indeed.

In Which We Do a Third-Rate Lileks Impression

James Lileks is the foremost archivist of 20th century ephemera on these here inter-tubes and is a joy to read (or look at), given as how he discovers THE most interesting artifacts and presents them with such rare grace and humor.  Alas, Gentle Reader, you'll find neither grace nor humor in our Lileks impression... just nostalgia for Former Happy Days.  But let's get to it...

There was a time in the not-so-distant past that you could (a) smoke in bars, restaurants, hotels, and just about anywhere you had a mind to and (b) the proprietors of said bars, hotels, restaurants, and other such venues had personalized matches available for you, on demand, to put fire to your cigar, cigarette, or pipe.  And, in some cases... if you happened to be in certain establishments in, say, Amsterdam or sub-rosa dives here in the USofA... joints.  Those days are long gone, as smoking in bars, yadda, yadda, is pretty well prohibited everywhere in these United States, a great part o' Europe, and even in a growing number o' Asian countries.  (sigh)

But, as I said... this wasn't always so.  Herewith a small sampling of matchbooks I acquired over the years.

As always, click to embiggen.

This is about five percent of my small collection; I've known other folks with collections that exceeded mine by an order o' magnitude, to say the very least.  There's a story behind each and every matchbook in those two illustrations, some of which I can actually remember and some of which I've posted about here at EIP.  Most, however, are meaningful only to me.  Like the "Governor's Residence" one, which I picked up in the Michigan governor's mansion at a reception for EDS at the conclusion of a successful contract; the "Harbor Lights" book, which is where The Second Mrs. Pennington and I spent the first night of our honeymoon; "Sweet Lorraine's," TSMP's and my favorite restaurant while we lived in Dee-troit; and the "Sometime" piano bar in Tokyo, a smoky lil place with an outstanding ambiance where TSMP and I hung out a LOT.  And you know there may be more... stories.

It's a pretty sad state o' affairs that the matchbook has gone the way o' ink wells, the typewriter, and steam locomotives.  All o' the foregoing were replaced with sumthin' better but such is NOT the case with matchbooks.  We've lost an entire way o' life, a way o' marking the places we've been, and a lot o' memories in the process, as well.

It is to weep.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack


Old men's thoughts are in the past
their future holds no store
their lives are left in tatters
fighting someone else's war
I wasn't party to that crime
'cos I was born at the right time. 

Now I'm living on the coastline
I got up from the breadline 

now I'm drinking the good wine 
go fishing in the summer time
sleep all day if I have a mind 

'cos I was born at the right time
yes, I was born at the right time.
Well, this is wrong on a couple o' few counts, to wit: my life is of whole cloth, I fought my own war (and I WON it), and the future holds quite a bit o' store, thank ya.  It's also right on target in places... such as drinkin' the good wine and sleepin' til the crack o' noon.   All o' that assumes we're lookin' for comment on our current state in the lyrics, which we do quite often.  Overall it's a wash.  I like the sentiment in the song and the tune is catchy, as well.

In other news... We'll be taking Happy Hour indoors as Ma Nature is not lookin' kindly upon the High Plains o' New Mexico today.  It's not exactly cold... at 59 degrees... but it ain't exactly the sort o' weather that makes verandah sitting an enjoyable activity.  We'd be out there if we had full sun but the sky is overcast and there's a bit o' a breeze.  So... indoors it is.

This Is Good

From the Usual USAF Source...
Group Aims to Return Vintage B-29 to Flying Status: A recently formed non-profit group aims to support the refurbishment of a World War II B-29 bomber named Doc and its return to flying condition, according to a release from the organization. "This airplane is a national treasure," said Jeff Turner, chairman of the board of Doc's Friends, formed by aviation enthusiasts and business leaders in Wichita, Kan. "We will not rest until we raise enough funds to restore Doc, find a permanent home, and operate Doc as a flying museum for the world to see," he added. Group members believe that Doc is the last-known B-29 that is restorable to flying condition, states the March 11 release. Boeing built Doc in Wichita in 1944. Decommissioned in 1956, the bomber spent more than four decades in the California desert until aviation enthusiasts rescued it and brought it to Wichita in 2000. Doc's Friends now has ownership of the bomber, which currently resides in hangar space donated by Boeing for the restoration work, states the release.
And there's this, from the Doc's Friends web site:

Good on 'em.  Fifi needs a running partner.

Cross-posted at The Lexicans.

We're Still At the Bottom o' the Blogging Barrel

I've mentioned in passing that I'll be attending a family wedding this week and preparations for that event continue apace.  The suit we plan on wearing has been sent to, and retrieved from, the dry cleaners, as were a couple o' dress shirts.  The shirts, alas, didn't come out so well... there being ten years worth o' smoke stains that refused to come out in the wash... which meant we had to buy a new dress shirt and have that laundered, which we've done.  We've inspected our ties in the harsh bright light o' day and have deemed all o' them acceptable for wear.  We've yet to choose one, though.

Tonight we completed the last task required for playin' dress-up, that bein' pulling a pair o' dress shoes from the deepest recesses o' our closet and cleaning them up.  Two things surprised me here... (1) my shoe polish stash is still viable, which is to say the paste is still paste and not something resembling crumbling rock, and (2) the dress shoes we're gonna wear cleaned up quite nicely.  Note:

Those tins o' shoe polish are at least 13 years old (!); the shoes themselves date back to sometime in the '90s.  I can trace them back as far as 1992... I'm wearing them in this pic:

Mandarin Hotel Bar, Singapore - 1992

That's also the same suit I'll be wearing to the wedding (but NOT the same tie - too skinny and it's long gone).  There's a lot to be said for dressing conservatively (e.g, Brooks Bros vs. Armani): stuff doesn't go out o' style.  That's true for men, less so for women.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Apropos o' Nuthin'

Here's what happens when you get a teeny-tiny amount o' rain mixed with lotsa wind and dust:

Your normally immaculate and oh-so-beautiful black auto-mo'chine winds up looking like it has the automotive equivalent o' measles or chicken pox.  I think I MIGHT go get the car washed tomorrow.

In the meantime it's out to the verandah for the third iteration of After Dinner Whiskey Hour en plein airYes, the weather IS much better of late, thank ya fer askin'.  And we are grateful.

Way Cool

From the official Google blog:
Most of us have a bucket list of the places we want to visit in our lifetime. If you’re like me, the list is pretty long—to be honest I’d be lucky to get to all of mine. Google Maps has a bucket list too, and today we’re checking off a couple of our favorites so we can make our map more comprehensive and share it with you. And if tall mountains are your thing, you’re in luck.
Now you can explore some of the most famous mountains on Earth, including Aconcagua (South America), Kilimanjaro (Africa), Mount Elbrus (Europe) and Everest Base Camp (Asia) on Google Maps. These mountains belong to the group of peaks known as the Seven Summits—the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. While there’s nothing quite like standing on the mountain, with Google Maps you can instantly transport yourself to the top of these peaks and enjoy the sights without all of the avalanches, rock slides, crevasses, and dangers from altitude and weather that mountaineers face. 
Much more here.  Say what you will about Google (most people DO) but they come up with some damned good stuff.  The image is a street view o' Mt. Elbrus in Russia.

I ALMOST Had Nuthin'... Then I Found This

Heh.  Mebbe I shoulda stayed with nuthin'.

OTOH, this might could make me change my opinion about IPAs, assuming I could get one or more o' these ladies to join me in knockin' back a few.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Cheesy Videos XXVII: A Sop to St. Paddy's Day

Alternate title: "Scrapin' the bottom o' the blogging barrel, yet again."

Never let it be said we don't celebrate the holidays.

Update, 1810 hrs:  I remembered I had a photo of the band on this cigar.  Here it is:

A picture is worth 1,000 words, or one cheesy video.  Or sumthin' like that.

The Sunday Re-Run

Our St. Paddy's Day post is rather lame, so here's sumthin' a lil more entertaining.  Well, THAT'S a matter o' opinion, innit?  From July o' 2008:

All Over the Map

So… I mentioned this past Friday I remembered two addresses from my childhood, and I put up a post about one of them… 3 Rue Mozart. The other address I remembered was 41 Bahçelievler Yolu, Ankara, Turkey. And I spent literally hours yesterday with Google Earth and Google Maps, unsuccessfully looking for that particular address. It doesn’t exist, to the best of my knowledge, and I suspect the street was renamed at some point in the nearly 50 years since I left Ankara.

I had some clues to work with. First, my house was about a ten minute or less bike ride from Anıtkabir (Atatürk’s Tomb, pic on left... click for larger), which is arguably the most recognizable landmark in Ankara. Second, my house was across the street from a major university…which I believe was Ankara University. But, my…oh my… how things have changed! Back in the day, the house I lived in… an apartment building, actually… was one of about four apartment buildings on “our” side of the street, the rest of the neighborhood was empty lots. The university was still in the process of being built (or added on to), and there were no trees to speak of, except for very young saplings. There was lotsa brown grass, though… Looking at the Google Earth pictures one can see that’s certainly not the case today, 50 years later. My neighborhood, which was expanding rapidly back in 1957, is now established. There are large trees on the university campus, and not many vacant lots can be found in the general vicinity of where I lived. Which is not surprising, given the population of Ankara was only 453,000 in 1955; it’s up to 3,763,591 today.

The Google Earth screen-shots:

Metropolitan Ankara (overview)
My neighborhood (red arrow; the profusion of blue dots is Anıtkabir)

I was nearly 12 when my father was transferred directly from Paris to Ankara, without passing Go. “Go,” in this case, meant a trip back to the US before continuing on to my father’s new assignment. The family had just spent three years in Paris and Mom was homesick. She desperately wanted to go home before we went to Ankara, but that was not to be. I strongly suspect my father bribed her into acquiescing to the direct move, sweetening the deal with a promise of an extended vacation on the Riviera and northern Italy. He delivered on his promise, and we spent two weeks in Nice/Cannes and vicinity (including Monte Carlo) before driving down to Livorno to turn the car over to the Navy for shipment to Istanbul. In the meantime we toured northern Italy, including Pisa and Florence. My best memory of Italy was climbing the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which is almost guaranteed to give one vertigo. My father and I climbed half-way up the tower, but he didn’t want to go all the way to the top, unfortunately. Mom and my sister stayed on the ground…

So. We turned the car in to the port people in Livorno and took the train to Rome, where we spent a few days doing all the touristy stuff one does in The Eternal City… including being blessed by Pope Pius XII… our family and about 15,000 close friends others gathered in St. Peter’s Square when the Pope made his weekly appearance to bless the crowd from his balcony. From Rome we flew to Athens, where we spent another few days with Air Force friends of my father… and did more touristy things. I’m pretty sure Dad did a little bit of work while we were there, too, but my memory is hazy in this space. From Athens we flew to Istanbul and then on to Ankara, which would be home for the next two years.

And what a home it was! If you think Paris is exciting, Gentle Reader, you should have been in Turkey during the mid- to late-‘50s. Everything, and I DO mean everything, seemed exotic to my parents, my sister, and I. The language. The food. The clothing. The architecture. Every-freakin’-thing. And the BEST part was the fact Americans were generally and genuinely well-liked. There was no militant Islamic movement, and no terrorism…at all. For me... as it was in Paris, so it was in Ankara... when it came to “getting around.” Except for the fact I rode my bicycle to most places I wanted to go, or rode the bus. And I had a lot more freedom, too, in the sense my parents allowed me to go further a-field, as long as my journeys were in some sort of group… usually friends.

Today’s Pic: My sister Norma and I. This photo was taken by a Turkish portrait photographer during the family’s stay in Ankara, and is hand-colored in the style prevalent at the time. The artist got the colors wrong, too, as my shirt was tan, not green. Mom blew a gasket over this lil detail, but she bought the pictures anyway. (Yeah, the pic is a re-run. I originally posted it in March of last year.)
I did a follow-up post on the art of the hand-painted photo; you can find it here.