Friday, November 20, 2009

This Will Go On My Permanent Record

I received my first tattoo yesterday. Small one, in a usually non-public location.

I won a silent auction for the work at the Arts Council's Bouy Ball last Saturday. Angel, one of the artists at Rain City Tattoos, did the work. Fast, and very well done.

And no, I will not post a photo.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

November 9th, 1989

It had been another day of classes at the Non-commissioned Officer Academy, at Ft Leonard Wood, Missouri. I was there for the Combat Engineer Advanced Non-commissioned Officers Course (ANCOC). Those of us that got a lift in the shuttle van entered the barracks hallway and went to our rooms. We pretty much agreed to meet in the small commons area to head for the dining facility in about five minutes.
Upon entering our rooms, we all pretty much automatically turned on our televisions. They were all tuned to either MTV, the Weather Channel, or a news channel.
We were all senior NCOs. All of us had either done one or more tours in Germany or Korea. We all had a pretty good idea of what we could be called upon to do, in the event of a breach of the fences in either place. We jokingly, as had thousands of our predecessors, called ourselves "speed bumps".
We had performed border patrols, practiced our wartime missions (in sector), and generally knew what a terrifing amount of firepower, death, destruction, and pain was awaiting all forces, on both sides of the fences.
But, that was our job, and not a one of us was serving as a draftee. Volunteers all.
End pause.
Every door on the hallway slammed open.
All of us were standing in our doorways, staring at each other with a Cortezian "...wild surmise."
We moved as a group to the commons and spent the next several hours in front of the big television in that room, watching as The Wall came down. We watched as thousands of Berliners, East and West that morning, but just Berliners now, climbed on, over, and atop that hateful barrier of concrete and wire that snaked like evil thought through the heart of Berlin.
We watched people pick up sledgehammers and chip away at the face of The Wall. We watched whole sections of The Wall pulled thunderously down, to thunderous cheers.
We saw the world turned upside down, the world that we grew up in and served in, flip on its axis and reright itself in a new way.
To this day, I will proudly proclaim that, after forty-plus years of staring at each other, we (the West) outlasted those evil bastards on the other side of the fence.

That is what I remember about November 9th, 1989.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fictional Friendships

I have been working on the set of "The Wizard of Oz". Like many shows over the past ten years, this one has high points, low points, jerks, sublime moments, in short, all the things that make up live theater.
I have found myself near tears, several times. Never having done any studies of theater, or the interaction of life, history, and scripts, I have to say that this play, and the memory of the movie, strike me at my heart.
The Tin Woodsman is correct, I know I have a heart, because this one is breaking.
I have seen, felt, discovered, and recognize, in every scene, a separate moment of truth. Baum wrote a pretty good book. Then came the movie that most of us recall from years of annual television viewing. Then came the play.
All of them contain moments of humor, terror, pathos, love, and almost every emotion that I can think of.
I am in awe of the powers of suggestion, of imagination, and of recognition.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

...and now for the discounts...

HA. I am working in a bookstore. This is the second of my all-time greatest goals in the working world. I've already done number one, working in a brewery.

Hmmm, beer and books.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Long time no write.
I have found that the ease of Facebook rapidly gets in the way of updating the blog. FB also allows me to see the speed and addictiveness of Twitter. Just dash off a line or two and you have the illusion of saying something.

I spent a lot of time on the road the since 19 July. Debi, Sapper, and I went to Enumclaw, WA for the Regional Highland Games, then on to the cabin in Colorado. We spent some great time there, enjoying what, for us, has become a foriegn place.

Debi had to remain in Colorado with her Mom for two weeks. Her Mom fell and ended up fracturing her sternum. Not a pleasent spot for a break for anyone, much less an eighty-four year old gal. Sapper and I made the trip across Colorado/Western Wyoming/Idaho/Oregon/Washington/ferry to Victoria, BC/upisland to Pt Hardy/ferry to Prince Rupert/ferry to KTN. The new trailer did great and is a real treat to set up and use. I did experience a catastrophic trailer tire blow-out in Oregon, but all went well, very little drama.

I'll work up a better write up on the trip later.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Thank You, Mr. Cannon

Whoo yeah!
I have finally found a professed liberal journalist who seems to get it. Politics Daily Senior Correspondent Carl M. Cannon, in an article posted on July 8th, carefully dissects the press coverage of Governor Palin.
Well written. Take the time to read the whole thing.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Manly Men Doing Manly Things

You have got to be fooling! Two heroes from Outside activate their EPIRB, get the State Police, the Air Guard, and every other rescue unit in the area in a lather...because it was too light...and they were sunburned...and...and...well, read for yourself.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Mladen Seculovich, RIP

Karl Malden, one of my favorite actors, died today. He was 97 years old. 97.
He and his wife just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary last year.
Another WWII veteran gone. He served as an NCO in the US Army's Eighth Air Force.

So long to the man who gave us Father Barry, Omar Bradley, Mike Stone, and so many other roles.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

How Much Talk Is Neccessary?

In response to a letter in a local web-based news service, I responded to the editor with this letter.
The original author appeared furious at what he perceived to be the total indifference to his, and his organization's, opinions and viewpoints, as presented in public comments. He really seemed steamed at the local paper for daring to express in an editorial that further public comment was not needed.
I did not get that message out of the editorial in question. What I read was the question of how long or how many times must public comment be entertained. If the comment period is past, can you demand another one because you felt your opinion was unheard. Or was it bad planning on y0ur part for missing the originally scheduled comment period?

My response to the Sitnews editor:

I agree absolutely, thoroughly, completely, and joyously with your identification of some of the fantastic freedoms that we enjoy as Americans.
Public policy is often a hammering out of different viewpoints, none of which survive unscathed. Compromise, negotiation, and agreement have to happen in the formation of policy. Unless we agree to let one person act as our better (and that person has not been born yet), then every action on a community level will be decided by some form of agreement.
When do we stop the talking and get to work?
When does one group stop blocking every negotiation with yet more talk?
When can one side admit that their pet motive or goal has to suffer some of the dents of compromise? Hammers can be wielded by both parties, but both of them must realize that they are probably going to be bruised in the process.
If we continue to talk about the problems we face, then nothing will get done, except more talk. Sooner or later we have to agree to put the hammers down, to roll up our sleeves and get to work.
Why is work in such disfavor?
Could it be that a person working doesn't have time to listen to talk? And if no one is listening, that pretty well puts the talkers out of business...or sends them off to block any further work until the hammers get picked up yet again, to hammer out yet more concessions on both sides.
Meanwhile, the work isn't getting done.

I would link to the original Ketchikan Daily News editorial, but their online edition requires a subscription.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Gimme Some O'that

Via Og, I have enjoyed reading some...eclectic...blogs. Today, he linked to a great one, one that I will visit again.
The Velociman does indeed have an elegant style. I did not care for E. Caldwell's Tobacco Road, but the Vman does a great job of putting that novel in the context of today.

The United States of Tobacco Road

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Museum Shows I'd Like To See

While trying to track down a story in Southeast Texas, I hit on this story, from The Orange Leader newspaper, in Orange, Texas.

Stark Museum of Art to feature exhibit on pistols

There are a few listed in the article that would be worth the visit if I were down that neck of the woods (or bayous in that area).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Good Night, Ed

Ed McMahon, dead at 86.
Marine, fighter pilot, test pilot, Brigadier General, guffawing sidekick, all around American.
Eighty-five bird dog flights over Korea...
We stand in the shadow of heroes, and most times never look up.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

We the People...

Several of the blogs that I read have posted this letter. It was sent to Glenn Beck from Arizona resident Janet Contreras. It is an open letter to our elected select.
Like Robb Allen, I post it here to give it maximum exposure (though not by this page).

I'm a home grown American citizen, 53, registered Democrat all my life. Before the last presidential election I registered as a Republican because I no longer felt the Democratic Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. Now I no longer feel the Republican Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. The fact is I no longer feel any political party or representative in Washington represents my views or works to pursue the issues important to me. There must be someone. Please tell me who you are. Please stand up and tell me that you are there and that you're willing to fight for our Constitution as it was written. Please stand up now. You might ask yourself what my views and issues are that I would horribly feel so disenfranchised by both major political parties. What kind of nut job am I? Will you please tell me?

Well, these are briefly my views and issues for which I seek representation:

One, illegal immigration. I want you to stop coddling illegal immigrants and secure our borders. Close the underground tunnels. Stop the violence and the trafficking in drugs and people. No amnesty, not again. Been there, done that, no resolution. P.S., I'm not a racist. This isn't to be confused with legal immigration.

Two, the TARP bill, I want it repealed and I want no further funding supplied to it. We told you no, but you did it anyway. I want the remaining unfunded 95% repealed. Freeze, repeal.

Three: Czars, I want the circumvention of our checks and balances stopped immediately. Fire the czars. No more czars. Government officials answer to the process, not to the president. Stop trampling on our Constitution and honor it.

Four, cap and trade. The debate on global warming is not over. There is more to say.

Five, universal healthcare. I will not be rushed into another expensive decision. Don't you dare try to pass this in the middle of the night and then go on break. Slow down!

Six, growing government control. I want states rights and sovereignty fully restored. I want less government in my life, not more. Shrink it down. Mind your own business. You have enough to take care of with your real obligations. Why don't you start there.

Seven, ACORN. I do not want ACORN and its affiliates in charge of our 2010 census. I want them investigated. I also do not want mandatory escrow fees contributed to them every time on every real estate deal that closes. Stop the funding to ACORN and its affiliates pending impartial audits and investigations. I do not trust them with taking the census over with our taxpayer money. I don't trust them with our taxpayer money. Face up to the allegations against them and get it resolved before taxpayers get any more involved with them. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, hello. Stop protecting your political buddies. You work for us, the people. Investigate.

Eight, redistribution of wealth. No, no, no. I work for my money. It is mine. I have always worked for people with more money than I have because they gave me jobs. That is the only redistribution of wealth that I will support. I never got a job from a poor person. Why do you want me to hate my employers? Why ‑‑ what do you have against shareholders making a profit?

Nine, charitable contributions. Although I never got a job from a poor person, I have helped many in need. Charity belongs in our local communities, where we know our needs best and can use our local talent and our local resources. Butt out, please. We want to do it ourselves.

Ten, corporate bailouts. Knock it off. Sink or swim like the rest of us. If there are hard times ahead, we'll be better off just getting into it and letting the strong survive. Quick and painful. Have you ever ripped off a Band‑Aid? We will pull together. Great things happen in America under great hardship. Give us the chance to innovate. We cannot disappoint you more than you have disappointed us.

Eleven, transparency and accountability. How about it? No, really, how about it? Let's have it. Let's say we give the buzzwords a rest and have some straight honest talk. Please try ‑‑ please stop manipulating and trying to appease me with clever wording. I am not the idiot you obviously take me for. Stop sneaking around and meeting in back rooms making deals with your friends. It will only be a prelude to your criminal investigation. Stop hiding things from me.

Twelve, unprecedented quick spending. Stop it now.

Take a breath. Listen to the people. Let's just slow down and get some input from some nonpoliticians on the subject. Stop making everything an emergency. Stop speed reading our bills into law. I am not an activist. I am not a community organizer. Nor am I a terrorist, a militant or a violent person. I am a parent and a grandparent. I work. I'm busy. I'm busy. I am busy, and I am tired. I thought we elected competent people to take care of the business of government so that we could work, raise our families, pay our bills, have a little recreation, complain about taxes, endure our hardships, pursue our personal goals, cut our lawn, wash our cars on the weekends and be responsible contributing members of society and teach our children to be the same all while living in the home of the free and land of the brave.

I entrusted you with upholding the Constitution. I believed in the checks and balances to keep from getting far off course. What happened? You are very far off course. Do you really think I find humor in the hiring of a speed reader to unintelligently ramble all through a bill that you signed into law without knowing what it contained? I do not. It is a mockery of the responsibility I have entrusted to you. It is a slap in the face. I am not laughing at your arrogance. Why is it that I feel as if you would not trust me to make a single decision about my own life and how I would live it but you should expect that I should trust you with the debt that you have laid on all of us and our children. We did not want the TARP bill. We said no. We would repeal it if we could. I am sure that we still cannot. There is such urgency and recklessness in all of the recent spending.

From my perspective, it seems that all of you have gone insane. I also know that I am far from alone in these feelings. Do you honestly feel that your current pursuits have merit to patriotic Americans? We want it to stop. We want to put the brakes on everything that is being rushed by us and forced upon us. We want our voice back. You have forced us to put our lives on hold to straighten out the mess that you are making. We will have to give up our vacations, our time spent with our children, any relaxation time we may have had and money we cannot afford to spend on you to bring our concerns to Washington. Our president often knows all the right buzzword is unsustainable. Well, no kidding. How many tens of thousands of dollars did the focus group cost to come up with that word? We don't want your overpriced words. Stop treating us like we're morons.

We want all of you to stop focusing on your reelection and do the job we want done, not the job you want done or the job your party wants done. You work for us and at this rate I guarantee you not for long because we are coming. We will be heard and we will be represented. You think we're so busy with our lives that we will never come for you? We are the formerly silent majority, all of us who quietly work , pay taxes, obey the law, vote, save money, keep our noses to the grindstone and we are now looking up at you. You have awakened us, the patriotic spirit so strong and so powerful that it had been sleeping too long. You have pushed us too far. Our numbers are great. They may surprise you. For every one of us who will be there, there will be hundreds more that could not come. Unlike you, we have their trust. We will represent them honestly, rest assured. They will be at the polls on voting day to usher you out of office. We have cancelled vacations. We will use our last few dollars saved. We will find the representation among us and a grassroots campaign will flourish. We didn't ask for this fight. But the gloves are coming off. We do not come in violence, but we are angry. You will represent us or you will be replaced with someone who will. There are candidates among us when hewill rise like a Phoenix from the ashes that you have made of our constitution.

Democrat, Republican, independent, libertarian. Understand this. We don't care. Political parties are meaningless to us. Patriotic Americans are willing to do right by us and our Constitution and that is all that matters to us now. We are going to fire all of you who abuse power and seek more. It is not your power. It is ours and we want it back. We entrusted you with it and you abused it. You are dishonorable. You are dishonest. As Americans we are ashamed of you. You have brought shame to us. If you are not representing the wants and needs of your constituency loudly and consistently, in spite of the objections of your party, you will be fired. Did you hear? We no longer care about your political parties. You need to be loyal to us, not to them. Because we will get you fired and they will not save you. If you do or can represent me, my issues, my views, please stand up. Make your identity known. You need to make some noise about it. Speak up. I need to know who you are. If you do not speak up, you will be herded out with the rest of the sheep and we will replace the whole damn congress if need be one by one. We are coming. Are we coming for you? Who do you represent? What do you represent? Listen. Because we are coming. We the people are coming.
Thanks to Kevin, at The Smallest Minority for posting this; to Glenn Beck for airing it; and to Ms. Contreras for writing it.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Heat Waves

We Alaskans?...we are some of the biggest wimps in the US. The temperatures for the last several days, almost a whole week, have been getting up to the high 70s and even crossed into the low 80s.


Seriously. We are no longer adapted to heat above the mid-60s. Seventy is about my upper comfort level. I want air conditioning at 75.

When coral reefs start forming offshore here, I will not be surprised. Imagine, in 6 or 7 hundred years, this might be a tropical paradise.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Questions, Exactly.

Victor Davis Hanson, of the National Review, also has questions of the American public and media.

If anyone wants to be a fervent supporter of the President, great. He's my President also, unlike the last one, who some folks felt was not theirs. If anyone wants to blindly believe every single thing that falls from the President's lips, well, I think they have some real problems, but, they can do that, too. That's what this country and constitution is about.

If anyone wants to blatantly ignore every single talking point from the 2008 campaign, to turn away from the "...fierce moral urgency..." of the desperate need to crush the sitting President (Bush) and continue, almost unchanged his (Bush's) every program without outcry or even comment...then those folks are cowards.

Cowards, because it is now apparent that it was all about beating Bush, a President who wasn't even running for office. Cowards, because every chance to investigate the man who became President was forestalled, put on the back-burner, ignored, or shouted down by cries of racism, or lies.

Cowards then, and more surely, now.

Monday, May 18, 2009

If You Don't Buy A Ticket, How Will You Win?

I have been active with the local Friends of the NRA committee for three years. We have a pretty good group of men and women. Our annual dinner/auction/event has placed well within the top seventy-five FNRA events nationally for the last several years. This year was no exception.

Part of our successes are that we do some vigorous planning, long before the annual event. We order our prizes, select the levels of the prize packages, and start deciding on what goes into the bucket draws, the silent auctions, and the live auction event.

We also have a pre-event drawing. This year we had twenty-one guns in a reload drawing. In a reload, a winning ticket gets put back into the pot. Theoretically, one person could win all twenty-one guns, but I would not want to be on the committee that had that occur. The pre-event needs to sell x amount of tickets to cover the costs of the guns involved and more tickets sold, the better the net at the end of the event.

Well, I waited until the last day to buy two tickets for myself. We sold every ticket printed and had folks calling all the committee members trying to find more. I had ordered two tickets after I sold a book and did not keep any for myself or Debi.

The day of the pre-event drawing, we had all the guns on display, a crowd of about 130 waiting for the results. Right in the middle of the draw, Brad Krueger, the FNRA field representative for Alaska, called my name. I figured that he was having a laugh at my expense, since I was talking to one of the guests and not paying any attention at all. No, he was really calling my name as a winner of one of the guns.

This one:

A Ruger LCP, in .380 caliber. Six rounds in the magazine, plus one in the chamber. So small it really does hide in the palm of my hand. It just so happens that Wal-Mart, less than one hundred yards away from the site of the drawing, had Remington Bonus packs of ball .380 (250 rounds for $67.00)

And to think that I almost didn't even bother to buy a ticket.

(Photo taken from Ruger's webpage)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bailout Accounting

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law; and a regular statement and account of receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published from time to time." (Article I, Section 9, Constitution of the United States)

If this paragraph in the Constitution is to be believed, all anyone should have to do is ask for an accounting of where the Mother of All Bailouts (MOAB) is actually spending money. I guess I'm just naive enough to think that the Constitution is what drives the train in government.
This accountability clause seems pretty up front. Cut and dried. Black and white. No argument.

I want an audit, with trail, and with paperwork.

Does this make sense to anyone but myself?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Web Comics: Harmless or Massive Time Sinks?

I have a few web-based comics that I check on regular if not daily basis. Some are still in production, and one is all archive material.

Today's link is to xkcd. I'm not a physics/math/science nerd by any stretch of the imagination, but this comic continuously hits my funnybone and my curiosity.

Make sure to check the mouse-over texts.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Quote of the Day, Friday May 8th, 2009

"Never blame a legislative body for not doing something. When they do nothing, they don't hurt anybody. When they do something is when they become dangerous." -- Will Rogers

W-a-a-h versus Hard Choices

Victor Davis Hanson of National Review Online: Americans Want It Both Ways

Something has got to give. We can move forward with regrets, or we can puddle ourselves crying that it's all just not fair!
Regrets can be dealt with, crying and handwringing gets us nothing but scratchy eyes and red, swollen hands.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Young Women and Men in Richmond

A young woman from here in Ketchikan is headed to Virginia Commonwealth University in the Fall. Just like a thousand or more from all over the world and Virginia.

I came of age in Virginia, in Richmond, during the mid- to late- seventies. I spent a lot of time in Richmond, downtown, WestEnd, and across the River (The James River to you foreigners). Kat is headed there, at almost the same age I was when I left.

I miss Richmond still. Oh, not all the time, but every now and then, especially when I need some sunshine to break up the two weeks of continuous rain here in KTN. But, as Jeff Cooper so aptly put it, the past is another country. We cannot get there by car, or foot, or aircraft. It is so remote, so far over the horizon of memory that it is only available through nostalgia. What we learned then and lived through is what makes us now, but we can no more open the door and walk in to that time than we can visit the Paleozoic. It was just thirty years ago. How far off can that be?

Gas was about fifty-five cents a gallon. The drinking age was eighteen. What we consider muscle cars were new, not antiques. Our parents were our age, doing exactly what we are doing today. World War II was thirty years over and we all knew veterans, perhaps our Dad or uncles.
Viet Nam was still reeling, a fresh wound in our memories, and we probably didn't know anyone who had served there. The Apollo missions were over and we had no idea what or where was next. The shuttles hadn't launched yet.

But what I learned was the power of place. I loved Richmond then, and within the bounds of memory, I love it still. Richmond was a Southern city, covered in the mantle of history, wrapped in a soft focus of gauze that made even the shade on Monument Avenue seem timeless. (Sad to say, I can no longer remember the sequence of monuments as you went downtown, from the far
WestEnd to the Capitol.) Richmond was home, and I have run into quite a few folks in the intervening years that have no place that fits that word. How do you place yourself in the greater world if there is no memory of place? Heck, I still carry a small Virginia flag with me, thirty-one years later. If asked, I am a citizen of these United States. If asked to narrow that down, I am a Virginian, living in Alaska.

Kat, you are going about as far from KTN as you can go and remain on this continent. It is not the same city that I left. It never will be and it never was. Like any place in this world, it has changed, I have changed, we have all changed. Hopefully you will find the Richmond that is timeless. School will take your time and focus, that's why you're going there, but you will find the time to seek out the larger world outside of VCU.

Richmond is good place to do this...if I remember correctly.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

So Far, So Dry

We here in Ketchikan will never complain about too much sun.
Five straight days of sunshine. Five! My feeble memory says that that is more than we had all last Summer, and it is still Spring.
Oh, joy. My solar panel of a scalp is glowing with happiness.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Really Big Model Rockets

I was born at the start of the Space Age, about a month-and-a-half after Sputnik went up. I can still get teary eyed at the videos of NASA launches.
So I am very stoked at this story from Popular Mechanics,

A gent named Steve Eves, of Ohio, built a 1/10 scale model of a Saturn V rocket.
How cool is that?

Tip o'the hat to Glenn Reynolds for pointing to this article.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

And So It Begins

Blatherings, blitherings , and wanderings, all right here.
Look no further for useless trivia, mindless linkages, and the random generation of words.