Celebrations

Over 50!!

(Followers that is. Personally, I’ve been over fifty for a while now…)

Thanks to all my followers. I broke the 50 follower mark today. Never thought I’d get any kind of following!

So here’s a video to celebrate.

Peace,
B

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A Father’s Day Contemplation

So yesterday was Father’s Day. I hope all the fathers reading this had a wonderful day. I know I did. I spent the majority of the weekend smoking fish, ribs, and chicken. It was so hot (95° F according to the weather app on my phone) and time-consuming, my feet and ankles are so swollen I could barely get my shoes on this morning.

But it was worth it. And this is not what I came here to talk about today.

While I was checking on the smokers, I saw a pizza delivery guy go by. I was going to tweet a sarcastic remark about “who would order pizza on father’s day”? But then I thought about and grew troubled by that thought. Since son-the-younger did pizza delivery for many years, I’ve come to realize that for some folks pizza is the “world’s best food”. I don’t agree with that, especially not your average delivery pizza, but it’s not my call. If someone enjoys pizza that much, then go for it.

But then my thoughts went a bit deeper. What if father’s day doesn’t have the same connotation for that person as it does for me? Maybe the pizza was going to a single mother or a family that has lost a child, or a father? What then? I looked at all the food I had going on the smokers. What if they couldn’t afford anything more than a pizza? I wanted to follow the delivery guy and see if I could invite them over to eat with us.

And then it went deeper. What about those families that are torn apart by the draconian policy currently in force by our sham president and his evil Keebler elf? I cannot imagine the thoughts going through the minds of families seeking asylum in our country just to have their children forcibly taken from them. Seeking asylum is a human right. If you are running from a terrible situation in your home country, you don’t exactly have the time, nor the resources, to apply for entrance to a safer country. Asylum seekers are not entering this country illegally, they are running for their lives. If America will not accept them as they are, then we need to change our leadership. I’m pretty sure that it’s always been our policy to accept immigrants, especially those seeking asylum.

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But, unfortunately, this behavior by our administration doesn’t surprise me. This country is built on the bones of slaughtered indigenous people, the bones of families taken from their home country and forced to work as slaves, the bones of any and all marginalized people, women especially. We need to change this. We need to be better.

Sorry for such a morose post, it’s not like me. But it’s Monday, I’m a bit hungover, and my feet hurt.  So there!

Peace,
B

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A Quick Thought On Memorial Day

While it’s never wrong to thank a veteran for his or her service, that is not what today is for. Save that for Veteran’s Day. Today we remember the ones who never got to take off the uniform, those that never came home, the ones that paid that ultimate sacrifice. So we do not “celebrate” Memorial Day, we respect what it stands for. Now granted I will have my cookout and drink several adult beverages, after all, it is an extra day off of work. But in the back of my mind, and hopefully yours too, we will remember our brothers and sisters of all branches of the military and hope that their sacrifice wasn’t in vain. As an Army retiree and the proud father of a soldier, today weighs heavily on me and my family, I am so very grateful for those that served before me and after me. So lift a glass of whatever beverage you choose, and thank those we can only remember, those who fell on the battlefields the world over. And pray that the wars will end, and peace will reign. Amen.

Peace,
B

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Retired Army

Tartan Day

Wear yer tartan ye filthy cur!

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Scotland For Ever!

A video from Albannach. The name roughly translates to “Men of Scotland”

And of course, “The Campbell’s Are Coming”

And you can’t leave out “Scotland The Brave”

Peace,
B

 

How I Spent My Easter Weekend (A.K.A. Home Repair As Therapy Part 2)!

I’m sure you, my faithful readers (both you are), know that I am no longer a religious person. So, since Wifey® had Friday off for Good Friday I decided to take the day off as well. I didn’t list anything religious on my request for the day off, just put it down as home repair.  And that’s just what we did. (Previous post on home repair)

I spent almost all of Friday pulling up the carpets, the carpet tack and the quarter round molding in the girl’s rooms (we had already removed all the furniture from one room). The plan was to get at least one room cleaned up and the adhesive for the flooring (Smurf juice as we call it) painted. But Wifey® went above and beyond. While I was ripping all the stuff out of the first room she removed all the light stuff from the second room. So, when I finished the deconstruction in room one, we could move all the bigger stuff out of the second room too. This allowed me to rip the carpet and other stuff out of that room as well. We then “Smurfed” both rooms, with much help from son-the-younger as well. So we had both rooms fully prepped before dinner time. This put us about 6 hours ahead of schedule.

 

We settled in for the night. Which meant Netflix for Wifey® and a baseball game for me and son-the-older who came by, at our invitation after he finished work, for dinner. Son-the-younger just hung out in his room for the evening. He wasn’t feeling all that well.

Saturday morning meant laying the flooring. With both Wifey’s® and son-the-younger’s help, things went rather smoothly. We finished the first room just after lunch (taking alternate lunch breaks). I started with the more difficult cuts, but son-the-younger picked up the technique quickly and took over. Once the first row was laid, Wifey® took over with the placement of the full pieces of the flooring while son-the-younger and I took turns cutting pieces of the flooring for the ends and beginning of rows, to keep the staggered pattern going.

We took a break, going on a beer and dinner supply run. Then started in on room two.

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Wifey & son-the-younger workin’ it!

We could have finished before dinner time, but son-the-younger had to make a trip outside the home, so it was only me and Wifey®. We managed to finish all but the last strip in the main part of the room (a strip about 1 1/4 inch wide) and the closet. We were both too hungry, so we stopped until son-the younger could come back to help. Needless to say, by this time I had already cut myself once (not surprising) and my body needed a rest.

After a lovely grilled shrimp dinner (courtesy of yours truly), son-the-younger and I got back into it. He was working on the small strip while I would take on the closet. As luck would have it, I managed to cut myself yet again (again, not surprising). Since I do take an aspirin a day for a cardiac problem, Wifey® had to take over my work, while I tried to get the bleeding stopped.

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If you think it looks nasty now, you should have seen it last night.

We still managed to get both floors completed by 8:30 PM. Which put us a full 12 hours ahead of schedule! We expected to do the floor in the second room Sunday morning. But now we’ll just wait for the girls to come over to dye eggs with Daddy (son-the-younger) and let them decide if they wish to rearrange their rooms. We also plan on painting the entire house this summer and we’ll let the girls pick colors for their rooms.

So, as this project nears completion, we face the next project. Cleaning out our very cluttered garage. We have a contractor coming by Monday afternoon to do some work on water damaged walls and ceilings (you can see some of the damage in the corner in the left picture above). One of the main jobs is replacing the entire ceiling in the garage. But it’s not all work today. The little store we went to yesterday for our beer and dinner supplies, had 6-ounce filet mignons for $6 each, and 5-ounce lobster tails for $5 each. So guess what we’re having for dinner tonight? Oh, and Wifey® made some compound butters for the meal too.But, son-the-younger will need to do the grilling tonight, my body still hurts. And yes, we did invite son-the-elder to dinner.

And I can’t say thank you enough to Wifey® and son-the-younger. Without their awesome help, we would still be doing room one today (Sunday) and I would probably have to go to an “Urgent Care” for sutures (probably more than once). My family ROCKS!

So, what did YOU do this weekend?

Peace,
B

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St. Patricks Day

Uh… NO!

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And why does everybody wear green? If you’ve read your history, you would know that the Catholics wore green, while the Protestants wore orange. So pick you color appropriately.

‘Nuff said.

Peace,
B

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Not That I’m Counting Or Anything

But on 25 May 2021, I will turn the magic age of 62 1/2 years old. Provided ol’ 45 doesn’t change the retirement age, on Friday 28 May 2021 I am retiring (told the boss I’d finish out the week just to be nice). I’ve already done my 20 years in the Army, and quite frankly, I’m done. Stick a fork in me.

The current countdown (give or take a few seconds since I took the snip)..

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But like I said, I’m not counting down or anything.

Peace,
B

P.S. Yes I know it’s a long way off, but these “Stupid End Users” I deal with day in and day out required me to put the countdown on my PC so I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

P.P.S. I’m always worried when I click the spell check button on the WP editor and it says “No writing errors found”. I think it’s just fucking with my mind…

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The Year Was 1977

Yes, that was a lifetime ago. I’ll bet some of you reading this were not alive. There may even a possibility that your parents weren’t around then.

My best friend from my junior year of high school, even until now, is Maurice (I’ll leave the last names out to protect the guilty). Maurice and I, or Mo as he goes by now (which is funny since I have a niece named Melissa that also goes by Mo – guess it’s a unisex thing), used to sit and dream big dreams. And we were very seldom under the influence of anything other than, to quote Zonker Harris of “Doonesbury”, “Just getting high on life and America”.  Oh, you probably don’t know anything of “Doonesbury”, here’s a quick tutorial.

One of our dreams was to open a gym in Austin Texas. Mo was very much into bodybuilding, me not so much. When I left for basic training, October of 1976, I stood 5′ 10″ tall and weighed 119 lbs provided I had eaten a large meal beforehand. Mo, on the other hand, stood about 6′ 2″, and had to weigh about 225, maybe 250. And it was all solid muscle. My niece’s little girlfriends (we’re talking 8th graders here, and we are both around 20), loved it when Mo came to the house to visit. Much fawning and adoration went his way.

But to get back to the story. We made up a corporation “The Body Shop” that would be the parent company of all our other businesses. He would have his gym, and I would have my music recording studio and publishing company. Of course, none of this ever happened, nor did we really expect it too. It was just a way to waste time during the day before going out to drink.

Our only other pastime was “The Great Search For The Blue Nehi”. But that’ll be another post. (And Frodo has nothing on our search).

This weekend, instead of going to the St. Augustine Celtic Music Festival like we had planned, instead Wifey® and I cleaned out the closet of what used to my home office. It’s now the bedroom our granddaughter-the-younger. She is 6 years old, so I guess it’s about time we cleaned it out so she has a place to hang her dresses. Of course, my Awia quadrophonic reel-to-reel tape deck, my dual cassette dubbing deck, my turntable and my 4 channel mixing board are still in the closet, simply because I have no other place to put them. I still need to find a place for all my old music books.

I’m sure you’re asking “just where is this story going”? Well, this something I found while cleaning out the closest, buried in the middle of my music books as well.

S&H

I know this very hard to read.. transcription to follow

Some notes: Mo has always liked to try out different names. In this note, he uses “Hezikiah”. He once tried to set up a “New Persona” using the name Merlyn Cully Cross, which he found in a book and was rather taken with. I think he only managed to get a library card with that name. I have had the nickname “Skeeter” for as long as I can remember. Also, there should be a “G Clef” (for you music people between the “Skeet” and “Music”, but apparently this WordPress editor doesn’t have that).

The transcription;

Recorded by “The Foolish Brothers Band” on the “Would You Believe This?” album: “Late For My Own Funeral”.

(c) 1977 SkeetMusic, rights for the world administered by S&H Music, Austin, Tx.

(P) 1977 S&H Music, a division of The Body Shop, Inc., Austin, Tx.

Note: Although this has been copyrighted in July of 1977 and recorded in August of 1977, as of August of 1979 it has not been released due to the fact that “The Foolish Brothers Band” cannot get a major recording company to finance their “Would You Believe This?” label.

The Foolish Brothers Band is (are);

Skeeter: Lead Vocals; Lead & Rhythm Electric Guitars; Acoustic 6 & 12 string guitars; Acoustic guitar body; Various & sundry things lying around the room that make noise; foul words.

Hezikiah: Background Vocals; Lead & Rhythm electic guitars; Acoustic 6 & 2 string guitars; Acoustic guitar body; Anything else lying about the room that makes noises; Dirty language

R.M; D.M; P.B; M.W; K.W; T.W; A.S; L.S; (“The Get Outtahere Choir”); funny little noises in the background

So there you have. A little piece of nostalgia from my misspent youth.  Hope you enjoyed this. I know finding this little scrap of paper gave me great joy, and hopefully, you got a kick out of it too.

And Mo, we definitely need to get together again real soon. Love ya man!

Peace,
B

Bike Week ’18

Today the 77th annual Daytona Beach Bike Week starts. Originally this event was nothing more than a small dirt bike race. It has now ballooned into a 10-day event (I hesitate to call it a festival) that floods our local streets with upwards of 250,000 motorcycle “enthusiasts”.  We get everything from the rich doctors and lawyers riding their $100,000 custom bikes (which only come out of the garage for this event – they’re not even ridden into town, the bikes are usually in a toy-hauler to protect them from the elements – or they just rent them), to some very serious biker types (not exactly Hell’s Angels or Outlaws, or at least if they are gang members they’re smart enough to remove their colors before coming into town). Usually, the majority of the bikers are your everyday rider that goes out on weekends and when the weather is nice kind of folks.

But that doesn’t make them your regular tourist. Remember, Daytona is tourist income based town. We have four major events every year that keep the revenue up. Two bike events, and two NASCAR race events. Everybody that I know that works in the hospitality or food industry (both of my sons, one ex-daughter-in-law, and one current girlfriend) will tell you that they’d rather have bikers over race fans any day.

Race fans, which will number in the 75,000 to 100,000 range depending on which race week we’re talking about, don’t seem to understand that a small town like Daytona cannot handle that many people at the same time. Our restaurants will have waiting times of two hours or more, run out of certain high demand items (i.e. snow crabs), and just generally be a miserable place to be. Us locals tend to stay at home during these times.

Bikers, on the other hand, have no problem waiting for a place to eat. They just go grab a beer a hang out in the parking lots when there’s no room anywhere else. Most restaurants will have one or more “Beer Tubs” in the parking lot with pretty girls in short shorts and crop tops selling beer (usually at the same price as usual – quantity is king).

When we first came to Daytona (1997), most the bike week festivities took place just a mile or two up the street from our apartment. So other than the Harley’s gunning up and down the road outside the windows making it impossible to listen to the TV, it was no big deal to walk up to the “party area” have some fun and walk home.

But then Daytona did it’s usual (got greedy and/or stupid). They had already driven the Spring Break TV shows away, we still do get some college kids, but not like it used to be when MTV would be here every year. Now they set their sights on Bike Week. Daytona Harley Davidson (the area where everything happened just up the road from us) used to rent the big grassy area across from the Harley shop really cheap. I’ve heard anything from $1000 to as cheap as $1, so I don’t know for sure. But I do know that city raised the “rent” to $10,000. So, the guy that owned the Harley dealership closed that shop and moved north to an unincorporated area of the county. He built a huge complex. Not only his new Harley Shop but a hotel, restaurants, a truck shop, even a motorcycle mechanic school. The area is called Destination Daytona (even though it’s not within the city limits). There is also a nice covered open-air concert pavilion.

One other area that the bikers still go is Main Street. Yes, Daytona really has a Main Street, although it’s only on the beachside, once you cross the bridge it’s Fairview Ave. The city engineers loved to play with street names back in the day. This place gets packed. It’s lined with bars and clubs on both sides. You’ll see every type of motorcycle you can think of parked along the road, all nice and neatly backed in. The crowds are worse than Disney on the 4th of July (and I’ve been to Disney on the 4th, it’s freaking crazy).  About every 100 feet you’ll find a “Beer Tub” as I describe above, except the prices are a bit higher on Main Street.

And the people! You’ll see so much leather you think the Village People are performing. Men and women in chaps (and there’s no telling what some of the women are or aren’t wearing under the chaps). Leather jackets or vests all over the place. It’s a bit scary to see what appears to be a gynecologist or a real estate broker wearing all leather, drinking a Mich Ultra, while talking to the tax accountant, also wearing leather chaps, a leather vest with a very clean Harley patch (only worn once a year) and also drinking a Mich Ultra, probably raspberry flavored. While their rented Harley’s sit out at the curb. Best patch I’ve ever seen during a bike week event said: “$10,000 and 10,000 miles doesn’t make you a biker!”

Standing right next to them will be the Euro bikers. We get many from Europe that come over for this event. They will have the BMWs and Triumphs parked out front. They are easy to recognize, as they will be considerably younger, and have the Kevlar padded road suits instead of leather. Oh, they’ll be drinking Grolsch or Stella Artois (which I think is Belgium for Budweiser).

The official website for the event is: http://officialbikeweek.com/ (Not real original is it?). Sometimes a location will have a webcam streaming, so look for those if you’d like.

And in case you’re wondering, no I do not ride. Like most things in life, I’m simply a voyeur. I’ve only been on a motorcycle once in my entire life when I was about 8.  Just doesn’t appeal to me, nor do jet skis, four-wheelers or any of that ilk.  Oh well.

And I’m not complaining about the events or the bikers. I thoroughly enjoy bike week. The weather is usually beautiful (but, it does tend to rain the first weekend – very odd that’s it’s always that one weekend). I get to see some beautiful bikes as I go to and from work and sometimes so very attractive ladies on those bikes. I no longer attend any of the free concerts or other events, but we do not hesitate to go out for dinner during bike week like we do on race weeks. The bikers are much more fun.

“I’d rather laugh with the sinners than  cry with the saints. The sinners are much more fun.” ~ Billy Joel – Only The Good Die Young

Peace,
B

P.S. If you do a Google Image search for “Daytona Bike Week” you *may* want to turn “safe search” on depending on who may be looking over your shoulder (children/boss/small furry animals/etc…). You’ve been warned.

International Women’s Day

Today we honor women internationally? Why do we only have one day for this? I feel we should honor everybody every day, not just one day a year. But since I’m not the King, I’ll go with the flow. So in no particular order (other than my own faulty memory)…

First, of course, has to be Wifey®. Why she is still with me after all these years is a mystery. Every day when I turn the corner and see our house I look to see if her car is there (she works much closer to home than I do and get there before me). I fully expect it not to be there one day. Mainly because I’m such as ass to live with.  Love ya, Babe!

Ladies that have passed on;

“Nanny”. Josephine “Josie” Bodle Campbell. My dad’s mother. Since my mom worked when I was young, Nanny lived with us and was the strongest guiding force of my childhood.  She did her best to instill “Christian values”, although I’m not sure they all took hold. But she did teach me to respect others and to love everything as best I could.

My mother-in-law, Cornelia Greene Moore. We got along much better than I did with my own mother. I’ll admit, she had her doubts about me in the beginning (and who could blame her?). But it didn’t take long until I became like one of her sons. She showed me exactly how to accept others despite differences and find a common ground.

Ladies that are still with me;

Rev. Sonja Phillips. Even though I don’t think the mantle of “Christian” ever fit me, she allowed me to ask my faith questions without judging me. She taught me more about grace in one comment than 50 years of sermons ever did.

Melissa Cargile (who should have a “Rev” in front of her name as well). Nobody gave me the faith to get out and play my music like she did. Because of her, I had to learn more about the craft of playing my guitar and singing than ever. Especially when she would spring a new song on the band at practice and tell me I’m singing lead. No pressure or anything.

I’ll also add Wifey’s® “breakfast group” of ladies. I won’t list them individually because I’m sure I’d leave someone out, but I thank them for giving Wifey® a place to speak her mind (and bitch about me I’m sure). Everybody needs a group of friends, and I thank these ladies for being that for her.

Ladies I’ve met but interact with on Social Media a lot;

Kaitlin Curtice. Author, Patawommi Native. Another Christian that has allowed this agnostic to ask questions, and even argue at times, and never “fought” back. Just kindness and grace in return.

Kiersten (sorry don’t know her last name – like I said, its Social Media). Her courage in talking openly about her Eating Disorder (or Ed as she calls it like it has a real name  – I like that, naming your problems) is astounding. Plus the books she reviews on her blog have given Wifey® and I a few new books to read (but she doesn’t read my theology/philosophy books, so it’s a one-way reference).

And before my family starts texting me asking why I left my own mother off this list, you have to remember I was an “unplanned” baby. As the joke goes, my parents went on a second honeymoon and brought me home. As such, I felt I was in the way more than my much older siblings. Mom worked even after I had left home and joined the military. She didn’t spend nearly as much time with me as Nanny did. And there’s not much worse for a little kid to overhear his parents saying “We can’t do that because of HIM…”

I could list lots more, but I’m at work, so my time is limited.  Please add other names in a comment below. I’d love to hear about the ladies that inspired you.

Peace,
B