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.


Send Lawyers, Guns, And Money

(With apologies to Warren Zevon)

I have to admit that I don’t agree with Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2;

“The first thing we do is kill all the lawyers”

I know several lawyers and even accountants that don’t deserve such a fate.  Although many do. I think Dante had a level reserved just for those of that profession.

However, (yes another traffic rant is coming), there would be a special place in Hell, if I believed that such a place existed, for idiots that will never use a turn signal, jerks who think that using a turn signal automagically gives them right of way, and especially the asshats that refuse to drive the speed limit no matter in which lane they are blocking traffic.

‘Nuff said…



We’re supposed to go to a Gordon Lightfoot concert tonight. I realize that most of you have no idea who Gordon Lightfoot is. But if you’re a fan of ’60’s and ’70’s folk music like I am, then you know his music very well.

I’m hoping this will break me out of my funk. But only time will tell.  Maybe I’ll post a review of the concert tomorrow. If I feel up to it.

Here’s one of Gord’s best songs for you. And it was one of my dad’s favorite songs too.


P.S. Does anyone watch any of this videos I post?


And yet again another mass shooting at a school. This will of course, once again, ignite the gun control debate. Since I am an Army retiree I am a bit conflicted on the whole gun control issue.

When I first enlisted back in 1976, I took the oath and swore to “Defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.” I believed in that oath in 1976, and I still believe in it today.

So does that mean that I have to support private gun ownership? To me the second amendment reads;

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Source: Wikipedia

I read that, first as a “Well regulated militia”. If I remember my history correctly when the constitution was written, the “upstart” United States may have had a standing Army, but nothing that could be called up quickly for any local problems, i.e. a sudden raid or offensive by the British Army. Hence the creation of a local militia. In today’s world, we call that militia the National Guard (I know this because my son is in the Guard). We no longer have the need for the local authorities (a mayor of a town, the local council etc..) to call up able-bodied men (and maybe women) to arms themselves and defend their homesteads.

However, the second part of that amendment “…the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” leaves some wiggle room. I have no problem with private, RESPONSIBLE gun ownership. My son has a weapon, as does my brother-in-law, and several friends and neighbors. I, personally do not. In my years as a paramedic in the Army, I have seen all too well the carnage that all kinds of weapons can inflict on the human body. I want no part of that. I am very much a pacifist. If that means, I’m the first to die in some “invasion” or whatever, so be it.

So where does that leave me? Or better yet, what is the definition of “responsible gun ownership”? For me, that means, self-defense for you and your loved ones. Also, for hunting and sustaining lives with the meat from those kills. That leaves out “trophy” hunting. I was so very pleased to read about the poacher that was mauled to death by the lion he was hunting in South Africa. I never find joy in the taking of any human life, but in this case, I feel justice was served.

Does that mean you can use “any weapon”? I don’t believe so. I see absolutely no need for any semi-automatic weapons in the hands of any civilian. Why would you need an AR-15 (or an M-16 – same weapon – for the military folks) to hunt? Knowing the damage that this weapon causes to the human body (and goats, as I had to do a “goat lab” when in training – after knocking a goat out, they shot it with an M-16 in a non-life threatening way, for us to treat the wound). There would be very little meat left to eat if you shot the average deer with an AR-15.

Do you need it for home defense? Not likely. Remember, the Governor would have called up the National Guard before this would be necessary.

And all this returns us to the beginning of this post. More school children have been killed because Congress (and maybe the Office of the President) refuse to do anything other than send “prayers and thoughts”. And as far as I’m concerned “prayers and thoughts” are nothing but bullshit. Pure and empty wishes. Instead, the NRA, which I believe should be labeled a terrorist organization, just gives more money to the congressmen (and women) they have in their pockets, and nothing gets done.

We need legislation, and we need it now. It’s time we vote out everyone who refuses to act on any gun control reform, both Republicans and Democrats. 2018 is the year to get them out of there. Start at the top. I say Impeach him now! But, I don’t think we have anything we can impeach him on (yet). But let’s get the ball rolling even stronger. Maybe we should vote EVERYBODY out and start all over again.

But we need better gun control legislation. I’m not advocating taking guns from people. But maybe, I am. Assault style rifles, semi-automatic weapons, “bump stocks” and other military-style weapons should be removed from the general public. There is no damn need for them in a home. You want to fire one? Go to a firing range. Maybe we could allow them to have them on hand for people to experience shooting them. I know there are ranges that have special licenses for fully automatic weapons. So this would allow people to have the same experiences.

But I doubt any of this will come about until a congressman’s child is killed in a random shooting. Sad to say, but I seriously think that’s what it’s going to take. But even then, if it’s a white person doing the shooting, they will claim its “mental illness” if it’s a “refugee” (especially someone from the middle east), then it’s “terrorism”. It’s never the fact that almost anyone can get a weapon, no matter what their background check says.

I have bipolar type 2 disorder. This should disqualify me from being able to buy a weapon. I could easily turn it on myself, or others with no warning simply if my meds aren’t doing their job that day. But I know, I could walk into a pawn shop or even a gun shop or two in this area and with my military ID, walk out with a handgun. I may not even have to wait the required 3 days.

So, after all is said and done, I’m still at a loss. The carnage will continue. Nothing will happen in Congress, the NRA will get more powerful, and more people will die.  If Sandy Hook didn’t change anything, if Las Vegas didn’t change anything, and if Stoneman Douglas doesn’t change anything, I doubt the other 18 school shootings this year will change anything either.

For those that read this and say “If you don’t like it leave”, sorry no. I choose reform. You can leave if you’d like.

Comments are welcome, just know any “hate speech” type of comments will be deleted. I have no problem if you disagree with me, but let’s keep it clean and honest. I know there are more than one view on this subject, and this is mine. Feel free to express your view.


Empty Post

No need to like this post, it’s simply a test post. Seems that every time I post something, I will get at least one “like” within seconds with no views recorded. No way someone could have read my entire post that quick. So I’m checking for who has a script running. I figure it’s a ploy to get views on their (probably virus-laden) site.

So here goes nothing… And I’ll throw in a video to make it interesting.


A Review Of The Google Pixel 2XL And The Google Mini

My old LG5 was having major issues. It wouldn’t charge most of the time requiring me to keep it plugged in both at home and on my desk at work, texting would suddenly just not respond. The keyboard.. well I won’t go into all the problems I had with that.

So I ordered myself a Pixel 2XL directly from Google. I decided to by-pass by cell carrier, Verizon, for two reasons. First, by buying directly from Google I get the monthly security updates AND any OS updates long before big red will send them out. Second, no app bloat. The phone didn’t come loaded with all the usual Verizon apps that I never use anyway. Seriously, has anyone ever used the NFL Mobile app? So this is a much cleaner phone, and therefore runs much smoother.

I also opted for the 128GB model so I could download my Spotify playlists and not burn up data when I don’t have a Wi-Fi connection and want to play my music.

I have had this phone now for about two months, I do not have any case for it yet, nor does it have any screen protection. I really, really hope to have both of those issues remedied this weekend.

But here’s what I’ve learned in the first two months.

  • This screen is extremely sensitive. Since I don’t have a case, I keep it in my pocket most of the time. I’ll take it out and there will be 3 or 4 apps open, the texting app will have picked a random contact and is sending pure gibberish. I’m hoping a case (one that I can clip to my belt) and the “gorilla glass” type of screen protector will help alleviate these problems.
  • The “Google Assistant” isn’t all it’s hyped to be. I understand that this app is still “under development”,  but it still needs lots of work. I primarily use it while driving to be “hands-free”.  Many times (after I use the “catchphrase” either ‘OK Google’ or ‘Hey Google’) nothing happens. Usually, the second time I call it, it answers. All you get is a musical tone to let you know it’s ready. The most common use, for me, is to text someone (usually Wifey®). So it’s “OK Google” (wait for music), “Send a text” (it will then ask “Who do you want to text?”), “Text <contact>” (You can simplify this by saying “Send a text to <contact>”, but that doesn’t always work. Last time I tried to do it that way, it started reading me the news and weather. I couldn’t figure how to stop that, so I had to wait for it to finish. If the contact has more than one phone number, you will be asked to pick which number to send it to.  This is good for folks that may have more than one cell phone, like myself (one business and one personal), but usually, it’s overkill. Let’s face it you can’t send a text message to a fax machine or a landline (who has a landline anymore anyway?). But more than that, when I’m in the middle of dictating a text and a new text come in, the assistant basically stops and the message will be displayed on top of everything, and it erases whatever I had already dictated. Very frustrating. And forget about asking it read incoming text messages. Most times it doesn’t respond at all, or when you can get it read a message and it asks you if you want to “Reply, Ignore, or go to the Next Message”. No matter how quick I say my answer (usually it’s Reply) or how long I wait, all it does it repeat my choices. I finally just have to wait it out and start all over again with the “Send A Text Message”.
  • I do like the GUI. Instead of the usual swiping right or left for screens (although it does have a Google News feed if you swipe to the left, and a user-configurable screen to the right), all apps are available by swiping up. And even more importantly, for me anyway, they are automagically arranged alphabetically. One thing I have hated from the days of my OG Droid was having to manually configure apps so I could find them. I love this feature.
  • This phone has an excellent camera. And not only that, pictures are automagically backed up to Google Photos (if you have an account). I also mine set to back up to my Amazon Prime Photos and even my Verizon Cloud. We’ve lost lots of photos before, don’t want that happening again.
  • I like the fingerprint option for unlocking (you can also set a 6 digit numeric pin). This also allows me to securely log into most of my banking and credit card apps. Saves me a lot of head scratching trying to remember what my damn passwords are.

On to the Google Mini.  I received my mini free.  Google sent it to me as a “gift” for buying the Pixel from them. I can understand why they gave it away, it’s pretty much useless to me.

One of the big things that Google touts for any of its home systems (the mini or Google Home) is the ability to control a “smart home”. Well, my house is more along the lines of a “Flintstone House”. We have absolutely nothing that can be voice controlled. And in all honesty, as an IT professional, I’m not sure I want a house like that. Hacking an IoT (Internet of Things) is pretty easy.

  • So, the main use of this mini is to play my Spotify playlist. Good thing I didn’t pay for it. This is something I can do (and much better) with either my phone or tablet. here’s the problem; As usual, you wake it up with the “Ok Google” or “Hey Google”. No problem there. To play my “combo” playlist (a test list I made on Spotify), you tell it “Play combo playlist”, it responds “playing Spotify playlist combo”. It will always start with the first song that was added to the playlist.  This playlist has just over 1500 songs, from about 30 artists. I would guess an average of 30 songs per artist. So it starts at the top of the list, in the order that the songs/artists were added. According to the instructions on Google to make the mini shuffle the songs, you will next tell the mini (after the required “OK Google”), “Shuffle the playlist”. It will respond, “OK, will shuffle the playlist after this track has finished”. Fair enough. You can next tell it (again after the required “OK Google”) “Skip this song”. This is supposed to make the mini pick a random song from there on out. But it doesn’t appear to work that way.
    • Let me explain it like this. Let’s say I had 5 artists, and each artist has 5 tracks on the playlist. We will call the artists, A, B, C, D, and E. The tracks we’ll call 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Simple enough. So when you start the playlist, it will always start on artist A, track 1. When you get it to skip command it will always go to artist B (which is the next artist added when the list was created) and track 1. Then it goes back to artist A and track 2, followed by artist B, track 2. And so on until it finishes artist A track 5, then it will go to artist C track 1 and so on.
    • So with a playlist of over 1500 songs, I’ve never gotten through the first 3 or 4 artists before I get frustrated and turn it off.
  • And that’s where the mini sits.  On my nightstand, with the mic turned off. Every now and then I hit it and it tells me the mic is turned off and how to turn it back off. I just look at it with contempt and tell it “Shut the hell up!”

Anyone else having issues with a Google Mini?  Leave me some suggestions as to what I’m doing wrong, please!


Hasten Down The Wind

So the other day I was either talking to Wifey® or texting with my brother about the song “Hasten Down the Wind”. It was written by Warren Zevon (one of my favorite singer/songwriter/musicians of all time. May he rest in peace) but Linda Ronstadt (without a doubt, one my of my “future wives” in my teenage years – I had posters of her on my bedroom walls) had a much bigger hit with the song.

Mr. Zevon included the song on his 1976 album “Warren Zevon”. Not the most original of names, but it’s not like he’s the only artist to name an album after himself. And just in case you’re unclear on this, there is no “White Album” by The Beatles. Its title is “The Beatles” no matter what that stupid cruise ship employee said. We should have won that contest. Ms. Ronstadt covered this song on her 7th solo album, “Hasten Down The Wind”, released also in 1976.

I did not hear of Mr. Zevon’s original until later, as he didn’t come into my stream of conscientiousness until his “Excitable Boy” album in 1978. It was with the help of Jackson Browne (another of my singer/songwriter/musician heroes) as the producer of the self-titled album the Mr. Zevon found a major record contract.

So anyway, here are the two songs for you. First up is Ms. Rondstadt’s cover, since that’s the one I heard first. Then will be Mr. Zevon’s original. And I have to say, I prefer Mr. Zevon’s over my lady Ms. Ronstadt. Yeah, weird I know.  But I think Linda’s cover is too smooth. She does have a very sweet voice, but I just don’t hear the raw emotion I hear in Warren’s original.

It’s nice to know that Linda has Don Henley (of The Eagles fame) singing backup, while Warren has Phil Everly (of The Everly Brothers on backup vocals and David Lindley on slide guitar).

Listen to them both and give me your impressions;


And Warren’s;


What’s On Your Bookshelves?

Yesterday, in response to a Tweet by Goodreads (@goodreads) that asked: “How many books do you bring on vacation?” (which was a retweet of @TamoraPierce), I admitted that I prefer an e-reader (Kindle specifically for Wifey® and I both).  I mentioned several reasons;

  • No rushing back to a library to return the books on time.
  • E-books (and whichever device you use) take up much less physical room than a traditional “dead tree” books.
  • You can download new books anywhere you can get a Wi-Fi signal at a minimum (or a cellular signal if your tablet has that capability).

When we took our trip to North Carolina over the Thanksgiving week, both Wifey® and I had at least five unread books on our tablets (we both have Samsungs), available for us in case of bad weather, or if we just decided not venture out that day.  I think the only day we didn’t do too much was Thanksgiving day.  I know I only read, maybe, a total of 3 hours over that week. But that was my choice.

Then, later yesterday my friend Kiersten (you can find her blog at Once Upon A Spine, (which I think it a really cool title) asked me “What do you put on your bookshelves?” Why Celtic pottery and a family altar of course! Well, at least the tops of our little bookcases are filled that way.  We do have a collection of books in both of the cabinets, one is mostly cookbooks and the other old sci-fi. I have no idea why we’re holding on to these, but there they are.



Some of our Celtic pottery. The cookbooks are stored below.

All the pottery has been purchased from And Sarah Laughed. We find them every year at the Central Florida Highland Games. This year we didn’t buy anything simply because we’re running out of room. Plus we are trying to downsize. After spending twenty years in the military and averaging 22 months between moves, we learned to live with a lot less “stuff”. We’ve been in this house twenty years now. And we have lots of “stuff”.  Too much “stuff”.



A bad picture of the family altar with our parent’s pictures above. Sorry, I cut off my mom’s picture.

We also have about 5 different versions of the Bible under the TV in our bedroom. We don’t use them anymore, but they’re still there.

So that’s what we have on our bookshelves.  What do you have on yours?


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