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Short Distance Travels

I don’t get out much.  Between my physical limitations (being disabled and in chronic pain, low income, crummy car) and my mental ones (I’m just not that interested in so doing), I’m lucky to get to the credit onion, grocery store, a cheap restaurant and perhaps the library each week.

This is one reason my Internet access and computer are so important to me!  My ‘window on the World’, as it were!

I’m essentially the ubiquitous pajama boy, except much older, more educated, and living in a rented room upstairs instead of a stereotypical basement.

And I’m less liberal.

In one of my travels, I met a nice couple. A psychologist and her office manager husband (not that that’s of any importance to this post).  Marlo and Jon are both pre-eminent in their field.

And Marlo comes from a long family history of motorcycle riders.

In 2008, she was in an accident which changed her life.  And almost ended it.  A car turned in front of her.  (Can you see why she got my attention?)

While hospitalized and in rehab, she wrote a blog, which she later coalesced into a very personal book regarding her Chautauqua from a person with addictions to one in recovery.  Her story included the courage, loyalty and love of her partner and husband Jon – whom I have personally nick-named St. Jon after reading her book.

Anyone who has had love, loss, ‘challenges’, courage and been fortunate enough to have others to help with those challenges should read this story!  Be forewarned – it is not always light reading.

But, there IS most definitely a positive message!

UP FROM THE PAVEMENT: Triumph over Grief and Trauma through Medicine, Miracles, Love, Laughter, and Faith Paperback

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See all formats and editions

(FTC – I get nothing from Amazon I don’t pay for.  Only friendship from Dr. Archer.  Leave me alone.)

Ringling Brothers Circus Is Closing Down ‘The Greatest Show On Earth,’ After A 146-Year Run.

elephamts

Tempus fugit.

I was never a huge circus guy as a kid, probably because I wasn’t a very good athlete – although the acrobats did impress me.  Of course, being feet from large wild animals was thrilling!  (except for the smell!)  And being a ‘semi-professional’ magician (starting in the Fourth Grade) I was drawn to performers like clowns – even considering crossing the makeup line and becoming a clown magician myself!  I’d read of Harry Houdini, and how he got his start in traveling carnivals performing feats of strength and ‘oddities’, like being able to pick up needles with his eyelashes while hanging inverted!  (How one does this for an audience – who knows?)

But what really got my attention were the oddities, the Sideshow.  The beginnings of the traveling circus.  People and animals with disabilities or birth defects – Siamese twins, women with beards, two headed snakes – that sort of thing.  Obviously, middle-America in the early 1800’s needed some kind of diversion, right?

And this is precisely why the circuses are ending.  If one wants to see an elephant, there are thousands on You Tube.  The same for magic, people with birth defects and feats of strength.  No longer must one wait in line for tickets, endure the crowds, animal smells and over-priced popcorn to see such things.  The circus can come to you!  And there are TV, movies, shows – all stream-able to your TV, computer or cell phone.

Jeff Cooper sometimes spoke of seeing the elephant.  In the olden days, a farm youth (as most were prior to 1920) had little or no exposure to life outside that which was on the farm.  Birth, death, butchering, harvesting, hunting, planting – all hard physical labor.  But little else.

When a boy ‘came of age’, his father would shove a few dollars in his pocket, point him to town, and tell him to go ‘see the elephant’.  The circus was coming to town!  The boy would dutifully go, see the elephant, the sideshow, perhaps have some liquor and engage in games of chance.  If he had any money left, he might find a woman of ill-repute with whom to ‘spend some time’.

It was all about a rite-of-passage.  Learning something about the outside world.

But, in today’s instantaneous electronically-connected world, there is no rite-of-passage.  Boys (and girls) learn about sex from the Internet.  Not exactly seeing the elephant.

No wonder instant gratification is the motto for the Millennials.

And we as a society are lesser for it.

Go see the elephant before the circus closes forever!  Reportedly, they will stop using elephants by 2018.  of course, the circus will end before that…

Find a woman?

😛

 

 

 

Remember ‘Green’ Army Men?

Like when we were kids?

plastic-toy-soldiers

Well, they’re back!  Kinda…

US Army wants bullets that turn into plants over time.  Projectiles and casings can take “hundreds of years” to break down.

The US military may not seem like the greenest of organizations, but if rising seas and temperatures produce worldwide chaos, they’re the ones that have to deal with that shit. Now, the Department of Defense is trying to tackle environmental problems caused by spent bullets and casings on its firing ranges by using composite materials laced with seeds.

The military fires hundreds of thousands of rounds during training, ranging from bullets to 155mm artillery shells. While casings are collected, and often recycled, the bullets themselves generally aren’t, and can take “hundreds of years” to break down in the environment. That can pollute the soil and water supply, harm animals, and generally look like crap if you stumble upon them.

To tackle the problem, the DoD has made a proposal call for a biodegradable composite bullet impregnated with seeds that will survive the initial blast and searing velocities. The seeds should only sprout after being in the ground for several months and be safe for animals to consume.

(in part, from Engadget, courtesy of Doc in Yuma)

Now, I’m all about being green, as long as doing so isn’t tied to some phony, leftist political agenda (like ‘global warming’ mentioned above).  Or if the newfangled green technology does more harm than good – like the ‘wind farms’ killing birds in exchange for sketchy power.

Should the military be concerned about what they leave behind?  Certainly.  Look at the land mines and unexploded ordinance problem.

How much is being spent on this?  Versus the veterans with PTSD and debilitating injuries?

Frankly, I’m more concerned with those being left behind.

 

More Wisdom From The Queen

…of SNARK! (Tamara, of course!)

Lessons from ECQC…(in part)

ECQC changed my life.

For instance, since ECQC I’ve finally started practicing something I’d long preached and began carrying a can of Fox Labs OC around with me. It’s become more important to me to have a solid middle ground option between “harsh language” and “bust a cap in someone’s ass”.

It’s made me think a lot more about deescalation, how persistence does not automatically equal threat, that presenting a weapon (or even revealing its presence) without the space or time to employ it correctly can cause a lot more problems than it solves. Letting a guy who’s within a dozen feet of you know you have a gun doesn’t necessarily deter him; it just lets him know you have a gun. It’s up to him whether that’s a deterrent or not.

Physical fitness has become more important to me, too. All tangled up under someone who’s beating your ass and about to pull your gun out and shoot you with it isn’t the time to find out you’re completely out of breath, too.

That gets me out the door every morning, and I’d about ready to look into adding some simple calisthenics to what’s already become a routine mile walk. Baby steps, but I’m already healthier now than I’ve been in years.

I’m OLD.  Well, older than Tam.  Disabled.  Infirmed.  Overweight.  Have chronic pain issues.

With regard to PT (physical training), well, it just doesn’t happen.  I am truly an armchair adventurer (with apologies to LTC Brown)

But reading of Tam’s adventures and commitment has my motor running. (if nothing else).  I know, based on my age and infirmities that I will not ever have the physique of a Navy Seal.

But I need to do something.

I just signed up for a Medicare Advantage Plan.  Part of the coverage is I can go to any gym and work out!  (under a program called Silver Sneakers).  It’s about time I do SOMETHING.

We’ll see whether or not I’m motivated to do so…

Where To Put Your Stuff In A Suit

Not as many men wear suits as were worn say, in 1956 (The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit).  Times and styles change.

However, between business concerns (excluding casual Fridays), and certain social events (weddings, funerals, etc.), it is sometime appropriate to don one.

(I own exactly that – ONE.  I’d own more, but just don’t have the needs or funds – Guffaw)

As with so many other social skills, I was not taught HOW to wear a suit!  Not how to tie a tie (I was taught that), or polish shoes (I still do that – it relaxes me) but, where does one put stuff, exactly?

The Art of Manliness blog comes again to the rescue!

anatomy of suit pockets and where to put accessories illustration

The whole point of wearing a suit is to create a sleek, smooth look for yourself. So you don’t want to ruin that dapper silhouette by stuffing your pockets with too many accouterments, and in such a way that they create unbecoming bulges in your clothing. Hauling around a bunch of stuff not only distorts the proper shape of your suit, but can also distort its fine fabric, putting unnecessary wear and tear on the material.

Instead, when it comes to carrying your formal/professional EDC in a stylish way, the name of the game is minimalism and balance. You want to pare down the things you carry with you, and distribute them evenly throughout your pockets.

Your wallet should be thin and compact, and placed in one of the inside breast pockets of your suit jacket, rather than in the back pocket of your trousers where it will push your jacket out. If you still find a wallet too bulky to carry, then a slim money clip, with just a few bills and a credit card, can fit in the front pocket of your trousers.

A pen can also go in this inside breast pocket, though some suits have a special slit for it to sit.

Your phone can be put in the other inside breast pocket. If you’re doing a money clip in your trouser pocket instead of a wallet in the jacket, then the phone will lack a counterweight up top. But unless your phone is very heavy and large, it’s not likely to unbalance the way the jacket hangs on you.

A big set of jangling keys will create a significant bulge in your trouser pocket, so when you’re wearing a suit, strip down your keychain to just your house key and car key on a single ring. Or always carry all your keys in a device like this one which minimizes their space and noise.

Your other trouser pocket can hold a plain handkerchief (here’s 6 reasons every man should carry one). While a pocket square can sometimes pull double duty as a functional hankie, you usually want a nicer, fancier one for the outside breast pocket on your suit, and a utilitarian one for blowing your nose.

And that, gents, is pretty much all you need to tote around on your person when you’re suited up. Other things like gum or a pocket knife could go in a briefcase or bag if you’re carrying one. Your phone could easily be put away in a bag too; after all, one’s suave appearance cannot only be ruined by carrying around too much bulge-creating stuff, but also by taking out a particular piece of it and checking it every two minutes.

There!

Drugs Of Choice

donutsI’ve an addictive personality.  I come by this honestly, as both my parents were also afflicted.  It killed them both.

Before you get all worried, I’m not addicted to tobacco, as my Mother was.  My Father liked his cigars and his alcohol.

And his excess food.

The S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) – too many refined carbs, too much protein, too much white sugar.

I, too, like food.  Sometimes to excess.  Including sugar.

And, I’ve been diabetic since 2002.

The Good Rev. Paul posted recently regarding Krispy Kreme DonutsNow, I like LOVES me a good doughnut!  The problem is unlike normal folks, stopping at one, for me, can be difficult.  And here in college/commuter town USA, we are surrounded by doughnut shops!  The ubiquitous Dunkin’, Krispy Kreme, and many local emporia.

SO…I must make the choice.  And sometimes I partake.

Fortunately, it’s not too often, and not a dozen-at-a-time.

I’m reminded of a cartoon, long ago in Playboy.  (Buck Brown?  Gahan Wilson?  Which I was unable to locate it on the ‘Net)

An older couple in their rocking chairs, on their front porch.  Both are quite obese.  And they are chowing-down.  Between them is a large bucket of fried chicken.  Just visible, to the side of the house, is a square, striped building(!?)

And one says to the other, “Sometimes, I wish they hadn’t moved in next door…”

Today, give me strength.

Thankfully, the nearest are at least a mile away, and I’ve no funds.  And, it’s ‘cold’ out (40° – sorry, Rev. Paul!)

🙂

♫ When I’m 64 ♫

♫ “When I’m Sixty Four”♫

When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If I’d been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four?You’ll be older too
And if you say the word
I could stay with youI could be handy, mending a fuse
When your lights have gone
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride
Doing the garden, digging the weeds
Who could ask for more?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four?

Every summer we can rent a cottage in the Isle of Wight
If it’s not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera, Chuck & Dave

Send me a postcard, drop me a line
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, wasting away
Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four?
Ho!

(apologies to Paul McCartney)

Well, I turned 64 today.
There’s no one special person to whom this song applies.
I suppose I should be grateful I’ve made it this far.
But, frankly, doing it alone sucks.
(I’ll stop whining now.)
I DO have friends, family and animals to whom I can turn in time of need.
And that means everything.
Almost.
A touch, a hug, a kiss.  Holding a hand?
Doesn’t appear to be in my future.
(Okay, I will stop whining now!)
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!

Saying Goodbye To Bob @ Burro Town

My dear friend Bob Hall passed away February last.  He had suffered complications from diabetes (first losing a big toe, then the lower half of a leg), then ultimately acid reflux lead to GERD, and then esophageal cancer.  The last few months of his life, he was eating through a feeding tube.  Lost half his weight, and was fighting pneumonia which finally took him.

I had known Bob, first as my investigation boss at Tom Ezell & Associates; later as my boss at Legendary Guns of the West (where I worked part-time), since 1981.  More than being a boss, he was a dear friend.  We saw each other through the stuff of life.  I’ve a stepbrother – Bob and I are much closer.

He was always honest and true to me.  His trademark was nothing is so serious that a joke cannot be made about it.  Irreverent humor – Firesign Theatre and Monty Python quotes were often exchanged between us.

He was a crack shot and loved to go ‘to the desert’ to go shooting.  Even in his final days, using a walker.  And he passed his love of guns and The Second Amendment to his wife and daughters.

He didn’t want a somber funeral.

I heard from one of his daughters that this Saturday (yesterday) was to be his memorial celebration.  A caravan of his friends and family went to the desert to one of his favorite shooting spots, did some eating, shooting, then spread his ashes.

Bob’s favorite things, family, shooting and grilling – combined!

I was honored to have been invited, and was honored to bring and shoot my 1911 – a National Match slide on a Vega frame, with lowered Bomar sights, a Micro bushing, and Swenson ambidextrous safety,  hand-fitted by gunsmith Burke Hill.  Which Bob sold to me in 1983.

I dubbed her The Bob Hall Signature Model.  My roommate calls her Bobbie.

It’s been probably 20K rounds, and except for occasional cleaning, lube and replacing the recoil spring @ 3000 rounds, not much has changed.  She remains a tack driver.

Essentially a race gun (c) 1977.

And she is my companion when the Phoenix weather permits.

Bob sold her to me for a pittance.  He never profited from guns he sold to friends.  And I had to make payments to him, I was so poor! (having been a new father at the time.)

It’s only fitting I take her to what Bob called Burro Town to shoot her one more time.

For Bob.

So, about eighteen of us gathered yesterday.  Did some shooting – ate BBQ chicken with all the fixings. (including cherry cheesecake – Bob’s favorite!)

Then, we stood in a circle and shared memories of Bob.  There was tears and laughter.  Then Anita (Bob’s wife) asked those who wish to to take some of Bob’s ashes and place them about Burro Town*.

Then, we shot a simultaneous volley in his name.  All of us using guns once owned by him!

This is the photo the family chose to place on the food table.  Bob hated having his picture taken.

20161119_135525

(*It was named Burro Town by Bob, due to the wild burros that wander the region.  Usually, we see a few.  Yesterday, they were absent.)

donkey-crossing-warning-sign

But we who loved him were there.

 

Things That Make One Go “Hmmm”.

(As posted on The Grey Enigma)

Some Pacific Islanders Have DNA Not Linked To Any Known Human Ancestor – All That Is Interesting

Children from the village of Hanuabada play cricket in the streets on February 24, 2012 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Most everyone knows that the islands of the South Pacific are some of the most remote and unique places on Earth, but a new study reveals just how unique they really are.According to a report from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, researchers have found traces of a previously unknown extinct hominid species in the DNA of the Melanesians, a group living in an area northeast of Australia that encompasses Papua New Guinea and the surrounding islands.A computer analysis suggests that the unidentified ancestral hominid species found in Melanesian DNA is unlikely to be either Neanderthal or Denisovan, the two known predecessors of humankind to this point.

Source: Some Pacific Islanders Have DNA Not Linked To Any Known Human Ancestor – All That Is Interesting

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An addendum to that whole ‘the science is settled’ thing.

We thought we knew about the origins of mankind.

Obviously not.

Helen Rawls RIP

Tempus Fugit

Helen Rawls is a childhood memory.               Helen Rawls Obituary

Jim (about who was written here previously) is my oldest continuous friend.  I’ve known him since August 1960, when he was in First Grade and I in Third.  She was his mother.

Helen passed on Halloween at 97.

from her Arizona Republic obituary (in part):

…She spent the remaining years of her childhood in Indianapolis, graduated from Short Ridge High School, became a stenographer, and joined the Army. She was one of the first women (other than nurses), to be a member of the armed forces.

… Helen was active in the Community Christian Church, as a member of the ASU Faculty Wives and the League of Women Voters. She was also a volunteer for Meals on Wheels, tutored at local schools, and worked with various other charities. She lived the last 29 years of her life at Friendship Village Tempe.

Services are at Friendship Village Health Care Center – 2525 E. Southern Ave. Tempe, on Sunday, November 6, 2016 at 2:30 pm. Contributions can be made to a charity of your choice , in Helen’s name.

Until I read the above, I’d not known she had been in the Army.  She was my friend’s mom.  And a fine woman.  She was pre-deceased by her husband Bill, who had been a physics professor at A.S.U. in 1996.

Bill had served in the Navy.  My thanks to you both for your service.

Helen and Bill were the most functional family on the block.  (Obviously, an improvement over my dysfunctional family!)  Raised quality kids, participated in church and civic affairs, recycled before it was cool.  I knew Helen as just one of the housewives on the block.

Hardly just!

I’m glad they are together now.

 

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…