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Different Drummer – A Musical Lifetime

I’ve always been a little different musically…

My real mother (who passed when I was in the second grade) had lots of 78 RPM records of classical music – including The Nutcracker Suite done straight by Spike Jones!  I still have some of them.

My dad was a big band kinda guy.  And 50’s crooners.  Perry Como, etc.

And my exposure to music didn’t include most rock-and-roll or folk.  (My sister worshipped Elvis, though.)

In grade school, a friend asked me if I liked ‘popular music’.  I said no.  He replied, “not even Mister Tambourine Man?”

I had never heard it.

I was too busy listening to Johann Sebastian Bach.

I loved – and love – this piece:

My leg disability developed between Eighth Grade and High School.  No P.E. for Guffaw.  The high school principal ask me if I could play an instrument.  I could not.  He said, “Well it’s Choir for you!”, as if it were some kind of punishment.

I loved choir.  They taught me how to sing (in the baroque manner), and  how to read music.  And how to appreciate Jazz! (Stan Getz, anyone?)

We even made All-State when I was a Senior, and we got to sing on the stage at the university’s Grady Gammage Auditorium (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright!)

It was after I graduated and went on to college that I developed a liking for popular music.  The Beatles, The Eagles, Credence Clearwater Revival, Linda Ronstadt, Fleetwood Mac, Emerson, Lake and Palmer and many others.  Jethro Tull.  I even taught myself a bit of flute to play along!

But Bach will always be my first musical love.

A Libertarian Nightmare

I was fortunate to have pizza (and salad) delivered for lunch! (This was last week.)

Was NOT so fortunate to have taken yet another strong pain med today – this is probably 10 days I’ve needed the ‘extra’ medication above-and-beyond the daily pain med I take.  For diabetic neuropathy and arthritis pain.

There have been weeks I’ve not needed to take any!

And, I chose to have one (one) bottled beer with my lunch.   A special white chocolate brew.  (I wasn’t driving anywhere.)

And after lunch I took a nap.

And this is what I dreamt…

HUGE numbers of people lining every street,
and our troops advancing down the street.
And the people trying to stop their advance!
I don’t know why they were advancing, or why we were trying to stop them.
But, it wasn’t pretty.
Libertarian nightmare?

Index, Index, INDEX!

The lovely and brilliant Tamara reminded us again of basics.  And reminded me, as well:

Continuing Education

I cannot speak for anyone else, but as much as I lecture others in these pages regarding complacency, I, too, can fall victim to it.  (Duh)

Not just the almighty INDEX (NOT placing one’s index finger in the trigger guard until one is ready to shoot – and where exactly DO you place it?  ALTHOUGH, I’M PRETTY GOOD AT REMEMBERING THIS PART!), but…

When was the last time you checked your weapon for function and safety?  Are all the mechanical parts in good repair?

AND, appropriately lubricated?

How about the magazines (speedloaders or speedstrips)?  Clean and functional?

And the ammunition?  When was the last time you changed it out for newer stuff?  Is your ‘one-up-the-spout’ (aka The Barney Bullet) seated correctly?  Or has months of recharging your sidearm crushed the case mouth?  Or seated the bullet farther inside?

How about the function and maintenance of the holster?  When was the last time it was cleaned, oiled, inspected for damage?  And the belt…

AND WHAT ABOUT YOU?

When was the last time you did a dry-practice exercise?  Including a reload or two?

And do you know the latest nuances in your State’s criminal law statutes?

Not unlike driving a car – one does it every day.  When was the last time you checked the tires?  The oil?  The transmission fluid?  Your brakes?  Reviewed the traffic code?

Do you always wear your seat belt?  (I’m a libertarian, and I do!)

But I’ve not done everything above with regard to my sidearm and it’s equipment.

I need to, more religiously.

Because MAD MEN…(NSFW)

The last and final SEVEN episodes start tonight!

Because JOAN HOLLOWAY!

(Yeah, I know, I’m a dirty old man!)

The ubiquitous and intense (and sometimes sexy) show, which reveals for us mores and folkways of Madison Avenue in the 60’s and 70’s is back.  Complete with the political incorrectness, drinking and smoking in the workplace, and sometimes the degradation of women.

It was a different time.

We have evolved.

But we still like women.

In Memoriam

Molly birthday1Our daughter Molly, at her 12th Birthday Party

Twenty six days before the accident

I’m so much better a man for having known her.

I LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU!

Twenty Years Ago, Today

(Truly, I cannot believe it’s been Twenty Years!)

There are things that are good to remember; things bad to remember; and things important to remember.

The crummy part of all this is sometimes my brain is not too good at discerning which is which, or what goes with what.

My character (being flawed and neurotic as it is) has a tendency to default to the bad.

A shrink, I’m certain, would say it’s all about low self esteem, negative messages from childhood, etc.  The reasons don’t matter.

Twenty years ago, today was the accident in which our daughter Molly was killed.

I was driving – this makes me ultimately responsible, as I was The Dad.  The Protector.  The fact the other driver ran the red light while speeding is of no consequence.

I carry a sidearm.  I’ve done so for 41 years.  Long before I even met Molly’s mother, I chose to do whatever I could to protect myself and my family and friends.  It’s a roll I haven’t taken lightly.

And I took my assignment as Protector even more seriously when I became a father.  It’s what father’s are supposed to do!

We were making a left turn from 44th Street, East onto Thomas Road.  A little after 1 PM.  Going to Monkey Wards after an earlier visit to Famous Footwear @ 20th St. and Camelback.  Saturday’s with 12 year old daughters meant shopping!  The signal didn’t have a left turn arrow back then.  It was just like in the movies – in the midst of completing the turn, I sensed something was wrong.  Based on the estimated speed of the other car, we were pushed across the intersection in about one-tenth of a second.

And many lives changed forever.

I’ve no memory regarding what happened next.  Nothing to recall on the witness stand months later.  I was told I regained consciousness enough to give my estranged wife’s phone number to the ambulance guy, when I was asked if there was anyone he could call.

I had early drugged hospital memories of being on board a ship(!)  Not enough consciousness to ask why I was on a ship.  Turned out, with one (now re-inflated) collapsed lung and the other half filled with fluid, County Hospital had me on a pneumatic bed which kept hissing and rolling, to keep fluids from settling in my damaged lungs.  Ribs pushed into a lung.  Broken collar bone.  Broken arm.   Tube up the nose, and IV morphine/ativan drip.

My sister, wife and friends were there, being supportive and keeping loving watch as much as they could.  Not wanting to answer the obvious question:  Where was Molly?

In my few awake moments, I remember asking about the funeral, desperately wanting to be well enough to attend.

My wife was told Sunday morning there had not been any brain activity, and had the courage to disconnect life support.  Had our roles been reversed, I don’t think I would have had the bravery.  I am forever grateful to her for this.  A number of folks benefited from her decision.

The funeral was that following Tuesday.  I was largely unconscious in ICU at County for another two weeks.

Thank God.

Ultimately, after being moved to Good Sam, being given Tylenol in lieu of the morphine/ativan drip (!) and weeks in the regular hospital and rehab, I was able to walk and breathe again.

I was deeply depressed and pretty much just counting the days.

Until I could pay my respects.

That came weeks later.

I’ll say it again, as long as I take breath  –  Tell your family and friends you love them, right now!

Because you may never get another chance.

AND be an organ donor.

I try to remember the good times.  The IMPORTANT ONES.  It’s what has kept me alive for the past twenty years.

My thanks to all of you, family and friends, for holding me up, until I could stand on my own.

(Commentary has been turned off – I know how you all feel.  Thanks, again.)

Pain, Pain Go Away!

and don’t bother to come back another day!  :-(

To be honest, pain is only part of the equation.  Most of the problem is annoyance!

Yes, I have chronic diabetic neuropathy in my feet, legs and hands.  Sometimes it’s barely noticeable; other times more so.  And arthritis.  I can usually tell how a given day will go, when I awaken pain free, and reflexively open and close my fists.

If doing so is relatively pain-free, then moving to exit the bed is predicted to be so, also!

This morning, I had pain upon awakening.  While still horizontal.  Before opening and closing my hands.

And my knees were throbbing.

My doc recently took me off an oral diabetes med, which is a good thing! (YEA!)  But, she also restricted my intake of ibuprofen, not as good!  I still take the bp and cholesterol meds.

Can’t have everything!

I just took three OTC IB pills – I used to take SIX, two or three times a day.  This makes 9 pills in 6 weeks!  Along with my prescription pain meds.

And, I get to go in to an outpatient clinic next month, get put unconscious and have them run a camera down my throat!  To see if my esophagus has healed from earlier reflux damage.

Or if any cancer is present.  (I’ve had both skin cancer and lymphoma – this could be the hat trick!)

And I’m on Medicare, so a 20% copay is required.

Which, on my disability, I do not have.

The future appears to hold pain, more doctor visits, and more bills.

Annoyances.

Sigh

I try to focus on others in my circle coping with much worse situations.  Bob H., for example, who just lost the lower part of his left leg/foot, and will soon be fitted for a prosthesis.

Bob is doing well, particularly in his ATTITUDE!

THIS is why my crap is just an annoyance, and not a problem!  :-)

Things About Which We Have Passion

superbowl_redditExactly!

Most of you know, my Father was sports addict, and as a result (because of my inability to play after the onset of my disability at age 12), I was a sports orphan.

And the culmination of all this for me is I don’t have a passion for most sports.  Watching, playing, appreciating.  Because I can’t play, and because I was saturated with it as a child.

(If YOU love your sports, enjoy!  It’s no problem for me.  But, like religion, please leave it outside my door!)

I oft wondered about the American fetish for the love of team sports – especially baseball, football and basketball.  It’s been explained to me that it has to do with civic pride.  And, of course, friendly bets around the water cooler.

Or the bookie.

Marx says religion is the opiate of the masses.  In this country, the opiate is also sports!  I guess it stops folks from discussing religion and politics(?)

MY passion is the ability to live free.  To make my own choices.  To not be compelled to give to others through the power and force of government.  If I choose to do so, that’s one thing.  At the point of a gun, that’s another.

And, of course, my passion for the love a good woman.

Currently absent.  :-(

But that’s for another post…

h/t FB

“Chivalry Is Not Dead…

…it’s only that people are sleeping knights.”  –  (with apologies from) Guffaw, in high school (c) 1968

chivelryMy Daily Kona thoughtfully expounds on this very subject, that is Chivalry, the rules of Western Civilization’s gentlemen, as seen through the eye’s of libertarian science fiction author Robert Heinlein:

In part…

     I have been told that I am a throwback to a bygone age, my mannerism and vocabulary are archaic from what I was told.   I am a firm believer in manners, I like to quote “Lazarus Long” a character that Robert Heinlein created.  Basically Lazarus Long was an immortal and he would keep notes of his experiences and observations.
“Moving parts in rubbing contact require lubrication to avoid excessive wear. Honorifics and formal politeness provide lubrication where people rub together. Often the very young, the untraveled, the naive, the unsophisticated deplore these formalities as “empty,” “meaningless,” or “dishonest,” and scorn to use them. No matter how “pure” their motives, they thereby throw sand into machinery that does not work too well at best.”  –  MrGarabaldi

You should really go and read all the rules, as MrGarabaldi outlines.  And remember, once upon a time, they were the rules of gentlemen (and gentlewomen).  And Western Civilization relied upon them for social order – the very lubrication Lazarus Long spoke of in the previous paragraph.

See how far we have diverted from them, and decide for yourself, was it worth it?

He outlines 31 Rules that used to have prevalence in polite society.  In the interest of transparency, I more often than not violate number 12, but always adhere to numbers 21 and 29.

Number 17.  :-(

5 Gunfighting Myths Debunked By Massad Ayoob

Massad Ayoob is one of the gold standards in real world defensive firearms use.

Below is a list of 5 myths one hears around the shooting range or gun store.  Surely to increase your chances of death or injury.

“IF YOU CAN’T DO IT WITH SIX, YOU CAN’T DO IT AT ALL!”

“MY CAR IS NEVER FAR AWAY, SO I’LL JUST KEEP MY HANDGUN/LONG GUN/SPARE AMMUNITION THERE.”

“YOU MUST PRACTICE ONLY POINT SHOOTING, BECAUSE YOU’LL NEVER BE ABLE TO SEE YOUR SIGHTS IN A GUNFIGHT!”

“YOU MUST PRACTICE ONLY AIMED FIRE, BECAUSE YOU’LL NEVER BE ABLE TO HIT ANYTHING POINTING!”

“YOU CAN NEVER JUSTIFY SHOOTING A MAN MORE THAN 7/15/25 YARDS AWAY!”

In short, Mr. Ayoob ends with Beware Absolutes.

I’ve never been in a gunfight, but I have had to defend my life.  I religiously wear my seat belt, but that didn’t keep from from being in a fatal accident.  We don’t control circumstances or outcomes, people!

You should really go and read the whole article.

h/t Personal Defense World, Facebook

"One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas - how he got in my pajamas I dunno!" - Groucho Marx as Captain Spaulding in Animal Crackers

This election is not about who gets voted off the island.
It’s about who is at the tiller of this Republic’s Ship of State. - Guffaw

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The Four Rules

1. ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED.

2. NEVER POINT YOUR MUZZLE AT SOMETHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY.

3. KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET AND YOU ARE READY TO SHOOT.

4. KNOW YOUR TARGET AND WHAT'S BEYOND.

Certified EVIL!

FEAR

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." - Bene Gesserit, from Frank Herbert's Dune

Penn Jillette

“F**k Civility. Hyperbole, passion, and metaphor are beautiful parts of rhetoric. The marketplace of ideas cannot be toned down for the insane.” - Penn Jillette

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