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“Don’t Go! It’s A COOKBOOK!”

to serve man

I awaken middle of the night and I’m cold.  Not just cool – cold.  This may have something to do with the fact that I’m laying on top of the top sheet, and not wearing much.  (I know – TMI)

Why am I doing this?

Well, I reside in The Valley of the Sun (the Phoenix Arizona area).  And we’re experiencing a cold streak.  It’s reportedly going to be 103° F, today.

It was 118° a week-and-a-half ago!  (Unofficially at a friend’s – 123°, on his back patio!)

And being in the Western side of the townhouse, I get the PM Sun exposure.  Usually 5 – 10 degrees warmer than the rest of the house!

SO…I sleep with a fan blowing directly on me, so the A/C may do her best work!

But, the body cools during sleep, and sometimes the combination of forced colder air and a cooler body equals…?

NO, this is not a replay of the Rod Serling Twilight Zone episode wherein the Earth’s orbit changed, and it is moving ever-closer to the Sun.  When, in fact, the TV character’s fever broke and he began getting colder, and in fact the Earth was moving AWAY from the Sun!

I was just getting cold last night.  So I moved the fan.

Which has nothing to do with the post’s title, except that’s another TZ episode.  The tag line from which popped into my head upon awakening cold. :-)

My roommate said I watched too much TV as a child.  I’m beginning to think she was right.

Sometimes these posts write themselves!

Father’s Day 2016

Well, here we are.

Another @&%$)_+%$^ holiday anniversary date!

My roommate wanted to ‘celebrate’, as she believes I was a good, loving father, and my daughter is unfortunately not capable of celebrating me.

My roommate is a good person.

Molly would have been 33 this Father’s Day.  My imagination leads to thoughts of an alternative future, wherein she married, had children, and a career.  And I had grandchildren.

It was not to be.

She loved animals (during her time here we had two dogs, three cats, a hamster and two goldfish).  She wanted to become a veterinarian.

I also imagine a house filled with numerous animals and kids, running willy-nilly, screaming and playing.

Sometimes, a good imagination is not a good thing.

To all the good Dads out there, Happy Father’s Day.

Remember to hug them and kiss them and tell them you love them.  Daily.

Because, you never know.

Molly 1986 2

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(And, now for something completely different – as promised)
I would ask all of you bloggers out there to at least make the effort to post a link to www.projectwelcomehometroops.org/#22kill

22 VETERANS COMMIT SUICIDE DAILY

Even ONE of these heroes making this choice is unacceptable! (Day #17 of 22)

Today In History, Recent and A Few Years Ago…

Muhammad-Ali-quote-on-courageMuhammad Ali (born Cassius Clay) is one of my childhood heroes.  Not so much because of specifics (being a great athlete/boxer – which he was), but because he stood for something.  And if his goals were boasts, he surpassed them.

By taking risks.

In spite of being a member of a controversial religious sect, he gave millions to charities for all races.

One of his biggest supporters was broadcaster Howard Cosell, who was unashamedly Jewish.

Hardly following the party line of radical Islam there, Mr. Ali.  Good for you!

He passed yesterday from complications due to Parkinson’s disease.  Not a serene way to go.  Just short miles from a hospital wing bearing he and his wife’s name.  For treatment of Parkinson’s.

“I AM THE GREATEST!” he used to boast.

He was.

….

Today is the 27th Anniversary of the ending to the protests in Tianamen Square, Peking, P.R.C.  We all remember that famous photo of the guy and the tank.

Here it is, in a wider view:

a everyone-knows-the-photo-of-tankman-stopping-tanks-but-this-the-real-photo-s800x571-437607-1020

Makes me think of the force of unfettered government versus the individual.

I wonder if he had heard of Muhammad Ali?

______________________________________________________
(And, now for something completely different – as promised)
I would ask all of you bloggers out there to at least make the effort to post a link to www.projectwelcomehometroops.org/#22kill

22 VETERANS COMMIT SUICIDE DAILY

Even ONE of these heroes making this choice is unacceptable! (Day #2 of 22)

Adventures In Bluing

blued gunI’ve always liked fine blued firearms.  Even though my corrosive sweat destroys them when I’m within six feet of one. :-)

Had a friend years ago who picked up a Colt LW Commander for $125 (This was the 70’s).  The slide was in bad need of refinishing.  He spent hours with steel wool and degreaser, followed by a cheap cold blue.  (Birchwood Casey?)  Never got it to look right, and later traded it for an early S&W model 60.  (Which I later acquired:-) then had stolen😦  )

I spent years touching up my various blued firearm and parts with cold bluing and bluing pens (and scratches on alloy frames with oxide pens!)  Never seemed able to get bluing solution of a quality formula (this was pre-Internet).  I did hear there was one Canadian formula, though.  It was like the Holy Grail of bluing!

Years later, a gunnie friend was helping a neighbor with her recently-deceased husband’s firearms.  He’d a 50’s vintage Colt Python that had developed some rust issues in storage.  We cleaned her up and applied a good cold blue.  It was like color-changing steel magic!  Colt metallurgy was excellent!  (Of course, it probably ruined the value the unadulterated gun would have received.)

My own NM 1911 (The Bob Hall Signature Model) had a blued slide that had been dinged-up and developed some rust and pitting.  The frame was a stainless Vega – no issues there.  I tried cold bluing a number of times, but was never happy with the result.  Eventually, I coughed up significant funds ($200, in 1983?) and had Robbie Barkman work his magic, coating the whole gun in Poly-T and putting NP3 on the internals and mechanicals.

She looks worn on the edges today, but still runs 20K+ rounds later.  All I do is change out the recoil spring every 3K rounds, or so, and keep her lubed with lithium grease.

And nary a rust issue to be seen!  :-)

It’s That Day, Again

SIGH.

Today is the 21st anniversary of the passing of our daughter Molly.

We had been in an automobile accident the previous day, and I spent weeks in intensive care, the hospital and rehabilitation.

Molly spent one day.  She was twelve.

I’m doing pretty well, considering.  On disability – due to lymphoma.  I’ve a roof over my head and a beater car and a supportive family and friends, some of whom I’ve met through these pages in the last five years.

Which brings me to the point I often make.

GO AND HUG THOSE YOU LOVE AND TELL THEM SO!  Because you may not get another chance!

She was a terrific kid, and was going to be a terrific adult.  But never got the chance.

She was becoming a shooter (who knew? :-)) and was definitely a Daddy’s girl.

She will always be Daddy’s Girl.

I Love You and Miss You!

 

 

RIP Bob Hall

bhall1It is with a heavy heart that I must report to you the passing of Robert H. ‘Bob’ Hall.

Like some folks, Bob was one of my ‘newer’ friends.  We met when he interviewed me for a private investigation position at Tom Ezell & Associates, in 1981.

I had applied because I had been working for other P.I. firms, and wanted to get the requisite three years under my belt to obtain my own license.  I saw an ad in the paper and called.  Jack Wheeler answered, and I thought I had the job!

Jack had been the salesman for Burns Security when I worked there as the assistant security supervisor (lieutenant), so we knew each other.  But Jack said it would be inappropriate for him to hire me without the chief investigator interviewing me, so I was introduced to Bob.  We became colleagues almost immediately, and fast friends.

You see, about five minutes into the interview, it was determined that Bob had attended high school with one Mary R.  The same Mary R. I had married a year previously!  They grew up in the same neighborhood.  Bob also had a serious firearms fetish, as did I.  He just had more firepower than me.  Like legal full-auto stuff! (including an M60 and MAC-10, both of which he no longer owns.)

And thus began our friendship.  He sold me my favorite 1911 ‘Bobbie’, aka The Bob Hall Signature Model, in 1983.  She still works and I still own (and sometimes carry) her.  We have been shooting together, on-and-off, ever since.

He married, fathered two terrific girls, and moved on to run his own P.I. agency.  In the 90’s, he also became the general manager of Legendary Guns of The West, a store where I hung out, purchased many firearms, and even worked part time.

Bob was one of my closest friends.  He taught me, as he taught his girls, not to take life too seriously.  Oft times, my phone would ring, and there would be Bob on the line, not ID-ing himself, but quoting the Firesign Theatre or Monty Python out-of-context!  “Shine-sheen.  A little Egyptian! Chanting a stream of ancient Egyptian holograms – hieroglyphs, that’s it!” or “We dreamed of living in a hallway – we lived in a cardboard box!”  Then he would get to the heart of the call – “let’s go shooting, or I’ve got a gun here I know you’d like…”

Bob’s health had been failing in the past couple of years (as recounted in these pages).  First diabetes took the lower half of his left leg, then esophageal gastric erosion devolved into cancer, which after chemo and radiation treatments were performed, won.

I remember him for his unwavering support of two family members and one friend through their battles with addiction, his gifting his father with an M2 – just like the one he carried in The War, and his pride in his daughters.  Both college graduates, one now on the cusp of getting her doctorate in clinical psychology from Northwestern!  Her focus is on veterans with PTSD!  Both are responsible firearms owners.

I know it’s a truism that the older we get, the more ‘this’ appears to happen.  Life isn’t fair!  Dammit, Bob, I still have the two books from Brigid I promised you!  (He refused visitors, not wanting them to see him in his emaciated state.)

Goodbye, and Godspeed, my brother.

I Love You!

little Bobby (courtesy of Robyn Hall Galbraith)

Little Bobby (courtesy of Robyn Hall Galbraith)

Simple Dreams

As with art (and so many other things) I may not know it, but I know what I like.

And I like love Linda Ronstadt!

In the early 1970’s, Dave (the genius mechanic) introduced me to Linda Ronstadt’s music.  Being a lonely guy in my 20’s, her torchy rock (a term coined by Time magazine) was just the ticket!  I bought and listened to many of her albums, and even was lucky enough to take a fine blond lady named Ali to her concert here, at the Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum, in 1979.

In the late 70’s Playboy magazine called her “the best White pipes in the business.”  I agree.

Like so many other entertainment types, unfortunately, she chose the platform built by her music to expound on things political.  She even dated Jerry Brown for a while.

But, her music continued to soar, and she kept experimenting.  From popular standards (with Nelson Riddle arranging!) to Gilbert and Sullivan and even La Boheme!

I don’t get the opportunity to acquire CDs as I used to, and have never gotten used to digital music.  So it saddened me to learn that she is suffering from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and now Parkinson’s disease.

She retired from singing and can no longer perform, in 2009.

She has written a musical autobiography, entitled Simple Dreams, which good friend Biff just gifted me.  It details her musical education, growth and evolution, from her Mexican-emigre’ family in Tucson, to her Malibu beach house and beyond.  And encounters with musical partners from the guys who later formed The Eagles, to Dolly Parton and even Frank Sinatra!

If she interests you, I highly recommend the book.  It would be considered name-dropping, if she weren’t so talented.

(FTC – I get nothing except musical entertainment from Ms. Ronstadt!)

Four Years Ago, Today

markabell2We lost MARK BELL.

My co-worker, shooting student, sounding board, reminder of things good, bon vivant, and loyal friend.

We had just attended Kevin Baker’s blogshoot the previous Sunday, and had spoken on the telephone, yesterday (four years ago – I cannot believe it’s been four years!).

Then his beloved wife Cathy called me tomorrow (four years ago) to tell me he had dropped dead from a heart attack suddenly yesterday.

Having almost lost Walter recently, this may be a little maudlin.

I don’t care.

PLEASE, tell the ones you love that you love them, and hug them, if at all possible.

Because you never know.

Glenn Frey, RIP

The passing recently of David Bowie definitely got my attention, even though I wasn’t a big fan – in any of his incarnations.  (Sorry)

But yesterday, finding out that a founder of The Eagles had passed.  Well, Universe, this is  over-the-top!

As we age, we seem to see more of this – people who are part of our youth, our lives, passing into eternity.

Personal family and friends aside, these bookmarks in the story of our lives remind of us specifics in our past, and of the eventual future for all of us.

R.I.P. Good Sir!

 

 

A Christmas Tradition

When my marriage was winding down, my wife and I separated.  And we eventually got divorced.

It’s only by the grace of God we remained friends.  (And remain so to this day!:-) )

The separation was longer than most.  Eight years.  But, we lived apart, shared custody of Molly, equally (alternate weeks, with one alternate day in the middle.)  And living a little more than a mile apart, it ‘worked’.

But, initially, when she told me she wanted to separate, pain aside, it occurred to me that I wanted to do something extra special at Christmas for our daughter.

Because.

And I found these art pieces of little girls interacting in their world, by Frances Hook.

And determined I could probably afford one each holiday season, as a special gift to Molly.

Sometimes, getting funds together for toys, clothes and such was difficult.  And the statuettes were an additional hardship.

But, I managed.

And she seemed to appreciate them, even when the tradition began, when she was age 5.

birdie

The first one was entitled “Birdie”.  I got it because I remembered her chasing sparrows in the park, trying to get one to light on her finger.   Calling out “Birdie, birdie!”

And so it was to pass she received a different one each year for Christmas.  It was nice as we all continued to share Christmases together.

But, Christmas 1994 found me having difficulty finding another Frances Hook porcelain statuette with a little girl in it that she didn’t already have.  Eventually, I did find one, though.

And I found out the reason for the dearth of sculptures.  It seemed, the artist had passed away the year Molly was born – 1983.  And in 1994, the porcelain figurines stopped production.

We lost Molly the next March.

I wonder if somehow The Universe had made the connection.

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…

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