Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Morning Soap Box

It's time to climb back on the soap box!!
Reading this morning on the net, about the "Birther" issue regarding our illustrious president, and his Hawaiian
birth certificate.
Even if "O" was born in Iceland, there are people in our government called "Fixers" who can covertly take care of things like this. Even tho none of us have seen the original certificate, you can bet your bottom dollar that by now it will show him being born there in Hawaii!
There is a certain mystique surrounding his place of birth I have to admit! There is still much we do not know about the man. I would hate to be a biographer trying to piece that puzzle together! Wonder how many curves and dead ends they would encounter in their search for the truth.
I am not personally an "O" fan, but I do think the whole issue is kinda chicken shiz.

Monday, December 27, 2010


Flying, now there is a subject I enjoy! I have had a life long attachment to airplanes and aviation.
It became serious after my first ride with a friend of the family in his Mooney Mark 20. It was a short flight from Kalamazoo to Battle Creek, but I was hooked after that. I can recall pulling his plane out of the hanger on Saturday mornings and washing it until it was spotless. Just hanging around the airport was almost a religious experience on those week ends!! In high school I got involved with the Civil Air Patrol. We had an old Aeronca Champ that we would slap ski's under in the winter. The plane was a "beater" but it flew, and that was all that mattered. Some years later, I got a severe case of "middle age crazies", and at 40 decided to get my pilots license, then I could fly legally! As luck would have it, I drew the flight instructor that was known as "the perfectionist", and he was! There were many times I wanted to open the door of the "172" and kick him out the side, especially after making a squeaker of landing, so I thought, and having him rant about being a foot off of the center line of the runway!! He was tough, but a good instructor. I soloed at 13 hours, rather than the usual 20, as I had been flying over the previous years, not legally of course! The day finally came when I had amassed the 40 hours of time required by the FAA, to take my flight test. The written part was easy, but the flight test with the FAA examiner, was what washed out many folks dream of flying. I made the appointment with the guy for the following Saturday. I couldn't wait to get to the airport, fuel and pre-flight the plane. I would have to fly 60 miles to pick him up, do the test, and fly home. I had never met the guy, but arriving at his airport, I met him in the pilot's shack. The guy was HUGE! The first thing he wanted me to do was a weight and balance check on the plane. I knew I still had a full load of fuel on board, asked him his weight, figured mine in, and made the announcement that one of us would have to stay at the airport because we were way over gross weight for the plane to take off! So, we drained off fuel until we were with in  limits!
The guy was so big, he even had his seat belt extension with him! Finally we were cleared for take off. The plane ate up about 5000 ft of the 7500 ft runway before I could horse it into the air. The first maneuver he wanted once we got to altitude was a power off stall. Well, I gave him one! At the apex of the stall, the left wing dropped and we went into a spin. I got the plane level again looked over at him, and the guy was white!
I asked what he wanted me to do next? He finally got his voice back, said "no more maneuvers, you just earned your wings". I flew back home, related the story to my flight instructor, and the other guys in the flight shack, we all had a good laugh! I have never enjoyed anything as much as I did flying. Scared myself a few times over the years, but overall it was just pure pleasure. About a year and a half ago a heart attack put me on the ground forever, but I still look up when I hear a plane and think, how lucky they are to be flying.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Well, the big Holiday is over for another year! This year, Christmas for us was just outstanding.
It's not just about the gifts (though they were great), nor the good food that stuffed us all, and of course, the reason we celebrate. It is about family and good friends.
During the past, we lived south of Atlanta, and our kids in Nashville, there were many years when because of jobs, we could not all be together. A lot of lonesome Holidays over the years. Since moving back to middle Tennessee, once again we have family with in a short drive.
We were so fortunate to have all of our immediate family gather at our home Christmas eve. During all of the festivities, while sitting here in my easy chair, I took a mental time out to just to soak it all in, to appreciate their accomplishments and remember their struggles that seemed so overwhelming at the time. They all make this old couple very happy!
Now, the new year is close at hand, and I am hoping it will be a good one for our troops, our nation, and all of our families.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What's it all mean?

Interesting observation of late!
Have you noticed how young folks (25 years and younger) today, have little or no interest in their family history? I guess that I am more aware of this, as I go kicking and screaming into old age!
Sure, many of us have at some point in the past generated a family tree, with names and dates of our fore bearers, but the young folks seem not interested in the stories that go along with those names, and some of those stories, are full of life struggles and great accomplishments!
When I was young, I heard the stories! I know that grand parents, and parents felt that you had to know where you came from, in order for you to know what was expected of you in life. I'm aware that times have indeed changed. Everything for young folks today is "right now". The experience of today is quickly forgotten and the next event is eagerly anticipated.
Reflecting back on my former profession, a question that was necessary for the completion of the death certificate, was "what was the deceased, mothers maiden name?" It always amazed me when a family had no idea, and would have to ask a relative, and get back to me! This happened in about 30% of families that I worked with. Amazing isn't it!
The "traditional family" as we know it, is rapidly disappearing, if not already gone! Look at marriage for example. It seems as though "shackin' up, has become the new way. When you get tired of your partner, just hit the door and look for another, and if you happen to have children, who cares, they will raise themselves!
I used to work with a fellow who would walk around asking "what's it all mean?" Now, I'm scratching my head, asking the same question!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ah, Saturday Morning

Saturday morning, again. Seems like the older you get the faster the days of the week sail on by.
Looking back, Saturday was always a big day, no school for the week-end, just free to do whatever.
In the winter, my good friend Gene and I would take off cross country on our ski's. We would pack a lunch in our nap sacks, ski until noon, eat frozen PB&J sandwiches, then backtrack home. Gene had a longer stride than I did, so it was a job keeping up with him, as he would set trail. Other Saturdays it was hockey on the frozen lake close to our home. These were just pick up games with the neighborhood kids. Nothing like getting slapped with the stick when it's around zero! One Saturday, we had a pretty rough game going and I slid into my best friend, breaking his collar bone. I don't think he ever forgave me for that one! There was always something to do in Michigan in the winter, Ice fishing was another adventure. Hours of numbing cold for a few skinny perch or pickerel!
By contrast, Saturday in the summer was always wash the car for that hot date, mow the lawn, or once in a while a family pic nic at Wolf lake. In my early teens, my folks would drive me to Chicago where I would take "The City of New Orleans" down to Mississippi to spend the summer with my grandmother. That's another whole set of stories! Now, that I am retired, everyday can be Saturday if you want it to be, but the day itself, Saturday, still has a special meaning in that there are errands to be run, and small projects to do.
When I get to thinking about the way it used to be, it reminds me of a song Simon and Garfunkel did years ago called "Old Men". The last line in the song says "Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you".
Maybe, Saturdays are just for being contemplative too!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Well, here it is, another morning, sitting here in retirement bliss!
Like I said in an earlier post, I've just got to stay away from the national news! Hearing all of the details of the tax cut will certainly help draw down the national debt, NOT!!!! Did you catch the part about reducing the Social Security deductions?  If the great "O" has his way, the next thing will be reductions in our monthly S.S. checks, leading eventually to the demise of the program once and for all. If I was young and still working I would be stashing every cent I could away for those senior years!
I wonder what will happen if China says to the U.S., "No more loans"? From what I have read we will just go on printing more money, to the point it will be so devalued that it will take a wheel barrow to carry it around.
I enjoy reading foreign newspapers just to get other views regarding our nation. I came across a lengthy article in PRAVDA  a few days ago. The journalist was spot on about us as a nation and where we are headed. The article was haunting in that you would have thought the guy lived here in the states!
The Brits have their own set of problems, so we get very little coverage in their papers. Many of the South American papers continue to give us Hell, as well as the Middle East publications. The crux of many of the pubs is that they are laughing up their sleeve at us, waiting for the mighty and powerful OZ to take a tumble!!
It's all interesting reading, just take it as someones opinion, and we all know the old joke about opinions!!
Well, the morning is moving on, I need one more cup of black lightning to fire up the turbines, then I can watch the day unfold. The WX is overcast. maybe a mid morning snooze is in order. What a life, eh!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Another day in retirement paradise!
Yesterday was fairly busy, a quick trip to China-Mart for a few provisions before the weather turns foul again, then a follow-up doctor appointment, and home to a great roast beef supper my better half had prepared.
Today, a total contrast to yesterday! No real plans in the offing. Just us, a comfortable recliner and the TV.
We have discussed a possible trip to Micky D's at noon for an artery clogger, but no real movement in that direction, only discussion. For the moment, life is grand!
Thinking about all of the years of getting up early, getting ready for work, then dragging home after twelve hours of mind numbing grief, all seems as if it didn't exist, Oh sure, plenty of instant flashbacks,and memories, but still, almost surreal. Forty five years of it, unbelievable!
Well, better get with it, I can almost taste that dollar double cheeseburger right now!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Social Insecurity

Well, time to climb on the soap box again!
I have been reading about how the proposed tax cuts will impact Social Security. If these tax cuts fly, there will certainly be smaller amounts of money going in to help fund the program! The thing that gives me the ruberis anaii is if the politicians had kept their greedy hands off of Social Security, the program would have continued to fund itself as it was intended. The monies in the program belong to the American people, we contributed to the program all of our working years. Did anyone ask us if congress could gut the program?
Unfortunately, money was stolen from Social Security on the sly, over the past 15 or so years, fooling the American people once again.
Now, they want to boost the full retirement age up to 69, What a joke! Just how many people today do you know that are physically able to work in construction and industry until they would become 69 years old?
Workers will have to retire at an earlier age, thus receiving reduced benefits and creating a subsistence lifestyle in their older years. Al Gore was right when he said that "Social Security should be put in a lock box"
He could smell a rat, even years ago!
I do agree with the premis that non U.S. citizens, should not be given benefits nor Medicare. Cut them out of the programs and watch how quickly the flow across the U.S., Mexican border reverses itself. Maybe not the humanitarian thing to do, but no other country that I know of will allow illegals in their country to become wards of the state.
Then The Prez, manipulates his advisers into twisting the figures around, basing the cost of living on gas prices, thus proclaiming there will be no COLA for Social Security recipients for two years. What a sham! Prices have increased across the board for everything, food, utilities, you name it. The geezers, rather than going along with it should have revolted, but it didn't happen, There again, whose money is it!
When and if, the talking heads in Washington, start reducing our monthly benefit checks, probably their next step, we will then know for sure that our nation is on the skids.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

News Overload

I Think I'm suffering from news overload! It's almost like an addiction, you know too much is bad for you, but you just have to have the next story!
The local news is about the same anywhere you go, murders, hold ups, accidents,and local politics, the format is pretty much the same across the U.S., but then you get a dose of the national news! This is news that will leave you shaking your head in disbelief. This is where you get the mother load of political stupidity from all of the egotistical fools we have elected. The game of our side wins, to H*ll with what the American people want, goes on every day. It's a train riding on greased rails and we, the people, are standing at the stop block, waiting to be run over!
 Next you  get clobbered with the war news in Afganistan, a country where local serfdom's rule and have ruled for centuries. A country where no real national government exists. If the Russians with the brutality in fighting they have could'nt do it, we should have taken a lesson! Then the Wikileaks mess! This Guy Assange
needs sombody to open a can of whop-ass on him and his shadow followers. Then you have our beloved Prez. What a work of art!
The list goes on and on. The government keeps the propaganda machine well oiled, and the news media spoon feeds it to us all day on the news channels. I know we are lucky to live in a country where we have access to (unfiltered, Ha!) news, and the right to express our views.
I used to work with a fellow who was oblivious of any current news events, he did'nt complicate his life
with  any news unless it directly affected him, maybe he was smarter than I gave him credit for!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Life on the ridge

Early morning, a hot cup of coffee, 26 degrees outside and the furnace warming the house. Quiet, what a wonderful sound! Being retired does have it's rewards at times. It has been five years since I directed my last funeral. I had been counting the days until I would drive the funeral coach back to the home, hang up the keys, and walk away from 45 years of an occupation that was my life.
It took a long time for me to realize what retirement was, to gear down, and start to relish every day as a new adventure. Even the small things like a good cup of coffee, on a cold winter morning, fantastic!
We have been back in middle Tennessee now for almost two years. Our little village sits on the edge of the Cumberland Plateau where it makes a half moon back to the east above Nashville. We have noticed that there is always a breeze up here on the ridge, and that we are always a degree or two cooler than Nashville.
The TV weather forecast, is never quite on the mark for up here, which makes a weather radio even more important, but, there again, we are retired, who cares, right!
Well, I'm burning daylight, so need to get up and get with the program for the day, maybe a little Christmas shopping, or maybe not. What a life!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sleigh Bells

Several years ago when our two oldest grandkids were preschoolers, they, and their parents made the trip to Georgia to spend Christmas with us.
They arrived a few days before Christmas, so there was plenty of time to get them hyper-excited about Old Santa's visit. The house was decorated, Tree was up, and the smell of fresh baked cookies was in the air.
Finally Christmas eve arrived. Getting them to bed took a lot of work, then just when you thought they were asleep, here they would come back to the living room. It was shaping up to be a no sleep night!
On their next round to the bedroom, I thought I'd have some fun! I had a rack of big sleigh bells, snuck out the door, went to the corner of the house and set up a jingle like they were on a horse, all the time in my Santa voice hollering "Merry Christmas" several times. I shot back into the house. They came charging into the living room, knowing, with out question, that they had heard Santa!!! They finally did go to sleep, but I was roundly chastised for my actions!!! A few days later, my neighbor mentioned that they had woke up to the sound of bells and someone yelling "Merry Christmas".  I told them it must have been some drunk in the neighborhood!!!!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New Picture

Well, I still don't know what I'm doing! Picture came out billboard size on the blog. Oh well, been messing with this long enough for today. The grand kids can run circles around this old man on the computer.
See ya!

Old Cars

Dapper Dan, The Cumberland Post stirred memories of old cars I have owned. I say old cars, because they were old when I bought them!
My first car, a '53 Crosley station wagon. I only had this tin box a few months as it would not go in the snow, and there was no heater! Not a Michigan car for sure.
The next car was a '48 Plymouth coupe. Bought it from a neighbor, and it was great in snow with it's knobby snow tires, that would sng to you on dry pavemant. It had a great dashboard, and the radio was really good.
The engine threw a connecting rod drag racing at a stop light. I beat the Olds, and a block later she blew.
By this time I was 17, and on my feet again with no car!
I spotted a '49 Chevy fastback in a yard with a for sale sign on it. A great $50.00 car! The engine had been replaced with a six out of a garbage truck that had a shorter stroke. It would only go 60 MPH, but you could pull stumps with it, great torque. It had been a family car that was well cared for. Good paint and very little rust. I put a set of Firestone Town and Country snow tires on it, and never did get stuck in the snow. I kept it all through high school.
After high school, I sold the old Chevy, and headed south. I found a 55 Dodge Royal Lancer, Hemi with a standard trans. It was a fantastic car. Power, looks, and loaded! I put side pipes on it and the Hemi would talk to you! I kept that car until 1964, traded it in on a new Dodge Dart. The Dart was to last for 100K miles.
Those old cars were easy to work on, a tune up was a breeze, and nothing major ever went wrong with them, 'cept for the Plymouth throwing a rod, my bad! Favorites, yep, the 55 Dodge Royal Lancer was it.
Wish I had it today!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

People Watching

I have always liked to observe people. Back in the day, when the corporation I was working for required me to cover everything east of the Mississippi river, I got a lot of airport waiting time in. No O.J. run for me to the gate! I would many times get there early just to sit and observe my fellow travelers.
The airports in Detroit, Miami, and Atlanta offered the most variety of people from many points on the globe.
Some of the conversations with the people that spoke English, I still remember. Everyone is indeed a story book.
Now that the Holiday season is starting to crank up, I will enjoy shopping, just to watch the folks around me!
The big box stores are always interesting as well as the large malls.
I recently accompanied my wife to a large fabric store. We were out shopping and I didn't want to sit in the car, so I went in with her. I noticed several other guys doing the same thing with their wives. It was funny to watch their reaction if you happened to notice them. I think they would have been more comfortable with a football under their arm, or a Harley Davidson t-shirt on!!
People watching is about the best free intertainment you can get!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Can we still "Buy American"

Perhaps some of you might recall several years ago when WalMart had their "Buy American" campaign going.
This program stirred a little patriotism in all of us, and was supposed to keep American working.
Today, I challenge you to find an item in the big box stores (besides food) that IS made in the USA.
The current administration keeps talking about creating jobs and job growth. This is all false hope created among the unemployed. We have allowed our manufacturing jobs to go overseas,  as well as our R&D capabilities, all to feed the greed of Wall Street and investors. Just where are they going to find these jobs? Even segments of the service industry have been out sourced to third world countries. Manufacturing plants in many parts of the U.S. are gutted and standing empty. Jobs! Where?
If we as a nation, ever have to be more self sustaining, we are in trouble. Our manufacturing workers have lost many of the technical skills they need to produce a product with plant closures rampant. The old times of working on the "line", putting a nut on a bolt are for the most part gone.
I realize there are many more facets that play into the "can we still make it" scenario. Unions,
being competitive, and quality are also considerations. I'll climb down off of the soap box now!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Airport Screening!

I sure am glad my commercial flying days are behind me. If I would have had the choice back then between a McDonalds drop out groping me or the X Ray machine, there would be no hesitation, I would be on that  X Ray machine tighter than a fly on screen door! The prospect of being airborne with some nut case with his Jockeys full of C-4, makes the machine even more attractive! Since I have my sternum wired back together after the coronary by-pass, I'm sure all the bells and whistles would be going off. A small inconvience compared to an exploding plane. Besides the wires might glow at night eliminating a flashlight for going to the loo.
Noticed how the news has not shown anyone in a burka going through security?
The Germans use an X Ray machine that is behind a screen and much less intrusive, however there is a guy with a sub machine gun right beside the machine. Ve haf vays of making you like it!!
People, like it or not, it's for our own good. Forget your "Civil Rights", like it or walk.
Big Ed

Another Thanksgiving

Boy, how time flies! Now in my 67th year, I can remember so many Thanksgiving celebrations with family, many whom are now deceased. The roll out of the day was always about the same, starving, waiting for the turkey to be carved and served. Then getting stuffed ourselves with more to eat than we could imagine.
After dinner cigars were passed out to the "old guys", smoke so thick you could not breathe, and finally all of us kids being told to change out of our good clothes, put on snowsuits and head out for an afternoon of sled
races in the snow. Now, it's all cigars and no snow, but the meal is still traditional! We left the frozen north in Michigan shortly after we were married, headed south, raised our children down here, no snow like when I was a kid, and cigars, or smoking for that matter has been taboo for years!!
The cycle of life goes on! Now there are new faces around our table, grandkids as well, who "shock and awe" us with their accomplishments! Yep, it's all changed, now I'm the "old guy"--but, no cigar!!!