Dec 31, 2008

The Great Office War

My buddy and great finder of videos, Tim, passed this along to me the other day. My favorite scene is the guy laying on the office floor trying to hold his guts (packing peanuts) in.

Check it out, makes me want to go back to working in cube-ville.

Dec 30, 2008

How to Survive a Bear Attack

Some handy tips for the New Year, safety first people!

Dec 29, 2008

Honest Scrap Tag part 3

More questions have come in for my version of the Honest Scrap Tag that the wonderful ExPat threw my way. So without further a-dew, or-doo, whatever that phrase is, away we go...

~E wants to know "What rank did you end up in when you left the Navy? I'm only asking because I know some people in the military as well."

First of all ~E, thanks a lot for making me look for that character in your name all over my keyboard! ;^) I was in for 4 years between 1975 and 1979, and during that time rose up to Petty Officer 3rd class. That is an E-4 for those with military knowledge. I came close to loosing my E-4 and busted to E-3 because I sent an aircraft I was controlling home due to my lack of sleep. I was dozing off because I had been awake too long and felt I had to stop right then. So I told the pilot to return to base and got in trouble for that.

The lovely love letter writer Cora, has a really great question. She wants the personnel scoop, which is great! That's what I expect folks, so feel free to ask. Cora writes:

I have a question: (forgive my backstory first though) I have a neurological history too. Not CP like Skyler, but I had a bloodclot in my spinal cord which caused all kinds of damage. Long story. But for awhile I was in a wheelchair, unable to take care of myself or my daughter in any way. And I graduated to a walker, then a cane, and beyond, blah, blah, blah. But I lost friends along the way because of it. I guess they just didn't know what to say or couldn't take seeing me like that. When I needed help most, some "friends" just couldn't look me in the eye and then completely disappeared. Did you face anything like that when Skyler was born? Did anyone just run off on you like a coward with their tail between their legs because they just didn't know what to say? Also, do you ever get angry with the universe for all you, your son and your family have to go through and how unfair it is?

We had the same experience Cora, it took awhile for some friends to drift away, some others it was almost immediate. In my opinion, people who have never faced any adversity don't like to look at it and be reminded that life is sometimes tough. Some people I considered very good friends up and disappeared almost overnight. Others took a bit longer, mostly when we couldn't go out all the time with them anymore. They found other couples who could go party with them. They would have drifted off anyway, just because we had a child though...

On the other hand, we met new people. Other parents of special needs kids, therapists, and support people who we now consider close friends. There is a balance to all of this, gaps get filled in our lives.

To answer your second question, you bet I get angry! I think it is just natural to wonder what the hell did I ever do to deserve this. I was only semi-religious before this, now I am not. If there is the all-knowing, all-powerful God that I was raised to believe in, he/she certainly wouldn't have put Skyler through so much pain and so much trauma, even if it was to pay me back for something I might have done in my past. I probably get more angry at the school system than anything else, they just don't see Skyler as a viable, successful human being. they just push him through, doing their time and it pisses me off!

Thanks for the questions, keep them coming folks!

To answer/comment on some of the comments:

WendyB said...

I'm inspired to shave the dogs just for fun now.

You must at least send pictures Wendy, if not a video of you attempting this!

That damn expat said...

Wow now that's a real interview! I learned a lot about you!
And the third painful thing almost made me tear up.

Thanks for starting this in the first place expat.

Jen said...

"Nice shoes, wanna fuck?"
I wonder if they have a t-shirt like that yet??

I am searching CafePress. So far, no luck.

Joe said...

"raining Guinness".... I'd love to see the day..

You and me both sir, I would lay out on the lawn with my mouth wide open.

Dr Zibbs said...

Great post. And which weirdo asked the poop question?

Ahh, you have to understand the marvelous inner workings of Docs mind to appreciate that question Dr Zibbs!

Sausage Mechanic said...

I liked the raft trip comment. My wife is a bit heavy set and attractive, although not what most men would consider a "classic" beauty. However, she wears very little or no makeup and looks great! Such beautiful skin even at 55. My first wife had all kinds of guys drooling over her when we were married. News flash...I woke up to her every morning and without five pounds of makeup she wasn't that great!:)

SM: Those are definately the best looking women, aren't they?

Doc said...I'm tickled that I could provide so much blog-fodder. I never expected a post of my own. I just tried to ask interesting questions that newbies to your blog might ask, like questions about your sexual encounters, tattos, eating habits and such. I was expecting to be a footnote, not an entire post.

You are in a class all your own Doc, I appreciate it very much!

Teri said...

Okay, I'll fess up. I'm the weirdo who asked "the poop question". I just had to know..

Trying to take the heat off of Doc, Teri? He can handle it!

Just Dave said...

Idaho Springs. I broke a chair in the buffalo restaurant there. Sat down and the chair collapsed Wood chair, too.

That's funny Dave, I have heard of a lot of stuff happening in the Buff, most of it under the influence.

kirby said...

Balut?! Are you freaking kidding with that stuff? That's nasty.

~E said...Wow you actually ate Balut??? I'm filipino and even I don't touch that stuff.

I don't think it's the taste more so the fact that my brother once took the embryo out of the shell and made it pretend walk towards me on a table when we were little.

There are a lot of things that I did under the influence of way too many beers and peer pressure. That seems to be a common denominator with my life.

Dec 26, 2008

Honest Scrap tag, the Doc answers!

First response to my modified meme from the ExPat. That Doc character got right after it, thanks very much sir! Lots of great questions in here, so here we go:

What does Skyler weigh? I'm just curious because I was thinking about how you would have to lift him in and out of the tub, the chair, the van, etc. and I wondered if that would give you trouble with your back. And his chair has got to be a monster to lug in and out of the van.

Skyler about 100 pounds, and together with his chair it is about 180 or so. Getting him around is a bit of a chore, but I have learned different techniques for moving him. The problem with moving him is that he can't help, and in some cases hinders the movement because he can't control his limbs. For example, I might pick him up out of his shair to transfer him somewhere else and all the sudden his torso and legs shoot out completely straight so it's like holding a long board.

As far as questions for yourself, I think I've got a few. Have you ever been arrested, and if so, for what?

I was busted in the Navy for being in a park after curfew. Me and my buddy were too drunk to make it all the way back to the ship before peeing, so we cut across a park that was off limits to use a tree. Not exactly a menace to society, huh?

What is the dumbest thing you have ever done while drunk?

Driven my 4X4 all over the place drinking. This was part of growing up in the mountains. We would 4 wheel into a place we knew the cops couldn't get to to party, but then we had to 4 wheel out while drunk. I did it more times than I can count, I should be dead!

You have often mentioned that you have "no game" with the ladies but surely in your past there have been a few before your lovely wife. Who was the weirdest and most psychotic of the bunch?

Hands down it was a lady in San Diego I "dated" for 6 months while stationed there. She was 39 and looked like Elaine from Taxi, I was 21 and a skinny runner which she prefered to her overweight Navy chief husband who was deployed for those 6 months. That's why I use the term "dated" loosely. It was all about the sex, she would call, I would go over, she would do unnatural things to me, and I would leave. Sounds great to most guys, but it was just a bit weird...

What did the Navy recruiter say that convinced you to sign up? And why the Navy?

I signed up on my own, just decided I didn't know what to do with my life or what I wanted to study in college. So I signed up with the Navy to get the GI bill, and because you got to see the world.

Do you have any tattoos? If so, describe them in detail. Would you consider getting a new one, and if so of what?

Amazing as it sounds, I made it through the Navy without any ink! I almost got a squadren emblem because I was invited to by an ASW group that I controlled. It was considered a high honor, but the tat would have been an Eagle carrying two torpedoes in its talons in a dive towards a sub. The motto across the bottom was "Death from Above". I had a glimps of my future in what I hoped would be an interview with a high-tech firm and thought against it. Turns out I had nothing to fear, most of the people I know have a tat of some sort.

You enjoy singing, so what do you sing in the shower or car when no one else is around?

Stuff that I learned way back when I was in a couple of different singing groups. In my mind I hear the other people singing the melody and I still belt out the harmony, or the "do-waps".

Elvis or The Beatles, which do you prefer?

I was never a Beatles fan, so given just those two, it would be Elvis.

What is your worst nightmare ever?

Having Skyler slip out of my grasp on a hill and roll forever down a huge hill and crashing into a lake. It was very real, and I don't remember too many dreams.

How long have you been wearing facial hair? Does the wife like it?

Started growing a beard in 1978, and have only shaved it off a couple of times. I first started it to hide some old acne scars, but now it's part of me. Kathy likes it, she doesn't like stubble, she likes soft hair, rubbing here and there...

What's the best dirty joke you ever heard?

One day in the old folks home, George politely asks Joan if she will come into the corner with him and hold his cock. Joan accepts the invitation, they go off into the corner and she holds George's cock, and everything is okay.

This goes on every day for a few days until Joan sees George in the corner with Daisy one afternoon. Joan is a little upset and later that day she asks George why he is letting Daisy hold his cock now and not her?

George replies apologetically, "Well Joan it was very nice with you but you don't have Parkinson's disease like Daisy".

What is the worst pick-up line you have ever used?

"Nice shoes, wanna fuck?" (I did this on a bet in a bar in Denver, surprisingly, it didn't turn out well)

Tell me about where you grew up and what was good about it.

Idaho Springs Colorado. Population about 1500, it is 40 miles west of Denver in the mountains. The best part is that I had the best of both worlds. Growing up in a small town atmosphere, but still had everything that a big city like Denver close enough to get there if you needed it. I had a tight group of friends, and everyone looked out for each other. Not much crime, typical small town living. And the best part was the mountains, I really miss them being down here in the suburbs.

Do you have a crazy relative? Do you like them?

My Dads sister was pretty crazy, aunt Bev had a constant supply of two Chiquaqua's at all times. Knitted them little sweaters, carried them everywhere, and considered them her little family. More so than the rest of us that were her family.

What did your Father-In-Law say to you when you told him you wanted to marry his daughter?

I didn't ask permission, Kathy told him we were getting married. She was spot on about our living together, she said her mom would like it that she had a guy around and her dad would hate me until we were married. After we told him we were getting married, all the sudden I was a great guy.

Have you ever pooped and it looked like a famous person, place or thing?

Nope, but I marvel at my body's ability to put out an amazing variety of textures and colors. I am somewhat of a pooping savant.

Name a game you like to cheat at.

Sounds silly but I really don't care to cheat at anything. If I can't win honestly, there isn't any fun in the victory.

Have you ever shaved an animal just for fun?

No, I have never picked on any animal in my life. I have always liked animals better than people in most cases! ;^)

Who was your best friend in High School and what were they like?

Dennis, he was my same age, his parents grew up next door to my grandparents. We knew each other before we were in Kindergarten. Dennis and I like everything the same, played the same games, same sports, even liked the same girls. We were the same size, and wore the same size shoe. in basket ball, we would buy shoes that were different colors and trade one of them to wear in games. I mean how awesome is that!?

You are a sentimental old sod much like myself. What movie brings you to tears everytime?

Brian's Song, the king of sappy sports movies!

Have you ever attempted to hula dance and how did that turn out?

Why yes, in Hawaii when I was stationed at Pearl Harbor. I was poor at first and got quite good as the night wore on and several drinks were had. At least I think I got good, the audience was cheering at me/my stupidity...

What is the nicest thing that anyone has ever said to you?

When I worked in computer support at USWest, there was a guy who just wasn't getting it, and I went over to his cube to help him out. I explained why he was having his problem in a number of different ways and then walked him through what he needed to get done. After all this he said "you are a very nice and a patient person, you must have had great parents". I thought that by complimenting my folks, that was the nicest way he could have paid me a compliment.

Which is your dominant hand and does you "package" lean that way or the other way?

Right handed and my left hand is largely ornamental! I am so right handed that when I had shoulder surgery on my right side I thought I would never get my butt wiped! And my unit hangs down to the left, but I have heard there is a large majority of men that hang that way. This was a completely scientific poll conducted by the lady I knew in San Diego...

What is GetkristiLove really like in person? Have you ever met her sister Vikkitickitavi? What is she like? How did you meet them originally?

Kristi and I have known each other since we both worked together at a large computer company. I don't think she likes giving out the name, so I won't. We were both training course developers, and got to know each other through work. We probably started becoming friends when we found out we both liked climbing and the outdoors, and oh yes, drinking...

Her sister Vikki and I met one time when she was in town visiting. We went to one of Kristi's Ice Monkey games and then for beers afterwords. As Vikki found out, I tend to hug a lot and I am sure that my hugs were one of the high points of her life.

Do you have brothers and sisters? What are they like?

I have 1 sister who is the greatest! She and I have got along all of our lives. A lot of people thought we were strange because we never fought growing up. She would drive to school or ride to school with her friends and even offer me a ride. What sister wants her little brother around? She was, and still is awesome!

By your definition, what is a good friend?

Most friends will help you hide, a true friend will help you hide a body.

What is the best advice your dad ever gave you or the most useful thing he taught you?

As far as advice goes, I don't remember any one piece that stood out from the others. But he taught me to always work hard in my job, and he gave me my sense of humor. I will leave it to others to decide if this sense of humor is a good thing or a bad thing! ;^)

(In Frued's voice) Tell me about your mother?

We always thought that mom was a womens libber before it became popular. She worked when other moms didn't, we learned to help her out around the house when we were young, and she was not about to let me out into the world until i could cook, clean, and sew on my own. I remember one of my sisters boyfriends coming over for dinner, and when we were done we all got up and started clearing the table and washing dishes. They boyfriend was perplexed because he thought that was womens work... Oops!

You often claim that you "steal" ideas for posts from other bloggers. Who do you steal from most?

I steal from you, Doc, and Johnny Yen the most. I think you both have great ideas and write wonderfully!

You wrote a wonderful Christmas story about an old man and his dog. Would you consider writing more short stories for your blog and what would they be about?

I should have quoted the source of that story Doc, because I didn't write it. It was from Chicken Soup for the Pet Lovers Soul. Thanks for thinking I had that in me though... If I write any short stories it would probably be about my childhood, the Navy, or Skyler.

If you could arrange for all of your blogger buddies to meet up, where would it be and what would we do?

It would be here in Colorado, and I would treat you all to a trip up into the high mountains. To me, that is the real Colorado. When I was growing up, we considered anything east of the foothills above Denver as being in Kansas. Everyone should get to experience standing on top of one of the highest peaks, listening to nothing but wind, a river, or maybe an occasional Marmot. You should also get to see two bighorn sheep collide while setting their turf, or an elk bugle during rutting season!

If you knew your boss was using drugs on the job, even though it didn't seem to affect his performance, would you tell someone?

Not unless my boss was a danger to anybody else, or causing me extra work. I really, really don't like extra work!

What is the worst thing you have ever tasted?

Balut - From Wikopedia: A balut (Trứng vịt lộn or Hột vịt lộn in Vietnamese, Pong tea khon in Cambodian) is a fertilized duck (or chicken) egg with a nearly-developed embryo inside that is boiled and eaten in the shell.

I had this in the Philippines and you only have it once!

What famous person would you most like to have sex with?

Once, or for the rest of my life? ;^) I assume you mean once, and it is all OK with everyone, so I think I would choose somebody that you probably wouldn't think is all that hot, like Jennifer Gardner, who would look great even on a raft trip. My buddies and I coined the term she's raft trip for any girl we thought would look great without any making up at all, or after 3 days of a raft trip. That is true beauty, and what attracts me.

If you could go back in time, where would you go and what would you do?

All the way back to the dinosaur era to see if they were the big lumbering giants we thought or if some of the new theory's about them being pretty fast are true. I would want to stay all the way up to whatever comet or big event caused the mass extinction, and zip off just before the big explosion.

Name three really painful things.

#1 for me is getting hit in my right shin. I have broken that bone in the front twice, and to even touch it forcefully now makes me scream. #2 is the typical shot to the nads, ala Bond in the casino Royal remake. I think that scene made every guy sqirm in his seat a bit. #3 is emotional pain, thinking about Skyler living longer than me and having no one to care for him properly.

I could go on but that ought to be enough to get you started. As I was writing these it occured to me that some might be ones I've asked before. If so, skip 'em, unless you would like to have your new readers know this much about you.

May it rain Guinness and you are lucky enough to have the pool empty.


The pleasure was all mine Doc! Now everyone else can join in, please drop questions you want answered in the comments or via email. Remember, you can ask me anything!

Honest Scrap

A fairly new reader to my blog, That Damn Expat, has tagged me with an award. It is comprised of the following:

The honorees are to: a) first list 10 honest things about yourself - and make it interesting, even if you have to dig deep! B) pass the award on to 7 bloggers that you feel embody the spirit of the Honest Scrap."

I hate to do this to you expat, but I decided that I am going to change the rules a bit here. Instead of just listing 10 honest things about myself, I am opening up the floor for questions. This is because there are quite a few more readers of my blog since I did this for my 500th post.

I let anybody ask any question about Skyler and answered honestly, and agreed that nothing was off-topic. I heard from quite a few people that they enjoyed it and learned a lot about Skyler, me and my life with him, so here we go again.

So have at it folks, ask the tough questions and I will do follow-up posts with answers. Want to know about his future, his past, how he bathes, how he poops, nothing is off limits! I really like talking about my son, so do not be embarrassed.

Looking forward to hearing from you all!

Dec 25, 2008

A Sky-Dad Christmas Morning

All right, gather around all you young-uns, I'm gonna tell you about the olden days. Growin up in the mountains of Colorado we didn't have any of those fancy-pants electronics you kids are always plugged into these days... Hey! Timmy! Speakin of electronics pull the damn earbuds out and pay attention to Sky-Pappy! I'm reminiscing and unless you want a trip to the ER to get those outta your hind end you best listen up.

Anyway where was I? Oh yeah, the old days up in the hills. When men were men and boys was stupid... We didn't have any DVDs, video games, or electronic whatcha-callits. We played real games, like ride at each other full steam ahead with brooms like knights and see who could knock each other off their bike! That was the ticket, real honest fun, sure there were broken bones and concush.. Kuncusion... Gettin yer bell rung! But did we complain? Hell no, we were tough!

I remember back a ways, before the video things on the movin picture box. That's what we called the TV you young punk Jimmy! Pay attention son or I'll kick your butt so hard it'll fly up around your shoulders!! Anyway, back to the movin picture box. First one we had used a crank on the side, we all took turns making it run. Then we got one that ran on Kerosene, and we thought we were living like pigs in shit let me tell ya! Just after that, maybe a tad after the bronze age, I don't know, mind plays tricks on me... Whatever, the timeline ain't the critcal piece of info here... But the point is, before the youtubes and the MTVs and all that vid-e-oh crapola, we had what was called variety shows to watch.

Lotsa good old fashion singin and dancin, and people liked it! Then this young couple that had a show on the air put together what they called a video postcard for the viewers. Well let me tell ya, my sister and I sat and watched that and were just amazed! Like a cartoon to music with her singin also. Whoowee, it was sumthin, girl was a pretty decent singer, had a husband that looked kinda like a troll, but was the brains behind the operation.

I wonder if she ever made it big, probably had too big a nose... Anyway, sit tight and listen up, cause it's got a good message for these hard times...

Dec 24, 2008

One Final Christmas Post

I have had this episode of West Wing on my TiVo forever, and tried like hell to get it into a format to share with you because I could never find it out there on the tubes. I never could convert it because of my lack of decent video tools. But now, kind of like a Christmas present to all of us, some kind soul has put it out on youtube.

I loved the West Wing, considered it one of my most favorite shows ever. The writing was good, the acting was good, and the production itself was really amazing when you watched the fast action, moving between rooms, the lighting. All of it top notch.

This episode needs just a bit of explaining because there are some things you need to know before watching. The presidents secretary, Mrs Landingham, had twin sons who were killed at the same time in Viet Nam on Christmas. Because of that she is down during the holidays. One of the members of the presidents staff, Toby Ziegler, is contacted by the DC police because a homeless man died on the mall and had his business card in the pocket of his coat. Turns out he donated the coat to the Goodwill, and the homeless man was a decorated Korean Vet who was wearing it. Toby uses the influence of the office of the president to arrange for an honor guard to bury the man.

The sequencing of this final few minutes, alternating between the boys choir and the honor guard is brilliant. Last note, this is a special shout out to Bubs, who got me thinking about this again when he posted about his honor guard experience.

This is from season 1, the amazing finale from the Christmas episode "In Excelsis Deo".

Dec 23, 2008

Kleenex alert is now at RED!

This is one of those stories that would make Hitler cry, make an SS officer re-think his choice of career, cause Charles Manson to switch to accordion music instead of Beatles...

It would make Spock tear up for crying out loud!

Maybe it's best if you just don't read it...

Merry Christmas My Friend

"I will never forget you," the old man said. A tear rolled down his leathery cheek. "I'm getting old. I can't take care of you anymore."

With his head tilted to one side, Monsieur DuPree watched his master. "Woof woof! Woof woof!" He wagged his tail back and forth, wondering, What's he up to now?

"I can't take care of myself anymore, let alone take care of you." The old man cleared his throat. He pulled a hankie from his pocket and blew his nose with a mighty blast.

"Soon, I'll move to an old age home and, I'm sorry to say, you can't come along. They don't allow dogs there, you know."

Bent over from age, the old man limped over to Monsieur DuPree and stroked his head.

"Don't worry, my friend. We'll find a home. We'll find a nice new home for you." And, as an afterthought he added, "Why, with your good looks, we'll have no trouble at all. Anyone would be proud to own such a fine dog."

Monsieur DuPree wagged his tail really hard and strutted up and down the kitchen floor. "Woof, woof, woof, woof." For a moment, the familiar musky scent of the old man mingling with the odor of greasy food gave the dog the feeling of well being. But then, a sense of dread took hold again. His tail hung between his legs and he stood very still.

"Come here." With great difficulty, the old man knelt down on the floor and lovingly pulled Monsieur Dupree close to him. He tied a ribbon around his neck with a huge red bow, and then he attached a note to it. Monsieur DuPree wondered what it said.

"It says," the old man read aloud, "Merry Christmas! My name is Monsieur DuPree. For breakfast, I like bacon and eggs -- even corn flakes will do. For dinner, I prefer mashed potatoes and some meat. That's all. I eat just two meals a day. In return, I will be your most loyal friend."

"Woof woof! Woof woof!" Monsieur DuPree was confused and his eyes begged, What's going on?

The old man blew his nose into his hankie once more. Then, hanging onto a chair, he pulled himself up from the floor. Buttoning his overcoat, he reached for the dog's leash and softly said, "Come here my friend." He opened the door against a gust of cold air and stepped outside, pulling the dog behind. Dusk was beginning to fall. Monsieur DuPree pulled back. He didn't want to go.

"Don't make this any harder for me. I promise you, you'll be much better off with someone else."

The street was deserted. It began to snow. Leaning into the wintry air, the old man and his dog pushed on. The pavement, trees, and houses were soon covered with a blanket of snow.

After a very long time, they came upon an old Victorian house surrounded by tall trees, which were swaying and humming in the wind. The old man stopped. Monsieur DuPree stopped, too. Shivering in the cold, they appraised the house. Glimmering lights adorned every window, and the muffled sound of a Christmas song was carried on the wind.

"This will be a nice home for you," the old man said, choking on his words. He bent down and unleashed his dog, then opened the gate slowly, so that it wouldn't creak. "Go on now. Go up the steps and scratch on the door."

Monsieur DuPree looked from the house to his master and back again to the house. He did not understand. "Woof woof! Woof woof!"

"Go on." The old man gave the dog a shove. "I have no use for you anymore," he said in a gruff voice. "Get going now!"

Monsieur DuPree was hurt. He thought his master didn't love him anymore. He didn't understand that, indeed, the old man loved him very much, yet he could no longer care for him. Slowly he straggled toward the house and up the steps. He scratched with one paw at the front door. "Woof woof! Woof woof!"

Looking back, he saw his master step behind a tree just as someone from inside turned the front doorknob. A little boy appeared, framed in the door by the light coming from behind. When he saw Monsieur DuPree, he threw both arms into the air and shouted with delight, "Oh boy! Oh boy! Mom and Dad, come and see what Santa brought!"

Through teary eyes, the old man watched from behind the tree. He saw the mother read the note, and tenderly pull the dog inside. Smiling, the old man wiped his eyes with the sleeve of his cold, damp coat as he disappeared into the night whispering, "Merry Christmas, my friend."

A couple of tender Christmas moments

I loved In Living Color. Homey was my favorite character.

And if that isn't funny enough, check out this family:

Dec 22, 2008

Family Christmas card to all of you out there

Clicky to makey bigey!

Thanks to all of my online friends out here, I truly wish you all the best for the holiday season. My New Years resolution is to post more about Skyler, and try and use the bad words less often.

Better start prepping the kids

Christmas might be canceled this year if it is foggy, based on this tragic news from up north...

Dec 21, 2008

Dec 20, 2008

Santa Claus Bailout Hearings

C-SPAN coverage of Santa Claus asking Congress for a financial bailout of the North Pole - Present Giving Industry.

From National Lampoon.

Dec 19, 2008

Forgotten Classic video of the, well, forever for me!

I know I never post anything about music because I am such a nerd, but I found this version of "After The Goldrush" one of my favorite songs. Hope you like it, and sorry for butting into your arena Beckeye!

Amazing Anti-War Ad

Viral for warchild. Quite the ad, very powerful. Check it out...

Dec 18, 2008

Because I can deny him nothing...

The one, the only, the man who needs no introduction, is running contest over at his place. Well, it seems more like a charity scam, but lets all call it a contest just to stay one step ahead of the man, shall we?

Here are the details, straight from the good doctors mouth, er, blog:

The That Blue Yak Crappy Gifts for Sick People Stockpile. You see, most people don't want to actually buy a gift for charity. But what if you didn't have to actually buy one? I'm proposing that we make a list of gifts that MIGHT be given to some sick people and we just send the list to a place where sick people are. Maybe, just maybe, some rich dude will see the list and buy all of the presents for the sick people. Who knows?

And why waste really good things on sick people? They're probably going to just cough on it anyway or something. And it's the thought that counts right? So the crappier the gift the better.

So what you do is:

1) Pick a crappy gift for the That Blue Yak Crappy Gifts For Sick People Stockpile and post it on your site.
2) Pick 5 bloggers that you think might want to open their hearts and pick a crappy gift.
3) Link back to this post.
4) And if you really want to get into heaven, write, "I POSTED A CRAPPY GIFT" in the comments section of this post so we can see the crappy gifts you picked.

I racked my pea sized brain for seconds, and remembered an item that I tucked away for a rainy day. I figured these "sick people" probably don't have the benefit of good hygiene, both body and oral. They also may be feeling a bit down on themselves, and need the presence of a higher power in their sad, pathetic lives.

Well look no more you crap-for-breath, sickly sinners!! Sky-Dad has just the gift for you!!

And if you need more proof of just how aweome this gift can make your lives, check out the top of the packaging. That's right, "As Seen On TV"!

It can't possibly get any better. I don't tag people, but I really am begging everyone to keep this going. Give 'till it hurts folks!

I Win! I Win!! I Win!!!

Dizzblnd over at Soggy_Doggy_Bloggy has presented me with an award! She received an award and in the time honored tradition of passing gas, er, passing along awards, nominated me.

This tag says I have to list 5 addictions. Whaaa! How did this take such a nasty turn all of a sudden? One moment I am basking in the glow of my statue, now it's some sort of intervention.

Still, shoulder to the wheel, stiff upper lip, off I go to my writers den in the southwestern wing of stately Sky-Dad manor. Ahh, who the hell am I kidding, there is no room, no wing, no manor. I write on a cardboard box while stealing WiFi from Starbucks... Nude...

My 5 addictions are, in no particular order:

1. Starbucks. Yes, the devil has it's hooks in me, I swear the key ingredient is crack!

2. Blogging. Reading all of you fine folks has become a serious time suck to my life (not that I had a life) and I love every minute of it!

3. Exercise. I like to stay fit, especially cardio-wise. Mom and Dad left me a legacy of high cholesterol and heart problems in the family, so I do some type of exercise daily. Usually a lot of exercise...

4. TV. We never get out due to life with a special needs child, so TV seems to be the source of entertainment. I watch a couple of shows religiously; Life, The Unit, Terminator Sarah Connor, Chuck, NCIS, and I just heard that the delightfully quirky show Pushing Daisey's has been canceled. Damn!

5. Surfing for video. Just look at my blog! Look at it! Chock full of clips that I find from all sorts of web-sites, friends, spam emails... Sigh, maybe this intervention is needed...

The time honored tradition of tagging more people always stops with me, I choose to welcome anyone who wants to play along.

Thanks Dizz, appreciate the tag!

And oh yes, this comes with a way cool new award:

Dec 17, 2008

Christmas is coming, a gift-giving guide from Sky-Dad

And you know I am always up for booze! Check out this article from Modern Drunkard Magazine, it is a little bit of wonderful...

Gift Tips
Whenever you open a non-liquor gift, loudly proclaim, “Oh, great, how the fuck am I supposed to drink this?
They’ll know what to get you next year.

If you’re forced to go to your employee Christmas party, always try to blackout.
Because no one wants to spend their Christmas vacation knowing for sure they got fired.

If you buy a bottle of liquor as a gift and accidentally drink half of it, just tell the giftee it’s a bottle and a personality test.
If he says it’s half full, he’s an optimist. If he says it’s half empty, he’s a dick.

If you receive three cocktail shakers every Christmas, you are a drunkard.
If you receive ten, get ready for an intervention.

Pine needles steeped in a bottle of vodka makes for an excellent gift.
Because, trust me, you sure as hell won’t want to drink it.

Don’t worry if you hate wrapping presents, because your favorite store provides free gift wrapping.
Just give the brown bag a little twist around the neck of the bottle and hey! All done!

Ironically enough, if you give your favorite bartender a bartending guide as a present he will not give you a free drink for at least a month.
Nor will your significant other appreciate a copy of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Sex.”

If money is tight, improvise your gifts.
Believe it or not, a note stuffed inside an empty bottle of liquor makes for an excellent present. Because when they smash the bottle so they can read the note and it says, “This is the historic bottle the Rat Pack shared on the eve of their first appearance on stage at The Sands in Las Vegas--I bought in on eBay for $112,000” they’ll get to think, “Wow, for a second there I was pretty rich.”

Family Gatherings
Don’t freak out if it’s your turn bring the Christmas Turkey to a family gathering.
Just make sure you buy the one-liter family-sized bottle so there’s enough to go around.

After eight of your “these-are-for-daddies-only” eggnogs, try to refrain from telling your children you are going to shoot Santa off the roof of your house when he lands.
While their shrieks of terror may seem funny at the time, it will directly affect the quality of nursing home you will be eventually shipped off to.

If your niece or nephew asks why your eggnog smells funny, tell them you added some “special warming juice.”
If they ask you if you’re cold, tell them, “No, but I might be while waiting in the bushes for Santa and Rudolph to show up so I can shoot them off the roof.”

Your father’s good Scotch is hidden either in the cupboard above the refrigerator or in the hall closet behind the junk box.
If he’s really crafty, it’ll be at the bottom of the clothes hamper in the laundry room.

If your more religious relatives try to pin you down about your drinking habits at a family gathering, always tell them, “Hope you don’t mind, but I’m gonna keep prayin’ for ya!”
For some reason it drives them crazy.

Holiday Fun and Games
If you and your buddies must drive around winging snowballs at winos, at least pack the snowballs around little airplane bottles of liquor.
This way they’ll tell people, “Yeah, Santa exists, but he’s a mean motherfucker.”

If you’re drunk enough, heckling Christmas carolers will seem about the coolest thing in the world.
Especially if you can get them to cry.

The Salvation Army is an anti-alcohol organization, so don’t feel guilty about not giving any money to that goddamn wino jangling a bell at you.
Just tell him you play for the other team.

If your spouse asks you to make a New Years Resolution to not drink for the rest of the year, promise her you’ll do it.
You’ll find it a lot easier to keep if you make the resolution at 11:59pm on New Year’s Eve.

Spread the holiday cheer by going to your favorite bar dressed as Santa Claus.
Because nobody under-pours Santa. Nobody.

Christmas Spirits
During the holidays you are allowed to drink all the mint schnapps you want without feeling like a sorority girl.
Peach schnapps is still forbidden.

If you suspect your loved ones are going to spring a holiday intervention on you, make sure you pre-spike at least two cartons of eggnog.
Interventions can be pretty fun if you’re loaded.

You can’t get drunk on rum cake.
But don’t let that stop you from telling your 13-year-old nephew that it’ll get him “wicked hammered,” so long as he eats the entire cake in fifteen minutes.

If you’re going to travel during the holidays, be aware that you can no longer bring alcohol onto the airplane.
Unless you hide it in your bloodstream.

No matter how stressed you get, always try to be full of Christmas cheer.
They sell it down at the liquor store, $14.99 a bottle.

By Frank Kelly Rich

Dec 16, 2008

Santa is getting surly!

Timmy writes:

Dear Santa,
Please send me a baby brother.

Santa writes back:

Sure kid,

Send me your mother...

Dec 15, 2008

The Holiday Tag

New reader of mine and awesome love letter writer Cora has tagged me with a Holiday Meme.

Here is the skinny:

1. link to the person who tagged you
2. post the rules on your blog
3. list 6 random HOLIDAY things about yourself
4. tag and link 7 people at the end of your post
5. let each person know they have been tagged
6. let the tagger know when your entry is up

Six random holiday things are:

1. I used to belong to a couple of different singing groups and miss going out and singing for various charities and such. From "The what's their name anyway singers" to "The last note singers", we always had strange names! But our Christmas concert was pretty damn good.

2. My most favorite Christmas moment from TV was West Wing Christmas when Tobie arranged for an honor guard for a homeless vet. I am working up a post about it, so nobody steal my idea!!

3. The best Christmas gift I ever got was a huge dump truck called Big Bruiser and it was battery operated and everything!!! (do I sound like the guys in those car commercials getting a car with a big bow on it?)

4. My least favorite holiday is 4th of July. Ever since I have had dogs, it is just one long nightmare for the poor 4 legged creatures.

5. My favorite holiday concert was the first time I ever saw Mannheim Steamroller live. It was so cool, just the 4 of them, they were just getting started. They each play so many different instruments they play a live concert to a recorded playback of their songs. They have earpieces in and digital metronomes (sp?) that keep them in sync with each other.

6. Ever since we lost our mom and dad, my sister and I usually just do lunch or something like that instead of a huge dinner and big deal for holidays. It just isn't the same without them around.

I never go and tag people anymore Cora, I just invite whoever wants to join in. Thanks a lot!

Dec 14, 2008

Brother, can you spare a degree?

Updated this morning: New record low last night -19 with -32 wind chill.

Because I don't have any on my thermometer right now, zero! Add in the wind chill and it's -18 out there. But the two pooches, Hootie and Yordi still want to go for their walk, and who am I to turn them down?

Burning off some energy before walkies!

What's the last thing you see in the camera right before you get two paws right in your chest?

Dec 13, 2008

Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs...

Just a bunch of random goodness I have been collecting for awhile. Lets go see what we have, shall we?

This! Is! Wet!!

I'm a killer!

I love this and want it posted in all work places.

I don't fear your radiation, I shall simply leap over it!!

Beware of squids with mutant penis heads.

Just dial 3, like 3 times...

I guess that is enough for today, later everyone.

Dec 12, 2008

Camp Kuleshov: Willow

From Boards Magazine:

There may just be one person who can put Baby in a corner, as seen in Crew Cuts assistant editor Michael Southworth's winning entry in AICE's Camp Kuleshov trailer competition.

What an odd coincidence!

This is almost the same conversation I had about where do babies come from!

Dec 11, 2008

Yogurt is this good!

Do you hate those commercials about yogurt and how good it is with a white hot burning fury of a thousand suns like I do?


Ok, well maybe that is a tad bit strong, but I hate them all the same. Imagine my love of this parody on those commercials, with all of it's foul language and nastiness, which I consider to be it's more redeeming feature...

Go ahead, clicky, you have been warned.

Dec 10, 2008

A story from my past

Johnny Yen had a wonderful post about the Our Lady of Angels Fire that I was memorized with. It was such a sad tale, but it reminded me of an event in my life that I had a little trouble tracking down some details on. being from a very small town, there weren't many events that happened of importance growing up. There were some mining tragedies in the early days, fires, and the usual number of missing people and crime. But nothing that really made the evening news so to speak.

One event I remember my dad talking about as I grew up was the crash of a plane that was one of two carrying the Wichita State football team. The reason it sticks in my mind is that dad was one of the people who was first on the scene that day, and he really didn't like talking about it. Let me tell you about the crash and what led up to it.

On Friday, October 2, 1970, a twin-engine Martin 404 carrying Wichita State football players, staff and fans to a game in Utah struck treetops and crashed near Loveland Pass in Colorado resulting in the deaths of 31 of 40 aboard. Wichita State signed a contract more than two months earlier calling for a larger and more powerful DC-6 to be used and the flight plan did not call for the aircraft to be anywhere near Loveland Pass on that day. A series of tragic mistakes resulted in this crash, that never should have happened. The DC-6 suffered damage in a wind storm and was not repaired in time to be used in early October. The smaller Martin 404's from Fairchild Hiller were pressed into service, but they had not been flown since 1967 by Ozark Air. Nevertheless, a pair of Martin aircraft were brought out of storage in Las Vegas in early September, recertified for flying, and flown to Wichita the morning of October 2nd. Both of the 404s would be needed to carry the nearly 80 passengers the DC-6 was originally scheduled to carry. The temporary FAA license to fly them was good for 10 days only and had expired by the day of the flight.

Although the aircraft were painted red and white, the team referred to the two aircraft as the "gold" plane, which contained the starting players, coaches, and boosters, and the "black" plane, which carried the backups and other personnel. Black and gold were Wichita State's colors.

It was a beautiful, clear fall day with weather not expected to present at problem for the flights. The crew of the "gold" plane consisted of Captain Danny Crocker, a 27-year-old mechanic with piloting credentials, and his boss, First Officer Ronald Skipper, the president of Golden Aviation. The flight plans for both aircraft were provided by first officer Ralph Hill, who worked with Captain Leland Everett in the cockpit of the "black" plane. The plan called for the aircraft to fly to Denver to refuel and then fly to Logan via Laramie, Wyoming. This route provided ample time to get the aircraft at a high enough altitude to clear the Rocky Mountains and, as captain Everett of the "black" plane later testified, it provided more "back doors" through which to escape if there was trouble.

With 35 passengers and a crew of four on board the gold plane and 36 passengers and a crew of three on board the black plane, the aircraft left Wichita a little after 9:00 a.m. Starting linebacker Steve Moore had worked near Loveland Pass and knew how breathtakingly beautiful the area was first hand. Former Wichita State basketball player Gary Curmode told the New Times in 1998, "He's the one who asked the pilot, 'Can we go a different route so I can show the guys where I work?' And the pilot, not being familiar with it, he looked at the map and said, 'Yeah, we can do it.'" Bad mistake #1, the pilot looking at the map knew he was flying up a valley, but didn't know at the end of the valley was Loveland Pass, and the Continental Divide rising up to 13,000 feet.

At just before half past noon, each plane made its way to the runway for departure. Captain Everett of the "black" plane was aware of the "gold" plane's new flight plan, but stuck to his original one and took off from Denver northward to Laramie - a much safer if less scenic route. The "gold" plane was a full 5165 pounds overweight at takeoff. Though the aircraft would be expected to burn a few thousand pounds of fuel during the flight, the plane would even have been over 2,000 pounds overweight for the landing in Logan, Utah according to NTSB calculations.

The overweight plane lumbered down the runway and took a long time to get airborne. When it was a little over a mile past the end of the runway, the air traffic controller who cleared the flight noticed that the aircraft was unusually low and trailing smoke from the right engine. He called the aircraft to see if there was a problem. "No, we're just running a little rich, is all," was the reply and the last words heard by anyone of the ground from the flight.

The aircraft made its way north out of Denver for a time and then headed west and south in the Rockies in order to find their way into the Clear Creek Valley, which they did around Idaho Springs. (Idaho Springs is where I grew up) The altitude of Stapleton Airport is approximately 5300 feet, but they were already flying through a valley that was at a minimum 7500 feet and rising; Georgetown, another 12 miles to the west, was 8500 feet.

In order to really "wow" the passengers, First Officer Skipper, who was actually flying the aircraft, flew below the mountaintops within the valley itself. By the time the aircraft made it to Georgetown, witnesses on the ground were concerned. An unidentified pilot for a major airline who happened to witness the plane as if flew over told the NTSB that it was no more than 1,000 - 1,500 feet above the town and appeared to be climbing at a slow airspeed.

An engineer with Martin Marietta also saw ill-fated aircraft as it passed over Georgetown and stated: "I had been a military pilot of multi-engine aircraft during World War II and was awed by the aspect of such a large aircraft cruising up the valley at approximately 500 to 1,000 feet above the terrain. The engines sounded as though they were throttled back and not at high RPM, a condition not in keeping with what would be expected if the aircraft was attempting to clear the Continental Divide. When the plane made a turn to the right, I noticed a mushiness to its flight characteristics. Both engines appeared to be running normally, no smoke, fire or sounds of missing or backfiring." By this time, they were at 9,000-9500 feet and had been in the air about 20 minutes though the NTSB has calculated that it was nearly twice the amount of time necessary for the aircraft to have achieved 15,000 feet, had altitude been the goal rather than sightseeing. This altitude also made even a single engine failure nearly impossible to recover from; the altitude flown was reckless no matter how you look at it.

Another pilot familiar with the Loveland Pass area observed the aircraft as he was driving eastward on US Highway 6 (Interstate 70, which has largely replaced the function of both Highway 40 and 6, was not yet complete through this area) about two miles east of Dry Gulch. He stated, "Thinking it must be in trouble, I stopped the car to get out and look and listen. My initial and firm feeling was that the plane was in serious trouble as it was below the level of the mountains on either side that form the valley, and I didn't see how it could possibly turn around. Also, it was in nose high attitude and flying at a low rate of speed, obviously straining to gain altitude, but barely keeping up with the rise of terrain.

The aircraft, which was at approximately 11,000 feet, was entering an area where it either had to rapidly clear 12,500 feet (or more) or turn back towards Denver. Despite the accurate charts he had just purchased in Denver, Skipper seemed unaware that he was flying into a "box" canyon. Had he been at a safer altitude to begin with, he might have seen the Continental Divide ahead, but as they entered the area near Loveland Pass, his view was blocked by Mt. Sniktau (at 13,234 feet).

At this point, the fate of the aircraft was sealed. The plane could neither climb to the required altitude, or turn sharp enough to come back. First Officer Skipper evidently recognized the danger for the first time as well. He made a sharp right turn across Highway 6 in an attempt to escape the rising terrain via Dry Gulch, but Captain Crocker quickly realized this wasn't going to work either and took control of the aircraft.

Survivor David Lewis, who knew something was wrong as the plane banked to the left, looked to his friend, Don Christian. "He just turned around and he had this expression on his face that I had never seen before. I can't say it was fright, but I do know it was concern," said Lewis. "He just looked at me like a brother would. I'm sure I was the last person he ever saw."

The steep left bank Crocker put the plane in was a desperate measure to avoid the rapidly rising terrain of the valley, but it also stalled the aircraft into the mountain; they simply did not have enough space left for any maneuver.

The last bit of flying captain Crocker did before his death probably saved lives and, without the ensuing explosion, might have saved everyone. Crocker, perhaps resigned to the fact that the aircraft was not going to make it, leveled the plane out relative to the mountain. The impact almost certainly would have been more violent without this last adjustment.

The stalled airliner struck trees at approximately 10,800 feet up the side of Mount Trelease. Pieces of the aircraft broke off as it sliced through the dense forest for another 350 feet. Trees in that area were as tall as 50 feet.

Ten passengers and First Officer Skipper, who was occupying the left pilot seat, survived the initial impact and fire. One had been seated in row 4, and was the only person between rows 1 and 6 to survive. Two survived from row 7 with two more in row 8 and three in row 9. Survivor Richard Stephens was standing in the doorway to the cockpit and jumped into the forward baggage compartment when he recognized that a crash was imminent.

All but one of the surviving passengers had their seatbelts unfastened. They were thrown forward and to the left at impact. All who escaped from the aircraft did so through a hole in the left side of the fuselage or a hole in the right side of the cockpit.

"The impact ripped the side of the plane wide open and then I heard an explosion. It was burning pretty bad." Said Glenn Kostal, who was in the back of the plane talking to teammates when it crashed.

Tackle Jack Vetter, who was trapped with teammates Randy Kiesau and Don Christian near where Bob Renner had just escaped from, yelled to his best friend, "Bobby, I'm burning. Get out of here." Kiesau, who had switched planes in Denver, didn't say anything, "But he shook his head like he was telling me not to help him."

One of many people on the ground who were already moving towards the aircraft was my Dad, who was surveying the approaches to the Eisenhower tunnel for the newest stretch of I-70 that was being built. He and his crew started to hike up the mountain, and were met by two guys working for the contractor H.E. Lowdermilk, that was the contractor building that stretch of the Intersatate. This was one of the many fortunate events for the people who had crashed, because these two guys were heading up the mountain with a pair of Cat D-9 blades. Access to that area was going to be extreemely tough, and probably take hours. It was fortunate that the crash occured right above the construction, and several guys climbed aboard the Cats which made a road to the crash site.

Rescuers first arriving at the scene stated that the fuselage was relatively intact, with a small hole on the right side and a large hole on the left. One rescuer related that he observed fire in the forward baggage compartment area. He was about to step inside the fuselage to assist any survivors when an explosion occurred, and flames traveled aft into the cabin.

There were several survivors of the original impact, and some trapped in the plane. The fire that started when the plane hit was fairly small, but the plane was carrying several Oxygen canisters for the football team. This was disastrous, as the fire reached the O2 canisters they started exploding. Dad and the rest of the people attempting to rescue the remaining people could only fall back and watch the explosions.

Ken Abrahamson and his coworker from Loveland Ski Area had received first aid training and were among the first on the scene after the crash. The entire fuselage eventually burned down to molten aluminum and the fire continued for nearly 24 hours. "The crash site was littered with baggage, shirts, playbooks, shoulder pads, athletic shoes, and football helmets," recalled Abrahamson.

By November 8, 1970, the NTSB had cast aside any mechanical problems as a cause and issued a preliminary statement suggesting pilot error was the sole cause of the crash. It was suggested that if the crew had realized the danger "less than one minute sooner," they would have had time to turn around and might not have crashed. The mountain on their right (Mount Sniktau) blocked their view of the bigger mountain (Mount Trelease) just ahead that they eventually crashed into. It was a mistake that no pilot should have made - not when he had newly purchased charts sitting in the cockpit which correctly showed the altitude and configuration of such obstacles.

Wichita State University created "Memorial '70" the day after the crash and a wreath is laid at the memorial in a ceremony each October 2nd. Survivor Dave Lewis attended the memorial service in 2005 for the first time. There is also a memorial about 50 feet from I-70 near the crash site. The team voted to play out the remainder of the season with mostly Freshmen playing all the positions.

Tragically, this was not the only planeload of college football players to crash in 1970. A month and a half later, all 75 aboard - including the Marshall University football team - died when their plane crashed. The 2006 movie We Are Marshall dramatized that event.

Dad never liked to talk about that crash, or what he saw that day. There weren't many things that he wouldn't talk about, but told me one day about how bad it was. He could hear the screams for a long time after that day.

Dec 9, 2008

Beth's Bucket List

Beth over at Cup of Coffey put up her bucket list, so I thought I would steal it and add/subtract to it!

Here is Beth's list:

Here’s The Bucket List of things I have or have not done throughout my life. If I haven't done it, the line is in green.

I colored things that I have yet to do in Red, so if you are keeping score at home, Beth=green, Sky-Dad=Red. Some items Beth and I matched, so they are Red cause I win!

Gone on a blind date
Skipped school
Watched someone die
Been to Canada
Been to Mexico
Been to Florida
Spent the night on three or more continents
Been on a plane
Did a parachute jump
Deep-sea dived
Been lost
Been on the opposite side of the country
Gone to Washington, D.C.
Swam in the ocean
Wasted too much time on Facebook
Cried yourself to sleep
Gone parking post-college
Played cops and robbers
Recently colored with crayons
Been overseas
Ridden a motorcycle
Driven a motorcycle
Sang karaoke
Paid for a meal with coins only
Talked to your pets
Done something you told yourself you wouldn't
Fallen in love more than once
Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose
Laughed until you peed your pants
Run a marathon
Caught a snowflake on your tongue
Learned a second language (I can ask for a beer in several though...)
Danced in the rain
Been on television
Been on the radio
Been in the newspaper
Been in a movie
Written a letter to Santa Claus
Been kissed under the mistletoe
Walked with the back of my skirt tucked into my panties ( uh yeah, I won't go there)
Spent a birthday alone
Been married
Watched the sunrise with someone
Blown bubbles
Seen the Grand Canyon
Gone ice skating
Been skinny dipping outdoors
Gone to the movies by yourself
Gone to a concert by yourself

Let's add some more I have not yet done, shall we?
Ridden in a hot air balloon
Been to Europe
Climbed above 14,000 feet
Fly a plane
Seen a movie being filmed live
Driven a race car
Developed madd Ninja Skillz!

Dec 8, 2008

Surfing for Seniors

This is meant to be serious, but I just can't stop laughing. Go crazy granny, but treat that mouse like a hot potato!!

This is for my former Citrus friend who used to post about God Talk! You know who you are Captain...

It makes more sense than most things I have heard.

Dec 7, 2008

December 7th

Note: This is from last year, but I have nothing better to say about today, or more to add to this.

Pearl Harbor

Is there any other location on Earth that is more associated with a date on the Calendar than Pearl Harbor is? I think everyone can make the immediate association between December 7th and the attack on Pearl Harbor, even if they are just young kids in school.

I was lucky enough to have been stationed there on my first ship while in the Navy. It is a special place with an amazing history, not only for the US entry into WWII, but for the shipyards there. The locals used to say it was one of the riches places for diving for shells around, and many would still sneak into the harbor to try and dive there when I was there.

As an act of respect and acknowledgment, when commissioned naval ships pass each other on the water, sailors stop what they are doing, stand at attention and salute the oncoming ship.

The sight is can be quite impressive, Sailors line the upper deck while standing at attention and whistles blow to prompt the changing positions. It is quite an emotional moment, especially if you are a returning ship which has been away from an American port for a long time. The white uniforms appear like pillars against a clear ocean sky as these enormous gray floating cities pass each other with magnificent dignity.

As warships enter the harbor, you are always greeted by the site of the Arizona memorial on the left side off of Ford Island. The simple white structure is position across midships of the sunken remains of the USS Arizona. You probably remember the "money shot" in the film Pearl Harbor when the special effects followed the 500 pound bomb on it's decent from the Japanese Dive bomber to the one in a million shot down the stack of the Arizona. The entire bottom of the battleship was torn apart, igniting it's own magazine full of ordnance. More than 1100 sailors were killed instantly, the few survivors having been blown off of the upper decks.

The USS Arizona still remains a commissioned US Navy vessel, and as such every ship that passes it coming and going from the harbor renders honors. Except in the case of the Arizona, it isn't done as a pointless ritual. It is always done in complete silence, no talking is heard, and even the most callous sailor who just wants to get out of the Navy stands a little straighter.

It is something that has to be seen, and be felt to really understand or appreciate.

Tours to the memorial are a popular stop when tourists come to Hawaii, and I have kept one story a such a tour on a special day.


Former Enemies
By Reverend Peter Baldwin Panagore

Some years ago, while leading a church group on a tour of Pearl Harbor, I stood among the clergy and their spouses in the gleaming white-arched and covered Memorial above the USS Arizona. One minister in our group, a man from Maine, had been there on December 7th, 1941 - the day the Japanese flew in to sink our Pacific Naval Fleet. He had not been aboard the Arizona, but his ship had also been hit. He described vividly the horror of being aboard the flaming and sinking vessel as bullets flew and bombs roared. As I listened, out of the corner of my eye I noticed a Japanese tourist entering the Memorial.

It was the man's fine clothes - long tie, buttoned sports jacket, and shiny brown lace-up shoes - that initially attracted my attention. In Hawaii, professionals like lawyers, corporate executives, soldiers and ministers seldom, if ever, wear ties or jackets. Even network television news anchors wear open-collared aloha shirts.

This man, dressed as he was, stood out.

Two women walked with him. The older one I took to be his wife, the other perhaps an older daughter. Both wore conservative dresses and fancy shoes. The man appeared to be in his sixties, and while he may have spoken English, I only heard him speak Japanese. In his left hand, he carried, almost shyly, an ornate and obviously costly multi-flowered wreath about eighteen inches across.

Our group's veteran continued to speak as we clustered around him. He described being caught below deck: feeling disoriented as the ship took on water where he stood, fire coming from above and the smoke stealing his breath. His buddy lay dead at his feet as the young sailor struggled in the darkness to escape, fear and adrenaline propelling him to the surface. Everyone in our group was so engrossed in his story, that no one, except for me, noticed the Japanese
tourist and his family who walked quite near to us.

As I watched, the tourist stopped, turned to his wife and daughter and spoke to them. They stood quietly, almost solemnly. Then the man straightened his tie, first at the neck and then near the belt, and tugged at the hem of his jacket. As if in preparation, he squared his shoulders, took a deep breath, and then exhaled. Alone, he somberly stepped forward toward the railing at the water's edge above the sunken warship.

The other tourists swirled around him. From what I could see and hear, they were apparently all Americans. They were talking, laughing, looking, asking questions; some were listening to our minister's story, but none seemed aware of the tourist who had captured my attention.

I don't believe the Japanese man understood the minister's words. As I listened to one man and watched the other, the Japanese tourist came to the rail, bowed at the waist, and then stood erect. He began to speak; I heard his words but could not comprehend then. However from his tone and the look on his face, I felt their meaning. His manner conveyed so many things at once - confession, sorrow, hurt, honor, dignity, remorse and benediction.

When he had finished his quiet prayer, he gravely dropped the flowered wreath into the seawater - the same water the minister kept mentioning in his reminiscence - and watched as the wreath floated away on the tide. The man struggled to remain formal, to keep face, but his tears betrayed him. I guessed he must have been a soldier, a warrior of the air, whose own plane had showered the bombs and bullets that had torn through our soldiers, sinking their ships. It struck me that he had come on a pilgrimage of repentance, not to our government, but to the gravesite of those young men whose lives he had taken in the name of war.

Stepping backward one pace, the Japanese veteran then closed his eyes and bowed again, very deeply, and very slowly from the waist. Then he stood tall, turned around and rejoined his family. His deed done, they began to leave. All the while, our minister veteran continued his narrative. He and the group were oblivious to the poignant counterpoint occurring behind them.

But I was not the only American to witness the Japanese man's actions. As I watched his family leave, I noticed another American step away from the wall on which he had been leaning. He was dressed casually, and wore a red windbreaker with the VFW emblem on it. He had a potbelly, thinning hair and held his hat in his hand. I assumed the man was a WW II veteran. 'Perhaps he had served in the Pacific,' I thought, 'and was himself on a pilgrimage.'

As the Japanese family walked by him, the American stepped directly into their path, blocking their way. I immediately tensed, fearing a confrontation. The startled Japanese tourist, who had been deep in thought, stopped short, surprise and sorrow mixed on his face. His family, eyes on the ground, stopped abruptly, then crowded closer around him.

But the American simply stood at attention, once again a strong, straight-backed soldier. Then he raised his right hand slowly and stiffly to his forehead, saluting his former enemy.

The American remained in salute until the Japanese, with dawning understanding, returned the gesture.

As the tourists milled by, the two men stood as if alone, joined by their shared pain, glories, honors and memories, until the American, while remaining at attention, slowly lowered his arm and formally stepped backward one pace. The Japanese tourist, when his arms were both once again at his side, bowed formally to the man in front of him. To my surprise, the American returned the honor.

Neither said a word. Neither had to. Their solemn faces wet with tears, expressed to each other in a universal language what could never have been said in words.

I watched as the two men, their reconciliation complete, went their separate ways, united in a way I had never imagined possible.

Reprinted by permission of Reverend Peter Baldwin Panagore
(c) 1998, from Chicken Soup for the Veteran's Soul by Jack
Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Sid Slagter.

Dec 6, 2008

Dog Risks Life To Save Injured Friend

A fellow dog lover sent this to me. I don't have any information about it, just the clip. It is from another country, can't help you with the language. It is tough to watch, but very moving.

Dog Risks Life To Save Injured Friend -

Dec 5, 2008

Quick Joke Friday Returns

A couple of fine folks emailed me off blog to ask whatever happened to this, and so who am I to deny the funny! Two for the price of one...

Married Guys Go Fishing
Four married guys went fishing. After an hour or so, the following conversation took place:
First guy: "You have no idea what I had to do to be able to come out fishing this weekend. I had to promise my wife I will paint every room in the house next weekend."

Second guy: "That's nothing! I had to promise my wife I'd build her a new deck for the pool."

Third guy: "Man, you both have it easy! I had to promise my wife that I'll remodel the kitchen for her."

They continued to fish, until they realized the fourth guy had not said a word.

So they asked him. "You haven't said anything about what you had to do to be able to come fishing this weekend. What's the deal?"

Fourth guy: "I just set my alarm for 5:30 am. When it went off, I shut off the clock, gave the wife a nudge and said, "Fishing, or Sex," and she said, "Wear a sweater."

The Jewish Lady
A widowed Jewish lady was sunbathing on a beach at Fort Myers, Florida.

She looked up and noticed that a gentleman her age had walked up, placed his blanket on the sand next to hers, made himself comfortable, and began reading a book.

Smiling, she attempted to strike up a conversation with him. "Hello, sir, how are you today?"

"Fine, thank you," he responded, and turned back to his book.

"I love the beach. Do you come here often?" she asked.

"First time since my wife passed away 2 years ago," he replied and turned back to his book.

"I'm sorry to hear that. My husband passed away 3 years ago and it is very lonely" she countered.

"Do you live a round here?" she asked.

"Yes, I live over in Cape Coral," he answered, and again resumed reading.

Trying to find a topic of common interest, She persisted. "Do you like pussy cats?"

With that, the man dropped his book, jumped off his blanket and on to her, tore off her swimsuit and gave her the most passionate ride of her life!

When the cloud of sand began to settle, She gasped and asked the man, "How did you know that was what I wanted?"

The man replied, "How did you know my name was Katz?"