Happy Thanksgiving!

To all my readers in the US, here’s wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. And even if you’re in another country, take a few minutes out on Thursday, and:

Be thankful for what you have.
Be hopeful for the future.
Cherish the past (I got quite the reminder that I’ll share in a week or so).
Hug a friend – even if he does support Donald Trump. (Hey, Tommy! C’mere! :D)

And may you all have a wonderful, love-filled, family-gathered day! (Or if you hate your in-laws, there’s some good marathons on SyFy Channel and BBC America! 😉 )

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 3 Comments

A Four-Year Miracle.

The wife was going through old posts on her cellphone this evening, and discovered an old post about our “old man” cat Stryper. He’s been with us for four years. Miracle? Well, at the time he showed up, this old cat was literally just skin and bones, and was suffering from a severe respiratory infection. We weren’t sure he’d make it through the night, but when he did, we hauled him off to the vet the next day. The vet discovered he also had FIV (feline AIDS, basically), and gave him a maximum – a MAXIMUM – of 72 hours to live. He was so certain the cat would die, when he saw my wife at Wal-Mart a week later, he tried to carefully ask how the cat was doing, fearful Stryper had died. He was absolutely stunned to hear the cat was still alive, and hoped he would at least survive through the holidays for us.

So here we are, four years later. Stryper is still rather skinny, but he can raise hell with the rest of the cats. He’s still half-blind and half-deaf (more so when it’s convenient for him to not hear a correction), still FIV-positive, and still going. He’s lived more years than the vet gave him days to survive, and shows no sign of slowing down. So, a miracle? Well, an old, starving, half-deaf half-blind half-DEAD cat, chucked from a car (quite literally), found his way onto the porch of one of only two bleeding-heart animal lovers in a 5-mile radius. Call it what you will – he’ll always be my Old Man, keeping this old man going.

Posted in Cat Stuff | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Welcome To Trump’s America.

I have tried to keep my blog apolitical. I have not attacked anyone for their beliefs, and have been equally kind (I hope) to right and left alike when I have brought up politics (as in my post about having to end this blog, which I am doing all I can NOT to end). But when this headline comes in from multiple, reliable sources, I’m sorry, but I need to vent.

Go Google “Gold Star family of slain Calif. soldier booed on flight for deplaning first”. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

You want to deride “Black Lives Matter”? Okay, I can deal with ignorance. You want to claim the illegal immigrants are taking all our jobs? Fine, wait ’til the wall is up, then watch all the office park lawns go to seed (not to mention most golf courses), and that’s just for starters. But to jeer the family of a slain soldier for deplaning first, when they are going to retrieve the body of their dead son?!?

Welcome to “Hooray For Me, Screw You” Land. The United States of Trump. And if you think this is just a one-off occurrence, or just some “bad apples”, you’ll be proven wrong many times over the next very, VERY long four years.

Sorry, my Republican friends, but I cannot stand by and let veterans’ families be treated like this. Leave me if you must, but please don’t try to write this off. This is a warning sign, and ESPECIALLY Republicans should be condemning this kind of action.

Sorry to ruin your Monday, everybody. I’ll try to come up with something lighter in a day or two to make up for it. Happy Monday of Thanksgiving week (for all my US readers, just a plain Happy Monday to the rest of y’all)!

Posted in Current Events, Military, Politics | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Conundrums.

How, in the darkest of nights, can you find a shining light?

How can you kill in wrath and vengeance, only to find love?

How can two great being’s end be the start of a wondrous future?

I saw it, many years ago, and I still remember. Two great warriors, representing the last of their families, a pair of lifelong enemies, united on a cold black night. They stood on the castle wall, lone figures in a sea of flames and blood. They argued, one refusing their mutual end, the other pleading for it. And finally, when hope was all but gone, one of them struck the other dead. A silence fell, thick as the blanket of night around them.

But then, what I can only describe as magic stunned all wordless. In that darkest of nights, a brilliant light shone in the heavens. At that horrible ending, both found new life and new purpose. He who survived, who had not lived but merely existed for decades, found his life  again. He who died did not vanish, but became a beacon for all eternity, a fixture in the heavens and the peoples’ hearts, to guide them when needed, for all eternity.

I think now, of those two great beings. Though lost in the annals of time, both stand out as beacons, proof that even on the darkest nights you can find a glorious beacon, and that even the most lost soul can once again find both his path and himself. Most importantly, they stand as proof that the most dire enemies can come together, and forge a friendship that outshines time itself.

Dedicated to the Knight of The Old Code, who found a place, once again, for chivalry; and to Draco, who found his place, not just among, but in the lead of his fellows’ souls.

Posted in Poetry, Romance | Tagged | 3 Comments

Screw It, Let’s Have Some Chuckles.

I’ll be damned (literally) if I’m gonna go off all morose and stuff. I’ve had this post knocking around the old brainpan for a few days, so here goes.

I’ve been watching a marathon of M*A*S*H from the weekend, and it has served to remind me of the humour and oddball happenings the military experience can bring. Yes, we were playing soldier, nobody shot at us with live ammo (except for a nearby shelling from 6″ guns at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin), and we were never at risk of any true harm – except being run over by the drunks of 2nd Panzer haring around in their halftrack and tank destroyer. But we did have that same sense of camaraderie and of the absurd found in M*A*S*H. Here’s a couple from one event. Call it “Magnetic Maladies and Vexed Veterans”.

It was a cold, wet, drizzly weekend in Valparaiso, Indiana fairgrounds. I was there as part of the German unit I re-enacted with, along with some American WW2 units and a smattering of various US military vehicles from other time periods. One was an M113, a Vietnam-era armoured personnel carrier. We, on the other hand – well, our particular unit was made up of  not poor people, but guys who didn’t have a lot of spare cash. This was truest for our second-in-command, a kid in his early twenties. But Dave tried to make up for it in creative engineering. We couldn’t afford motor vehicles, so he researched for months, discovered the unit we represented used bicycles extensively, then started buying old bikes and parts and piecing them together until they looked virtually identical to the bikes used. He also fabricated various weapons, including a hand-held anti-tank mine which held onto tanks using magnets. (This is also important.) Dave was very proud of his new creation (justifiably so), and wanted to test it out on one of the vehicles present. He decided to “attack” the M113. Now, most of us knew that the M113 is made of aluminum. Dave didn’t, and though we tried to stop him, he charged off across the field toward his target. He “sneaked” up on it (everyone saw him, but humoured him), yanks the protective cover off the magnets on his “mine”, and sticks it up against the M113’s hull. The thing promptly falls off. Dave frowns, picks the mine up off the ground, and tries again. Thud. He tries one more time, then walks back to us, griping that his magnets aren’t strong enough to hold the mine to the M113. I finally manage to get through to him that the M113 is all aluminum – you know, NON-MAGNETIC. Dave did the perfect cartoon double-take, leaving us all doubled over in laughter. It finally sinks in, and thankfully, Dave saw the humour and laughed with us. Moral of the story? If you have something held on by magnets, make sure your target is STEEL.

The bathrooms at the fairground were in one big concrete blockhouse, one door for the men (both going in and out) and one for the ladies. I got done using the facilities (in full uniform), grabbed the door handle, and gently pulled the door open. Standing there was a WW2 veteran (as  declared on his hat), rather startled by the appearance of a fully kitted-out German soldier. He scanned me from my hat to my boots and back up again, shook us head, and muttered “Boy, you look good enough to shoot!”. Since we strove for authenticity in our uniforms, I took this as a wonderful compliment, so I grinned broadly and said “Thank you, sir!” as he walked past me. He looked back over his shoulder, shook his head, and proceeded into the bathroom, while I headed back with a grin on my face. The poor guy never considered that declaring someone looking realistic enough to be shot would be taken as a compliment!

Maybe for my next post, I’ll tell y’all about the German vet who came to visit our camp, and his views on our bicycles – or maybe the time we froze to death in southern Indiana….

Posted in Humor, Military History | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

The End of This Blog is Near.

No, people, this isn’t going to be a funny post. It will not have my usual bits of humour in it. This is serious stuff.

While it hasn’t been confirmed yet, it looks like Trump will be our next president. If that happens, it is the end of this blog, and quite likely my wife and I. Hyperbole? Nope, and here’s why.

  1. Obamacare covers my every-3-months doctor visit and my meds. Without it, which Trump has sworn to end, I have no way to pay for my meds. I cannot live without my medications, period.
  2. Our electric bill is subsidised as we are low-income home owners. Without that subsidy, we can’t afford A/C in the summer. Without A/C, my headaches will be hugely worse, and it will be very difficult to heat this house.
  3. My wife’s income would have given us retirement money with a pay raise, even if not the full $15/hour that Hillary had talked about. With Trump, her raises will be next to nothing, far too little to cover our sharply increased costs due to cancelled assist programs. No retirement savings to fall back on, so basically, we’re flat-ass broke and will have to sell this house, for money just to live.

Not to mention the economic depression which will hit this area that is highly dependent on welfare, food stamps, and other state and federal aid. This area of Ohio will lose BIG amounts of money, yet these assholes voted for Trump. (No apologies for the language – I am sick to my stomach and headache-racked right now).

So if tomorrow ends up with the US under Trump, I will be signing off. We’re going to have to start cutting costs immediately. No Internet, no satellite TV for news or to keep me sane, we’ll even have to ration our power use. I won’t be able to talk to you again, to write my silly posts or make stupid comments on your blogs. I’ll miss you guys, all of you, even the silent readers who just dropped me likes.

I am so ashamed to call myself an American. The USA has committed a gross act of stupidity. And I’m gonna have to pay for it. I don’t know what else to say. See you all tomorrow, one way or the other.

Posted in Current Events, Politics | Tagged , | 19 Comments

Yes! YES!! AAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!

Or, as John Belushi in the “Blues Brothers” would say, “Yes! Yes! Jesus H. Tap-Dancin’ Christ! I have seen the light!”

What a bloody hard week it’s been. Filtering out sports updates out of my newsfeeds, changing channels to avoid any information, literally bending over backwards to NOT curse my Cubbies. But now, finally, for the first time in 108 years, the Cubs have won the World Series! CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN! Holy Cow! (That one’s for you, Harry, God luv ya!)

Now, I do have to do a bit of confession. I’ve muttered a number of times about my “Star Trek” episodes getting delayed or cancelled by Cubs games. And yes, I’ve sat in Wrigley Field and thought the beautiful park was wasted on baseball. But when you’re born in Chicago, they automatically hook you into either the Northside club (Cubs) or the Southside losers … er .. club (White Sox). I’ve been too Wrigley several times, and I do have a very, very warm spot for the old park. If you gotta play baseball, Wrigley is perfection – the sun-drenched bleachers, warm beer, cold hot dogs, and hundreds of wretches you’d never even look at out on the street, all packed into one place with a collective conscience. I think the Bleacher Bums inspired the Borg – if you sit out there, you WILL be assimilated, and you WILL be rooting for the Cubs, never mind how much you might dislike the leisurely pace of the game. If you’ve never been to such a tight-knit community, picture the roar of the crowd at the bloodiest Coliseum gladiatorial games of Ancient Rome. You come home hoarse, deaf, and literally vibrating. It’s like a rock concert, only far more insane and far less predictable.

So now I can finally breathe again. And while I am FAR more of a Bears fan (American football), I’ve always had that built-in love for my hometown perennial underdogs. So here’s to the boys of summer, that ivy-walled beauty, and everybody associated with the now-World-Series-champion Chicago Cubs!But beware of odd happenings in the next few days, ’cause Satan will be freezing his ASS off! Yeah! (cue the music) “Go Cubs, Go! Go Cubs, Go! Hey Chicago, whaddaya say? The Cubs are gonna win today!”

Posted in Current Events, Sports | Tagged , | 14 Comments

Gah! I’ve Got Chick Cancer!

No, no, I’m not sick (anymore than usual), the title is a reference to a “Family Guy” epsiode, in which the lead character finds himself enjoying “chick flicks”.

Now, you must realise I still love my sci-fi. There’s always room for a good adventure flick, and war movies will always have a place in my heart. But I’ve realised that, ever so slowly, I’ve started liking so-called “chick flicks”, films full of human drama that are supposed to be aimed at the ladies.

It’s not all my fault. One of the great contributors to my newfound disease is Dame Helen Mirren. You’ve got to admit, that is one HECK of a contributor! Just as great today as she was 50 years ago, and still a gorgeous woman to boot. One of the hottest film scenes, in my humble opinion, is in the movie RED. There stands Helen, in a white evening gown, flawless hair and makeup, blazing away with a fifty-calibre machine gun. Beautiful women competently handling heavy artillery is always a win in my book – no bimbos in bikinis frightened by a .22 semi-auto, thank you. Gimme Michele Rodriguez flying an attack helo in “Avatar” ANY day! (See, I do still appreciate war and action sci-fi films!)

So I guess I’m getting old. Human interaction is trying to replace rapid-fire action. I guess this means I’m finally … (sob) … growing up! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!

OH, look, “Patton” is on later. World War Two, baby! Woohoo! 😀

Posted in Humor, Movies and Films | Tagged , | 4 Comments

I’m Gonna Burst! or, Fill In The Blank.

Those of you who have followed me for a while (all what, 2 or 3 of ya? You’re nuts, and I luvs ya all!) know I’m not big into sports, except for various forms of auto racing. You also know I think of baseball as a better (and safer) sedative than Ambien. You also know I’m a HUGE jonah, an albatross, the biggest jinx to any sports team I do happen to follow. A few years back, I rooted for England to win the World Cup, and they went down faster and in more flames than the Hindenburg!

But I’m also a proud Chicagoan, and since I was born on the … um …  not South Side, I feel a love for the … er … a certain team playing … uh …. a famous summer past-time. And here I am, proud as a peacock that the certain .. team that shall rename nameless has made it all the way to … well, where they haven’t been “since the year we dropped The Bomb on Japan”, as Steve Goodman once sang. I want to root for my … ah …. sports team playing at a certain venue named after a chewing gum maker. I want to see them win the … argh …. Big Game, and bring the trophy back to my beloved Windy City. But if I say their name, I’m scared to death I’ll curse them just like the guy with the … em …. cloven-hoofed animal of which species I am fond. So how the heck can I crow about their recent victory in the … oof … lead up to the big game, and cheer them to win the entire … yah! …. grouping of final games?

So here’s to my beloved … group of players of an unmentioned sport. They have already undone a losing streak since … grr … the year of VE and VJ day. Now onto overcoming a dry spell that has lasted … mmm …. since almost twice as long as I’ve been alive! Go get ’em, … uh …. my hometown not-Southside players of a massively sleep-inducing game!

Damn, I think I broke something. I better go check out the drug Cu … (Man, that was close!) cabinet – CABINET! (Crap, the next few weeks are gonna be HELL! 😀 )

Posted in Current Events, Humor, Sports | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

I’ve Outdone Captain Kirk!

It’s rare for a fan to be able to put himself into the shoes of a beloved character from a future, fictional television show. It’s rarer still to be able to claim to have one-upped that character. But just this evening, I realised that I have indeed outdone Captain James T. Kirk!

Yeah, yeah, I know. As Ricky Ricardo would say, I’ve “got some ‘splainin’ to do”. (This is where the bragging starts. The staff highly recommends you tune out know. Anyone staying does so at their own risk.)

During the original series of “Star Trek”, first season, there is an episode called “The Naked Time”, where an alien disease causes people to lose emotional control. Kirk’s line is to complain about loving the Enterprise, and the fact that the ship keeps him from loving a human (or any given alien, knowing Kirk) woman. In particular, he bemoans never having “a beach to walk on”. Later, while on the bridge and still suffering the disease, he looks longingly at Yeoman Janice Rand, and says “no beach to walk on” under his breath.

Yes, I’ve outdone him! In particular, I got the once-in-a-lifetime chance to, quite literally, walk along a beach in Ensenada, Mexico, with the 20-years-older-but-still-ravishing Grace Lee Whitney, the actress who played Yeoman Rand.

So suck it, Kirk! I got your beautiful woman AND a beach to walk along with her. In your 300-years-in-the-future FACE!!

(Thank you for your time and patience. We now return you to reality, already in progress.)

Posted in Humor, Romance, Science Fiction, TV Stars | Tagged , , | 10 Comments