POTUS

May 24, 2017

rushmoreI was born in 1949 when Harry S. Truman (1945-1953) was POTUS. I was too young to remember him in any way but history tells me that he is the President responsible for using nuclear weapons to end the war with Japan and he lead us into the Korean conflict. I don’t want to second guess his decisions but most people of my generation (Baby Boomers) think that using the Atom Bomb shortened the war and saved significant lives.

I grew up enough to remember seeing Dwight David Eisenhower (1953-1961) on TV. I like Ike. He was quite popular for his military background. He is credited with creating the Interstate Highway System which by design was created for military troop and supply movements. His lack of enforcement of the Supreme Court’s mandate for the desegregation of schools was his only significant failure. It was a battle he chose not to fight.

In my lifetime this was the only Democratic President I fully supported. John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1961-1963) wasn’t perfect and history shows he had many faults but he pushed America into the space age which was a very good thing in my humble opinion. Bay of Pigs, not so much. I also remember the Cuban Missile Crisis and his bold Navy blockade. I’m clapping my hands for that move right now… He should never have been assassinated.

(-)The successor to JFK and the biggest asshole in the white house ever was Lyndon Baines Johnson (1963-1969). Arm chair quarterback of the Vietnam war this jackass didn’t have a winning strategy. In my opinion he had no strategy and should never have been POTUS.

(+)Richard Milhous Nixon (1969-1974) will never be remembered for establishing better relations with China, he will never be remembered for finally brining an end to the farce in Vietnam. Nope, he will only be remembered for the Watergate break in that forced him to resign. Sad…

(+)This vice president was thrust into power to fill the vacancy created by Tricky Dick’s resignation. Gerald Rudolph Ford (1974-1977) wasn’t a great POTUS but he wasn’t a terrible President either. He just did nothing except to pardon former President Nixon. This single act was necessary but likely cost him the election against Carter.

(-)When you live through the Iran hostage crisis, gasoline shortages and a failed rescue attempt you must give credit to James Earl Carter, Jr. (1977-1981). Thankfully he only served one term and was arguably the worst POTUS in history… He would become the 2nd worst POTUS as a future President claims the 1st spot.

(+)Two term Republican POTUS, Ronald Wilson Reagan (1981-1989). Is my hero. His “Star Wars” initiative was responsible for helping to bring down the Berlin Wall and break up the Soviet Union thus ending the Cold War. It all came down to money. The money it would have cost the Soviets to keep pace was too much for them. Reagan lowered taxes and stimulated the economy in a huge way. No POTUS goes through office without controversy and Reagan’s was Iran-Contra… look it up.

(+)George Herbert Walker Bush (1989-1993) “read my lips, no new taxes” and this promise was broken. This single act caused him to be a single term POTUS. When Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein launched an invasion and occupation of Kuwait, Bush organized a military coalition of more than 30 countries. Operation Desert Storm ended in late February with Iraq’s defeat and Kuwait’s liberation, but many feel it stopped short and Hussein should have been eliminated.

(-)I never had any respect for William Jefferson Clinton (1993-2001). I think he is one of the most corrupt POTUS to ever serve. I’m always amazed at his “popularity” and the fact that he was a two term POTUS. If you want more info on this President I suggest Wikipedia or Google.

(+)George Walker Bush (2001-2009) had to deal with the aftermath of the “9-11” terrorist strike on NYC, the Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania. While I respect Bush for some of his decisions we sacrificed too much freedom in the interest of security. Hurricane Katrina was mishandled in perception if not in reality and Bush’s popularity never recovered. This likely help elect the next Democratic POTUS.

(-)Barack Hussein Obama (2009-2017) I refuse to discuss this horrible POTUS. I’m still surprised that he was elected twice. If you want more info on this, the worst POTUS in history (IMHO) look it up but since he is the most recent former POTUS you probably won’t need to.

(+)Donald John Trump (2017-????) Some good things have happened but it is too soon to know how this POTUS will do. The Democrats and some Republicans as well as the most recent former POTUS are all working against him so it’s not going to be easy for him.

(+) I voted for (-) I voted against

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Numbers

May 18, 2017

numbersThis is not a math lesson. This it just a BLOG post about numbers. Thinking about the numbers you should remember and some you must remember. There are so many numbers rolling around in our heads it’s a miracle that we are able to recall them as needed but for many of us we can and do. I recently woke up in the wee hours to use the bathroom and the big digital clock displayed 3:43 and I instantly recalled that being the number of Firefighters lost on 9-11-2001. I used to have a need to get up early for work and on occasion my first look at that clock it would read 4:05 my first submarine USS Sea Owl SS405. The conscious and subconscious mind is amazing, especially when it comes to numbers.  Here’s what is for sure only a partial list for me:

  • Social Security
  • Phone
  • Street Address
  • Former Address
  • Numbers that are part of passwords
  • Gun safe
  • Driver’s license
  • Dates
    • Birthdates
    • Wedding Anniversaries
    • 9-11 (2001)
    • 12/7/1941
    • Date entered the Navy
    • Date separated from the Navy
  • 343 (Firefighters lost 9/11/2001)
  • 405 USS Sea Owl (I served on)
  • 659 USS Will Rogers (I served on)

And the list goes on. What is the social significance of the post about numbers? I don’t know I just had a serious urge to write about numbers. I’m sure many of you have seen this on Facebook:

7H15 M3554G3 53RV35 70 PR0V3 HOW 0UR M1ND5 C4N D0 4M4Z1NG 7H1NG5!

Numbers

April Weather

April 11, 2017

WeatherSo welcome to Spring in the Midwest more specifically Western Michigan. Yeah we had 2 days of 70°+temperatures and sunshine. Then a line of thunderstorms rolls through and poof, 45° and the furnace is running again. Gas prices change just as fast. Hovering around the $2.00 per gallon mark and then overnight poof, $2.50+. Change is inevitable but drastic change always grabs people’s attention. I’m not sure why that is but even as I have reached retirement age I’m still surprised by drastic change and I have seen many. So the question is (for many people at least) is this “climate change” (formerly known as global warming). It was pretty astute for the leftists to rename it climate change since the climate is constantly changing. But as far as “man made climate change” I’m a non-believer. I don’t agree with the premise that we humans have the kind of power it takes to affect this kind of change to our climate. If we actually had the kind of power to change the weather and it’s patterns wouldn’t we eliminate drought? What about floods? This carbon footprint and fossil fuel hatred by the left really makes no sense. Oil is created from the decay of once living organisms and is a “natural” “organic” process. To refine oil into a myriad of petroleum products is an extension of that organic process. I marvel at the ignorance of some on the left (or is it stupidity) regarding the use of fossil fuels to make our lives better without destroying our planet. Can we fly from coast to coast on a vehicle that is powered by the sun or the wind? Or should we abandon the idea of fast travel altogether. Nuclear power is the only serious contender to the power of fossil fuels and yet it is not suitable to power flying machines.

Should we return to the West Coast smog of the 60s? Hell no. I think many of the improvements we have made in cleaning our environment are good. I like the idea of clean air and clean water and clean food free of harmful elements. The ideas of changing the type of refrigerants we are allowed to use and the restrictions on fossil fuels that the left would like to implement are extreme and will have not enough, if any positive effects on our quality of life here on earth. I like modern technology and the things that we humans have developed in this country in the past 100 years. Being responsible for our behavior is basic decency. I believe like the Boy Scouts, when camping, leave the forest or camping area in better shape than you found it. Make it such that no one would know you had been there. So let’s all make our world a better place for our children’s children’s children without driving society back to the days of wagon trains.

Projects At The Coast of Gowen

March 30, 2017

IMG_3722Ever since we retired and moved to our lake home there has been no shortage of projects. It began with adding a large “three season” room on the front. In the process rotted wood along the front wall was discovered necessitating jacking up the roof and walls so that a new sill plate could be installed. This destroyed the drywall in the front living room and front bedroom. So while this was being done Paula and I were building a 16′ x 20′ Garden shed behind the barn. Then we had a guy come in and hang new drywall in the living room after we did the demolition to the damaged drywall. He also repaired the drywall in the front bedroom. In order to finish the living room we cut through the wall to the kitchen to make it larger and more open. Once the new room construction was complete Paula and I finished the interior – ceiling, walls, trim and capping it all with new carpet including the living room and front bedroom. Her son and daughter-in-law came and finished some of the drywall to complete the living room and did a better job than the “pro”.

Now at the same time we were trying to condense two homes into one (still ongoing) and the garage is a mess and the barn is full. Oh yeah, the barn. We installed a large overhead shelf for storage along one 32′ side wall and the 24′ back wall. After the garden shed project we partitioned a 10′ by 24′ area of the barn for my woodworking shop. Paula and I built the walls and insulated it and her daughter Kim (the NCAA gymnastic champ) climbed through the trusses above the room and installed insulation for us. The shop needs a bunch of projects to make it functional including a workbench and a miter saw stand.

I’m concentrating my effort in the garage in order to make it useful. The photo above is a small slice of the organization in progress. Once it’s done the garage “shop” area will be very useful to complete the rest of the project list. That list includes demo of the dinning room and kitchen and renovation of both. Then I can concentrate on getting the barn organized for its intended uses which is to store the pontoon in the winter and to house the functional woodworking shop.

I forgot to mention the driveway upgrade and landscaping projects, but I’ll save that for another posting. So we have our work cut out for us… Retired indeed!

Winter in Michigan

March 20, 2017

Picture from a few years back

Well apparently this was a mild winter for Western Michigan. My neighbor who has lived on this lake for over 20 years is my source for this information. I got a picture from him a few years back that showed a pretty big pile of snow (drift) on our driveway. We bought this place in 2005 and used it during the nice weather (April to October) as a weekend and vacation place. Our plan was always to move here permanently once we retired. Well we moved here finally on May 13, 2016.

Condensing two homes into one has been challenging and we are still working on it. Meanwhile, we had a big room added on and had the entire outside redone. Lots of improvements and we couldn’t be happier. The first thing I did was purchase a decent snow blower anticipating conditions similar to that picture.

I bought it in May and stored it all summer but in the middle of October I moved it to the garage staging it inside the second door and had it ready to go. I got to use it a few times in December and it works great. But since the first of the year we’ve only had a few snow events and none were significant enough to fire it up. I’m not complaining but I was surprised. I like to be prepared for anything.

A more significant event was two weeks ago when a storm rolled through that was a high wind event toppling trees and large branches. We didn’t lose any trees in our yard but we did lose power for several days. This was the longest power outage I have experienced since the East Coast blackout back in the 60s. I have a generator and had the electrician install a manual transfer interlock installed. We had problems and I traced out what I could but ultimately I had the electrician come back to figure it out. He found and fixed the problem and we were in business. We had heat and water and the food was safe. No matter how prepared you think you are it’s impossible to cover every possibility.

The Magic Green Hat

March 17, 2017

I needed to go to the emergency room for a pain in my side. Not wanting to sit there for several hours, I put on my MAGIC GREEN HAT.

When I went into the E.R., I noticed that 3/4 of the people in the room got up and left. I guess they decided that they weren’t that sick after all. It cut at least 3 hours off my waiting time.

 

 

Here’s the hat:

magic hat

It also works at Dept. of Motor Vehicles. It saved me several hours.
 
At the Laundromat, three minutes after entering, I had my choice of any machine, most still running.
 
It might also cut your wait time at the grocery store.
 
But…don’t try it at McDonald’s…
The whole crew ran out the back door and I never did get my coffee

Handgun Review

March 13, 2017

I am “into” guns. I’m not a gun nut but I do believe that we have an inalienable right to self defense Xdmod2and that would include any and all legal means. The one thing I have learned is that the best gun to own is the one you will carry or the one you are comfortable using. You need to be able to use a gun in a high stress situation as if it were an extension of you.

Some time back I reviewed my Smith & Wesson M&P Shield. There is only one reason I sold the Shield, it has a manual safety. I did not realize that Smith & Wesson offered this gun without a manual safety. I have since sold that gun and moved to this Springfield Armory XD-9 Mod.2 sub-compact handgun. While Springfield Armory is an American manufacturer this gun is produced in Croatia and believe me when I say the fit and finish is excellent. The standard magazine hold 13 rounds of 9mm ammunition so with one in the chamber this gun is ready to fire 14 rounds. The magazine shown in the photo is a 16 round version. So if you carry this gun with the standard magazine plus a round in the chamber and a spare 16 round magazine you have 30 rounds ready to go. If that’s not enough you are somewhere you shouldn’t be.

Let me discuss guns with safety mechanisms. I love revolvers but as I got older the arthritis in my hands makes it difficult to reload under stress. The revolver has no safety. The relatively heavy double action trigger serves that roll. I have a revolver and I carry it sometimes. I train often and I need consistency. I don’t want to think about switching my safety off.  I own several handguns and none of them have a manual safety. I especially like this gun because it is very safe to carry. If you look at the back of the grip it has what is called a grip safety much like the popular 1911s have. You have to have a grip on the gun for it to operate. The trigger is a safe-action trigger much like the famous and popular Glock handguns have. So if I drop this handgun it will not go off. I don’t recommend dropping it to test that out.

This handgun is very comfortable in my hand. It is a smooth shooter as well. The only thing I changed were the sights. I put a set of night sights on it shortly after I bought it and I find them to be great no matter what the lighting is. Target acquisition is quick, so followup shots are no problem. This gun is easy enough to conceal carry but is big enough with the double stacked magazines to provide plenty of fire power and makes a great “house” gun. This is my number one gun of choice and is almost always on my hip. If you have an opportunity to shoot one I’d like to hear about your experience.

The United States Government

March 6, 2017

type-government-united-states_c747e430102f5554

Question: What type of government does the United States have?

Answer: As a constitutional republic, the United States government is controlled by its Constitution, which sets forth the relative political power of the people, the federal government and the state governments. As a federal republic, the power ultimately sits with the people through their ability to elect their federal and state representatives. The federal government is restricted by the sharing of power with the states as delineated in the Constitution. Although some people like to call the United States a democracy, this is technically not the case because people do not directly control legislation, but only do so through their elected representatives. (Source: https://www.reference.com)

So the question I have for the citizens of the United States of America is, what type of government do you want to try now? Right now we have rights as guaranteed by the constitution. We can speak our mind, we can practice a religion of our choosing or none at all, we can own guns, equal opportunity for all, we can own property. Capitalism is our form of economy where government restrictions are limited. Many places in the world the economy is dictated by the government. I believe we the people have the right to decide what we can and will do.

Training is important but college is not necessarily the best way to go, not for everyone. I went from High School into the US Navy. I got some useful skills from that experience and translated that into a career. After I was married and working I went to college and earned an associate degree. It helped me in my upward climb in my chosen field. We all have these opportunities and those who make smart choices get ahead. There are those who look for the easy way. There are those who consider it the governments’ obligation to care for them.

That my friends is socialism and in the extreme communism. There is no such thing as a free lunch. The government has NO money. It is our money that we pay to the government in the form of taxes. The government uses tax money for a wide variety of programs. The purpose of the federal government as conceived by our founding fathers was to PROTECT its citizens and defend our country from all comers. Little by little the federal government found new ways to spend OUR money. Social program after social program slowly but surely has put us in debt. That debt keeps growing at an alarming rate. The work force is substantially smaller so the tax base is lower and yet the government keeps on spending.

This is Socialism and it is slowly destroying us. Is this what you want? Do we want those who have gainful employment to support a part of society too lazy to get off their asses and find a job to support themselves? Living in mama’s basement at age 30+ is not a sign of success.

The America I grew up in (50s & 60s) had many challenges. There was the Vietnam war which was not a popularly supported situation. There were serious racial problems as well. There was the hippie movement, Woodstock and Kent State. Look them up. Below the surface despite all the issues there was a strong sense of patriotism. We said the Pledge of Allegiance in school. America was not Godless like it is now. I don’t care what your religious beliefs are but don’t lose respect. I have found that I can tolerate many things but it’s increasingly getting more and more difficult to tolerate disrespect. The hot button issues of late are, Black Lives Matter (based on a lie), LGBTQ (RSTU…), Politicizing the awards shows to the point where I refuse to watch them. And now the Russians, what is with all the Russian influence talk? It’s all such a distraction and I think that’s the plan. The leftists continue to lose seats at all levels of government including the Presidency and this is how they move their agenda. It’s called slight of hand.

So what kind of government do you want?

Music To My Soul

February 27, 2017

file-feb-27-7-13-26-amRecently I posted my top 10 albums of all time on Facebook. These are my picks not Billboard’s or Rolling Stone Magazine’s. These are so much my favorites that it didn’t take long to compile the list. One of my submarine shipmates commented how difficult it is to pick albums and he’s right. Picking your favorite songs would be much easier. I assumed that an album to make my list needs to be one that I would listen to from start to finish without hitting the >> button. So with that in mind let me drill down into my picks just a bit. So here is the list.

  1. Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd
  2. Abraxas – Santana
  3. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin
  4. Led Zeppelin IV – Led Zeppelin
  5. Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles
  6. 1 – The Beatles
  7. 40 Licks – The Rolling Stones
  8. The Wall – Pink Floyd
  9. Animals – Pink Floyd
  10. Legend – Bob Marley

 

“Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd is number one because it is an album that was and is the one that I believe is the pinnacle of Pink Floyd’s run. The album flows where one song’s ending is the next songs beginning. I believe the only way to listen to this album is straight through. In vinyl you have to stop midway and flip the album over but all my music is in MP3 format and I stitched this album together to become one solid file. That’s the only way to listen to DSOTM. It will always be my favorite album.

“Abraxas” by Santana makes the list for a number of reasons. It was not Santana’s first album but for me it is their best work in my opinion. My dad bought this album for me for Christmas 1970. It was on cassette tape and was far from something I would expect him to know about. The cover alone made me wonder how in the world he would by that for me. This was released in 1970 while I was in the Navy and I must have mentioned it somewhere along the line. The cassette wore out and I have since replaced it with an MP3 version but it will always be a gift from dad.

“Led Zeppelin (I)” and “Led Zeppelin IV” are my to favorite Led Zeppelin albums. No group crushes the Blues into Hard Rock the way Led Zeppelin does. Their music has stood the test of time and for a group who never had a number 1 hit this is quite an accomplishment with their best hit being “Whole Lotta Love” reaching number 4. That song is not even on my two favorite albums. Once again I say that I can listen to these two albums straight through without lifting the needle (vinyl lingo).

“Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” by the Beatles is one of their best creations in that is sells itself as a rock and roll symphony. Like DSOTM one song flows into the next. It was a departure from all their previous work and is a standout worthy of anyone’s top 10 list. Heck, the title alone should have won a Grammy.

“1” by the Beatles is a compilation that showcases most of their number 1 hits. This may seem like cheating but it is an official release and an album I can listen to from start to finish and feel good afterwards. what can you say about the Beatles except they were great.

“40 Licks” by the Rolling stones fits the bill similar to the previously mentioned Beatles album. It is an official release and it is a compilation. I would have a hard time choosing a Rolling Stones album to put on this list because I can’t recall any that I could listen to without skipping a song or 2 or 3, with the possible exception of “12 x 5”. This very talented British band is solidly on my list with this album.

Probably my favorite group is Pink Floyd and the two albums that occupy the number 8 and 9 spot are both favorites of mine. Once more these albums flow like a river through the ears into the brain seamlessly. “Animals” will always make my list as a brilliant piece of work. Roger Waters out did himself with “The Wall” pushing the boundaries of the mind into a double album of talented composing and producing. Yeah, great stuff.

Finally Bob Marley rolls in with “Legend”, a 1984 compilation that defines the man as the best reggae artist of all time in my opinion. I have listened to this album so often that if you play the tunes in a different order I will know it. Bob Marley died at age 36 in 1981 and I truly wish he had lived longer just to know what might have been.

There are plenty of albums that I could add to this list pushing it to 50 or more. Albums that are the ones you can cue up and listen to nonstop with no regrets. This is my top 10 and while you may have a totally different list these albums will arguably make any rock and roll aficionado’s list at some point. Of that I am confident.

My Daily Flag on Facebook

February 20, 2017
flag01

Flag in my yard

Some time back a fellow US Submarine Veteran asked that we all post a picture of the US Flag on our Facebook pages often if not daily. This shows support, respect as well as patriotism for our country. I accepted the challenge and I post a picture along with “God Bless America, long live the Republic” every day without fail. Then I got the idea to include “On this day in History” with it. I would try to mix it up by doing different wars or politics and sometimes celebrities or sports figures. I did this for several months and then added “Today’s Birthday” where I would include a notable birthday for that day.

During the month of February I took a break from that since it is Black History month and began posting famous quotes. I didn’t feel an urge to single out one race all month. I suppose it was an effort to avoid being called a racist but that is just silly. I’m a white, middle class, male over 65 years old so I am a racist by definition, but that’s a subject for a different day.

The pictures of our flag initially came from the internet, some that I took and a few that my friend and shipmate, Bob D’Amico sent to me. Eventually I am replacing any from the internet and those that Bob sent with ones I have taken. Some that I’ve taken admittedly suck but my composition is getting better. When ever I see flags flying I want to pull over and take the picture. I do that when it is practical but eventually I want to get out my good camera and compose better pictures.

Beginning in March I am going back to history posts with my flag pictures but I will be concentrating on early American history and politics. If I don’t find anything interesting from our history for a given day I will post a quote. The one thing I have learned is that you can’t please everyone all the time. There’s always that person who can find fault with something I post and I’ve gotten used to it and deal with it or ignore it. I’m not going to bother with famous (or infamous) birthdays any longer.

So I offer this suggestion to all (both?) who read my blog, say the Pledge of Allegiance every day. Fly a flag in your yard or post a flag picture on your page. You don’t have to add any lengthy text just the picture will do. We all can make America what we remember it to be, the land of freedom!