Archive for February, 2017

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.

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My Daily Flag on Facebook

February 20, 2017
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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!

Boycotts in America

February 13, 2017

top-10-reasons-to-boycott-companies-that-use-child-labor-e1447200997399Last week I promised to explain what “Five 14 Responding” was about. Well at the age of 34 I began a 20 year (2nd) career with the North Aurora Fire Department. I quickly became an EMT-A and Firefighter I eventually becoming a Firefighter II and a Paramedic. I became a lieutenant and my number was 519 and then I was promoted to Captain and my number changed to 514. All officers took turns being the duty officer for a week which meant that from early evening until the work day started the duty officer would or should be the first on the scene for any calls whether fire or ambulance. The first thing I would say on the radio was “Five 14 Responding” and now you know.

Now about those Boycotts…

It seems lately that if something or someone crosses a large group that group demands a “Boycott”. Case in point: Colin Kaepernick is a backup quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL. He decided to disrespect our flag during the National Anthem prior to the start of every game starting during preseason games. Like many NFL fans I Boycotted the entire NFL season, not because Kaepernick did this but because Roger Goodell who is currently the Commissioner of the National Football League did nothing about it thereby, supporting his actions with his silence. Colin wasn’t alone as many others joined in including some High School players. Everyone has the right to protest but an employer can restrict this behavior from the work place and Goodell did not. Was the boycott effective? Some reports were that the attendance was down and TV viewership was down across all games all season but picked up during the playoffs and Super Bowl. I watched the Super Bowl replay the day after and I watched my beloved Giants in a losing effort in the playoffs these were the only games I watched.

It seems now that many more boycotts are being called for to include products and services provided by Trump supporters, certain liberal actors and celebrities, Black Lives Matter, police and LEOs, military you name it and there is a boycott. Even the women’s movement (which I truly don’t understand) is calling for boycotts. If enough people band together and boycott a product or service it can have a profound effect. The problem is that with so many boycotts being called for the groups are small and largely ineffective.

I’m boycotting Budweiser for its commercial depicting immigrants being picked on back in the day. It was total bull shit. But this boycott is an easy one for me because I don’t like their beer to begin with. If I were to boycott every actor, singer or TV celebrity I disagree with my entertainment choices would be knocked down to “Blue Bloods” and country music. I guess my advice about boycotts is this, choose wisely. Make sure you are really passionate about the cause and make sure it is justified. Remember that if it is successful many people can be affected by it. If a company suffers enough they may actually go out of business only adding to the unemployment crisis we see now in this country. When comparing boycotts to the violence in the streets that we are seeing around the world the choice is a no-brainer.

I’ve Been Busy

February 6, 2017

635945179805942255129741197_originalSo I’ve been too busy to blog but not too busy to Facebook, hmm! So I decided to throttle back on Facebook and make a weekly blog entry here on “Five 14 Responding”. So let me bring you up to date.

I retired! That’s big!! That’s huge!!! It’s been interesting for sure. We relocated from the People’s Republic of Illinois to the great state of Michigan. We sold our home there and put the proceeds into upgrading our former summer home. We had a 16′ x 22′ three season room added but in reality it is in use 24/7, 365. I’m sitting in that room right now with my laptop. I can watch the lake or the birds out back from this location. Love it! We had the exterior redone with new vinyl siding, new roofing and new gutter system. There was some rot here and there and all of that was reworked by our excellent contractor/builder. We had to have the electric service relocated to accommodate the new room so at that time we upgraded to 200 amp and added a panel in the barn for my woodworking shop. We (Paula and I with some help from Kim and Chad) built a 12 x 16 shed for all the outside tools and the garden tractor. We did hire out the shingling of the roof since I’m too old “fo dat”. We finished the inside of the new room ourselves and redid the living room and front bedroom due to drywall damage caused by the front wall rot that was repaired. We had some help with the drywall since I hate it. So we don’t “feel” retired. Actually, up until the Christmas holidays we were busier than when we were gainfully employed.

Here in February I am trying to get motivated to get the garage organized and then attack the barn to get it setup for serious woodworking. I have a back log of projects.

We had a very busy and nasty presidential campaign season that went on forever and ended up with an upset win by President Donald J Trump. Now the left seems to be having serious trouble getting over Hillary Rodham Clinton’s defeat even though she took the lead in the popular vote she was campaigning in the wrong places allowing Trump to capture the electoral college which in this country is what counts. I think we are all sick of politics and political correctness so for me Trump is a breath of fresh air. So I have abandoned politics on Facebook because it is overwhelming. My blog may contain my opinions and you do not have to read it.

I have more guns and ammo than I need so I’m going to pare down my collection to what I consider the basics for home and personal defense and a little fun stuff too. My 12 gauge shot gun is loaded with #1 buck shot and ready for any intruders and that coupled with a 9mm Springfield “XD Mod 2” comprise my home defense. I think that should cover anything short of a full on ISIS attack. For that I have a Ruger Mini-14 which replaced my AR-15. AR-15s are the “scary” assault rifles you see in the press as the most evil of guns. Of course this is total bullshit but the left is what it is. I have a couple concealed carry options and that is where I will need to make some decisions. I desperately need some time at the range.

I now can feed the birds here in Michigan full time. I have a good group of clients that do their best to empty my feeders. I get 3 different woodpeckers, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Finches and sparrows year round along with a variety of migratory birds. I seem to have defeated the squirrel population since implementing my PVC pipe baffles. The birds love the variety of my feeders. I use sunflower hearts since the birds do not eat the shells which only makes a big mess I get more bang for the buck using hearts. I also use safflower, peanut splits and suet cakes. In the spring and summer I put out grape jelly which the Baltimore Orioles love.

My kids and her kids and the grandkids come to visit but not as often as we would like. We know they are all busy. The oldest granddaughter is a sophomore in college and the youngest just turned 12 so they all have school and sports that keep them all on the run constantly. We get it.

Next week I will explain what “Five 14 Responding” is all about along with some words of wisdom. So goodbye for now.