Thursday, December 12, 2013

Why Cop Shows Work Better Than Dramas.

Soap Operas. That's what happened to night time dramas. The formula works like this: You have a hero, and he/she has to deal with all the opposition to a peaceful life that comes at him. All well and good, except in a TV production, you can't have continuing characters on the "evil" side without allowing them to skate by many of the consequences of their actions.

On a Cop show, the good guys are the cops, and the bad guys are the opposition and they get caught and are either dead or go to jail. Sometimes they get away and come back, and sometimes they get out of jail and return, but largely, Villians on cop shows are guest actors. In a Drama show, you are trying to have villians and heroes who are on the shows for a while and many times the attempt is for more 3 dimensional characters so the bad guys slowly weave their destruction. But even when they are caught, they somehow stick around to cause more damage. Recently watched shows like Sons of Anarchy, Walking Dead, and a couple of others. The people who cause problems aren't just outed, like they would in real life, so they keep stirring things up.

Example. Walking dead. The main character has an old partner who is slowly going mad. Be fore he finally gets dispatched in season two, I think, he has done quite a few nasty things and soiled a lot of relationships and caused heartache constantly. There is a character who runs a small encampment that is discovered in one season and 1) the people following him never see how destructive he is, 2) Although he finally betrays all his people and kill or damage a lot of others, is still running around causing trouble seasons later.

Example. Castle. A person is killed, and though it takes a while to find out who the killer is, and though the killer might be smart enough to allude the cops or play with them a bit, eventually in a show or two, he is caught and killed or sent to jail. There is an ongoing story of someone who is trying to hurt the characters, but he isn't obvious and not in every episode.

In real life, it isn't very often someone is a trouble maker and all that person's acquaintances continue to spend time around them. Usually, even in the case of a family member, the people around them just go away and the person has to find new circles to cause their trouble in.

A couple of words about Christmas.

Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. One for each day of December. It's America and my blog. I can say it if I want.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


I'm just going to note here, that Nelson Mandela has died. He was a great man whose interest in freedom was felt across the Globe. The world was a better place from his being among us.

Who Let The Sun Dogs Out?

From Wikipedia:
Sundogs are commonly made by the refraction of light from plate-shaped hexagonal ice crystals in high and cold cirrus clouds or, during very cold weather, these ice crystals are called diamond dust, and drift in the air at low levels. These crystals act as prisms, bending the light rays passing through them with a minimum deflection of 22°. If the crystals are randomly oriented, a complete ring around the sun is seen — a halo. But often, as the crystals sink through the air, they become vertically aligned, so sunlight is refracted horizontally — in this case, sundogs are seen.

Today as the morning after the storm. There was a bit of snow fallen, but as usual in North Dakota, The problem is always the wind as it shifts the lay of the grainy powder. Most of our driveway was clear with some areas of about 3 inches along it, except near our Garage door. Because my truck was parked there, the blowing snow got caught in between the house, truck, and garage. We had a drift about a foot high stretching out maybe 10 - 15 feet. This required my shoveling it down so we could drive out. Once out, all was well as we ventured to the store and back.

It was a clear and therefore cold day today. Cold icy air after a storm like that is perfect for bringing the ice crystals that create sundogs. It was very pretty but of course, it was very cold with a windchill of -13.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Vast Progressive Conspiracy?

It just struck me. Hugh Laurie as House. Kevin McKidd as Owen Hunt. Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes. Daniel Craig as Jake Lonergan. Charlie Hunnan as Jackson Teller. I have no problem with non-Americans in TV and Films made in America, but I've noticed there is a trend for British actors to play Americans. It's great to see them conquer the American accent, But I wonder why it is suddenly so prevalent. There are many, many fine Americans trying to get that defining part. I'm really okay with the diversity of characters as witnessed in the original Star Trek series of the 60s. But they had an oriental play an oriental and a Russian play a Russian. As the series was recreated, this was done many times. But here we are talking about main characters in a series who are Americans played by non-Americans. We're not even talking about someone like Steven Yeun playing an Asian-American which he is, but a Foreign national playing a native born American and not a supporting role. This sounds bad, I know, and the actors I've mentioned are great at their job. It's just a trend I started to notice and wonder if there is an agenda behind it, or what it really is. What really pointed it out to me, was watching Sons of Anarchy, where the bikers are in Ireland and the actors are surrounded by Irish and British accents, and Hunnan's accent starts to slip. I don't know anything here, and I'm not trying to stir things up, I just noticed it and wondered.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Blogging for the sake of blogging.

December 2nd. I'm sitting here, surfing the web for who knows what. If you are reading this, here's something to try after you're finished. At the top of the page, there is a link that says "next blog". All Blogger blogs are linked somehow through a random engine. Click on it and see where it takes you. After a couple of tries, you might find a blog where someone is talking about something you care about. Fun and interesting.

It's been snowing a bit today. a dusting, but it could turn into something more by tomorrow. I started watching "The Walking Dead" a couple of weeks ago on Netflix, and reached the end of season 3. Season 4 is not available yet. I've decided it's a fun show. More about how people treat each other during a crisis than just a zombie movie. Unlike World War Z, the zombies just walk around until they become aware of someone, but they don't rush and swarm at people on the TV show as they do in that movie. They are just always around and a constant problem. The real bad guys are the ones who would use the opportunity to subjugate other people. Oh well.

I found out, that the lead actor, Andrew Lincoln, is British, and married to the daughter of Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson. huh.

Tomorrow is the 3rd. It is my sister Suzanne's birthday. Happy Birthday again, sis. She's living the dream in the land of coconuts, pineapples, and macadamia nuts. Not to metion the original Five-O. Book 'em, Danno.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A man I knew

He was born in Ohio. His birthday was in the last week of November, so every few years, it would fall on Thanksgiving. The man's family moved to California where he grew up and lived on the farm his dad worked. Around 1942, he joined the Army Air Corp. He was assigned at one time to England where he drove truck. He related stories of doing this as bombs fell from the skies.

He met a woman in a bar. He asked her to marry him. She told him she would never marry anyone who didn't know the answer to a particular riddle. He knew it. They were married the next week. The woman hated the man's first name and so she called him Steve. His Army buddies called him "Cyclone" They started a family with a little girl. Tragically, the girl died. He and his wife must have been devastated. I know what losing a child is like, I could not imagine if the child had been an infant or toddler. Their life was hard.

After WWII, Steve stayed in the Army and served during the Korea Conflict as it was called. He also served during the Cold war days of the Cuban missile Crisis. By this time, though, The Army Air Corp had become it's own branch of the US military, The Air Force. Steve transferred into the branch of the Air Force know as SAC -The Strategic Air Command. SACs duties were to provide defense for the nation as opposed to air strikes overseas.

The man was intelligent and a master of mechanics. His duties in the Air Force was running a mechanic crew repairing and maintaining aircraft. He was very skilled at other things such as electrical and plumbing. His final assignment was on Guam and finally in Washington State during the Vietnam War buildup. He retired there with 22 years in.

In Washington, he had eventually bought three houses and repaired them as rental property. Then, following a promise he and his wife had made during a visit to San Diego, he moved his family there. The times were hard and the man had developed a problem with alcohol. Looking back, a rough childhood under a strict father and/ or the heartbreak of losing a child. might have been the necessary emotional factors. There was some problems with his family as his Dad's family was totally against his marriage to a Catholic woman he only known a week and met in a bar. This along with his military service seemed to separate him from his family and he only occasionally saw any of them. He remained married for 25 years despite his going off the rails and his wife raised her children Catholic though the Church in those days disapproved of marriage with Protestants.

His wife got sick with heart disease and during an operation, contracted pneumonia and passed away. By this time, the boys were out of high school. One was serving in the USAF himself. The daughter was still young. The tragedies that followed the rest of his life were regrettable but no one was there to help him. His drinking had alienated most of his children as well. He suffered a stroke in 1990 about the same time he got his first grandchild. A heavy smoker, he had just quit a number of years before. He had just decided he didn't want to do it anymore. His life, however, was a social one surrounding his tavern life. He was known as a normally gentle, smart, and good humored man. After his stroke, he had a hard time getting around and withdrew deeper and deeper into himself. His children by this time had established solid lives and he was helped out by apartments provided by one son and daughter-in-law, and later general care and shopping by another. The one son had moved to another state, and as the man's health worsened with age, he was moved to where they lived and cared for by his son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren.

My Father Willard (Steve) E. McGlone, was a good but tragically flawed man. He did possess a heart as big as the open skies of North Dakota. He taught me mechanics. He taught me Chess. He taught me to shoot pool. He taught me that even the broken people are often full of love and caring. He despised no one and looked for the best in everyone. He taught me this, too.

He failed many times, but the memories I have of him, I cherish. Playing baseball as a five year old with other kids and parents in the neighborhood. sledding down the hill at Pease. Working on Buicks in the carport on Guam. Going on drives with him. swimming in a lake in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Watching and trying to help him refurbish houses. The month we spent without electricity after Typhoon Karen. When others had converted trash cans to BBQs, he built an oven/griddle/grill that was the envy of the neighborhood. We had eggs and pancakes for breakfast and hamburgers and steaks for dinner. Sitting in the house listening to rock and roll while we played chess, rummy or spades as a family. Fishing off a boat in Mission Bay. Yes, even drinking in a dark bar in the afternoon listening to him tell me his opinion on politics, considerably further right than I had imagined.

He had many faults. He also had strength and greatness. I miss him and I love him. His birthday is tomorrow. Happy Birthday, Dad.

Friday, November 22, 2013

11-22-63 - Briefly

I remember being on Guam. My little sister was almost two years old, and we had fully recovered from a devastating typhoon a year earlier. I found my mother sitting on her bed crying. I asked her what was the matter, and she showed me the newspaper. It declared the President had been shot and Vice President Johnson had taken over. This is my recollection of the events 50 years ago. "Has anybody seen my good friend, John?"

Susquehanna River visit.

Traveling home through Pennsylvania, we were to stop for breakfast. We pulled off the road where there was an assortment of restaurants. We wondered if there were more up the road, so we ventured on. What I've found on our travels is that there are gems everywhere. A couple of times, we've ignored our Garmin, checked out some road, and found something worth seeing.

This road we took, led across a bridge and up a hillside on a narrow two-lane road. Suddenly we saw a river through the trees. Then we passed a power plant. We stopped where we could, I got out and snapped some pictures. At this time, I usually look up on the map and then Google what we've seen and fall into stories of history and folklore. Here's what we found.

This from Wikipedia:
The Susquehanna River is a river located in the northeastern United States. At 464 miles (747 km) long, it is the longest river on the American east coast that drains into the Atlantic Ocean, and with its watershed it is the 16th largest river in the United States, and the longest river in the continental United States without commercial boat traffic today—for what navigations had been used to improve the waterway for barge shipping of bulk goods by water transport of the Pennsylvania Canal in the Canal Era were let go under the domination of the more flexible and much faster shipping measures under the railroad industry.

The nation's sixteenth largest river by volume, the Susquehanna flows through New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland into the Chesapeake Bay.


There on the river is the Shawville Power Plant. The plant is set to shut down in 2014. This is an old coal-fired plant that provides 600 megawatts of electricity for the people of Pennsylvania. The plant has been condemned as one of the most inefficient and dirty plants in the nation. The owners would like to upgrade the plant, but with all the newer and stricter eco regulations, they are now just planning to shut it down. I don't know the entire history of the plant, but I wonder how they are going to replace all the power and wonder how much politics and greed plays into it all. Still, the plant was interesting to see, and made for some great pictures.

Heading back to the highway, we were still in need of breakfast. We stopped at the Dutch Pantry. What a great little shoppe. Once they had over 100 units across the north east. Now, there are only three. Laurie remembers them from her childhood. Inside, the walls are covered with antique boxes, jars, canisters, and utensils. Laurie had phenomenal country fried steak, and I had a skillet. We also shared some great apple fritters.

This was a great break from our travels.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Boston - The cradle of American Freedom

(I did this yesterday, but somehow it didn't post)

We began our visits to Boston with a bus tour that included a water tour of Boston Harbor. After we parked the car, we walked to Faneuil Hall Square to buy the tickets and catch the boat. In front of the hall was a statue of the patriot Samuel Adams who designed a lot of Boston. Through the square were many stores and shops. The bar "Cheers" was there. We learned that the site of the bar used in the TV show was only a store, and this location was built to replicate the inside sets of the TV series. Our tour guide on the boat was a big funny Irishman who told great stories of history. Returning to land, The land bus took us around the city and described many historic and interesting places. We were told that when a renovation was started in Boston decades ago, the citizens passed a bill that the older buildings of the town could not be torn down, but only renovated. Also, a large section of the Harbor was filled in and the waterfront section of the city is all newer buildings.

Throughout the city is a trail of red bricks set Into the sidewalk. This Freedom Trail leads you around the city to all the historic places. The trail begins in Boston Commons, a great park, with Beacon Hill on one side. There is Robert Gould Shaw Memorial for the 54th regiment, the first free black regiment in the U.S. Army. The story of the 54th is told in the film, "Glory" with Matthew Broderick.

It's great walking through the city and seeing the contrast between the old and new buildings. We visited the Old South Meeting House where the town leaders had meetings about heir situation as a colony and planned the Boston Tea Party. Many of th booths and boxes were rented by specific people. We sat in the box of Benjamin Franklin. A powerful feeling.

We had dinner at Regina's Pizza. An historic restaurant started in 1926. Great pizza. On our exploration, we stopped by Fenway Park. There was a lot going on since it was just hours before the opening game of the World Series. There is a tavern connected to the park. We went in and there is some seating with a screened opening to the park. Great statues of Ted Williams who came from San Diego and was an important player for the Red Sox.

On our second day in Boston we toured Harvard University and the Museum of Natural History there. For lunch we had Fish (haddock) and chips at the Beantown pub. They serve a type of Sam Adams beer brewed specially for them.

We had a great time in Boston

Today - 11/22/13

We had the first snow that I've seen here in North Dakota. Just a dusting, I know there will be more. Had Eliza and her kiddies here for a couple of days. Noise and stress, but lots of fun and love. All the thick rows of trees here seem pretty sparse compared with the foliage of the North East. Going to Grand Forks for shopping today. I'll blog later some more about our trip.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The day before Holloween - Salem, Massachusetts.

October 30th. Salem, Massachusetts.

The day started with drizzle and clouds. It would eventually turn into a rather nice day for touristing. we parked the car and walked to the harbor our site. We bought tickets from a nice goth girl who actually seemed engaged. This is rare at tourist sites. We had time until the tour and went for breakfast as a local place. It was nice. The tour went through the harbor and we saw the five or so lighthouses that guide ships through the treacherous bay. The next visit was to the Pirate Museum. There is a rich history of pirates and such shenanigans here. The museum is a walk through lecture on colorful characters. We enjoyed t, but it wasn't really much.

there is a walking tour through the town where you follow a red line to see all the sites on the tour. As we walked to the beginning of the tour, we passed the statue of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Salem's most famous citizen.

On the Salem walk, we saw many historic locations. The Sanders house where Alexander Graham Bell made many inventions and discoveries with the financial help of Mrs. Mary Ann Sanders. we stopped at a few places that tell the story of the Salem witch hunt, and the first church built in Salem. On the city mall, there was a statue of a girl factory worker. She was a real person in incredible makeup. Part of a theater group, these performers pose, unmoving, until they are tipped. Then they bow a thank you and assume another pose. Quite cool.

As we continued our tour, we saw the statue of Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha the Witch of "Bewitched". Then we stopped at a massive comic book store, where actor Butch Patrick, who played Eddie Munster on "The Munsters" TV show, was giving autographs.

As dark fell, we went to a couple of haunted houses that were a bit lame, and quite a disappointment for a city such as Salem. Had drinks and dinner at a local brewery, the Salem Beer Works.

Another exhausting but fun day.

Plymouth, Massachusetts. Travelling back in history for a day.

Plimoth Plantation.
Plymouth mass, is down on the southern corner of Massachusetts. The town is known as the landing of het Pilgrims and the foundation of the Plymouth colony. Our day began with the Plimoth plantation. This is a recreation of the original colony as it was originally established.

The center has two parts. one is the Native American section showing how they lived during this period. It is staffed by Native Americans who weave baskets, build housing, and dig out canoes. The second section is the settler's town as it was then. All the staff are dressed in period dress and speak as settlers with their opinions and knowledge. There is a fort/battlements that was to protect the colony from invasion by natives or pirates. Very instructional and fun. I wish there had been more to the native section.

As the day wore on, we left and headed into town. We stopped at a park where a monument to Plymouth men who died in the war of 1861. Atop is a stone eagle whose head is turned towards Plymouth bay where the fighting was.

We continued to Plymouth park where sits the famous Plymouth Rock. As well the Mayflower II stands in the harbor. The original Mayflower no longer exists, but this replica was made in 1957. It was recently restored and finished this year.

As the sun was setting, we retired to the Pillory Bar across from the rock. We had hot dogs and warm drinks of Apple cider and cinnamon whiskey.

It was a very fun day.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Coming Attractions

It's been a couple of amazing weeks! The things we've seen and the people we've met. Boston, Plymouth, Portsmouth. I need to get home and some time. I will be doing a lot of posting real soon, folks.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Evening in Mystic

We headed north out of town. We were careful to avoid NYC and all that traffic. What we did was head up the west side of the Hudson River to the famous Tappan Zee bridge.

Crossing the longest bridge in New York, it leads to Tarrytown, NY. Tarrytown was a nice community that includes Sleepy Hollow. Sleepy Hollow was fun, but there isn't much there. The town was dressed for Halloween including a spooky Jack 'o' lantern creature lurking on the town clock. The scenery was stunning as we crossed along the southern border of Connecticut. The entire trip was marked by the brilliant colors of fall. Finally, almost to Rhode Island, we arrived at Mystic.

First, we saw a scenic overlook. We stopped for a look and some pictures. Then we proceeded down the road and hill to our destination. Mystic Seaport is a maritime museum. They exhibit many different sailing ships and restore vessels. We walked around and took many pictures. It was very interesting to board the ships and walk through the exhibits of shops from the 19th century. It was really a lot of fun and very educational.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Busy Day

Trying to get caught up posting pictures on facebook. Have a set of pictures from around Jersey that were taken just before we went back to NYC. Then pictures from that trip, and finally pictures from yesterday when we went to Sleepy Hollow, NY and Mystic, CT for the day. Two down and one to go.

Monday, October 14, 2013

NYC - The Return part 2

Our Bus tour basically lasted all day. It was in three parts. The Downtown tour started with us full of excitement. The Grey Line is the most well-known tour, and had headphones to listen to the speaker who was there with us. The guy was a bit too negative about everything, but not unpleasant. Funny, was that the traffic lights passed right over our heads. In fact, we were not supposed to stand because we would have been hit in the face as our bus went under them. Great view of great sights. The Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and many other historic structures. Most of the morning we meandered through the more modern part of Manhattan. By close to afternoon, we had made it to Washington Square Park, hosting the Washington Square Arch. We got off our bus there, knowing we could catch the next one and continue our tour. We took a lot of pictures there as we crossed the square and went under the Arch to the street on the other side, (scene of where Billy Crystal got dropped off by Melanie Griffith in "When Harry Met Sally") I was reminded of a line in Joan Baez's "Diamonds and Rust" talking about a room in a crummy hotel overlooking Washington Square. We passed a colorful mushroom on the street advertising a new television show. Then walked back through the park and met a man covered in pigeons who got Laurie to take some feed and host a couple of flappers on her. We went out another side of the park past an area where people were playing or waiting for opponents to play chess. I've seen this place in many movies, including "Independence Day". We found ourselves in Greenwich Village, where there is so much musical history as the starting point for Dylan, Lenny Bruce, and many others. Walked around checked out a few shops and Had a beer at "The Slaughtered Lamb". Made it back to the bus and continued on towards the southern tip of the city. This bus had a different host, who sounded like he was from Kenya, or maybe the Caribbean. He sounded so happy to be in America and thrilled at the stories of this country and the city. He was a joy. China Town, Little Italy, The UN building, down to the Battery. We could have gotten off there and one to where we could look out to the Statue of Liberty. We could also have caught a ferry that would have circled Ellis Island. Could not visit the Statue due to it's being closed by the shutdown. We passed up the East side by the East River to see Brooklyn across the way. At the finish of the tour, we were once again in Times Square. We walked a bit and had a slice of New York pizza. Then we found and boarded the night tour bus. This but took us down the south side again, but then across the Manhattan bridge to Brooklyn. We drove around Brooklyn and it was nice at night. We returned across the Williamsburg bridge. We trekked a few blocks back to the Port Authority station and caught our bus back to Jersey, to our car, and ultimately, our own bed in Union.

This is a test...

I'm wondering how well I can blog from my S4. I guess I'll find out. I need to get back on here and finish my NYC post. It was a great day. This week we'll be heading up to the Boston area. A couple of days and we're taking Rocky the travel cat.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Return - Preface

We started on our return trip to NYC. We had found that we could catch a New Jersey bus that would take us to the city basically non-stop. Better, even was that we could catch that bus on the street outside the hospital in Newark where Laurie works. With her hospital ID, we could park for free in the hospital parking structure. We drove down, parked the car, and headed down to the street for the bus. It was a pleasant enough ride, through the streets and down the Lincoln tunnel. Our bus stopped at the Port Authority bus terminal and we disembarked. We walked a couple of blocks to where all the tour bus company hucksters congregate and were "attacked" by pushy salesmen trying to sell their tour. We had already spoken to a couple of less pushy types and knew which line we were interested in. These guys from another one accosted us and tried to sell their cheaper ride. They were so insistant, they pulled a guy from another tour (actually the one we wanted) over to confirm theirs was less expensive ($10.00). The gentleman didn't take the bait, but allowed us to walk away from the others to speak privately. I thought it was all funny. Soon, we were ontop of our double-decker open air bus, headphones plugged in, and beginning our tour. MORE TO COME

Monday, October 7, 2013

Orange is the New Anarchy. Unjustified.

Black is the New Orange. I know I'm not as funny as I think. I kept hearing about this new show, "Orange is the New Black". So we started to watch it. It's okay as far as basically uneventful soaps go. There is more drama than actual violence or real excitement. Some of the characters grow on you, but I didn't really care about them too much. Face it, these are people who, due to good reasons in their own minds, made really bad decisions and ended up paying for them. You hope they grow to understand what they've done, and the ones who didn't kill anybody get out and become productive, but these are train wrecks walking around as people, and if they go on to become successful people, the show will become boring. Let's face it, if scarface had become successful as a human being he would have lived, but the movie would not have been as interesting. I do like watching Kate Mulgrew, though and considered continuing watching for that reason, but it's not enough. Sons of Anarchy. Before Orange, was Sons of Anarchy. I really enjoyed this show when it started. I started watching it on Amazon, so once I hit the end of the second season, I had to wait until I could get another season for free. I became attached to many of the characters, but here's the thing. The bikers are probably the worst criminals I've ever heard of. Everything they do fails on some monumental scale as they leave a trail of dead bodies and broken lives in their wake. A biker contracts to have another member killed because he thinks he's been betrayed. The psycho who pulls the job, screws up and kills the biker's innocent wife. As it all shakes out, the head biker learns and accepts that the one was not betraying him. the one who had his wife killed forgives, it was just one of those silly misunderstandings, forgives the head biker, the assassin, etc and moves on and begins a relationship with one of the biker whores who hang out. These guys can't even pull off a drug deal with a shady hospital administrator at a clinic out in the middle of nowhere without being seen by probably the one character who could do them the most harm. It wasn't the violence or wholesale bad behavior that got me to stop watching, but just the silliness of these grown bad asses not being any good at the one thing they should be good at. Justified. This is a more tolerable show. Only because the lead character is a law enforcement office. He makes some bad decisions, but always has morality and justice behind his actions. He is from and is surrounded by appalachian Kentuckyans. These people are portrayed as backwoods but not as unintellectuals. uneducated sure, but not all of them are stupid. I am enjoying this show and nearly through three seasons. Go Raylan!!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Everybody Watchung, tonight!

Took a trip today. No real destination. Drove through part of Union looking for some store, and came across an older Catholic Church, St. Michael's. Church and school. So many nice brick buildings around here. Funny, we were talking about going towards Connecticut (Northeast), but ended up going Southwest down Hwy 22. Passed into the town of Watchung. We stopped at a shopping center to go into Michael's craft store, and it is surrounded by short forested hills. The trees all around us were in the beginning stages of changing colors. They were beautiful and I spent time taking pictures of them. As we cruised on down 22, we got a glimpse of an old building on a hill in the middle of a forest. Literally just like a clock tower barely rose above the trees. We almost missed it. We turned around and went back and took a road up to see. We found Mount St. Mary's, a private four-year high school for girls. Fantastic grounds and stately early 20th century buildings. I walked around and took photos. At one point we saw deer on a lawn. White tailed New England deer. My eye was struck by a short outside hallway with thin window openings. Thought I'd get some good pictures in there. I started taking pictures, (it was getting later, so it was darkish inside the hallway, and turned and there on a structure, was a great old bell. The school had had a fire in 1911 and the main building burned down. When they rebuilt it the next year, it included a tower with the 1000 pound bell in it. I had to rap it with my knuckles to hear the tone. What great workmanship! The school has a football and track field, and a garden. Just a chance glimpse and we were able to see something beautiful and historically significant that we would normally have never seen. Pictures will be posted on Facebook. Perusing the history of the school, you find a businessman donated the land to the Sisters of Mercy asking them to build a school to educate women. A great example of American history with a private businessman helping to educate women in a period of time when it was practically unheard of.

Friday, September 27, 2013

New York City

I visited New York City for the first time. We had a day where things were starting late for us, and we decided to go. It's been a lot of years since Laurie had been there, besides. What we didn't want to do, was waste an entire day trying to figure out how to get there and what we were going to do when we got there. What we did was what Laurie called a recon mission. We walked to the rental office here and got information on travel. We could have gotten a bus to the train station here, but it would have meant leaving our car all day in a questionable area. We drove to South Orange where the train station is, and there is all day inexpensive parking right next to the station. We got, with a little help, the ticket and route system figured out, bought tickets and went upstairs to the platform and waited excitedly for the train to the city. It was easy and painless as we rode through Newark, across the Passaic River into Jersey City and then across the Hudson river into Manhattan. The train stopped in Pennsylvania Station. We got off and walked out into the city that never sleeps. Completely lost and amazed, we picked a direction and started walking. Right down the street from Penn Station, we could see the Empire State Building. It was too late in the day to consider the observation deck there, so we made a note of it so when we had an entire day to spend, we would visit it. We walked and were accosted by nice people selling tickets for the bus tours. we collected a couple of flyers for when we returned. Walking down 8th Ave, we crossed 42nd street. Took a turn and walked down it. Walked by the theater where "Spiderman" the Broadway play was being performed, and continued until we stumbled on Times Square. Lights, cars and everything you would expect from it. The street is as wide as an eight lane freeway, and they have two lanes blocked off on both sides with tables and chairs so people can just hang out, eating and visiting. As in Hollywood, there are people dressed up as cartoon and comic book characters so you can get your picture with them for a nominal tip. One gentleman walked around in cowboy boots, hat, and underwear playing a guitar. He is the "Naked Cowboy". We visited the M&Ms store full of toys and items related to and designed after the M&M characters from the commercials. You can select and buy your own mix of M&Ms if you like. It was three floors and a fun store. Next to it, was the Hershey's store. It wasn't as big, and it was all about the candy. We walked through the local Hard Rock Café. The doors to the bar are the doors from Abbey Road Studios in London. Cool. We started to return to Penn, and stopped at a little upstairs restaurant and bar. Behind my lovely companion was a lighted Empire State Building. We ate and watched the people on the street below. Fed, tired, and full of ideas to plan a day trip with, we walked a couple of blocks to Penn and caught the train back to New Jersey. Took a few pictures, mostly with my phone. I'll take better ones when we go on a full visit.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Card Gaming

A couple of years ago, when we were in San Diego for seven months, we finally relented and allowed my brother Stephen to introduce us to "Magic the Gathering". A wild card game much like "Pokémon" but I think a bit more adult, if that's the word. We still don't consider ourselves master players, but have attended some sessions where you play against strangers at a store that deals in games such as Magic and D&D. Laurie is a far better player than she thinks she is, and has just won a local game night tournament. Many nights there are casual games where you bring your own cards and play your favorite deck against whomever will take you on. Other nights, it's a draft, where each player is given 6 packs of cards (15 cards in a pack) and they have 30 minutes to build the best deck they can in the short time. This does equal the field a bit, because no one is assured of getting a killer deck. Each player plays three game rounds against the players they are matched with. The one who wins two out of three wins that round and they then play another round against another player. I the end, the player with the most wins, wins the tournament. This is what Laurie did. We have fun doing this and it's getting easier as we find stores with friendly players to play against.

Monday, September 23, 2013

New Jersey Adventure

We are settled here in Union, NJ. Laurie and I both work weekend nights. She works three nights and I work three or four. That leaves us Monday thru Wednesday free for exploration. There is really a lot to see here for someone who hasn't lived in this area. Every area of the country (and I suppose the world) has unique styles in everything. The people here drive erratically. In more of a hurry than California even. They stop in the middle of the street waiting to make a turn or to talk to someone, and the others just drive around them. We had decided that I would find work while we were here, so one day I located some local restaurants and went out to apply. My intention was to work three days a week - maybe 25 hours. I saw that Boston Market was advertising a number of openings. When I called, I was told I had to apply online. The application process requires you to send a resume, and then it processes it and provides you with a list of openings determined by your experiences. You get to click "apply" on the ones for which you wish to be considered. The entire list I got was for management jobs. id I tell you I was hoping for part time? I printed out a few copies of my resume and walked down the road to drop them off at a couple of places I thought I could work. Not going to have a car to use, it had to be walking distance. The local Applebee's is 2 miles away. Not beyond my walking ability. I walked in and was immediately interviewed by the General Manager who wanted to hire me. He had me return the next day to talk to his Kitchen Manager. At the end of the second interview I was as good as hired. The funny thing was the position I really wanted would have been to be an expediter. I applied for prep cook, and any basic back of house position except line cook or expediter. They asked if I would consider being an expediter. Easily the most fun position I have ever held in a restaurant. You stand between the servers and the kitchen and direct the orders out to the floor. It's been fun. We go out and find quaint little neighborhoods and walk around taking pictures and seeing what there is to see. We have yet to walk through one and felt we'd seen it all. Milburn, NJ. This area looks like a bohemian village such as Sausalito. Lots of little cafes with tables and chairs out front. benches to sit along the streets. I major drama company, too. South Orange, NJ. What a great little town. There is a town square there near the train station. At the station, you can get a train to NYC. Massive cheap parking lot, that charges .50/hour for a total of four hours a day. It is free after 6:00 O'clock. Went there one night and ate at a nice little Mexican restaurant called Toro Loco. Great brick sidewalks and older buildings. A amphitheater in a small park for local acts to play. We came across a piano in a small circular paved area with signs encouraging people to come by and play when they felt like it. Our second visit to South Orange was to catch the train to NYC. Our Third was a day trip, where we had drinks at a cute little restaurant and bar called Above as it's upstairs and above the town square. They have outside seating and we sat there looking across the town with the trains (elevated) running noisily past us. We then went to the movie theater and saw "The Family". Afterwards, we revisited Toro Loco for a great dinner. A funny thing here, is that liquor licenses are few and expensive. Many eateries do not have one, so they allow you to bring your own drinks to the restaurant. Peculiar. Sandy Hook and Long Branch, NJ. These towns are down the coast and a ways away. The town of Sandy Hook is still recovering from Hurricane Sandy and suffers from a name connection with the infamous shooting in Connecticut. An organization is placing children playgrounds around in honor of the people killed in Connecticut. What a great little beach they have there. I have never been to the Atlantic Ocean except during our Florida vacation a couple of years ago. The town of Long Branch was also just a small simple town dedicated to art, music, and expression. Very nice. The Adventure continues....

Social Media

I am a huge fan of limited social media use. I have this little blog here. I have a Facebook account. I'm nor on Tumblr, Twitter, My Space or any other thing. I do really appreciate Facebook for what it has been for me. Consider we live in North Dakota and our daughter lives nearly 200 miles away. Also we are at least 50 miles from all our friends there. It is so much easier to share the little things in life with FB. Our Son is either 50 miles away in ND or 1000+ in Texas given the time of year. All the rest of our family is 2000 or more miles away. We get to share pictures, events, and news easily as we can post any time of day and it sits there until the other comes by to see it. Also, I have been able to find and make contact with friends that have drifted long ago. So, yeah, I don't post every time I sneeze or see a bird, But I have had some great experiences because of the media.

Monday, May 27, 2013

TAPS 2013. National Military Survivors Seminar. Arlington, Va

It’s Monday, Memorial day. I’m sitting in my hotel room reflecting on the past few days. I’m exhausted. It isn’t the running, it’s the emotional toil. Flew into Reagan National on Thursday and checked into our usual event hotel, the Crystal Gateway Marriott. Settled in, had a quick hello meeting to meet all our group leaders. Dinner and it was all low key. Easy. Friday it all started. Opening ceremony, hello from Bonnie and Dr. Darcy Sims. A short presentation that included Gen. Martin Dempsey. We had our first workshop with Darcy. A BBQ dinner and then a bus tour of DC in the evening. There are two stops, one at the WWII memorial where we get out. A second stop is made at the Iwo Jima Memorial, but it is too cold and dark. It is cold. Outside as well as in the hotel. It is a good hotel, but the temp is always too cold for me. A storm up north is dragging Canadian air down and cooling everything. For me, a lot of healing and coming-to-terms with our situation comes not so much from the sessions as from the interactions with our fellow survivors. This year, we have a couple of families that are not only new to TAPS, but their loved ones have only recently died. We might have been fortunate enough to have struggled through the first couple of years before coming here, but my mind really hasn’t been made up on that, yet. Saturday we didn’t do much. This year there is a large focus on the new survivors in the sessions. A couple of them looked interesting, but the particular spiritual direction of them doesn’t really sit with my understanding. I sit with Laurie who struggles to do homework amidst the constant parade of people rushing to sessions. I’m happy to just be there to give her support. In the afternoon, we attend a writing workshop. I don’t consider myself a writer, really, but I’m amazed at what comes out and the tears are therapeutic as always. We grow closer to another set of survivors such as ourselves. There are shuttles going to Arlington Cemetery. We’ve been there before, the size and immensity of the rows upon rows of simple white markers rip just another tear in your already shredded heart. We pass. That evening, is the Grand Banquet. Sitting at our table is a Washington soldiers and his wife. We talk about history, especially things like how they once found a cache of weapons in his home town that were identified as having been buried during the revolution. I tell him about the Japanese Zero found in the jungle trees not 100 feet from an office building on Guam after typhoon Karen. There is a singer scheduled to perform, and he makes his way around the room saying hello to various groups and thinking them for their sacrifice and allowing him to perform. It all just seems like another banquet until he, Rocky Lynne, takes the stage and begins to sing. We sit comforted by fellow survivors, but our emotions as always are just below a too thin sheeting of skin. It doesn’t take much to open the wounds. Rocky is a good performer, and our group starts to suffer a few chairs being abandoned as hurt people have to excuse themselves. Col. Frenchy, and Burnadette commandeer an empty room and our group rallies to it to comfort and gain control. Of course the control is mostly a ruse we perpetrate on ourselves. We sit. We talk, eventually we laugh. Hugs, Kleenex, and finally plans for tomorrow and for the future. The night Is over for the group. Sunday. Hold onto your hats day, I say. This one is going to be a roller coaster ride. In the morning there is a remembrance walk at Arlington. We didn’t go. We participated in Rolling Thunder instead. A protest in reality to the Government’s continual failure to adequately address the POW/MIA situation. Thousands of bikers from across the nation rally and stage a drive through the streets of DC ending in a rally at the Mall below the Lincoln Memorial. We are all assigned bikers to ride with. We present them with tokens of our support and thanks, and they do the same. We are all brothers and sisters. We have all served either as troops or as families of troops. We’ve all lost someone or had someone not return from a foreign conflict. There is music and of course, tears. We visit the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean Memorial, and the Vietnam Wall Memorial. We walk around as a group and walk by the Einstein Statue outside the science museum. Then we go back to the hotel for dinner and to get ready for the night’s big concert at the Capitol building. That’s when it all falls apart for us. It starts out well enough, and we are sitting on the grass and the temperature is nice. The concert starts and the first segment is a performance by Gary Senise and Joe Mantegna. They are speaking parts about two brothers who fought in the National Guard and home, one has been injured and one commits suicide. The program goes on to tell rough stories about the horrors of Korea and a tribute to actor Charles Durning who passed away last year. He was a vet of WWII and ad published an account of his time there. It is read in the first person. We are moving for the door. We have two families who have just lost loved ones to suicide. They have no hope of holding it together. We rally and move towards the exit. We get home and go to our rooms. There are people helping people but Laurie and I retire. We are not sure why we (TAPS) go to the concert. We know we must support it all, but it is so hard on us for the obvious reasons. Monday, Memorial Day. We are scheduled to go to Arlington and sit in the coliseum and listen to the President’s speech. I’m done. I don’t know what he will say, but I’m not interested in listening to him. All my emotions are raw and I just don’t feel like exposing it to him today. We have breakfast with our daughter and grandkids, and I sit to write this. Overall, the conference is a good thing. It is well designed and if, for no other reason, it is good for us to see all the other people who are on the same journey we are on. Too often, in our circle of people, there are many who love us and feel for us, but do not feel the depths of the hurt that we do. To be able to discuss our feeling with others who truly understand is welcomed. Tomorrow we fly home. Stronger and weaker. Invigorated and drained. It’s hard, but every time we do one of these events, we are able to gauge our growth and share with fellow survivors how much we miss our hero and what a great person he was. And, of course, they get to share theirs with us. Arlington, Va


Someday, I'm going to post some totally outrageous and horrible rant, about something I don't mean. I will do this just to see if I can get a reaction from anyone. As it is, this might as well be a personal journal because, I believe nobody ever reads anything I post.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Runaway Jury

The film, "Runaway Jury" has been playing on TV this week. I've always liked the film and enjoy the play between the characters, especially the scene with both Hackman and Hoffman. They were college roommates but in all the years this was the first time they appeared in a scene together. But now, I have a problem. This is a very anti-gun statement. What is worse, is the arguments made are formed in a way that the viewer can only have one logical moral conclusion: guns cause destruction, and gun manufacturers are evil. In the microcosm of the world of this film, that is correct, but that is unfair because this film is presented as truthful. Let me point out the problems in the storyline. First, as I said, there is a consortium of gun manufacturers and they are all evil, greedy people who knowingly practice bad business to make more money and the people of society be damned. I don't believe this is true. The manufacturers of guns do not engage as a whole in practices which violate many, many laws including collusion and monopolistic ideals. In the case of a business that did this, they would have been brought down by, I think, the Justice Department long ago. In this fictitious world, it seems the only forces at work to stop this evil is citizens suing in court. Second, all the usual arguments are made that the mass killings that precipitates the lawsuit and previous trials, is all to be blamed on the manufacture of guns and evil practices that allow them to fall into unworthy hands. No homage paid to the problems of mental health, or the realities of the large amount of laws that exist to stop and punish such behavior. The NRA is nowhere to be found, and I'm sure they would be around to condemn the practices of these gun companies, and try to make a sober case for gun ownership which is largely peaceful and honest. A third point is that the gun company CEOs are southern and it is implied church going conservatives. I have to constantly remind myself despite the left's rewriting of history, that the south was largely Democratic until the last 40 years or so. Fourth, and finally, the argument is never made concerning the 2nd amendment and the people's rights to bear arms. Yes, the companies were engaging in behavior that put guns on the black market, but the subject should have been brought up. In conclusion, the entire premise of the film I to demonize guns and gun manufacturers and leave the viewer with a sense that a great injustice is being done in our country.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Going for the Record

I have not had a comment on a single post since November 2009. Must be a record of sorts. I love being part of the media.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Played with Fire and then Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

I'm going to talk about how great the story was or about the character developement or any of that normal review stuff. What struck me about these books was the way the story was told. In the first book, you have a fairly benign story about a journalist who is hired to solve a 40 year old mystery. The title character in the books is pretty much a secondary character. Very little is told about her. It describes how she is in a strange position, being an adult but still under state supervision, and she is a very unusual person. She becomes the assistant of the journalist and together they solve the mystery. So, you would expect at this point, that this is a character that will have a series of stories like this. Sort of a Sam Spade type. Every book a new case. In all this, because of the way the first book ends, you get the impression that the journalist character might not even be in the other books. The last two books are actually a single story and it is all about this girl. Her past, and how that past has come full force back into her life and what she does to deal with it. There are three murders and the evidence points to the girl. Two of the vicims are writers working with the journalist from the first book. So he is involved, and the whole thing becomes him trying to find the truth as the events unfold. The story is spread out into the two final books f the trilogy. The reason I am so entranced by these books is theway the second one was written. It starts with the girl, and she hs a couple of events happen, none of which is too extreme except for the hurricane and the dead tourist, but she returns home and does a few things to organize her life situation. Then, the reader reads that she goes and meets with the victims. the next thing that happens is the two are dead and it looks like the girl was responsible. The weirdness is that for the next half a book, you don't hear a thing from or about the girl as the journalist begins to figure things out. Eventually, there are a couple of cryptic mesages to the journalist from the girl and it is far into the book before the writer starts telling her story and what she has been doing and what she does next, all the time the journalist is doing what he can. At the end of the book, the journalist finds the girl near death. The second unusual structure in the book is that, except for a couple of written messages between the two, a chance meeting where they see each other before the girl runs off while the journalist gets pounded, and the meeting literally in the last two pages, the two main characters have absolutly no interaction. Continuing the unusual nature of the story, in the third book, the girl spends most of it in some sort of custody or hospital, and though the two communicate, this main character spends most of the book in bed. All gets settled and the girl gets free in time to have an important encounter or two and then, at the end of the book, finally meets up with the journalist. that's it. three books with two main characters who establish a relationship in the first book, and then rarely interact for two more books. And the title character is absent for most of the second book, and in a hospital bed or jail for most of the third. I just thought this was a really unique way to tell a story.

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Week

Monday. It's sort of cold. It looks really nice outside. The temp is 34, but with the 23mph wind, it's like 26. Still, for the beginning of January, that's pretty good. This time last year we were in SoCal.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Is it really about gun control?

The controversy continues about the need for gun control. The people who commit atrocities in this country with guns or any other means, don't ever do it because the laws made it legal to commit it. Criminals commit crime and outlawing guns or anything, will not stop them from doing it. Let's face it, the large majority of these atrocities happen in gun free zones. Criminals break the laws and violate these spaces and the honest law-abiding citizens are nothing more than target. Chicago logged, as one of the two most restricted communities in the nation, their 500th homicide before the end of 2012. We can debate this all year, but the bottom line as far as the government using incidents such as what happened in Newtown, for imposing more gun controls on the honest citizens. This is all a goverment plan to remove firearms from the hands of the population. I'm not saying anyone in the goverment are planning on taking military control of the nation, but the 2nd amendment is there to insure it doesn't. Just because the current administraton isn't planning on imposing martial control over the country doesn't mean it won't happen if the populace has no way to protect itself from it. separate but related issue: On the TV just now was a discussion about gun control. It was mentioned about the newspaper that released a list of people who owned guns in NewYork. During the debate, A knucklehead kept saying it was all okay, because of the Freedom of information act. Now, I could be wrong, but the act is all about Goverment information, not private citizen's personal private information.

Time to Change the Narrative

It bothers me, that when I watch TV or listen to the radio, people on the right are always pointing out how stupid the things the left says and does sound and are. What I've been doing is to go back and read history. read political theory and listen to lots more than I used to. What I have found is that there are two distinct ideologies at play in this country. Very few of the people in the media and apparently, even in Washington seem to realize this. The battle always goes to the most committed. I'm tired of "us" not understanding the real objectives and just laughing at the left because their explanations and reasons don't seem to make sense. When the progressive movement started, it didn't really have a home in American politics. Teddy Roodevelt found his seat in the Republican party, but never truly embraced the ideas of that party. This was continued with Woodrow Wilson, then Franklin Roosevelt, andit continues getting heavier and frequenter. In the late 60s, the young radical progressives attacked the Democrat party through a siege on the Convention in 1968 and slowly wormed their way in. This was done, because while sane Americans feared (rightly) the frothing at the mouth radicals like the Weather Underground, Saul Alinsky was teaching these same people how to infiltrate and adapt their behavior to become acceptable. So who are these people and what do they believe? Are they truly a threat to the American way of life? Without going into the entire history of the movement, I can define them this way. The progressives believe, that in the evolution of society, we have progressed beyond the ideas of free market capitalism. Franly, they say, leaving American businessmen to their personal freedom, they will walk over the lesser people in society. They believe society needs to be engineered by government. Rather than embracing the Constitution and it's principles of self-responsibility and limited government, they feel the Constitution holds Government back from delivering the utopian world we deserve. Apparently, we as a people have evolved to a point where the intellegent among us will be able to deliver a perfectly equalitarian society if the Constitutionalists would just get out of the way with their outmoded ideas. Bottom line here, is the debate between the believers in the Constitution and the Progressives. The terrible thing here is no one is attending the debate and worse, no one is on stage conducting it. No matter how you feel about either side, the two are incompatible with each other, and to quote Abraham Lincoln "A house devided against itself can not stand!" We need to talk about this, we need to learn what the two sides believe, and we as a nation needs to make an informed, conscious, decision between the two and move forward.