Wednesday, October 31, 2007

McGruff the Crime Blog

It's a crime that a bunch of yahoos in Tampa can run a financial group, make loans all over the place, compensate themselves quite nicely, then go belly up. OK, that's not the crime, I guess. The crime, I would have to say, is when every homeowners policy in Florida, my own included, recieves a 2% assessment to pay for it. I'd feel better if my elected officials would at least seize a few homes and boats in Boca and sell 'em off first, before turning to the working stiffs for (another) bailout of a heap of crooked rich guys.

It's a crime that I don't own more of these DaVinci shirts. As it stands now, I own one. Almost one. Well, I intend to buy one, which I am counting in this tally.

Another crime, as outlined in Pirate John Phillips' Articles of agreement:
If at any time you meet with a prudent Woman, that Man that offers to meddle with her, without her Consent, shall suffer Death.

I guess Noel, the tropical storm, not the season, is to blame for our weather here. It is not often that I take off on my travels and return to cooler temperatures at home than where I just was. But where I just was is the desert southwest. 'Twas warm there. Here it is breezy, cool, and drizzly. Apparently weather that is just dandy for making your lawn grow; less so for getting it cut. See, with wet grass, a mulching mower automatically converts itself into a clumping mower. I'm not sure how, exactly. Maybe a mower has some hint of transformer in it, but has been bred for domesticity. or something.

Shooter Jennings has a new CD out, and the crime of it is that I don't have it yet. "Yet" is, of course, the operative word in the sentence. I have his first two and they are legendary, at least in my mind. Here is a video from the first CD, so infectious as to be viral, that I consider to be one of the preimere top back, windows down songs of summer. Also, as a historical and/or hysterical note, I had the exact same Bocephus t-shirt that appears at time :27. But watch the video, not the time bar. I really want to post "Daddy's Farm" here, which is nowhere near as peaceful and easy as the title might suggest. Unfortunately, all the videos of it have less than stellar sound quality and I am a stickler for being able to understand the lyrics. Anyway, Enjoy! I command you.

A long time ago in a swamp far, far away... Where Louisiana meets Texas and the snakes fall off the tree The critters are gettin' restless, gettin' greedy and mean The frogs all hate the toads, crocs all hate the gators Ain't nobody gettin' along, they ain't teams, man, they just players

Ramblin' Ed

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

You know you're a road warrior...

...when your bags don't arrive on the flight with you, and you're not particularly concerned. When you just walk over to the baggage office and mention your lost bag. When you know that it is a black colored bag; a large sized style #22. When, why yes, you do still have your baggage claim ticket because you know that bags sometimes miss connections. When you know that the probability of bags missing connections in Philadelphia is greater than most of the rest of the country, and that you did, in fact, connect through Philly. You know the name of your local hotel were it can be delivered to when it finally does arrive, including both the street address and phone number.

But mostly you know you are a true road warrior when, as you walk away from the baggage office, you think to yourself, "Cool. Now somebody else can lug that thing to the hotel."

Some White Stripes to see you on out of here.....

Just feel like you're the hardest button to button, out
Ramblin' Ed

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Puerto Rico, 1932

I reckon I made somebody's day yesterday. At least I hope I did. My class this week had been talking about Red Lobster all week. So I told them I'd take them to lunch on Friday, but they had to let me drive because it was easier. After an unexpected discussion about just who was authorized, rental car insurance wise, to drive the van, I won and took the wheel. 2 are from Hong Kong, 2 are from Singapore, and 1 is from Taiwan. When asked where we were going, I replied, "Hooters. Or Wing House. Whichever I pass first." So when I pulled up into Red Lobster instead, they were pleasantly surprised. But that's not the day that was made.

As I got close to home on my return commute, I prepared to turn off of an abyssmally choked SR 60 and onto Kings Ave. where I live. I was far right, as opposed to FAR OUT!, I suppose. It was a turn only lane. From the corner of my eye I caught a white Oldsmobile coming straight at me from 2 rows over to the left. Seems that guy needed to turn, and the guy immediately next to me was letting him in. It was apparent that either he didn't see me or was gonna play chicken with me for the spot we were both about to try to occupy. I tried mightily to get out of the way, but I was smashed anyway. That, also, is not exactly where I made somebody's day. But we are actually getting close.

I got off of the road and watched to make sure he followed me. At this point I had still not seen the driver, so I didn't know if they were male, female, old, young, wild-eyed or stone faced, employed, or straight gangsta. I was just hoping 2 things: 1) That they had insurance, and 2) they followed me off the road. Both were, in fact, the case.

It was a gentle old Puerto Rican man with his wife. He quickly explained that he was not a crazy driver and had never been in an accident before. He apologized and then apologized again. He was watching my eyes intently, and I know why. Around here, all you need to do is bump another car at a stop sign and the bumpee takes the bumping as license to just unload on the bumper. Even if there is absolutely no damage. It is free license to just rant and rave; to just go off. So that's what this gentleman was afraid I might do. I can dig it.

You, of course, know better. I was smacked up pretty good. I had damage from the driver side door all the way back to near the trunk. So I had to get his insurance company to take care of it. But I was there for the whole thing, and knew the guy never saw me. And since the metal was already crunched, not much we could do now except call for a police report. Besides, anger and buffoonery takes up way more energy than it is worth. So I tend to believe it is best to just deal with the moment.

I told him, "No problem. It is why we carry insurance." Still, several more times over the next hour (the cops are not so speedy arriving at, or documenting fender benders), he tried to apologize, and each time I explained that it was an accident and, by their very nature, accidents are accidental. Instead, I engaged him in conversation and we got to talking about our homes, our travel, and whatever else came up. we just leaned up against our cars, swapping stories.

Finally, the cop was done with the paperwork. He was at fault. I was not. He got a ticket. I did not. We shook hands and exchanged our goodbyes. Mr. Delgado was not thrilled with the $125 ticket, but I could tell that it made his day that I did not make a bad situation unbearable. In fact, the experience was about as pleasant as a traffic accident can be. Hey... life's too short for all that rage shit. Less than perfect circumstances notwithstanding, I now know a good dude, family man, born in PR in 1932. A man who served 2 years in the Air Force during Korea, who became an electrician after that. A gentle man and a gentleman. I just can't see no problem with that.
The Paris Hilton photo? She was on page six when I looked up "fender bender" on google images. Seriously. So I thought, aw hell, why not? She don't hurt my eyes none.

You know things would swing if I were the King, out
Ramblin' Ed

Saturday, October 13, 2007

How the HELL did you get here ???

I am a firm believer that this is a much smaller world than any of us realize, although walking all the way around a suburban mall parking lot because you can't remember exactly which big store you parked outside of can make you forget that. I live in Tampa. Kinda...close enough. I was working at Chicago O'hare Airport last week. I had Wednesday off. This seems as good a place as any to start a new paragraph.

So I figured with my day off, and 27 year old memories of some good times in The Second City, I would head out of the hotel in search of adventure. Which I did. I might mention that on Monday, the day I left, 1 died and 300 were sickened running a race in 85+ degree weather. So I, in my "we don't got no discernible seasons" way, headed up to Illinois in mid-October without a coat. Promptly upon my arrival the weather, of course, turned more seasonable. I were then cold. And coatless.

I drove my car, a nice little Mercury Milan, down to Navy Pier on Lake Michigan. A place that was rightly dead on a Wednesday mid-morning and, if anything, colder than my hotel in Rosemont. Brrrr-lacious!! I walked around some, enjoying the stained glass exhibit and having a great view of Lakeshore Drive. It would have made a great picture except for the fact that my camera was in my desk at home.

I had a nice, leisurely 45 minutes or so there, where I did buy a t-shirt with a good double entendre which I intend to wear next time I have to fly Southwest, the only airline without a dress code that enforces one anyway. It shows a cloud, complete with old man winter face, with his cheeks puffed out and wind being breathed into a boats' full sails. It says: "Sailors get blown offshore". Heh heh heh. Anyway, I was in a short sleeve silk shirt, both cold and bored, so I figured to move on. An hour ten minutes, and $16 parking fee after arriving, I was back on the road. Headed north. I may as well point out that after buying my wife a new, touch screen Garmin GPS, I was now free to travel with the old GPS. Which I was. I punched up "North Chicago" and haded for the navy base where I learned Basic Electronics. And that marching to the Exchange after a long day at school because the class leader needed a new label maker gun was not, in fact, negotiable.

So I drove up, found the base, got a day pass and headed in. Straight to the NEX, where I went in, found a nice coat for $24 that also had 25% off (taken at the register). That was $6 and some coinage taken off, so less than twenty bucks to get warm. I can deal. I decided that since I was here, I might as well have a good, hot meal at the Chief's club. Being that the base has been around since 1911 or 1921 or something, I was sure they had one and that it was nice. I was mostly wrong. But we'll get to that.

Since I had not been to Great Lakes (aka Great Mistakes) since 1980, and I was an E-3 back then, I had no idea where to look. So I approached a young CPO in line at the uniform center and asked where the CPO club was. He told me, "Forrestal Village, in the back, near the Autoport. We just built a new one." I did think it strange that the CPO club was in the housing area, but who was I to question. I went off in search.

It was not easy to find. And neither was the Autoport, so I stopped and asked. Several times, in fact. Everybody kept telling me that there was no club. When the lady at the Navy Lodge told me the same thing, adding that "it's been like a hundred years since there was a CPO club," I started getting discouraged. Then I told her, "I hate to be difficult, but a Chief told me there was a new one here. Can you tell me where the Autoport is and I'll look for it some by myself."

Fast forward through the minutiae of the search, and there I was, in front of a tiny little building with, of all things, a loading dock. And the words "THE GOAT LOCKER" stenciled on the door. I had found it. I walked in and there were 4 people, drinking and smoking in a most unfinished club. There were 3 stocked refrigerators and 4 televisions. 2 couches and a wet bar. Which, really, makes a CPO club. The other accouterments are just for atmosphere. I sat down and they all looked at me. I said, "Hi. Do you need to see my club card (military ID)?" They said no and handed me a brew. Then I looked at the guy I was seated beside and said, "Dang! You look familiar." "You too. What's your name?" "Ed Abernathy." "Yeah. Senior Chief Abernathy. FCCS. We were on Vincennes together in Yokosuka. I'm Josh. I was a third class Gunners Mate. Ummm... How in the HELL did you know about this place? It's only 2 weeks old. How did you get here??"
Before I left, I had a couple of hours old grilled hot dog. Tasted fine, but not the "Nice, hot meal" I had envisioned. And you know what? So what. Josh being there or not, I was with brothers.
Yep, it is a mighty small world. [Cue singing mouse and cricket .... it's a small world after all.... it's a small world after all...]

Semper Why, out
Ramblin' Ed