Monday, March 17, 2008

Off to see the Gee Whizzard

The other day my dog, Bella, met Ottoball at the door. He had just rode his Harley in from Jacksonville and she heard him pull up. Well, she got to wagging her tail so hard that she busted it open on the edge of the pantry. And I mean she busted it open. Now, it would seem that dogs got no nerves in their tails or else have a huge threshold for pain. Or both. So, with her tail busted wide open, she followed him through the house, tail still a'going non-stop.

Cool story? Not hardly. Without a crime scene kit, all blood looks pretty much alike. Not to get too technical on ya, but it's the DNA that helps discern this guy's blood from that guy's. Or in this case, dog blood from people blood. I had to get up in the middle of whatever it was I was watching, and whatever it was was most likely cool and reality based, maybe with dancing and/or singing, to scrub my blood spattered walls. Yep, the tail of that mutt had slung blood all across several walls of my house, including the laundry room where most people enter my house, and the foyer where strangers do. Since buckets of blood was all slung up and spattered, like a sorority dorm room in a Roger Corman hack 'em up flick, and the fact that my hair is frequently disheveled and my face unshaven, I felt I must clean it up immediately or risk the UPS delivery man turn me in for an apparenty heinous murderizement. It looked that bad. Like a grisley crime had taken place. Anyway, time to turn my house into a set for CSI: Marphil Loop - 1 1/2 minutes. Time to clean it - considerably longer.

I get these videos from Pipedragger. Don't know where he gets them, but I figured I might share a little.
First, a straight talking Brit on Europe and Saudi Arabia:

Then this came in an e-mail: Have you ever noticed: When you put the 2 words "The" and "IRS" together it spells "Theirs."?

This is the actual letter I sent in in response to notification from Alex Sink, Florida's Chief Financial Officer, Democrat in a Republican administration, and woman with a man's name. Seems I had not kept up with my continuing education as a licensed insurance agent. Sent this as my termination letter because really, the first, and only, lesson that I learned, or needed to learn, was that I was gonna starve in a job that was strictly commision . Hopefully the right Ms. Sink has a sense of humor:

William E Abernathy
608 Marphil Loop
Brandon, FL 33511-7128
23 March, 2008

Florida Department of Financial Services
200 East Gaines Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0319

Dear Sir or Maam,
I would like to terminate my resident license, # P003648. I am no longer employed as an agent. It was an interesting endeavor that netted me exactly $0.01 in income, which I would not have made except that my direct deposit information had to be tested.

I have included with this signed admission of failure my license card for you to destroy and/or mock.


William Edward Abernathy

We'll see.
I am off to Queens, NYC today. Seems I have a date with destiny. Well, actually, seems I have a couple of classes at JFK airport. Told the boss I would skip th rental car and use taxis. How very cosmopolitan of me.
Ever heard of Canton, MA? Neither had I until I met a friend there for dinner. We had a beer and talked about people we knew. I almost didn't make it. We were meeting up halfway between where I was and where they were, the aforementioned Canton, MA, and I was using my GPS to get me there. Long story short, as if that is even possible for me, I drove from Rhode Island and on into Massachusetts (OK, how exactly do you spell that???) using a route that included only seedy looking parts of town before I finally pulled over to check my GPS settings. Sure enough, I had gotten it back from a friend with it set to avoid highways and toll roads. After unchecking those unfortunate avoidances, it shot me up onto I-95 and I made good time the rest of the way. So anyway, yesterday I was driving back from Tampa and I looked over at the truck in the lane beside me. On the door it had the name of the trucking company... in Canton, MA. Small world or coincidental highway, take your pick.
JC Penny is using a John Prine song in a commercial. The song is KILLING THE BLUES, but he's not singing. It's the one where the 3 year old girl in a dress and cowboy boots stomps a cake. The symbolism of that does tend to escape me. (Apparently, Allison Krauss & Robert Plant coverd it on their album, too. Hmmmm.)
Will a tree falling randomly in your yard take out a section of fence? Nope. It'll fall on a corner of the fence and take out 2 sections. That, folks, is the natural orneriness of things.
Well, like they say, and by they i really mean them:
It's easier to let it all die a fairy tale than admit that something bigger's passing through, out
Ramblin' Ed
These lyrics rule! The presence of greatness! etc.!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Go west for the weary

OK, maybe not west this time. But north. Go north, young bran. I graduated the class on Friday, complete with the requisite lunch at WingHouse (a Hooter's clone) and have today at home to relax. If it stops raining I will sit in my lawn chair in the yard and nap. If it rains, the nap moves to the easy chair in the living room. Either way....

I do, however, travel on Sunday and again next Saturday to get home. The Providence, RI airport has bought all new, top o' the line machines, and I will go there to teach their little slick brained operators how to use it. Maybe some sight seeing, maybe not. I do have a friend nearby and we will hopefully get a night to visit. Other than that it will be the usual... hotel TV.

Now that I have bought the latest Drive By Trucker CD, I can't take it out of my player. I have always found that their songs take a little while to fully appreciate, except Ronnie & Neil (Van Zandt & Young) which rocked from the git go. This was no exception. It was OK, it was pretty good, it was good, it was oh my God-that's awesome! My faves, of course, are the crunchy rockers 3 DIMES DOWN, SELF DESTRUCTIVE ZONES, and A GHOST TO MOST. I love the lyrics to GHOST (lyrics in yellow are my favorite part):

guess I'll never grow a sideburn
it's a shame with all I've got to go between
I hope somebody's cause takes soon
it's getting hard to find a place a root can sink
Mama said a lot of things and be thankful
was the one she never minded saying twice
Thanks to her I can think clear enough,
to be thankful that she died before tonight

Saving everybody takes a man on a mission
with a swagger that can set the world at ease
Some believe it's God's own hand on the trigger
and the other dumping water in the streets
Talking tough is easy when it's other people's evil
and you're judging what they do or don't believe
It seems to me you'd have to have a hole you're own
to point a finger at somebody else's sheet

Baby every bone in my body’s gone to jumping
like they're gonna come through my skin
If they could get along without the rest of me,
it wouldn’t matter if they did
But skeletons ain’t got nowhere to stick their money
nobody makes britches that size
and besides you're a ghost to most before they notice,
that you ever had a hair or a hide
I don't know how good it does a man,
to keep on telling him how good it is he's free
free to wash his ghost down the drain,
and free for them to tell him there's no such a thing

I am in a rather unfamiliar position. I still have plenty of good ideas. I still have more than enough gumption to put them into motion. However, these days I seem to have a lot of piles of half finished projects. I can't seem to get something finished before the next thing pops it's weasely little head up. I have a test bank that's about 50% finished, "paper troubleshooting" problems that are barely started, lesson guides for 3 new poducts that haven't even been released yet(but will), a fault table and Linux command guide that is still little more than a great idea and a title page, and a dozen other smaller projects like a reference library and failed parts tracking. I think my biggest problem is that when I was in the navy, I was in charge. If I had a good idea I could not only authorize it to be done, I could direct additional manpower towards its completion. Now I can prety much boss around just me. So when I bring up a project I get answers like, "That is a great idea. Let me know how it goes for you." Oh well. For all my laid backness, I still cannot tolerate a "good enough" attitude when it comes to work. Wonder how that came about? Laid back and mellow, with a killer work ethic.

We paid a lot of taxes this year. At least it seemed like a lot to me. Over $11,000. I guess I should have felt sad about that, but I took the view that I made good money and that was my share. I wouldn't spit on the hand that was trying to give me back some of that, but if it's my part to help the nation run, I gladly pay it. However, if it just going to go to pay double dipping government employees, to fund pork barrel projects, to cover giving corporations and CEOs huge tax breaks, to pay agricultural conglomerates to NOT plant crops, and crazy stuff like that. Well, I guess in that case, I am a little sad. It's a lot like having a neighbor who is poor and can't feed her children and giving her a little money just to see her spend it not on a hot lunch, but on fuzzy dice for the Hyundai's rearview mirror. I mean, don't get me wrong. We all LOVE fuzzy dice. But there has got to be priorities.

More navy lingo. I started with S, so let's move on to T. Again, this really is the lingo. C'mon.... we had a lot oftime on our hands.

Tack On: In an informal ceremony, when a sailor is frocked (see above), each of the shipmates in his unit who are already in the higher paygrade to which he is frocked "tack on" his crow by making a fist and pounding on the crow on your rating badge (which is sewn to the sleeve of your uniform). It is considered poor form to "tack on" with more than one pound of the fist; nonetheless, after a number of your buddies have "tacked on" your crow, your arm is generally black, blue, bruised, and extremely sore. A mild form of hazing.
Tango Lima: Phonetic of "TL," which is short for The Trophy Lounge, a club in National City, CA frequented by "WESTPAC widows" and sailors assigned to ships homeported at NAVSTA San Diego. Popular for its loose women and proximity to the base. (Been there more than once. It's gone now and a hotel sits in it's place.)
Tango Uniform: Phonetic shorthand for Tits Up, meaning non-functional or dead. A piece of gear that is out of order is said to be Tango Uniform. See tits-up below.
Tape Zebra: Maddening condition aboard ship, especially aircraft carriers, where passageways are "taped off" so that they may be waxed, dried, and buffed in the middle of the night. It seems that the passageways are purposely chosen to maximize delay and frustration when a pilot has to do an oh-dark-thirty preflight or some other duty. Junior enlisted sailors take special delight in denying officers access to these passageways. Likewise, junior officers thoroughly enjoy when a man overboard or GQ is called in the middle of the night, so as to crash through tape zebra and trample through the wet wax.
T.A.R.F.U.: Things Are Really F(ouled)Up.
Target: submariner term to describe the surface fleet or anything other than an identified friendly submarine. Most common use is in the phrase "There are two types of ships, Submarines and Targets." Also known as Surface Skimmer (see above)
TED: Typical Enlisted Dude. Either you know one or you are one.
Time Machine: A sailor's rack. Usually referred to by senior personnel without many daily responsibilities. Referred to as a time machine, because if you sleep 12 hrs a day then you have effectively slept away half of the deployment. (see Pit).
Timmy: A name used by RDC's when an anonymous recruit messes up and doesn't take credit for his behavior. Also Seaman Timmy, junior sailor who can't seem to do anything right and is always getting himself into trouble. Named for Timmy, the boy on the old Lassie show who always seemed to find himself trapped in a well/abandoned mine/bear trap/etc.
Titivaion: Hour long field day held daily onboard ship, see XO's "Happy Hour"
TFOA: Things Falling Off Aircraft - when a piece of an aircraft falls off for no apparent reason during flight. Unfortunately, this happens a lot more than most people realize, with obvious negative repercussions, especially over a populated area.
Tin can: Destroyer.
Titless WAVE: A yeoman or one who performs clerical duties. At one time, yeoman was one of the few positions open to female navy personnel or Waves.
Tits-up: Out of commission; hard-down. Sometimes spoken as Tits Up. (Think about it and it makes perfect sense)
Topsider: (Carrier) Anyone who is not a nuke.
Torpedo Sponge: Similar to "Missile Sponge", this refers to the smaller ships in a convoy, whose duty it is to protect the carrier, to the point of taking the torpedo hit for the carrier if needed.
Touch and Go's: Repeatedly falling asleep in a meeting or a class while trying desperately to stay awake. After nodding off, the person's head will dip forward almost to his chest, whereupon he will snap back into a very brief state of semi-consciousness and repeat the process. Named after practice landings where the aircraft descends, briefly touches down while still rolling forward, and quickly becomes airborne again. Very prevalent at AOM's and training. Also called "giving the invisible man head."

Training Aid: Slang name for a hot dog or other sausage. Insinuates that the consumer is practicing for another activity.
T-Rex: A term given to Naval aviators by 'black shoes' referencing aviators short arms (like a t-rex) limiting their ability to reach into their pockets to pull out money to buy beer or coffee.
Tube steak: hot dogs (also, called "dangling sirloin").
Turd: (Submarine Service) A surface ship (it smells, looks, and floats like a turd, therefore, it must be a turd).
Turd Chaser: An HT - Hull Technician. Renowned for their ability to find a clog in the ship's sewage treatment system. Motto: "We ain't quittin' until you're shittin'!"
Turn-to: The command, normally given over the 1MC signalling the beginning of the work day. Also given to return to normal ships work, generally used after GQ or other special evolutions. The hand signal given to tell someone to "turn two," is holding up two fingers and turning them back and forth.
Tweaker: A very small screw driver used by EM's and ET's to make meters indicate correctly.
Twidget: Sailor in the Electronics or Electrical fields of job specialties. (I was not only a twidget, I was a push-button also)
Two-Digit Midget: Sailor with 99 or less days until his/her "End of Active Obligated Service", or EAOS.
Tuna Boat: A submarine tender, or other non-combat ship that is comprised nearly completely by female sailors. Example: "We're going to have great liberty this port! A tuna boat just pulled in."
Turn 'n Burn: Casual for "Get busy!" From formal daily announcement Turn to ship's work, often given as direct order Turn to!

I think we are being set up for disappointment, by the way. McCain keeps moving farther right in an attempt to appease those who choose not to be appeased. Hopefully, he will get elected and find his independent streak again. However, Washington has a way of bringing you down to it's level, notvice versa, so I don't hold my breath. The other two are starting to show their weaknesses more and more. Plus, and this should be very scary to you, may need the help of Florida nad Michigan to get the nomintion. I can't speak to Michigan other than to say to their vacationers, "Slow down! It's a highway, not a speedway." But when it comes to politics and elections, and such... well, I'm just not so sure you really want us to be your salvation. I'm just saying.

It's easier to let it all die a fairy tale
than admit that something bigger's passing through, out
Ramblin' Ed

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

There will be a test

I hang out with people. Anybody who makes me laugh. Or that I can make laugh. Or that can sit around with me, enjoying the soft, sweet fragrance of the orange blossoms without feeling like we ought to be "accomplishing" something.

Some of these folks and me don't exactly make a logical match... on paper. But hey, life's too short. I mean, fill in the blanks. It's too short for a lot of crap, and a lot of it's crap that we do. So I try to not, which is easy when you don't think about things too hard or worry about things that are gonna happen regardless. Yep, laziness is a virtue. Or, at the least, not a vice.

There are a lot of things I have learned. Unfortunately, there's a whole lot more that I haven't. But, one thing that I did figure out was that you can't shop vac a house full of pet hair. Seemed like a good idea. It had a big hose and big suction. There was a wicked long cord and it rolled easy. Unfortunately, while the suction was good, the exhaust was gooder, spreading the pet hair and my sense of futility, all about the house. I knew Tim Allen, and you sir are no Tim Allen.

Here is a quote from the local paper about one of our state senators from here. Short version of the story is that she is another of them we are chock full of down here that doesn't believe in science. Since a law or bill or something was passed allowing evoloution to be taught in the schools*, she is sponsoring a bill that says, basically, "or the teacher can teach any other alternative theory they would like." I'm sure I know what she meant, but what she said is a lot more open ended. So Steve Otto says, and I quote, "The real problem - other than the bill is just goofy and helps to confirm Valrico as the center of whatever force it is sucking the brain power out of our lives....." (my italics) That cracked me up! Now, as you know, I'm pretty live and let live. In fact, my motto is "Ramblin' Ed cares about YOU". But I have always had a strong "Anybody but Ronda Storms" bent to my local politics.

* To be so totally obsessed with our schools, we sure produce some dumb asses

Headed up to Prividence, RI. I hope the food is good. Got a whole week up there as they are having our equipment newly installed, so it will be classes from scratch. Well, at least they won't keep contridicting me with those pesky "facts".

I suppose I am now oficially a teenybopper. I cannot think of any good reason for it and I can't look myself in the mirror for it, but two of my favorite American Idol contestants are Daniel Ortega (yes, I know...dictator) and David Archuletta. Both are kids, and one, maybe both, are a bit light in the loafers. In fact, you can just hear Ortega singing "Do you really want to hurt me?" I'm not sure if Archuletta is gay or just a really, really earnest mama's boy. But DANG!, he can sing.

I found out I accidntally taped the the Super Bowl starting at the half time show. I thought I'd be getting Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad, etc. That was a pleasant surprise, seeing as how I didn't get to see the game while on vacation and I didn't have Dad tape it as I figured the Patriots were a slam dunk to win it.

Listen to this closely. It has a lesson for you. Plus there'll be a test.

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men, out

Ramblin' ED