Sunday, August 31, 2008

First we dabble in misogyny

The Test!
A dog is truly a man's best friend. If you don't believe it, just try this experiment.

Put your dog and your wife in the trunk of the car for an hour.

When you open the trunk, who's really happy to see you?

Incredibly enough, this post is about respect. We were out in the shed, trying to get my Mercury outboard to consistentantly run right, which pretty much consists of me standing around observing someone who actually knows what they're doing and occasionally fetching a tool or flashlight. Hey, it's my maintenance system and I find it to be pretty easy and reasonably priced. Somehow, though, I have digressed.

So I was telling G-Man about these retired squids we ran into at a Winghouse who, at 50+ years old, were in some serious arrested development, acting like stupid teenagers away from home for the first time. They wanted to play napkin basketball, using the waitress' cleavage for a basket and, unfortunately, were making sure all around them could see what fun and crazy guys they were....not. They made sure to recount wild tale after wild tale about the incredibly cool whorehouses to be found in the ports that they had visited, again for the benefit for those around them.

Now, I have seen the aforementioned whore houses, and without submitting a lot of detail here, am familiar with how they operate. I am not, however, under the assumption that the only thing any of these countries has to offer are cat houses on the dark end of the street. But these guys rated every country they had ever been to solely on the looseness and cheapness of their prostitutes. They even offered up this gem that, and I do quote, "Forget Costa Rica. They wised up and the hookers are not as cheap as they used to be." Yep, a ringing endorsement, especially when coming from a 50 year old child in a USN ballcap and another in an American Airlines pilot's uniform. Pretty much without even trying, the group managed to completely offend both me and DRE (married to a Thai and Filipina, respectively). And really, the two of us are neither naive nor easily offended.

My wife has had occasion to see me "in the wild" as it were. I was just another tourist in Bangkok, a single man with plenty of time and spending money. I was unencumbered, and that is important to the story. Because I would stop by and chat with her as I headed out around lunchtime, and stop by again as I was returning home, usually not particularly inebriated, and always unaccompanied. Seeing as how a willing companion could be found starting 2 doors down and stretching for several blocks, it was obviously my choice to be solitary. So now, as a married man who travels, it is easier to be believable when I state that I don't fool around on the road because she knows I was not real prone to it when I was free to.

She has also seen me hit town with some of my young petty officers from the ship. A few years after we were married she told me that seeing me with my guys was when she knew I was a good man. We would all be in a group talking and laughing and one of my guys would say or do something exuberent, but inappropriate. Maybe disrespectful. And she said she couldn't hear what I would say, but heard my voice get hard and saw my smile disappear. She said she would watch the youngin snap back into focus after being corrected. She liked the way I was proactive in teaching them to be citizens of the world and made them apologize when they acted stupidly. Then we would get to laughing and enjoying ourselves again. I was never one to squelch a good time, you just had to be polite about it.

I saw too much disrespect in the 80s, when we were still hitting PI regularly. I saw it, to a lesser extent, in other ports, but Olongapo/Barreto/Subic City is where I formed my style. Guys would get all liquored up and have the full attention of a whole bevy of young women, although the girls were more interested in the huge wad of pesos in their pocket than in anything else. We called it having "peso-nality". The guys got away with pulling a lot of crap (slapping asses, talking dirty, and more)and began to feel like this was the norm. Trust me, in a society that is heavily Catholic, it is not the norm. It was tolerated near the base only because letting squids get drunk and horny successfully separated same squids from LARGE sums of money with what was, realistically, minimal effort. Smile, laugh, flash a tit, rake in money. In the PI, life was normally much harder than that.

But then some guys would take to throwing money into sewage ditches to see the kids scramble in after it. Or throw peso coins off the bar roofs at the children below. Not to the children, at the children. I saw a guy piss on a beggars feet, and another yell at an old woman with a beggars cup. I saw much arrogance and stupidity and all that stuff really offended my sensibilities. And as I rose in the ranks, I did what I could to stop it.

My troops were required to go out with me on the first day. I showed them how to deal with the provost marshalls at the gate, as those guys would just smack you down rather than bother arguing with you. I showed them where and how to exchange money, how to catch a jeepney, how much to pay a jeepney, where the cold beer was, and how to get laid without getting took off into the hinterlands, robbed, stripped, and left to walk home in your skivvies (assuming you were wearing skivvies). They were only with me an hour or two, but my knowledge was vast and I got them right to the point. I wasn't looking for steaming buddies out of the little peckerheads, just needed to show 'em the ropes so I didn't spend my time off trying to get them out of the brig later. And being polite and respectful in dealings with the locals was a big part of my spiel.

The one point I always came back to was this. If tourists from another country came to your town, you'd be OK with that. If they spent a lot of money locally, that would be cool too as the benefits would tend to trickle down. And if they hit the local nightclubs, laughing and drinking and getting exuberant, you'd be happy that they were having a good time. But then, when they yelled at your mom, pissed on your dad, and hit your brother in the head with a projectile half dollar, well then you'd probably start re-thinking your whole outlook on these folks. Once I had agreement with that, I would point out that they did not want to be that person and I would not put up with it if they did. I turned out some well behaved young sailors, evidenced by the extremely low number of my younginswho wound up in front of the old man for liberty incidents.

I have watched the Democratic Convention and the Republican Convention (so far) and am still largely undecided. Not a big fan of Palin up til now. A lot of tough talk, and that's about it. In fact, the only thing I like about the McCAin campaign is John McCain. I have always liked him, I just wish he had some ideas to throw around. I get it... Obama is wet behind the ears and you don't like him. Fair enough. Now, what are you going to ACCOMPLISH if elected?

Been very busy working with the software folks in California, making sure that I am completely comfortable using a networked version of our latest upgrade, and test driving the new training library. Don't sound like much, but it's work.

Have also accidentally had a week home, so I got a doctors appointment took care of, went fishing twice, and did the yard work that comes with owning a small suburban territory in what God originally intended to be jungle. I also planned and booked a 3 day mini-vacation in Cocoa Beach for later this month. Been a fruitful couple of weeks. Jaw at you later.
We built this city with crocs we stole, out
Ramblin' Ed

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Five Ten Decision

The thoughts range from

Signalsxx3: this video reminds me of Monty Python but its a really good song
t3ch82: w.t.f?
999sasha: This shit sucks! So bad.

You have five minutes and 10 seconds to make up your own mind.

好玩,挺有意思, out
Ramblin' Ed

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fed 'em on peaches

OK, I owe you. After posting a forwarded internet joke and calling it a post. Although you got to admit, the stoner koala was indeed funny. And I did hunt down a SCOTS video. I had originally put a video of The Black Crowes covering Dylan's Everybody Must Get Stoned in concert. But who wants to be Captian Obvious?

I am in San Jose, CA this morning and will be all week. Not thrilled about it but am nowhere near hari kari either, so I guess it works out. Still, I often wonder, why couldn't I have been born rich instead of good looking?'s a valid question.

So the new adventure begins at the corner of Dover Road & State Road 60. A small lake that seems a thousand miles away from the condos and Sonics and Tire Kingdoms that make up modern day Valrico, FL. We were in the boat, toting a) a 10 hp Mercury, b) a 40 ft lb trolling motor, and c) 2 paddles that we hoped would not be needed. We were to get soaked. 3 times. A quick side bar.

You may recall, a tropical storm named Fay soaked pretty much every square inch of Florida. As she was passing by us on her way up the East Coast, her eye just a couple of counties east, we got nothing. Not even drizzled. We had closed the plant, people had come this close to being evacuated from parts of our area. And there we were... doing yard work.

Now, just a few miles to our right, if you are facing north, they were getting 2 feet of rain. But not us. It was weird. So, on the day we went fishing, Fay was way up around Jacksonville, 4 hours NE of us. As the storm meandered westward towards Pensecola and Mobile, well that's when it decided to soak Tampa Bay. Repeatedly. And we just happened to get caught in it. Repeatedly.

Anyway, we were fishing between downpours and I flicked a yellowish crankbait up around a log, let it sit a sec, twitched it twice, then started bringing it in. I had retrieved it a few feet when I felt the hit and knew I had a good one. I had me one about 18" and I reeled it all the way up to the boat then stopped. G-Man, who can be excitable, wanted me to bring it in the boat, but I refused. Instead I let it play on the end of the line, tail flicking water on us til it finally threw the hook and swam off. "Why'd you do that?" "Because it was a gar. They're all slime and teeth. I didn't want it in the boat." If you've ever caught a gar and tried to take it off the hook, you know of what I speak. GAR LINK PHOTO / GAR LINK ARTICLE

I have lost rods to gar, as they tend to hit hard and I tend to be daydreaming. Just sitting there on the bank, warming in the sun, alone with my thought, then ziiip....splash....gurgle. Rod gone. Still, if I am boat fishing, and these days I usually am, if I hook a fighter and I get it near the boat, I look to see if it appears gar-ish. Gar-ish, like a fish, not garish, like a transvestite hooker. There is a difference, although truth be told, I don't really want either of them in my boat. Way back in the woods. All alone. Where no one could hear me scream. Not that there's anything wrong with being a transvestite hooker. They just don't go well with fishing. They are another story to tell entirely.

Buzzards watching me intently. Snakes in trees. Gar and alligator lurking beneath the boat. Fishing in Florida presents it's own challenges. Gotta love it.

Spanish Pipedream (AKA Blow Up Your TV)
© John Prine

She was a level-headed dancer on the road to alcohol
And I was just a soldier on my way to Montreal
Well she pressed her chest against me
About the time the juke box broke
Yeah, she gave me a peck on the back of the neck
And these are the words she spoke

Blow up your TV
throw away your paper
Go to the country,
build you a home
Plant a little garden,
eat a lot of peaches
Try an find Jesus
on your own

Well, I sat there at the table and I acted real naive
For I knew that topless lady had something up her sleeve
Well, she danced around the bar room
and she did the hoochy-coo
Yeah she sang her song all night long,
tellin' me what to do

Repeat chorus:

Well, I was young and hungry and about to leave that place
When just as I was leavin', well she looked me in the face
I said "You must know the answer."
"She said, "No but I'll give it a try."
And to this very day we've been livin' our way
And here is the reason why

We blew up our TV
threw away our paper
Went to the country,
built us a home
Had a lot of children,
fed 'em on peaches
They all found Jesus
on their own

It don't make much sense, that common sense don't make no sense no more, out
Ramblin' Ed

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A koala was sitting in a gum tree, smoking a joint

A koala was sitting in a gum tree...... smoking a joint

when a little lizard walked past, looked up and said, "Hey Koala! What are you doing?"

The koala said, "Smoking a joint, come up and have some."
So the little lizard climbed up and sat next to the koala where they enjoyed a few joints.
After a while the little lizard said that his mouth was "dry" and that he was going to get a drink from the river. The little lizard was so stoned that he leaned too far over and fell into the river.
A crocodile saw this and swam over to the little lizard and helped him to the side. Then he asked the little lizard, "What's the matter with you?"
The little lizard explained to the crocodile that he was sitting smoking a joint with the koala in the tree, got too stoned and then fell into the river while taking a drink.
The crocodile said that he had to check this out and walked into the rain forest, found the tree where the koala was sitting finishing a joint. The crocodile looked up and said, " Hey you!"

So the koala looked down at him and said,

"Duuuuude...How much water did you drink?!!"

Southern Culture on the Skids:

I would not feel so all alone, out
Ramblin' Ed

Friday, August 08, 2008

HGI Room 403

Sometimes (Comfort of a Friend)

Sometimes way too long's
another way of saying way too easy
Sometimes letting go
don't have to mean I can't keep holding on

Sometimes what I rhyme
ain't what I tried to say, but I still mean it
Sometimes I keep going knowing
for my trouble all I get is gone

The highway's just a dirty girl
been rode too hard and going nowhere
and I don't need the trouble
But I go and still get on again

Backroads like a drunken bender
wander thisaway and that
though never quite attain their promise
still hold out the comfort of a friend

Sometimes gotta go
is saying I can't sit still here no longer
most times gotta go
is all completely out of my control

Sometimes what I rhyme
comes out from somewhere way off deep inside me
stained around the edges
weary glimpses of a ramblin' soul

Sometimes way too long's
another way of saying way too easy
Sometimes I keep going knowing
for my trouble all I get is gone

Aurora, CO

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Rough Life of a Cat Parts 1 & 2 and the Soup That made Me Laugh

There is an actual post under these pictures. I have found that for some reason when I include a lot of pictures blogger forgets all the rules of formatting and my posts come away with a real drunken, palsy stricken feel to them. Hence the compromise. Yeah, hence!

Ahhh, the massage chair. Just right for the kitties!

Ah yes, Ed's clothes. Just right also for the kitties!!

OK, I was in a Mexican Supermarket with the wife and we saw this. I didn't really want to start taking pictures of it and giggling, so I bought it, took it home and took pictures of it while giggling. When Mike came home from the base, I said, "If you're hungry I could make you this." Yeah, you know it. More giggling.

Biggerize this and look closely. We were fishing and the trees were full of buzzards. There's 8 I count in this pic, but there were probably 30 or so overhead. I was a little freaked out by it.

I liked them. They were tall.

These were all over Crystal City, each one different. I took a picture of the shiny one because, well, I like shiny things.

These are those cars you book online for an hour or so at a time so you don't have to actually own a car. They are parked all over the city and have designated spots in convienent locations. I think it's a neat idea. READ THE BOTTOM OF THE PLATE.

And now, our feature presentation. The post.

Been a while since I posted. It happens. Busy little hippie, I yam, I yam. Been to Boston and D.C. since I last wrote and am in Denver at the moment, luggage-less and preparing to go into work more than just a little bit casual. I mowed the grass this weekend, which is remarkable in no way at all, since I seem to have a schedule of working all week, coming home to mow the grass and flying back out. I bring that up because, being a firm believer that flip flops are the only true footwear, mowing the grass turns my toes a beautiful emerald green. But it turns my toenails a less sightly, almost turd-like olive green. For that reason I decided to wear Sperry loafers, sans socks though, instead of flip flops. So at least when I show up for work looking like a passenger on a slow cruise to the Bahamas, I'll have on shoes.

The trip out was a complete nightmare (again!). I have decided that unless it is very, truly, badly horrendous I will not rant and rave on these pages. It is not a travel venting blog after all. And boy could I vent. I have had wrecked rental cars, stolen passports, and a flight attendant's offer to sell me a glass of water on one flight. I will say this, however. The transformnation to a zero tolerance for customer support is apparently complete. Last night after reporting my lost bag to a representative... and by the way, this was a direct flight so losing it took a little creativity... a representative who not only could have cared less, but vaguely seemed have the opinion like it was my fault for trying to travel with luggage, she handed me a tracking number and said, "Probably sometime tomorrow." Totally bored and without any conviction. But what struck me the most was how she didn't even bother with the robotic "Sorry for the inconvienence". I mean, we both know they ain't sorry, but they've even abandoned the pretense. Or maybe there's a fee for airline condolences.

OK, so I lied. It was a mini-rant.

I actually quite enjoyed D.C., which was really Crystal City/Alexandria, VA. It was cool, with a lot of little shops, pubs, and restaurants that you could just walk to. Parking is a bona fide bitch in that area, which I have known for years, but I was only 10 blocks from where I was working at TSA Headquarters so I just walked. It was cool. And I was far from alone. It was like a 15 min walk in and the same back. Relaxing, actually. All in all I enjoyed it.
Did head down to Fredricksburg, VA one night for dinner with an old navy buddy. Stayed on the Interstate this time. Last time I went there using the backroads that I know so well, you may recall I got a speeding ticket... doing 36 mph. Yes, remember, apparently I had wandered into some kind of invisible school zone that only the cop (and out of state tags) could find.

I think after this trip, things will slow for me just a little. I will teach a couple of factory classes in St. Pete, be home every day, and slowly get back into routinely annoying the wife. Can't help it, seems I am a natural. We are selling a bunch more of these little babies, and there is a huge order for some explosive detection machines to get upgraded, so this is more of a brief respite than anything else. But I'll take it.

Got in the rental last night, blasting off eastward in what turned out to be a pretty long ride to my hotel 8 miles west of the airport. Didn't mind at all. I stumbled on a radio station that was playing some Taj Mahal so I gave it a little listen. Then some group I'd never heard of and can't remember other than they were quite unique also. But after that, some kind of Bodeans retrospectve/interview kicked off. I had a couple of their cassettes years ago and I really liked them. So I was pretty stoked and not that perturbed for the extra time driving.

And Baby, there you are, out
Ramblin' Ed