Monday, March 14, 2022

One Recurring Dream

I have a unique ability to rise up into the air.  Whenever I want,  I can gently jump up and will continue rising into the air.  I'm still learning how to steer and how to descend, which causes more than a little stress.  The views, however, are quite stunning.  So far,  I seem to really like leading a class of third graders down a school hall while floating at the head of the line.  I also like exploring the beat-up automotive garage located at the site of the current City Line Food Lion at the corner of Cove and Peters Creek Roads in Roanoke.  Hovering there just above the tree line affords me an excellent view of Fort Lewis, Brushy, Catawba, and Tinker Mountains.  I have no idea what all this means.  I don't completely like it as I feel a bit frightened when I soaring up above.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Adam 12 Jumps the Shark

 


Today, Adam-12 almost, not quite, "Jumped the Shark"*. In this episode, "The Weasel", I mean "The Ferret", was repeatedly breaking in to a polluting factory run by a large-mouthed factory man. He's a crafty little guy.
 
Then, a Mississippi couple had the "Mojo" put on them by a local Los Angeles witch doctor. The doctor prescribed that the pregnant wife eat Mississippi red clay. The woman fell into a coma and the baby died. Later, the unrepentant witch doctor put a mojo eye hex on Officer Reed. An hour later, Sgt. Mac showed the guys that Reed was front page news in the LA Times for allowing The Ferret to escape.
 
On second thought, Adam-12 officially "Jumped the Shark" in this episode.
 

 
I wish the other channel hadn't replaced "McGuyver" with "Walker, Texas Ranger". Not only do I detest and disagree with Chuck Norris on a personal and political level, this &*^$%$#% show is on almost every over-the-air minor channel all day. Thus, I'm back with the mojo mud-eating weasels.
 
 

Sunday, October 17, 2021

A Football Game Experience

Lane Stadium Blacksburg, VA

 

Pittsburgh at Virginia Tech

October 16, 2021

Pitt wins 28-7

 

Kenny Pickett, 14th year senior QB, was largely held in check as the Panthers chewed away at the clock thanks to a most anemic VT offense that had absolutely no identity.

 

My wife and I haven’t attended any games in person to this point in the season.  Frankly, we were concerned about the close proximity seating and unfiltered breathing providing too much of a health risk even though we are both vaccinated.  After much consideration, including looking at the virus data trends in the area and a favorable windy forecast, we decided to give attending a shot.

We hadn’t sat in our new seats since reseating before the 2020 season.  Up to this point, I’d always given them away to extended family members.  Our new seats, along the east side 30 yard line in the nosebleeds, are only a row behind our old seats but a bump closer to the aisle.  

We chose to get into these fabulous seats about an hour before game.  The sky was flashing by in a mad dash toward some unreachable pressure equalization.  But the weather was dry while the flags were shredding.


 

For us, everything went off the rails when our new neighbors arrived.  No one to my right.  An angry couple to my wife’s left.  A mature couple soon joined by their college student son directly in front of us.  Three amigas of widely varying ages directly behind us.

As the longest first half in VT football history played out like a torturous black and white dream, our neighbors began to invade our life in disturbing ways.  Angry man beside my wife began a three hour F-bomb monologue pointed toward Fuente, Cornelsen, Burmeister, Turner, Tim Sands, Whit, Hamilton, Homecoming Royalty, Hokie Pokie, concession lines, stadium loudspeaker volume, Blackshear,  Gallo, and Dax (just because).  I’m sure I left a few out.  We wondered how someone so very angry gets any joy out of life.  (Disclaimer: I held my foul tongue until the ridiculous interference retraction in the third quarter.)

Meanwhile, the mature couple in front of us was joined by their son who was already teetering on the edge of verticality.  It had taken most of the first quarter for his Pop on the phone and signal flares sent up to steer him to the triple nosebleeds.  Their homecoming was heart-warming.  Mom and son shared a deep embrace followed by the same between father and son.  I was moved.  Then they sat, and I found that their backs were now pinning my knobby knees back into my gut.    Dad then got up and began his beer runs.  He spent most of the rest of the game shuttling back and forth refreshing the beer supply for Mom and son.  Meanwhile, Mom and son began to escalate their embraces into something a bit more affectionate.  

Comfortably Numb

It was more than a little uncomfortable to watch and feel as their entangled arms massaged my naked knees.  They vacated the stadium late in third period just in time for us, as I’ll explain in a moment.  I watched as they slowly descended out of the clouds to the portal far below.  Mom and Dad went ahead of their son. Meanwhile, he implemented  the tried and sometimes true “Hold-Onto-The-Center-Rail” strategy for inebriated exit.  After some serious challenges with gravity and magnetic fields, he successfully disappeared into the portal.

Before I write about the three amigas, I want the reader to understand a bit about my experiences with alcohol.  All through my teen years, college, and career, I drank- sometimes to excess.  When it came to attending VT games as an adult, I found that I enjoyed them more if I was sober.  I finally reached bottom with my drinking on May 19, 2014.  After spending the day enjoying bourbon and Cokes, I drove out to see my friend play in his Celtic band at a local winery.  There, I sampled the local wine and felt the need to have a craft brew or two, since there were also beer tents set up at this event.  Also understand that I was about six weeks removed from reconstructive left knee surgery.  So I was still on crutches and wore a heavy brace.  When the concert in the cow pasture was over, I began staggering on crutches back to my vehicle and ended up face-planting in a cow pie.  I just laid there and one of my sober friends happened by and volunteered to drive me home.  I stopped drinking that day.

The three amigas, probably related to each other, arrived escorted by two older gentlemen.  The women came already primed and with a nice cache of stadium beers and airplane bottles.  They were happy people.  As the affectionate couple invaded our space from the front, these ladies encroached from behind.  Constant kicking in the back.  During most of the second quarter, I had a smelly shoe poised beside my right nostril as one of the ladies was most comfortable sitting with crossed-legs as she leaned over to banter with her mates.  Not much football game attention.  It was more about the homecoming festivities, the royal court, shopping for earrings at the gift shop, and long peeing lines (They are ridiculous!).  The first beer was spilled beside me, but I was poised to keep it from spreading.  I plucked out my handy paper towels which I carry for just such emergencies, and I Bountied the beer tide before it got to my stuff stored under my seat.   Another minor spill happened at half, and again the paper towels took care of any potential collateral damage.  Late in the third quarter, the big one struck. 

Having just arrived from yet another trip to the beer concession, the middle amiga, who was just behind my wife, opened her can.  It immediately began spewing beer all over, and the lady somehow managed despite her condition, to contain it -minus the beer suds that coated the back of my wife.  A few minutes later, the middle amiga again lost control of her can and knocked it over with her foot.  This time the beer spewed like lava from a volcano right through the crack under my wife’s seat and down her leg and into her left shoe. I don’t think that the middle lady even knew what she had done.  I deployed the rest of my Bounty on the wave, and we evacuated to the now-vacated row in front of us.

We have never left a game early until Saturday.  After VT gave up on yet another offensive possession, we chose to exit the stadium figuring that we could salvage some joy by taking a sunset stroll across campus back to our car, which was in the former commuter lot parking garage.  I must confess that I inflicted shock and dismay on an innocent fan when I tried to brush aside an empty water bottle that was laying in the aisle as we went down the steps.  It got away from my foot and launched into a lady’s shoulder a few seats into the row.  She looked at me in shock, and I’m sure she must have thought I was hammered.

The walk was truly healing.  We didn’t speak of the horrific game we had just witnessed.  We didn’t discuss the fans we encountered.  We just drank in the incredible beauty of our campus.  The lush green drill field, the vibrant leaves, the endless orange and maroon sky.


 

One final trial awaited us.  We made it back to the parking garage and waited for my sister to get back from the shuttle bus.  We broke out a few simple sandwiches, veggies, and Cokes.  I turned on the 2016 Honda Civic’s radio, and we listened to the post-game.  After a few minutes, we decided that there was nothing that we wanted to hear about that game.  So I went to turn off accessory mode. Now, I struggle with certain technologies, apparently.  I was supposed to push the brake and push the ignition button or maybe I was supposed to push the brake pedal twice and push the button or maybe it was push the button and not pump the brake.  Whatever it was, I did it wrong, and now the car‘s electrical system was freaking out and all normal car function was frozen, including the gear shift.  I tried everything to free the car from its seizure, but nothing worked.  Fortunately, I knew that I could manually free the gear shifter by popping a pen into a slot behind the shift mechanism in the storage compartment.  I managed to get the car to neutral, but it the electrical system was still frozen. 

What I didn’t mention is that this exact same thing happened two years ago in almost the same location before a game.  That time, I freed the stick and got a guy with a huge pickup truck next to us with cable to try jumping the car.  That worked immediately and the system reset itself.  So I was confident that all we needed was a jump. With the garage pretty much empty, I decided to call AAA, and that’s when I discovered that I had left my wallet at home.  After some tense moments, I was able to get the AAA phone number and secure some service within the next 126 minutes.  Fortunately, AAA was beyond responsive.  Within about 20 minutes Dacota from Campus Automotive rolled up with his portable starter kit and helpful outlook on life.  The car immediately fired up.  My sister had been recovered from the shuttle, and we headed back to Roanoke without any further setbacks.

As you can tell, our first game in two seasons was not especially fun.  The positives were walking across campus, the pregame views in the stadium, and being rescued by Dacota. The negatives far out-weighed any positive.  The neighbors, the money-less concessions, the beers, the distracting jumbotron. Oh and the mauling by Pitt.  It’s like the fan base no longer goes to the game for the game, but rather to… I don’t know what.  From here on out, we will follow the team more from the distance.  I’m sure some would tell us to not let the door hit us on the way out, but we don’t have surplus discretionary income to spend of something that really isn’t very entertaining.

I suppose that at least we didn’t have to watch the game broadcast with endless sideline shots of Narduzzi whining about everything, and that’s something.  Go Hokies.

 

Here are some other photos from our visit












 

 

 

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Plants In Cups 2021


 Plants in Cups

For as many years as I can remember,  I've grown my own tomatoes and peppers.  Also for as long as I remember,  I've grown too many.  In addition for as long as I remember,  I end up giving away  a mess of plants to school children and local community gardens.  The pandemic, however, has greatly limited what I can give away to elementary school kids.

Given that I have more than a thousand plants,  I try to recoup my cost by seeking donations from other people who scream for the plants.

My "catalog"  began more years ago than I can remember as a way for me to have some fun writing while gently having fun with traditional seed catalog descriptions.  The pictures and basic information are accurate.  The other stuff is just a bit of an invention.  I add to it every year as I try out new varieties or think of a new silly story. 

 

 
 
UPDATE:  
 
Sold Out Varieties
 
Sun Sugar

 

You can reach me on Facebook or at Newt999@gmail.com.  We can arrange for pickup when you order.  I live in the Peter's Creek/Airport area.

I accept Cash, Venmo, or PayPal

 

 

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Bounty for Heads



The New York Times broke a story Thursday evening that Russia had a bounty on the American soldiers in Afghanistan. According to the report, verified by The Wall Street Journal and other news organizations, the Russian government had a deal through at least 2019 to pay the Taliban for each American soldier killed.
 

So, the president may or may not have heard about the Russian bounty deal with the Taliban back in March. As usual, we've gotten mixed messages from the administration on whether or not the president knew and when or when't [sic] he knew/knew't. Today, before he retweeted a video that included racist language and profanities (from both sides), he tweeted that he didn't know about the bounty. However, the administration doesn't disavow the actual core charge.
 

Which leads me to contemplate three possibilities:
 

  1. The intelligence services and/or his closest advisors were too afraid or oblivious to share this news with the president.
     
  2. The president received the information in his Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB), but didn't read it or understand it, and no one pointed it out to him.
     
  3. He read it, and ignored it. He didn't care.
     

None of those three possibilities are especially comforting, nor are they a good look for the president. The fact is that since he was or should have been advised on this attack on American troops by Russia, the president responded by by doing three things:

  1. He announced the withdraw pulling 28% (9,500) of our troops out of Germany, something that Putin has long desired. Something that will, arguably make the EU less secure from Russian aggression.  German Withdraw
     
  2. He's petitioned for Russia to be granted readmission to the G7 (G8). If you recall, Russia was kicked out after it annexed Ukraine's Crimea in 2014. Again, this is something that Putin has long wanted.
     
  3. Nothing. He has done absolutely nothing about this. In fact, the day after the story broke...when Trump said that he was staying in Washington for the weekend to keep "LAW & ORDER", he went out to play golf at his Virginia course.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Carnival Games at Lakeside




Carnival Games at Lakeside

(This was adapted from a free-flowing FaceBook response)

I worked the games from 1978-1982. The first year, I was an all-purpose worker, which means I was banished a lot to Color Dot, Machine Gun, and Dime Pitch (damn merry-go-round music still sears my brain); places where workers learned the art of boredom. I graduated to The Weight Game that year and on to The Birthday Game. Eventually, I was elevated to stock room and finally to games supervisor before I was canned (still makes me angry).

I only recall one game being "rigged”:Dime/Quarter pitch. At that game a fine silicone mist was sprayed onto the plates to cause the coins to skid across and off the plate. When the giant animals (expensive) were given away, you know that someone screwed up.

Some games were made almost impossibly hard: basketball shooting (small rim), Basket Game (23 degree angle to the wicker basket using hard plastic light softballs--I got the angle wrong when I built it with Dave Wade), Machine Gun: had to shoot out every thread of the red star from the target. Cat Rack, a part of the Front Games, was trickier to win than you might think. The "cats" were fluffy and allowed to ball to pass through without striking anything of substance.

Other games were relatively easy to win, but the prizes reflected that. Birthday Game was quite straight forward. We knew that you had only 14 places to drop your quarter, so our losses were essentially predetermined when the "rhomba-casa-quaddecahedron" was rolled. Later, Don (the boss boss) added two more dates to the board for a total of 16 squares and a new hexakaidecagon. The Weight Game only gave away "slum" and "flock", prizes worth pennies. Once you got someone to play, we won.

There are a few tips I learned along the way to consistently win at some of the games. Most of the tips center on one over-riding principle: less is more. To win at almost any throwing game, making a slow, under-powered toss is the key. On Cat Rack, I could knock down three clowns almost every time I tossed by using a gentle dart throwing motion. Simply aim the "dart" (ball) and toss like a dart. I used the same strategy at Break-A-Plate with great success. Todd Stafford mentioned the bank shot in Skeeball. One of my favorite strategies worked on Machine Gun. Most people who played, took the gun and blasted away all 100 shots in rapid-fire fashion. The way to win, however, was to take single shots. Since the sights weren't standardized, the first couple of shots gave you an idea where the shots would go. Then you simply cut a circle around the red star using single shots, causing it to drop out of the target completely in one piece.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

A Ranty Rant and a Rebuttal





A Ranty Rant and a Rebuttal

I know lots of people on social media. Some of them don't share my political beliefs. One of them posted this rant this afternoon.

I thought I'd post it here in its entirety. I believe that this is something that someone on the Interwebs wrote and is being passed around.

Read it, then look for my retooled anti-rant that follows the bones of the original.

*****************************************
Copy paste but still:

I'm not posting this for debate. I don’t need any comments. Unfriend me if you must. Just please consider this...when you think the President is a jerk...


The bottom line has been that Trump IS a jerk. He’s crude, he bloviates, he gets his feelings hurt and he’s a hot head. And he should stay off Twitter.

Let me tell you what else he is. He is a guy that demands performance. He is a guy that asks lots of questions. The questions he asks aren’t cloaked in fancy phrases, they are “why the hell....” questions.

For decades the health industry has thrown away billions of face masks after one use. Trump asks, “Why the hell are we throwing them away? Why not sterilize them and use them numerous times?” He’s the guy that gets hospital ships readied in one week, when it would have taken a bureaucrat weeks or months to get it done. He’s the guy that gets temporary hospitals built in three days. He’s the guy that gets industries to build ventilators and face masks in a business that’s highly regulated by agencies that move like sloths.

He’s the guy that asks why we aren’t using drugs that might work on people that are dying; what the hell do we have to lose? In spite of all the naysayers. He’s the guy that shut down travel from China, when the liberals and the media were screaming xenophobia and racist. Now they are asking why didn't he react sooner? He’s the guy that ran on securing the border in the face of a screaming press and media. When he shut down borders in the midst of the coronavirus virus they were up in arms over such a draconian move. Then the rest of the world followed suit all over, including the European Union between member countries.


Has he made mistakes, yep. Everyone I know would have. All of these experts wouldn’t have done any better. Trump is working harder than I’ve ever seen a President work. He isn’t hiding in his office, he’s out front every day.

Take for instance, all the shortages of PPE’s and ventilators. I’m unaware of anything that prevented all of these governors from ordering all the PPE and ventilators for emergency purposes over the last two years. And yet, it is Trump’s fault that they didn’t.


He’s balanced his approach and listened to the experts, when his distractors said he wouldn’t and couldn’t. When he offers hope, he’s lying and when he’s straight forward, he should be hopeful. It’s a no win, but he is not deterred by all of that BS coming from the press and the liberals.

I’ll take this kind of leadership over a nice guy that can make eloquent speeches.


He is my President!

**********************************************************

My Anti-Pro-Trump Rant





I'm not posting this for debate. I don’t need any comments (well, actually I do). Unfriend me if you must. Just please consider this...when you think the President is a jerk...





The bottom line is that Trump IS a jerk. He’s crude; he bloviates. He gets his feelings hurt, and he’s a hot-head. And he should stay off Twitter.




Let me tell you what else he is. He is a guy that makes ridiculous, nonsensical demands and expects unrealistic performance. He is a guy that asks lots of whacked-out questions. The questions he asks aren’t cloaked in fancy phrases; they are “why the hell...” questions that devolve into complete unrelated, incomprehensible babble.





For decades the health industry has thrown away billions of face masks after one use. Trump asks, “Why the hell are we throwing them away? Why not sterilize them and use them numerous times?” It’s a great question, and he received a scientific answer that either confused him or simply didn’t satisfy him. He’s the guy that ordered hospital ships readied in one week, despite the ships lacking full crews, having Covid-19 members, and undergoing scheduled, vital maintenance when it would have taken a bureaucrat a similar amount of time to get them launched properly if they had received the order a month earlier. He’s the guy that gets temporary hospitals built in three days, but a month late. He’s the guy that gets industries to build ventilators and face masks two months late using private business that need more time to retool before beginning to pump out these vital supplies.





He’s the guy that asks why we aren’t using drugs that might work on people that are dying; what the hell do we have to lose? - In spite of all the nay-sayers. Nay-Sayers who appropriately noted that there is NO scientific basis for his claims.





He’s the guy that “shut down travel from China”, when people who follow actual factual reporting from the non-state media were pointing out that while Chinese people were barred from returning to the US, over 40,000 US citizens and those with special “passes” were allowed back without receiving any directives to self-quarantine.





Now these same educated information consumers are asking why didn't the president react sooner? He dismissed the impending crisis all though February, despite warnings from WHO and many countries. In fact, he continued his mass political rallies all the way through early March, HUGE rallies with “the biggest crowds ever.” As late as mid-March he was dismissing the impact of the pandemic telling us that it was completely under control.





He’s the guy that ran on securing the border (Mexico will pay for it one day) in the face of a screaming press and media upset at the inhuman treatment of legal asylum seekers. When he shut down borders in the midst of the corona-virus pandemic, they were up in arms that he was directing his ICE agents to stalk the border seeking out more asylum seekers to deport. Their protestations forced him to have his private police back off. He sealed the borders with Canada and Mexico after most other countries had taken similar action.





Has he made mistakes? Yep. Has he lied? Absolutely, with almost every breath. Most of the people in government who are critical of his lack of leadership would have handled the crisis better; providing factual, science-based information confidently in an unambiguous fashion without lying and distorting the truth. Trump is working hard to politicize the pandemic. Instead of unifying us, he seeks to tear us apart. I’ve never seen a President so completely unfit and humanely dysfunctional. He isn’t hiding in his office, he’s out front every day spewing his lies and attacking his “enemies”, fellow U.S. citizens who dare point out his incompetence, lies, or malfeasance.





Take for instance, all the shortages of PPE’s and ventilators. He’s done NOTHING to help build some sort of emergency storehouse. In fact he suggested that he wouldn’t directly aid states until they bowed or “showed their appreciation to [him].” He forced states to compete in the open market for PPE, cotton swabs, and respirators, driving the prices up to astronomical levels. Despite being President since 2017, he’s sought to defund the CDC and reassigned the members of the pandemic response team. Our lack of preparation as a nation is 100% Trump’s fault.





His approach is unbalanced and incomprehensible. Many of his “experts” are completely unqualified; like the “My Pillow Guy”, Jared, and the sycophantic vice president. When he offers hope, he’s lying and when he’s straight-forward, he’s lying. His only motivation appears to be how the pandemic will affect him and his business interests. He is not deterred by all of the just criticism coming from the press and the people who are actually paying attention to what he says and DOES. He continues his unhinged “leadership” while proudly proclaiming, “Only I can fix it.” While also saying, “I am NOT responsible.”





This kind of leadership from the impeached president is destroying and will completely destroy our country if allowed to continue. We need a leader who can unite us behind a shared purpose, a common enemy. We need a generational leader, not a charlatan and crook.





He is NOT my President. He needs to be relieved of duty.





Write your own version if you agree. It’s therapeutic.