December 13, 2014

Too much Arm-Chair QBing Going on Lately

Too much Arm-Chair QBing Going on Lately
Now I generally try to avoid some current hot-button issues because, well face it, people are assholes that cannot distinguish fact from fiction and cannot tolerate views dissimilar from their own for any reason. Everything is binary and unless you back them 110% you are wrong.

Now I assume that any given news story has some bias and I'm probably not given the appropriate facts. Usually when I'm being binary is comes down to actual facts because I over-simplify and equate facts to the truth. Please don't get me started on conditional truths or things people assume as facts because it is true for them. I'll just over-simplify and lump people believing what they want as part of their own personal bias.

December 7, 2014

"Remembering" Pearl Harbor

"Remembering" Pearl Harbor
Let's be honest.....to the overwhelming majority of us December 7th is not a "Date that will live in infamy". Now I'm not downplaying the significance of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, but how many of us know the significance of June 28th, 1914* or even May 6th, 1937**?

There are undoubtedly a group of Pearl Harbor Survivors still alive, but on today, the 73rd anniversary of the bombing, there are far fewer than there were last year, and common sense dictates there will be fewer still next year. I don't "remember" Pearl Harbor because I wasn't around then, even though that one fixed-point in time is rather important for my existence. You see my grandfather, my maternal grandfather, was a "young petty officer" on board the USS Tennessee during the attack. The fortunate intersection of luck and fate that day saw my grandfather surviving the bombing and going on to raise my mother and her family. Had fortunes gone a different way I literally would not have been born.

That's kind of heavy. While I can think back to a personal close call or two in my life, I can't go back to a single day in history and pin-point a singular historical event that has such an impact.

So on an anniversary like today I don't actually "remember" Pearl Harbor in the traditional sense. I do think of my grandfather and my all-too-fleeting memories of him. I remember he loved his orchids, wasn't very outspoken, but was there if you needed him or not. Now I'm sure my aunts and uncles would have different memories, especially since they were Navy Brats and all that entails, but in my earliest memories he was retired.

At my grandmother's funeral one of my cousins reminded me of a story that was about her, but in many ways about him just as much. After a family trip to Disney World my grandparents decided they'd drive all four grand-kids from Florida back to Iowa. You know that had to be a special kind of hell driving four pre-teens half-way across the US. We'd drive for a while, stop at a motel, and we'd all get to go swimming, which was a rare treat. Now my grandmother expected the grandkids to open doors for her and generally be little gentlemen, or at least as much as 8-12 year-olds can be. One night we all piled out of the car and practically ran to the pool. After a while of having fun someone asked where grandma was. My grandfather just replied, "I don't know...who let her out of the car?" We ran to the car, dripping wet and apologetic as we opened the door for her. She was just sitting there, saying her rosary (probably for us), and simply thanked us for getting the door.

Now on the surface that shows the kind of lady my grandmother is and she deserves more than a quick story, but it also speaks volumes about my grandfather. He knew damned well we had forgotten about her, but reminding us wouldn't have taught us anything. He didn't reprimand us or make us feel guilty, neither of them did. I think of that story often when I open the door for my wife. Now I'll admit I'm probably not as good about it as he was, but thanks to his example I try.

Pearl Harbor Survivors Association Medallion
When my grandfather passed away my grandmother was given this Pearl Harbor Survivors Association medallion, in this simple case, with an elegant card. When she passed one of my uncles pretty much took it upon himself to take all of my grandfather's military possessions. He was the only member of the next generation to serve, also as a Naval Officer, and he felt it was his "right". While I don't agree with him, I do understand and in the long run it will probably be best that everything stays together.

This medallion however, wasn't with those things and it was given to me. I keep it above my desk along with one of his medals. While I do open the case a couple times a year to look at it, today is the only day I do so with any regularity.



*Date of assassination for Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria
**The date of the Hindenburg Disaster


November 30, 2014

This Needs to be a Commercial Product

This Needs to be a Commercial Product
Now I'm not a beer snob...really...it's just that I know what I like and what I definitely do not like when it comes to beer. Since I don't drink a lot I am rather protective of the beer I do drink. If you've ever had a fridge half-filled with beer, but only a couple are ones you'd drink, you'd want a way to keep "your" beer safe.

This beer lock featured on Hackaday is the answer!

November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day Rant

1995 French TDY
Today is another Veteran's Day and I see the list of free crap being offered to Veterans has grown by leaps and bounds over last year.

I'm thankful for the increase in community support as I haven't had that from "home" back in the day, but it really makes me wonder how much is true gratitude and how much is a marketing ploy.

Of all the offers I've seen I'm most impressed by two: Applebees and Great Clips. These are both places I patronize (I mean that in the good way). Applebees, or at least my local one, gives me a Veteran's discount every fricken day of the year. I'm often thanked for my service and not once has it felt forced or anything less than honest. The fact I'm not always thanked means, at least to me, this isn't a corporate mandate, but something straight from my server.

This means more to me than any discount or free yearly meal.

November 8, 2014

The Crooked Fence Barrelhouse is on the "Short List"

The Crooked Fence Barrelhouse in Garden City is awesome
Longtime readers, AKA Mom & Dad, OK, who am I kidding?...Those of your who check in periodically or accidentally find their way on to this blog might have read that for years it seemed me & the Mrs. had something of a "restaurant curse". We've had really bad luck at places, as-in "given out own section and forgotten about when our server went home for the night" bad luck.