Saturday, September 16, 2017

Disrespect

My Beloved and I decided to take a few days to ourselves and enjoy a brief vacation out of town. If you haven't had the opportunity to travel up to the New England states, I urge you to go. There are a ton of things to do up there. The weather is wonderful this time of year, the people are terrific and the scenery is beautiful.

So, what's to disrespect you ask? It began when we boarded our Southwest plane. Nothing out of the ordinary. The crew smiled and welcomed everyone aboard. I have generally found the Southwest flight attendants, I'm sure I would get shot in this day and age if I called them stewardesses, PC and all, are generally the friendliest in the skies I have traveled. However I digress. The plane boarded normally and we paying cattle took our seats without incident.

Then, it happened. The attendants stood up to give their much practiced play, Act I, Scene I, you know, keeping us safe in the event of an emergency. I was sitting about four rows in front of the attendant who had the middle of the plane performance. She began her buckling display and smiled. What irritated me to no end was the jackass sitting right in front of her on the aisle seat began talking to the person across the aisle like the attendant wasn't even there. He continued to talk the entire time ignoring the attendant's instructions.

I wanted so badly to stand up and yell across the rows, DUDE, pay attention to this woman. Have some respect for her doing her job. Shut the hell up! What she's saying might save your life! Apparently he doesn't give a crap about his life.

I don't care how many times you fly. I don't care how well you think you know the instructions you are about to receive, but have some respect for the person who is telling the other passengers how to save their lives. Shut your pie-hole until they are done.

If this plane crashes, you're the last person I'm coming to help.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Captain's Journal

It has been quite some time since I have put up and excerpt from any of my books. I generally try and use this blog mostly as a place of thoughts and reactions to the world. I am however a writer and I'm giving myself permission to do it.

So, without further ado, a brief excerpt from the upcoming novel, Ghost Fleet, book two of my science fiction Home World Series.

            
          Jason Tully sat back in his cabin and just stared at the walls. He let the chair turn beneath him as he pivoted, casually examining his surroundings. He had all right to move into the ship’s Captain’s Quarters, but he chose not to. That was Joseph’s place. His own suited him well enough. The captain would return. He turned toward the panel behind and stabbed at the console.

Captain’s journal: Theta 9- 8

“My mentor has awakened and though I believe he will make a full recovery, he is not yet ready to bear the rigors of command, much less influence my decisions. I would welcome his counsel however he is not fully aware of all the details and is in no shape to undergo a briefing.”
“I look around myself and see the small quarters that holds my private world. It is spartan by nearly any measure. Others decorate with their trappings of success, awards and plaques, certificates of accomplishment. I suppose it gives them courage or comfort in an ever changing universe. This life we have chosen is difficult with no guarantee of success, no guarantee of tomorrow where each day could be one’s last.”
“I have succeeded with so much in my career, living dreams that only a young lad could dream as he looks to the stars, yet, now I am faced with decisions that no boy, even in his wildest imaginings could conceive. I once dreamed of sailing the vast oceans of Carrigeen, my home world. I would command warships that chased down pirates or even plied the seas as those same scavengers.”
“Yet even those adventures could not win my favor as I looked to the stars in the heavens. The blackness above was vast, unimaginable in its breadth and depth, filled with points of light that could never be counted though indeed I gave an effort. The wandering dreams of a child again filled with the adventures of warships, massive flying cities that protected the Home Worlds from marauding bands whose only goal was to conquer. It isn’t that simple any longer.”
“As captain of the Parras I have a duty, a single purpose. I can see only one solution to this situation. I hope it is the correct one.”
“Close journal.”

Jason slid his hand over one button laying his finger gently on its smooth surface. He paused, his mind surprisingly calm. He thought back to something his captain had said to him after they had left Tor Dunlaw;
“… and just because sometimes, you’ve got to learn on the job. It’s war, and I don’t know of another training ground quite like it.”
“Bridge.”
“Bridge aye.”
“Signal the fleet, all ships battle stations.”

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Life hasn't changed

These days of 24 - 7 internet and news activity has somehow made the last two generations believe the world is crumbling and that the United States if falling into the abyss and we as a nation have never faced such strife. Here are just a few things that may have happened before you were born. This is just a very small selected list, something from every decade since the American Civil War. Maybe you've heard of some of them...

1860's - The American Civil War

1870's - exploitation of the American West and the battle of Little Big Horn

1880's - exploitation of the American West, 2nd Anglo - Afghan war when British troops fight in Afghanistan, Haymarket Riots in Chicago

1890's - Philippine Revolution, Lattimer Massacre, War of Canudos

1915 - World War I, the war to end all wars

1920's - prohibition and women suffrage

1930's - the Great Depression

1940's - World War II

1950's - Korean War and start of the Cold War,conflict of integration of the Southern states

1960's - Race riots / civil rights, Cuban missile crisis, the Cold War continues, assassinations of Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, rampant environmental pollution (Cuyahoga River in Cleveland catches fire)

1970's - Vietnam War and civil unrest, 25 year strife in Northern Ireland, Genocide in Africa, Arab-Israeli conflict

1980's - Civil wars continue in much of Africa, Arab-Israeli conflict continues, Iran - Iraq War, overthrow of Communist governments in Europe and the fall of the Iron Curtain

1990's- First Gulf War when one Arab nation invades another, Branch Davidians and Waco, Texas

2000's - Terrorism escalates around the world and continues to this day

The world hasn't changed one bit. You as a consumer or a Millennial or a Gen Y or whomever you identify with just see and hear more of it. The United States has been involved in more military campaigns mostly because we have become the world's police after World War II. Have we always been right? Absolutely not. There are places I believe we should never have gone, but what we don't get credit for is all the aide to the starving and poor around the world. Those stories almost never get published in the general press, or when you do hear about them it's like trying to find a radio station on a Sunday morning and the only thing you can find is required content stations must air to retain their licenses.

It's fine to be aware of what's happening in the world and our own country but to think it was all puppy dogs and roses before you were born is simply ignorance. Change requires people to get involved but don't blame everything on the generation before you. We had to battle our own challenges.

The world keeps on spinning ...

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Pencil and paper

It's that time of year again, the kiddies are going back to school. With my line of work during the daylight hours, it has been something I've been intimately involved with for many years. This year however, I got to do something new.

I'm on the other end of the school supply list! And it sucks! Yup, the shoe is on the other foot.

How did this thing we call school lists get so out of control? In the past as a parent, My Beloved handled all this stuff. That was her duty to fulfill. I never had little little kids around. I got the joy of parenthood with a teenager. By then, yeah, they're fairly self sufficient. That's not happening this year. Ragin' Cage has a school list about a foot long and I was in charge of getting it filled.

Here's my questions, why the hell does a kid need three styles of markers? Highlighters, permanent and washable? What the heck is that all about? We also have two styles of pencils, colored and regular #2. And not just any #2. It had to be 12, Ticonderoga presharpened pencils. Hey, isn't that why God made pencil sharpeners? Why the hell do we have to have presharpened?

Okay, this is where I go into flashback mode. Back in my day ... Yeah, that's right. We needed a pencil, a pen, a notebook and that was it. If your parents had a few extra dollars you got to have a book bag to carry it all in. I never had a new book bag. All I had was an old, army green duffle bag. It looked like army surplus to a little third grader. It wasn't pretty but it got the job done. They have these things now that are stretchy book covers. You guessed it. I covered all my books with paper bags cut to size from the grocery store. (Try finding a grocery sack these days).

I get it. Times change; things evolve and yes, many teachers have a tough job and use their own money to buy supplies for their classrooms. It get it, but sometimes evolution gets it wrong.

Oh, and he has to have headphones too ... really?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A nod

I think at my age, and others of my ilk, my personal habits are rather entrenched. It's not like as I close in on the end of my fifth decade I really want to change a lot of things about myself. Fifty-nine years of doing the same things is relaxing...well, mostly.

I have recently discovered a break that many tell me they do often. Myself? Never, unless I was sick. I'm generally always on my feet doing something from the time I get up to the time I finally decide I've had enough and need to go to bed.

I've discovered the wonderful world of naps!

True! I've never been a napper, except perhaps when I was a small lad bouncing on Sainted Mother's lap. Since I have no memory of those events I just assume they really didn't happen. I have always viewed napping as unproductive; a waste of time. I have things to do and I don't see that changing any time in the future.

Then, a funny thing happened. I had a couple minor medical procedures this past year and I was forced to sit around for two or more weeks at a time. Well, with at least one of them I could sit, if you get my drift. There isn't much to do when you're immobile. Napping just kind of happened. I figured heck, I'll be back to my old self in no time.

As I headed back to work I would get home exhausted. The moment I would sit down in my favorite chair, my head would begin to nod just like it did when I was listening to boring homilies at 8 o'clock mass on Sunday mornings. Those times I was left in the pew at the back of the church by Beloved Father, the nods came fast and furious. Unfortunately for me I was often the victim of an altar boy not showing up and Beloved Father would step away from his usher duties and I would get 'the thumb'. That meant a trip back to the sacristy where I would don the black and white shrouds. One can't fall asleep on the alter in the middle of a round church.

 But I digress.

Something has changed and perhaps it is age which I have been putting off as long as I can. Coming home from work these days means being tired from work and the drive home. Plopping down in my leather chair is just an extension of trying not to fall asleep on the way home. Perhaps it is all the work that comes with moving to a new house and the work that comes with it while one juggles the rest of their day. In the past when I have had a rare nap I always felt groggy. That has all changed. For the first time in my life after a nap I feel refreshed.

I must now look at what is to come, a slowing down, a change of pace, or perhaps just thinking I need less on my plate.

Hahahahahahahaha ..... I'm a retail manager in real life ... that's not likely happening soon!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Awakening

Music is something that was around me as a child. I listened to my parents records and as I grew older I listened on and off to the playlist of the day on the radio but was never enthralled by too many artists. Brother Anonymous and Baby Sis took piano lessons for a time and I followed along for a short year. They said I had 'the touch' but it was something that I never followed up on. As I grew older, I rarely listened to music. It had no pull on me.

Then a funny thing happened. Well, not 'ha ha' funny. More along the lines of peculiar in a sad sort of way funny. The senior voice of this blog, North of 50 became ill. At the time we did not know the extent of his illness. With that in mind, I began to search the great world of the www for a recording of Danny Boy. With our Irish heritage, it was a favorite of his. My plan was to have Baby Sis make a recording singing 'Donny Boy'. She has a lovely singing voice and I had planned to give it to him on St. Patrick's Day. Unfortunately, his illness took a quick turn and we were not able to fulfill the plan.

But during my search for a memorable 'Danny Boy', I stumbled across an absolutely phenomenal rendition of the song by a group I'd never heard of. Celtic Woman. I sat listening to this rendition for nearly an hour playing it over and over again. Somehow, this made a fundamental imprint and reawakened a desire to listen. With Youtube the search for discover was easy and the sounds of music was reawakened within my soul.

But it was not just any music. It was lyrical melodies with clear notes and tones that touched the heavens. So much of modern music now seems to be just noise. At the time of his passing, for some reason country music entered the picture. I'm still not sure how as I had never listened to country my entire life. For the next two years my car radio almost never left the local country station. However the pull of Celtic Woman continued. As I would write across my keyboard in the late evenings, their angelic voices surrounded my thoughts. It was soothing. For the first time in my life, music was alive for me. As of late, mixed along with Celtic harmonies the classics have come alive. A week ago I wrote to the symphonies of Vivaldi, something that would never have happened even a year ago.

If you follow me, you might occasionally see a posting link to some of my favorite Celtic Woman songs and videos when the group was only a few years old. Their members have changed, cycled through as the women have grown and gone on to their own singing careers. However, I shall be eternally indebted to their early years as they have reawakened something I never realized I had lost.


And I am eternally thankful.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Opinion news

When I was a kid, okay, older than a kid also, people got their news primarily two ways. They either read the newspaper or watched the evening news. It was known as the news cycle. Many got their news both ways. In my early years, my family subscribed to both the morning and evening papers. Looking back on it all, I'm not sure how my parents found the time to read it all, but they did.

Now, with the advent of twenty-four hour, nine-hundred channel televisions, and an internet that never sleeps, news is everywhere. Well, that is what all that programming would like you to think. All that coverage isn't really news. Back in the day, when the speaker sort of 'went off topic' you would see a notice on the television screen that this was the anchor's commentary or opinion. You know what you don't see any longer? Those words on the screen.

All these alphabet channels with their twenty-four hour programming aren't really news channels. They are opinion shows. The vast majority of MSNBC, FNC, CNBC, etc. type channels simply give their slant to the news. Although it may give some of its audience a new slant to think about, most need to keep in mind the stories are extremely bias toward the hosts or moderators opinions. The facts they provide are facts as they see them.

I think most people could save themselves a lot of aggravation if they simply stayed away from most of these opinion shows. Is Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh really in the business of news, or are they in the business of making news about themselves?

My guess is the latter.