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Showing posts from 2010

New Year's Eve, 2010

And so, the minutes and seconds tick inexorably towards midnight, and the start of the New Year, 2011. Can any of us say that we are sad to see 2010 go? The economy continued to stumble on, not really moving in any direction except forward. If it were a patient in a hospital, it would have been declared brain dead, because it has flat lined. Unemployment hovers near double digits. In May, we had the start of the worst environmental disaster to hit the Gulf in memory.  New Orleans was written off again, as were other cities and towns on along the gulf; but, somehow, they persevered.  It is hard to destroy these people, who have seen so much disaster in the past decade. We had the tragedy of Haiti to contend with, which we are STILL contending with, despite the public's short memory. We had the earthquake in Chile in February, more tragedy in a world that has seen more than it's share in the past year. We pull together to help and give aid and comfort to these areas and, somehow…

Christmas Eve

 As I prepared myself today for Christmas, it  suddenly came to me how Mr. Dickens could be inspired to write 'A Christmas Carol'.  As I listend to some of the old Christmas Carols, memories of all of my Christmases came flooding back to me. My Mother, Father, Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles all came marching back, like the ghosts in Mr. Dickens classic tale. I could see them all,  just as they were when I was a child; they all loved Christmas so much. Everyone of them dressed in their best clothes and made 'The Rounds', visiting each others homes for some good cheer and Christmas Spirits. Later on, we would all gather at my Grandmothers house for a huge Christmas festa of several courses. We would start with antipasto, then have chicken, then Macaroni and meat. Then, we would all rest a bit and then have the main course, a turkey with everything that went along with it. Then, the salad. Later on, we would have desserts and nuts. We ate like kings and queens on the holi…

Christmas Thoughts

The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day has been, for me and many of the  people that I know, The Christmas Season. This is the way that it has been for as long as I can remember, and that’s a very long time. Christmas has become a secular holiday for all to celebrate, no matter what you call it. It is a time for reflection of the past year, a time to show good will and love to your fellow citizens, and most of all, a time for children to wait in anticipation of the DAY. It is the time of selflessness and giving. There has always been a special feeling in the air, no matter what you believe. There are gatherings and parties all over the world in celebration. You don’t have to be a Christian to enjoy the warm feelings associated with the holiday.
I see a lot posts on the internet and signs on the street that say ‘Let’s Keep Christ In Christmas’. This is fine for those who worship Jesus Christ and all that his birth signifies; but we should not exclude those in the world who wo…

Veteran's Day/Armistice Day

 Today is Veteran's Day. A lot of attention is paid to all of us that served and came back from this country' wars intact. I am honored and humbled by all the attention and thanks. But my thoughts drift to what this day meant when I was a child. Back then, we called it Armistice day and it was a day set aside to commemorate the end of The War To End All Wars, World War I. As I grew, it  was decided that it would be for all veterans of all wars. 
 When I think about this day, I think about my Uncle Hal Huffman, a Marine who hit the beach on Iwo Jima, and the other islands in the Pacific during World War II. Hell on Earth for those who served there. I think of all of those soldiers and sailors who took part in D-Day in Europe. So many left dead on those beaches as they were thrown against the massive defenses that the Axis powers had set up to keep Europe enslaved in the war that saw the worst mass murders in history. All of those souls knew that they faced death, but this did no…

Civility

This morning, I was watching the Today Show, and they had as  one of their topics ‘What Has Happened To Civility?’ Anyone who has read what I have to say from time to time on Facebook knows that this is one of my pet peeves in politics and life in general.    All you have to do is look at the political ads out there to see what is wrong. They are filled with half-truths and out and out lies about each other. Charges of being a law breaker, not being a citizen, being soft on crime, being a Communist, a racist, you name it. At the end of these attack ads is usually a disclaimer saying that the ad was paid for by one concerned citizens group or another. These people don’t even have the guts to take credit for their own smears. They have to have a cover to take the blame.    Of course, this does not just belong to the sleazy politicians, this happens in every day life, too. You can’t have a civilized discussion about anything political anymore without it turning ugly and hurtful. How many f…

Food

Someone had to explain to me what the hell has happened to food in this country! We went from the food groups of my childhood to the food nazis of today who want to ban everything that we were told was good for us when I was a kid. NO STARCH! NO SUGAR! NO SALT! NO RED MEAT! NO DAIRY!. it just get's crazier by the day.
  OK, so I decide that I am going to eat more vegetables and much less red meat. I start eating a lot of broccoli. The next thing I know, I'm reading that broccoli is not good for me. It hinders the breakdown of uric acid, which causes people who already have a problem to get gout and kidney stones! Uh-oh... gotta stop eating broccoli. Next is spinach, which I love. I read that the iron in spinach can be harmful to many people. Should I stop eating this, also? Then, I read corn is no good for you... as a matter of fact, corn is a grain, and no grains are good for you, so just strike them right out of your diet! What about whole grains? Well, they are better, but…

This Jarhead's Viewpoint: When I'm 64!

This Jarhead's Viewpoint: When I'm 64!: "So the big day has come and gone. I turned 64 on Wednesday, October 13 2010. This age has been looming large on my date horizon for a couple..."

When I'm 64!

So the big day has come and gone. I turned 64 on Wednesday, October 13 2010. This age has been looming large on my date horizon for a couple of years now. It all really started back in 1967, when I first heard When I'm 64  off of the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. An amusing little throw-away ditty by Paul McCartney that was catchy and fun. The tune stuck in my head for a while, then it was filed away with all the rest of my musical memories, to be taken out, dusted  off, and played every so often. I always Loved Sgt . Pepper's, but this was not one of the stand alone songs from that particular album. With A Little Help From My Friends, A Day In The Life, Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds, all more memorable.. or so I thought. 
 In 1968, I shipped off to Vietnam for a tour.  Came back in '69, a little worse for wear, a little more mature, though not enough. I met my first wife, we married in '70. Throughout these years, Sgt. Pepper's would be taken out…

The Reunion... Final Chapter

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  The day of the reunion finally arrived, and I woke up feeling like hell. My eyes were swollen, I was congested and just did not feel well. Sher said that she would go and get my jacket and pants so that I could rest up and try to feel a bit better.  I spent most of the morning drinking coffee and hoping that this 45th reunion would be at least a little better than the disastrous 37th.
 I told Sher that we would have to be ready to leave by 6 PM in order to get there by the 7PM starting time. Of course, Sher is always fashionably late, so I should have said 5:30. At 6, she was just starting to dry her hair. Not that she was the only one late, I was still charging my cell phone and camera battery, so there was no way we would leave by 6, even if she had been ready. 
 At 6:30, we were on our way. I84 traffic was horrendous. I don't know where the hell everyone was going, but it was like a weekday rush hour. I 684 was much better, and by the time we passed the exit for the Saw Mill, I…

Reunion Part 2a

So we continue on our quest for the reunion. Before I continue, I have to post my wife, Sheryl's, response to my last post.


"That is not true!! I appreciate the complements but I have never felt that way about you!! You are a sweet and caring husband and I love you--"  Sheryl
 I appreciate that fact, hon, but this is my blog and my perception of things, with a little bit of humor thrown in, so you got your say, and I got my thoughts in. I love you too, now go get my leash and lets go for a walk.


 Yesterday was not without its drama. Sher was going to meet her old friend at the Bronx Zoo, then the two of them were heading for City Island for a late lunch before heading home. I was invited to come along, but since they are childhood friends and I am just the husband of one of them, I did not want to intrude on their afternoon trip down memory lane. Sher left around 11:00, I put in the Blu Ray of Ironman 2 and promptly fell asleep. I woke up just as the credits were rolling, w…

Reunion Part 2 (Cont'd)

  As I said, Sheryl and Paulette went off to see if they could find her something to wear. While I was sitting here writing the first part of part 2, Sher was out looking . She called me from road to tell me she was going to one more place to see what she could find. An hour later, she came home looking satisfied with what she had purchased.  Danielle and Johnny came over a short time later and Sher asked if we wanted to see what she had bought.
 Someone needs to tell me, why, after that long, drawn out process that we went through in the morning, getting my jacket, and pants, and shirt and shoes, how this woman, whom I love dearly, can simply go into a store and find a simple dress that makes her look stunning? This has been the story throughout our relationship of 32 years. We both get dressed up, I think that I am looking sharp. Yet, somehow, she manages to look so good that, when we are out, it looks like she is out walking her pet Bridge Troll! No matter what  I do, it's the s…

Reunion Part 2

This morning, after my Mac computer class at the Apple store, I met my better half at the Mall so that she could pick out something for me to wear to the class reunion. Sher picks out most of my clothes because it's our firm belief that the only thing that I should be allowed to dress is a salad or a turkey. There are some that might say that I AM a turkey,  but that's besides the point. So, off to the Men's Wearhouse we went. I told Sher to run interference, because I do so little shopping for myself that these salespeople could sell me a sackcloth for $300.00, tell me I look great, and send me on my merry way. 
 Now, I must tell you that I really have an aversion to spending money on myself. After all of those years working outside, I really am, after all, a jeans and teeshirt guy, and I don't believe in buying a lot of things for me. I so  conditioned myself to buying for kids, and they making Sher look good, that anything over $25.00 for me seems way too much.
  We w…

Facebook Weekend

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Do you have these weekends when you just don't feel like getting dressed? This usually happens to me in the early Autumn, on a weekend that's clear and sunny, but cool. This is the way that it's been for me this week. I got up at my usual time on Saturday, 05:30, had my first cup of coffee and looked out of the sliding glass doors into the early morning sky. Beautiful! I could see all the stars for the first time in days! I slid the door open and stepped outside... DAMN! It was cold! When I went to bed the night before, it was 72 degrees and humid. Just a scant few hours later, it was 40 and crisp. What to do? Well, I had to go food shopping, no two ways about it but, after that? Well, not  much, if I had anything to say about it. 
 So, off I went to the A&P and did my bi-weekly shopping. When I got back, Sheryl was there to help me unload. We finished unloading, she went off to work, and I was off to my day of do nothing. First, check facebook to see what's going o…

Class Reunion

 Saturday, October 9 2010  is the NRHS class of '65s 45th   Reunion. 45 years, is it really possible that so much time has passed since I was getting hauled into Miss Coons office for cutting class? She was the principal when I first got there in '62. She was the principal when my father and my aunts went there. Not one to suffer clowns like me well. 
 I had a very checkered history at NRHS, to say the least. I was a terrible student, and an incorrigible truant. I just could not focus on anything else but the opposite sex and cars. Even at this late date, I have to marvel at some of my classmates that just seemed to breeze through without giving anything else a second thought. It must be some kind of brain block. To say that I was never in school is a serious understatement. I spent more time drinking coffee at the College Diner than I did in any classroom. When I was in class, all I could do was daydream about the good looking girl six seats ahead of me, or what I was going to…

War Stories

I joined the Marine Corps in 1966 and served on active duty honorably until 1970. I served in Vietnam from early 1968 to early 1969.  I had many experiences during those years. From time to time I will relate a story or two on my blog, most of them are amusing.  Here is one such experience. I hope that you enjoy it.

Raisin Wine
The Raisin wine story. We usually had a Marine or three on mess duty at any given time, so we were able to get the needed supplies from the mess hall. First, we needed to get something to put the wine in. We had these big, five gallon boxes that held a plastic bladder inside, filled with milk. We got a few of the empties and cleaned them out really well. Then, we procured several very large boxes of raisins from the mess hall, along with packages of yeast. We put the raisins in the bladder and filled it with water. We let the yeast 'cure' in some warm sugar water, and added it to the mixture, along with a pound or two of sugar. I can't remember the ex…

The Education Crisis

The Education Crisis
 September 28, 2010


 NBC is focusing on the crisis in education that we have in this country. This is nothing new. Anyone who has had to deal with today's High School graduates for the last couple of decades knows that this has been coming for a while. They can't spell, they don't know the history of this country and it's not their fault. Somewhere along the line, schools have lost their focus on really educating students and started pushing them through just to make the numbers look better. If any of you have ever watched Jay Leno do JayWalking, you know exactly what is going on, or rather not going on, in our schools. Ask a person on the street why we celebrate the 4th of July, chances are they know it's to celebrate our independence. Chances are slimmer that they know from who and why. Ask the date of the signing of the declaration, you might just get a blank stare. It's appalling to me..... and I'm a High School drop out with an equ…

Old Jarhead's story: Autumn

Old Jarhead's story: Autumn: " It never ceases to amaze me that as soon as the official change of the seasons come, the very next day it looks like a crew went out during..."

Autumn

 It never ceases to amaze me that as soon as the official change of the seasons come, the very next day it looks like a crew went out during the night and started to paint the leaves on the trees and plants with bright, bold colors. I have a love/hate relationship with the fall. On the one hand, I find the change of colors breathtakingly beautiful. On the other hand, I know that we are losing the light and the color from the world very shortly for another five months. It's sad, really, that something so beautiful can herald the coming of something so stark. I miss my sunlight and warm weather. I will miss hearing the birds sing every morning and seeing the sun reflect so brightly off of the lake and the trees. It's almost like mourning the passing of someone close. The diference is that I have the hope and the knowledge that I will see life burst forth, in all it's glory, starting in five months. If I could only close my eyes and sleep from now until then......

Computers

I don't consider myself the most savvy computer person in the world. When it comes to being computer literate, I think that I am very close to being Illiterate! However, I know enough to be able to stumble around like a drunken blind man and eventually find what I'm looking for. If not, I can usually find someone who can help me.  I have a former co-worker, I'll call him 'Pete', who is even less knowledgeable than I am. Pete called me the other day in desperation and left me a unintelligible voice mail asking for help. What I got out of it was that he was having trouble installing a wireless router for the new Netbook that he bought.
 Now, mind you, we are both retired technical people. We both worked for Verizon/Bell Atlantic/NYNEX/ New York Telephone (An AT&T Company)/New York Telephone Company for over 30 years. We basically were with the company from the two cans and a waxed string age right through the High Speed Broadband age... at least the start of it. A…

Mornings

Every morning it's the same deal. I'm up and at 'em at 05:30. It's amazing how one person can influence the way you start your day after only one day. My DI threw a large garbage can down the squad bay that first morning to wake us up at 05:30. That was in April of 1966, and here  I am 44 years later still getting up at this hour. It's all good, though. It gives me a little time with myself to see the world as peaceful before the reality of the chaos that we live with every day sets in. The world seems so fresh and new from the perspective of my sliding glass doors. With coffee in hand, I see a quiet, peaceful woodland. Even I-84, which I can see from the deck, is relatively quiet. This will change quickly in the hours to come.
 Fall arrives today and my beautiful warm Summer will officially draw to a close. I dread the cold weather and the damned snow. I didn't mind it when I was working, but things have taken a turn since I had to retire. Oh, well. This, too,…