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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

WC: Weirdest Thing I Loved as a Child.


The weirdest thing I loved as a child.

Define weird!
Stuff I love is perfectly normal to me, to someone else they might think it weird.

Today with all the crazies in NRA running around with machine guns strung on their back while shopping in Wally World, I find that kind of weird. Who are they afraid of?

That's it, as a kid I grew up on Roy Rodgers, Hopalong Cassidy, The Rifleman, Have Gun will Travel, Bonanza etc. I was the kid in A Christmas Story dreaming of the Red Rider BB gun.
I had party pooper parents and never got the BB gun. I got cap guns, toy rifles, and other kinds of guns, but nothing that expelled objects. I kind of recollect a large rubber pistol that shot a ping pong ball when you squeezed it.
If whatever cheap plastic toy gun I got, fell apart and it was a while before my birthday, or Christmas I made do with a stick. I entertained myself shooting at imaginary outlaws or whatever.
You'd think I grew up to be gun crazy, and I did buy a .22 pistol and a .38 pistol, a .22 rifle and a 12-gauge shot gun. I was working at a department store selling guns in the sporting good dept. in Plainview, TX.
I found a farmer that would let me go into his field and fire them. Even with ear plugs do not fire a .22 magnum! Like an icepick in both ears.
I liked plinking at tin cans with the rifle and shot a few shells to get used to the kick of the shotgun. I left the job at the department store and became a security guard at a meat packing plant. I got the shot gun because the state announced pheasant season first of October that year and on the other side of the fence I knew of a cock and three hens nesting there.
Come first day of hunting season I was scheduled to work 11pm to 7am. I watched 20 guys show up at midnight looking for that lone rooster. So much for hunting.
When going through my divorce I needed cash and I sold he .22 and .38 for cash. I kept the rifle and shotgun until I remarried, and my son was born.  Sold both of them as I didn't want a gun in the house with a small child.
Years later my father was diagnosed with dementia. Mom asked me to take his guns away. He was an ex-marine and worked before becoming an elementary teacher bouncing in bars. I took his S%W .38 that was older than me, and an AK47 that his veteran buddies convinced him that Bill Clinton was going to keep him from buying. I took them to a pawn shop. He paid $600 for that AK and I got $50 as there were eight of them on display behind the counter. He went out and fired it at the police shooting range and I went with him. I fired the .38 a few times. When he fired that AK it scared the hell out of me. The power of that bullet is horrible.
It sickens me that people use something like that to kill elementary children.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Memories on my birthday


You have no idea how hard it was to get a picture of this book!

I'm traveling down memory lane today. I turned 70.

I've reached the three score and ten mentioned in the Bible as the life expectancy of man.

Way back in 1976, as a fresh graduate of college and living in student housing at seminary in Fort Worth, just after first wife and my one-year anniversary (there wouldn't be a second), I joined the Science Fiction Book Club. I got a few books for free and was only required to buy four over the next year. This was one of those free books.

It was June, classes wouldn't start until September. I was working at a bank as a file clerk for four hours a day and in the evenings walking around a drug store keeping the shoplifting down. I'd get home, have a bite to eat. Spend time with wife before she went to bed, and I'd read for an hour or so before joining her. 

I got this book in the mail and started reading. I finished it at 8 in the morning. It was a Saturday so no need to go to the bank and I went to bed. Wife was not happy, and I could hear her talking to the neighbors in the apartment next door asking where I was, and she told them I spent all night reading a book. The wife next door told her (this was seminary housing) "Get used to it, when classes start this will be the norm."

The book is about a man ejecting from an escape pod right before his ship is destroyed by enemy fire. His pod lands on an alien planet that is not space flight capable. He's taken into custody and taken to the chief of the village. The area he's in is at war and he's treated with suspicion, but the war lord of the area sees his importance and give him a female to teach him their language. He then lends a hand in helping the war lord win the war, but the woman he fell in love with dies in battle.

This is 1976, the plot was new to me, it was well written and captivating hence reading it through the night. I've read many books in one sitting, but never through the night, it's usually an all-day kind of thing.

I started getting a lot of books from the SF book club, I focused on Asimov, Heinlein, Poul Anderson, Arthur C. Clark, Anne McCaffrey and others. 

Marriage broke up, seminary was over, and I returned home to Albuquerque and civilization. Texas is a good place to be FROM.

Took a bit to get divorced, and meanwhile while doing odd and ends kind of jobs I had a lot of time in the basement of my parent's house to read and read and read. I read everything I could get my hands on by Harlan Ellison, Harold Robbins, Isaac Asimov, barely made a dent in his works, all the dragon books and Crystaline Singers of Anne McCaffrey and hit a stone wall trying to read everything by James A. Michener.

I got remarried (coming up to 44th anniversary). In the summer of 1980, a mini-series was advertised to be coming out in a few months called Shogun.

I was working at diesel repair shop as shop clerk and handling warranty. I finally bought the book by James Clavell. I'd been reluctant to buy another book that thick after banging my head against the wall by Michener. I decided to read it before the mini-series which wouldn't come out until October.

I start reading it and all of a sudden, the plot is familiar. Granted it is much more involved, has tons of history and huge culture clash. It does read fast while Michener plods and is dull and dry at times. 

It hit me. Brothers of the Earth, in a much simpler form and set in outer space.

Shogun came out before Brothers. I could see where CJ borrowed the plot and extrapolated it as science fiction. 

Recently I looked Ms. Cherryh up on Amazon. She's now 80 and has over 80 published books and other writings.

For some reason her used books are much cheaper than e-books and they're not on unlimited.

So, I went across town to a used bookstore. It's actually an exchange, you bring in a sack full of paperbacks or hardbacks, they give you credit for them and then pay the difference for the sack full of books you're buying.

I used to raid my parents' library in the basement I used to reside in and could get lots and lots of books for around a buck and change. This was in the 80's, and I lived not far from the store. The daughter now runs the place and it's still there, one of the few stores left on that stretch of a main street. Almost all the others have been bulldozed down and there's nothing, but dirt left for a few blocks.

Anyhoo, I stopped by and found six books by CJ in hardback. No longer had an account with credit and didn't think to clean out my paperback library so they cost twenty bucks. About what one e-book of hers would cost.

I don't like reading hard copy anymore. I just bought a Super Jumbo Print NASV Bible from Amazon to use at church.

I've finished her book Rimrunners and have five to go. She reminds me a lot of Andre Norton, and her style of SF is in that mode. If you're into early Asimov, Norton, and the great writers of the 40's 50's, 60's she's right up your alley, even though she didn't start publishing until the 70's she's carried on that tradition.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

WC082323 Three Fun Facts About Me


Hoo Boy! Three Fun Facts About Me?

1. I have a great sense of humor. I love hearing or reading jokes and telling them. I've learned over the years to censor the jokes I told years ago in the locker room, but I still have a lot of jokes to tell.

A man walks into a bar and says, "Bartender, give me a Martinus."

The bartender looks perplexed and answers, "You mean a Martini?"

The man says, "If I wanted more than one, I'd ask for it."

What do you get when you cross and police officer with a flamingo? Pink Fuzz.

Two guys were playing golf, one hit his ball into some flowers and the other into shrubs. The first man swung his club and tore up some buttercups. The Goddess of the Glen appeared and said, "You've ruined my buttercups, for the rest of your life you can't eat butter. He yelled over to his buddy, "Where are you at?"

His friend said, "I'm here in the pussy willows." The first man yelled, "Don't hit them! Don't hit them.

I prefer to watch comedies than any other types of entertainment. The Marx Brothers, Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Jackie Gleason, Abbot and Castello, Laurel and Hardy, Steve Martin. Lily Tomlin, Grady Nut, Chonda Pierce, Rita Rudner, Phylis Diller, etc. I grew up watching sit coms from I love Lucy, Dick Van Dyke Show, to WKRP in Cincinnati, Cheers, Becker, All in the Family, Happy Days That Girl, Mary Tyler Moore Show. Was there ever a cast better than the Carol Bernette Show? The first five years of Saturday Night Live, even Hee Haw and Rowan and Martin's Laugh In. You could watch and laugh your head off. 

I couldn't get through half an episode of The Office, Big Bang Theory or any sit com since Becker. I have the complete box set of Becker DVD's and whenever we're in need of laughs we watch them. No matter how many times we watch them they are funny. The Thanksgiving episode of WKRP in Cincinatti is the funniest show ever filmed. Abbot and Castellow's "Who's on First," is the greatest routine ever done.

They were funny and clean. Groucho Marx once said, "If you have to be dirty to be funny, you're not funny."

The eighties and nineties the sit coms were all about putting each other down, insults, pranks. The movies think being gross is funny.  Okay off my soapbox.

2. As an English teacher who also taught psychology, I am great at analysis. It drives my wife crazy. We watch murder mystery shows and I've figured out who did it before the first commercial. Somehow that ruins it for her. It came in handy when working for an attorney. When a new client hired him, he had me look over all the documents and organize them. I'd read all of them while scanning them and write a synopsis of the case. Helped him sometimes, others he'd fill me in on what the law thinks against common sense.

3. I love trivia. I'm a fountain of knowledge on the most arcane and useless information out there. My wife refuses to play trivial pursuit with me. She likes Scrabble, she can beat me at that.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

WC081623 A Documentary I Liked


Today's challenge is a documentary I liked.

I've been a Lakers fan since the rivalry between Lakers and Celtics with Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and others in the 60's and 70's.

This documentary starts with Jerry Buss becoming the owner of the Lakers and picking Earvin (Magic) Johnson as his first first round pick. It starts there and follows the Buss family's ups and down to the day it aired. The one thing that caught my attention is when Buss was facing a 4-million-dollar lump sum payment to the banks, and he couldn't make the payment. He sold the naming rights to the bank for what he owed, and this started all teams selling naming rights for their stadiums.

It brought lots of memories back of watching the rivalry between Magic and Larry Bird, Shaq and Kobe Bryant. At the end of the documentary Jenny Buss says that the Lakers and Celtics are tied at 18 championships each. Since then, she's won another one.

Michael Cooper played for UNM and is one of the few Lobos to make it big in the NBA. I have fond memories of watching one of the best teams the Lobos ever fielded with him and Marvin Johnson. Not only was Cooper a great player for the Lakers, but when Buss branched out into the WNBA, he became the coach for the women and won a number of championships with them.

HBO has a dramatized series with lots of naked women, Buss was a notorious womanizer, and pro athletes have groupies, but it is over the top in portraying some of the characters like Jerry West and Larry Bird. 

Years ago I watched a BBC docudrama Super Volcano. It dramatized what would happen when, not if, Yellowstone erupted again. It fascinated me which led me to researching vulcanism and writing my three books on how mankind could prepare for such a disaster and keep our civilization alive through ten years of a volcanic winter. I can't find a jpeg picture online only the Utube video.

Tuesday, August 08, 2023

WC080923 The Strangest Dream I've Had Recently


The Strangest Dream I've had recently.

A few days ago, I woke up from a dream, where my wife and daughter died in a car crash. It's natural to dream of the unthinkable off and on. Usually, you imagine what you'd do or react to the situation.

I started imagining how I would do their memorial service. I did my mother's two years ago and remembered a number of pictures I couldn't find that I wanted in her remembrance.

This had me choosing pictures of my wife and daughter. There are tons of them. What struck me is that there are very few of my wife alone. Almost all of them are with family, children or with me.

Recently for her birthday I bought her a white peasant top with colorful embroidery, and she loves it and has been wearing it a lot.

I've decided the next time she wears it I'll take her picture and start taking other pictures from time to time of just her. 

Tuesday, August 01, 2023

WC080223: A job I wouldn't be good at.


Today's challenge is: A job I wouldn't be good at.

There were a number of jobs I had before becoming a teacher.

I worked at a Taco Bell and A&W Root beer stand over the summers in high school. It paid 75 cents an hour at Taco Bell, but all the food I could eat. I was 16 and had a hollow leg. Everything on the menu was a quarter, got fired for eating too much. A&W was fun for a summer job, paid $1.15/hour, but I found out fast food was not for me.

I was in high school JROTC for two years. Decided the military was not for me. It was the last year of the draft for Vietnam and my lottery number was high enough I didn't get drafted. 

Worked at a Skaggs Drug Store and Howard's Department Store and it was better than fast food but pay was low and didn't have benefits.

 Going through a divorce I tried to do door to door sales selling fire alarms. Nearly went broke. They sent me all over town to do an hour-long demonstration and sales pitch where I left empty handed but had to pay for all the gas I used, and time wasted.

I worked construction with a high school buddy who had a backhoe service. He worked the backhoe and I drove a dump truck, did a lot of spreading gravel with a rake putting in septic tanks. Did a lot of work and all his checks bounced.

Thought I had a career doing warranty for a Cummins repair shop. The economy went belly up and was laid off, with wife eight months pregnant and lost health insurance.

That's when I finished my methods classes and student teaching to get a career capable of having a family.