Monday, January 30, 2017

As The Deer...

...panteth for the water...

The last vestige of our holiday decorations.  Don't know about you but the holidays seem like a year ago already, and it's only been a month.  Funny how different that time of year is from every other time.

For my part I'm definitely done with winter and it can be summer starting tomorrow...

Sadly, that ain't gonna happen anytime soon.  I do miss the sunshine in this dark and dreary winter we're having.  Just looked outside and it's snowing again.  O boy.

One thing about winter time...we watch more movies on the weekends.

This time we queued up "The Girl On The Train" and "The USS Indianapolis"...both well done and interesting, but both fairly depressing.

Indianapolis was the more interesting of the two for me, telling as it does the story of the ill fated heavy cruiser's return voyage after delivering the A-bomb.
Since it was a top secret mission, it had delivered the bomb solo, without any escorts to protect it from Japanese subs.  Once the bomb was delivered, Captain McVay requested an escort on his return trip, but his request was denied.

Further, reports that were known to naval authorities of Japanese subs in his path were withheld from Captain McVay.  In essence they sent him off on a doomsday mission, with sadly predictable results

His ship was sunk by a Japanese sub on a Sunday night around 11 pm, but because of their top secret status the survivors were not discovered until Thursday, floating in the oil-slicked ocean, barely clinging to life.

Almost 1200 men were on board at the time of the attack.  12 minutes later the USS Indianapolis was gone, 300 men had died, and the 900 survivors went into the drink.

Of those, only slightly more than 300 made it out of the water alive.  Many of the 900 died from their wounds, exposure to the broiling sun and thirst...but the worst of their nightmare involved the hundreds of men eaten alive by sharks during their 4 day ordeal.

This incident was famously mentioned in the 1975 blockbuster Jaws but overall surprisingly little about this tragedy has been widely disseminated.

Captain McVay was railroaded in December of 1945 during a sham court martial; he committed suicide in 1968.  His name was officially cleared in the fall of 2000, 50+ years after the tragedy.

Nicolas Cage did a good job portraying the hapless Captain, and thankfully the movie refrains from excessive blood and gore.  The emphasis is NOT on the shark attacks, though of course they're a gruesome part of the story.

Not sure I'd watch it again, but am glad we did so once.

And on that happy note...

later, mcm fans........................

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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Farewell...

...Obama...and Welcome Trump...

Saw the above picture on Fakebook with the caption:  "You've been terminated...now get to da choppa!"

Was not well received by everyone to be sure...we are a very divided country.  I'm hopeful that can change over the next few years.  Time, as always, will tell.  The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.

Making progress on my book, "On Being A Man in a pajama boy world"...
...but I'd be lying if I said this is easy.  A tough slog at the moment, and I really don't know if I'll end up publishing it or not.  There are plenty of voices out there in book land and I have no interest in tossing yet another a mediocre read into the ring.  We'll see where I end up with this.  It's tough finding unbiased readers who will give you an honest and thoughtful opinion on your work...and I always get too close to what I'm writing to be able to tell if it's any good or just a bunch of crap.  Frustrating at times.

Tried starting Mr. T yesterday but nothing doing...I'm just about to the point where I think I need to become a novice backyard Model T mechanic...

Karen and I watched "13 Hours" last night, the story of the BenGhazi terrorist attack that occurred on 9/11 back in 2012.
Very intense movie and true to the survivors' retelling of that fateful night that ended with the death of four Americans:  Ambassador Chris Stephens, IT professional Sean Smith, and warriors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

Against the backdrop of the shameful aftermath of this terrorist attack, which the O administration tried to paint as a "spontaneous demonstration against a video", stands the incredibly heroic efforts of six warriors: Tyrone Woods, Jack Silva, Mark "Oz" Geist, John "Tig" Tiegen, Kris "Tanto" Paranto and Dave "Boon" Benton.

Notably absent from the conflict during the entire battle is any branch of the U.S. military.  Though contacted repeatedly for help, none came.  You can decide for yourself what that says about the current state of our defenses under O.

The movie took some heat from typically partisan, political entities since, without preaching, it eviscerates their preferred sanitized version of this event.

For their part, the surviving warriors have stuck to their guns: this is what happened, as told by the men who were actually there during the chaotic fighting, not sitting in plush offices 5,208 miles away.

Kudos to all  the actors involved.  John Krasinski who plays Jack Silva is quickly becoming one of my favorites.  Max Martini is excellent as Oz, but they're all good, portraying believably as they must a completely different breed of cat than you usually meet in your normal day to day existence.

Buckle up for this one; it's intense, violent, maddening and exhilarating all at the same time.

Sunday is slipping away so...

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Progress...

...I hope...I'm writing again, this time in a completely different genre.  For the first time I'm dipping my toe into non-fiction.

Working title: On Being A Man...in a pajama boy world.

Thanks to Kathy Beatty for the suggestion on the title change...much better than my first choice.
And thanks to Dave Roderick for help in rearranging some content...much more coherent flow after taking his advice.

Will I finish it?  Feeling pretty good about "yes" on this one.

Now "will I publish it?" is another question...not so sure about that.  Need to make a lot more progress on both content and coherent messaging before I can answer intelligently.

But at least I'm writing again...in my world that's a good thing..

Oh, the cover boy pic is of #4 son...he's a beast.  He never reads this blog so unless I tell him he won't know I'm using his image.

Yes, I'll tell him...before this goes anywhere I'd need his permission to use his image...but the cover pic above may very well change by that time anyway...we'll see how far I get.

A few weeks ago I bought an old "Geneva Cutlery" straight razor on ebay...it's a 5/8" blade and I paid all of $18 for it...spent some time cleaning and sharpening it, and it has become my favorite razor.
.
As you can see it just had plain black celluloid "scales" (handles).

Yesterday I changed them for natural wood scales:


Kind of a pain in the butt because the tiny washers for the pins that came with the wooden scales didn't really fit on the pins...they were too small...spent some time working with them and eventually got everything put together.  I like the way it turned out...much nicer look and feel...shaved with it this morning and I'm pleased with how it feels in my hand.

Last night Karen and I watched "De-Lovely", the complicated story of Cole Porter, his wife Linda, his incredible music and their enduring relationship.
Up front warning - it's a frank treatment of Cole Porter's homosexuality so if you can't deal with that little bit of reality this may not be for you.

But since reality is, Karen and I decided to soldier through this vale of tears.  It's incredibly well done, well acted with of course splendid music and a spectacular look at amazing times during the first half of the 20th century.

However, make no mistake - it definitely has elements of tragedy, and how could it not?  Marriage is supposed to be God's plan for a man and woman for life, and the odd partnership between these two lost souls never afforded that.

Worth a look if only for the genius of Cole Porter and his music, but don't expect anything close to the wistfully happy story told by Cary Grant's Night and Day from 1946.
later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

In the "so convenient you can't stand it" department, you can purchase my books here and on Amazon.com!

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Thank you!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

On Being A Man...

...In A Sissified World...

I like that title, and I'm kicking around some ideas for a book...any and all feedback re: what it means to be a man in today's world is welcome.

My intention at this point is not to write a combative tome decrying attacks on masculinity or whining about society's confused messaging on all things gender related.

Rather I'm leaning more toward something light hearted, fun and humorous that embraces and celebrates masculinity.

Yes, I know...there are haters everywhere...one prominent feminist was asked recently what she would do if she woke up one day as a man.

"I'd kill myself," the brainless twit responded.

Though some might be tempted to applaud if she followed through on her empty headed response I don't count myself in their number.

I wish her well and am just thankful she's not in fact part of my gender; we have plenty of issues already without adding her obvious problems into the mix.

Really, I have no desire to raise a banner decrying idiots and malcontents.  If stupidity is God's way of thinning the herd -
not an actual picture of our heroine as far as I know
- I'm happy to leave that in His capable hands.

No, I'm more inclined to ignore the haters and keep it upbeat and positive.

Take shaving for example.  While some men have abandoned the practice altogether...
That's Hans Langseth, possessor of the world's longest beard when he died in 1927...it was 17.5 feet long...
...most of us men have to come to terms with the concept of scraping whiskers off our face on a regular basis.

After years of treating this repetitive task as drudgery, I decided instead to embrace my daily ritual as a uniquely masculine event.

Enter straight razor shaving.
my antique Geneva Cutlery straight razor and Norton sharpening stone
It's not exactly a lost art - shaving with a straight razor has enjoyed something of a resurgence recently - but neither is it the dominant shaving method of choice.

There's a learning curve and it definitely takes practice to do it right.

It can be dangerous if you're not careful.
do NOT get a shave and haircut from this man if you've pissed him off...
It takes longer than shaving with a safety razor.

You need to maintain your razor by stropping it daily and sharpening it occasionally.

And while you will certainly get a close shave with a good straight razor, no matter what its avid (and in some cases, even rabid) proponents may claim, you will not get as close a shave as you can with some of today's multi-blade safety razors.
(Sorry fanatics, that's just the obvious truth.)

So why do it?

Because it makes you a man!

Ok, so it doesn't.

But it is enjoyable to master a uniquely masculine and utilitarian discipline from years gone by. 

The fact that it takes some practice and skill to do it well is rewarding.

Besides, I don't want my face to feel as smooth as a baby's butt; that's what babies' butts are for.  I like having a 5 o'clock shadow.

And hey, it's conversational gold at cocktail parties when you want to impress that certain someone.

She:  How'd you get that 4 inch scar on your cheek?
You:  I shave with a straight razor!

(I got you started; you're on your own for the rest of the conversation...)

Finally, being forced to take a few more minutes in the morning isn't all bad.  Slow down, for crying out loud.  Does everything in today's world have to be a mad panic?  Take a little time and do it right.

So it's not enough for an entire book On Being A Man...but it does merit its own chapter.

Remember, any and all comments on this subject are welcome...if you have a point of view, please feel free to share it.

later, mcm fans...

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Saw Some Sun...

...on January One...what will they think of next.

Heard a weather report that said during the first two weeks of December we had a total of 55 minutes of sunshine...less than an hour of sunshine in two weeks.

Who me, depressed?  Gotta love Michigan winters.  Counting down the days 'til Spring...

Spotted a deer in our backyard...
...hanging by our pond.  Here he is at night:
Must be one o' them electercal deer I done heer'd so much about...

Snapped a pic of Amy and her boyfriend Peter before they departed for their New Year's Eve celebration last night:
They make a handsome couple, do they not?  And Peter seems like a gentleman, very polite and respectful.  Do I sound old?  O well...there was a day when being well behaved and polite was considered normal behavior.  Nice to see that hasn't gone completely out of style yet.

Last night was the usual for us...Karen made lots of good food and we settled in for our favorite New Year's Eve movie...
Great flick...but since we got an early start it was done by 10:15...too early...so we put in Midnight In Paris and watched that, too.

At five minutes til midnight we turned on the tv and marveled at the sad, pathetic people that pass for entertainers today...if great entertainers of the past like Sinatra, Crosby and Martin could only see today's crop of so called stars they'd be astounded.  I can hear them now debating what must have changed that reduced actual talent to a nice-but-not-need-to-have.

"You mean bizarre hair / clothes / tattoos / body piercings have taken the place of skill and talent?  Well do-be-do-be-do..."

Oh well...the ball dropped. we shared a kiss, waited up for one of the sheep to return to the fold then collapsed into bed.

And today has been a very laid back, low key day...did a little cleanup from the night before, made sure that month/quarter/year end went well on the system (it did), got a workout in, drove Mr. T around the neighborhood...
...and did a little programming on the system.

Now I think it's movie time...

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

In the "so convenient you can't stand it" department, you can purchase my books here and on Amazon.com!

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Thank you!