Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Happy 36th Birthday, USS Carl Vinson.

36 years ago, today. Me and about 2,500 of my best friends put the USS Carl Vinson into commission. The shipyard officially handed over the keys to a shiny new aircraft carrier to the Navy and told us to have fun but not to ruin the paint job. Since then, the Chucky V has been kicking ass, taking names, and looking fabulous doing it.

Damn, that was a looong time ago. I had almost forgotten. I served aboard Vinson from June 1981 to January 1984. I made her maiden world cruise in 1983 from Norfolk, VA to Alameda, CA.  I was in the hangar bay when the command went out to 'bring the ship to life.'

I got to work hard, play hard and go to places a lot of people couldn't find on a map. It is a rare distinction to be called a plankowner. That is, a sailor who was a member of a ship's crew when she was put into commission.

We were the first crew. We set the initial standard. We were in many ways, the guinea pigs.  It was our job to man the new ship and get her ready for service. It was our job to polish out the Vinson's rough spots. To establish the culture and reputation that would see her through her service life.

And I'd say we were largely successful.  The Carl Vinson has established herself as one of the best carriers in the fleet.  She has won many awards, positively represented the Navy in several newsworthy situations, and has garnered a sterling reputation.

And as she heads towards the closing years of her 50 year service life, she stands ready to go out as she came in. On top and looking fabulous.

To all who have served aboard her with pride and distinction from that commissioning day to this day, Fair Winds and Following Seas.

Vis Per Mare!!!

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Back to the Little House in the Ghetto.

Well kids. My last night at the Denise's house critter sitting. Glad to report that during my stay, all the critters survived. The house is still standing and I'll be heading back to the Little House in the Ghetto this afternoon.

The neighbors will feed the animals while Denise and her brood spend another week in Rat World. Wouldn't get me within 50 miles of the Mickeyship. Too many crowds, too expensive, and I'm just not  a Disney kinda guy. I'd be spending my time spreading lurid rumors about Mickey's threesomes with Minnie and Daisy, Goofy's heroin habit, also the real reason Donald Duck doesn't wear pants. And otherwise destroying the myths about the Happiest Place On Earth. If only the kiddies  knew how their favorite rodent really got down.  You think Trump got up to some hinky doings...😋😋Some of the stuff I heard that goes on in the Mickey Mouse clubhouse would make the Playboy Mansion look like a church picnic.   Just sayin'!

But I get back to work on Friday only to have the weekend off. My paycheck will take a beating for the next month or so, but it was nice to just sleep in, chill out, and relax a bit. It was fun to spend time with Chessie. He is a sweet pup. The next time I see him, he'll be a little bigger, hopefully better behaved and less inclined to chew my face off. 

Back to the grind, as it were. Thanks for the likes and compliments re: the puppy pictures. If I were in a position to own a critter, I'd like to have a dog like Chessie. But that's not happening any time soon.  But I can still come up on occasion and play with the pooch.  But the good thing about house sitting? When the time's up, the kid/pet goes right back to their parents/owners/etc and my happy ass gets to go home.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Uncle P's Week of Housesitting Hell.

Well, boys and girls. Tonite I start house sitting an 11 week old puppy and three cats while my long time friend and her mother take her little boy to Rat World over the next two weeks.

I'm convinced that poor JB will need extensive therapy in his older years to clean out all the mental Mickey manure shoved into his little head from five years of constant exposure to various Disney content. It'll only get worse as a result of being directly exposed to the deleterious effects of the Mickeyship for two weeks. Poor kid. Glad I'm not paying for his therapy.

Aaanyway. For the next ten or so days, I get unlimited access to the TV, WiFi, and fridge while dodging all sorts of puppy pee and poop and kitty kerfuffles. Oh, joy.

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not really a big vacation guy. I think I've taken a weeks vacation in the last four years. Part of it is because until last June, I worked for companies that didn't really offer paid vacations. The first company did, but I didn't see the extra money until the following June. The rest gave us a week every year, but we took it without pay. My current company actually treats its employees like human beings and allows us to earn paid vacation time. Needless to say, I'm much happier with my current employer, but I'm still in the habit of not taking vacation or sick days. Fortunately for me, I pretty much work unsupervised, therefore I can be as sick as a dog and not have to worry about infecting anyone else.

I'm really not all that thrilled about taking these ten or so days off. But Denise doesn't have anyone else she trusts with the critters. This isn't my first house sitting rodeo. Most likely won't be my last. So I have reacquaint myself with watching broadcast TV, because all I watch at home is Hulu, which has copious amounts of Star Trek. I'll take Midori, my Chromebook with me, maybe I can get a little writing done. I might even be able to catch up on my sleep.  But watch this space as I post updates on Uncle P's Week of Housesitting Hell.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

My position on the gun debate, FWIW.

I don't own a gun, not interested in owning a gun, I support the 2nd amendment, but I also think it's been stretched way beyond the intent of the founders.

This country has a disturbing hard on for guns that concerns me. Unfortunately, barring an amendment of the Constitution, we will never get rid of guns. And anyone who knows about the Constitution knows that it was designed from the jump to be a pain in the ass to amend.

I have no problem with RESPONSIBLE gun ownership. I don't understand why people need to keep an arsenal in their homes, but as long as they use them responsibly and keep them properly secured, nothing I can do.

We need to figure out how to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and the bad guys. I support tougher background checks including for history of mental illness. I support requiring gun purchasers to take a gun safety course or show proof of previous training and to show proof of secure storage of their weapons. I support longer waiting periods. I also support any person being convicted of gun violence resulting in the death of human beings being locked up for life without parole. 

While gun ownership is a right in this country, unlike most rights afforded to US citizens, the right to bear arms also carries the possibility of people getting hurt or killed by those exercising that right. So, in my mind, the granting of that right should come with some qualifications and requirements not afforded to other rights.
Purchasing and using a gun is not like purchasing say, a pair of shoes.

I do not support the arming of teachers, unless that teacher is an ex-cop or a veteran. Teachers are supposed to teach. Without the concern of some kid trying to steal the gun. Or them trying to defend themselves and a classroom of terrified kids from some waste of life who wants to shoot up a school.

I'd prefer to have an armed cop or two in the schools. Personally, I'd love to see anybody who shoots up a school, church, or any other public gathering to be executed on the spot a la Judge Dredd, but the Constitution frowns on that sort of thing. Something about fair trials and all. That's pretty much my feelings on this whole kerfuffle.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Guns For Everyone!!

What the hell. Let's just give everybody a gun. Put a Colt .45 in newborn's creches, give Smith and Wesson .38's  away free if you buy 8 gallons of gas or open a Christmas club account.

Let's give AR-15's to trick or treaters for Halloween. Give AK-47's out with diplomas to graduating seniors. Teach the dog how to shoot a Tec-9. Put snub-nosed revolvers in Cracker Jacks and cereal boxes.

Put a display of Glocks next to People magazine in the grocery store check out line. Give out Kimbers to employees with their paychecks. Pass out Sig Sauer's to the old folks with their Social Security checks.

Let little Johnny and Suzie bust out their Mossberg shotguns at show and tell. Let them cook off a box of buckshot at recess. 

Hey, we can't stop people from shooting up schools, churches, concerts, nightclubs, etc. Might as well just let everyone go around packing heat.  Even the folk who are a cheeseburger and fries short of a Happy Meal!

Why not? Guns for everybody!!!  What could POSSIBLY go wrong?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Let's Arm the Teachers! Sike!!

Let's arm the teachers!

We may not have enough money to pay for school supplies, or pay the teachers enough to deal with the little psychos on a regular basis, or heat the schools, but we can call down to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and get them to print up a few hundred million to pay for training and guns to arm them in case of an active shooter situation.

Police officers go thru weeks and months of training to learn how to handle an active shooter scenario. Let's give each teacher a gun, a few weeks of training and expect them to perform as well as a police officer with years of experience.

And they have 15-20 terrified, screaming, crying kids to deal with on top of some mental case diaperstain with a death wish shooting up a school. Somehow, I don't think this will go over well.

Tell you what. Just put a cop or two in the schools. Teachers have enough shit to deal with educating our wacky ass kids. Let's not add to the by making cops out of them. 

This batshit cray-cray has 'NRA' written all over it. I guess the NRA is looking at it as a bunch of potential new members.  #JustSayin.

Monday, February 19, 2018

4 Year Degrees at a 2 Year Price

Know what I'd love to see? Though it'll never happen. I'd like to see the community college concept extended to four year degrees.

I went to a community college (CCAC Boyce '95), So I know what they are and how they work. They provide a no-frills basic 2 year college experience for the commuter student who just wants to go to school, go to class, and move on.

No dormitories, no dining halls, not much in the way of student life. No frats or sororities. Some athletics, but  not an all encompassing  program like at, say, Pitt or  Penn State.

Not a bunch of extras that tack unnecessary expenses on to students bills.

I would like to see community colleges offer 4 year degrees. It would save students a ton of money. A 4 year degree from a community college would cost a fraction of what the same degree would cost at a traditional college.

Now a 4 year degree from a CCAC wouldn't have the prestige or cachet of a credential from a Pitt, Penn State, or RMU. But if the schools offered a strong academically sound education that can give students the tools they need to enter the workforce, how important really is the name atop the sheepskin?

I've been thinking on and off about this subject since my CCAC days.  The regular four year schools would have a fit. They'd never allow this to happen. But I think the idea has some semblance of merit. #JustSayin

The Day I Met Mister Rogers

50 years ago today, Mister Rogers Neighborhood aired for the first time.

True story.  I was working the stage door of the Benedum Center back in the '90s. And apparently, Fred Rogers was filming a segment that showed him entering the Benedum thru the stage door. So he comes walking past the security desk and I lose it.

Now working the stage door, I saw all sorts of local and national celebrities, and my thing was that if they spoke to me, I spoke back but I didn't go looking for autographs or anything like that. Had to be professional. 

Although I became a fan of Chita Rivera because she was very nice to me when she came into town to do 'Kiss of the Spider-Woman.'  I do not have similar feelings for Jerry Lewis, but that's another story for another time. 

Aaanyway, Mr. Rogers comes blitzing past. I didn't say anything and after him comes David Newell, better known as Mr. McFeely. I say hello, he answers back, very nice guy, and he asks me, out of the blue, if I'd like to speak to Mr. Rogers. Of, course! I said.

A few minutes later, Fred Rogers stops at the security desk, shakes my hand and talks for a few seconds. I about fell out, I was tongue tied and didn't dare ask him for an autograph.  I did not want to waste the man's time. 

Long story short, he was in person exactly as he was on TV. Very nice, soft spoken, a true gentleman. I'll never forget that day. It's Mister Roger's World and we're just living in it.

#ABeautifulDayInTheNeighborhood #JustSayin