Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Friday, 25 December 2009

In The Ditch

EightA Ditch in North Carolina

A little voice inside is telling me that I've become overconfident in my driving skills.

A huge wrecker arrives and winches me out. There is very little permanent damage. A little paint scratch on the right rear cargo compartment appears to be the extent of it.

We wandered though Savannah on the 23rd to see the old mansions and beautiful town squares once again.

I have an existential dilemma. I have provided my e-mail address to an individual who wanted to send out information about tennis at the RV park where we winter. Somehow, this individual feels that it is somehow appropriate to send out almost treasonous remarks about our current Commander-in-Chief. I find his presumption that I would share his views irritating, at best.

What should I do with this curmudgeon? Lack of rejection might be interpreted as acceptance. I do accept that everyone has a right to and opinion, but my personal God of Enlightenment does not extend this proposition to the view all that opinions are equally well formed or even rational.

On the other hand, I'm reluctant to enter into a debate with a moron. I'm sure that if I wrote to "Dear Abbey", she would tell me that this individual has committed a gross violation of E-mail etiquette. I'd place this individual in my SPAM filter, but Mrs. Phred counts on the tennis updates. Perhaps I'll get Mrs. Phred her own E-mail account so I don't have to hear from this fool again?

Perhaps another, more subtle approach would be to make my next donation to the Obama reelection campaign in his name so he could receive lots of e-mails from Barrack, Michelle and the DNC.. Would that be identity theft? I wonder.




Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The Mighty Eighth Air Force

Savannah, Georgia

The Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum is on exit 102 of Interstate 95 in Georgia. We've passed it a 100 times and I've always been interested but the timing has always been wrong.

I give the Museum a big thumbs up. The exhibits are very thoughtful and I enjoyed it at least as much as the Imperial War Museum in London.


Over 350,000 men served in this mighty war machine. They were scattered in scores of bases in eastern England. They were a huge collection of B-17s, B-24s, P-47s, P-38s and P-51s. Over 26,000 of the men that served in this outfit were killed and an equal number were taken prisoner after being shot down.


At times, the Eighth could mobilize 2,000 heavy bombers a day and 1,000 long range escort fighters for raids on German aircraft factories, ball bearing plants, rail yards and oil refineries. When D-Day came on June 6, 1944, there were no German planes over the beaches. The Luftwaffe had been decimated and total air supremacy had been achieved by the Eighth Air Force.

One of the unanticipated consequences of the success of the Mighty Eighth was that the Germans moved their aircraft production far to the East, out of bombing range. As a result, the Soviets captured the latest German aircraft factories and engineers, giving them a major boost in the early cold war.

I took the picture below on the 60th anniversary of D-Day. It's the American Cemetery in Normandy on a bluff overlooking the ocean. It's beautifully maintained by the French. About half of the graves were officers and enlisted men of the Eighth Air Force who died before D-Day. Dozens of buses filled with French schoolchildren arrived that day at the cemetery to place roses on the graves. Viva la France.





On The Road

Savannah, Georgia

We found a nice campground just outside Savannah. It has a big lake with lots of swans.

Today we'll visit Savannah again and take some holiday pictures. More later.





Sunset in Sarasota comes about 5:30 on the Winter Solstice.




Saturday, 12 December 2009

Sweet Memory

There's a killer on the road
His brain is squirmin' like a toad
Take a long holiday
Let your children play
If ya give this man a ride
Sweet memory will die
At age 66 I seem to live more and more within a memory palace and think about the past.


My first memory is of a snake sticking its head out of a hole in the front yard of my grandmother's house in New York. It was probably the Spring of 1945. I also remember attacking my father with a toy hoe after he came back from Germany in early 1946 and tried to assert his authority. I was astounded with the ease with which he disarmed me. I have lots of other childhood memories. I hope they don't just slip away.

Mom's memory is gone at age 86. She knows who I am so far, but that may not last long.

I remember the Junior High School hazing that we had to endure. They painted us with lipstick on our way to class in the seventh grade. Then there was the bully Billy Mitchell. He had been held back so many times that he towered over everyone else. Also there was Provo, a very muscular bully who was later fried in the electric chair for murder. I had to fight them both, knowing I was doomed to lose...but A man has to do what a man has to do.


It was double session Junior High school for me so I was left alone in the morning. My brother and sister were in regular sessions in grade school and both Mom and Pop were working. Sometimes I made donuts with a can of Crisco. I remember doing push ups to try to develop my strength and playing 45 RPM records very loud like Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire".

The girl next door was really hot and she often sat with me in a tree and tried to make me interested in her, while not really being interested in me. I often wonder what she looks like now at age 66. At 13 she was special. There's a certain memorable fire in being 13 and getting your first fondling and French kiss from a pretty girl. Maybe I won't forget.


Anyway, most of my friends are dead already. Some at 19, some at 21, some in airplane crashes, some at 35 and others at 53. I sometimes think that my life is somehow charmed and I'm immune from death from lung cancer or other causes. If I died somehow, the universe would immediately cease to exist.

Last summer I took Mrs. Phred to Jurarez, sister city of El Paso. There are 3,000 murders a year there related to drugs and we are the only Americans crossing the border that day. We bought some wallets and had lunch. Last night Mrs. Phred saw a TV program about the out of control Juarez murders and chastised me for taking her there. I explain that by standing tall with a steely-eyed glint it protects her from cowardly miscreants

We lived on a Tampa street where the city kept dumping oyster shells to keep the street passable. The Mosquito control people kept coming by with the Fog trucks and we all ran behind them breathing in the poison. At least we didn't get Yellow Fever or Malaria.