Sunday, December 29, 2013

Geography Div (Really Personal subsection)

Here's an idea of keeping track of where you've been - though you will need a mirror to keep tabs, eh ?
After you visit a country, you go to the tattoo parlor and have them color it in - - maybe add the date.

Well, at least it wasn't divided into Western and Eastern Hemispheres:

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass Div

 I'll close out the year with yet another variation of the Tony Rice Unit, here doing Norman Blake's Ginseng Sullivan.

Tony and Wyatt Rice - Guitars; Josh Williams - Mandolin; Bryn Davies - Bass; Rob Ickes - Dobro; Ricky Simpkins - Fiddle.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Boxing Day / St Stephen's Day / the Day after Christmas Day Div

Hope one and all had a wonderful Christmas ……. now on to the New Year.
My favorite "carol" of the season ……. and a fun version by The Irish Rovers.

And pay heed to the closing stanza:

Therefore, Christian men, be sure, wealth or rank possessing,
You who now will bless the poor shall yourselves find blessing.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Nostalgia Div (Christmas subsection)

I'm on the road today enroute to spend some time with family, so I'll probably overhear this  - -  and if not, I'll just visit my own blog at the hotel tonite !!   This is what the spirit of Christmas is about.

I hope all who visit here have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season.

Christmas Eve Div (check your chimney subsection)

Who's been naughty ? .. and who's been nice ??

The FoxCreek Bluegrass Band playing their own arrangement of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" with Isaac Beaty on the banjo, Nick Brumlow on the mandolin, and John Burton on the bass guita

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Geography Div (Fast Food subsection)

In case you were at a loss of where to eat over the holidays and want to find the Golden Arches:

In case you were wondering, the "formers" are Bolivia and Iran.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass Div

Last week I mentioned The Tony Rice Unit. Here they are doing a wonderful old fiddle tune Dusty Miller.

Tony and Wyatt Rice - Guitars (but you knew that); Jimmy Gaudreau - Mandolin; Ricky Simpkins - Fiddle and  Ronnie Simpkins - Bass.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Geography Div (Search Engine subsection)

And to think, I've had residence at one time or another in the four rated "Boring."

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass Div

In the tradition of the Tony Rice Unit (no banjo) here are the Cousin Lovers doing Brummy & Highball

Dean Thomas - Guitar; Craig Eastman - Fiddle; Tim Ferguson - Mandolin; Barry Thomas - Bass and (I know, it ain't bluegrassy) Stuart Johnson - Drums.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Geography Div (Public Transport subsection)

I'm heading out on a road trip later this month. Now, what if ……….???????
This is the US Interstate Highway system displayed like it was a subway system.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass Div

Four Rounder Records All-Stars from 1990 doing John Hardy.

In case you didn't recognize anyone: Tony Rice - Guitar and vocal, Allison Krauss - Fiddle, David Grisman - Mandolin and J.D. Crowe - Banjo. (I don't recognize the Bass player).

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass Div

Downtown Blues.  Funny, there ain't a guy here named "Suggins" (and I don't think they're brothers.

Mike Gibbs - Guitar,  Ken Clark - Banjo, Jim Major - Mandolin and Ronnie Davis - Bass

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving !!!

Hope each and every out there has a wonderful time with your friends and family.
I'll be out on the road Driving4$$ and hopefully won't get snarled in the early "black friday" mess.

Anyway, here's Helen's annual letter to the family about dinner. Enjoy !

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cooking Div

Really lousy weather here in the vicinity of the GWTP. Not Driving4$$ today or tomorrow (Maybe for the holiday).
Thought it was time to make chile verde. Looks almost Christmasy, eh ??

Here's the basics:
2 lb lean beef  - -  choose whatever cut you want - sirloin is nice. Cut into 3/4 inch cubes.
2 lb lean pork  - -  center-cut loin works best. Again, be careful with the knife.
         Any meat will do. I've made this with venison, elk, and bison. Cooked Chorizo sausage can also
         be added if you so desire.        
4 large cloves of garlic coarsely chopped - - - and I mean Large Cloves.
3 large Spanish (yellow) onions coarsely chopped, maybe 4.
8-10 cans of Rotel Tomatoes & Green Chilies (fewer if you can find the big cans)
         Hunt's makes a pretty good product also. Some folks just use diced tomatoes.
5-6 cans OLP or Ortega green chiles - whole (you can used the chopped ones if you're lazy).
         I cut them into 1" strips.

Brown the meat along with the onions and garlic in a large skillet (you may have to do two sets of this depending on the size of the skillet you have).
Drain off the liquid (believe me, you'll have plenty of fluid throughout this whole thing).

While the meat is browning open all those cans and (once again) drain off as much of the juice as possible.

Transfer the drained meat, onions and garlic to a large stock-pot and add the tomatoes and green chilies.
Put on the lid and let the whole thing simmer for about 4 hours. This will cook the meat and blend the flavors. If you really want to make it very hot (not recommended) add two or three small dried red chilies to the cooking chile - remove them when you feel like it.

During the cooking process, I like to take off most of the water that rises to the surface to make the product thicker. Some folks prefer it more soupy.

No Beans !!! No Chile Powder !!! No Cumin !!!

Serve in a bowl with a spoon. Or roll up in a flour tortilla with some cheese. or put it in a taco shell. Blend up a pitcher of Margaritas or have a couple bottles of Dos Equis Amber (hold the fruit).
Whatever ……… Buena consumiciĆ³n.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Geography Div

Wow !!! Things can really change in 6000 years, eh ??

The supercontinent of Pangaea with modern day borders.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass Div

Fro Gettysburg 2011, The Lonesome River Band doing a great old train song - Fireball Mail.

Sammy Shelor - Banjo, Branden Rickman - Guitar, Mike Hartgrove - Fiddle, Barry Reed - Bass and Randy Jones - Mandolin.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Geography Div (Gridiron subsection)

A while back I showed a map with 38 States  - all based on equal population.
Here's another take ( wonder how many of us wouldn't have a state at all ?).

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass Div

Three guitar pickers doing an old standard,  Bill Cheatham.

In case nobody recognizes them, they are (L - R) Wyatt Rice, David Grier and Kenny Smith.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass Div

Mountain Heart at Galax, Virginia,  2011 - - Deadwood 

Barry Abernathy - Banjo, Josh Shilling & Jake Stargel - Guitars, Aaron Ramsey - Mandolin, Jason Moore - Bass and Jim VanCleve - Fiddle.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass Div (PREEMPTION Subsection)

On this date in 1996, Eva Cassidy passed away. Her voice was amazing. Her biggest problem musically was that the record executives and marketers could never pigeon-hole her into a specific genre. It wasn't until after her death that she became a best-seller (and in England no less).
This performance is from her last appearance at Blues Alley in DC shortly before she passed away.

I think the banjos, fiddles, dobros, guitars and mandolins will understand being asked to be silent today.

Sorry 'bout this being one of those "certain sites," but hit the link, you'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

LOVE Div ..........( Happy Anniversary Subsection )

Thirty-one years ago I said, "I Do," and became a wonderful lady's husband. Today, I'm not.

I was pretty lucky in her saying "yes" when I asked since (as I was later informed) the next morning she and a friend were going to sign the lease for a Hallmark Card store.

The choice of Halloween had nothing to do with the association of that particular holiday with either of our beliefs (though I'm sure she bewitched me in some way); it was simply the only day she could find open to rent an available banquet place to hold the event. Over the years, it's always led to questions and laughter on the part of anyone learning the date.

I guess this year, I won't be celebrating. Only a couple can celebrate their anniversary. I can remember the occasion, but its celebration isn't intended to be a solo flight - - it requires a co-pilot to help run the checklist. 

The counting of our completed years ended for us in September and today will be simply another Halloween.

I miss you Diana ..........................


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Geography Div (Treasure Map subsection)

Flying back to DC tonite. No, for all the searching during my youth and a brief look on this trip, I didn't find it. ........ again.  Oh well .............................

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass Div

Still out here in the great Southwest, so thought I'd show that my music is still being played out here.
I haven't the faintest idea of who these folks are and couldn't find any info to help me out, but it's a fairly nice rendition of one of my favorites: Whiskey Before Breakfast.  Sorry there isn't a fiddle, but the  inclusion of a hammered dulcimer is a nice touch.

Contrary to popular belief, this tune is in no way "traditional" or "Irish."

WHISKEY BEFORE BREAKFAST. AKA and see "Spirits of the Morning." Canadian (originally), Old‑Time; Breakdown. D Major. Standard tuning. AABB. A widely known tune, often mistaken for an old traditional old‑time tune (it was even listed on one album as "an Irish tune which has been popular in America for a number of years”). It has generally been credited to the mid‑twentieth century by Manitoba, Canada, fiddler and composer Andy de Jarlis (known for his fine waltzes) probably on the strength of his copyrighted arrangement (it is a common practice among music publishers to copyright arrangements of traditional tunes). " “Whiskey Before Breakfast” was included in de Jarlis’ book Canadian Fiddle Tunes from Red River Valley (1957), where he is credited for the arrangement only.  According to Paul Gifford, the tune’s popularity in the United States is fairly recent, probably stemming from its inclusion on a Voyager Records LP called “More Fiddle Favorites,” by Canadian fiddle champion Lloyd Sexsmith, who probably learned it from de Jarlis (sometimes DesJarlis). It is often used as musical accompaniment for the quadrille 'Reel of Eight' in Canada. Gibbons (1982) notes that “Whiskey” is a favorite of Metis (native American) dance troupes in Western Canada, and in this connection Gifford suggests that de Jarlis learned the tune from Metis fiddler Teddy Boy Houle’s father (de Jarlis himself had Metis blood). It seems that de Jarlis and the elder Houle were up playing till dawn with the aid of libation before finally passing out.  On finally awaking, de Jarlis remembered the last tune they played and perhaps gave it the “Whiskey” name. Perlman (1979) identifies it as coming from Canada's Maritime provinces where it is called "Spirits of the Morning." It has been pointed out by several sources that the ‘A’ section is similar to the older melodies “Liverpool Hornpipe,” “Great Eastern,” “Bennett’s Favorite” and the Irish reels “Silver Spire” and “Greenfields of America,” however, the original source for all these tunes may be “Speed the Plow.” Folksinger/multiinstrumentalist Mike Cross wrote words to the melody which have become popular in Bluegrass circles (Bryan Bowers also recorded his song). Sources for notated versions: Frank Lowery (Prince Georges, British Columbia) [Gibbon]; Clem Myers [Phillips]; Dick Barrett [Phillips]. Brody (Fiddler’s Fakebook), 1983; pg. 290. Frets Magazine, April 1989; pg. 64. Gibbons (As It Comes: Folk Fiddling From Prince George, British Columbia), 1982; No. 3, pgs. 14‑15 (includes variations). Phillips (Traditional American Fiddle Tunes), Vol. 1, 1994; pgs. 254-255 (two versions). Silberberg (Tunes I Learned at Tractor Tavern), 2002; pg. 168. Sing Out!, 198‑, pg. 75. Spandaro (10 Cents a Dance), 1980; pg. 20. American Heritage 19A, Loyd Wanzer‑ "Plain and Fancy Fiddlin.'" Bay 204, "The Arkansas Sheiks." Fretless 103, "Clem Myers: Northeast Regional Fiddle Champion 1967 & 1970." June Appal 003, John McCutcheon ‑ "How Can I Keep From Singing?" (1975. Learned from Ben Hensley, Speedwell, Tenn.). London EBX 4118, Andy DeJarlis ‑ "Backwoods Fiddle Tunes.' Marimac 9017, Vesta Johnson (Mo.) ‑ "Down Home Rag." Missouri State Old Time Fiddlers Association 002, Taylor McBaine (Mo.) ‑ "Boone County Fiddler." Revonah RE‑924, "The West Orrtanna String Band" (1977). Rounder 0063, Norman Blake‑ "Whiskey Before Breakfast." Voyager 304, Dick Barrett‑ "More Fiddle Jam Sessions."
                The Fiddler's Companion Andrew Kuntz

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Geography Div

Some states are good at something, some are bad at something ...... but, everyone needs to earn a living, and when we pay taxes ....... well,  everyone knows just how hard 'Public Employees' work at keeping up the roads, putting out fires, educating children, stopping bad guys and speeders, cleaning the water and so on, eh ?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass Div

First heard this song on Lee Michael Dempsy's hosting of WAMU Bluegrass Country in .... hell, a few (at least 10 ) years ago. Don't know who performed it and can't find it in iTunes, oh well.
Here's a group from Arizona (guess where I am tonite ?) so I guess it's appropriate, eh ?
Sonoran Dogs performing Cole younger the Outlaw.

Best I can figure of the band: Peter McLaughlin - Guitar, Mark Miracle - Mandolin, Tyler Walls - Banjo, Brian Davies - Bass and Nick Coventry - Fiddle.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The inmates win ........ Div

No, this isn't about the insanity down there in the GWTP. I'll let Jon Talton over at Rogue Columnist do that.
This morning I roll out of the rack, hit start on the java machine, wind Mr. Stephens and open up the laptop sound system ...... sorry, no music. Huh ?? Try several times, nothing except "You are not connected to the internet." WTF, over ???
Try iPad ... nope. Go downstairs and try the machine connected by wire. Nope again. Reboot the server or whatever that box is called ...... (did you guess?) No again.
Finally call Verizon on the cell phone (the landline is tied to the fiber optic) and get a notification that there's an outage in my area. OK, I can live with that.

Go for a walk, run errands, get a haircut, come home and lo and behold, it's working !!!!
When I go down to check the e-mail, there's one from Verizon telling me there's been an outage that may affect my internet, e-mail and/or phone service. Huh ??? They also tell me that they will notify me of future outages by ...... wait for it ....... e-mail.

YGTBSM !!!! There's someone out there that's being seriously overpaid.

The other day, I had to change the cell service. The Goose Girl had been the primary so I had to restart the service. We were getting a discount because I was a veteran. When I switched the service, I asked if I still got it, showed my retired ID and the kid nodded his head.
Then I start getting e-mails and phone messages and texts that I need to revalidate my 'employment' for the discount. I finally get to some on-line chat where they ask if "retired military" means that I'm a veteran ??? Finally today, I get connected with a real person that gives me the info I need. Tells me that the people at the stores haven't been adequately trained (the only thing they can do is sell you a phone  - -  everything else earns an internet address or phone ## that directs you to a website !!! What insanity.

Enturprenturarial hint # 1: if starting a business, employ real people.
hint #2: train them.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass Div

Charlotte County Breakdown - - done by The Avery County Band (well, at least two of them).

Travers Chandler - Mandolin, Adam Poindexter - Banjo, Michael Cleveland - Fiddle,
Marshall Wilborn - Bass and Jay Armsworthy - Guitar

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Brief explanation of the Current Situation Div

This kinda sums up the current republican situation, eh ?
Eric Idle portrays John Boehner in a thrilling rendition of "Imagine the US is an airplane."

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Geography Div

Well, everyone needs to be good (or bad ) at something, eh ? ....... no judgements, just sayin'......

Read 'em and Weep Div (book recommendation subsection)

This morning's WaPo had an excellent review of Andrew Bacevich's new book, Breach of Trust, written by Jonathan Yardley.

I've written about the fact that our military has become divorced from the people it serves, and vice versa. Many other military leaders have also commented and deplored the fact.
One thing Yardley doesn't include in his review's statement of Professor Bacevich's credentials is the fact that his son, 1st Lt. Andrew John Bacevich, was killed in Iraq in 2007.

Reading the review brought to mind a line from the lyrics from Eric Bogle's And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda:

"But the band played Waltzing Matilda, as they carried us down the gangway.
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared, then they turned all their faces away"
It's much too easy to cheer when the boys go off to fight or cheer when they come home; it's all too easy to ignore the danger faced or the price paid when it costs us nothing.
Those of us that have worn the uniform know. Those whose sons or daughters wear or have worn the uniform know. Those that haven't don't, and they never will.

It's time for a change.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A LIttle Saturday Nite Bluegrass Div (repeat - kinda - subsection

I've sort of shown these guys before jamming after hours with others at the River City (Portland) Bluegrass Festival.
Northern Departure, doing what's probably my favorite: Big Sciota . Performed at the Long Beach Bluegrass Festival in 2009.

Chris Luquette - Guitar, Derek Gray - Bass, Nick Dumas - Mandolin and Austin McGregor - Banjo.
Note: Chris has since moved on and joined Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen here in the DC area.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Bipartisanship This ..... Div

I hear the VOICE OF DOOM on the radio droning on about the Government shutdown. They keep interviewing the republican retartds that are responsible and we keep hearing them say "if only the President (caps mine out of respect) would just be reasonable and compromise."  WTF are these people saying ???  I thought the man has been more than reasonable over the past four -plus years. Isn't this the guy who's motto seems to have been, " .... here's my bottom line but I'm willing to settle for less" ?? Maybe he should try this approach ......

Just What the Fuck are you idiots in Congress talking about. You lost. Goddamit, get over it, take your medicine!! Being an asshole does have consequences. Losing elections has consequences. Why should you hold ME hostage ??? Don't I have the right to defend myself from people threatening me ???

Take this asshole ( I wish someone would): “We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.” — Rep.MARLIN STUTZMAN 
( h/t TenGrain at Mock Paper Scissors).

Hey Martlin, You don't GET anything out of being a republican; or a democrat, or a congressman or a working puke or anything other citizen for that matter (and just who's this fucking "we" you're referencing?). What you get as an elected representative of the people, is the same obligation  I incurred  in wearing the uniform of this country for over twenty years. I pledged my life, my fortune and MY SACRED HONOR to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic (and right now Marlin, you are beginning to resemble one of those enemies).  I didn't agree to use that Constitution for my own purposes or get anything else than what I played
 " ....you bet your blood" to receive. You, Marlin,  may have a life (such as it is), a fortune (probably inherited), but you sir, certainly have no honor   - -  sacred or otherwise.
Someone once said that integrity is doing what's right even when no one else is looking. Well Marlin,  if integrity is a requirement for serving in this nation's Congress, you are supremely unqualified (and I shudder to think of the qualifications of those that voted for you).

Maybe what you deserve (since you haven't figured it out yet) is a 230 grain JHP .45ACP round forced through your fuckin' teeth into your pie-hole at 900FPS. But then again, I'm sure that you haven't considered that and I would never be the one to execute the act. ( I'm sure that NSA will be knockin' on the door within 20 minutes of me hitting send).

What is wrong with these people  - - - and that includes the press ???? When are we going to stand up and say BULLSHIT ????? The world ain't fuckin' flat !!! There becomes a point when "both sides" engulf everyone in total crap ........... and right now even those of us with a partially functioning brain know who's on first .........  and who's right.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Here We Go Div ...... (over the Falls subsection)

Well, the inmates have finally made their takeover of the asylum that's Congress official.

It isn't enough that they want to repeal a law legally passed, but they want their whole rejected agenda included as the price of not trashing the country's economy and threatening to trash that of the whole free world. What's next guys ?? Firing on Ft Sumpter ???
Come 1 October, looks like you aren't going to be able to sign up for Social Security, Medicare, or VA benefits; but you'll still have to take your shoes off at the airport and maybe get felt up.

Of course, it's all the fault of that socialist, Kenyan, usurper that's illegally occupying "our" White House (did I mention that the guy's a Nig**** ??).

I just gotta wonder why it hasn't occurred to these rubes that they really are insane ??

Go ahead, talk among yourselves ...................

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass Div

Clinch Mountain Backstep by the Boxcars form 2011

Adan Steffey - Mandolin, Ron Stewart - Banjo, John Bowman - Fiddle, Harold Nixon - Bass and Keith Garrett - Guitar

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass Div

J.D. Crowe's New South -  minus the retired J.D. and renamed American Drive. Here doing Pike County Breakdown.
I like the new banjo player better than J. D., but that's just me.

Josh Hymer - Banjo, Dwight McCall - Mandolin, Rickey Wasson - Guitar, Matt Desplain - Resonator Guitar and Kyle Perkins - Bass

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Geography Div (Pirate subsection)

September 19 is National (and International) "Talk Like a Pirate Day."  So get your Argghhhh on!
As for the map  ......  figure it out for yourself, eh ? (good luck ye scurvy sea dogs).

Saturday, September 14, 2013

LOVE Div ...... (Goodbye My Darling subsection)


On September 14th at 6:20 AM, Diana, my loving wife and partner of over thirty years, passed away from the effects of the cerebral event she suffered just over two weeks ago. She passed away quietly and comfortably, the easy-listening music she loved playing softly in the background and with me sitting at her side, holding her hand and telling her how much she was loved.

There aren't really words big enough or strong enough to say just how much I Love her and describe the empty space that is now in front of me and will remain, every day, for the remainder of my life. A friend said that he and his wife never mentioned one of us without the other; there was no singularity. We each had our own individuality, our likes, dislikes and differing attitudes, but that is what made us the 'one' that described us as a couple.

Diana was a beautiful and talented woman. She was unbeatable as a salesperson in the fashion industry.   A million dollar producer for Woodward and Lothrop here in the DC area until it closed, she was the person the buyers went to regarding trends, style and salability for merchandise, rather than department management, After that she managed a large beauty salon and literally turned it from a day-to-day operation into one that actually made money. She could spot talent in a young stylist, match them to a client and grow him or her  into a creative force. Since she retired from that business, they have asked repeatedly for her to return.

Diana was born in Manhattan in 1947 and it's rumored that the first word she spoke was "Taxi." She grew up in the Eastern US and never held a driver's license. It wasn't a hinderance because she was organized and determined enough to use whatever transportation was available, including her own shapely legs. After working in the high-end cosmetics business, she worked in the temporary employee recruitment and placement industry - - again becoming a sought-after commodity herself.

When we married and I brought her to England in 1982, the neighbors in our village were convinced they had their own local "Lady Diana." She adapted readily to the divisions of a common language, the differences in culture, and having to prepare dinners in what she referred to as her "Barbie Doll sized" kitchen. She soon was educating the American wives on how and where to shop locally. When we left our village and moved to our second posting in England, the town's butcher cried.

It's hard to imagine why such a tragedy should happen to such a vibrant, talented, respected and loved person. She was always putting others first and her memory for birth-dates, anniversaries and special events was phenomenal. She never forgot to send a card, flowers or organize a night out or a special dinner (prepared by her) for that occasion.

She was always so independent and vital. She always said that she didn't want a life where she was totally dependent on someone else. The results of her injury were such that she would have remained bedridden and probably immobile for the remainder of her days - - and that was contrary to her concept of life and living. We were fortunate that the extent of her disability allowed me to choose a path for her that freed her from the cruel denial of her wishes. She's now free.

I miss you my Love.


A LIttle Saturday Nite Bluegrass Div

The Claire Lynch Band doing their version of Wabash Cannonball. It's almost "jazzy."

Claire Lynch - Guitar, lead vocal, Missy Raines - Bass, Jim Hurst - guitar, Bryan McDowell - Mandolin.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Apologies Div (sucky blogging subsection)

Sorry 'bout any disappointments of late when visiting the site. Have had plenty on my mind to interfere with being creative and clever (or even digesting the news).
Have some of the 'usual suspects' canned and scheduled (but will need to restock the cupboard soon).

My Goose Girl is stable and making slow progress at 'BRAINS 'r US' - with the occasional setback (which really is a downer) but is par for the course. The space-time continuum has really done a number on me; two weeks sometimes seems to be only yesterday and sometimes, last year.
Hard to believe that only two weeks ago my towers came falling down.

Check out the 'Places the Bear Visits' for news, satire, snark and commentary.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass DIV

A verry talented band that's been around since 2001,  Here doing Cleo Belle Written by Nick, the banjo player. Note the two-finger picking style.

John Reischman - Mandolin. Nick Hornbuckle - Banjo, Greg Spatz - Fiddle, Trisha Gagnon - Bass and Jim Nunllay

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday Rambling Thoughts ... Div

Getting from Here to There subsection:
I'm spending a couple of hours a day now traversing between the beltways to be with the Goose Girl. She's improving and every day I see a new bit of her progress on the road to recovery. It's still a long road though.
It's interesting seeing Baltimore from the perspective of the 'lil car and not from the truck. I guess since I don't have passengers, I am allowed to yell at the idiots that inundate our highways and by-ways.
WTF is so hard about "Right (or Left) Lane Closed Ahead (or 1500 feet or 1/2 Mile) ??" It ain't like it's written in Serbo-Croatian or Arabic, eh ??? Maybe I'm the possessor of magic glasses that instantly translate it into English and I don't notice.
I always told my pax that Merging is a lost art; and Yielding is a sign of weakness. Boy, does that ever contribute to gridlock !
And why does it seem that the more expensive or higher performance the car; the worse the skills of its operator ??
I guess after more than 50 years and a million miles behind the wheel I can only wonder where a huge group of the vehicle (mis) operators learned their skills. My Father, now deceased, is still the best driver I've ever known and I was always on my best behavior when he was in the right seat.

Please, Tell Me Again Why   subsection:
Along the way, I keep hearing the all-news, weather, traffic and sports stations break in with THE VOICE OF DOOM announcing "now, the latest on the Syrian Crisis !!"
What crisis ?? They're having a Civil War. There are two sides that want to participate in the war and get to be in charge when it's over; and one side that just wants enough clean food and water and a warm place, out of the wind and rain, to shit. Each side is further divided into religious and/or ideological factions concerned with what's God's real name and/or how many times you have to bow when praying (or something equally as inane and stupid) and are busy killing each other in a variety of ways - some more efficient than others - and killing a lot of the non-caring, non-participants (that would probably like toilet paper also) in the process.
Nobody can really say who's who ; or what's what; or I Don't Know (.....third base!) and there sure as hell ain't nobody selling scorecards that make any sense and there ain't no instructions on how to mark the balls and strikes.

The one thing EVERYBODY (at least all the Very Important People ) are saying is that WE (that's US) have to do something because ....... well, because .... because we just have to !!!  "Just Because" seems like a pretty silly reason to further expend our blood and treasure (that what hasn't already been tragically wasted in the past ten years). And it makes even less sense to keep putting it on the credit card. No swingin' dick runnin' their mouth has even brought up that point yet.

I have yet to hear anyone state just why the Syrian Civil War has anything that may affect the national security of the USA. Please, please don't give me the "we got to stop them over there, etc" bullshit from the GWB adventures.
If you've been listening to any of the rhetoric of the "bomb 'em all" folks over the past ten years, MUSLIMS are the boogeymen and the root of all evil in today's world and we need to rid the world of this menace.  Hey, has anyone noticed, these are Muslims killing Muslims !! Isn't that making "our" job a lot easier ??? Don't any of you rubes have the guts to say that ??

So much for this rant. At least the folks here at Hopkins know what they're doing and don't bullshit me when I ask a question.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Geography Div.... (small city, large hospital subsection)

Even though I've dropped off and picked up pax from Hopkins, I never realized just how big it is.
Now, since I visit the Goose Girl  - - update below - - every day for most of the day (and part of the night), I can occasionally indulge myself with something like a subway sandwich or a pizza. The campus is mostly connected and seems to have all the services in case you never get out !!!

The loop marked in yellow is just over one klick around, so I can also get some exercise when I'm kicked out of the room. I'm slowly learning what's available and where it is.

The Goose Girl is in there !!!! She's able to respond to simple commands like squeeze hand move fingers, move foots. Her pupils are reactive and she can smile (sort of) and stick out her tongue when conscious. She can track with her eyes - though she has them closed a lot and I hope she's getting some rest. she isn't completely dependent on the ventilator any longer, but it's still connected and helps her.
The Bear can only hope that the improvement continues and the setbacks are small.

Elected Office / Public Service Div ..... (SODDI ** subsection)

Seems that Gov Bobby McD (R-Graft) hasn't been telling the truth, the whole truth or sumpin' but the truth about  all the wonderful stuff ($$, watches, clothes, teeth, weddings, vacations .....and the shit just goes on) that he and his family received in "friendship" from Jonnnie R. Williams, Sr. (who, more and more, is turning out to be a real piece of work).
Now Gov Bob and his legal teams plan to throw the assistant Gov (Mrs McD) under the bus seem to be unraveling.
Ain't marriage wonderful ???

** SODDI : Criminal defense ploy meaning "Some Other Dude Did It."
     guess in this case he meant "dudette,' eh ???

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass Div

Chokin' the Strings by Big Country Bluegrass

Lynwood Lunsford -  banjo; Jeff Michael -  fiddle; Tommy Sells -  mandolin; Theresa Sells -  guitar; Johnny Williams -  guitar; Tony King -  bass. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

LOVE ...... div

This one is personal and pretty difficult to compose right now  - - I guess if you stagger through it, you'll understand.
                                        (She ain't too shabby for someone on Social Security, eh??)
                                                        [and yes, the blonde hair is real]

I've known the woman that is my wife, my companion, my partner and my lover for almost sixty years. We've been married over thirty (as she says, I finally came to my senses). She's the one that started calling me "the Bear" and it's stuck.
She's put up with crap for half of my career as an Air Force officer - -  the separations, the frustrations, the long hours and the politics. She could cook a gourmet meal for two or feed a crowd of fifty (and love doing it). She was there after my retirement; encouraging me when the "Bush the First" economy was cratering and I couldn't find a job. When I was finally recruited for a job in the DC area she saluted and marched into the uncertainty with me; and when the job was canceled, she promptly went out and got one herself. 
When I was diagnosed with cancer, she never wavered in her positive support and in looking after my every need even on the two occasions when she was afraid I wasn't coming home again.

Wednesday morning, after taking a shower, she collapsed on our bed complaining of a monster headache. Within five minutes she was incoherent. The paramedics arrived three minutes later and she was taken to our local hospital and then transported, in a coma, to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and their Neurological Critical Care Unit.
During the ensuing forty-eight hours (less actually) she's undergone three surgical procedures, an angiogram and two CAT scans. My state of shock is nothing compared to what she's been through so far; and I can't possibly compare my five surgeries to her present condition. At least when I came out of anesthesia, I knew she was there - so far, I don't know if she knows.

Apparently, she was a victim of a brain AVM (arteriovenous malformation) a very rare, congenital condition that usually cannot be diagnosed ahead of time. The rupture caused massive bleeding within and around her brain. A drain was placed for removing the fluid and, later that evening, a portion of her skull (in back) was removed to allow the brain to swell and relieve the pressure. A CAT scan has also revealed four separate aneurysms in the arteries leading to the malformation. These have now been "blocked" (with, probably, some resultant "stroke" ramifications). The hardest part of all this is the "not knowing." Hell, even the Docs don't know (and that isn't their fault). They tell me that, so far, the results are positive, everything has done what it was intended to do and the next five days or so should give us a better idea of what's to follow. 

This morning, she squeezed the nurse's hand and gave a "thumbs up" when asked (well, shouted at anyway - she's still unconscious and on a ventilator). I hold her hand and talk to her and hope she can hear me and know I'm there and that I Love her so very much. She did (I think) give me a little squeeze tonite. 

Years ago (about the same time I became the Bear) I nick-named her "the Goose Girl" because of her fondness for the down comforter on the bed. I've asked the nurses to call her by that name since it's a name she reflexively associates with love and companionship. Anything I can do to bring her back from whatever  place she is I'll do ......... I simply don't know where she is right now. I also often don't even know what questions to ask ..... consider the old analogy "like a hog lookin' at a pocket-watch." 

There are some things I can be thankful for: I was home and not out Driving4$$. That I had the sense not to panic and call for help. That response was quick. That Johns Hopkins is probably the finest hospital in the country. That we have insurance ( I guess that's what "delayed gratification" is all about).

Anyone who has been through anything like this will associate with what I've said. If you haven't, I hope you never do. Love the people close to you. Don't leave on an unkind word and hold dear your every moment together. The Goose Girl and I were talking intelligently and coherently fifteen minutes before the paramedics were called, it doesn't take long ..... or much ........ or whatever .......... 

I guess it's now my turn to give back whatever it takes and only hope that she comes back to me. But, I'm ready. And then again, that's what love's all about, eh ?

Thanks   - - Bear

P.S.  The SaturdayBluegrass is scheduled already.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Geography Div (Gerrymander subsection)

What if the state boundaries were re-drawn to reflect even population distribution ???
                                        ( I'll bet the Republicans could still figure out a way to cheat.)

.......... and here's the flag you'd salute:

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass .... Div

First time I ever heard this song was by the Kingston Trio. I think they were the ones that made me want to learn the guitar and get started down this road. An old Ralph Stanley clawhammer banjo piece,  Little Maggie, Here by the Darrell Webb Band:

Darrell Webb  - Mandolin, Jake Joines - Dobro, Jeremy Arrowood - Electric Bass, Jared Hensley - Guitar and David Carroll - Banjo

Friday, August 23, 2013

Because we can Div (eavesdropping subsection)

Well, if ya ain't gonna use whatcha got to keep tabs on your love interest, what good is it ??
Jeebus H. Christ with earphones ...........
Why in hell don't they have any good stuff on the bankers ???

Next time, take the bus Div

One of the nice things about my little job Driving4$$, is that when you encounter an asshole, you probably won't ever see them again. (added - this isn't to say that every pax is like this, in fact, the vast majority are pretty nice people.)

Yesterday's jerk told me so, even before he even got in the truck. He advised me that he wasn't satisfied with our service and would never be using our company again. (He was mad because when he made his original reservation, it was for the wrong departure airport and upon his return, we were unable to pick him up where he wanted  - - we are not allowed to go to that location on the airport).

Anyway, after loading up and heading out, he asks if I can drop him off at the dealer where his Porsche is being serviced (three blocks from his home - no problem). I safely battle the Beltway and drop him off at his requested destination, whereupon he tells me that he "usually" gives larger tips; but because of his displeasure with "our" performance and the good old "I know that's not your fault" set up, gives me a fin.

I informed him, politely, that he was penalizing me for someone else's performance and mistake;  I wouldn't accept his worthless apology and didn't want his money. I then gave him back the bill and told him he could use it for gas in his expensive car and "next time you travel, drive yourself. I'm overjoyed you won't be using our service."

I don't know of where he could get a "class" lesson for five bucks.  Oh well.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Geography Div

Here's a pretty neat graphic on population growth and the westward expansion.

Historical movement of U.S. population. Note the major westward expansion in the 19th century.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass div

A band from Minnesota (ya, sure, ya betcha !).  Monroe Crossing  doing a medley of McKinley's March and Boston Boy.

Derek Johnson - Guitar, Lisa Fudge - Fiddle, Matt Thompson - Mandolin, Mark Anderson - Bass  and David Robinson - Banjo.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

RIP Div (Political Journalism subsection)

For many years I enjoyed the writing of Jack Germond in so many of the newspapers I read wherever I was living at the time,  I also enjoyed his laid-back, dry, droll commentary when paired against the other up-tight "talking heads" he appeared with on various commentary shows on the teevee.
Was sorry to read that he passed away yesterday at age 85.

Well Jack, I guess now you know "what really happened" ........ thanks for trying to tell us back then.

                                             1992 - Original Filename: germond.jpg. 92 file photo of Jack Germond. - Photo was taken by then staff photographer Harry Naltchayan.           
                                                (Harry Naltchayan / TWP)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Little Mid-Week Interlude That's Not (really) Bluegrass Div

Alison Krauss and Union Station along with Tony Rice doing one of my all-time favorite Gordon Lightfoot songs, Shadows. 

Alison Krauss - Fiddle and vocal, Tony Rice and Ron Block - Guitars, Dan Tyminski - Mandolin,
Barry Bales - Bass and Jerry Douglas - Dobro

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Geography Div (literature subsection)

Just finished reading Jon Sandford's Silken Prey.  I've followed Lucas Davenport since Sandford introduced the series back in 1989 and have enjoyed watching the character develop. I hope there's a sequel to follow up on the events in Silken Prey, it really deserves it.
Anyhow, here's a snarky map of Minneapolis:

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass Div

Clarence White playing the old fiddle tune Soldier's Joy 

He gets a little help from Byron Berline on fiddle, Alan Munde on banjo Bob Baxter on rhythm guitar and (I think) brother Roland on mandolin.
Please excuse the stuff in the middle of the screen -  just enjoy the music, eh ?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Walkies Div (Friday Flutterby subsection)

After a two-mile stroll without anything interesting, found this in front of a neighbor's house (three doors down the block).

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Blind Squirrel Div (firearms subsection)

Guess the old sayin' 'bout occasionally findin' an acorn is really true.
Got back my stolen pistol.
It  was seized during a drug bust in a neighboring county (and I was subpoenaed for the trial). The case was plead out and the evidence released.
Looks like the NCIC data base really works.
Maybe today's my lucky day and I'll win the Powerball.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Geography Div ... (History subsection)

Guess what village was founded today back in 1833 ? Hint the population was 250.
Give up ??? OK ...........
Bet nobody spent hours stuck on the Dan Ryan Expressway then, eh ?

Walkies Div ( Sunday Stroll subsection)

It isn't often that I don't play at Driving4$$ on Sunday. Even less often is having a day off and GREAT weather. Went for a three-mile stroll along the Little Patuxent River and took the camera. Was surprised to see the deer. Apparently, the community open-space management folks have put up stations where the deer are attracted and tick control is applied. Good idea, cuts down on the spread of Lyme Disease. Now if only they'd find a way to keep them off the roads !!!

                 Cool Shade:
A good place to fish:     

                                                                                    Bambirat at a tick-control station

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass Div

Great old Bill Monroe / Kenny Baker tune Jerusalem Ridge 
Wonderful fiddle and mandolin work in a minor key.

Savannah Vaughn - Fiddle, Audie Ratliff - Mandolin, Janice McCombs - Bass and
 Roy Vaughn - Guitar

Visual Wisdom Div ...... (Nature subsection)

(h/t   JS)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Trust me, I'm (still) the Governor (Really !) Div

Anyone following the continuing saga of Virginia's Governor Bob McGift (yes Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus - but he goes by "Jonnie") ??

                                              (Melina Mara / THE WASHINGTON POST)

Last week, he apologized (well, kinda sorta) via a written statement. He then decamped to Kabul, apparently to visit Virginia troops serving there. Good chance to pick up some pointers in real corruption good government (and the treatment of women) from some real pros, eh ?

Yesterday he spent 45 minutes (of a one-hour program) answering questions about his dilemma.
One quote was prescient of his whole attitude towards the matter:

               When the hosts noted that according to reports, Maureen McDonnell
                had asked Williams for the Rolex, McDonnell said: “I have 
                not read many of the reports over the last 30 days because much
                of what I have read . . . about either me or my wife has not been accurate.”

WTF ??? Did you just read the "inaccurate" reports Bob ?? Did any of the accurate stuff make any impression ?? And how did you know the reports you read were inaccurate  - and why didn't you refute them at the time - with evidence ??

Today, his daughters have announced the return of their wedding and engagement "presents."
No mention of what's going to happen to Mrs McGuv's purchases from Bergdorf Goodman, the clothes  she bought on the campaign credit card or the cosmetic dental work performed gratis. What's she gonna do, have her teeth pulled ??? And the watch ?? I guess there will be a certain souvenir value to owning a Rolex engraved  71st Governor of Virginia.  Imagine what that will garner on "Antiques Roadshow" in 2113 ??

Even better, the Virginia taxpayers are getting stuck with a $50K + bill from attorneys for the original investigation since Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (aka Ken the Kook) also received gifts from Santa Jonnie and had an obvious conflict of interest. Ken is currently the Republican nominee for McBob's job.

The WaPo just put up an Editorial on the web saying pretty much what I've been saying.

Oh so many years ago when growing up, I was told that becoming an adult involved knowing the difference between right and wrong (the difference between legal and illegal was also discussed) and acting accordingly. It seems that Gov McBob learned the legal-illegal distinction, but not the moral.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Walkies ..... Div

I try to get my old bones out for a walk two or three times a week. Today, around the lake and took the camera. Weather is comparable to late May or early June ( as opposed to a week ago where the only polite, descriptive word would be "brutal").  We've also been fortunate here in the mid-Atlantic to be receiving plenty of rain .... so things are really green with the trees and flowers blooming everywhere. Thus, a plethora of nectar sippers and pollinators.

Here's todays keeper ........ a Giant Swallowtail butterfly (I think) and a honeybee.

Don't ask me what the plant is. My plant identification ends with "oh shit, is that poison ivy?" Flower recognition consists of "flower" preceded by the appropriate color,  ie "Blue flower," etc.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Geography div (Sin subsection)

Finally after all that, when you add it all up this is what ya get:
 Pride is the aggregate of all data from the six other sins, averaged into an overview of all evil. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Little Saturday Nite Bluegrass div (sad to report subsection)

Just heard on the radio machine that J.J. Cale  passed away today at age 74.

Here's the Eddie Adcock Band doing They Call Me the Breeze, one of my favorites.

Eddie Adcock - banjo, Martha Adcock - Guitar. Missy Raines, bass

Monday, July 22, 2013

Really, it's just an expression div (Alice in Wonderland subsection**)

Ya gotta wonder when the young don't know the difference between the real meaning of a word and the slang definition, eh ??
blow 1  (bl)
v. blew (bl)blown (bln)blow·ingblows
1. To be in a state of motion. Used of the air or of wind.
2. To move along or be carried by or as if by the wind: Her hat blew away.
3. To expel a current of air, as from the mouth or from a bellows.
4. To produce a sound by expelling a current of air, as in sounding a wind instrument or a whistle.
5. To breathe hard; pant.
6. To storm: It blew all night.
7. To release air or gas suddenly; burst or explode: The tire blew.
a. To fail or break down, as from being operated under extreme or improper conditions: The furnace blew during the cold snap.
b. To melt or otherwise become disabled. Used of a fuse.
9. To spout moist air from the blowhole. Used of a whale.
10. Informal To boast.
11. Slang To go away; depart.
1. To cause to move by means of a current of air.
2. To expel (air) from the mouth.
3. To cause air or gas to be expelled suddenly from: blew a tire.
4. To drive a current of air on, in, or through: blew my hair dry after I shampooed it.
5. To clear out or make free of obstruction by forcing air through: constantly blowing his nose in allergy season.
6. To shape or form (glass, for example) by forcing air or gas through at the end of a pipe.
7. Music
a. To cause (a wind instrument) to sound.
b. To sound: a bugle blowing taps.
a. To cause to be out of breath.
b. To allow (a winded horse) to regain its breath.
9. To demolish by the force of an explosion: An artillery shell blew our headquarters apart.
10. To lay or deposit eggs in. Used of certain insects.
a. To cause to fail or break down, as by operating at extreme or improper conditions: blew the engine on the last lap.
b. To cause (a fuse) to melt or become disabled.
12. Slang
a. To spend (money) freely and rashly. See Synonyms at waste.
b. To spend money freely on; treat: blew me to a sumptuous dinner.

>>>>   13. Vulgar Slang To perform fellatio on.(if you don't know what this is, look it up for yourself !)


Really folks, it's just an expression. Be Careful.

** 'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.' Lewis Carroll - "Through the Looking Glass