Attack

Arrow

I was recently assaulted. It’s my own inattentive fault.  I was blithely, blindly blundering around the blogosphere, trying to catch up on my reading and commenting, when I discovered that Cordelia’s Mom had used a trebuchet to launch another Versatile Blogger award over Niagara Falls at me.

versatileblogger113

I am always happy for any attention that doesn’t involve blue uniforms and arrest or search warrants. I hate to have to keep wiping my hard drive.  I sincerely thank CM for getting this award to me before Trump gets elected and puts up that big wall between us.

As usual, there’s a whole buncha rules.

If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger award.

  •  Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
  •  Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.
  •  Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. (I would add, pick blogs or bloggers that are excellent!)
  •  Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.
  •  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

As usual, G.O.D.’s (Grumpy Old Dude) rules supersede any silly WordPress rules, so I’m just gonna do whatever I want – but you already knew that, din’t ya??

I thanked CM for this honor, because, as a rule, I’m commonly courteous, even when I’m ignoring the rules. Secondly, I linked to CM’s beauteous blogsite (Quick, check above. I did link didn’t I? I didn’t have an[other] Alzheimer’s moment, did I?) because I’m not commonly courteous; I’m outstandingly courteous.

Next comes the sh….stuff I plan to ignore, nominations.

For various reasons, some bloggers don’t want to be bothered with blog awards, so for them, I won’t nominate them. For the other bloggers who get a kick out of a bit of recognition, there are still many to spread the joy. My not nominating anyone only means that the Universe will die the entropy death one second later.

Now comes the hardest part. Rule #5 says I have to tell the person who nominated me (i.e. Cordelia’s Mom), seven things about myself. That actually means to tell any readers. Between reading each other’s posts, comments and replies, emails, and even a couple of personal meet-and-greets, CM knows pretty much everything about me except the first name of my parole officer – (Herbert, BTW).  I’ll try.

  1. Recent insight has revealed that my lifelong lonership, my lack of friends, may stem from my thundering need for freedom and independence. That may have something to do with my Scottish ancestry. If you can show me a different, better way, I may adopt it, but I will not blindly, unquestioningly, believe and follow, whether religion, politics, sports, automakers or Kardashians, simply to ‘fit in.’ After almost 50 years of marriage, the wife still occasionally says something like, “I’ve tried to change him, but he’s just stubborn.”
  2. I do odd things with containers. Small bottles, like medicines or spice jars, I open with one hand – the left. I hold them against my palm with the third and fourth fingers, and either flip lids, or wind off screw-tops with my thumb and forefinger. I can usually put the lids back on that way too. Could I be on America’s Got Talent?
  3. Larger containers I often open by holding the top with my left hand, and turning the jar/bottle underneath it on a counter with my right. I (almost) never have a lid go flying away, to land on the cat hair floor. Can I now expect a home visit from a traveling psychologist?
  4. I couldn’t juggle if you held a gun to my head but, when moving an object from one hand to the other, I often throw/toss it – left to right, right to left – it’s only a foot or so. Exceptions include sharp knives, open drink containers, and cats. S6300243
  5. I’m not quite OCD about it, but I often count things. There are 14 steps in each stair flight in the house. When going downstairs with an armload of groceries, I’m never surprised to find that there’s another step, or almost as bad, I go to step down one more time, and there isn’t. When watering a cat from a faucet, I don’t look at a clock, I count the ticks. 60 clicks? – He’s done!
  6. Despite my singularity-ness, I truly, honestly care about people, especially the little people, the underdogs. Sadly, my physical and fiscal limitations often restrict what I can do to help others. The only folks I hate are liars, bullies and assholes. They cut into my charity work by about 90%!
  7. CM was the first fellow-blogger I had a real, live meet-and-greet with, even as I was on my way to rescue yet another blogger, lost in the wilds of Ohio, as Paul Curran recently was in Ottawa. We repeated the feat, each with a change of partners. I note that she’s hatching plots to get even more bloggers together. I hope she’s still keeping me in mind (probably ‘way back at the back).

No nominations – no list of worthy bloggers??! I’m done here.  Insert thunderous applause!

TANKS FOR THE MEMORIES

Tank

That little Iraqi War thing was the first time the American military got to play with GPS on a large scale. Iraqi tank corps were ready….as long as it came down the road.  Out in the middle of the trackless desert, it’s easy to get lost.  GPS enabled American tanks to take off from Uncle Ibn Saud’s pool and spa, travel across hundreds of miles of open desert with no signposts, and still arrive at Saddam Hussein’s garden within a couple of yards.

One night, a trio of American tanks (one mission commander and two wingmen) were moving forward. They came to the crest of a small hill, near a bunker, spotted earlier by recon aircraft.  At the bottom of a small, bowl-like valley was a tank laager – 22 Iraqi battle tanks, parked in a rough circle, facing outward, in front of the bunker.

With 3 against 22, they might have inflicted serious damage, but with the possibility of losing one or more American tanks. Wars and battles are not won by getting killed.  The commanding officer was considering calling in the warplanes, but that would give up the glory to the flyboys, and dawn was fast approaching.  By the time the bombs and rockets arrived, these guys could be long gone.

Suddenly, one of the tankers had an inspiration. Abrams tanks can do over 60MPH on flat ground.  As the first Iraqis started exiting the bunker, there was no time to explain, or receive permission.  He just accelerated down the slope and dashed inside the ring of tanks, where he roared around a couple of times, raising a huge cloud of dust.

He now had the advantage. Everything he saw that moved, was a target, while the Iraqis couldn’t fire, for fear of hitting their friends.  Some of them scrambled for their tanks, but smashed into, and blocked others.  In the American tank, it was like shooting fish in a barrel.  Target – fire – boom.  Target – fire – boom.  Target – fire – boom.  Soft target – co-ax machinegun.  Splash one rag-head.

Suddenly in the night-vision screen, they saw a soldier running from the bunker, readying an RPG – a rocket-propelled-grenade. It’s possible that the grenade might have just clanged off the tank’s armor, but it’s better not to find out.  Too quick to activate the machinegun, the gunner simply fired the main cannon.

Rags fluttered to the ground. The 40-pound warhead, travelling at 2800 feet per second passed right through him, striking an already damaged tank.  The hydrostatic shock left a fine pink mist settling to the sand.

The other two Americans watched in awe and wonder. After about five minutes, everything got quiet.  Final score: USA-22 – Iraq-0!  One lone American tank had destroyed 22 Iraqi tanks, and heavily damaged the bunker.

Proudly, the lone wolf pranced back to the pack with no more than a few dings and scratches from bumping into, what was now, a pile of garbage. Essentially, the mission Commander told him, “I understand the need for quick action, but if you ever scare me like that again, I will shoot you myself.  By the way, here’s a commendation, and maybe a little medal.”

Technology, ingenuity and independent thinking, as well as grit and guts, prevented what might have become a nasty, protracted war, and turned it into more of a police action, with relatively few American casualties. The GroPosground-pounding infantry – are the ones who write the final chapter, but ya gotta love the tankers who clear the roads so that they can get there, and get the job done. Salute!   😎

HELP!

Spring

Help, I need somebody!
Help, not just anybody.
Help, you know I need someone.
Help!

I could have used some help with this week’s Flash Fiction. I went to Rochelle’s site and examined the photo prompt.  It looked like a couple of beef leg bones in a clear plastic public garbage bag.  The only thought I had was about some greasy-spoon diner that served overly large chicken wings.  You’re better off without that story.

I decided instead, to request aid and succor from my readers. This week, in several different places, I have seen a post of 15 questions given to 8 to 10-year-old children to find out if they are geniuses (genii).  I took the test myself.  I got the right answers to 13 out of the 15 questions, so I can probably outwit some students, before they enter Middle School.

For most of the questions, when the correct answer is revealed, it’s obvious. For three of the remaining four, when the answer is shown, a note pops up to explain why and how.  I got two of these right, and two of them wrong.  One of my errors was explained, but the other one wasn’t.

I was going to leave a comment/question, asking for clarification, but found that the test is based on Facebook, and I don’t have a Facebook account to access it. Have any of my readers seen this test?  Do you know what I’m referring to?  Do you know the answer?  Do you have a Facebook account?

Here’s the question that stumped me. I guess I’ll never grow up to be an insightful genius.

Bing is to Ding
as Hug is to….
Hit/Bug/Enemy/Friend

Transposing initial letters, and answering ‘Bug’, seemed a bit too simplistic for a question searching for geniuses, but it’s the one I eventually settled for.

The correct answer is ‘Friend!’  I see how the word Hug relates to Friend, but now I can’t divine a similar relationship between Bing and Ding.

A little help – please!   😳

Archonology – The Next Generation

 

A couple of years ago, I wrote of finding an old English bus ticket from 1942, in an old book. If you didn’t read the post, you’ll have to take my word for it because, despite my impressive filing system, I can’t seem to find it.

Like father – like daughter.  Recently, LadyRyl picked up an old hard-cover book at a Thrift Store.  As she was reading it, out popped an old post card.  Anybody remember them??

Image

Isn’t this darling? And isn’t that pile of concrete impressive?  It has all the architectural magnificence of a Russian tenement.  What a building!  You just know that important stuff happens in there every day.  Stuff like….merchandise marting.  Kind of like the Pentagon of its day.

Image (2)

Here’s the back, where the more interesting, human-interest stuff shows up. It was mailed on Jan. 9, 1946, from Chicago.  Who wants to be in Hell-frozen-over Chicago in January?  Sent home to Grand Rapids, Michigan – a 185 mile, 3-hour drive these days, but probably most of a day, back before Interstates.

It was sent to ‘Bobby’, but the phrase “be a good girl” says that she was Barbara Jane.  It cost a whole penny for the stamp to mail it.  Back before ZIP-codes were even a gleam in a bureaucrat’s eye, it was addressed to Ward (8) in Grand Rapids.

The aunt and uncle senders were Val & Al – too cute for words. I don’t think Big Al had much to do with this piece of mail.  Aunty says she tried to call Bobby’s father, “but the line was busy.”  The entire family seems well enough off to afford a trip to Chicago, and a telephone when most folks didn’t have them.  I’m amazed that the phone was busy.  Without Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, what could they have had to yak about?

It’s not quite as old as my bus ticket, but it’s further before her birth, than mine was for me.  Like me, Ryl is guarding and preserving this piece of historical ephemera.  It speaks quietly from the past, of a society and lifestyle, a little more gracious and courteous, and far less crowded and frenetic than the ‘modern’ one we endure today.

Busy Brains

Brain

The Explanation

Brains of older people are slow because they know so much.

People do not decline mentally with age, it just takes them longer to recall facts because they have more information in their brains, scientists believe. Much like a computer struggles as the hard drive gets full, so, too, do humans take longer to access information when their brains are full.

Researchers say this slowing down process is not the same as cognitive decline.

The human brain works slower in old age, said Dr. Michael Ramsay, but only because we have stored more information over time.  The brains of older people do not get weak. On the contrary, they simply know more.

Also, older people often go to another room to get something and when they get there, they stand there wondering what they came for.

It is NOT a memory problem; it is nature’s way of making older people do more exercise.

***

A Catholic Priest, a Baptist Preacher and a Rabbi all served as Chaplains to the students of Michigan University at Marquette in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

They would get together 2 or 3 times a week for coffee and to talk shop.  One day, someone made the comment that preaching to people isn’t really all that hard, a real challenge would be to preach to a bear.  One thing led to another and they decided to do an experiment.  They would all go into the woods, find a bear, preach to it and attempt to convert it to their religion.  Seven days later, they all came together to discuss their experiences.

Father Flannery, with his arm in a sling, was on crutches and had various bandages on his body and limbs.

“Well,” he said, “I went into the woods to find me a bear.  And when I found him, I began to read to him from the Catechism.  Well that bear wanted nothing to do with me and began to slap me around so I quickly grabbed my holy water, sprinkled him, and Holy Mary Mother of God, he became as gentle as a lamb.  The Bishop is coming out next week to give him First Communion.”

Reverent Billy Bob spoke next.  He was in a wheelchair, had one arm & both legs in casts with an IV drip.  In his best fire and brimstone oratory, he exclaimed, “Well, brothers, you know that we Baptists don’t sprinkle!  I went out and found me a bear.  And then I began to read to my bear from God’s Holy Word!  But that bear wanted nothing to do with me.  So I took hold of him and we began to wrestle.  

We wrestled down one hill, up and down another until we came to a creek.  So I quickly dunked him and baptized his hairy soul.  Just like you said, he became as gentle as a lamb.  We spent the rest of the day praising God and shouting Hallelujah!

The Priest and the Preacher both looked down at the Rabbi who was lying in a hospital bed in a body cast & traction with IVs and monitors running in and out of him.  He was in really bad shape.

The Rabbi looked up and said, “Looking back on it, . . . circumcision may not have been the best way to start.”

 

Flash Fiction #87

Lightning

PHOTO PROMPT © Sean Fallon

THE WRITE STUFF

Writing is easy. Any fool can do it – many try.

To be a good writer requires a bit of genius, which Edison described as 1% Inspiration, and 99% Perspiration.  Robert Heinlein said that a writer must write 2000 words each day, to keep the muscles and mind toned.

To be a successful writer, to assemble the right theme, the right title, a believable story arc and interesting characters, to capture and hold the readers’ attention, is like catching lightning in a bottle.

Here’s a Flash – none of that is Fiction.

The best of luck to all of us who try.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

***

My apologies for the clichéd title, but it is apt.