Sunday, August 30, 2009

Enemies Domestic

I know I'm late to this party, but I just had to post this feel-good video.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Other Questions ...

... that I should have asked before "Will you marry me?"

  • Do you know how to open trash-can liners whenever you put them in the can so that the next person to throw trash in there doesn't have to dig through coffee grounds to pull the liner back over the lip of the can? I mean, heck, if I can remember to put the seat down an extremely high percentage of the time, what's so hard about swooshing the trash liner so that it fills with air before you shove it into the can?

  • Can you see the cause and effect relationship between feeding neighborhood cats in the garage and the garage smelling of cat urine?

  • Can you coil an extension cord and hang it up so it doesn't tangle? Given thirty-one years of practice, do you think you might be able to learn?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Tribute the Ted Kennedy

... to the tune of "Wild Thing":

Kermit the Wild Thing from sutebeo on Vimeo.

Worm food ...
You've made room temp'ture, dude.
You're now some real crude ... Teddy,
Worm food!
Worm food, with dirt above you,
We wanna know for sure
Mary Jo can now accuse you:
"You killed me."

Worm food ...
You've made room temp'ture, dude.
You're now some real crude ... Teddy,
Worm food!
{Keyboard Interlude}
Worm food, by heaven above me,
I wanna know for sure.
Unborn babes breathlessly say:
"You killed me."

Worm food ...
You've made room temp'ture, dude.
You're now some real crude ... Teddy,
Worm food!
Worm food,
C'mon, c'mon, worm food
Hyannisport worm food ...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mr Hollis

"One-tee-tay-ta, two-tee-tay-ta, three-tee-tay-ta, four-tee-tay-ta," Neil Hollis counted loudly as he struck his knitting-needle baton against my tin music stand in a steady four-four cadence. Despite Mr Hollis's insistence that I focus on the sheet music resting on the stand he was so ardently tapping, my eyes were firmly focused on the ruptured blood vessels of this five-foot-three-inch man's nose. I (the ten-year-old boy with his right hand shoved up the french horn's bell) was absolutely transfixed by W.C. Fields' nose that graced the middle of our band director's face.

Our so-called "band room" was merely the foyer of the auditorium at Rusk Elementary. We budding musicians were arrayed in a semi-circle facing away from the glass outside doors, ostensibly to keep us from being distracted by the intermittent traffic occasioning Copia Street. But then the truth was revealed: the chairs were arranged to allow our band director to keep an eye out. Mr Hollis froze as a faded 1949 Buick Riviera slowed to a stop across the street along the northbound curb. He commanded, "Practice your sixteenth notes!" Then he stepped past me and pushed against the glass door.

A very heavily made-up bouffant-styled woman on the far side of her sixtieth birthday stepped from the car -- her expression matching the scowling grill of her vehicle. The little woman (a burly bleach-blond amazon who had an advantage -- of at least six inches in height and fifty pounds in weight -- over our diminutive white-haired instructor) was not happy. We had trouble making out the words, but it was apparent from Mr Hollis's slumped posture that he had very little to add to her soliloquy other than an occasional, "Yes, dear." The conversation ended with Mr Hollis's handing over his wallet and his wife's deftly removing its contents as she threw it back at his chest. She then immediately retreated to the land yacht in which she'd arrived.

Poor Mr Hollis. Suddenly that spider-veined nose made a lot of sense.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

First Sergeant Yeomans

Fondly do I remember First Sergeant Yeomans, a gruff character with only nine fingers -- he'd lost his right index finger in the Korean War. Once, as I wandered past the dayroom, I overhead some of the good first sergeant's rustic wisdom, so lovingly shared with one of the troopers who was having rouble adjusting to military life: "Are you lookin' for sympathy? You'll find it in the f**king dictionary ... right between shit and syphilis!"

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Parting Shot

Here's my last view of Anchorage:

The clip is only five seconds, so you may have to freeze-frame to see the following features. The view is looking southward. At the beginning of the video you can see a peninsula in the upper right. That's the area around Anchorage International Airport from where the plane took off. At the end of the video the cross runways of Elmendorf AFB are just slightly right of center.

And here's the last thing I saw in Alaska:

Again, the view is looking southward with the setting sun behind the plane.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Signing Off from Alaska

The news from Alaska is that Andy and Lauren are moving into their new home tomorrow. And amazingly, their household goods are being delivered on the very same day the quarters have become available. This is nothing short of miraculous -- perfectly timed PCS move-ins just don't happen in the service. Someone out there has been praying and whoever that is apparently has a direct line to heaven's throne room.

This evening I fly back to Texas. That's all my news from our northern adventure. So I'm signing off from beautiful Alaska, and with that I leave you one last clip of the world's cutest toddler.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Abby and the 'Lion

We had a wonderful time at the playground. The slide was scary at first, but we soon got the hang of it and didn't want to stop going down it.

But the most wondrous thing about the outing was our trip through the field of "lions" between here and the playground.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Doings at Elmendorf (north of Isengard)

I should have posted something before this, but things are still a bit unsettled here in Anchorage. Lauren and Abby have arrived and are settled into the Temporary Living Facility until they find a house. We should know on Monday if the only family ahead of them on the waiting list for on-base housing will be taking the house or not. Things look promising because the housing office reports that they apparently moved out of the Temporary Living Facility (TLF), so it's reasonable to assume they've moved to a permanent off-base home. Anyway, the housing office will be trying to contact them on Monday, so by the end of business Monday Andy and Lauren should know if they have a place to stay. Do pray they get a call on Monday asking, "Are you ready to look over your new home?"

Just as a back-up, this afternoon (just as soon as Abby awakes from her nap) we're going to check out housing between here and Palmer.

Day before yesterday, we spotted a moose and her baby walking across the road near Gate 3 (close to the base golf course). I didn't have my camera with me, so sorry I can't show you a picture, but instead I can offer this picture we took between Fort Nelson and Haines Junction, Yukon.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

We Made It!

Emma was less than thrilled about the roller-coaster roads in the Yukon, but she managed. Here's a clip of her on the last leg of the journey from Tok (pronounced Toke) to Anchorage.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Day Twelve of My Captivity...

Help!!! I've been catnapped! The woman put me in a box and took me to this place where I was caged and I heard dogs baying incessantly. Three and a half days later the man came for me. At first I was overjoyed at the thought of being rescued from the evil place the woman had put me. But when he transferred me from my cage back to the very same box the woman had used in my abduction, my hopes of freedom were dashed. "Oh no! The man and the woman are in on this together.

I loudly protested my reincarceration, so the man let out of the box, but still he held me prisoner in his car. Since then I've been permitted only short nighttime releases from my traveling cell. The man is now accompanied by an old man, whom I now believe is the mastermind of this ever-increasing cruelty. Though how the old man managed to turn my servants against me remains a mystery.

Since the man and the old man took custody of me, they've fed me nothing but cat food and water (and an occasional handful of Greenies) -- nearly nine days now. They've forced me to return to the cruel box whenever I have to relieve myself. They use me to thoroughly search the motel rooms where we spend our nights. (I hear hospitals get paid handsomely for their "cat scans", but I -- like a slave -- work without any compensation.)

As if all this weren't indignity enough, this morning I discovered they'd reshuffled the luggage in my mobile prison and crammed my normal place of repose tight against the ceiling of the car. It took my wandering across their laps, clawing their legs and shoulders, swiping my tail across their noses, crawling between the brake and accelerator pedals and walking on the dashboard in front of the driver (while we were traveling mountain roads at high speed) before they'd stop the vehicle and put the luggage right. I know all this stress must have caused me to lose at least two pounds of fur -- most of which my captors have greedily inhaled. (I hope they come down with "cat lung" disease.)

But only slowly have I come to realize the real horror of their diabolical schemes. At first I didn't know what was happening, but as time has gone by I've realized that the days have grown longer and longer and the nights (my fleeting moments to roam freely) have dwindled down to seeming minutes. It appears these non-nocturnal creatures are taking me to a nightmare world where ... {shutter} ... there is no night.

Oh, the humanity!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Not In Kansas Anymore

Today we traveled through British Columbia and (despite the smoke-filled skies) the view was awesome. The camera doesn't capture the grandeur of this land, but maybe these snapshots give a hint.

We're now in Watson Lake, Yukon Territory ... where the world-famous sign forest is located.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Dawson Creek: More Than a TV Show

We got off to an unhurried start, knowing that we'd end the day one time zone farther west (and thus, we had an extra hour to burn). After tanking up in Grand Prairie, we proceeded to Dawson Creek, the start point of the Alaska Highway (built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1942 in just eight months), where we stopped at a museum.

In Fort St John we somehow resisted the temptation to eat lunch at Tim Horton's.

We saw a several bikers headed south (perhaps going to Sturgis), and this guy headed north (apparently pedaling his way to Fairbanks).

And we saw lots of flowers (some sort of pink lupin).

But most significantly, we saw something we hadn't seen anywhere along the first 2000 miles of the trip ...

Ahhh ... for this old El Paso boy, it feels good to be in the mountains.

Day Five - Alberta!!!

I know what y'all are thinking, "What a boring trip -- nothing but prairie and farm." Well, I won't argue that point, but I must immediately add, "Yesterday things got pretty exciting."

Early on we passed an important intersection. How do I know it was important? Easy ... it said it was.

To be honest, I didn't see the real importance of the intersection -- thinking to myself, "This intersection just feels a bit self-important, if you ask me." But then Andy pointed out the real significance of its being the turn-off to Saint Wahlberg: "Oh Lord, Canada has canonized Marky Mark ... the patron saint of short bad actors, I suppose."

Our entry into Alberta was momentous. We actually (I kid you not) passed through Loydminster, the only city in Canada that's in two provinces -- a distinction they've honored by putting up four tall red steel thingees along the provincial boundary. I took a picture of two of the big thingees. I think Andy got a shot of the other two out his window.

Now how was the rest of Alberta going to top this?

Not to worry, within just a few hours we found ourselves at ... at railroad crossing!

With a train rolling past!!

And a truck parked next to us carrying limestome rocks!!!

Actually, we did have a bit of a heart-stopper in Valleyview. Without enough fuel to finish the day, we pulled up to a couple of filling stations only to find one sold out of all but diesel and the other closed. We did find an open station (with a line of cars) and thus were able to push on to our stop for the night: a place known as "Grand Prairie". (So what else would it be called?)