Where is John Wayne?

Suzie-Q and I like movies.  We like the environment, sharing popcorn and a bucket of pop.  We even tolerate those who come to see a movie yet must
check their cell phones every two minutes in case maybe there is another tweet from the President or LeBron.  These days, the sad part is that there is probably one movie in ten that’s worth seeing.

A good action movie or comedy or what one expects to be a good action-comedy from the trailers is ruined within minutes by the F-bomb and other nonsense.  Over my years, I’ve seen tons of movies.  I have seen countless movies that might be classified as an action movie.  Some were very entertaining movies not laced with sex and profanity.  Back in the day, when we actually watched television, one of our favorite programs was CHIPS.  Naturally when we watched the trailer, we were duped into believing it was going to be the same fun format.  A couple of motorcycle cops having fun and catching the bad guys.  Characters the kids could look up to.  Too bad one of the cops was a degenerate sex fiend and the other a hopeless pain pill addict.  That story line overshadowed whatever else may have been worth seeing – which by the way wasn’t much.

I spent a lot of years in the Army.  I have heard and used bad language.  But, I’ve never used it or heard it to the extent that it is used in some of these movies.  I saw another trailer for the movie, The Hitman’s Body Guard.  Although Samuel L. Jackson is known to make some outrageous statements about our country, I believed the movie might still be entertaining.  After all, isn’t that why we escape to the movies or these days to a football game?  To lose our minds for a time and get away from the daily drudgery giving our brains a needed break from the real world?  Sure it is.  But it is sad when hardly a single line of dialogue is uttered without an F-bomb.  And in this movie, not just Jackson but the body guard too and the woman who portrayed his bride.  Their term of endearment for one another was mother-effer.  Classy right?  By now, you would have thought I’d learned to spot garbage before buying it, but I didn’t.  What was billed as a satirical James Bond type movie, The Kingsmen, promptly set out to employ more F-bombs than Sam did although they did it with a British accent.   What is even sadder is that I look around the theatre and see youngsters there supposedly accompanied by an adult.  I can remember way back when people were trying to count the number of times Al Pacino used the word in the movie Scarface.  Those who know, for some reason I guess they actually counted, said it was 226 times or about once a minute give or take.  I think the answer may be to avoid R rated movies even though that may include some decent action flicks not filled with profanity.

Do you reckon the script writers are that bad or the actors are doing a little improv?  Either way, you’d think they would question why these movies are flops not even catching a one star from me.

I long for Big Jake, McClintock, and Rooster Cogburn who did once command “slap leather you SOBs.”  There were some epic brawls and gunfights, but about the worst we’d heard up to then was Clarke Gable declaring, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!”  And on that other thing, I also long for Dick Butkus, Jack Lambert, Mean Joe Greene….

© 2017 J. D. Pendry

Exceptional Nation

I am sitting here in the Bunker.  Over on the windowsill is a folded, encased American Flag.  The case also holds three of the brass casings from
my Father’s 21 Gun Salute.  My Dad was a coal miner with two small children when he went into the Navy during World War II.  Following the war, he returned home and back to the coal mines.  He worked in those mines until his body was broken and his lungs were racked with coal dust.  When he could no longer get a coal mining job, he went to work in a Chicago factory.  That is all my Dad did in life, obeyed the law, served when called and worked hard.  He never sought a hand out and never blamed anyone for his plight.  He was a humble man always grateful for what the Good Lord provided.

In the war, nearly 420,000 Americans gave their lives fighting for freedom – not only America’s freedom but, freedom for the civilized world.  I suppose that number might fill four or five modern day football stadiums give or take.  My Dad never cared too much for sports, although he did talk some about listening to baseball games on the radio.  While you rarely hear their stories, this great nation this Exceptional Nation is filled with people like my Father.  They are the forgotten people.  They do not seek special privilege.  They do not riot in the streets.  They hold together their families.  They work hard and often struggle to make ends meet.  They never give up.  They enjoy American football.  They fill our Armed Forces, our Police Forces, our Fire Departments and many other jobs without which civilized society fails and they do it for a pittance compared to what a pampered and catered to professional athlete earns in an afternoon even when they are sitting on the bench.

We all have a right to speak our minds.  We have the right to peaceful protest.  There is no right to not be offended by what someone or some group has to say – about our country or anything else.  Our freedom did not come easily.  If you have traveled some and lived in other countries, you know full well that there is only one Exceptional Nation on this planet that placed that freedom of speech and others into our founding documents and our Constitution.  Only one.  Worldwide, there is but one symbol known to all representing American freedom and Exceptionalism.  Only one.   And historically people from across the world have followed that symbol of freedom to this land hoping to get even a small taste of what too many of us take for granted.  Even a small bit is more than they have experienced in their lives.  The Americans we consider poverty stricken they view as wealthy because by world standards they are.

On Sunday, after Church while I was having lunch I switched on the kitchen television to my favorite NFL pregame program.  After a couple of minutes, I switched it off refusing to be lectured by sportscasters and old football players and coaches nor did I want to hear them lecture the President who said what most of us have been thinking.  Being President does not take away your freedom of speech.  Maybe it’s time that we have a leader who doesn’t dance around the edges.  One who speaks for the forgotten people.   I didn’t watch any football yesterday.  I was angry for a few minutes and that turned into sorrow.  Another American institution politicized.  Another icon of American culture is swirling down the drain.

You tell me that it is not your intention to show disrespect to our flag, our anthem or to any Service Person or Veteran.  You are exercising your freedom of speech for social justice.  Well that’s fine.  I served most of my life in the military.  When I want to watch sports that is all that I am interested in.  So, when I turn off the fat, bald ex-quarterback (prior to yesterday I enjoyed listening to his football commentary) lecturing the President and a collection of privileged men showing contempt for my country and I stop buying your team paraphernalia I mean you no disrespect.  I am merely exercising the freedom represented by the symbol and anthem you detest.  I am giving my Dad the respect he deserves.  For you, I predict a losing season beyond anything you imagine.

© 2017 J. D. Pendry

Life is Good

It started when Suzie-Q and I agreed (not such a rarity) it was time for new furniture in the Bunker annex – partial man cave partial family room.  The old recliner was broken in.  Sort of like an old wallet, over time it became comfortably molded to the contours of certain parts of my anatomy.  There was also that spot on the arm that I unconsciously but feverishly picked at during the Indians and Cubs World Series.  I was back at it again this year as those other teams in the Central Division refuse to fold.  If we kept it, I most assuredly would have by now got into the stuffing.  Then there was the oversized chair not quite a loveseat not quite a chair.  That was our movie night seat, except for the rare occasion when male bodily functions would cause one of us to temporarily relocate.  There was a large overstuffed couch sitting in the back of the room.  Just sitting and looking at me littered with fancy cushions.  They were not like the cushion on the recliner or the ones over in the movie night chair.  Those were twisted, scrunched and friendly.  It caused me to wonder why we even had a couch.  It taunted me.  I am just sitting here for you to look at.  Do not sit on me.  So I didn’t – ever.

I got out the tape measure and negotiations (spit flying, hair on fire, and knock down drag out brawl) began about what to buy and what to throw out.  First to go was an old wooden box I picked up from an Army property disposal site many years ago.  Its prior home was likely an Army motor pool as the keeper of maintenance records.  When I adopted it, it was painted Olive Drab (OD) green.  It is solid wood and they don’t make stuff like that anymore. Each drawer was the right size to hold old VHS tapes and DVDs.  I cleaned it up down to the bare wood and put a nice natural finish on it.  It’s been sitting there for years full of VHS tapes and DVDs that no one will ever watch again.  We compromised and the box now resides in the Bunker main.  Fortunately Suzie-Q’s collection of crystal, china, Hummels, little porcelain dolls and figurines, etc.  is all located upstairs which negated discussion about the future of my multiple Germany tours’ collection of beer steins, beer glasses, and beer coasters that litter the annex.

We settled on the type of furniture and went to visit some showrooms.  We ended up with a big ole sectional sofa and a sleek new recliner.  We started calling charities and found one willing to pick up our furniture donation on our time line.  We scheduled the pick up date for the old and delivery of the new.

Two gentlemen showed up on schedule to pick up the old furniture.  These were big men.  I mean like a stack of pancakes short of 400 pounds each.  It was hot and they were pouring sweat.  Adding to that, one of them was wearing some very strong smelling cologne, maybe a half gallon of it.  Did you ever wonder why that smell remains in your nose hours later.  It is almost like that very stinky deer repellant I use.  But there is another part.  The furniture guys had to work around the plumber who had to move his truck to accommodate theirs.  On the morning of the pickup, I went down to the utility room located just down the hallway from the annex.  There above my head, I discovered water seeping through the floorboards.  Turns out it was old capped waterlines lines that once fed the washer before we relocated the laundry to the basement.  The previous plumbers capped those lines at the top and somewhere in between there and the basement they were leaking.  They are now capped near the source.  The plumbers and movers managed to keep out of each other’s way.  Then Suzie-Q blessed me with the opportunity to vacuum – everything – twice.

The good ole boys delivering the furniture showed up when scheduled.  On the way in on the narrow street leading to our cul de sac, they took out some cables with their truck.  As apparently no one lost electricity or cable TV, we assumed it was an old telephone landline cable.  As they were hauling the furniture in, one of them tossed the very large cushion to the chaise into the room knocking a painting from the wall.  Not just any old painting, but one Suzie-Q and I bought in 1975 that has graced a wall in our home since.  The frame shattered.  She remained calm and offered the boys some water.  After everything was placed the way we wanted it the delivery boys left so fast, you’d think the law was after them.

It was a hectic couple of days.  It sort of reminded us of an Army moving day and we were glad it was over.  With everything done, we decided to call it a night.  It was calm and peaceful until a beeping noise woke me up at 0200.  There I lay wondering what in my house could be beeping at me at 2 AM.  It wasn’t a smoke detector, Co2 detector or natural gas detector because all of those are ear splitting.  It wasn’t the alarm because that too is ear splitting in its own special way.  The computer back up power supply beeps when the power is off, but the power wasn’t off.  I crawled out of the sack and found the source of the beep in the kitchen.  Our kitchen range was beeping.  Looking at the control panel, I pushed the cancel button.  The beeping stopped.  After a sigh, I turned to head back to bed and it starting beeping again.  This went on until I unplugged it.  The repairman said the control panel was shot and parts and labor combined would cost practically as much as a new one.  He was right, actually more than right.   Because of a sale, we got away cheaper than the repair bill.  The moral of the story; if your new fangled kitchen range starts beeping in the night save the repairman’s service call charge and just go buy a new one.

It was just another uncomplicated week at Pendry manor.

© 2017 J. D. Pendry

Truth in Sarcasm

Stop piddling around the edges with these statues and get some real attention.  It’s time to demand the Dallas Cowboys remove from their hats the star whose origin is quite possibly The Bonnie Blue, the original Confederate States flag.   I wager the average Dallas football player or fan does not know nor has ever thought about the possible origin of the symbol  on the Cowboy’s helmet.   While we are at it we must also demand that Texans change their Confederate linked state flag which remarkably resembles the Confederate bars and stars, which for the ignorant is not as easily identifiable as is the detested Confederate battle flag.  But let’s not stop there.  Besides Texas, former Confederate states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas also need to discard flags with symbolism linked to their Confederate heritage.  The Confederate states of Virginia and South Carolina also need to discard theirs.  Along with them, the slave holding Border States of Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland and Missouri can trash their flags too.  In place of them all I suggest a white banner declaring White Supremacist State of ____.   After all, are we not demanding that the scourge of the Confederacy be removed from American history and forever hidden from those offended by our past rather than encouraged by the potential of our future?  Are we not also ready to label any disagreeable person or group as white supremacists?  Of course as history would have it the willfully ignorant often mislabel people from the past and present.  Although whether it is ignorance or stupidity is debatable.  It is not debatable however that ignorant people do and say stupid things. I do know that the 1836 Republic of Texas Flag preceded the Confederacy but keeping with current trends let’s ignore facts that do not fit the story line.

We can’t stop there though, can we?  There must also be a societal cleansing.  Every American must submit to DNA testing to determine any ancestral link, no matter how miniscule, to the Confederacy or a slave holding family.  We must also ferret out anyone sharing a surname with a Confederate General.  Then we can begin the purge starting of course with ESPN sportscasters.  Is that not the ultimate goal?  Eradication of any person, symbol or thought that does not jive with yours?  Is not your utopia supremacy of worldview without divergence of thought where history begins with you?  Before you begin, however, contemplate this from Pulitzer Prize Winner James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, (I am returning my copy to the fire proof vault because book burning can’t be too far off.) considered the most comprehensive one-volume account of the Civil War Era.  It may help you better select your targets as nothing, except the voting bloc, has changed over the years:

“Despite their marginality, the tiny number of black men who lived in the half-dozen northern states that allowed them to vote formed a solid Whig [Republican} bloc.  The Democratic Party’s professed egalitarianism was for whites only.  It’s commitment to slavery and racism was blatant in the North as well as the South, while Whigery grew in part from the same evangelical reformism that had generated the abolitionist movement.”

Well howdy, as we are prone to say over here in the hills.

There is another stop you need to make on your way to destruction of Confederate monuments, those honoring our founders and razing of the National Archives.  Stop fooling around the edges and just go for the big one.  Visit the former estate of Robert E. Lee.  Before the Civil War, it is the place he lived for 30 years.  Now we know it as Arlington National Cemetery.  There is a prominent structure sitting on the hill just above the Kennedy grave site.  It is visible from a distance.  For certain, you need to bulldoze it to the ground. It would make a spectacular fire for viewing from below.   It is Arlington House also known as the Custis-Lee mansion and the last time I visited it was full of Lee family artifacts.  It is also the Robert E. Lee Memorial (horrors) overlooking the national capital.  In case you are not up on your history, Robert E. Lee’s bride, Mary Lee was a step-granddaughter of George Washington.  Her father built the mansion intended as a monument honoring our first President.

There is much standing in the way of your quest for destruction including the American spirit of freedom so you better get after it.  Just keep in mind that there are many millions who are not going to stand by while you eradicate our nation’s history and attempt to destroy the foundation of our country.  Many of us gave solemn oaths swearing to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” And most of us sealed that with “So Help Me God.”  The oath does not have an expiration date.

© 2017 J. D. Pendry

Stand up or take a knee

Last year, the National Football League threatened to fine players for wearing cleats honoring 9/11 victims.  Before that came the Tim Tebow Rule banning players from putting Bible scripture on their eye black.  Now we have players who show disrespect to our national anthem, our flag and our country.  Spineless owners and a feckless NFL commissioner insist that these America protesting players have the right to freedom of speech.  Not so, I guess for the players who wanted to honor 9/11 victims and their Christian faith.  There is just something upside down about that.  Before owners and the commissioner stop the political protests at sporting events, they will stop playing the anthem because ahead of anything else, they fear being labeled.  They are cowards.

For the protesting players, you privileged and wealthy men living in the only country in the world where you could enjoy such wealth and prestige for playing a game, I have a request.  When the honor guard brings the colors on to the field and the anthem is played, turn away from the cameras and toward the fans who paid exorbitant prices to watch your football game.  For some of them, it may be a once in a lifetime event.  Take your knee or raise your fist to them.  If you can well up some courage, look them in the eye and let them know that you detest them, their country, their flag and their national anthem.  Get right up next to the stands when you do it, you big strong courageous men who have never served anything but your ego.  What have you done for our country?  For the communities that you feel are so oppressed?  How have you used your millions and fame to make a difference?  Maybe you have the solution for the south side of Chicago.  Or maybe you are just attention whores.  Here is an idea for you.  Why don’t you just walk out and stay out until all of the problems you perceive are solved.  Then we can see if anyone misses you.  See if football can survive without you.

You disrespect every man and woman that has served or is serving in our United States Armed Forces.  You disrespect every man or woman who has sacrificed life or limb defending you and the way of life that you find so deplorable.  These gallant people drawn mostly from the middle class of our country possess more courage and character in a pinkie than you can well up from your full sized self.  Most of them will never have the money to attend an NFL game.  The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Police Officers and First Responders meet the challenge every single day behind the lone ideal of preserving liberty.  Preserving the ideal that allowed you, like any other American from any walk, to be what you wanted to be – the ideal that has allowed us to overcome our problems while standing on our feet not taking a knee.  You do not measure up to their standards, not by a long shot, but they will continue to defend you while you show contempt for our country.  Find me one other country on this planet where that happens.

Have you watched how poorly Hollywood is doing?  They are calling this year a box office bust.  Ratings are down.  People aren’t buying tickets.  Americans are tiring of Hollywood hero Captain Americas showing their ignorance.  We watch movies for entertainment.  We are not interested in a red, white and blue movie hero character on one side that on the other side shows his utter contempt for half of America.  When you add that to the point that 90 percent of Hollywood production is pure garbage, you can understand the decline.  So, when a failing NFL quarterback takes a knee because his own pride is hurt and you other social justice warriors follow along in blind solidarity you should not be shocked when the NFL ratings tank.  When ratings tank, revenue drops, and people stop buying tickets, stop wearing your team jersey… they just stop.  They stop paying your salary.

© 2017 J. D. Pendry

I need my stuff

Suzie-Q does not often venture into the Bunker.  For when she does, I have a little stool with a cushion sitting over near the door.  When I worked from home, at a real job as opposed to what I do now, she would pop in for a visit.  We’d talk a little and share a snack while she looked around.   She always concluded that I have too much junk.  She’d take a look at any of the number of plastic milk crates I have filled with coax, Ethernet cables, stray USB cables, wire of unknown sources, and orphaned remote control units and that is just the stuff you can see at the top level and ask why I didn’t get rid of that junk.  I told her someday I may need that stuff.  And that goes for all of my crates full of stuff, which I need because all of the file cabinets are also full of stuff I might need – someday.

Then she’d look at my work area and ask how I was able to get anything done as my desktop was completely covered.  I need all of this stuff to do my work I’d proclaim.  Besides, the important stuff is sitting on servers miles from here and only a mouse click or two dozen away.  This is also why I have my feet resting on a back up uninterrupted power supply for when the juice flickers off as it is known to do here in the hills.  I convinced her that what I really needed was more desktop space and she needed to allow me to add a new section to the built in desk.

With visions of saw dust and power tools littering the visible portion of floor there was a palm to the forehead, rolling eyes and an aye-goo. You men blessed with a Korean bride will understand that expression.  For others, think of Hooah! It can mean just about anything from total agreement to eye rolling exasperation.  Suffice it to say she was not expressing agreement.  We finally compromised on one of those Chinese manufactured glass computer tables.  I got it assembled, finally, and placed it.  It is now completely covered with stuff I may need someday  including an  EMP proof Royal manual typewriter and my 1970’s vintage solid state radio (not EMP proof) and there are at least two milk crates sitting beneath it along with a couple of plastic containers of stuff that won’t fit into the file cabinets.

When Suzie-Q came back she was not pleased.  She told me she was under the impression that I was going to clean the dumpster.  I reminded her that it was the bunker not the dumpster and I thought it was looking rather spiffy.  She concluded that all I did was relocate my junk.  With my arms crossed and smiling, I told her it was an old Army trick.  This time it was aye-goo you’re crazy.  She told me that soon there would be no room to sit.  I agreed and moved her stool out into the hallway. Yes, that was a bad idea.  On the return, it bounced off my leg and that shiny glass table.  I was apologizing profusely when the cushion hit me in the head.  Good thing she threw the stool first.

To calm the waters, I decided I needed to take her to lunch.  When we went into the garage, she looked around and told me I needed to get rid of some junk saying there was barely room for the car.  Before I suggested that we could buy one of those teeny tiny smart cars, I agreed with her assessment that some of the junk needed to go.  But first, I told her, I need to put in some more shelves.

© 2017 J. D. Pendry