Another Season, Another Reason

Posted: September 23, 2014 in Seasons

Each year I try to remember the seasons, we are now entering fall. Yesterday at around 10:00 PM give or take an hour or two plus or minus a daylight saving time hour here and there and adding a couple of time zones we reached fall Equinox. It actually depends on your latitude, enough said about that. It isn’t very poetic, talking latitude, zulu time, inclination of tilt or the facts surrounding this event. Although for a scientific techy like me I see harmony in it all. What could be more poetic than order from chaos?

But for one brief shining moment yesterday, we reached perfect alignment with the Sun and we had equal daylight and darkness. I sort of like having things perfectly aligned but usually after I neatly align everything I tend to begin to misplace what I thought needed aligning. It is really hard to work around objects perfectly aligned unless they are permanently anchored in place.

My mantra really is “What do you want, an idol neatness or a constructive mess ?”. Those words are neatly and permanently anchored hanging on my wall in the my office. It sort of relieves the tension when I have visitors and they see my desk.

But yesterday as predicted, our speeding, tumbling, smoking ball of mud that we live on lined up for a few moments with that very huge burning mass of gases we call the Sun, which means we will probably not be uncontrollably shooting out into space and freezing to death for another few months anyway. I think that’s pretty damn cool! DSS has even written a couple poems about it, which I won’t bore you with today. What could be more poetic than being spared death by a huge burning mass of gas millions of miles away. Poems almost write themselves from our marveling of it.

So I only have this to say this year, seasons are neat. I enjoy every damn one of them. We should notice them and do a little jig or piss in the ocean or something at the passing of each one. They are the only predictions we humans make that actually come true. Fuckin’ A!

E

(Oh brother, sorry, E insisted on writing our yearly welcome to fall post. I apologize if anyone was shocked by his vulgar language. But all three of us do agree with his intent.    We are miles from the ocean so the only pissing he will be doing tonight will be facing the moon and pissing in the backyard.  John)

Rain

Posted: September 21, 2014 in Birthdays, free verse, poetry
Tags: , ,

We drove into the rain last night
followed skies lit by lightning strikes distant miles away.
We were sprayed by rain raised from the lanes of giant trucks
with bright red and yellow taillight eyes
that streaked across our faces in time with our windshield’s electric rhythm and beat.
And we reminisced of other stormy nights
and recalled long forgotten birthdays and road trips
that may have also been our best of better days.

DSS

Hello Hawk!

Posted: September 19, 2014 in Flying

“Hello Hawk”, I thought I heard my 11 year old Granddaughter say as we cruised along I-70. I turn to the back seat and ask “What did you say Emily ?”.

“I said, Hello Hawk!” she said with her toothy grin. “Grandma told me to say that when I see a hawk along the road. They have excellent hearing and maybe they can hear me say that. Sometimes they look at me.” I returned my toothy grin to her and was glad. It was time to tell her the hawk story.

In the State we live in, I’m fortunate to see many species of hawks. I see them throughout the year. As I go to our usual places around the county, I watch for them. They are very territorial and I can see them in usually the same places or areas along the highway each day as I pass. They are very majestic, much smaller than an eagle, but masters of the bird world here. Some are called falcons and I think all are part of the raptor family. I love these birds. My bucket list has befriending a falcon as a goal. I don’t want to own one, just befriend him. I’m not sure you could own anything as nice as a falcon. I’m afraid becoming a hawk’s friend might be very hard, too.

All of my life I have noticed them and watched their habits. When we were young, my brother and I once came across a nest of small sparrow hawks in a tree while we were squirrel hunting. It crossed our minds to capture them and train them to hunt as falconers do. But it just didn’t seem right and we didn’t know how to do it anyway. We let them be.

This is the story that I have told to at least 2 other of my grandchildren and since Emily is now talking to hawks, I will take time to tell her the hawk story the next time we are alone. It happened about 25 years ago near Dodge City, Kansas. Yes the same city as Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Boot Hill and the Long Branch Saloon. Although those men and places have nothing to do with my story. We just happened to live there for a while, about 8 years of “for a while”.

I was taking my pilot biennial flight review. My check pilot was a kid named John Fleishman. He was about 15 years younger than I but had every Pilot rating available at the time except hot air balloon and I’ve got to tell you I enjoyed every hour we flew together. That was at Dodge City Regional Airport, known for the highest average winds of any airport in the U.S. A great place to fly. If you couldn’t handle high crosswinds and turbulence you didn’t fly much in Dodge City.

That afternoon John was putting me through the paces of what we call “slow flight”. It’s one of the requirements for all pilots to know and it is wise to practice it periodically to stay sharp. A lot of folks don’t understand this but the art of flying is not how fast you can fly, the real art is knowing how slow you can fly. The drill is to head the plane into the wind to keep the engine cool and slow your ground speed. You must raise the nose of the plane slowly to reduce air speed, reduce power but maintain altitude and slowly lower the flaps to reach a speed just above stall speed. Maintain that air speed within a few knots and keep altitude within 50 feet. Stall speed is where the plane will quit flying and the nose will drop straight down and you are staring directly at the ground. As you head down you give the engine full power and as your speed picks up, gently pull back the yoke, and the plane recovers from the stall and you begin to fly again back to level flight. It’s really a lot of fun but it’s pretty unnerving the first few times you learn it. While doing “slow flight” one knot above stall speed and maintaining exactly at altitude is perfect and that’s what you’re shooting for. You fail if you stall. If I remember right, stall speed was 43 knots in the 152 Cessna we were flying that day. That’s about 49 mph. At about 54 mph a stall warning buzzer goes off and remains on throughout the whole exercise. Which adds a bit of excitement also.

So John and I are at about 2000′ above ground level. I have stabilized the plane at exactly 44 knots and straight into the wind. My power is maintaining perfect altitude. At that height the headwind was about 25 knots. So we are cruising along at about 19 knots or about 22 mph ground speed. You look down to the ground and it’s like you are hovering. Not only are cars and trucks passing you but bicycles and horses are giving you a run for your money. Of course the stall warning buzzer is going off. It’s really great fun. Each time you do it you find it hard to believe you can fly that slow in reference to the ground. But in the Dodge City skies it is easy to find high headwinds and you can really travel slow in relation to the earth.

We are flying along very slowly and I take my eyes off of the gauges long enough to look ahead. A few hundred feet off of  our left-nose I see a hawk flying along the same altitude and direction that we are going. We are gaining on the hawk. He is the only thing we are outrunning. His ground speed was probably a whooping 12 mph. John and I both see the bird, look at each other but say nothing. As we approach it from the rear the hawk continues unconcerned and we pull up beside him about 75 foot off on my left-wing. When we get even with him, we both say “Hello Hawk!”. The hawk swivels his head and looks straight at us with a look that says “what in the hell are you doing up here?”. And because of his expression we begin to laugh loudly over the intercom. It was as if he had heard us. We didn’t scare him and we continued flying together until we gained on him and finally passed. It was a beautiful day to fly, we were doing an excellent exercise 2000′ in the air and we were talking to and flying with a hawk. In my flying world, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Since then, whenever I’m driving and I see a hawk flying or just perched on a fence post looking for mice, I give him a greeting out loud, ”Hello Hawk!”, because I have flown with them. And some days when the air is clear, he turns and looks at me, I think he can hear me. My granddaughter now thinks so, too.

Such is the life of John

My long time readers please excuse me. This is one of my favorite true stories and I have posted this yearly for a number of years. It is that time of year again.

Ice Breaker

Posted: September 17, 2014 in Everyday Life, politics

The big turboprop twin finally arrived using most of our 2900 foot runway. It taxied to a stop at our main ramp. After the highway patrol security arrived she emerged from the plane. She looked around and there was no one but the State Troopers to meet her. No one, except my wife, the Geezer, the airport cat and me. The sound of the light and quiet southern breeze was deafening. She actually had a look of relief on her face when she spotted us standing there at the main hangar door. She came walking across the tarmac smiling and with an outstretched hand to say hello!

Just 15 minutes earlier I was just finishing my first pot of coffee that Saturday morning when I got a call from Clansey, our ol’ Airport Geezer*. He said he had received a call on the radio and the Governor’s plane was about 20 miles out and would be on approach to land at our airport in about 10 minutes. He said I’d better get to the main hangar if I wanted to watch her arrive in her fancy new King Air. We live just 5 minutes from the airport so I called my wife and we hurried out to watch. In our realm, a chance to see the Governor is a big deal, particularly this governor. It was Governor Kathleen Sebelius, Democrat. I’m sure you have heard of her, she later became the Health Secretary for the President of the United States. (Because of the large population base in Kansas City, Topeka and most of Northeastern Kansas we can elect a Democrat Governor occasionally here. Forget it for U.S. Senators, most Congressmen or Presidents). Being a small rural community in Central Kansas west of Topeka, you can count on one thing, Republicans out number the Democrats 4 to 1. We had lived here over 10 years. We are not natives and we fit into the minority.

Evidently, not having anyone that understood protocol in the small Democratic Caucus in our county, no one thought to send a welcoming party to meet her and take her to the public events she was to attend. If I had known she was coming I would have offered, but who would have thunk it. But my beat up 1994 Jeep Cherokee I was driving that day would not have been very impressive for her to ride in. All she had for transportation was a state patrol car.

She shook my wife’s hand, wife was speechless. Clancey smiled politely through his over-grown white beard and gently shook hands (he plays Santa Claus at Xmas). She even patted the airport cat on the head and luckily it didn’t bite her. When she finished shaking hands with me, I wouldn’t let go of her hand, and said “You don’t know how good it is to finally meet another Democrat out here in Central Kansas!”. There was a short moment of silence, I think that broke the ice and the big hangar finally echoed out with loud nervous laughter from her and her State Trooper entourage.

So I guess I can proudly say I put a smile on the face of the lady Governor of Kansas. But I think, my not letting loose of her hand made her and the troopers a little worried.

Such is the life of John

* Definition : Ol’Airport Geezer : All small airports have one. A warm hearted, hard working gentleman that mows the grass, answers the radio, greets all aircraft arrivals, makes everyone that stops there feel welcome, fixes them up with an old airport courtesy car* to take to town for a hamburger and pumps Av Gas for the Lawyer and Doctor pilots, that don’t know how to pump their own.

Mojo Back

Posted: September 15, 2014 in creative writing, Everyday Life, free verse

Mojo back. That’s what you call it. When will I get my Mojo back? Have you got your Mojo back? You don’t have to put an accent to it. It’s just Mojo, plain and simple.

While you are talkin about no Mojo you can use “ain’t” a lot. You can drop your g’s in the i-n-g’s like, “I ain’t doin nothin about findin my Mojo”. You can do that because you ain’t got none. You don’t know no better. Oh, you will use double negatives, too.

Nobody knows where their Mojo goes. They just know that it’s gone. Away, far away to where you don’t know where. Just gone. You capitalize Mojo cause it’s a big deal. But you don’t know it til it’s gone. You may not know it when you got it. You just know it when it’s gone…..

I lost my Mojo maybe last week, don’t know when, I just realized all of a sudden, I ain’t got none! Mojo that is. You feel sad, real sad and you walk slow with no Mojo. You walk slow, you talk slow and you feel real low with no Mojo. Mojo is a good thing to have. You want to keep it but you ain’t got no chance. It’s goin ta leave when it wants ta.

Mojo…back.

DSS

We Have Wept

Posted: September 12, 2014 in free verse, poetry

we can weep
we can clench our fists
we can mourn
we can think of these always

But how hard the life not to forget these things.
How good the life to put away these things
Not to want these or to dwell on these.

Why join the  herd of like think,
only to become a mindless mob.

DSS

 

At the Movies

Posted: September 9, 2014 in movies

“Dirt in the fuel line, just blowed it away!”.

I love movies, old or new! I can watch them anywhere, the theater, home DVD, on television or DVD on my laptop. My favorite ones, I can watch over and over again. They just have to be run with no commercials and nothing censored. Only the director’s cut with no editing and only in the original display ratio and format will do. If it’s an R rated film, I want it left as an R. If it is a black and white film, leave it black and white, goddamn it! I’m just waiting for some stupid SOB to colorize “The Last Picture Show” or “Citizen Kane”. I will hunt him down, I promise! And his last words won’t be “Rosebud” !

I’m cautious about PG-13. Not always but PG-13 usually makes me sick. PG-13 should mean written, filmed and marketed for the 13-14 year old male teenage mentality. In other words, usually, but not always, crap. They will contain car chases with fruit stand crashes, unrealistic cops and robbers, unrealistic violence and non-revealing tease sex. I’m very careful when choosing a PG-13 movie. PG-13 can mean rated G for the giggling teenager. PG-13 may mean that the producer and director have no balls.

That said, I will get back to what I really want to talk about.

Whenever I watch a movie, I try to pick up one memorable line. They all have one. The line may not be anything commonly thought special or great prose. Just something special that you notice and get some meaning from, or a chuckle or even just something you thought didn’t fit exactly right into the dialog. Then whenever I see it again, I look forward to catching that line that I’ve remembered. If I discuss a movie, not only do I know the actors and plot, I have at least one line that I remember and recite. We all quote them the way we remember them said not  necessarily word for word. I think it makes a movie discussion more interesting.

As an example, in the movie Titanic, a well done PG-13 movie by the way, who doesn’t remember when Leonardo DiCaprio stands on the bow of the ship, stretches out his arms and yells “I’m king of the world!”. A pretty corny line but memorable. But do you remember, “Jack, I want you to draw me like one of your French girls, wearing only this”? Now that’s a line!

Another movie I come across every few years is “The Miracle Worker, the Helen Keller Story”. Anne Sullivan played by Ann Bancroft says “The room’s a wreck, but her napkin is folded”. I always watch for that line. The line that describes the struggle of Keller’s early learning.

“When Harry Met Sally ” has a few, but the restaurant scene overshadows them all, “I’ll have what she’s having”. Now that’s fun!

Oh, the line quoted at the start of this post is from “Bonnie and Clyde”,

Clyde: “Now you just tell me what was wrong with that car.

C.W. Moss: “Dirt in the fuel line… just blowed it away. …”

What lines do you like to remember?

DSS