Who Am I?

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A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

30 September 2012

Charles Krauthammer Is An Asshole

You’ve undoubtedly heard of Charles Krauthammer; you’ve probably read his columns either in the Washington Post newspaper or perhaps your local paper since he is syndicated. Or maybe you’ve seen him pontificate endlessly on Fox News. He is a very pompous guy who presents himself as a brainiac and an expert on all things politic and economic. He is a loud, vocal critic of President Obama.

Look, there is no doubt that Charles Krauthammer is a really smart guy – I’ll give him that. But he oversteps his bounds (I’ll get to that in a bit). He acts like because of his smartness he’s privy to some inside information that the rest of us dumb hicks are not. Of course, the Fox News audience eats it up.

In his newspaper column on September 16th, Krauthammer rants and rails yet again about President Obama’s policy on Iran’s nuclear ambitions. His opinion is that they are totally wrong. See, Krauthammer knows best!

Now, just stop. My mama didn't raise no fool. Does anybody really believe that President Obama is actually handling this entire Iran issue in public? Seriously? I’m no “genius” like Charles Krauthammer, but I would bet real money that what Obama and Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu say in public is different from what’s going on behind the scenes. I would bet real money that their public uneasiness and discord is a ruse merely to put Iran off-guard. I would bet real money that Obama and Netanyahu have a plan which has not been divulged…not to Fox News, not to the general public and certainly not to Charles fucking Krauthammer.

Think about it: If you were President Obama and you were faced with Iran possibly becoming a nuclear power (which everyone agrees is a bad thing), would *you* sit back and do nothing? Of course not. Alternatively, if you had a plan, would *you* announce to the world what you were going to do in advance? Of course not. We may live in an open society here in the U.S., but it’s a safe assumption that our President does not include us average citizens in his strategic planning.

It is clear…at least it should be clear to anyone with half a brain…that unless Iran really ceases its nuclear ambitions, Israel *will* strike. I mean, come on. Sooner or later, it’s going to happen…with or without the acquiescence of the U.S. (Probably with.) It will not happen before the election this November – that much has surely been agreed upon already – and Netanyahu pretty much said so in his recent speech to the U.N. General Assembly when he held up that silly poster with the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon bomb. (Netanyahu probably figures that Obama is going to win. But even if he doesn’t, having Mitt Romney in the White House would not necessarily be a bad thing for Bibi.)

I will guarantee that there is plenty going on behind the scenes that we do not know about.  And what gets announced publicly is either a tiny amount of the truth or possibly disinformation to keep the world from knowing what the real plans are. Whatever happens…whenever it does, we can be sure that one Charles Krauthammer will not be called in on the pre-strike briefings.

So instead of yelling, “Fire!” in a crowded theatre, which is the equivalent of what he is doing by harping relentlessly on subject about which he has no accurate inside information, Charles Krauthammer should just keep his big, fat, stupid mouth shut.

10 September 2012

Dancing Fools

At what age do we unlearn how to dance? When I go to clubs now and see people my age (mid-50’s) dancing, they look so…so…horrid. So awkward. So uncoordinated. So uncomfortable. It’s almost painful to watch. You’ve seen them; you know what I’m talking about. I mean, they were probably good dancers…once…in their youth. But what happens to our groove? Do we lose it somewhere along the way? I’m sure that if I got out there on the dance floor I would look just as geeky and, you know, wrong as other old people.

Which brings me – sort of naturally - to my friend Hal Johnson. He posted this on his Facebook page tonight:

"Doing the prep work for my wife's fab lasagna, listening to Son Volt, and wishing my rotten kid would quit laughing at the way I dance in the kitchen."

See? Even him!

This post generated the kind of snarky, sarcastic comments you can imagine, which is about all Facebook is good for, let’s be honest. And I envisioned this big, tall moose of a guy writhing around spastically in his kitchen as he’s layering strips of pasta into a glass casserole dish (at least, I hope it was glass). And I’d bet that when he was younger, even Hal was a good dancer. Err…nah, on second thought, strike that – Hal was always tall. Tall people don’t make good dancers no matter how young or old they are. But I’ll bet he at least had rhythm.  When I think about Hal fast-dancing now, the mental image I get is not pretty.

I live alone. I like to listen to music - dance music predominantly, sometimes very loud. And sometimes I catch myself in the mirror (the singular mirror that’s not in my bedroom) dancing to some ‘80s popsong  (Depeche Mode's "Just Can't Get Enough," say). It causes me to immediately stop and make a solemn vow that I will never…no matter how funky the tune and no matter how much alcohol I’ve consumed…do such a thing in public.  Or in private for that matter.

We can only hope that Hal lives in a place where his neighbors cannot see in his windows.

06 September 2012

The Long Trip Home - Part 4


Generally, motorcyclists are a friendly bunch among ourselves. We all wave to each other as we pass on the road no matter what brand we happen to be on. It has to do with the unique nature of what we do, I suppose. We feel a special kinship.

From my lifelong experience as a rider, this kinship is even stronger among Harley riders. There is an undeniable sense of brotherhood and passion within this particular manufacturer. It’s hard to explain or quantify. It just is. You ride a Harley? You’re in the club. The brand-loyalty is amazing. You know that other Harley riders would do anything for you simply because you ride the same kind of bike. This is no illusion either. And it’s more than a little comforting on a long trip.

The Harley mystique is unreal. It extends beyond regular owners. Whenever I’m traveling and stop – at a rest area, for instance or even just for gas – people will invariably come up and talk to me out of the blue. It’s kind of amusing. They tell me their Harley stories; oh, and everybody’s got one. Sometimes it seems like everyone on the planet either knows someone who rides a Harley or they themselves “used to ride” one. Either way, they’re enthusiastic about the brand. (This did not happen much on any of the Kawasaki motorcycles I’ve owned.) I always listen politely, even if I really need to get back out on the road.

A lot of times, people will know enough about Harleys to know that a Sportster is, err, not the optimum bike for “touring.” They’ll raise an eyebrow (sometimes both) and say, “You’re coming from WHERE? And you’re going WHERE?! On THAT???” The implication is that you’d have to be crazy to take a long-distance trip on a Sportster. And maybe I am.

On the way home, I pulled into a gas station in Jackson, Wyoming just south of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National parks. Just as I was taking my helmet off another Harley rider roared in and stopped on the other side of the pumps. Young guy, scraggly beard, big “gauges” in his earlobes. He really looked the part.

“GODDAMN that was the worst mistake I’ve ever made!”
he bellowed, directing the comment at me as if it was the continuation of a conversation we’d already been having.

I chuckled and said, “What?” even though I was pretty sure I knew what he meant.

“Going through Yellowstone. What a friggin’ mistake!”

He was heading west, to California; I was heading east. For some reason we both ended up going south through Yellowstone, stuck in the same heavy traffic, he a mile or so behind me. As we filled our tanks we compared notes and commiserated on our poor choice of routes, chatting like old friends. And in a way we were. We finished tanking up, got our receipts and went our separate ways.

Further along, down in Mississippi I pulled into a truck stop/gas station. Four younger-than-me Harley riders followed me in: Two guys on Sportsters and two on Big Twins. The Sportsters were both older and highly customized – very nice bikes but not ones that I’d take on a long trip. We fueled the bikes and de-fueled ourselves and then replenished the lost body fluids. (Their beverage of choice was beer; mine was Powerade.) Afterward they came over to look at my Sportster, which by now was looking mighty road-weary. It was way dirty and buggy and leaking oil from a small seal that had failed on the shifter shaft that sticks out from the side case (since repaired).

It is most strange. We stood around chatting for a while, again, like we were all old buddies. We had this instant rapport. They were headed from south Mississippi up to Birmingham, Alabama to meet a friend of theirs who was returning – riding alone – from the big annual Harley get-together in Sturgis, South Dakota. Then they were all going to ride back south together. It was a fairly long ride, but the guys were acting like it was a walk in the park.

I like being a motorcyclist. I especially like being a Harley rider. You can’t beat the camaraderie and fellowship. It’s like being a member of a church. And for some, in a way I guess it is.