Who Am I?

My photo
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?

25 March 2013

Commenting On Guns

Cynthia Tucker is another one of these smug, liberal, black columnists whose sophomoric ranting regularly appears in our local Pensacola newspaper. Her columns are usually extremely one-sided and racist, perhaps even more so than the other smug, liberal, black columnists like the aforementioned Dewayne Wickham who think they're better or smarter than me and you. I must point out that Cynthia Tucker has won a Pulitzer Prize. For...are you ready?...Commentary. That’s right, commentary. Which…and I know you’re going to say that I’m the one being horribly racist…but it just goes to show you how smug, liberal, black writers can leverage their blackness into awards if they know how to write well. Society is still so impressed with educated black people that they hand them Pulitzer Prizes just for...you know...commentating.  Hey, where's my Pulitzer?!

Recently Cynthia Tucker weighed-in on the issue of guns. She is, naturally enough, against them. She, like many other of her misinformed, misguided ilk, blames the weapon…the “assault rifle”…i.e. the AR-15 on recent killings. She wants it banned. And she wants high-capacity magazines banned as well.

But they won’t be banned, she notes, because politicians are afraid of the NRA (National Rifle Association). She seems to think that when it comes to their position on the issue of guns, politicians listen only to the NRA. This is a huge and irrational oversimplification. I suppose it never occurred to Ms. Tucker that politicians also listen to their constituents?

And this is the trouble with liberal newspaper columnists: They simply cannot conceive of a society that tolerates guns. It is beyond their comprehension that some of us do not see guns as evil…that some of us believe we have enough gun laws right now, thank you very much. No, in Ms. Tucker’s world, everyone acknowledges that guns are bad and would not mind seeing them restricted and/or (in the case of DiFi) eliminated completely. Poor misguided Ms. Tucker!

Ms. Tucker correctly notes that gun restrictions are no cure-all for society’s ills. But then she goes off the rails. “But banning at least some assault-type weapons and the high-capacity magazines that feed them would be a step in the right direction. Why can't we take that step?”

Whoa. What? Who said that it would be a step in the right direction?? Where does she get that from? Hey sweetie, maybe we can’t "take that step” because it doesn’t make sense?

Then Ms. Tucker gets further “out there.” In talking about the last ban on so-called “assault weapons” (i.e. “the Clinton-era ban”), she says, “But many law enforcement officials nevertheless supported it, declaring that it helped. It didn't end gun violence or stop mass murders or prevent suicides (which account for two-thirds of gun deaths in this country). But it prevented some killings. Isn't that worthwhile?”

Hmm, Tucker declares definitively that the Clinton-era ban “…prevented some killings.” Oh yeah? Prove that one to me. Prove it! Prove that some killings did not happen because of “the Clinton-era ban.” Only a true idiot…and I say this with all due respect…but only a true friggin’ IDIOT would make a claim that such-and-such did not happen…and further, that such-and-such did not happen because such-and-such did happen. "Dog didn't bite man today!  New law prohibiting dog bites is responsible.  No film at eleven."

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and the National Research Council both ended up concluding that the Clinton-era ban had a negligible or indeterminate effect on killings. So for Ms. Tucker to say such a thing is a downright falsehood if not a bold-faced lie. It is wishful thinking taken to an extreme.

Of the Clinton-era ban Ms. Tucker goes on to state, “The civilized world did not come to an end during those 10 years; the Second Amendment was not besmirched.”  Uhh, yes it was. And anyway, if that was the case, if that ban on “assault weapons” was so great, why then was it allowed to expire? Maybe because it was ineffective?

Before closing her column, Ms. Tucker throws one more dig at the NRA and the politicians she thinks are afraid of it. “Yet, the vociferous -- nay, deranged -- leadership of the NRA has persuaded Congress that an assault-weapons ban is akin to totalitarianism.”

Deranged? No, sweetie, the NRA leadership is not deranged. It represents its members…people like me and the millions of others like me who happen to not think like people like you. You, Ms. Tucker, obviously do not like guns. I do. I don’t see anything wrong with people owning guns, and I appreciate our Founding Fathers for putting on paper and into law that we American citizens have a RIGHT to own them…a RIGHT which shall not be infringed.

It boils down to this: Ms. Tucker sees only the rare, random tragedies like Newtown, Connecticut and the Aurora, Colorado movie theatre shooting and thinks guns are awful and ought to be outlawed. The old, “If it prevents just one killing it’ll all be worthwhile!” justification.

Me, I see the bigger picture. I see an armed America as a strong America. I see my ability to defend myself as sacrosanct. I see a government that fears…and should fear…an armed citizenry. Finally – and not for nuthin’ - I see the leaders of other nations (China, hello?) who look at the number of guns in this country and go, “Ehhhhh, let’s not invade the U.S.” (We know that Japan considered invading the U.S. during WWII; they wisely decided against it due in part to the number of guns owned by us.)

It bothers me that uninformed people like Cynthia Tucker are held in some position of honor for their thinking simply because they’ve won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary. She clearly has no objectivity when it comes to guns and failed miserably to do even the slightest bit of research on the subject. Now that is a sad commentary.

You can read Ms. Tucker's latest column HERE.

20 March 2013


The Florabama Lounge. It ain't fancy.

I am not what you’d call a “loner.” At least, I do not call myself one. In fact, I have disdain for people who identify themselves as such, mostly because I think it’s a poor rationalization by a social misfit with a personality so unpleasant that others can’t stand to be around him. Usually it’s their own damn fault.

Come to think of it, I do like to fly alone, like to live alone, like to be alone.  And I like to ride my motorcycle alone. Even as I type those words I realize how it makes me sound: Like a social misfit with a personality so unpleasant that others can’t stand to be around me. I'm not anti-social...or at least I try not to be. Having said that, I usually eschew group activities, like group motorcycle rides. I really don't like them. "Simple" stops for gas turn into torturous, protracted affairs. I like to just gas and go!

In an effort to be more sociable, the other day I agreed to go on a motorcycle ride with three acquaintances who also ride. The weather here in northwest Florida is turning nice, and I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t been able to take the Harley out much. So I agreed to the invitation, even if it meant violating my Prime Directive. (Thankfully, the third person backed out at the last minute.)

The first guy is Colin. He rides a Suzuki Hayabusa, which is a “crotch-rocket” with a monster motor. A real hotrod. Suzuki introduced it in 1999 to counter the other musclebikes from Honda and Kawasaki. I don’t know what year Colin’s bike is; suffice to say it’s not brand-new.  It looks rough.

Colin’s Hayabusa is highly modified. It’s got an elongated swingarm, which lengthens the bike and reduces its tendency to pop wheelies under hard acceleration. He’s also installed what is probably the world’s loudest, most obnoxious exhaust system. While these changes are neato at the dragstrip, they make the bike rather ill-suited to general street riding. Consequently, Colin is always blasting away from us in sudden, blinding bursts of acceleration. We catch up with him at the next traffic light.

Then there’s Elton, who rides what is probably the world’s rattiest and ugliest Honda Goldwing. Soichiro Honda would weep uncontrollably in his grave if he knew. It’s probably ten or so years old (they all look the same). The metal bits are horribly corroded, the seat is torn, the paint is faded and the plastic windshield is frosted over like a bathroom shower door. Personally I would be ashamed to ride the thing, because it looks like he never takes care of it (he doesn’t). It’s got a good, loud stereo though!

Colin's white Suzuki Hayabusa and Elton's Blue Honda Goldwing.
They look good until you get up close.

My 2005 Sportster is getting old now, and although I keep it shiny and clean, it’s starting to show its age. It’s accumulated a few dings here and there, and the front forks are severely pitted from all their exposure to the elements (like the hood of an old car that’s spent a lot of time on the Interstate). Even a good polishing isn’t going to help these babies. Replacement is the only answer. Fortunately, they’re not terribly expensive. Point being, most Harley purists would recoil in horror if they saw my bike. Their bikes usually look showroom-new, like they’ve never been ridden. Mine looks, well, ridden. Ridden hard. It ought to, with 25,000 miles on the odometer. But even mine looks like an award-winner compared to Colin's and Elton's.

My pride and joy.

We all met up early at Colin’s house and rode along the beach, across the coast to the Florabama Lounge. It’s a unique place right on the state line (you can guess which two states, I’m sure). It used to be out in the middle of nowhere. But in the last 20 years tall condos have sprung up all around it, leaving the club a curious enigma nearly lost in a sea of high-rises. I guess the owner is just too stubborn to sell out.

Colin is big, burly, (shaved) bald, and kind of obnoxious. Multiple tattooes…you know the type - “love” on the knuckles of one hand and “hate” on the knuckles of the other. He doesn’t play well with others and doesn’t really get along with people. Among those we work with, he’s not well-liked. He knows it and doesn’t care. He’d rather talk about himself and his accomplishments than anything else in the world. In his mid-40’s, he's had a number of "careers." He admits to being married three times and having seven kids total. None of the divorces were ever his fault though (insert eye-roll here).

Tall, lanky Elton is another talker. Nice enough guy, but he never shuts up. I mean never. More often than not he's talking about homself.  I originally thought Elton was older than me. He must “track” older than he is, because he mentioned in the conversation that he just turned 52. I would have thought 60, at least.

Turned out I was the old man of the group. Whoa. Yet I felt like the youngest. I still feel (and often act) like a damn teenager, even though the image in the mirror says otherwise. Oh, and I only thought I liked to hear myself talk – as anyone who knows me can testify. But I’m a rank amateur compared to Colin and Elton.

In a perverse sort of way, I like being around people who’d rather talk about themselves. They usually never ask me about my life or background, which I’d prefer not to talk about anyway. So all I have to do is listen. Not that I’m an obsessively private person, but I just don’t feel the need to tell people all about Bob. You wanna know? Hey, read the blog.

The ride out to the Florabama and back was fairly pleasant, actually. Colin did his typical drag-racer thing, while Elton and I putt-putted along like a couple of old geezers. We sat out on the back porch that overlooks the beach on what turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous day: not a cloud in the sky, and warm but not too warm for the leather jacket. It’s amazing how great a good fish sandwich, some chili-cheese fries and some ice-cold beer taste on such a glorious day. Makes you forget how unhealthy it all is. As I’ve gotten older I’ve become a very in-the-moment kind of guy. Didn’t use to be.

I go on rides like these to reinforce my preference for riding…and being…alone. Colin and Elton are all hot to make these rides a weekly, or at least a regular thing. Me, ehhh…I’m not so sure. When it comes to motorcycles and riding, I'm kind of a one-man-show. 

Maybe I am kind of anti-social.

13 March 2013

That Damn Internet

Oh, some stories are just too precious for words! Like this one: Apparently a 62 year-old British guy by the name of Paul Marshallsea and his wife were working for a children's charity in Wales; had been for ten years. Back in January this man was on some sort of sick leave from the charity, claiming "work related stress" as the reason. The man and his wife took a stress-relieving vacation to...of all places...Australia. I mean, I'd love to see Australia as well, right, but it's halfway around the damn world from here! And it is from England too - even further!

So while Marshallsea was there "recuperating" and presumably reducing his stress level, he went to the beach. And wouldn't you know it, a shark was spotted very close to shore. A sick shark, probably, not really aggressive. Still, a shark is a shark (of course, of course).  It had to be a stressful situation for all beachgoers that day. Not for Big Paul the Charity Guy from Great Britain!

Marshallsea bravely strode into the water, grabbed the tigershark by the tail and pulled it away from shore, "guiding" it to deeper water. It apparently took the hint and didn't bother people on the beach anymore. Good sharky, run along now, off you go!

Well there happened to be a TV camera crew there, and they filmed the whole thing.

Needless to say, the video of man-fighting-shark went viral. And back in Blighty, the man's employer saw it. As you might imagine, he (and his wife) were fired. They learned of this when they returned home, hopefully rested and de-stressed. We can imagine the note that greeted him.

Welcome back! 
Hope you had a nice trip! 
Saw you on YouTube. 
You're fired.

In what must be the ultimate display of cheekiness, the man is quoted as telling the London Telegraph newspaper, "You think being in charge and running a children's charity, they would have patted me on the back and congratulated me. But to sack us both without any sort of discussion first is just disgusting."

People never cease to amaze me. Instead of being chagrined or even just embarassed at abusing his employer's sick-leave policy and getting caught, he became indignant and self-righteous.

On the other hand, what did the charity want him to do whilst on sick leave: stay at home in quiet contemplation listening to new age music and drinking a lot of tea?

I dunno... All I do know is that Mr. Marshallsea, if he actually was so stressed-out that he had to take sick leave should probably have chosen to go a nice quiet place - maybe a tropical isle in the Caribbean like St. John. Not on vacation to Australia.  I hope he didn't blow his retirement savings on that trip!  

Read the Yahoo News story HERE

05 March 2013

George Zimmerman: Will He Walk?

FROM ABC NEWS: Zimmerman Waives Right To "Stand Your Ground" Hearing

There is no question that George Zimmerman shot and killed the unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin in the famous altercation that took place a year ago in a Florida subdivision. From those skimpy details many, many people have leapt to the conclusion that Zimmerman is guilty of…well…something. You can’t just shoot people in this country and get off scot-free…can you?

Zimmerman’s lawyers initially used Florida’s unique “Stand Your Ground” law to justify the shooting. This law says that when confronted, you don’t necessarily have to retreat before defending yourself, as had been the case previously. Personally, although I’m no lawyer, I thought invoking “Stand Your Ground” was a mistake. I thought it was a simple case of self-defense. Now, Zimmerman’s lawyers apparently agree. According to the ABC News article linked at the top of this post, they have dropped that particular aspect of their defense.

Let’s go back to that fateful night. Zimmerman was in his truck, following the “suspicious” teen, Martin. The boy obviously knew he was being followed, and went down a pedestrian path between two lines of condos upon which Zimmerman could not drive. Zimmerman was by this time already on the phone with “911.” Listening to the actual full tape of that call is interesting. Zimmerman had gotten out of his truck and began to follow Martin on foot, but the 911 dispatcher says to him, “Yeah, we don’t need you to do that.” At which point Zimmerman replies, “Okay.” Then he coordinates where to meet the inbound police, settling on his own house within the subdivision. His heavy breathing dies down, indicating that he was not involved in a foot chase anymore.

Martin is gone and Zimmerman by his own admission has lost sight of him. So the “chase” is over at that point. But that wasn’t the end of it, oh no.

As we know there was a subsequent confrontation. Did Martin return to demand of Zimmerman an explanation? Did they meet randomly as Zimmerman was on his way back to his residence and Martin returned to the house in which he was staying? We don’t know. What we do know is that they ended up fighting on the ground, with Zimmerman on the bottom and being pummeled. That has already been established. Zimmerman pulled his gun and fired one shot. Martin died.

In fact, there is a lot that the public does not yet know. Like, where was Zimmerman when he called off the initial chase at the 911 dispatcher’s urging…and where was he when Martin and he tangled? Same place? That would mean that Martin quickly circled back. Martin took off running but we do not know why. A reasonable man would assume that in such a case the person would keep on going, not stop and come back to confront someone (in this case a security guard) who may be armed (this is Florida, after all).

Zimmerman’s attorneys will say that he did not initiate the confrontation and fight that ended in the death of the teenager; that it was Martin who did. They will use the 911 call and witness statements as supporting evidence. Simple self-defense. The trial is scheduled for this summer, which is a huge mistake but nevertheless ought to be interesting!

I suspect that Zimmerman will prevail. This will prove, as if it needs to be proven again that yes, if you feel that your life is in danger you can shoot someone and get off scot-free.