The Lottery, A Tax On Mathematically Challenged People………

It might have been you. A single winning lottery ticket was drawn in last night’s Mega Millions lottery and now someone is wealthy beyond even their wildest fantasy. The C-store that sold the ticket stands to receive a healthy half million dollars, a tidy sum for an average of 35 seconds of work (per lottery transaction). Unless already fabulously wealthy, life is going to change for this person……..a lot. The odds (some 300 million to 1) are such that winning exceeds fantasy level thinking, so exercises in the distribution of such suddenly acquired wealth are without merit. So what, we are happily retired and travel a-lot, so we enjoyed a spirited conversation about our reaction to such an event during a recent road trip. This is our take on the distribution of our winnings that we, most likely, will never see. Secure in the knowledge that many previous lottery winners have died poor, in legal trouble and unhappy, we dove in.

The key to a big check….a really big check!

Sharon and I first agreed this kind of money needs to be put to work. We both would enjoy seeing the impact of sudden wealth on our family members and would convene a meeting to distribute a hefty share to them, with an emphasis on those that have remained loyal over the years. The little guys would be the owner of tightly managed trust funds guaranteeing a top tier education or vocational training at the finest schools. Next we would develop a list of 20 or so friends that we know would answer the call if we needed a helping hand. We would convene another meeting and make them winners, so to speak, of a lottery!

Next up is the care of dogs. We would endow the damndest clinic for the care and research of dogs that exists today outside of a veterinary college someplace. A place that would become the Cleveland Clinic of the dog world with an emphasis on nutrition and cutting edge clinical care. We would then make a substantial donation to the afore mentioned Cleveland Clinic for use in their world famous heart program. We agree that I would not be here writing this if it were not for their exemplary cardiac expertise. On the charity circuit, first up would be the Salvation Army. Despite what you read, they are committed to the idea of helping folks who need help the most. We have a number of non-profits that we support and the change would be in our ability to offer greater financial aid. The various veteran organizations would also benefit greatly from our goodwill.

You’ll notice that Christianity has not been mentioned to this point. We are deeply concerned with the decline in traditional Christian values, values this country was founded upon. We likely would assemble a forum of true, conservative Christian leaders and discuss the avenues that would best preserve our way of thinking. This discussion was lengthy and vexing as we see the current decline gaining strength in our narcissistic culture. Money alone, even a lot of it, is useless in the face of changing moral values. This is a problem that has us stymied.

We would have to move. Folks with this kind of money need security and a middle class neighborhood does not provide it. Suffice to say, Missouri is where our hearts are and our permanent home will always be here. Materially, I’ll still drive Cirrus the Ram, keep the little BMW and Sharon will continue to get around in SUV’s. Health permitting, I would acquire a LSA airplane, likely a Colt, manufactured in Hondo, Texas by veterans. We can’t think of a thing we want that we cannot currently afford and I would still wear Hoka shoes every day whether in a coat and tie or jeans.

As we continue to age, we would give much of the fortune away to folks we identify that need a hand. They would be conservative, law abiding and hard working. Seeing their gratitude would be our reward. We, in this case, would be happy to redistribute our wealth and would love to see our money put to good use. There would be many additional lottery “winners” benefitting from our good fortune. We would set aside a healthy “reserve” and place it in our existing trust.

The lottery is a tax on folks who should know better……but there is a person in Illinois who says otherwise. To him or her, the winning ticket was anything but a useless tax……… can’t win if you don’t buy one!

Have a great week!


Medicine, A View From The Bottom Of The Pyramid……….

America loves it’s doctors. As we age, we become exposed to an expanding group of these intelligent purveyors of care. In fact we place our lives in their hands, often following their suggestions and advice without bothering to become acquainted with the reason we are standing in front of them. In todays tightly controlled medical care environment, relationships are difficult to form in the insurance allotted 10 minute office call. The doctor is listening, of that you may be sure, but his or her other eye is on the clock. You should also know that all doctors are not created equal. Blasphemous you say? Read on.

When you get to our age, stuff wears out and breaks. Just like an automobile, maintenance is required, speaking of which I was once closely associated with a fine group of mechanics at the Highway Patrol garage in Jefferson City, our state capital. As good as they were, some were better than others within a specialty, and the supervisors knew who they were. We even had an “oil expert” on staff who had graduated from a specialized school where the nuances of motor oil were taught at levels far above multi-weights and brands. Our head mechanics recognized excellence and pursued it relentlessly. Back to medicine. As we age, our care providers must add a strategy to their bag of tricks in caring for us. Age related care requires adherence to the “4 M’s” of care. That is Medication, Mentation (memory and mood), Mobility and what Matters to us. These issues present far differently in older people as opposed to younger. They are also difficult to address in a 10 minute sound bite with the insurance company holding a stop watch when the doc walks in. Geriatricians are hard to find so as an alternative, seek a practitioner who adheres to the 4M approach.

Make this happen………..

I recently visited with an old Patrol friend that I have a very high regard for. He, like all of us, has a few nicks in his armor and a system or two that is not performing at an optimal level. He is under the care of a, presumably, good PCP who is helping him manage a problem with the electrical system in his heart. I know about these things as there was a time when you could not take my pulse accurately as a result of an excessive number of premature ventricular contractions. My PCP said that I needed the services of a electrophysiologist. Sharon and I sat down with a book entitled “The Top 100 Doctors In America”, scrolled through to the cardiologist section and located the top world ranked specialist in electrophysiology. We made an appointment with the doctor at the Cleveland Clinic Hospital in Cleveland Ohio. This is the top ranked heart care hospital in the world and has been for 20 plus years. We travelled to Cleveland, met this doctor who diagnosed the problem and two ablations later, my heart is purring right along with the best of them. He also diagnosed a pesky valve problem while I was there, and I found myself on the table for open heart surgery a few days later, without which I would not be here writing this piece. With all due respect to my home town cardiologist, he was throwing pills at a problem that was killing me. A center of excellence extended my tour of duty on Mother Earth. I queried my then local cardiologist and he replied, sharply, “we can’t all be the Cleveland Clinic”. Indeed.

I’ll wrap this up. There are many fine doctors practicing in America and God bless you if you are associated with the best of the lot. Do not be afraid to seek care in centers of excellence when a new and potentially life altering malady rears it’s ugly head. Assemble a team of local talent. I would put my team of practitioners up against any team, but have worked through a number of docs to get there. My PCP is an excellent quarterback, backed by one of the best cardiologists in a four state region. I have an out of town urologist that is a wizard with old man issues and a nationally recognized hand surgeon to stand between me and arthritis. Is your team meeting your expectations? Do you clearly understand the maladies you are dealing with? Are you willing to travel to internationally recognized specialists to help with the big issues? Is your doctor practicing the 4 M’s? If you are in or near my generation, you have paid your dues. Seek and meet with the best available to keep you around to aggravate the younger generations with earned wisdom and opinion. In short…..take care of yourself.

Have a great week!


When Stubbornness Turns To A Sheepish Grin…….

Stubborn is a great quality……when it is called for. Examples include complex issues requiring manual dexterity, where experience will win the day, directing traffic at an accident scene and when confronted by a child that is reticent to follow your direction and accept guidance. It also takes a little humility to admit that stubbornness in the face of overwhelming opinion and evidence contrary to your opinion just might be dumb. I abhor the thought of granting a concession to the left, primarily because their Commander, Biden, is such a disaster. I will go to my grave (I am in no hurry) shaking my head at the woke culture that is becoming prevalent. Humor me a bit as I wander into the Climate Change arena…a concept where my stubbornness has shown it’s butt. Here we go.

Something is going on. We have lived with “hot spells” for as long as I remember. I have sat quietly through the heat of a South Carolina July with nothing more than a box fan in a window for relief. I have sweltered in the lush greenery of Vietnam where I solemnly swore that I would never again pass up the opportunity to sit quietly in an air conditioned environment. This past week, I agreed to cut and trim a new building that my daughter and her family are building at the Lake of the Ozarks, with the cutting being done under a little beach shelter set up outside to provide shade while we ran the saws. Before the day was over I referred to the tent as a funeral tent…….sure to cover our remains after we succumbed to a heat stroke. Another broken vow. Maybe the heat gets to me, but I am starting to consider what climatologists and now the American Medical Association are suggesting is climate change. Folks say dinosaurs once roamed the continent (dinosaur bones have been found near my beloved Truman Lake) and that rivers were formed by glaciers back, way back, before our time. There is ample evidence these things occurred. When I hit the road back in the early 70’s, we had snows that left snow banks on county roads well into early spring. The average temperatures in Missouri have clearly risen, summer and winter, over the last 10 years as opposed to the decade before. Just as the dinosaurs disappeared, we now have little critters called armadillos tearing up our lawns in Missouri on their migratory route into Iowa where the little hellions would never have been found 20 years ago.

NASA imaging of climate change

Consumer Reports, another outfit that I attach great credibility to, consistently cites folks who have spent years researching this phenomenon and reached the same conclusion……it’s getting hotter. In fact, virtually every scientist with a shred of credibility is suggesting we are experiencing climate change. So it is that I am checking my stubborn inclination to resist the acceptance of this happening and conceding that it is, overall, getting hotter. I am a proud hillbilly and rely on nature rather than years of study to arrive at this admission. I can see the armadillos moving north, the varieties of row crops being genetically altered to be drought and heat resistant, the morphing of great western lakes into mud holes, and the melting of the remaining glaciers for what they are……..

Less my readers think that I am giving up and throwing in with the liberals on this topic…..that is not the case. My problem is with how they attack it. In my lifetime, if I don’t succumb to a heat stroke, we will see alternative powered vehicles…..with enough range to visit our grandparents on Thanksgiving. You have to transition to these forms of energy, not jump in before you see how deep the water is which is what the current crop of ideologues is doing. Weather is cyclical, period. Only a denier would suggest the cycles aren’t changing. Something is up, no doubt, with greenhouse gases being a part of the problem. We need to adjust accordingly. How to adjust is a political problem and politics and nature do not get along.

I’ll end with this thought. A sheepish grin is my way of cancelling stubbornness. You’ll never see a Biden/Harris sign in my yard. Just because they have a point relative to climate change does not make them right on woke nonsense such as tearing down statues, unchecked crime, unisex humans and a free lunch for everyone. Their way of dealing with climate change is sickening……..destroying America by abruptly cancelling fossil fuel is abhorrent. The numbers over the past couple of decades do not support cyclical weather patterns as the source of our current discomfort and the changes in nature……it is warmer. When they build a hydrogen powered one ton Ram with the grunt of my Cummins, I’ll give it a whirl. Meanwhile, Cirrus (the truck) and I will continue to enjoy the fruits of MY labor……

Have a great week!



When Stand Your Ground Becomes Apologize and Run……

Our streets are getting meaner. It matters not what your news source is, each day we are greeted by shootings, stabbing and beat downs across our nation with our once beautiful major cities leading in the carnage. This past week I participated in a “qualification” with my regular carry handgun, along with a covey of fellow retired officers who use the event to visit, mull over our good fortune to be alive and reset the world according to our right leaning vision of the America we once policed. We do this to meet the requirements of the law Enforcement Officer Safety Act of 2004, a provision in US Code that grants carry privileges, across jurisdictional lines, to active duty officers and retired officers who meet certain criteria. This code is intended to give experienced officers a carry privilege nationwide whether active or retired. In short, it puts more “good guys with guns” on the streets with the ability to protect themselves and perhaps lend dignity to the ugliness in America.

The brotherhood and sisterhood……..

Policing is being attacked from every direction, and it shows. Virtually every agency in Missouri, where the profession still enjoys relatively good standing, is working short of the officers it needs to carry out the expanding responsibilities of the job. Defund, underfund, restrict equipment, and other restrictions are shifting the advantage in confrontation to the bad guys. An example is the restrictions on a choke hold, a technique the profession has long ago abandoned. We have relied upon a neck restraint that shuts of the carotid flow momentarily and thus renders the resistor unconscious, again momentarily, so that he can be restrained. It looks like a choke hold to the untrained so officers will not use it for fear of being charged or disciplined. This technique does not shut off the air flow and is not a “choke” hold. When you begin limiting the options for manual control of a combatant you shorten the distance between verbal command and lethality substantially. We tend to forget that policing involves men and women who are not looking for a fight, but who won’t run from one either. How we fight, as a group of retirees, is evolving. We noted that as we age, standing your ground in defiance begins to yield to the technique of apologizing and running, praying all the while, the running doesn’t involve distances!

As I slip into the 70’s certain realizations become evident. I don’t have a chemical irritant on my belt, nor handcuffs let alone a baton of some description. Three hand surgeries and arthritis have rendered my hands useless in a fist fight, less I destroy the fine work of the doctors in guaranteeing the dignified use of a knife and fork. To continue my enjoyment of the shooting sports, I asked my surgeon to put a trigger configuration in my fused right index finger, which he did, thus guaranteeing I can still smoothly pull a trigger. As I looked around the group of retirees this week, I came to the certain realization that age and experience will overcome youth and enthusiasm, thus making us a still formidable adversary in a confrontation. I also came to the conclusion this group of officers would take the fight to the bad guy in a confrontation that mandated a lethal response. Such is the wisdom in the Officer Safety Act. To a man, our group had been blooded in confrontation, some with fatal outcomes, and you would be wise to bet on us when the chips are down.

So it is. Old centurions have something to offer in the pursuit of peace in a troubled world. I am proud to have stood with this group of guys, who may have had their differences in another era, but who share in the belief that preparation and skill still make a difference when the street demands a response. This same skill, training and experience has taught us that there will be a point in time when old centurions place a greater emphasis on apologizing and running rather than fighting. I say this with an advisory, though. When you corner an old officer, be ready. Age and treachery is a formidable asset.

Have a great week!



A sage old Highway Patrol Sergeant, many years ago, imparted a lesson in leadership that I will take to my grave. I had just entered the challenging world of police supervision. Police service is a quasi-military business with a structured chain of command, with the Patrol’s lowest unit being a zone which may encompass a single county or several depending on the population density. Patrol officers in these zones are commanded by a Zone Sergeant. The old Sergeant stated that “as the Sergeant goes, so goes the zone”. His meaning was clear, the officers would emulate the Sergeant in their roles as officers of the law. That axiom is true today, on every level of our society where structure exists, including the political world. It is however, being rocked by defiance at every level. No good will come of this. I also worked as a staff officer for a Superintendent who made the statement “why should I follow a (particular) general order when the order is stupid”, stunning the staff with this proclamation and defiance of a Patrol rule that he had the sole authority to issue. The staff disagreed with his position and told him as much. If we do not change directions, it is defiance, not the economy, not energy and not climate change that is going to bring America down.

This morning we are reflecting upon 3 officers and a police K-9 being gunned down in Kentucky. This is an ultimate act of defiance. We also awaken to a new law in New York created out of defiance in regard to their unconstitutional handgun law being struck down by the Supreme Court that ruled New York could not create their own set of standards to preclude folks from carrying a gun to protect themselves when their leadership will not. The new law stipulates that to be issued a permit in New York, you must submit 3 years of data from all social media accounts, prove your character, judgement and temperament, and provide 4 character references. You must undergo 16 hours of training and withstand constant background checks. You must submit the social media account information for those living in your home for approval. Guns are banned from all businesses unless the business explicitly states otherwise and bans certain bulletproof vests. The Governor and legislature has said, in affect, to hell with the Supreme Court, we can write laws all day long that defy the court. Lori Lightfoot, the unbelievably incompetent mayor of Chicago, in a rally said “F—K Clarence Thomas“ in reference to the Court’s decision to return abortion rights to the states. She is preaching defiance in a city rocked by a disregard for the law.

Defiance, in living color.

Then there is the failed leadership of one President Joseph Biden. He defies authority every day apparently believing himself to be omnipotent. He refuses to enforce the laws at our borders, refuses to enforce the law relevant to protecting the Justices of the Court and openly disparages the Supreme Court because he doesn’t like their interpretations, and now embraces removing another rule that gets in his way, the Senate filibuster rule. Like New York and guns, he is considering defying the Supreme Court by establishing abortion clinics on federal park lands. When top level leadership is openly defiant, is it any wonder the hordes will emulate their behavior?

Defiance is at the root of our problems as a country. It is one thing to lie, in the political arena, as is sadly done every day of our existence, but quite another to defy the law of the land. The example we are setting is forming the basis for the behavior of generations of young folks who are being schooled, literally, in the art of defiance. It is why folks are cavalier in regard to police shootings and why we insist on emasculating our police forces. Laws are rapidly becoming inconveniences. Pity the generations to follow who live life by the iron clad rule the old Sergeant imparted, as leadership goes, so goes the city, county, state or country. We are putting fools in office and fools beget fools. Defiance is spreading like a virulent cancer.

Defiance will be our death knell, and we’ll riot, pillage and burn until there is nothing left to challenge. Law, order and the authority behind them will be a mere footnote in the history of a Democracy brought to it’s knees by folks who despise these very concepts.

Have a great week, be safe and obey the law, a rapidly fading privilege in a country of laws.


A Layman’s Guide To Surviving In A Democracy……

Whew! What a week. As I write, America is responding to two decisions handed down by what some are calling an unelected, meaningless Supreme Court. I can’t imagine being so irrelevant in life that you are reduced to printing stupid slogans and ignorant rankings on poster board, venturing forth in this heat and challenging decisions that are in print by a thoughtful high court. I am so moved by the hordes that have taken to the street that I thought a simple guide to help folks cope with things that annoy them would be in order. Disagreement is a wonderful part of a Democracy that is also plagued by profound ignorance.

They have spoken

Conservatives have lived (and still live) with challenges to the 2d Amendment and the effects of Roe for many, many years. In spite of their trepidations, they have chosen to not burn things down and take to the street with chest beating verbal commentary such as “To hell with the Supreme Court, we will do as we damn well please with our bodies”. Such is the utter ignorance of alligator mouthed folks like Maxine Waters. Don’t worry about Maxine, she slipped off the track many years ago, instead worry about the handful of idiots that listen to her and, God forbid, vote for her.

Here is how you handle this dreadful news if you don’t agree with the decisions of the Court. First, sit down, draw a deep breath, take a long pull from a bottle of your favorite Napa Valley wine and accept that there exists absolutely no relationship between 2d Amendment issues and abortion. Firearms are protected, specifically, by the Constitution and abortion is not. (Read Ginsberg) The court interprets the Constitution, it’s primary function in life. It does not make laws. Laws are made by legislatures, in the abortion case, state legislatures. The genius here is the court recognizes that folks tend to congregate in like minded enclaves and can make laws either supporting or denouncing abortion or anything for that matter that doesn’t run afoul of the Constitution. On an elevated level, these enclaves are called “states”. Missouri is chock full of Conservatives, so our state will be a very long time approving abortion. The answer. Move to the West Coast. Don’t risk melanoma carrying a sign with a meaningless slogan on it because you have time on your hands. It appears that cash strapped California is on the cusp of providing financial assistance to Missourians who “need” an abortion. Give ‘em a call if you get in a jam because you do not understand contraception.

About guns. Missouri is loaded with folks who carry and own guns. So is Chicago. The difference being that we carry lawfully and gang bangers in Chi-town do not. If you are concerned with the probability of being gunned down in the Windy City on your way for a great deep dish pizza, move to Missouri where you at least have a sporting chance of shooting the asshat that is attempting to kill you. If you do not like the literal interpretation of the 2d Amendment, move to the West Coast, or New York. The disarming of law abiding citizens in those locales has been ever so effective in reducing violent crime on their streets.

Here Joe Biden shows us an “assault” rifle……

Let’s wrap this up. There are 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each views social rule a little differently and is free to establish any (Constitutional) law it wants to. The legislatures are placed there by the people and in a Democracy, the majority have the final say. If you are sickened by your state’s posture, feel free to relocate to a state that mirrors your belief. The alternative is to hang on until your view becomes the majority view and and then change the rules. In fairness, you’re going to be waiting a long time in Missouri to change our position on either of these issues so be careful in the sun carrying that ridiculous sign. Melanoma is nothing to mess with….

Have a great week!


Parenting, A lost Art…….

I am not a professional educator, however; I live with one. Her experiences and mine as a behavioral monitor have led us to the inescapable conclusion that we are experiencing a decline in the fine art of parenting. I can see the sadness in Sharon’s eyes when we are confronted by children who defy their parents, and parents who see themselves as simply facilitators for their children who, more than ever, are in control. What kind of parent are you? Here is our take.

Children are watching. If you habitually drive over the speed limit, roll through stop signs, curse other drivers and rely on the universal gesture of disrespect when displeased behind the wheel, all while your children are in the car with you, you are providing a blueprint for your kids when they climb behind the wheel. Yesterday, I was fortunate to find one of only a couple of parking spaces left at the gym where I regularly work out. We have a dedicated parking lot across the street from the pool in Republic. The lot was full of soccer moms and dads, delivering their children to the pool in defiance of a sign that designates this lot for gym patrons only. Our lot is a precious few steps closer to the pool entrance than their designated lot that had 28 vacancies in it at this point. Why? Because lazy parents, in the presence of their children, were reluctant to add 20 or so steps to the walk to the pool from their cars. Lesson for the children? To hell with the sign and courtesy, we do what is convenient not what is directed. Rules don’t matter. Terrific training for “attitudes” that are being shaped.

A mere suggestion. Or is it?

We watch, transfixed as children dominate their parents in restaurants. On oh so many occasions, direction provided by parents becomes mere suggestion that is abandoned in the face of defiant children. We have watched children actually strike parents while defying them and parents quickly conceding the point to the offending child. We were raised differently. Our parents seldom delivered mere suggestions and defiance came with a price that discouraged us from making the same mistake again. Those same children find themselves in the classroom, equally defiant to the authority vested in the educator or coach. Today, teachers are hamstrung by such foolishness as allowing children (K-12) to identify as animals and being required to bark or meow to satisfy the child’s silliness. This is ceding control to the child in the face of authority. The outcome? Folks who burn, loot and break the law with impunity.

Congress is rightfully concerned about the lack of parental guidance today. They lament the lack of male presence in the parental scheme. We suggest they be careful what they ask for as in many cases the wrong parental influence can be more dangerous than no parental influence. Parenting involves both facilitation of healthy activity and denial of unhealthy activity. We are doing a tremendous disservice to our children by permitting them to come to school, self identify as a cat, and being required to meow in their presence. My father would have deftly handled any desire I had to self identify as anything other than a male whose activity was age appropriate.

Many parents, more than ever, are pulling their children out of public education, opting for private or home schooling. They see no advantage to exposing their children to the narcissistic environment that is being offered in schools today. Irresponsible parents really aren’t all that concerned and are pulling their kids because they, too, dislike discipline and control. They will continue to model defiance to rule, discipline and expectation in the presence of their children and the results are obvious. My message this week is simple. Happy Father’s Day to those who still participate in the appropriate nurturing of their children. To the other fathers out there, buck up and provide a positive influence to your kids. How you drive and your respect for rule and law is a part of that education. The results of your efforts will certainly be felt in the years to come. We do not need more drag queens and “furries” (yes, this is a thing today) in our classrooms. We need common sense, the will to deny, a “trip to the car” or “the look”. You know what I mean…..

She means it……guaranteed!

Have a great week!


When Terrific Technology Becomes A Regulatory Nightmare………

This Thursday past, I hopped in a friends vintage Skylane for a short flight from Ozark to The Hanger, a small airport eatery in farm country just northwest of Springfield. The air was calm, cool and visibility was unlimited. It was delightful and provided me the opportunity to handle the yoke and set up for landings on short strips. While eating we were immersed in airplane things, watched a covey of ultralights depart and then jumped up for a hop to Aurora for fuel. As luck would have it, the radio threw ace-deuce as we entered the pattern at Aurora that was busy with two other airplanes, so we cut and ran for home. Three airplanes at a small town airstrip prompted this writing. Are we ready for the future? We’ll soon know as the future is now.

A new phase in aviation is upon us. When you look up, it would appear there is plenty of room for additional aircraft in our skies. Pilots, however, know that it can get crowded in a hurry, and they fly within a set of rules designed to keep airplanes from hitting one another and the ground when not intended. Three airplanes in a small airport pattern are easily managed, even without a radio, but it is damned inconvenient when you are not talking to one another. Within the next few years we are going to intensify this concern dramatically with the eVTOL concept which is rapidly maturing. The acronym eVTOL stands for electric vertical take off and landing devices, kind of like manned drones. They will allow the pilot to roll one out of his garage and buzz off to the grocery for bread and milk. Seriously. United Airlines has committed a billion dollars to a California company to develop these things. All that stands between reality and dream is time and money and the checks are being written. Prototypes are flying today. Sleek, fast and highly maneuverable, they will soar in popularity among the public. Honda is spending big bucks as is Stellantis (Chrysler to us old dogs). Embraer, the Brazilian giant in airplane manufacturing is also ponying up big dollars on this concept. It is happening today.

California based Archer Aviation eVTOL in it’s first hover completed in December 2021

Pause and consider that we spend millions of dollars on paint, road signs and engineering to promote the safe flow of vehicular traffic. We also spend to police the movement of vehicular traffic with devices (stop lights) and Human Resources. Still, we kill some 35,000 folks annually in spite of these enhancements. There are no lanes to paint or shoulders to erect signs on in our airspace. In my wildest dreams I cannot imagine a couple thousand of these things buzzing around our cities and countryside relying on common sense and whatever rules the FAA might conjure up. The enforcement of these rules is going to be a hoot and I only hope that I am around to see it. As I write, there are already a number of conventional airplanes that are battery powered and have been certified by the FAA. The technology is getting better every day, but the limitations are virtually the same as in today’s vehicles. Folks are going to fly these things into power lines, water towers and thunderstorms with predictable results. Mobility is an American tradition, and they are going to be popular, dangers notwithstanding.

Remember George Jetson (1962-1989) the patriarch of the futuristic Jetson family? His mythical birth year was 2022! George, my high flying buddy, the time is nigh. We are going to see it happen and it is going to be a treat. The limiting concern, of course is money. With a new 2 seat Light Sport airplane today starting at north of 100K……you have to wonder. That being said, there are thousands of 100K bass boats on our waters today, why not eVTOLS in the skies above?

Have a great weekend!


Making Lemonade Out Of Lemons……

It is a spectacular day in America’s real heartland, the Ozarks. When you are under the care of an orthopedic surgeon who has demanded you place your arm out of service until a normal feeling shoulder heals properly, it would be easy to become discouraged. Folks are wandering around the farm across from our house, a conservative local politician is wandering our streets drumming up support while our President, in name only, is relaxing on the beach as pleased with himself as he can be. This isn’t a political piece, though, it is a reminder about how good things are, when things aren’t good at all!

This week, Sam’s Club put out a case of beautiful pork loin roasts for under 2 bucks a pound. Pork loins and butts get our attention, to be expected from a carnivore whose roots surely go back to brontosaurus steaks over a fire. Come to think about it, about anything that has been finished over hickory smoke is pretty damned good. Somewhere along the way this week, I found where an enterprising smoker (hickory, not tobacco) discovered that carefully slicing the roast and braiding the strips resulted in a heavier smoke taste to the loin finished on one of the many great smokers out there. Don’t have a smoker……it is a beautiful day to buy one.

A braided roast. Gotta be a treat……I’ll report later.

Between my shoulder and diesel prices that are horrifying, our RV is lying in state in it’s storage building. Sharon is accomplished in every aspect of setting up and breaking down the trailer, but there are a few things that take a testosterone boost to accomplish (she is a triple rotator cuff surgery survivor) so we are busy finding other ways to enjoy the seasonal warm up. We were back in the theater this week to see the much ballyhooed Top Gun Maverick movie, a tub of warm popcorn and ginger ale in hand. The movie was pure Hollywood schlock, with some neat flying scenes and just the right amount of nostalgia as it bridged the gap from the first Top Gun. It is a reminder of the talent it takes to plant a jet on a carrier deck, master the electronic envelope in todays weapons systems, and what America can do, even though the technology was ancient by today’s standards. It even had just a smidge of chick flick stuff in it, although Tom is getting a little long in the tooth to be chasing the dollies. What a million dollar smile and great hair won’t do for you.

Optimism in the face of pessimism is not always easy. It is a mental state, compounded by a dollar that won’t buy much these days. We will pull out of this dive, level off and fly on. We always do. Center your sights on what is right for you and your family, find alternative sources of pleasure and excitement (our great outdoors remain a tremendous bargain) and be patient. A political worker just knocked on my door and when I answered he immediately asked if I was a Veteran, acknowledging the flag out front. He thanked me for my service and asked for my support for a conservative local pol. I smiled……..that won’t be a problem and he left smiling. Between the roast and this gentleman……we’re off to a great start. Bring on the lemons, I feel the need for lemonade.

Have a great week!

Oh dear Lord…the braided loin was succulent! Our new go to recipe….


A Damned Tough Week….

This week I have been absorbing all that I can relative to the Vietnam War, trying to understand the political realities that led us into and out of that quagmire and reflecting on the names on a wall in our nation’s capital. My respect for our military is bone deep and has been nurtured by an early life shaped by the confines of existence as a military dependent living in “quarters” on an Army post. It was to be expected, I suppose, that I would follow in my father’s footsteps and climb into an airplane for a year in Vietnam. I expect no reward from folks that I walk or drive by in a truck bearing the Vietnam Service ribbon or announcing my specialty in those days as a field artillery fire direction control specialist. Sometimes I actually feel guilt that I have enjoyed an America paid for with the blood of my contemporaries that we honor this weekend and was able to walk to the airplane bringing me home. If you are a combat veteran, no matter the conflict, you know what I am talking about. This weekend, I will honor the sacrifice of those that died fighting for something that America deemed or deems important.

Remembering those I served with, whose names are on a wall in our nations Capital.

The horror of the shooting in Texas has left every American possessing an ounce of compassion and a measure of civility with a desperate need to do something to positively impact the situation. When you see something that is profoundly wrong, you want to correct it. As a career police officer, that is precisely where I am at this moment. It appears that errors in judgement, perhaps with catastrophic consequences, may have been made. America is hanging her head in shame. If the horrible loss of innocent life is not enough, we have well meaning leadership lashing out pushing their version of a fix for such events. In times of unspeakable horror, we expect our elected leadership to respond methodically and reflectively in addressing the lack of spiritual grounding and morality in a country that is obsessed with violence. On a far lesser scale than this killing, I have witnessed violent and tragic death over the course of a long police career. If I had all of the answers in addressing the lack of morality that is gripping our younger generations, I would sit at the right hand of the Lord. I do not, but can assure you that we have never been able to legislate morality and we aren’t going to do it now. There was a time when every pickup truck on high school parking lots had a rifle or shotgun prominently displayed in the rear window. The trucks were also mostly unlocked. What has changed? People have changed. Mass killers are not interested in a law review before they begin their depraved slaughter of folks, usually ending in their own demise by their own hand or those of the police. Please listen to this old trooper, these shootings are going to continue until such time as we address the mindset of the sociopathic individuals who walk among us, mostly undetected, or deny them access to our children. Sociopaths cannot kill what they cannot get to. There has been a fundamental shift in morality in this country, manifested in the younger generations raised in a culture of graphic violence and a new law is not going to impact this.

Here is the assignment for this week. Hug your kids and grandkids and thank the Lord they have been spared the machinations of folks bent on terror. Honor the sacrifice of those who have died in the service of this country. Watch the politicians that serve you. You can get a feel for the depth of their reasoning as they address the Uvalde shooting. This is no time for screamers and chest beaters. We need good judgement and reflection, not a stage show.

Have a wonderful holiday.