As I write this it is 5:06AM, I am sitting in the Detroit airport waiting for a flight home. Oh the joys of being a vampire working all night just to comminute home. All things being equal there are much more difficult ways to earn an income. To help the time pass by, I have the Pandora Radio going which helps drown out the endless announcements from the gate agents, the overbearing, noncontroversial television speaker that blares at an intensely obnoxious level and the idle conversations from the already weary travelers. A lady just told her husband that he was at the airport, not home. He was going to have to take care of himself as opposed to her wonderful service. I am slightly jealous of her biting sarcasm, it was delivered in a deliciously condescending tone. My flight leaves at 6:40 and I need to tell a little story to get my mind off the insanity around me.
In September 2003, the number one, most essential item for any crew deployed to Iraq was a patch cord. The Communications/Radio technicians were able to use their training and skills to fashion a hybrid cord that would connect a CD player/Walkman to the aircraft intercom system. In the days before smart phones, I-PADs, MP3 players and other music devices all we had were the now antiquated CD players. In the pre-Napster days, all the bases in the region had file sharing drives on the base computer systems. It seems that the computer literate folks were able to load any song from a CD to the intra-net. Then anyone (who was computer literate) could download their favorite music for free. A novel concept for someone whose computer knowledge began and ended by putting a quarter into a video game.
Fortunately Gummy, the Flight Engineer, and Kevin M, the Co-Pilot, were computer literate and had the knowledge, ability, and willingness to create hours of unending music for the flights. Gummy became the DJ for the crew because his seat was nearest to the patch cord. Technically, Harry the Navigator was closer but he is as technologically backwards as I am. I am sure he could have learned how to press the play button but his other drawback is that he couldn’t pick out good tunes. Like DJ Jazzy Jeff, Gummy could pick out the perfect song for any moment. Gummy would ask about my mood before the flight, my reply was always the same; angry.
The music was the perfect distractor from the continuous drone of the four engines. Playing low in the background, we could still hear all the radio transmissions, the crew communications, and everything else that was important. Gummy was cleared to start and end the music as he desired. Thanks to him, I was introduced to groups like Evanesence, The Foo Fighters, Three Doors Down, Godsmack, Puddle of Mudd and so many others that escape my mind at this hour.
But to me there was nothing better than rolling in on Baghdad, Balad, or Mosul with some old school Ozzy, Van Halen, or Metallica cranking at full volume. Gummy was a full service DJ playing some great tunes from all genres including David Allen Cloe, Hank Williams Jr, Nelly, Fifty Cent, and old school NWA. I know that no one off the intercom could hear it but it gave us a feeling of Apocalypse Now. I think today the crews have the ability to plug their headsets directly into their smartphone, tablet or MP3 player so they can enjoy individual music but to me there was something that brought a crew together by sharing a song.
One specific memory was about a year later, flying in Afghanistan. John B., was the Co-Pilot. Roy S. was the Navigator, Richie L. was the Flight Engineer, and Pat M. was the Load Master. We had just taken off from Jalabad on the Pakistan border heading back to Bagram on a regularly scheduled trash hauling mission. John B had made us a mix CD or randomly selected songs. We were rolling at about 100 feet and 300 knots just flying over the barren moonscape when the next song up was Roadhouse Blues by the Doors. The only sound was the music from Jim Morrison, otherwise the radios and the intercom was absolutely silent. Suddenly we all keyed the intercom at the exact same moment singing one of the famous lines in rock history. “I woke up this morning and got myself a beer.”
I looked over at John then back at Roy and Richie. I saw Pat standing next to Richie and we all started laughing. We finished singing the song, overriding Jim’s voice in of own off key voices. It was the sound track of a collective effort to make it back home.
If you are so inclined you can head over to the Magill Review and check out my latest article about Huntington WV being voted the nation’s most obese city. Sometime soon, Josh Magill is going to honor us with his presence with a full length article. I can’t wait, it will be nice to finally have a professional writer grace this site. I hope you all have a wonderful week, Good Friday and Easter.
Until next time, keep on rockin.
I know I owe you a couple of stories but that little thing called work keeps finding its way in the path. I must confess that no matter how much they make me work, life is good. The weather has broken, at least where I am at the moment. I have a nacho bel-grande to eat, baseball has officially started and this week the off time is devoted to reading. I am working my way through my good friend and brother from another mother R.L. Akers debut novel Prometheus Rebound. I will give you a full on book report when I am finished.
Until then, if you are looking for something then head over to the Magill Review where I take on the Washington Redskins and their offensive name. http://themagillreview.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/whats-in-a-name/
Until next time, keep on rockin
Another week and another sickness; I don’t know if it is the weather or Seasonal Affective Disorder but the croup is kicking the crap out of the family. Sunday I picked up the stomach bug and spent the day alternating between watching my insides come out and in a drug induce coma. But I rallied and Monday morning I was out clearing brush and cutting down some trees in the backyard with a hired gun. Monday evening, I was again bed ridden this time because every muscle in my body was angry by my actions. My fingers even ached, the hired gun just laughed as my weak fingers shook as I handed over the check.
Today, my wife is under the weather which is very disturbing for us all. The kids are out of sorts, I’m out of sorts and she is just plain out of commission. To make matters worse, she is a Nurse and I know they get some type of injection in Nursing School that wards off everything from the croup to Ebola. She never gets sick but when she does it usually freaks me out. I don’t know how I survived pregnancy.
Quick story tonight. On Saturday evening, Billy G., some of you may remember him as the fictional character Billy Rimes had my wife and I over to his house for dinner with his family. Billy is in the middle of 777 training at FedEx and my wife remarked how he looked so calm and peaceful while I was a stressed out little baby on my conjugal weekend home. Anyway, Billy told the story of his wedding day and how his pants to the tuxedo were missing from the ensemble. The day after Hurricane Sandy hit New York City; Billy and his brother, Jeff found a taxi and went back to the apartment that was out of power.
The driver asked him if he was going to be able to find the pants in the dark. Billy coolly retrieved a flashlight from his jeans pocket and leaped out of the car. His brother started laughing and asked the driver if he was wondering how a man who couldn’t remember to pack the pants on his wedding day could somehow have a flashlight in his pocket in the middle of the afternoon?
My wife was wondering the same thing but not me because I already knew. We learned early on in Iraq that there were only two things that were absolutely essential to have on your person. Sunglasses and a flashlight; in any given twenty-four hour period you would use both of them. It was not uncommon to walk out of a pitch dark tent directly into the bright sunlight, just as it was not uncommon to see the sunrise turn into a sunset and into another sunrise. It was just the nature of the beast and to finish the story, anytime I leave the house I have sunglasses on my head and a flashlight somewhere nearby. In my backpack, there are two flashlights with extra batteries for both. I am such a boy scout.
By the way, he did find his pants and the wedding went off without anyone knowing about the missing pants. Including me, that is until this past Saturday night. I thought it was an adventure but to Billy and Anne-Lise it was a comedy of errors. Here are my recollections from that weekend. http://robakers.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/the-city-survives/
Until next time, keep on rockin.
Apparently we needed another theory on what happened on Malaysian Flight 370 and the editors over at the Magill Review wanted a article to add to the discussion. I have a “Special Edition” post up about the missing airliner. You can read it at your own discretion. http://themagillreview.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/special-edition-the-mystery-of-malaysia-flight-370/
After my comments about Karlene’s experience on CNN last night, I don’t expect they will invite me on but I would probably find a more intelligent host on Sesame Street. By the way, Karlene has been invited back on CNN tonight for another opportunity to illustrate her class and composure. Best wishes.
Until next time, keep on rockin.
Just wanted to let you know that our very good friend of the Blog World and frequent visitor of my site, Karlene Petitt will be on a guest tonight on the Piers Morgan Show, CNN 2100 EST discussing the missing Malaysian Flight 370. Even better news is that Piers has a guest host so it will be more watchable.
It is a great opportunity for Karlene and I know she will do great tonight. She has some new thoughts concerning the missing Malaysian Flight 370 on her site http://karlenepetitt.blogspot.com/
On a personal note, I went to the doctor today and he said that I am still sick but that has nothing to do with the sinus infection. Slowly the humor is returning, maybe I will survive.
I am not going to put out a story this week. Over the weekend, what I thought was allergies turned into a full scale sinus infection. I think everything is survivable but between the pressure in my skull, the coughing, hot/cold spells and the three different medicines the Doc-In-A-Box gave me. The words are not flowing out at a steady pace.
Hopefully, I will be back to full speed soon but if you are needing a Rob-Fix. You can head over to the Magill Review where this week’s article about Michael Sam is up. http://themagillreview.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/the-truth-about-secrets/
Until Next time, keep on rockin.