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Master Plan…


So easy that even a cavecat can do it. photo from yahoo.



Hey Y’all,


I have been thinking a lot about the rest of the year and how I would like it to shake out. Of course, before I state my plan I should recognize that none of us can really see 5 minutes into the future. So as I give you an update on what you can expect moving forward, I will remain rigidly flexible.


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Who does number two work for? photo from yahoo.



Before we look forward, I think we should look backwards a few months. One of the bigger events of my development as a writer is that I actually typed “The End” on book number one. It came in at about 86,000 words and is only eight years in development. About two years ago, I thought I had a finished product but I was wrong. Way wrong, so I cut the first thirty thousand words, and cut the last twenty thousand words from the ending. Completely rewrote the beginning and ending while I kept the middle fifteen thousand words. Then to flesh it out, I went back in and added another twenty thousand words to the total product. That is almost like starting completely over with the same idea.


I sent it out to the first three beta readers over the weekend so I am patiently waiting on their thoughts and I am moving forward with book number two which is actually the second half of the first book that I re-wrote. Hope you’re not confused yet, because I certainly am.


I will be random in my posts this summer. We have a lot going on this summer with normal family vacation plans, a house that we are trying to sale and if we do then we have to find a new house and actually move. Plus some other things going on with the family, all good trust me which will probably combine to take extra time away from this site. One topic I will be tackling is Bar-B-Que to include some recipes and some of the tricks I have learned from cooking BBQ over the past two years.



That pork shoulder was really starting to look good, it didn’t survive dinner though. photo from rob akers.



Also during the spring months, I had a stronger than normal bout with anxiety. For all our new friends and readers, I am not a normally nervous or anxious person. I like to think of myself as a calm, steady person who is consistently predictable in my life. But ever since I deployed to Iraq in 2003, I have found that I am just unsettled during the springtime. It seems to creep up on me in March and peaks in April and by the end of May, it seems to have worked its way out of the system. Full disclosure, my issues are very mild and I would not classify my mood swings as harmful, dangerous, or anything that requires special treatment. But it gives me an understanding and compassion for the men and women that suffer from a full blown case of PTSD.


I think that part of my increased anxiety this year relates to the fact that I haven’t finished writing about the deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. I have another ten-month period that I need to document but haven’t because the last two rotations were the most stressful and the person I was during that time was the least honorable me. I have been finding excuses to write about that Rob, but I need to get those stories out so I can move on. So you can look for those stories sometime in the fall. It will be a series that lasts a couple of months so there are so many stories both good and bad that I would like to relate to you in general and specifically for my kids who should get to know who their Dad was before they were alive.


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I wasn’t always “Angry Dad” but my kids have no idea that I was the inspiration for the Angry Birds game. photo from yahoo.



Around Christmas, I am sure we will have plenty to discuss with a new President about to take office and of course that is the busy time of the season for me at work, so I will try really hard to finish the year strong by getting book number one finished and complete. At the beginning of 2017, I am going to focus hard on looking for a book agent and I want to start shopping the book. In February, I am scheduled for training with my work and I will be scarce for a couple of months.


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I learned from watching Law and Order to always ask for a lawyer. photo from yahoo.



Which brings us to late spring 2017, my goal is to have an agent who is actively shopping book number one and to have a completed draft of book number two out to beta readers and to start working on book number three. I know it sounds like a lot but right now all I see is time slipping past me. Two years ago, I was in training for my work and I was struggling to learn a new airplane. It was the only time in my aviation career that I had serious reservations about my ability to learn a new airplane. It was really difficult for me because of a lot of reasons but I made myself a secret promise. That promise was the five years from then, I would have real options about continuing my current career or starting a new career as a real live, highly paid author.


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The goal is to be somewhere between the deep end and the shallow end. photo from yahoo.



I know the odds are stacked against me, I know there are better writers out there and I know that in order to replace my current income I have going to have to be big time. But in order it be big time, you have to dream big time. And of course, all these dreams haven’t been squashed by the four beta readers so I still have a chance to be somebody.


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Living the dream…”Mom, Meatloaf!” photo from yahoo.



Until next time, keep on rockin.

Politics as unusual…

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Is saving the environment a good thing after all? photo from yahoo.




Hey Ya’ll,


Hanging out in Indiana tonight watching reruns of the cable network news election results. Today, yesterday if you slept, was the primary for my home plate of West Virginia. Being a good citizen and wanting to be as far away as possible from the polling sites on election day, I voted last week. After school on Thursday, my wife and I took the kids to the court house to cast our ballets. Thinking about it in retrospect, I don’t think I have voted on an election day in over twenty years and I couldn’t tell you where my local polling location is at. I guess it would be an understatement to say that I love early voting.


My wife is a Republican and I am a Democrat. In all honesty, I am probably more DINO (Democrat In Name Only) than card carrying, true believer. In 2003, spending most of the year hanging out in Iraq, my good friend Paul summarized the difference between Democrats and Republicans. Paul explained it like this. “A Democrat wants to mess up our country while a Republican wants to mess up someone else’s country.” Looking back at American history, I really have a difficult time disproving his theory. In September 2003, I had to get a new driver’s license because my wife had sold her house and moved into my house. Along with the new license, I changed my political party to Democrat because I was tired of messing up other people’s countries.


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Dancing in the streets. photo from yahoo.



Of course over the years being a Democrat has given me so many opportunities to mess with people because they just expect that I should be a good card carrying member of the Republican party. It is really fun to get the sideways look when I tell people that I am a Democrat. Even better is the awkward silence and confused look that comes from my confession. Of course the worse part of being a Democrat is when those people try to convert me into being what they expect me to be. Occasionally, I come across someone who really wants to engage in a rational discourse on the merits of the political parties and even better when the person I am talking too really doesn’t care who I vote for. They are the best and they are rare.


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I have no idea what party Al Capone was a part of but I am sure they loved him. photo from yahoo.




I wouldn’t describe myself as a political junkie but I would say that I am well informed of where the candidates stand on the respective issues. And a couple of thoughts have crept into my mind about this political season and the candidates’ motivations for becoming President. I would like to talk about Bernie Sanders first. If he were taken in a vacuum, I think he is an old school throwback to the days of Ben Franklin and Alexander Hamilton. He is to be exactly what we all want in a candidate; I really think he is honest when he speaks about his political views. I really think that he is a kind hearted man and he tried to walk the talk. On the other side of the coin, when he says that he is a Socialist he really means that he ascribes to the Socialist agenda. I voted for him in spite of the fact that I believe that he cannot win the general election and in spite of the fact that I find that I agree with very little that he says. But in the world of politics, honesty, humanity, and decency mean more to me than lower taxes or gun control.


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Bernie Sanders. photo from yahoo.



I have spent a lot of time thinking about Hillary Clinton and I do believe that she will beat Sen. Sanders’ campaign in a few weeks. But I also think that she is unelectable in the general election. I have to believe that the Democrat leadership is coming around to the idea that she cannot win. They are in a tough place because without the super-delegates, she would have a difficult time gaining the nomination. I think that this e-mail controversy is real and that by the time the Democratic Convention, it will be the millstone that sinks her candidacy. In politics, perception is everything and it will be apparent that her polling numbers will be falling behind Donald Trump’s.


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Hillary Clinton. photo from yahoo.



Speaking of those missing e-mails of Hillary. How embarrassing will it be for the United States when we can’t retrieve them from the servers, but the Russians or Chinese hand over about 20,000 emails they hacked off her supposedly secured private server. I promise you that they would love to embarrass the United States. I don’t think there is any way that President Obama will allow his last days as American President to be embarrassed by an October surprise by the Russians just before the election. There is no way he will jeopardize his legacy by trusting the Russians, the Chinese, the North Koreans, the Iranians, the Mexicans or the Saudis to not leak their hacked information. The United States has a lot of enemies in the world and President Obama personally has make so many nations upset that someone will try to embarrass his during his final days in office. Therefore, I predict that the Democratic Convention will be in chaos for the first three days and on the fourth day, Vice President Joe Biden will be drafted to become the party’s candidate. He will select Bernie as his Vice President and together they will be the chosen ones to defeat the “dark side” of the Republicans.


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Joe Biden. photo from yahoo.



I have been wondering why Donald Trump wants to be President. He doesn’t need the money and he doesn’t need the fame. He doesn’t need the headache and he doesn’t need hassle. Why would he need to be President? That question has been rattling around in my head for a while until the other night I realized what he actually gains. It is the one thing that money can’t buy and no matter what else he accomplishes in this life: he can’t get unless he is President. That one thing is a Presidential Library. The man has hotels, buildings, golf courses, resorts, casinos, and real estate all over the world. He started a university and has a fleet of jets, helicopters, cars and yachts. The only difference between Air Force One and Trump One is that there isn’t a gold faucet on Air Force One. I think he is in this because the only way to have his name live on until the end of time is to have a Presidential Library. I have a good friend who makes it his mission in life to visit every Presidential Library. Morgan is a true blue Democrat but he didn’t blink an eye when he took his family to visit the Bush Presidential Library. It is a big deal to have a Presidential Library and it is the one thing that money can’t buy.


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Donald Trump. photo from yahoo.



Until next time, keep on rockin.

Ain’t no one ever called me smart…

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Sit back and let me impress you with my knowledge. photo from yahoo.


Hey Y’all,


I know it has been a long time since I put anything out for your consumption. Just want to let you all know that everything is right as rain on my side of the internet, just been busier than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest. Today I would like to share a short story, correlate it to something I did since the last time we spoke and to point out something that might be really important to all of us.


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No one said the one legged man has to win the contest. photo from yahoo.


When I went to pilot training in 1995, I made a promise to myself that I would be all in, 100 percent. I would not take all the shortcuts that I had during my life up to that point. I would be diligent in my studies and focus entirely on the task at hand. I would not waste my opportunity to live my dream. To that end, I gave pilot training my full attention from Sunday afternoon until the completion of the day on Friday. The weekend belonged to me and I used them to release all the pressure that built up during the week. During the week, I focused on the flying, the academics and devoted myself to learning everything there was to learn about being an Air Force pilot.

At the end of the first phase, we got our flight commander rankings. When I was called into the commander’s office, I felt really good about my class rank. It didn’t matter how I finished because I was slotted to go to the Air National Guard in West Virginia to fly C-130s so technically all I had to do was finish. But I really wanted to finish high enough to be fighter qualified. It was a pride thing.

The commander started off with the daily flying scores, I was 5th in my class of 39. I sat a little higher in my seat. On the check rides, I was 15th, on the weekly quizzes I was around 20th. He got to academic scores and he read off my average. It was 94.9%. I could hardly contain my pride because I had never done that good academically in my life. At the time, I had both a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s Degree. But I had never done anything as difficult academically as Undergraduate Pilot Training. It really kicked my butt and I was so proud of myself for doing so well. My commander burst my bubble just as quickly as he inflated it. I finished 39th out of 39th. I had to ask him to clarify because I wasn’t sure if I heard him right. He repeated it differently for me. I was dead last in the class.


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Single handedly, I brought the class average down. Never underestimate my powers. photo from yahoo.


I walked out confused and a little hurt because my very best was good enough to be last academically. In the years since, I kind of take a little pride in the fact that I missed only about 30 questions and I walked out of a highly challenging program with a 94.9% average. But sometimes I have to remind myself that my very best is only good enough to be last when I am surrounded by really smart people.

Case in point, I play in a fantasy baseball league with some really smart guys that breath and live sports. The guys that don’t work in the sports world are lawyers or doctors and the other few guys are highly successful in their world. Last year, I had a great draft and managed to finish just out of the money in 4th place. I went into this year’s draft expecting to put together a team that could win the league. Overconfidence is my sin, and even though I was more prepared than last year. Even though I had done the work and knew all about every potential sleeper middle infielder to draft in the 23rd round; I had a horrible draft. A few hours after the draft, I looked at my team and I thought that maybe I could finish in the top 6 but I didn’t have the players to win the league. Well, it is worse than I thought. A month into the season and I am solidly in last place. The other 11 teams are running away from my faster than I could have ever imagined. Last place sucks and it looks like there is nothing to turn it around until football starts in August. It is going to be a long summer.


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I didn’t draft a single Cardinal. Maybe that is my problem. photo from yahoo.


Now onto important things. Like I said earlier, I am not the sharpest tool in the shed and my very best really isn’t that good when compared to real live smart people. But there is something going on in the political world that isn’t being reported at all. In case you missed it, the US Congress has been considering releasing 28 pages of classified document that provide some new to the public information on the role of the Saudi Arabian Government in the 9-11 attacks.


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Please be my friend. photo from yahoo.


The Saudi government threw out a little statement about pulling out of the bond market as a little threat to stall the information from being published.


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Please be my friend. photo from yahoo


Finally, we see that a bi-partisan group of US Senators and Congressmen are working to keep the 28-page document classified.


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Please be my friend. photo from yahoo.


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Please be my friend. photo from yahoo.


Anytime I see bi-partisan group of politicians working together, it makes me nervous. There is more going on behind the curtain than we can imagine.  This report came out today that the administration is considering releasing some of the 9-11 report. I am not going to hold my breath for the real truth.


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Please be my friend. photo from yahoo.


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Please be my friend. photo from yahoo.


I have a good friend who is Egyptian by birth. He has lived in the United States for the vast majority of his life and I would put his patriotism and love for the United States against anyone that I have ever met. Emir told me a few months ago about the danger the Saudis were to our lives. He went as far as to describe the Washington political players as puppets for the Saudi Royal family.


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Please be my friend. photo from yahoo.


Like I said earlier, I am not very smart so I asked him to explain how someone rich guy from Saudi Arabia could buy a United States President or other high ranking public official. He said there are two really easy ways to buy anyone and another way to buy a President. The first way is they pay them for their outright for a speech. They invite them over to Riyadh and pay them a crazy amount of money to give a five-minute speech to a handful of people. Then they treat them like royalty at one of the palaces for a week or so before sending them back to Washington. It is all off record because the money is never directly given to the person but to a charity they control or deposited in an off shore account like the one in Panama that was recently exposed.


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please be my friend. photo from yahoo.


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Please be my friend. photo from yahoo.



Another way to line the pockets of the political elite is to buy their books. Anytime a high ranking political figure releases a new book, who do you think reads it? According to the NY Times Bestseller list, almost all of us. I might know one person who buys books written by political leaders. Yes, Morgan I am talking about you but Big M only buys books written by Democrats. He doesn’t buy anything written by a Republican. Obviously someone buys their books too. That someone is the Saudi royal family. They buy literally hundreds of thousands of copies of books written by anyone who can be in a position to help them one day. It is a really cool scam by the way and perfectly legal. Politician Jackleg, goes to a book publisher and says they want to write a book. Book publisher gives them a huge advance and a ghost writer. Six months later the book is on the shelves at every brick and mortar store in the USA. On the day of the release, a Saudi Prince buys six million copies and has them shipped to Mecca. Everyone wins easy, peasy.  


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Please be my friend. photo from yahoo.



The last way that the Saudi’s help themselves is they donate a large sum of money to help build a Presidential Library. Maybe they buy the land and lease it back to the library for a dollar a year of maybe they donate all the concrete to be used in the project. Whatever and however it happens, it is just one more way to help those who help the Kingdom.


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Please be my friend. photo from yahoo.



Watch this story because it will tell you more than you could ever dream about the real way politics works in the home of the free and it might help you decide who to vote for in the November elections.


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Please be my friend. photo from yahoo.




Maybe things like this just happen. Or maybe my friend, Emir has a point. Either way, I got tired of looking of pictures of American Presidents so I stopped my research with President Eisenhower. But there is a clear record of American Presidents trying real hard to be friends with the Saudi King. By the way, I could only find a picture of Hillary Clinton with the Saudi King. Nothing for Trump, Sanders, Cruz or Kasich. I am willing to give Mrs. Clinton the benefit of the doubt that her photo was based on her role as the Secretary of State. I’m going to put my tin foil hat away now. 


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photo from yahoo.



Until next time, keep on rockin.





Safety First…Almost Always!

Hey Y’all,


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Safety First but get the job done! photo from yahoo.



Life has been moving at 1000 miles an hour in the last few weeks for my family. Normally, things go quickly but lately they have amped up into overdrive. Fortunately, nothing is wrong and everything is right. It is just a lot of right things. Adding to the daily activity has been the addition of middle school softball for daughter and kid pitch baseball for my son. With the requirements of my job, I am forced to miss so many things when I am in town I want to be involved in practice and games. Last week was the first week that I have had off since the new sports started. I told my daughter’s softball coach that I would be sitting in the stands watching practice and if she wanted any help with the girls, to please ask me.

She took me up on the offer and 30 minutes later, I was working with the outfielders. Showing them how to throw, catch and run. The next day, to my surprise the coach asked me to help out again. That day I was working with the infielders, the hitters, and again the outfield. My thing when working with the players, it to try to teach proper fundamentals including good arm/body position when throwing. When I played little league things were much different. The coach didn’t really instruct anything. He just rolled the ball out and we just did whatever we wanted. Years later, my mind and body had ingrained so many bad body positions and habits that I literally hurt all over after playing a softball game. My shoulder hurt, my muscles hurt and my elbow hurt. Last year, my son started playing baseball for the first time.


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Sound Advice. Never cool to tell a great story and get hurt in the end. photo from yahoo.



I really didn’t want him to follow my path to bad habits so I went to a local baseball instructor to teach him the right fundamentals right off the bat. After watching one lesson, I learned so many things about what I did wrong and how to play without abusing your arm. With that knowledge, I took my daughter to him this year and she got a lesson. Neither kid likes him because he is very precise in his instruction and he uses the word “No” just about every time they performed a throw for him. But I love him, I think he is worth his weight in gold and they don’t know it yet but they are going to have the pleasure of working with him for a long time.


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Everyone needs a buddy. photo from yahoo.



Armed with the knowledge that he imparted on myself and my kids, I went out onto the softball field and taught like an expert. My mantra was to encourage the ladies to learn to throw the right way and they would never have a problem. It was all about safety, using your proper techniques and being smart with your body.

On Thursday, we practiced indoor because of inclement weather. The coach was once again going to work with the pitchers and she asked if I would work with the hitters. She brought out the Jugs pitching machine. I love the pitching machines and always loved going to the batting cages as a youth. I always thought it was crazy cool to have a hard rubber baseball whip past your head at 90 miles an hour without being afraid that it was going to actually hit you. The first five girls hit the ball well and seemed to improve as the machine threw to them. I had the other girls retrieving the hit balls and returning them to the machine while someone fed them back into the mechanism.



Here is a guy using the pitching machine the right way. photo from yahoo.



After talking a little to one of the girls about the art of hitting, she took the first pitch. It was way off target from where the home plate was placed. The base had been moved about a foot off from where the jugs machine was throwing. I moved the plate and stood behind it to watch a ball come out. I told the girl feeding the ball into the machine to fire one at me and she hesitated. She remembered the rules about the machine that I had preached about before we started it up. I was very clear that no one ever stood in front of the machine when a ball was pitched. I was also very strict when I said that the person pitching the ball had to make sure that no one would accidently walk in front of a pitch. I told them about dangerous the machine could be and to remember that we would always practice safety first and hitting second.


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Always important to hire a professional electrician. photo from yahoo.



I reassured her that it was okay to fire a ball at me. She reluctantly did and it came at me moving at the speed of heat. I fully intended to step aside at the last minute but the ball seemed to hang in the air and taunted me to catch in barehanded. I reached out and snagged the ball from midair, easily, effortlessly, and quite impressively if I can be honest. I rolled it back to the pitcher, reached down and moved the plate to where I thought the ball was and called for another pitch. Once again, the girl hesitated but I encouraged her to send it to me. She did and once again, I caught it barehanded and rolled it back. I told the hitter not to try this because we wanted to be safe.


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These guys are smart and not getting their shoes wet. photo from yahoo.



I readjusted the plate and called for a third ball. Once again, the pitcher hesitated but sent it. I knew the instant before the ball touched my hand that it was rising and that my hand was slightly too low. I couldn’t readjust my right hand before the ball impacted my ring finger. It hit with a resounding thud and I immediately thought that my finger was broken. I grabbed it with my left hand and started pulling hoping to release the pressure on the knuckle. I could feel it throbbing in my left. I knew this was going to hurt and it needed ice. Being the calm, cool collected dad I am not, I walked off and told the new hitter to start hitting. I found the coach and asked if she had the key to the kitchen to get some ice. Her keys were in her car and when she asked why, I just said that I jammed my finger but didn’t tell her why or how bad. I didn’t want to be fired for being stupid.


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Never thought I would recreate this movie scene. I am smart enough to be Happy Gilmore. photo form yahoo.



I finished practice and went to my son’s baseball practice. When my wife picked up my daughter from practice; she looked at it and I told her how it happened, she called me a dummy, it was her professional opinion since she is a nurse. They stopped at the local pharmacy and picked up a finger splint for me. Three hours later, I finally got some ice on the finger and my wife said that I needed some Advil to help with the swelling. She gave me one and I took it. After it was down, she laughed when she told me it was an Advil PM. She knew what I needed to help me sleep and an hour later, I was out like a pumpkin.


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I have a lot of fingers left to bend before I become this guy. photo from yahoo.



Until next time, be safe and keep on rockin.

Bad Driving 101…

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Everyone knows you need more speed before you try this at home. photo from yahoo.



Hey Y’all,


Been a couple weeks since I put anything out. All is well in my little side of the world although it is extremely busy. Not making excuses but I am making headway in this thing called life. 


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Driving Jeff and Dr. Shannon to the airport. photo from yahoo.



A couple weeks ago some friends of my family went on a business trip to London. For the record I am not talking about London, Kentucky but the one on the other side of the pond. Jeff and Shannon flew out of our local airport and I offered to drop them off and leave their car at our house while they were gone. Jeff is a real man from back in the holler of Greasy Ridge Ohio. More mountain man than refined citizen, he fell off the turnip truck and landed in tall cotton. His wife is Doctor Shannon. Yes she is a real life medical doctor. Not only that but she is one of the lead faculty at the Marshall University Medical School. The med school is doing some type of exchange intern program so Dr. Shannon and a couple of the other faculty went over to do whatever they did. Lucky for Jeff, his wife had a couple extra dollars laying around and she invited him to get out of the backwoods and see what a refined society looks like.


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This is Brom Stroman WWE Wrestler not Jeff. But Jeff would look like this if he wore a headband. photo from yahoo.



After I dropped them off, I drove back to my house. Everyone who knows me will be shocked at what I am going to write next. But I actually drove the speed limit. Everyone knows that the fastest car on the road is your friend’s car. But I drove it just like it was made of gold. The day before Jeff and Dr. Shannon left on their trip, their other car was banged up in a traffic accident. No one was injured but being the nice guy that I am, I figured that Dr. Shannon would appreciate not having a second car scratched by her best friend’s knucklehead husband.


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Actual photo of Jeff and Dr. Shannon at the theater in London. photo from yahoo.



So there I am driving down the interstate, doing the speed limit and in the slow lane properly observing all of the traffic laws of God and man. Not exaggerating here, the driver of every car that passed me turned their head to look at me. Even some old lady sitting on the back of their 1938 pick-up truck. It was to the point that I was beginning to feel like something was wrong. That is when I realized, there was something wrong. Jeff and Dr. Shannon live across the river in Ohio. They have Ohio license plates and I was driving their car properly. The very worse drivers in the state of West Virginia all have Ohio license plates. Everyone who passed me was trying to figure out what was wrong with me. As a group, they are really bad drivers. They like to ride in the fast lane going about fifteen miles an hour under the speed limit. They like to text and drive. They like to mess with the radio, look out the side windows at the tall WV buildings, pop their pimples in the rearview mirror and give everyone who passes they by the single finger salute.



Just another Ohioan driving down the road. This driver is actually obeying the laws. I am impressed. photo from yahoo.



Last week I was driving my own personal truck the proper way. Weaving across all three lanes like I was playing Mario Cart with my kids, I had the rubber band holding tight about 85. Life was good when I saw a fast moving car approaching in my mirror. The driver was flashing the lights and I moved to the center lane and waited. I thought it might be a cop but no such luck, it was a lady in a gray Dodge Challenger cruising about 105. When she passed me by I thought to myself that is one dumb lady.


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This bumper sticker was on the car above. photos from yahoo.



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This sticker was opposite the rainbow flag. All I could do was shake my head in disgust. photo form yahoo.



Honestly my first thought was that everyone knows Dale Jr. is a Chevy man. We have come a long way as a nation.


Until next time, keep on rockin.


A First Time Event…

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Wish someone had told me this years ago. photo from yahoo.



Hey Y’all,


Last week, I had the opportunity to have a new experience. For all you younger friends out there, when you get to be old like me there isn’t much under the sun that actually qualifies as a new experience. Most everything I do that is new or exciting, is really something that is similar to something that I have done before. An example would be something that happened last Monday. It was a cold, wet snowy rain when I left the house to go to work. Before I left the house, one of the ramp workers texted me and told me to wear some boots because there was slush covering the entire ramp. I wear low top boots with my work uniform so I told him that I had it covered and went out the door.


Walking to the ramp office from the parking lot, I realized that he wasn’t kidding because the slush was knee deep in places. I picked my steps carefully and made it into the office with dry feet. I expected the area around the airplane to be cleared off but the mechanic said it was worse. He looked at my “nice” boots and told me that my feet would be covered in slush before I got to the airplane so he took off his boots and gave them to me. I wouldn’t have called them boots, I would call them waders. After they were on, I gave my phone to the Captain and took this picture. The mechanic has been calling me Captain Ahab ever since.  



Commander Ahab live and in color. My work boots are actually on under the waders. photo from rob akers



I am not sure if I have ever worn knee high waders but they were not too different than other types of boots that I have worn. On Wednesday though, I did have a totally new experience. For years, my wife has told me that she wanted to go snow skiing. About a month ago, she actually made the reservations. Last week, the kids were out of school for winter break and I had just got back from my trip about 6:00 AM and we were out the door 30 minutes later. We piled into the truck and drove a couple hours south to Winterplace Resort near Beckley, West Virginia. After being up all night, I tried to sleep in the back seat but it eluded me. Reaching the resort, it took us twenty minutes to get all the snow gear out and on our bodies. It is amazing how much stuff you actually need to toss your body off a mountain.


When we went inside, we stood in line with a bus load of kids and got more gear. It felt more like day one of boot camp than a snow adventure because I was packed down with arm full of gear and being shuffled down the winding rope lined walkways with hundreds of other people pretending to be cattle. Finally, we got to the guy who was giving out the skis. He took my boots, clamped them in the binder and handed them over. Now I had my skis, and the kid’s skis too. My wife had their boots and the rest of their crap while they were running around like a couple of hellions asking us if we would hurry up. It took another thirty minutes to get those cement block boots strapped around my ankles. I did a graceful Frankenstein strut up the stairs out into the cold air.


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This guy actually looks comfortable. photo form yahoo.



I was a sweaty mess and immediately took off my jacket, my special needs helmet, my sunglasses, my gloves, my jacket, my sweatshirt, my snow bibs and smiled when the cold air reached the long sleeve shirt and jeans. After my brain temperature lower to heat stroke level, I realized that the closest refreshments were back in the cafeteria. So I put all those clothes back on and went inside. I downed a sports drink and hustled back out for the ten o clock snow skiing class.


I was late and one of the instructors was lining up the students when our instructor, Corey swooped in to teach us how to ski. A man in the prime of his life, Corey live his life hanging out on the slopes talking up the baby mama’s all day and spending the nights partying like a rock star. Corey deftly kicked out of his custom painted skis of the bikini clad brunette and began to drone on about how to safely ski. Corey stared at me like a hawk who is looking at the little field mouse that will be dinner. He scanned the line searching for my wife. When he found her, he gave her the subtle wink and a nod because he was everything that the baby mama’s dream about at night. If he is the dream, I am the nightmare. Short, fat, sweaty with blood shot, droopy eyes struggling to stay upright in my jacked up walking boots and wearing my special needs helmet. Fortunately, my wife has a soft spot for men that used to lick the windows on the short bus. In this case, it sucked to be Corey.


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The bunny slop was tougher than it looked. photo from yahoo.



After the two hour, painfully horrible ski lesson of how to slow down, stop, walk up hill, and kick the skis off when we fell, it was time to actually try skiing. When it was my turn, Corey watched with admiration as I took all of his advice and actually traveled twenty feet before I fell. I couldn’t believe it; I really was embarrassed. Ten minutes later, after wallowing around on the snow like an awkward walrus, I finally got a boot out of my ski and was able to stand up. I got the ski back on and made it almost 50 feet down the bunny slope before I fell a second time. I didn’t feel bad until the fifteen-year-old “real” special needs kid asked me if I was alright. That kid’s Mom never saw his act of kindness because Corey was talking her up. Finally, I made my way to my family at the bottom of the tiny hill. Corey was gone chasing after another ski vixen and we were cut loose on our own.


We set out and attempted the bunny slope again, and once again I fell. The good news was that I was figuring out how to get the skis off and stand up faster. I got onto the ski lift okay and we went to the top of the mountain. But I nearly got decapitated trying to get off the ski lift, this skiing thing was kicking my butt.  We spent an hour on the slopes, mostly waiting on me to make it down the mountain. Everyone was hungry so we ate lunch and headed over to the snow tube park so the kids could try that. While they threw their tiny bodies off the mountain, my wife helped me figure out why I couldn’t stay upright. The key was not letting the front of the skis cross. Thanks to Corey hitting on every baby mama in line, I thought a wedge was when the tips of the skis crossed and formed a “X”. Every time I had any momentum, I crossed the skis and I tumbled. After the tubing, we went back to the slopes and tried it again.


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This exit procedure looks easier than trying to ski off the lift. photo from yahoo.



This time, my wife stayed behind to drink some hot chocolate and wait on us. She didn’t think that we would be out on the slopes very long. Two and a half hours later, I made my way back to the lodge completely wiped out after being up all night working and skiing all day. The trick to not letting the tips of the ski cross was the magic pill that I needed to stay upright. I didn’t fall once the rest of the afternoon on the slopes. Now to be honest, I only successfully skied away from the lift only once. Every other time I busted my face getting off that contraption. My kids laughed at me, the ski lift operators laughed at me, I’m sure Corey would have laughed if he hadn’t been distracted by a ski bimbo.


I really thought the next morning, that I would not be able to get out of bed. But to my surprise, I wasn’t sore at all. I was amazed how much fun it was and now I am hooked. Now that I have mastered the bunny slope, my next goal is to try one of those black diamonds.



“I love you Corey, have you seen my baseball?” photo from rob akers



Until next time, keep on rockin.

The Sherriff Speaks…

Note: I wrote this Monday night but because of work and sleep I haven’t been able to post it until tonight. Sorry for what you might think is revisionist history, but you get what you pay for. Keep smiling!



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My buddy was in Denver on Tuesday. He said the parade was crazy cool. Photo from yahoo.



Hey Y’all,


In case you weren’t paying attention last week, I correctly predicted the final score of the Super Bowl. To be exact, I wrote that I thought that Carolina would win 53-13. But using the tried and true accounting process of the Goldman-Sacks, I figure that I was close enough for government work. Honestly, I was able to correctly identify the top two teams in the NFL. That has to count for something, even if I got the teams out of order. To congratulate myself, I am sitting back enjoying a piping hot Papa John’s pizza and a frosty cold Budweiser.  Life is good.


I would like to take a moment and discuss the quarterback play from the game. Before I get into the analysis, I would like to offer up my impeccable credentials to talk about playing quarterback on that stage. In college, I was the starting quarterback for an intermural flag football team. Actually, I had only one start but by halftime of that game, a super hero, nerf-like velocity throwing the football combined with my scary nuclear bomb accuracy had combined to throw two pick six touchdowns to the other team. I had one completion and seven sacks. Due to my unique skill set I had led my team to a 0-42 deficit at halftime. The other guys on my team decided that I was too good for them and they traded me, a hot Papa John Pizza and a six pack of Budweiser for a opened bag of Ruffles and half a Kit-Kat bar.


So last night, both quarterbacks left a little to be desired. Peyton’s legendary laser like rocket arm was missing in action and Cam’s dart like accuracy looked more like someone swinging a dead cat by the tail trying to hit the broad side of a barn. Who cares how they played, I want to talk about the after game shenanigans.  


I have never been interviewed after losing a Super Bowl, but if I were honest I don’t think I would be as cordial as Cam was last night. I can get kind of irritable (that is Christian speak for hate-filled venom spewing demon child). Occasionally I get frustrated (which is the Christian word for Pissed Off). When that happens, hide the women and children because the wrath of Rob is on full display. Once my Mom for to see what both irritable and frustrated looked like.


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This still ticks me off. PHOTOGRAPH BY PHIL HUBER VIA KRT (1982 file photo) (KRT14-Jan. 12)–THE CATCH–San Francisco 49ers receiver Dwight Clark hauls in a six-yard touchdown pass from Joe Montana with 51 seconds left in the 1982 NFC Championship game against the Dallas Cowboys. Immortalized in sports lore as “The Catch,” Clark’s reception capped an 87-yard drive that propelled the 49ers into the Super Bowl. The Cowboys play the 49ers in Sunday’s NFC Championship game, the first such matchup since “The Catch.” (chb21149) 1993 (COLOR)


That was the day in 1979 that Joe Montana threw “The Catch” to Dwight Clark that beat Dallas in the NFC Championship. I am so thankful that camera phones were not invented then because my Mom would have slapped it all over YouTube and Facebook. I was a ten-year-old kid and the only stake I had in that game was that Dallas was my team. I had nothing riding on it and my life didn’t change any based on a victory or defeat. But I went into a full blown rage literally trashing my room, flipping my bed all the way over and ripping posters off the wall. In case you’re wondering, I left the Farrah Foster poster untouched. It was a controlled rage.


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Even a ten year old boy knows some things are better left unharmed. photo from yahoo.



Cam was irritated by his teammates mistakes and frustrated by first failure in a championship game. He is a twenty-six-year-old kid who doesn’t live in his parent’s basement and was being pestered by grown adults trying to goad him into a soundbite. I’m forty-six-year-old adult who scared my kids just before Christmas by my rage when Arkansas State lost in the New Orleans Bowl.  When they are playing in their sports, it takes all of my self-control to stay calm enough that my wife doesn’t have to publically reprimand me. I have been known to say, “Show me a good loser, and I will show you a loser.” Note: he actually said that line on Tuesday. All things being equal, I think he handled himself quite well.  


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If all these people were pestering me, I would be ticked too. photo from yahoo.



Which leads me to the winning quarterback last night. A thirty-nine-year-old man who was quite possibly playing his final football game of his career. There are only two other players still in the league from Peyton’s draft class. One announced his retirement earlier this year and the other is a kicker. Saying that Father Time has been kind to Peyton would be an understatement. The cumulative toil of the game has left his battered and broken. By his own admission, he will need a new hip in the upcoming years. Several of his neck vertebra are already fused together, his arm looks like limp spaghetti, his legs are like twigs and those are just the injuries we know about.


Peyton struggled last night and thanks to a great defense and special team’s play, he was able to toss a final pass to complete a two-point conversion. Iconic stuff, things that legends are written about. The entire world was ready to send Peyton off into the sunset with a ticket-tape parade and a slot as a first ballet Hall of Fame induction ceremony. An icon in two NFL cities and the most famous Tennessee Volunteer, all he had to do last night was say thank you and acknowledge it has been a great ride because everyone knows that it sucks getting old.


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Just like Peyton, in moments like this, all I can think about is nasty beer. photo from yahoo.



But something strange happened on the way to the ceremony. Papa John showed up and Peyton kissed him on the cheek. Then he thanked Papa John on the podium and spouted off something about wonderful Budweiser is. Maybe it is me but I want my heroes to be more like Lou Gehrig spouting off things like “I am the luckiest man alive.” That kind of talk from superstars makes us all feel better about ourselves and helps us put them on the podium of idol worship. Peyton was so emotional about the end of his career that he went pizza and beer in his ride off into the sunset moment.


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Peyton couldn’t find his Dad so he settled for the next best thing. Papa John. Photo from yahoo.



Again, maybe it is me but I don’t mind when my NASCAR driver stands in Victory Lane, drinking a Coke and smiling. Because nothing says thrust quenching like an ice cold Coke after 500 miles in rush hour traffic with no air conditioning on a 105-degree sunny day while sitting in a plastic molded seat wearing a five pound, full face, head gear tied to the car with ¼ inch movement in any direction. And nothing sounds more fun than talking about heading to the local hardware store while feeling the urine soaked adult diaper under the full fire proof body suit.


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Sharing a Coke and a smile. Photo from yahoo.



I have been trained by NASCAR to love corporate sponsorship and I have no disillusions that any Presidential candidate isn’t totally indebted to that same corporation. Sorry, but I prefer my quarterback hero to be ill tempered after a tough loss rather than launching into a slobbering love affair with a pizza guy and a beer company in his final championship glory.


In retrospect, I think that maybe I need to be a corporate sale-out and find myself a Papa and a beer. Give me enough money and I will kiss a grown man on the cheek and tell kids how cool it is to drink beer. I will even wear a diaper and tell everyone how great it feels when I pee myself. I can be like Peyton and have no shame.


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When I get me a Papa and a beer, I am going to rock britches like this. Photo from yahoo.



Until next time, keep on rockin.

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