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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Vocabulary Expansion 2

While you sleep

Just an update on the story I shared two weeks ago:   My Durango was stolen from my driveway.  Fortunately for us the surveillance camera caught a great picture of the car thief.  After being shared over social media (over 2000 times) and with local law enforcement.  The vehicle was recovered in an abandon foreclosed home.  Someone broke into the home and parked the Durango in the garage.  I simplified the process (explanation), but it actually took over a week of following deadend leads from the well-meaning Facebook community. 
Vehicle Prowl while you sleep

The vehicle was reported seen in a couple of nearby towns and I made the dutiful drive to follow every lead.  From the first time law enforcement saw the video footage they knew the name of the perp (police jargon for perpetrator) and even referred to her as a well-known local tweaker.

The PD put out an all point bulletin (statewide) for the stolen vehicle.  Between the All-Points, and Facebook, the stolen Durango became so hot that no one dared to drive it or even give it away.  The vehicle was recovered with minimal damage and something like 10 miles additional on the speed-o-meter.  There is no arguing that criminals are especially dumb or they wouldn’t do what they do.  One of the perps actually contacted my son and tried to collect a few hundred dollars to return it.  The PD got involved and the rest is history. 

I know that for many of us, a criminal act against us is unfathomable, but it does happen.  Even nice neighborhoods have become prime targets, especially because we are comfortable knowing that we have good neighbors.  Well guess what, the criminals also love our neighborhoods.  About seven years ago I invested in a security system that includes 8 exterior infrared cameras.  Most of my neighbors must have thought I was paranoid.  Well, the saying goes, that just because you are paranoid, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t out to get you.
50 Ft. with a 9mm (I wouldn't want to meet me in a dark hallway)

Please be proactive, material things hold the least value, besides all material things are insured.  A security system will keep home burglars/invaders away.  Criminals case their targets, and as dumb as they are, they are looking for easy pickings.  Besides in my case any criminals that don’t get discouraged by a security system will have to deal with a certified marksman if they get into the house.  The best is yet to come………….

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Top Priority

Take care of yourself first

Someone I consider a good friend was recently sent to the ER (Emergency Room).  She is being referred to a cardiologist and the outcome is yet to be determined at this time.  We should use this instance as a reminder that our personal health is and should always be a priority.  Not because we are selfish but because we are selfless.

We live to take care of family members and friends and the best way to do that is to make sure that our personal health is maintained.  I don’t know how many of my readers have noticed that part of airplane safety is to instruct adults that in the event that the oxygen masks drop the parent or guardian is to put their own mask first before helping a child or others.  The reason is that you can’t help others if you don’t take care of yourself first.

I once thought I was having a heart episode and my wife made the decision that I should go to ER immediately, I was 40 at the time.  The macho (very stupid of me at the time) in me convinced her that I knew the way and could get us there quicker so she allowed me to drive.  Fortunately, I got us there safely.

The Summer day was near 100 degrees, and I had been in the backyard digging a 24-inch-deep trench about 30 feet long for the cables leading to the house from a 10-foot parabolic satellite dish antenna. Around 4 pm I walked into the house, not feeling well.  As I got ready to take a cold shower to cool off, I went into shock so bad I was afraid to bite my tongue.  Among others, the weirdest thing I remember doing is jumping on to our master bed with my muddy work shoes on.  You need to know how much I respect (read that fear) my wife to know that I would never knowingly do that.

To make a very long story short, I was ready to make peace with the Lord, I swear that I even had most of my life pass before me in short order.  As it turned out I had managed to dislocate a couple of ribs near the sternum as I manhandled the satellite dish over a couple of fences and into my backyard.  The injury was further aggravated by digging the trench in the heat.

I still vividly remember what the attending doctor said to me with a very grave look on his face. Sir, I wish I could tell you (long pause), that my heart is as healthy as yours, but I haven’t been examined as thoroughly as you have.  Your problem is musculo-skeletal.  And with that I was released with some pain medication, and a referral to a specialist.

Ever since that incident, I take my health and prevention efforts very seriously.  I sincerely apologized to my wife for being so stubborn and promised that I would follow her guidance in the future regarding my health care needs.  Fortunately, I don’t have any health care problems, I subscribe to preventative measures.  I want to be around to provide for my family for as long as possible.  Quality of life should be the goal, so please take care of yourselves.  The best is yet to come……             

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Muhammad Ali, The Greatest

Muhammad Ali, The Greatest

Growing up during the 60’s, one of the favorite activities was the Friday Gillett Fights on television.  Our family was still one of the lucky ones in the neighborhood to have a television set.  Relatives gathered at our house on Friday evening all pumped for the wonderful meal that preceded the Friday Night Fights.  I never actually saw anyone get drunk but I do remember that the adult men in the family (my step-father, uncles and cousins) all drank beer with their meal and during the fight.

I recall that the more exciting the boxing match was the less beer the men drank because they were so into the fight.  It was obvious to me that the beer drinking was not the object of the night.  As was customary for the ladies of the house to be found working in the kitchen preparing the extravagant meal of the evening (a feast to be sure).

The children (anyone under the drinking age) downed their meal with a couple of cold glasses of Kool-Aid.  It was during this family gatherings that I became aware and a fan of Cassius Clay (Muhammad’s name before he changed it soon after the Liston fight).

I remember with great clarity my introduction to the big time 1965.  I was still a teenager, and was happily surprised to be invited to a close circuit television presentation some 40 miles away from my home.  My biggest disappointment came when we arrived inside the venue three minutes into the fight, and fight had only lasted two minutes.  We sat there and saw the replays over and over on the large screen.  The excitement in the room was unbelievable.

  • Soon after the Liston fight, Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali upon converting to Islam and affiliating with the Nation of Islam. Ali then faced a rematch with Liston scheduled for May 1965 in Lewiston, Maine. It had been scheduled for Boston the previous November, but was postponed for six months due to Ali's emergency surgery for a hernia three days before. The fight was controversial. Midway through the first round, Liston was knocked down by a difficult-to-see blow the press dubbed a "phantom punch". Ali refused to retreat to a neutral corner, and referee Jersey Joe Walcott did not begin the count. Liston rose after he had been down about 20 seconds, and the fight momentarily continued. But a few seconds later Walcott stopped the match, declaring Ali the winner by knockout. The entire fight lasted less than two minutes. ~Wikipedia

The loss of Ali is every bit as impacting to me as the day I heard on the radio of the other major icon of my youth’s passing, the King of Rock and Roll.  R.I.P Muhammad Ali.  For the rest of us life goes on and the best is yet to come……..

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Hit The Road Jack

Road Trip Time

If you have plans to travel over the holiday weekend, be prepared to pay higher prices for a gallon of fuel if you travel to or through high traffic and popular areas.  The price for a barrel of oil just went over the $50 dollar per barrel mark since February 2016 when it was $26.
Whenever I go on a road trip I google the location of all the Costco gasoline station along my route.  They are not always as convenient as I wish they were, but I’ve been known to go a few miles out of my way to fill up at as much as 30 to 70 cents cheaper per gallon.
Looking at the Los Angeles area for this holiday weekend the Costco gasoline stations range from $2.32 per gallon on the low end to $2.42 on the high end.  By comparison the in the same area (LA) Super 8 in Norwalk from $2.37 to $4.29 at a Chevron on N. Alameda and N. Main St.

If you take a chance it will just come down to where you get low on fuel, and feel that you can no longer risk it and go for the best price you can get at a gas station.  On the other hand, if cost is no object, simply enjoy your trip and know that this holiday’s gasoline prices are amongst the best (lowest) we’ve seen for a while.

Many experts are predicting record number of travelers due to the great gasoline prices and the fact that we just came out of a long winter, and need the family getaway.  Expect heavy and slow traffic at times, and long lines almost everywhere you go.  Safe and happy motoring.  Remember the new laws regarding use of restrooms, keep your family safe.  The best is yet to come…………..

One Amongst Many

05/29/2017 - 11/22/1963

John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), commonly referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35thPresident of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. ~Wikipedia
  • Kennedy was the youngest man ever elected to the presidency, succeeding the man who, at the time, was the oldest. He symbolized—as he well realized—a new generation and its coming-of-age. He was the first president born in the 20th century, the first young veteran of World War II to reach the White House. John Hersey’s powerful account of Kennedy’s wartime bravery, published in The New Yorker in 1944, helped him launch his political career.
  • In shaping his legend, Kennedy’s personal charm helped. A witty and articulate speaker, he seemed built for the age of television. To watch him on film today is to be struck by the power of his presence and the wit and elegance of his oratory. His celebrated inaugural address was filled with phrases that seemed designed to be carved in stone, as many of them have been. Borrowing a motto from his prep-school days, putting your country in place of Choate, he exhorted Americans: “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” ~ ALAN BRINKLEY

I am committed to writing about this very special man every opportunity I have for the purpose of keeping his memory alive so that we can at the same time maintain a point of focus for the sake of comparison.  We must never forget what a great and civil society we once were.  Because as long as we remember, we may be able to find our way back.  The best is yet to come……….

Monday, May 23, 2016

Vocabulary Expansion

Vocabulary Expansion

Just when I think that I am at a point where I believe, I’ve seen it all and am coming close to knowing a lot, if not all.  Guess what?  Something new is added to my vocabulary for starters.

I want to share this new experience because it’s always better to be forewarned.  We live in a nice development, considered until recently very safe, but crime has come calling and touched our lives directly.

Up until a couple of days ago, I used to be impressed by someone riding a bike or going for a walk late at night (sometime between 11pm to 4am).  I used to tell myself that I was impressed to their commitment to staying healthy.  Well, for sure not everyone out late at night is doing the same thing, BUT most recently thanks to my security cameras, I came face to face with reality.

A woman in her late 20’s to early 30’s was caught on camera, breaking into one of my vehicles and stealing a second one right from my driveway around midnight.  The security cameras are HD so the police were able to ID the person, someone that failed to show up in court for sentencing for a similar offense.  He referred to her as a well-known “tweaker.”
Thus my vocabulary expansion:
  • Also: tweeker.

    1. Person who constantly stays up cleaning, washing, organizing, power tooling, sorting or otherwise keeping themselves busy doing menial tasks.
    2. Someone who constantly makes slight alterations on (usually a very specific) object, i.e. computer, software, automobile, etc.
    3. A compulsive liar, thief, or both.
    4. A methamphetamine ("
    tweak"), or other form of speed, addict (who displays all of the above in an obsessive-compulsive manner).

Don’t you just hate it when you think you’ve seen it all, and BAM, it comes knocking into your life.  You don’t have to live in a bad neighborhood to experience criminal activity, the tweakers go out at night to case vehicles and houses for plundering.

The perpetrator hasn’t been caught yet nor has the vehicle been recovered as of this writing, but time is running out for this individual.  When she does get caught, the price she pays will be a double whammy, she will do time behind bars, but the worst penalty will be the withdrawals she will suffer not being able to feed her addiction.  For the rest of us, the best is yet to come……………..

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Life Well Lived

I still remember like if it was yesterday, how incredibly nice and empowering it is to
be young and have things going your way.  I was in my early twenties starting a family studying and held a job in mid management.  Among my passions, I lived for driving my muscle cars which I upgraded on average every 18 months.

Looking back from a fiscal point of view, I could be a very wealthy person if only I had taken a different tactic to fiscal responsibility.  As it is I am working on my third million!  I forgot to mention that I gave up on the first and second (LOL)!  No regrets, the lord took care of me despite my shortcomings.  At the same time, I harken back to all the wonderful times that I experienced being amongst the first handful of people in my city to drive the first of the new muscle cars for new year model.  Imagine driving the new models such as: 1967 Cadillac Coupe de Ville, 1968 Plymouth Road Runner, 1969 American Motors AMX, 1970 Dodge Charger, 1971 Dodge Challenger, etc.

All during this time I maintained a normal everyday work car (at different times), such as a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air, 1956 Ford Victoria, 1958 Chevrolet Nomad Station Wagon.  In looking back, I cringe at the very thought of referring to these gorgeous classics as “everyday work car.”

I started out thinking Cadillac was going to be the level of class that I aspired to, but I quickly learned that it made me appear older than my age so I change direction and went to muscle cars. Gasoline prices being what they were during the era of the muscle cars, I still caught myself stopping at gas stations and asking for a couple of dollars’ worth of gas and check the oil please.  

The other passion that rivaled my passion for powerful and very exciting cars (looks and power), was my love/passion for music systems.  Top of the line 8-track stereo system with 4 speakers (my AMX had a 7 speaker system) surround sound.  That my friends was the life.

Full disclosure:  I wasn’t the kind of person that had all his money invested in cars, the house had to be nice and nicely furnished because as important as my car passion was, the family was even more important.  The best is yet to come……..

Friday, May 6, 2016

Many Years Ago

Many Years Ago

Many, many, many years ago in what now seems like a Galaxy far, far away, exactly on this date I married the most beautiful young lady after only knowing her for two weeks.  If love at first sight ever applied this was the perfect proof of it.  Better yet, after all these years, four beautiful children and presently four gorgeous grandchildren I love her even more today than yesterday.

I’ve said in many previous posts that I am blessed beyond what any one person deserves, and she is the foundation of all my blessings.

One of the best things that I can wish on anyone is to live in a relationship like ours.  Our life hasn’t been without it’s peaks and valleys, but our relationship has always been powerfully strong and healthy.  I’ve always known that someone had my back and that someone was my sweetheart.

I can best tell her of my love for her by sharing with anyone that will take the time to read or listen of my love and devotion for her.  I wish you all love and good fortune!  The best is yet to come………

Life of Leisure

Life of Leisure

This morning while driving the first of my two granddaughters to school (which I do strictly of my own volition).  We engaged in conversation as we always do, except that this time it took a very different direction.  Our typical conversation is about the weather, upcoming events at her school or in the family.  This morning she started off by saying that she really didn’t feel like going to school.  My response was that there are many things, I would rather not do.  Some of those “things” have some flexibility where I can decide to do or not to do, and some that I have a commitment to and must do.

Of the two granddaughters that I drive to school, one is 10 years old and the other is 6.  The granddaughter that sparked the conversation and this Blog post is the 10-year-old.  Her response to me was (innocently), “you are so lucky that you can just go home and do nothing or only what you want to do.”  Before I continue, I want to make sure that we all have the same definition of Leisure.



  1. freedom from the demands of work or duty: She looked forward to retirement and a life of leisure.
  2. time free from the demands of work or duty, when one can rest, enjoy hobbies or sports, etc.:
  3. Most evenings he had the leisure in which to follow his interests.
  4. unhurried ease: a work written with leisure and grace.

I retired early with a comfortable pension to avoid unnecessary work stress, and hopefully maintain a life of leisure and in great health (so far so good on only one of those two goals, health).  The leisure part I have yet to realize.
It was so much easier to schedule a day or even half day away from work to play golf or go fishing, than it is to take time away from my granddaughters and grandson.  I am not complaining and the difficulty in getting away is my sense of responsibility to them (the children) not to their parents.

I presently take my two granddaughters to school in two different but adjoining cities (thankfully different start times to accommodate the travel time).  I also pick them up at end of school day.

The last time that I took a vacation out of State by myself the grandkids cried and missed me so much that I couldn’t really enjoy my time away.  I felt a deep guilt as if I had abandoned them.  Fortunately, this year’s vacation is all about them and will include a stop to visit the happiest place in the world (Disney).

I explained to my 10-year-old granddaughter that I officially started working at age 12 (I was raised on the farm) following the end of the school year.  Keep in mind that the first six or so years where Summer jobs.  Nonetheless I logged a total of 50 years in the work force.  My explanation was meant to justify what she perceived as being my life of leisure.  The best is yet to come………

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Family Record

A Family Record

  • A growing number of people have decided to write a life story, autobiography, memoir or personal history. And more are thinking about it. But writing my life story was not a decision I arrived at overnight. Most of us don’t suddenly have an epiphany that our stories must be told. However, once you conclude it is important to preserve your story you are faced with a host of questions, such as how to get started, what the finished product will be, how much will it cost and who will do the work. ~ Tom Gilbert
One of my sons gave me an Apple iPad five years ago but not without a condition.  I was supposed to use it to write my life story.  My excuse had been that I didn’t spend enough time near a computer and I didn’t like working on a laptop (for whatever reason I hate the keyboard on a laptop).  My son explained and proved to me that my laptop keyboard is regulation size, comparable to my desktop keyboard.  However once my mind is made up I won’t be swayed.

Surprisingly enough, the iPad became an extension of my body, and I would write everywhere and anywhere, especially at bedtime for two to three hours.  I’ve written enough material for two books, and I hear that, it could be a good thing. 
My wife has pretty much convinced me to write two or three smaller books instead of one large one that even family members would be intimidated by.  Some family members have been given the opportunity to read a chapter here and there.  Even those closest to me are amazed at the depth of my life history and the history of my parents and grandparents.  I’ve had some of my own children say that they didn’t know as much about me and the family as they thought they knew.

Writing a book (biography) is very important for family value and sake.  Your life history as told from the first person perspective is something that no one else will be able to do once we (you become feeble - incapacitated).  You may think you don’t have the writing skills, but there are many people like me that would help you, and others that do it for money.

Your book doesn’t have to be a best seller quality.  To your family it could be as valuable as any legacy you can leave.  Even if your book ended up being more like a journal or short story.  Imagine a great grandchild getting his or her hands on your works many, many years down the road.  With today’s internet, you can even self-publish if you felt that a publishing company wouldn’t be interested in your project.  Keep in mind that you only need enough copies for your family, unless you feel that your book might have a wider reaching public interest. The best is yet to come……