Saturday, 10 May 2008

Men, Real Men, Real Honky Tonk Men, & Otherwise

You will notice off my list of magazines to read.....I did leave Esquire off the list. Frankly, its hard for me to get into Esquire....I believe its for a certain type of guy....just not me (normally). This month's issue features an interesting article (not that I would normally read Esquire, you know). There are 75 skills that every man should have....or at least in Esquire's opinion. I was open....I read it.

Frankly, some of these skills are precisely what I have today. Yes....I can tell someone advice that matters in one sentence, if necessary. Yes....I can tell if someone is lying. Yes.....I can name a book that matters (you just won't read it though). Yes.....I can write a letter or even a blog. Yes.....I can calculate square footage. Yes.....I can shuffle a deck of cards and jump-start a car if necessary.

But then the skills got tough. No....cooking something like meat on something besides the grill.....why? Tell a woman her dress size.....doesn't she know already? Explain a light year.....I don't intend to travel in such a manner that requires a description. Know some bird types....sure....ok....chicken and turkey (turkey is better for a sandwich, I know). Negotiate a better price...if the guy put up a sign for $99....I'm assuming he is pretty sure about the price. Chop down a tree? Well...a chain saw is alot faster.

These skills that Esquire wrote up....just aren't on my list. My important skills would include (1) knowing the in's and out's of septic tank replacement, (2) making perfect ice tea, (3) slicing damn thin lemon slices for my ice tea, (4) setting the timing on a 1974 Chevy pick-up, (4) Grilling six different meats (including Ostrich) on the grill at one time, (5) knowing how to speak very very very low to the lady in the tube top at Dairy Queen so she has to lean over the counter, and (6) knowing how to evacuate New Orleans if a hurricane is forecasted. These are remarkable skills to have....and guys ought to learn them.

It Ought to Be a Joke, But Its Not

For those who've never noticed...all government buildings have florescent lights. They are usually the two foot version or the four foot version. In the typical 15 by 15 foot room, there are at least twelve of these four foot bulbs in the ceiling. To be quiet honest, everyone likes the lighting but they can't stand changing the bulbs or the starters that go with them. There is mortal fear that as you "twist" the bulb...it'll shatter. In a typical year across a base....there will at least two dozen incidents where the guy unscrewing the bulb will suddenly find the bulb shattering in his hands....because it was tough to twist or it just wouldn't twist all the way. So folks let burnt bulbs sit there....for weeks and months and even years.

This week....at some base in the Air Force....this email came out:

From: (Building Manager) Civ USAF AFMC 753 ELSG/OM
Sent: Thursday, May 08, 2008 12:24 PM
To: 753 ELSG Bldg 1607 Occupants
Subject: New Burnt-out Bulb Replacement Program

The IAP (Replaced Del-Jen) Civil Engineering Contract does not provide for burnt-out bulb replacement and it is considered an “Occupant” responsibility for all lights at 10 feet and below. Our ceilings are 9 feet. IAP will replace bulbs in stairwells.

If you have any burnt-out fluorescent bulbs that need to be replaced, we have made a cart that has a ladder, safety goggles, and a supply of new straight and curved fluorescent bulbs. It also has separate boxes to place the burnt-out bulbs in.

It will be located in the Demo Room lobby.

It is recommended that you form a team of three. Bulb replacer, ladder holder, and bulb handler to give and take new and used bulbs. Safety goggles are provided and must be worn.

The lack of volunteers necessitates this new approach.

Call (the building manager) at x3-6718 if you have any questions.


It is truly a fascinating E-mail. So to take out a stupid bulb....it takes three Air Force personnel. Using the old joke....it would have taken five Polish guys....but then maybe the three Air Force guys are a bit smarter. Sadly, they are not.

After twenty-two years in the military...I retired to become a systems contractor for the Air Force, and work in a vault...with lots of florescent bulbs. As indicated in this E-mail that they sent out.....none of the airman or NCOs I work with are volunteers to ever replace the bulbs.

But here in this case.....I would not want them to (try twisting a four-foot florescent bulb). I open the fixture and with a time-tested method of twisting the bulb... I remove the bulb. I've never broken a bulb in my life. It takes me 60 seconds to switch out a bulb. If I went around looking for volunteers, then searching for safety gear, and conducting the proper removal...I’d spend 30 minutes per bulb. Maybe I should rent myself out....just to change bulbs for the Air Force....but then I'd have to actually get paid REAL money and they wouldn't like that.

Burma

I'm really the last guy around who wants to use the term Myanmar for Burma. It doesn't work.

In recent days, the Junta of the country....who really run everything....have probably made themselves look as foolish as they possibly can. They don't care. They don't ever leave the country....and if they do...its strictly to run out to Hong Kong or Malaysia for a weekend. The country has no industry and makes almost no money. Tourism is non-existent. Nothing really matters. Folks have been talking about this for twenty years and the UN never grasped that this is a serious situation.

So close to a 100,000 folks are dead in Burma. And within a month....there could be another 100,000 dead from starvation or disease. By August....maybe even another hundred thousand. It doesn't matter.

So the UN will sit there and argue and argue and argue....while people die. You can't force help upon these idiots. Even the US Air Force is debating just dropping tons and tons of food and water to the affected areas....to avoid landing there. They aren't worried about being shot down because Burma doesn't even have the ability to defend their air space.

Code Pink Black Magic


Out in the real world....out past Ripley, Red Bay, and Iuka....there is Berkeley, CA. For a number of months there....in this one-horse town....the Marine recruiting station has been confronted by Code Pink.

For those from Iuka, who haven't heard of Code Pink....they are a bunch of liberal wussies....usually dressed in pink, very anti-Bush, anti-war, anti-this, anti-that. They confronted the Marines at the downtown recruiting facility using just about every tactic possible.

This week.....they started using black magic. They even admit it in public. They took to wearing the witches black hats and reciting incantations (although we can't confirm if these are Harry Potter-authorized or just random made up incantations). The Marine captain in charge of the station says it really hasn't fazed him much. He hasn't grown a tail yet or found a dragon out in his front yard.

I was sitting there and pondering the situation....thinking that these Code Pink folks need to feel reality....which a voodoo doll might give. If the Marine captain was smart....he'd get a couple of these and position them in the front window of the recruiting station. The Code Pink crowd might get a bit disturbed over that, but then they may have earned a minute or two of voodoo.