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Winston

  1. Shot Across the Bow

    Our good buddies in The Hermit Kingdom decided recently to pop their heads up. They want to play a game of Whack-A-Mole. This should be fun...

    Some DPRK Army genius thought it would be good sport to hack Sony corporate intellectual property. Just some pedestrian theft and vandalism. When we in the United States called them on this, they retort with, "You best let this go, or we're gonna go all 9/11 on your butt". Wrong answer.

    Yesterday, North Korea mysteriously ...
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  2. How To Be a Pedestrian (21st Century Edition)

    So, you're walking the city streets... congratulations! Because of you're selfless, well thought out lifestyle choice, you are now part of the larger community saving the planet, one step at a time! You also now have more disposable money left to buy trendy, yet unfashionable clothing AND occupy the moral high-ground with your friends (unless they ride a bicycle).

    After a well exhausted round of patting yourself on the back, take a deep breath. Know now that walking in the modern ...
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  3. Old Soldiers, Hidden Wounds

    Looking at the guy, I'd have never guessed he was a hero.

    I'd worked for the customer before. He's sixty-something, graying, average build and demeanor. He was baking fruitcake when I arrived yesterday (kid you not). His modest house is always neat and orderly, like you'd expect of many veterans. I don't chit-chat much with my customers generally. I'm there to work, not be their new BFF.

    Well, I kinda wish I did. I don't "oogle" my customer's possessions, ...
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  4. Let's Be Fair

    I took the family to our local big Fair and Expo, called The Puyallup Fair. I wasn't too excited to go, but I'm glad I did.
    Fairs today are expensive. I'm as stingy as they come, so that's a problem for me. There is SOOOOOOOO much stuff to blow your cash on. We mainly limited our spending to rides and food. Although my wife picked-up a couple of nifty kitchen whisks, and the kids got fancy iPod earbuds (Kevlar, titanium or something'). I wanted some of the freeze-dried strawberries or ...
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  5. Marine Corpse

    Let's start with a free ProTip: It's the U.S. Marine Corps (phonetically "core", not "corpse"). This applies to the brave little squids that patch us up, Corpsman. After their level of care, a Jarhead may feel like a corpse, but that's just the passing weakness (pain) leaving the body. Digression off...

    In "my day", we had the age-old debate comparing the "old Corps" and the "new Corps". It's about as philosophical as your average ...
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  6. Uncomfortably Numb

    We had a fairly regular routine on Sunday mornings. We'd all sleep-in a bit, go to church and see my father after services.

    It's Sunday morning, and I'm just sitting here. My father is gone. My doctrine / religious philosophy has taught me that unless a man is "saved", he will not go to Heaven. My father was many things, but he was never a "saved" man. It's a long story, involving a religion / cult called Jehovah's Witnesses, but he was turned from God.
    ...
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  7. At Your Service

    As someone who performs in-home service for a living, here are some helpful suggestions to make our experience much, much more enjoyable.
    (Note: I wish I was making this stuff up.)

    If your house doesn't have a number on it, please tell us. We can eventually figure out which one is yours. But your neighbors get weired-out when we wander out front.
    Also, if your house is not visible from the street, let us know. The alley access you always use may be obvious to you, but ...
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  8. What to Remember, What to Decorate

    Today is Memorial Day, or what used to be called Decoration Day. The idea was to commemorate those that have sacrificed, limb and life, in defence of our freedoms. Many (including the media and politicians) confuse today with Veteran's Day. I am a Veteran, but I did not suffer a traumatic injury in my service. And, obviously, I am not dead. This is not my day. It is the day we remember those that gave everything they had, and paid the highest price possible. I, for one, am grateful for every ...
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  9. (Hashtag) Bring Back Our Cajones

    The only thing worse than doing nothing, is doing something ineffective.

    The U.S. is sending some "special group" of advisers, law enforcement and and few military personnel to Nigeria. The idea is that this is some kind of rescue or hostage negotiation. People with a certain world view and ideology too often misdiagnose diseases like this, and propose the wrong cure.

    They were wrong in 1950. The "police action" in Korea has turned into a sixty four ...
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  10. Heroes and Cowards

    I've been blessed with great role models. At my dad's garage, one of the mechanics served in Italy during WWII. He was of Italian descent, and the Army used him to translate for the Italian prisoners. "Pete" was a tough, often profane man with a heart of gold. I'm sure he saw some real nasty stuff during the advance up "The Boot". He didn't talk about it much. 'Cept his bragging about conquests involving the Italian ladies.
    "Bob" was a Korean War vet. He ...
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  11. Carrot / Stick / Love

    As an aficionado of history, I often ponder the words of those that have set our world ablaze in the past.

    Many are familiar with Martin Luther King, Jr. Yet many are unaware of this quote of his:“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his

    ...
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  12. Chemistry

    My daughter has a boyfriend.
    I took him out shooting, talked about my time in The Marines, and inferred a nasty anger management issue that randomly surfaces. I think we have an understanding.

    He's a good kid, maybe too good. So I have trust problem. It's just that everyone I knew at that age made Jeff Spicoli look like a choir boy. Of course, most of my old friends have done time, and some are dead. Yada yada yada.

    Anyway, my daughter met "Kurt" in ...
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  13. SochiS So What?

    Someone call Bill Murray and and Andie McDowell. I keep waking up and it's 1936.

    The world is shakily recovering from a global economic crisis. Madmen are running wild across the globe killing with abandon. The 'sleeping giant' US spends more resources navel gazing than promoting democracy. And, then there's that Olympic distraction.

    Vlad Putin just doesn't have that swagger that the German Chancellor had back in '36. Of course, he has the same delusions of grandeur ...
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  14. Bean Sprouts, Real Grass, Fake Grass

    I don't cook much, but I make a wicked good Yakisoba.

    Like most cooking, the key is fresh ingredients. Finding decent carrots and pea pods, not a problem. Canned water chestnuts, eh, that works. And I can cook and marinate ANY meat and make it succulent. Our local squirrels run at my approach.
    The lynch-pin has turned out to be bean sprouts. The quality doesn't seem to vary much, it's the simple availability. It turns out some idiot(s) didn't clean them or cook them properly ...
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  15. Expecting The Worst

    We live in a time of diminished expectations.

    There is so much bad, even evil behavior out there. Perhaps it's understandable that there are so many apologists for the miscreants. I think it's a form of burn-out. People are just too tired to even attempt to be morally indignant... even when they should be.

    We only react when we see the very worst in our fellow man. Then, we can say with certainty: "Now, that's bad." Yet, most felons don't start out with a ...
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  16. It's Not About You, Princess

    Does the way something is done even matter anymore? Are we all so focused on results that the dirty details are so distasteful that we leave it to others?

    The current momentum in modern politics does support this sad trend. If you can temporarily forget "your guy" is in charge, does it bode well for democracy when decisions that affect us all are decided by Executive fiat? The U.S. Presidency has become Imperial in nature. Congress is only consulted when it's politically ...
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  17. Gun Crazy

    Is it time to panic yet?

    Maybe someone pulled the handle and I missed the alarm. Yet, I see the societal meltdown in progress. It's ugly, yet fascinating to watch.

    Demand for anything gun related has skyrocketed. This morning, a newscaster told us that there are nearly one million AR-15 / M-16 magazines on back-order. I've done a bit of research, and it turns out that most semi-automatic pistols and rifles have doubled and tripled in price in the last two months. That ...
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  18. Old Friends Return, New Friends Appear

    Ron was gone for five weeks. During Ron's absence, his brother John ran the 7-11 where I gas up every morning . John's a decent enough guy, but I did find myself missing Ron. You see, Ron is one of the hardest working people I know. We have short conversations. I need to get on the road before traffic gets bad. Meanwhile, he keeps one eye on the young, disheveled guy that just walked straight to the back. Still, he deserved the time with his family back in India, and I'm glad he could go home ...
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  19. More Than Winning

    Even though I'm in Washington State now, I've stayed a loyal San Francisco Giants fan (that's a Baseball, or Beisbol, team).
    Yes, they just won the World Series. Yes, I'm happy as hec about it. Yet, in retrospect, I find that cliché' really is a fact: It's not the destination, it's the journey.

    I loved watching those guys play ball this year. They were having fun, and really enjoyed being there. Each team member supported the other. There wasn't animosity, grand standing ...
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  20. Tut, Tut, And All That Glitters

    I am now convinced that people will complain about anything. And yes, I'm complaining about people that complain. Hypocrite, guilty as charged.

    Still, I try to at least reserve my complaining for things that really suck. Y'know, rain on a Saturday. Or bad Chinese food. Or any Madonna album. Y'get the idea.

    What I don't get is some of the trash talk I hear about the King Tutankhamen exhibit here in Seattle. I saw it last weekend with my family. It was just short ...
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  21. New Dragon is a Toothless Lizard

    Have you heard? China now has an aircraft carrier!
    (cue menacing theme music here)

    There are many reasons to distrust, or even fear the government of China. Their new carrier is not one of them.

    Their single carrier, the Liaoning, is not what what you may think it is. It is not ready. China has NO experience with naval aviation. Carriers are the center of modern naval battle groups, and China needs to figure out how to deploy their new toy. Carriers are very ...
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  22. Saturday Afternoon Monsters

    My dad loved the old cheesy horror and sc-fi movies. We’d watch them on a San Francisco based show called "Creature Features." The host, Bob Wilkins, wore those creepy oversized 70’s glasses while smoking a cigar. Bob would intro the show, then it was off to loony land.

    Oh, good Lord, those shows were bad. There was no ILM back in those days, and George Lucas was still figuring out that girls did not in fact have cooties. Cheap pyrotechnics, poorly constructed models ...
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  23. Quality Control Engineer in da 'Hood

    In my travels, I note the interesting circumstances and situations my customers put themselves in. The U.S. is generally a self-segregating society; we have no formal "classes" so to speak. Sure, the media and those with a political agenda try to draw lines where they don't exist. I still see a country where there is horizontal and vertical movement along the economic continuum. There are lines, but they are always blurry and often moving. We are not a static society.

    ...
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  24. Not Camp Granada

    A couple of years back, my sisters and their kids were up for their regular visit. We decided it’d be fun to go to a nearby campground this time. We could hang out, roast marshmallows, etc. My family had been to that campground before for day activities, and it seemed like a pleasant spot to relax for an evening.

    For the most part, the informal overnighter went off well. I knew that most campgrounds require "quiet time" after 10PM. I warned my new-camper relatives, and ...
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  25. My Vote: No Crying in Baseball

    I enjoyed the All Star Game last week. Fans vote for the best players in Baseball to compete and show off their skills; It's fun to watch. I especially liked the fact that my San Francisco Giants players, representing the National League, clobbered their American League counterparts. Boo-ya!

    What I didn't like was the repeated references by the sportscasters covering the game. Numerous times, the talking heads complained that the SF Giants fans had "stuffed the ballot box" ...
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