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Monday, August 31, 2015

YOU CAN TEACH ON OLD CRANKY NEW RIFFS


YOU CAN TEACH ON OLD CRANKY NEW RIFFS

It’s been almost a year since I started to learn to play guitar…again.  I first bought a guitar about 100 years ago.  With three kids, and a crappy job, I didn’t have enough time or money to play golf, so I tried guitar.  It turned out I didn’t have enough time to teach myself guitar either.

I learned a whole bunch of chords and could actually change seamlessly to three or four of them.  I strummed with whatever rhythm seemed to work, but I could never have kept proper time playing with anyone else. 

I quit, but I kept the guitar, a relatively inexpensive Yamaha.

Last year I pulled that Yamaha out and started to try again.  As I am retired without children at home, I now have time for golf and guitar, with time for a nap left over. 

With the extra time to practice and with the help of the internet for new songs, lessons and exercises my play is actually getting pretty good.  Not play for money good, or even play for friends good, but good enough to play for myself without getting completely frustrated, and good enough to reward myself by purchasing a new low end Martin guitar.

I can now strum a bunch of songs, finger pick a bunch more, and pick out a few “Boom-chick-a-boom” bluegrass favorites.  The biggest mistake I have made is singing while I play.  I once heard that it is very difficult to play and sing so I tried for the hell of it.  Well I can play and sing along, problem is I have a terrible voice and only sound in tune to my ear…others not so much.  So I tried to just play and not sing along.  It turns out that once you learn a song by singing along, it is impossible to just play and keep your mouth shut.

Now I am trying to learn to play just instrumental only.  Of course that requires throwing in a few melody notes while strumming and during chord changes.  I find that to be very difficult, but what the hell, I’ve got plenty of time to work on it.

That is the progress on the guitar so far.  If anyone expects a video or audio sample of what I have accomplished, it is not going to happen.  I have promised myself that if I can keep up the progress, I will buy myself a new very pretty very expensive Martin Guitar for my 70th birthday next year. 

I will post a picture…the one I’ve picked out is a beauty!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

JUST ASK! - a cranky re-run

JUST ASK!
This cranky re-run is from August 2013


Here is some cranky advice to women that will not be followed, but…what the heck.


Ladies, if you want your man to do something, JUST ASK!


I know; your man should know to do stuff and you shouldn’t have to ask.  Well he doesn’t and you do.  The sooner you learn that, the happier your relationship will be.


Women…do not let shit pile up and expect your man to notice and step in to clean up the mess.  I know, I know…you shouldn’t have to ask…


AH,   BUT   YOU   DO!     


Follow my cranky advice and instead of this:


“How can you just walk past that mess day after day and not lift a finger to clean it up?  Why do I have to do everything?”


“I don’t know, (man instinctually goes on the defensive) I didn’t notice.”


“How could you not notice?  It smells, and you can’t use the sink!”


“I don’t smell anything and I don’t use the sink.”


You will have this:


“Honey, I have stuff to do upstairs, would you be a love and clean up the kitchen?”


“Oh, sure, no problem.”


It is that simple ladies…you need to ask.  Then when he does as you ask, give him a treat.  Men are dogs.  Treat them like dogs.  You don’t expect a dog to just fetch the paper, you have to ask… “Fido, FETCH!” When he brings you the paper you scratch him behind the ears and tell him “Good boy.”


I hear you… “But I shouldn’t have to tell him!”


Once again:  AH,   BUT   YOU   DO!     


If you want to fight and get pissed off in that holier-than-thou way all the time, wait for a man to notice something and then step in and fix it.


If you want things to get done, ask in that women’s way of telling and then reward the good behavior. 


It is very simple;


Ask…reward.  After several years you may not even have to ask.


And by reward I mean SEX.

Friday, August 28, 2015

VIET NAM


VIET NAM

Of all the boondoggles and messes this country has ever gotten into, the Viet Nam War was the worst.  The polarization in politics we experience today is a bi-product of the Viet Nam War.  Nothing has ever divided this country like this misguided war.

Before Viet Nam, Republicans and Democrats were never that far apart in their policies.  The two parties actually talked to each other and worked together.  There used to be something called compromise.  Today, when one party calls for a bi-partisan agreement they really just mean “Vote with us.”

Before Viet Nam, we used to believe our leaders.  We thought they knew best.  If our leaders said we needed to risk our life in a country we never heard of to prevent a whole bunch of countries from turning communist and ultimately challenging our freedom, then by gum we fought.

When we watched the six o’clock news and saw the horrors and results of war, and when we watched our men come home in body bags, a lot of people, especially those of us who might have to go and fight, started to question our reasons for that war.

I know I did not want to go and fight in the rice paddies of a country I had never heard of.  Maybe if these people had blown up the Empire State Building and threatened us at home I could have understood the need to risk my life.  They didn’t threaten us directly, and I didn’t see the need to risk my life.

As I approached college graduation and the end to my draft deferment I began to disagree with the need to fight this war more and more.  I was not in the minority.  Many kids my age went on to graduate school to extend their deferment. I was not graduate school material, hell I barely graduated from college.

Not wanting to be drafted I signed up to be a pilot in the Air Force.  I took all the tests and then was told I didn’t qualify as I was too heavy for my height.  That surprised me as I was 5’ 10” and 190 pounds.  Except for a small blip of a beer belly, I was a brick.  Looking back, I think the recruiter was being nice and I had probably failed the mental tests, not the physical tests.  I’m sure they were right; I doubt I had the right stuff to fly a jet plane.

I have to laugh when I think back a few years to the litmus test of armed service during this time, that all politicians had to pass. 

Clinton was called a draft dodger for being a Rhodes Scholar.  Bush was lambasted for having daddy get him into the National Guard and fly planes not destined for Viet Nam.  Al Gore went as a photographer, John Kerry fought in a scary boat but some say he copped out early.

Hell, it is all bull shit.  It was not the least bit uncommon for people to try to get out of the draft or avoid going to that war somehow.  People fled to Canada.  People claimed conscientious objector status.  People knocked up their wives and girl friends.  I had a friend who had slightly elevated blood pressure; he drank gallons of beer and ate pounds of salty pretzels the night before his draft physical.  He was deferred 1Y for blood pressure that was through the roof.  Guys with bad knees were playing in the NFL, but got the 1Y deferment.

Me?  When I washed out from the Air Force, I joined the ranks of the “How the hell do I get a deferment” majority of my age.  I told the draft doctors of bone chips in my neck from a football injury.  X-rays confirmed the issue and I was 1Y.

I did need a C6 laminectomy to restore feeling on my left side 15 years later, so the deferment was not total bull, but…

I could have served.  I could have not mentioned the injury…I didn’t tell the Air Force and they never saw it.  In effect I was a draft dodger.  Fortunately I never ran for President.

Anyway I am not ashamed.  It was a stupid war.  Over fifty thousand young men died for no reason.  The war divided our country and taught us to not trust our leaders.  We still have not recovered from the trauma of that mistake. 

I often wonder if JFK was not murdered, would he have gracefully deescalated our presence.  Lyndon Johnson sure didn’t.  He made up some bull-shit Gulf of Tonkin incident, sent in the troops, divided the country, and we have never been the same.