Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Off We Go, Into The Wild Blue Yonder......

The never ending saga of my knees continues.

Yesterday while going to other doctor's appointments my left knee decided that it had enough of this foolishness and sorta "seized" up. I can't remember anything else that EVER hurt quite so much as my knee did at that moment. Once I got my wits back about me, I went home and did the typical ice bags and tens unit for a few hours.

Today, I went to my ortho doc and had them checked out. It was a good news/ bad news kind of thing. He told me that my left knee all in all looked "O.K." but my right knee looked to be bone on bone, so it looks like I might be having replacement surgery. He wants to try a type of "lubricant" on it first. He needs to check and see if my insurance will cover the cost first. According to him, the treatment will be around $1200.

But in the meantime, he figured that we should try to do something for my pain, so he wrote me another prescription and got out the steroids.

For those of you who have never had steroid shots in the knees, what a delight it is! The medico takes a needle that would not be out of place in the ass of a rhino after being put there by Marlin Perkins, fills it with a thick white fluid and plunges it into a area that you would swear that it wouldn't fit. NOT the most fun that I have ever had with my pants off, I must say.

It did reduce the pain from sharp stab to dull ache so I guess it helped.

So there I was, after all these fun and games, sitting in the Wal-mart parking lot waiting for the good wife to do some shopping. Today here in North Carolina it was a gorgeous day, brilliantly blue sky, with the occasional fluffy cotton candy like clouds. I had the windows down in the car to catch the breeze and was listening to my favorite rock station when I heard a sorta "growling roar" up in the sky. Now I had heard that noise before but couldn't place it. I looked up and saw a beautifully restored P-51 Mustang flying over. The noise was the sound of the Mustang's engine which I had heard on multiple documentaries of WWII. I will tell you this, the recordings don't do justice to the real thing. There is no mistaking that sound. The pilot circled around then headed north-west. I can see why they named it the Mustang. It seemed to be moving around effortlessly in the sky, but it also seemed that it was patiently waiting to cut loose, like a guard dog leaning on it's chain hoping a link would break. You could say that it was like a thoroughbred horse. That seeing it, you just knew that it would win the race. Just looking at it, it transported me in my mind up into the cockpit with that lucky pilot, handling the controls, scanning the sky feeling the power that he controlled. The sun glinting off of the polished metal that went into it's construction. It was as the Japanese would say, a poem in motion. I thought "Now, THAT is a nice way to take my mind off my troubles" The P-51 flew off and left me alone with my thoughts.

Later, as we were heading home, that same P-51 flew over the interstate on it's way to making a landing at our local airport. When I got home and skimmed the newspaper, I saw that both the Mustang and a restored B-17 bomber were at the airport for a small show in tribute to the vets of WWII.

Maybe I can head over there tomorrow and check it out.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Safe And Sound At Home Again, Let the Waters Roar, Jack....

I got back late last night from a two day trip to New Bern NC where I did 1812 sailor with my shipmates from the Carolina Living History Guild. This should be my last event for a bit, so I can focus on getting my knees squared away, repair and refit on my medical kit, and at least 100 other things that I have been putting off. I must admit I am looking forward to not being on the road so much, it does take it out of you and begins to be a job, not a pleasure. I will do a recap on the events I have been at in a bit, but first, here's today in history....

On this day in,

1881 The gun fight at the O.K. Corral took place. Final score Earps 3, McLaureys/Clantons 0

1967 John McCain was shot down on a bombing mission over North Vietnam leading to 5 1/2 years in a prison camp.

1978 The UN's World Health Organization declared the eradication of Smallpox worldwide. (The last naturally occurring case was in Somalia that year.)

O.K. then, to my events. I started out with a small French and Indian War event at Ft. Dobbs State historic site in Statesville NC. on October 4th and 5th. Ft. Dobbs is a very small site but one that has a great deal of potential. It is the only F&I site in North Carolina and I didn't mind supporting their effort. There is a great deal of talk about the state rebuilding the fort's buildings so this would be a big deal for the state and area. I spoke to a good number of people and had a pretty good time. The one thing I did discover is that sun block expires. I had no earthly idea that stuff like that went bad. Well, I discovered that it did after sitting out in the sun all weekend and having my nose almost fall off due to a nasty sunburn.

The following weekend, October 11th and 12th The Detached Hospital spent the weekend at Williamsburg taking part in the Prelude to Victory program. We did our normal show and every one seemed to have a good time.

The next event was the Battle of the Hook in Gloucester VA. Staged on the weekend of October 18th and 19th. This was a reenactment type event and had according to the event bean counters close to 1000 participants.

Then this past Friday and Saturday, I was in New Bern NC. This event was a bit out of the norm for me. It was more like community theater than historical interpretation. I portrayed a 1812 privateer in a skit for a Halloween ghost walk. I wouldn't normally do something like this, but it was in a good cause, since this program is the only fund raiser for the local historical society. Plus it was helping out my messmates in the Guild. After spending two days with Chris, Andrew, Ken and his lovely wife Pam, eating the great food Ken cooked for us, I promoted them all to my mess mates. You may have seen me referring to these folks as shipmates, well mess mates are even closer. As the old saying went,

A mess mate before a ship mate,
A ship mate before a stranger,
A stranger before a dog,
A dog before a soldier........

I am both very proud of and very pleased with all the folks that I associate with in living history. I don't think I could find a finer bunch of folks in all the world to hang around with and call my friends. I am already looking forward to the coming year and campaign season. But in the mean time, my focus is going to be fix me and all my stuff...........

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Street Fighting Man........,

Thanks to some of the other blogs I follow, I was reminded that on this day in 1956 the people of Hungary stood up and said that they were free men and women and would not be slaves to the communist and the Soviet Union any longer. With home made bombs, stolen rifles, rocks, and their bare hands they managed to take control of various parts of their country and caused the Russians to retreat. Even the Hungarian military and police forces who would have profited from following the party line, for the most part took up arms to defend their fellow countrymen against their communist masters.

Of course, the rebellion couldn't last or survive long. The west could not or would not support the rebels and the Soviet Union couldn't have a puppet nation show any independence, so within a few weeks they sent in overwhelming forces and crushed the rebellion. Jailing and executing the leaders.

I am sure that everyone that took part in the fight knew that it wouldn't be pretty if they lost, but they still stood up and said "enough" and fought for the freedom that had been taken away from them.

I hope that will serve as the epitaph of all mankind. That when liberty and freedom are threatened, no matter the odds, someone will stand up with as little as a rock in their hand and say "No" to the powers that try to enslave them.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Heart of Oak Are Our Ships...........

I got in from VA late yesterday, a little road worn and tired, but not too tired to toss down a wee bit of rum to commemorate the 203rd anniversary of the battle of Trafalgar and the death of Nelson. As was noted on one of list that I belong to, Nelson was:

"He may have been a weaselly little hypochondriac adulterer with one arm and
virtually one eye who ruthlessly promoted himself, was permanently seasick at
sea, and was lucky to get away with self-serving insubordination, but he was an
incomparable leader of men and the finest example of a fighting admiral in the
great age of sail."

Perhaps the fact that he died at the moment of his greatest triumph made him seem more glorious than he deserved, but with all his faults it appears that he was graced with that touch of genius that made him the greatest admiral of the age of fighting sail.

May he rest in peace....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hey Ridley, Ya got any Beeman's?

Man, it's been busy. The weekend before last went to Statesville NC for a French and Indian War event, this past weekend Colonial Williamsburg for a Rev War event. This week, qualification on the pistol range with my old department and this coming weekend the Battle of the Hook near Yorktown Va. Sorta reminds me of the lyrics to a old Charlie Daniels song,

"I had them all out there steppin and fetchin
Like their heads was on fire and their asses was catchin"

I will catch up on all that has been going on later, but I did want to take a moment to mark a date in history. Today, October 14th 1947, Captain Charles "Chuck" Yeager while flying the X-1 rocket plane broke the sound barrier. If you didn't see it, the movie "The Right Stuff" covers the event. I don't know how historically accurate the film is, but it SHOULD have happened like this. -GRIN-


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Hooray for Hollywood........

If you are bored, take this quiz........


Hard to believe, but I came back as John Wayne. Of course it didn't hurt my feeling either. -grin-

Thursday, October 2, 2008

We're In The Money.....

The Senate passed the bail out bill last night.

I guess Will Rogers said it best:

"American is the only country in the world where we will ride to the poorhouse in a Cadillac."


"The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets."


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Since Cromwell Pushed us Westward, To Live Our Lowly Lives

Day two on the pistol range has come and gone. Every one seems to be doing well. More bullets in the targets than out of them so things are good so far. When I got home this afternoon, I poured myself a drink and flipped on the tube and check out the latest gnashing of teeth and rending of hair from Washington.

Folks, I have seen much more organization, leadership and sense of purpose in a shit fight in the monkey cage at the zoo than I have seen coming out of the Senate and Congress in the past little little bit.

What we need is someone to speak with the words of Oliver Cromwell to the nabobs in Washington.

Here's today's very short, Reader's Digest history lesson, boys and girls.

In the early 1640's Charles I, King of England and the English Parliament were at loggerheads over money and power. The King believed in absolute authority of the monarch since in his belief the King was appointed by God to rule over the nation. The King could do no wrong since each decision was ordained by the almighty. Parliament however didn't see life as being that simple. They wanted a control over the King as the elected representatives of the people of England. Of course, the two side never could see eye to eye and a long and bloody civil war resulted. There were of course other issues such as religion, personality and ego involved. The war resulted in the King being beheaded and Parliament wining absolute authority.

In the course of the war one man, burst forth like a meteor in a cloudy sky. Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell, a leader of a Parliamentary cavalry unit, showed aptitude in the leading as well as training of men for war. As the war progressed Cromwell continued to take on more responsibilities for the war effort until he because the unofficial commander of Parliament's army. When the war was over, Parliament took the reins of the government. They tried to disband the army as it was the only force that could contest with them for power. Basically they wanted to sit in Parliament for life. Cromwell heard that this war going on and that the members had refused to write a new constitution for England so he headed to London from Ireland where he had been bloodily putting down a rebellion among the Irish Catholics. After going to Parliament and listening to a few speeches Cromwell called in some troops and closed Parliament after allegedly giving this speech.

"It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter'd your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil'd this sacred place, and turn'd the Lord's temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress'd, are yourselves gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.

In the name of God, go!"

Could you imagine someone going to Washington and cutting loose with that? I would pay good money to see that. And with the bunch up there, it wouldn't be too far out of line.

However, no matter how cool the speech was, I don't think I would have liked Cromwell in person. After shutting down Parliament, Cromwell called himself the "Lord Protector" of England and ruled as a military dictator. He was a religious bigot and could be considered a war criminal for his killing of prisoners of war. He crushed freedom of the press and there was freedom of religion as long as he agreed with the religion. Not some things that would go over too well in this country. I know I wouldn't be able to deal with the lack of freedom the Lord Protector would bring.

But you know something? I wouldn't be surprised if the way things are going, that there aren't people out there who think that someone like Cromwell wouldn't come in handy today. After all Germany in 1933 was looking for a savior, wasn't it? We know how THAT turned out don't we?

I just hope that we as a people are not led down that path through our fear or anger.