Odds and ends

An absolutely incredible morning dawned today, so we two donned hats and sunglasses and sat on the upstairs terraza a spell.

My bride won the hammock, leaving me a plastic chair, which was okay because I would get up now and then to sweep dirt left by recent storms, one of which uprooted eight huge trees in the nearby plaza.

We played an album by Vinicius de Moraes (aided by Maria Creuza and Toquinho, singer and guitarist). The vinyl record was first given to me in 1973 in Puerto Rico by my Argentine girlfriend. The group sings in Portuguese, so they must be Brazilians.

That record, like the Argentine girlfriend, vanished into the past, but a few years ago I found it on compact disc, so now I can better recall those San Juan penthouse nights watching cruise ships sail away on the dark sea.

I like that very much.

* * * *

I see that Richard Bach, who wrote Jonathan Livingston Seagull, was seriously injured in the crash of a plane he was piloting alone in Washington State. The plane was an Easton Gilbert Searey, which I had never heard of, an amphibious craft.

You may recall that John Denver was killed in a seaplane he was piloting in 1997. Let’s hope that Bach makes a full recovery. He is 76 years old.

And old guys need their thrills.

I would love to fly again. Our town’s dinky airport, with a dirt strip, is on the outskirts of our neighborhood, walking distance. About a year ago there was a news story that it would be paved. But time has passed, and nobody has paved anything.

Five or so years ago someone opened an ultralight business at our airport, giving rides over the area to tourists. It was common to see them overhead, buzzing about.

But I don’t recall the last time I heard that low-level buzz. I went to the airport recently, and the hangar was shut, and nobody was around. I would not be opposed to ultralight lessons, or even buying a small craft.

I’ve been up in ultralights twice. Once over farmland outside Houston and once over the Mayan ruins in Palenque, Mexico. It’s fun to buzz cows or Mayans.

* * * *

My second ex-wife sent me a birthday greeting last week, which was a surprise because she mostly ceased communication years ago. But, of course, I am hard for a woman to forget. She’s done lots of renovations to the home we shared in Houston.

I asked for a photo, and she obliged. She’s really jazzed up the place.

* * * *

I taped the Republican convention so I could watch a few speeches. I listened to Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio and my main man, Mitt, of course.

I did not watch Condoleezza Rice or Mitt’s wife, Ann. From what I read later, that was a major mistake since they apparently lit up the joint, both of them.

There was frequent mention of God at the convention, which I like to hear even though I am not a Christian. There was an invocation at the beginning of the event. I liked that too. I like to know that leaders believe in something other than themselves.

I will tape the Democratic convention too. I doubt I will hear God mentioned even once in any speech, and I wonder if they can do the traditional invocation without everybody there breaking out in derisive laughter.

Left-wingers, of course, believe only in themselves and their single-handed ability to save the entire world and make everyone just like everybody else.

It’s only fair, you know.

* * * *

This afternoon we will be in the capital city eating in a Greek restaurant, perhaps a gyro or a salad with feta cheese. We’re getting more cosmopolitan in these parts.

I like that very much.

20 thoughts on “Odds and ends”

  1. “Left-wingers, of course, believe only in themselves and their single-handed ability to save the entire world and make everyone just like everybody else.”

    Bit of a broad brush, I think.

    I would have actually been inclined the say right-wingers are often guilty of the “make everyone just like everybody else.”

    Really anyone too far left or far right seems to miss the greys of our world.

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    1. Ms. Mommy: I agree that extremism on either side is a bad thing.

      Related to the topic, I just finished watching Condoleezza Rice’s wonderful speech at the convention on YouTube, and marveled at all those Republican racists cheering her.

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  2. I don’t like small airplanes. Anything with less than two engines has to be much closer to the ground for me. I understand some ultralight craft have lawnmower engines for propulsion. Lawnmowers are meant for ground work, nuff said. Speaking of motors, back when I was a youngster, our farm was close to the Mighty Frazer River. Come fishing season, the natives would be out in their small craft. They had Easthope Engines, and you could tell by the distinctive slow thump, thump noise they would make. Their fishing crafts were pointy at both ends. My guess is they were keeping to their heritage of canoe passage. You don’t see them anymore and the Easthope Motors are but a memory. I am off to mow my lawn. I will think of you as I pull the starting cord.

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    1. Bob: But small planes are such fun! I don’t think modern ultralights use lawnmower engines, but I could be wrong. Maybe some do. I know one thing: They are LOUD. And the engine is usually right behind your head too, making earplugs advisable. The helmet helps.

      As for mowing your yard, I recommend what I now do: Hire help.

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  3. Decades ago I had a Cherokee Six, that we flew around California half for funny business the other half for regular business. I loved the ability to go anywhere within a few hours which would take most of the day.

    I have often pondered what it would be like to own one again, but thinking about the Mexican attitude towards mechanical repairs and make-do parts, I quickly surrender those ideas.

    But a helicopter, like a four-place Robinson, that would indeed be something special. All one needs is to win the lottery somewhere.

    Too bad our area is not conducive to hot air ballooning. That indeed would be a decent venture to run in retirement. And it is pretty difficult to crash unless one is muy stupido.

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    1. Tancho: I have flown a Cherokee a number of times. Flew one once from New Orleans to the Mexican border at Laredo. Also have flown a Piper Cub, a Cessna 150 (a common training plane, as you surely know) and, more than anything, a Cessna 172. Never owned. Always rented those babies. Not rich like you.

      Sounds like you have never seen the hot-air balloon events that happen now and then from the airport near me. I’ve spotted balloons off the upstairs terraza quite a few times over the years.

      So it seems our area here is conducive to ballooning.

      I went up in a hot-air balloon once too. Outside Houston. Great fun.

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  4. John Denver was killed in a Long EZ – which is a high-performance, experimental aircraft. Not a seaplane. Although he did happen to crash into the sea.

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    1. Mac: How right you are. Thanks for the clarification. Before writing that, I glanced quickly at Denver’s bio on Wikipedia just to see the year he died. I should have scrolled way down to the bottom.

      I would have sworn he died in a seaplane. I think I had that idea because he did fly seaplanes, but plenty of other things too.

      I see that the experimental plane that killed him had a number of weirdo design features. Denver was new to that plane. Sad situation.

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  5. Don’t forget to watch Clint Eastwood hombre. He was a bit rambling and somewhat directionless, but cut to the chase eventually. “If the guy you hired can’t do the job, you gotta let him go!”

    Good to see the old codger, and he looks great for 86, if there is such a thing!
    Back to my vroom vroom now.

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    1. Mark: I did catch Clint. I loved his routine. He rambled a bit, but he did not have a script, and he certainly was not reading from one of the “eloquent” Obama’s essential teleprompters.

      Clint was a hoot. He’s 82, not 86. Let’s not rush him along. Of course, all the lefties had a field day making fun of him, but you have to ignore that foolishness. Let them have their fun for the short time they have left.

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  6. I found your post interesting, although I have some thoughts I will list here.
    1. Why is it that when people get rich, it seems like the first thing they want to do is go off and kill themselves in some sort of aircraft. If you ever saw the list of famous/rich that have died, you’d be amazed! I have one question for these thrill seekers, “Has your car engine ever died on you?”

    Hot air balloons?!?! How do you steer? Oh, you don’t, well now that’s reassuring!

    2. I like the separation of church and state. A political convention should be only that. Not a religious revival.

    Gracias, Felipe, for the space. I hope your lunch with the señora was a fine one.

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    1. Francisco: Not everybody who gets rich is a daredevil, but some sure are. And some people who are daredevils are not rich. Me, for one.

      I think that people who got rich on their own, as opposed to inheriting it, tend to be the polar opposite of shy and cautious. Perhaps that’s why some do things like John Denver and Richard Bach.

      People are funny. I hope Bach gets well, and I sure wish Denver had not died. Like Mac above, I loved his music.

      2. I support separation of church and state too, of course. But a political convention is not government, so they can say whatever they like, and they do. A convention is about emotions as well as policy.

      As I’ve noted before, though not a Christian, I ardently support the Protestant mindset because I totally believe it played the principal role in making the United States what it has been and, with luck, will continue to be. Frugal, moral and honest. Yeah, I know, the nation, like the people within it, wander off the path easily and often, but still …

      So I enjoyed hearing the Republican speakers allude to their God with frequency. And I will be amazed if I hear a reference to God in any of the speeches at the Democratic convention. I’ll be paying attention too.

      I imagine they will have an Invocation due to tradition. Its absence would be very telling.

      That, of course, is not how Democrats were in the past. It’s a relatively recent phenomenon. Virtually the entire nation embraced the concept of the Judeo-Christian ethic until recent decades. Not a good change to put it mildly, in my opinion.

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    2. PS: Airplane engines are different from car engines in that they have backup systems. Many of the vital motor functions have something that steps in, at least long enough to get you to tierra firma, if an essential part stops working. Cars don’t have that.

      In short, a plane is not a car with wings. Plus, a small plane can, to a certain degree, glide to a landing. This doesn’t do you much good over mountains, however. They don’t drop like rocks when the engine fails. Big airliners, well, they don’t glide too well, but they do a little bit, depending.

      Steering balloons? You’re pretty much right. You don’t. You can control altitude, however, and that can be useful in some situations. You never know exactly where a balloon will end up, which is why they have “chase” vehicles on the ground trying to keep up with them.

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  7. Many years ago I competed in ballroom dancing. It gave me the opportunity to meet some very interesting people. One couple we knew had a ultralight business and took us for a ride. It was amazing. We also knew a couple with a small plane. It was great fun to have breakfast in L.A. and lunch in San Francisco. For our 10th wedding anniversary my husband took me for a hot air balloon ride. Loved every minute.

    I thought the Republican Convention was very upbeat. It was good to hear that it’s ok to be successful and we don’t have to apologize for being Americans or for wanting the very best for our children.

    Clint was a hoot indeed.

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    1. Jackie: Ah, we have things (other than clear political thinking) in common if you don’t include dancing. I don’t jig.

      And yes, the GOP convention was quite upbeat, I thought. Have you seen the news that the Obama people are bribing and beating the bushes trying to find enough people to fill the big stadium where their Glorious Leader will give his acceptance speech? They’re on edge that a partially empty stadium will, as they say, speak volumes.

      Loved Clint. Watched that video again this morning.

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  8. I was just reading a commentary about the Dems trying to come up with an answer to the question, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” Needless to say, they are scrambling.

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    1. Jackie: There was a news report this morning. No president has ever been re-elected with an unemployment rate higher than about 7 percent. It’s over 8 percent now.

      There were only two exceptions: The powerhouses of FDR and Reagan. Obama ain’t no FDR or Reagan.

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