Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Larry's Birthday in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware 2016

Once a year I visit Rehoboth Beach in the height of the summer season.  As a local (ten years now), I avoid Rehoboth Beach from Memorial Day until after Labor Day. Yep, I give it up. Even though I only live ten miles straight up the road (Route One), from Rehoboth Beach, I do not go into Rehoboth.  Just too much traffic.  Like slow molasses trying to drive into Rehoboth Beach.

The one time I visit is when I take my long time friend Larry Meredith out for lunch for his birthday, which was yesterday, June 27th.  

Three years ago I started the tradition of getting our old time photo taken and then taking Larry to lunch. We didn't do the old time photo today, we did that last month when Pat was down.  But we did do lunch.  

One of the requests I make of Larry though is that he drive.  I just cannot take that traffic.  

Traffic wasn't too bad today.  Probably because it was an overcast day with the threat of rain.  However, Rehoboth was still plenty crowded but at least we weren't elbow to elbow people.

Both of us had trouble walking today. Well, we're both in our middle 70's. However, we did have a good day. We'll do it again next year!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Ron in Orlando, Florida - Trip Down Memory Lane (again)

Me on main street at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World, Orlando, Florida, "The Happiest Place on Earth"

Hey folks, it's been a while since I've taken you on a trip down Memory Lane.  Well, here goes again. While looking through my thousands of photos for a particular photo that I wanted to post to my blog today I came across my photos for my trip in 2001 to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. 

The entrance to the Doubletree Hotel guest suites were we stayed - we each had our own rooms! I only share rooms with men - nothing personal Aunt Mabel

The recent tragic events at Orlando, Florida brought back memories of the first and only time I visited Orlando, Florida.

The really grand hotel where we stayed - like royalty!

Way back in the year 2000 I was awarded Best Guest Service Representative for my work at the Hampton Inn in Exton, Pennsylvania.  I didn't think I did anything extra ordinary but my boss felt that me coming in during Hurricane Floyd was worthy of note.  Oh how well I remember going to work during that hurricane, dodging downed live power lines that were dancing on the wind and rain soaked streets, encountering one flooded detour after another and almost narrowly missing getting my car flooded and floating down the street, only to arrive at the hotel that had no power. She put me in for the very prestigious award unbeknownst to me.  

The beautiful landscaping around the Doubletree Hotel where we stayed - egrets roamed around common as Philadelphia pigeons

A month later I was informed by phone from the vice president of the Hilton Hotel Corp that I was selected as one of their best guest service representatives.  My reward was an all expense paid four day trip to Disney World ("I'm going to Disney World!") in Orlando, Florida.  In addition to the all expense trip I received $500 and a plaque with my name on it as "Best Guest Service Representative" for the year 2000 (so long ago now isn't it?)  

The walkway around the Doubletree where we stayed - I LOVED IT!
Several things I remember about this trip.  First was that I had tickets for two but I couldn't find anyone to go with me.  Bill doesn't like to travel and none of my friends wanted to go with me.  Of course this was before I met my good friend Pat. He would have went with me! But this was many years before I met Pat so I searched around for someone to share that other ticket. The lucky recipient was my Aunt Mabel.  The wife of my Uncle Ed who was my father's older brother.  My Aunt Mabel was great company.  She always had a laugh and a smile and that deep southern accent she never lost (she was from the mountains of Virginia) as delight.  Of course sometimes she was hard to understand but her joy of life I always understood. And this was good for her because she couldn't make any more trips after this because of her health.  I am so glad that she had this last memory of a fabulous time in Disney World. 

My dear Aunt Mabel - always happy!

Another thing I remember was the two brothers who befriended me.  They were from Jordan.  The heavier brother managed Fess Parker's ("Davy Crockett! Davey Crockett" for those of you old enough to remember) in Santa Barbara, California. 

Unfortunately I don't remember their name but I do remember that they were both very Middle Eastern. And I remember very clearly the one brother who was the manager who was very friendly with me.  Perhaps too friendly but hey, I was by myself (my aunt stayed in her hotel room most of the time due to her physical limitations only came out for the evening functions the the luau at the hotel)

Aunt Mable at the luau

and the awards ceremony at the Epcot Center where I received my award along with other winners from across the United States.

Me receiving my award at the Epcot Center from the vice president of the Hilton Hotels

By the way, posting these pictures I am now filled with regret that I didn't have an iPhone back then when I could have taken videos! I'm veering off subject here again but could you imagine the photos and videos I would have now if I had an iPhone when I was growing up?  Literally millions! So maybe it's a good thing I didn't have one and only my Kodak camera with black and white photos, eight to a roll that took a week to process. Talk about ancient times.  But back to my adventure in Disney World.

Me and my Aunt Mable at the Epcot Center during the awards ceremony - I have to admit that the Hilton Hotel Corp treated us like royalty.  I LOVED IT!

So here I am "palling around" with two Middle Eastern types during my four day stay in Disney World.  This was in April 2001, six months before 9/11.  But you know folks, even back then I was a little bit uncomfortable with these guys.  The one guy (whose name I just cannot remember but it was a Muslim name like "Fareed" or something like that) was, as I said very friendly. His brother, not so much so.  But we made the rounds.  On the Merry-go-round. 

Me and "Fareed" on the Merry-go-round  in Disney World - 2000

Not a long line to get on that ride.

We took the river boat cruise to "Pirate's Island."  What I remember about that was how murky the water was and the only "pirates" we saw were mechanical, very fake looking.  

"Fareed" and his brother on the Pirate's river boat ride - we didn't see any crocodiles - wait!  Yes, we did see one!
I thought at least they could have Johnny Depp, aka "Capt. Jack Sparrow", make an appearance.  HA! Dream on Ron.

Me on the "Pirates" cruise - I still have that T-shirt and pants - hat is long gone - looking at these pictures I do get around don't I for someone who hasn't traveled much during his lifetime

We also did the roller coaster ride through the mountain thing.  That was sort of interesting being jerked around in total darkness (get you mind out of the gutter). 

Did we meet Mickey?  You bet!  But I didn't meet Goofy, who is my favorite Disney character.  

Me, Mickey Mouse and Aunt Mable - we made it!

Another thing I remember clearly was how humid it was during our stay.  I couldn't live in a climate like that all the time folks, just couldn't do it.

But all in all it was a wonderful trip.  Disney World was everything it is hyped up to be.  One thing that amazed me but probably should have, was the diversity of the folks who throng the streets of the Magic Kingdom.

A typical day on Main Street in Disney World. hardly any elbow room
So many people from different countries.  I heard a report that the Orlando gunman had originally targeted Disney World for his murderous carnage spree but decided against it because security was too tight. Can you imagine? Thank God that didn't happen.

I probably will never go back to Disney World again but I am so thankful that my manager was appreciative of my efforts at the hotel she managed.  She will always be a gem in my mind.  I don't know where she is now but her name was Beth Mancini and I wish her and her family nothing but the best. Maybe she'll read this blog posting and know how thankful I am.

The Hampton Inn Team, Exton, PA 2001 (I'm standing to the right of Beth Mancini)
I worked at the Hampton Inn for almost four years.  I left a few months after 9/11 due to a dispute with the new assistant manager, the details of which I will not go into at this time.  

Beth Mancini at her desk - one of the best bosses I ever had!
Even though I left under unpleasant circumstances I will always have fond memories of my time at the Hampton Inn and working for Beth, my co-workers (except for that one person) and the guests.
Linda West (sales director), one of the owners of the Hampton Inn and Beth Mancini 2001 - great people!

Working for a hotel is and has always been fascinating, though at times frustrating.

To this day I still work as a guest service represent (or "agent" as we call the front desk clerk now, all so politically correct don't  you know).  I won't be winning any trips to Disney World these days folks but you know what?  Every day is like a vacation day to me now, every day.  

Maybe someday in the future, when I'm wasting away in an assisted care facility (God, I hope not) or as a lonely old man, I will remember these days as the Glory Days.  You never know.  But I will never forget that trip to Disney World in Orlando Florida during that magical time pre 9/11. 

I always manage to find a "passive friend" whenever I'm on one of my adventures

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

First Days of Summer

Summer is officially here folks!

So what's going on in my world?  I just finished listening to a speech by Donald Trump.  This was a scripted speech he read from a teleprompter.  His "peeps" are trying to get the wildly unscripted Donald on script so he doesn't keep showing the country and world what a world class ignoramus he is.  After listening to his poorly read teleprompter speech stating lie after lie about Hillary Clinton I now feel like I have to take a shower.  Am I dreaming?  Can this racist, narcissist con man really be the presumptive Republican candidate for the president of the United States of America?  Deliver us.  I'm no big Hillary Clinton fan but wow, talk about contrast. One thing about The Donald, he is entertaining.  

I'm all over the place this morning folks.  I just came back from the Post Office.  I was going to mail a teddy bear to a friend of mine in Arizona.  The teddy bear is light, the box he was in was big.  Guess what the Post Office wanted to charge me?  $50!  Yes, FIFTY DOLLARS.  No wonder some want to privatize the Post Office.  I left the Post Office and called our local United Parcel Office.  The photo at the top of this post is from the parking lot of that office.  It is of Route 24, where I have gotten a lot of my medical needs met.  United Parcel charged me $19.  No wonder some want to privatize the Post Office.  Plus the person who waited on my at United Parcel had a smile and was very helpful.  She actually acted like she was glad for my business unlike the Post Office employee who acted very annoyed with me.  Like I was bothering her. That attitude folks is the difference between someone who has a lifetime protection of a job and one who depend on good customer service for return business. The Post Office literally doesn't care if they have your business. 

We're experiencing another hot and humid day here folks. A rolling thunderstorm rolled in these parts late yesterday afternoon. Lots of banging and cracking but thankfully, nothing electrical was knocked out. My local nursery wasn't so lucky.  Their credit card reader was zapped.  A new one will cost a $1,000! In the past we have had our whole house sound system knocked out by a thunderstorm. Global warming!

We're just hanging out here in the manse today folks, staying cool.  You do the same!

Monday, June 20, 2016

"Your Plants Are Lovely"

Me yesterday on our back deck with my planters of color - my arrangement folks!

"Your plants are lovely."  That was the comment one of my Facebook friends made when I posted this picture that Bill took of me yesterday on our back deck.

Both Bill and I love flowers.  We love the color. 

My last blog post I ranted about Bill turning off our irrigation system thus depriving my plants of much needed water during our current hot spell. Bill didn't realize that he was drying out our flowers, he was concerned about overwatering our lawn.  I am not.  I said "Let the mushrooms grow!"

Bill has since turned on the irrigation system and will let it run three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) as it is currently programmed.  We do have a rain meter which disables the irrigation system if the skies open and our lawn receives rain from Heaven. No worries there.

After a wet spring, we have been enjoying some really spectacular summer weather here where we live in southern coastal Delaware. In my previous life when I lived in Philadelphia, PA I would wish I lived "at the beach" so I could enjoy those ultra violet cancer causing sun rays on the beach.  How ironic that now I live near the beach, I never go there in the summer.  The main reason is that Rehoboth Beach (and Lewes Beach) is just way too congested.  And besides, my laying in the sand days are over, since I contracted with my dermatologists over thirty years to ago to visit semi-annual to check for pre cancerous skin lesions (actinic keratosis). 
Me at Herring Cove, Provincetown, Mass circa 1976 - in my pre visit the dermatologist for skin cancer days

So far no skin cancer for yours truly but those little bumps keep showing up with regularity. I've lost count how many times I've had them burned off with dry ice and even several times surgery perform to take a chunk of my flesh out for a biopsy. But I digress, I started this blog posting talking about how pretty our flowers are this year.

Flowers are my passion. All my life I wanted a home where I could grow all manner of plants, almost all flowers and herbs.  I rarely grow vegetables, there are too many local options for buying fresh vegetables.  I do have a few cherry tomato plants but that's about it. I lost my taste for growing vegetables the year I grew broccoli.  I steamed my freshly picked broccoli al dente, just the way I like it.  Prepared to savor the taste of my own freshly grown broccoli I ate my first bunch. Bitter!  What was that taste?  I looked and lo and behold I discovered that I had eaten "broccoli caterpillars" that were the same color as the broccoli.  That was my last time growing my home grown veggies (with the aforementioned exception for cherry tomatoes).  

Tomorrow is the first day of summer. I am prepared folks!

The only thing on my agenda this summer is a colonoscopy (always a "fun" time) coming up at the beginning of July.  Do I know how to celebrate the Fourth or what?

I made my call for jury duty Saturday not and the good news is that I didn't have to report.  One more call next Saturday then I'm home free.  In a way I would like to do jury duty (never have) but at my age and my Morning Bathroom Issues, I don't know if I would be the ideal candidate to sit in the jury box.  Especially since I couldn't have my iPhone with me.

I didn't know Bill took this picture but here it is anyway. A good way to end this blog post (I guess)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Do You Think it is Easy?

Volcano erupting

Venting time folks. Time for Ron to vent.

I try not to post too personal of situations to this blog but sometimes I just have to vent. 

Next month will be me and Bill's 52nd anniversary as a couple.  Three years officially married.  Folks, it hasn't been easy.

By nature I am a loner. A LONER.

When I met Bill 52 years ago on that rainy Saturday night at the Westbury Bar in Philadelphia, I had no intention of living with anybody for the rest of my life.  

From the time I was twelve years old, living in the maelstrom of a family life that included a Father who constantly put me down and treated me as an annoyance at best.  A home life lived in second floor apartments without the benefit of a backyard yard that almost all of my schoolmates took for granted.  The only backyards I saw were those I mowed for .50 cents from some of my customers on my paper route.  

Me (center, tall boy looking down) with my brother (far right) and friends from in front of the second floor apartment building where I grew up - our home was Grand Central Station - no privacy - I'm eleven years old in this photo and realized at this time I want my own home - ALONE

From the time I was twelve years old I wanted to live on my own.  By myself. Solo.  

Me (with hoagies in hand) with my Mother and brother Isaac at our second floor apartment on Boot Road - 1954

By the way, as I write this posting I can tell it's going to be longer than usual so if you have something more important or interesting to do I suggest you exit now because I'm really going to vent.

Back to my sad tale.  So I met Bill lo these fifty-tow years ago.  I liked him.  He liked me.  In fact he treated my like a prince.  Like no one ever treated me before.  I liked that.  

I started to see Bill regular.  I wasn't too concerned that Bill wasn't "my type."  Oh sure, he was good-looking and popular.  He was masculine and not effeminate like so many in the gay bar scene.  He was all man and he liked me.  

The twice weekly trip from Coatesville, Pennsylvania to Pennsauken, New Jersey that Bill used to pick me up and drop me off - door to door service

I didn't have a car.  I had a small, furnished efficiency apartment in Coatesville, Pennsylvania; 44 miles away or just over an hour away.  Bill had a two bedroom apartment in Pennsuaken, New Jersey, just over the Delaware River from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The total distance from my modest apartment in Coatesville, PA to Pennsauken, NJ was 55 miles, an hour and 21 minutes away.

Bill would pick me up every Friday night at my apartment in Coatesville, PA and transport my young self to his apartment in Pennsauken, NJ.  Every Sunday night he would reverse that trip.  He did this every weekend for the next six months.  Folks, who else would do that for me?

Me with Bill at his Pennsauken New Jersey apartment 1964

Even though I liked Bill it didn't take me too long to realize that we are almost totally opposite in every respect.  And I mean every respect.  But he treated me with respect.  He treated me like a prince.  I loved it.

Then came a time when he asked me to move in with him.  I put him off.  I told him I always wanted to live by myself.  I wanted the freedom of coming and going without having to explain every moment of my life's movement to someone else.  Which is what I always had to do when I lived at home.  The three years I was in the Army I was a little freer but, well when you're in the Army they want to know where you are all the time too.

When Bill realized that I didn't want to move in with him he became angry.  This was the first time I saw him angry.  I was torn.  Me, who grew up always trying to please everyone so they would like me, I was making someone I liked and respected a lot angry.  

For a week or so we were at an impasse.  Finally he said "You can have all the freedom you want, I just want you to live with me."  He said "You can come and go as you please but just live with me."

Well folks, he was good as his word. Sort of.  Early on in our relationship he traveled a lot with his job.  I was on my own during those months he was traveling on business. 

From the time I moved in with him from 1965 to 1980 when we moved out in the country, Bill had a job in which he traveled and was away from home for months at a time. Those few months of "freedom" was enough to satisfy my need to be alone.  

Then came a time when they wanted to send Bill to Africa.  At that time I was making enough money to support the both of us.  We were moving into a house in the country which we had built to our specifications.  I suggested to Bill that he take an early buy out and just stay home and take care of the house.  He took my suggestion and thus hasn't worked at a regular job since 1980.  However, that didn't mean he didn't work because he took care of the home.  Very well.  Bill is very handy around the house (I am not) and he took care of everything except the gardening.  That was my bailiwick.

So what is the point of this way too long blog posting?  Where is my rant?  Well folks, this morning I found out that Bill did it again.  The one area in which I work very hard to have a beautiful home is my landscaping and gardening.  Remember back when I said Bill and I are total opposites in almost everything? Bill can't help himself.  He cut off the irrigation of our one acre of land this week.  Yep, he did it and didn't tell me about it.  Here I am slaving over getting all the planting in and they're struggling to survive and I can't figure out what's happening.  Then I realized that Bill had changed the irrigation cycle form three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday to OFF).  He said "The lawn had enough water."  When I confronted him about the fact that my flowers and planting aren't getting enough water and struggling he put his fingers in his ears and walked away.  He didn't want to hear it.  

Me and Bill last year on our 51st anniversary

Yep, that's the way Bill handles our "discussions." He doesn't discuss.  Like I said, totally opposite from me.  

Now this irrigation thing is just one instance.  When we lived in our house in Pennsylvania he turned off the whole house ventilation system and insisted we have air conditioners in each room.  

Our house "in the country" - lovely on the outside but uncomfortable on the inside

We had a big, beautiful house but Bill made it so we were restricted to certain rooms.  There was a protocol (which I never got and was always the source of some heated, loud arguments) for what doors were to be kept open and which were to be kept closed.  To me our big, beautiful house was useless because it was totally uncomfortable, a fact that was brought to our attention several times during visits by relatives and friends.  But Bill wouldn't hear of it because Bill Is Always Right.

When I had this house built here in Delaware I forbade Bill from being involved.  He didn't see the house until it was finished.  I thought all was fine until last year when we had to have our whole HVAC system replaced (very expensive).  At that time I discovered that Bill had AGAIN blocked off the whole house ventilation system with cardboard in the vents air intakes.  I was furious.

Folks, I rarely get mad.  I may rant but I rarely get mad.  Anybody gets mad around here it always Bill getting mad at me and almost always for the same reason:  I DON'T PAY ENOUGH ATTENTION TO HIM.  Remember what I said about me being a loner?  I am folks, to my soul.

Well, we got the whole house ventilation thing straightened out but not before Bill retreated with his hands over his ears again, not wanted to hear anything from me.

Now folks I'll be the first to admit I'm not the easiest person to live with.  Maybe that's why I prefer to live alone.  I realize there are benefits to living with someone.  You have someone you can talk to when you get home from work to tell about that day's events.  You have skills that compliment one another.  Bill and I are lucky that way because where I excel in certain skills he excels in those areas where I don't.  I run the household, cook, garden and deal with all outside contacts.  Bill mows the grass, and does handyman work around the house.  Bill spends NO money on himself, unlike me.  I spend a LOT of money on myself.  

So where is this rant going?  Just venting folks.  Bill and I are coming up on our 52nd anniversary and I just wanted to tell you, living together with the same person for 52 years is always a work in progress.  It isn't easy.  But I do love the guy and I would never leave him.  

However, I am so fortunate that I found a new friend in Pat, my Canadian friend.  Pat too is a loner.  We converse each day by text message and FaceTime.  Four times a year we get together.  Yep, once each quarter.

Pat in his Toronto "hoose" and me on FaceTime via our iPhones

In February we visit Hollywood, California for a two week stay.  Pat and I both love the glamour and history of Los Angeles and Hollywood.  

Me and Pat in LA this past January (Silver Lake) - we don't look too "touristy" do we?

In the Fall, around my November birthday, we meet in our other favorite city, Philadelphia PA. 

Me and Pat on Broad Street in Philadelphia PA

My former hometown.  During that visit we take a quick run down here to my home here in Sussex County, in southern Delaware near Rehoboth Beach.  At the end of August I fly to Buffalo to met Pat to spend a few days in Niagara Falls and then his home in Toronto, Canada.

Me and Pat at the Easton Mall, downtown Toronto, Canada

 Every year I do so look forward to those visits.  I LOVE Canada.  Then in the Spring we visit Philadelphia again.  

Pat and I have so much in common that we're often mistaken for brothers.  In fact it has become a favorite mime how many cities that strangers will come up to us and ask us if we're bothers. So far the list includes:

  1. Lewes, Delaware while waiting in line to pay our bill at Nectar restaurant Pat was talking to another Canadian and he asked if I was Pat's brother.
  2. The next "sighting" was walking down Pat's street in Toronto and he introduced me to one of his neighbors and the neighbor asked if I was Pat's brother.
  3. The third time was when we were at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, and Pat was talking-to another tourist, and that tourist asked if we were brothers.
  4. The fourth time was while standing in line at Studio B in West Hollywood,

  5. Standing in line outside the studio to get into the audience for "The Price is Right"

  6. waiting to be seated in the audience for "The Price is Right" and while talking to someone else in the line, one of them said "You're brothers aren't you?"
  7. Oh, I just remembered one more time.  We were at Hollywood and Vine taking selfies as the touristas that we were when someone offered to take our picture.  They asked "Are you brothers?"  
Me and Pat (before we lost our hats on the roller coaster) at the Canadian Expo - "You guys brothers?"

Every time we're asked Pat and I are always surprised because we don't think we look alike.  But maybe it is our mannerisms because Pat and I are so much alike in our outlook in life.  Our likes and dislikes.  He hates fish and seafood just like I do.  Bill LOVE seafood.  Pat is sweet, gentle and caring.  I like to think I am.  I am aren't I?

Well look folks, this diatribe has gone on long enough.  I have to give profs to anyone who has read through this whole, long blog posting but as I said at the beginning of this post.  I just had to vent.  

It's highly doubtful that Pat and I will ever live together.  Pat is a loner just as much as I am. In fact I often tease him about he doesn't have to report where he goes.  What time he will be back. And all the other annoyances that come with living with someone.  But you know what folks?  If I had it to do any differently I doubt if I would.  I am one of those fortunate few who found love early in life.  Not the Swinging From the Chandeliers Love,

sex 24/7 that I had imagined but a true and lasting love with Bill.  And now I have my friendship with Pat.  Do I have the best of both world or what?  And I'm complaining?

Well, I just had to vent.  Bill is going to turn on the irrigation system again and hopefully this time he'll leave it alone.  I know I have a good life folks but it isn't all smooth sailing.  Takes work. But it's worth it. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

"Pure Power"

In college I majored in marketing. I loved that major. Unfortunately I did not pursue a career in marketing. But that doesn't men that I don't know good marketing when I see it.

I am one of those rare people who study commercials.  I have several main complaints about TV commercials:

  • Commercials that feature the "dumb white man"as the central "funny" clueless consumer
  • Commercials that feature actors that are too pretty and too skinny for the general public to identify with
  • Commercials that feature a wailing singer strumming a guitar singing about "life" 
  • Commercials that are just loud
  • Commercials that offer a "guarantee" 
And this is just a short list. Most commercials are ineffective and annoying.  Very few are informative and enjoyable.

The commercials we used to be ffed

However, every now and then on of these ad agencies "gets it" and makes a commercial that is not only innovative and pleasurable but breaks stereotypes.  One such commercial is the latest from Allstate Insurance which features the black female comedian Leslie Jones from "Saturday Night Live."  I have never seen Leslie Jones before but I have to tell you this is ONE EFFECTIVE commercial because not only is it enjoyable to watch, it is effective because now I will remember the company that the commercial is advertising - Allstate Insurance.  

Very good folks, very good.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Thoughts On Donald J. Trump

As I predicted in one of my blog posts many months ago, Donald J. Trump is the (presumptive) Republican nominee for the presidency of the United States.

At first I liked Donald Trump. I liked the fact that he shook up the political (Republican) establishment.  Many of the things he said were things I thought.  Jeb Bush was "low energy."  Former Texas governor Rick Perry did get glasses so he "looked smarter."  Marco Rubio was "Little Marco" who was robotic.  Dr. Ben Carson was (and is) a whacko.  Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed the Trump putdowns on the Establishment Republican candidates.  Apparently I wasn't alone in my admiration and approval of Trump shaking up the established order.  Trump got more votes in the primaries than any Republican candidate in the history of the United States.

Now I have to wonder if some of those voters are having second thoughts after Trump's pronouncements about the "Mexican judge" who is overseeing the Trump University fraud case.  The judge isn't Mexican.

Then last week, after the horrible mass shooting in Orlando, Florida Trump showed his abysmal ignorance again by railing against the shooter who he said was "born in Afghan."  Actually the shooter was born in Queens, New York, just like Trump.

I think by now it is quite obvious to most level headed people that Trump has a narcissistic personality disorder.  He is a pathological liar.  Even worse, he believe his lies.  

Donald Trump is a con man.  He is a fraud. 

But you know what folks?  People who continue to support Trump know these facts and will continue to support him.  Of course one of the reasons is that they hate Hillary that much (which I don't nor will ever understand). These people would probably vote for Charles Manson before they would vote for Hillary Clinton.  As I said, I don't understand that hate just like I don't understand the hate for President Obama.

However, I think the other reason I think is that those Trump supporters are so disgusted with our present political system that they would vote for any strong personality who challenges that political system.  I understand that feeling because that is the way I feel too.  But folks, would I vote for Trump?  Not on your life and nor should you if you care about our country.

One thing is for sure, the next five months are sure going to be interesting as the Republican leadership twist themselves into knots supporting a candidate that they clearly know is  certifiably insane.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

DirecTV - Great Service!!

Servicemen "Gregg" of DirecTV

Time for some good news folks.  

Yesterday I had a visit from a DirecTV serviceman. My whole house system needed upgrading.

I've been dreading this visit.  I dread any visit by a serviceman (or "person", although usually I don't see women as service persons).  

One of the reasons is that I have wall to wall carpeting and I don't like people traipsing around in my house with their shoes/boots.  Who knows where those shoes/boots have been walking on.  You know what I'm talking about.  

Another reason is that Bill and I, in our advanced years (old folks here) don't like our daily routine disrupted. 

And yet another reason is that I feared a service person messing around with all my in house wiring and WIFI would disrupt my Comcast Internet connection.  And that folks was my BIG fear because if my Comcast connection got messed up, I would have to call Comcast and you know what that's like.  Comcast is notorious for awful service.  I have my Comcast Internet connection working now, after a lot of frustration several months ago when my rented Comcast modem/router failed, and I just didn't want to go through that very frustrating experience of trying to get Comcast service.  Sorry for the long run on sentence but I get riled up when talking about Comcast and their lack of service.

Well folks, I need not have worried.

"Greg", the DirecTV service man showed up exactly on time when I was informed prior to his arrival.  Contrast this when I was to receive a Comcast service call and no one came.  No call, no visit, no apology.  In fact, Comcast never did show up and I had to do the hookup over the phone (took hours) but I won't go into that now.  

Greg got out of his truck, greeted me with a smile and showed me his photo ID.  Wow.  Good start!

Then he explained what he was going to do.  Changed all four of my stations.  Upgrade the coaxial cable and upgrade the connections on my satellite dish.  

And . . . . he put on booties to cover his work boots. I thank him and apologized for the inconvenience. He said "It is inconvenient but I don't mind if that is what you prefer."  Hey folks, could you imagine one of those surly, sub-contracted Comcast service workers saying that?  I can't. 

He told me "I see where you are a 17 year customer of DirecTV and we appreciate your business."  Folks, I'm just not used to this kind of service and I have to tell you I was mighty pleased.  

When Gregg encountered the first dos he was to replace he said "You DO have some old equipment."  Tell me about it Gregg.  

Gregg was here about three hours.  Of course our routine was disrupted but  you know what folks, it was all worth it.  I now have the most current equipment and all kinds of new features. And you know how much this cost me?  


Not to keep bashing Comcast, (but I will) which does have excellent Internet connections, can you imagine what the cost would have been had they sent a service person here?  I can tell you one thing, they would never have honored my request to wear booties.  

Yesterday I experienced something very rare folks, good service!

Thank you DirecTV!

Monday, June 13, 2016

"He Hated Gays"

"He hated gays".  That is what Omar Mateen's former wife said of her abusive husband.

Omar Mateen, the murderer of forty-nine innocent men and women at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, was filled with hate of the love gay people show for each other. 

His father said that two months ago his son saw two men kissing one another in Miami and became very angry because he was with his three-year old son. 

Omar Mateen was only one of all too many people in this country who continue to have a simmering hatred of gays.

For those of you reading this blog who are not gay, it is probably difficult for you to understand what it's like to be gay and to live your life knowing that there are people out there who wish you dead just because you're gay.

A few years ago, Bill and I were visiting the mountains of western North Carolina where my father was born.  "Hillbilly" country.  We had visited that area several times before.  This time I was with my straight cousin and his wife to introduce them to our distant cousin.  The night before we were to visit, I called just to confirm our visit.  I was asked by the son "Ron, I have a question to ask you."  I said "What is that?"  My second cousin one removed said "There is a rumor that you practice the gay lifestyle.  Is that true?"  I paused and then said "If you're asking me if I'm gay, I am."  He then said "Now get this bud, if you come anywhere near my parent's place you're going to have me to deal with!  You got that?"  

Me in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina three years ago before I was threatened when it became public knowledge I was gay - I will probably never return
Me in the home of my cousin.  Her husband is talking to me.  This was before he knew I was gay.  He did make a comment about President Obama and "quares".  
Portrait of my cousin's family before they knew I was gay. The man in green on the right is the one who threatened me on the phone about visiting his parents.  Welcome to North Carolina.  And to think at one time I thought I would retire to this beautiful country.
A chill went through me.  Hate.  Homophobia.  I was now "less than" in the eyes of my cousin.  That old sickening feeling returned to my stomach. Unbridled hatred right in my face soley for who I am.  

Many times in my life I have faced this hatred.  Many times in my life I have encountered the danger.  Even once I was physically attacked at a political town hall by a member of the audience just because I stood up and identified myself as a gay man.  

In my younger years I often frequented gay bars and clubs. I felt safe there.  Those places was where I felt safe.  Where I felt empowered.  Where I didn't feel "less than."  

Me on the dance floor at a Philadelphia gay club, Halloween 1980

I just cannot imagine how those young men and women who were at The Pulse nightclub felt when they realized a hate filled mad man was there in their safe place sole with the intent to kill them.  

Sunday's attack was a terrorist attack but it was much more.  It was an open attack on the gay community.  No longer can a young gay man or woman feel safe at their preferred place of gathering with friends. 

The Double L Bar in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware - a place where I used to visit with friends and feel safe

I don't go out to bars on a regular basis anymore.  I'm too old and just can't stay up that late.  However, I do like the music and when I'm on vacation in Los Angeles, I go to Oil Can Harry's that has a special disco night.  Next year I'll go there again.

Oil Can Harry's, Los Angeles, California

Not to make this about me but I am having an unusual reaction to this tragedy.  Of course I've always known the hatred and the fact that living openly as a gay man was dangerous for me.  That my life was at risk. Like the time I was almost hit by a car of drunk teenagers from Boston who were intent on gay bashing after a night of drinking.  I was walking a lonely road back to my motel room from the center of Provincetown, Massachusetts.  As I heard then yelling "Hey, hit the fag!" and swerved their car towards me, I jumped off the side of the road into the bushes, narrowly missing death.  That was just once instance of me avoiding a gay bashing.  I can recount at least a half a dozen more.  But I am not alone in these experiences. But one place I always felt safe was when I was in the bar or the club.  No more.  

This morning I was reading the identities of twenty of the victims.  All were young and of Hispanic heritage.  I have nothing in common with them except that I am gay as they were gay. 

They were on the threshold of their lives. Out for a good time with friends at a safe place.  Then Hell descends on them.  Tears welled up in my eyes.  

As I write this blog, I choke up.  A great sadness overcomes me as I think of their families that will no longer have their loved ones in their lives.  

So, so sad.  

When I was their age, my worry was the police and gay bashers.  My fear was physical safety and surviving in an economy which did not favor a openly gay man.  Never once did I have to fear that someone would enter the one place where I felt safe, a gay bar or club and kill me.  

The past few years I thought perhaps, just maybe, the hatred of gays had lessened.  Maybe not folks, maybe not.

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