Patriotic?

Trump supporters are always hootin’ and hollarin’ about how patriotic they are. They are Making America Great Again. They are bringing ‘Merica back to her core values, embracing the Heartland, draining swamps.

In actuality, Trump supporters are doing their best to rid the United States of any sort of decency, education, intellect or quite frankly, class.

If you find any part of this picture appropriate for the White House, please cut off any and all ties you have to me. I don’t want to know you.

Hillary Clinton has done some amazing things for the people of this country, but by God we’ve done everything we can to make sure the small percentage of bad choices she has made are first and foremost discussed constantly.

Mama always taught me to take my hat off whenever I’m in the house. I guess these two didn’t get the memo.

I wore a sport coat and slacks to tour the Washington Monument. I’d probably wear a tie if I knew I was going to visit the White House. The White House is worthy of the respect of all citizens of the United States and should be treated as such. I wouldn’t let a man walk in with a hat and I certainly wouldn’t let a woman walk in Monster Truck Rally attire. The afghans and whore heels would stay home.

There are a lot of people in this country, in this world, that I don’t agree with, but I would still treat them with respect. What I see in that photo is unbelievable to me.

My God, how far this country has fallen in less than six months. Horrible.

We are better than this.

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Passengers, Rearranged.

I caught this on Reddit this evening. It’s a YouTube video discussing how much darker the movie “Passengers” would be like if they rearranged the acts. An intriguing approach. I have to admit I liked “Passengers”, even for all its flaws, but I think I would be very interested in seeing a rearranged cut of the movie as described in this video.

Fanboy.

I no longer shy away from the label of “Apple Fanboy”. I’m a Crazy One. I love my Apple products. I’ve tried everything else and lord knows I’ve wretched about Apple over the years, but when you shake away all the complaining, the fact of the matter is I find that Apple still provides the best computing experience available. Other hardware pales in comparison. Windows 10 feels cobbled together to me. And, as much as I’ve tried, I just can’t get behind the idea of Linux on the desktop (or laptop). That is way too much work.

So I wear my Crazy One t-shirt in pride. I proudly gave a presentation at work this morning using my work provided 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, including the couple of dongles I needed to connect to the projector and network. There was an ooh and aah from the crowd as I made my way through my Keynote Presentation. It had that extra bit of polish that I strive for.

I look forward to what Apple has in store for us. I know they will continue to delight.

Flying Adventures.

I’m on board United Flight 4671 from Chicago/O’Hare to Greenville-Spartanburg. I’m headed down for work; we are having team meetings through Thursday. I’ll fly back to Chicago and then drive home with Earl on Sunday. Have I mentioned how much I love Chicago? I’m looking forward to our big move later this year. 

As I sit on this EMB-145, enjoying Pringles and a pop for lunch, I look outside in awe. Fluffy clouds. Just a little choppy to gain your attention. The horizon way off in the distance. As a private pilot and as a commercial passenger, I’m still thoroughly inspired by aviation. I have my goals as a pilot and they all boil down to becoming a Certified Flight Instructor by my 51st birthday, which is just over two years away. 
As a commercial passenger I have goals as well. I really have no aspirations to fly for the airlines but I want to fly with the airlines, especially other airlines outside of the U.S. mainstays. I’m curious as to what it’s like to fly on Etihad Airlines. I wonder what service is like on one of the Far Eastern airlines. 

I also want to fly on a Boeing 747 before they’re all grounded. I wish I had the opportunity to fly the Concorde and as the U.S. airlines phase out the 747, I’m worried I’ll never have the chance to fly on one. 

The A380 seems cool to me, though it doesn’t excite me as much as the 747. I think that’s the legacy aviator in me, I’m in awe of what we could do back when the 747 first took to the skies. I wouldn’t pass up the chance to fly in an A380, but I don’t feel as motivated to do so. 
As I reach what I consider to be the halfway point of my life my bucket list just continues to grow. And many items will take place while airborne or include a flight element getting from point A to point Z. 

Someone tell our accounting department to fire up the credit card. 

Detour.

I’m walking around a residential area of Chicago. The weather is decent this Easter morning; a lot of people are out walking. 

A woman is walking in front of me. She’s about 200 yards ahead of me. Farther up the sidewalk, a woman and her dog are headed toward us. The dog is average in size. Nothing menacing. The woman is on the larger size. She is overweight, larger than the average American. I despise the word “fat” and all its negative connotations, but she’s a big girl. 

The smaller girl in front of me walks into the street to avoid the larger woman and the dog. When past the pair she gets back on the sidewalk. The detour takes effort, jumping a puddle from last night’s storm, etc. There isn’t really a reason to make this detour; the dog is just doing its business and the sidewalk is plenty wide enough for all parties involved in the pass. Yet, the girl detours. 

Now, thinking about this. Maybe the girl is afraid of the dog. That is always a possibility and I shouldn’t be quick to jump to a negative conclusion. 

As she makes her way back to the sidewalk, the woman with the dog looks back at her with an incredibly sad face. In a split second my heart breaks. The dog is just doing its business and shows contentment. But the dog’s owner shows this split second of sadness. As I pass the two of them on the sidewalk I smile and say “good morning”. 

She looks down. 


Be kind to one another today. Be kind to one another everyday. Make it a habit. 

Walk.

I walked six miles this morning. Walking about the streets of Chicago is always relaxing to me. Once off the main thoroughfares I find it to be very quiet. I do love the neighborhoods that I’ve been exploring.


The trees and flowers are coming into bloom, about a month ahead of schedule when compared to home. I find this a little odd, since Chicago has a similar climate as we have at home, though we definitely get more snow.

I stopped and said hello to a cat, who apparently has a fan club that stops by everyday and she performs by climbing up a tree and then jumping over to the roof of her catio. A woman stopped by and filled me in on the details of this famous feline. We chatted for about 15 minutes.

That would never happen back home. People aren’t particularly chatty in the Northeast.

This fluffy black cat reminded me of Cinders, a fluffy black kitten machine I had as a teenager. She was a bit spastic and not as charismatic as this lovely cat but then again she didn’t have an audience other than the other cats. She was fine in her own way.

After 15 minutes of chatter I never did find out this cat’s name.


I feel very comfortable here in the Windy City. I’m looking forward to another morning walk tomorrow before going to the Cubs game.

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The 21s.

Twenty-one years ago today Earl and I went on our first date. We had known each other casually for a couple of months beforehand, but our first official date was on this day in 1996. We met up in Albany with a group of friends and ended up ditching the friends and going on a long ride in my ’94 Hyundai Excel through the lower parts of Vermont, just getting to know each other.

I knew on that day that my life was changed forever. I had no doubt that I was driving around with the man that was destined to be “the one”. I had found the love of my life.

The journey was just beginning.

Twenty-one years later, here we are, beginning a string of 21 year anniversaries that will include our first date, when we moved in together, the first time I said “I love you” to him and our commitment ceremony. I remember each of these things like it was yesterday.

And there is still no doubt in my mind, not one trace of doubt, nor has there ever been, that I was completely correct on 4/13/96. I had met the love of my life.

I am one lucky man.

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Alternate Reality.

The Supreme Court had determined that because the current administration had basically collapsed, a special election would be held in 2017 to determine the next president. The corruption of the current administration had caused these drastic measures. It was time for society to rally around the Republic and get the country back in shape. A lot had happened in six months.

The plan was surprisingly simple. The designated six months would be divided into thirds. The first two months would allow those interested in running to campaign for the primaries. The primaries would be held, in near unison, at the beginning of August. Both conventions would be held the last week of August and the candidates from both parties would campaign in September and October, with the election being held on Election Day 2017. The president elected at that time would be sworn in the Friday after Thanksgiving and would serve an abbreviated term of three years. If this fast paced election cycle could be pulled off successfully, it would become a model for future presidential elections in the United States in an attempt to prevent media, monetary and foreign “sway”.

Because this election cycle was so abbreviated, I was asked to work for a campaign in the role of CIO. None of the campaigns had raised a lot of money in such a short amount of time, my chief role as CIO was to be assured that folks that brought their own laptops for campaign purposes had secure connections to the pertinent databases and the machines were deemed clean.

I had never met the candidate. She was well known and had run for president before. This was her last chance. It was like a golden ticket from nine Willy Wonkas dressed in the robes reserved for the judicial types.

I was busy doing my work when she walked into the room. She was wearing red pant suit, her demeanor was pleasant but very firm. She knew what she wanted to accomplish, she wasn’t going to let this last chance slip by without one last fight. She was tired but she was determined. 

I was looking down at a Linux box trying to figure out why it had a monochromatic CRT green screen when she spoke, “I hear you’re keeping my network secure and getting the information we need.”

I looked up quickly at a familiar face and stammered, “Madam Secretary… um, uh, I wasn’t expecting you to be here. It’s an honor, ma’am.”

“Please, call me Hillary. Is there anything I need to know?”

“Just one thing, ma’am. That it with all my hope and might that the American people get it right this time”, was my simple reply. Before she walked away, I said, “it’s an honor, Madam Secretary. If I may, any chance we can take a quick selfie?”

She smiled, put her arm around me and walked over as we stood close together and smiled at my iPhone.

As in all my dreams, the selfie never came out. I couldn’t see it.

And that’s when I woke up back to this reality. 

Be Better.

I’m getting tired of reading about the recent rise of bigotry, racism, misogyny and homophobia in the United States. School shootings still make me shed a tear, no matter how commonplace they become. No matter how hard folks try, one can never erase the fact that POTUS 44 was a black man and the Republic is better for it as a result of his leadership. Do unto others as they would do unto you. Give more to society than you receive. It’s not hard, people. But we live in a time where willful ignorance and outright stupidity are celebrated. “It’s not my problem” is the mantra of the day. Stupid, idiotic, banal things like Pepsi ads and James Bond microwave oven conspiracy theories and Kardashians are the distraction from the nepotism, the stripping of common sense legislation and the sheer greed planting strong roots in Washington D.C. Our government should have representatives of sides of a debate, not warring factions intent on the utter destruction of “the other team”. This is not a reality TV show. This is real life. And we should be working together, through compromise, intelligent debate and without these grandiose, empty and often damaging gestures to make the entire world a better place. When our country thrives, the world thrives. As a pilot I can tell you this: when you look down from the sky, there’s no way to tell one country or one state from another unless you build a wall. Don’t build a wall. Build a better world.