Archive for June, 2013

White tablecloth for sale. Used once. Bloodstains hardly noticeable. Make offer.




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Spam, egg and spam

spam-family-of-productsSpam, spam and egg. That’s two spams and one egg. How many spams in a can of spam? If each slice is one spam then one can of spam is spam, spam, spam, spam for thick slices. Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam and more spam for thinner slices. Spam and spam. Spam and eggs (next time more than one egg). Spam and cheese (on white bread with yellow mustard).

I ate spam, spam and one egg for Sunday breakfast. Why only one egg? Because I thought spam times two wouldn’t leave enough room for two eggs. Which is better? Spam, spam and one egg? Spam and two eggs? Spam, spam and two eggs? or Spam, spam, spam and no eggs?

My mother used to feed us spam disguised as a real meal. She would take a couple cans of spam and arrange the whole spams on a baking pan. Then she scored diagonally in two directions over the surface of both spams, put a whole clove at the intersection of each score, sprinkled on some brown sugar to complete the topping and there you have it — spams (plural of spam) pretending to be real hams.

I remember liking spam (I think) but had forgotten what the stuff tasted like so I asked Tracy to pick up a can of Spam at the supermarket. Surprised me. I enjoyed my spam, spam and egg breakfast.

I love to share so I invited my Viking neighbors over for spam. We sang: “Spam spam spam spam. Lovely spam! Wonderful spam!” Meanwhile we invited my wife to join us but she said: “I don’t want ANY spam!” (actually she was yelling over the din we made and we didn’t hear her).

Did you know that spam is delightful with baked beans? Honest. Ask any Viking you happen to pass on the street. And you will want to pass them so you are upwind.

Well, I’m off to think about all the wonderful ways I might fix spam. Maybe I’ll enjoy spam, spam and two eggs for breakfast tomorrow. Then again I might wait until lunch and make a spamwich. Or…??? So many ways to prepare lovely spam. Is your mouth watering for Spam yet?

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road02 15 months since I rode my bicycle. I was getting ready for the 2012 summer riding season when I was forced to stop because exercise had me coughing and gasping for breath. Something was wrong and it wasn’t until Memorial Day 2012 that I found out I had colon cancer. Kind of sucks but I’m still here and itching to get back in the saddle again.

I did it today. I pumped up my tires to 85 psi yesterday. I was up way too early this morning to go for a ride (6:15 AM). I felt better after a nice two hour plus morning nap. I put on the bright red Phillies shirt given to me for my birthday by my granddaughters so I’d be uber visible. I have clipless pedals on my bicycle so I hopped into my special riding shoes with the clips. I finished off my riding wardrobe by clipping my geeky but oh so useful rear view mirror to my glasses and donned my helmet. After all this time I was ready or so I hoped. I wondered — could I manage my bicycle? Was I really ready?

Enough talk — I walked my bicycle to the end of the driveway, swung my leg over the bike and clipped my right foot in. Ready or not? I pushed off, gained momentum and clipped in with my left foot. I was flying again. I felt like a kid with the air in my face. I’m doing it and loving every second.

I rode uphill from our house to the front of the development turned around and rode back the other way, past the house all the way down the hill. Not too steep from our house down. I did the steep part first.

I rode down to the intersection and back to our house, not a long ride (maybe 1/2 mile total?). I broke my speedometer a few years ago and never replaced it. 1/4 mile? 1/2 mile? The distance doesn’t matter. I rode my bicycle again — that’s a milestone and a new beginning.

I have chemo tomorrow which means I’ll be hooked up to a portable pump until Wednesday afternoon which puts the kebash on exercise. If the weather permits, I’ll be back on the bicycle on Thursday when I’ll try two circuits. I’m hoping to build my stamina so I can go out on the road for a decent ride.

My legs are stiff after todays’ ride and even though I took it easy, I still ran short of breath. I’ll get there.

PS — I took the photo during one of my rides a few summers back.

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Mary’s (my niece) senior prom was four weeks ago. I took a few snapshots before Mary left for her prom.


Here’s a close in shot of Mary. I took this picture in the front yard, Zoomed in and opened my zoom lens to blur out the background.


We moved to the back yard where the strong sunlight wasn’t as harsh and I could use the bushes as a backdrop. This is Mary and two of her friends. I captured some nice facial expressions with this shot.


My sister Trish wanted a photo of her and Mary. This one turned out half decent. I think there are a few more photos on a fresh roll of film that’s still in the camera. I took a few more pictures of Mary in her cap and gown a few weeks later. I still have 10 or 11 frames left on the roll of film so I better get my lazy self out for some picture taking.

All three of the above photos are from the same 24 exposure roll of Ilford FP4+ that gave me the images I posted earlier this month. Love that film.

I had two cameras with me when I shot Mary’s pre-prom photos. The second camera, my Nikon F3HP was loaded with (shhhh!!!) Kodak Ektar Color film (gasp! Color??). Yes, color. I bought two rolls of Ektar so I could do a little macro photography of flowers and such. I have a few frames and I’m waiting for some nice evening light on some of the flowers Tracy, Livvy and Maddy planted in our yard. Yeah and I’m waiting for some motivation as well.

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Nope, June 26, 1963 was not the day I graduated high school (graduation was a year earlier in June 1962). Today marks the anniversary of the day, 50 years ago, when I was inducted into the U.S. Air Force and became a wholly owned subsidiary of Uncle Sam for a four year tour that turned out to be 3 years, 7 months, 5 days and a wake-up. I got out early because I had less than 6 months left in my enlistment when I rotated back to the world after my tour in Vietnam.


Who would have thought that a young 18 year old enlisting in the USAF at the height of the cold war, who was naive enough to believe the bullshit the recruiter fed me (more about this later), could have ended up in Vietnam in 1966? Not me. This photo of me was taken outside our barracks at Tan Son Nhut Air Base outside of Saigon.


Me and my big mouth. First I enlisted with the promise of going to language school and becoming some kind of Air Force spy. What was I thinking? I flunked Latin in H.S. just like I flunked the USAF language test. No language school for me. Instead, I stayed on at Lackland AFB after basic training to attend Air Police school. Whoops!

The second picture is me sticking my head out of an Air Police patrol vehicle on the ramp at King Salmon AFS, Alaska. Me and my big mouth got me to Alaska. I could have been assigned to patrol duty at the World’s Fair in NYC but I volunteered for overseas because I always wanted to go to Germany. Whoops! I ended up on a remote base in Alaska instead. Good thing my tour was only one year of either freezing my ass off or being eaten alive by the world’s largest mosquitos.

Most people would have an image of an Air Policeman as some guy (no women back in 1963) wearing a white hat and white gloves directing traffic. Whoops! Most of us in the Air Police were assigned to security duty. Translated meant fatigues (BDUs in today’s jargon), securing the flight line and guarding individual alert aircraft. The aircraft I guarded in Alaska and later at Westover AFB in Mass. were all loaded with nukes.

After I left Alaska, I was assigned to the Combat Defense Squadron at Westover AFB in the middle of Mass. Westover (we called it leftover) was a SAC base that was also 8th Air Force HQ. We were charged with guarding the fight line, the alert B52 bombers (each one loaded with four (20) megaton nukes), the KC135 alert tankers, the alert crew barracks and the gates from the base proper to the flight line. No pictures of me on the flight line. I’d probably still be in jail if they caught us taking pictures on a SAC base.

So how did I end up in Vietnam? I volunteered. What, is the boy crazy? Not crazy, just sick of all the brass and the flag vehicles with stars or bird flags flying. Whoops again! I ended up down the street from General Westmoreland’s HQ. Me and my big mouth again.

But I made it through that year relatively unscathed. I can’t say without a scratch because I ended up with all kinds of nasty cuts and scratches from landing in a roll of rusty barbed wire when we were bailing out of a truck during a mortar attack. What were we doing in the back of a truck during a mortar attack? We were on our way out to the base perimeter to stop Charlie.

One of these days I’ll tell the whole story about that night and early morning lying in the mud watching the hueys rocket the tree line outside the base waiting for the sun to come up. When the sun did come up, one of the guys spotted Charlie. My bud Ralph raised up (dumb shit) and caught a pair of rounds from an AK-47 in the chest. I thought Ralph had bought the farm (he didn’t).

Maybe the VC were trying to surrender. We’ll never know because even though the Lt. was calling for a cease fire, we didn’t hear him. The VC all died that morning.


Damn I was glad to climb aboard that PanAm flight in January 1967. I was tired of the Air Force and ready for my re-entry into civilian life. So why was I separated from the Air Force on January 31, 1967 when my enlistment wasn’t up until June 25, 1967? Convenience of the government when a GI has less than six months to go when returning from an overseas assignment. Who was I to argue?

Here I am, many years later wondering how all those years could go by so quickly. 50 years is a milestone so I figured why not commemorate the occasion with a blog post.

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Here are the rest of the photos that I took in Chestnut Branch Park last month. These four images are from the same roll of Ilford FP4+ as the last few pictures I posted this month.

01jun13_002-1 01jun13_004-1 01jun13_005-1 01jun13_006-1

I took the first photo as I was walking along the paved path leading to the 911 trail entrance (around the bend on the right).

The shapes, textures and light caught my eye here as I slowly wandered along the trail so I snapped the second photo.

The third  picture is another image with gnarly forms, some nice textures, light and shadows.

I love the textures and forms made by the trees in the forest. Add the right kind of light (and shadows) and you might get a decent photo. This last photo is also the last from this roll of film. Better get my butt out and on the trail again soon.

I’m taking some people pics today. Our family is gathering later this afternoon to help my neice Mary celebrate her graduation from high school. How about a hot dog in one hand and my camera in the other. Promise I won’t get mustard on the camera like I did once before.

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I selected another image from the same 24 exposure roll of Ilford FP4+ that yielded the image of Maddy and Livvy a few weeks back. This time it’s one of the photos I took during a short morning walk in Chestnut Branch Park in May.


Black and White photography needs contrast and this image has just the right mixture of light and shadow to bring the photo to life. The contrast transforms and renders the scene with lovely light, shadow, forms, textures and depth. I like it.

Been awhile since I’ve gotten out for a walk in the park. Soon, John, soon. Maybe if I get off my butt and swing my kettle bells more I’d build up my stamina so I can walk longer and farther without my legs giving me the hurts. Actually, I did swing a set while thinking about what I wanted to write. Now all I need do is repeat the set(s) in another day or two.

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Tracy bought a flat of flowers (impatiens) for Livvy and Maddy to plant in our yard. I couldn’t miss this opportunity to photograph the girls and their flowers in glorious monochrome.


I took this shot earlier this week. It can take me weeks to use a 24 exposure roll of film. I started the roll this image came from weeks ago with half a dozen or so pics I took during a morning walk in the park.

Another half dozen or so shots of the twins took me to frame 15. Pictures of my neice Mary in her prom dress finished the roll. I developed the film this morning (Saturday)and hung it to dry for six or seven hours in the shower stall. I scanned and edited after dinner.

Back to my subjects. Livvy and Maddy had a lovely time planting their flower garden (with a lot of help from Tracy). Now let’s see how patient they are waiting impatiently for their impatiens to bloom.

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