Memories Part 5

Homecoming

Surprisingly when I got home to the hotel that evening, dreading the thought of telling Lynn that I would not be home as much as I thought I would be, the conversation went rather well.  I found out later that she had talked to another spouse that knew about the schedule.  I was very apologetic but I really didn’t need to be. She was actually happy about the schedule.  You need to understand that 2 week in / 2 week out was a better schedule than 6 months in and 6-8 months gone.  Short bouts of being apart were better than long extended bouts of being gone.  Plus with her being there in Italy she could follow the ship to what ever port that we were going to and stay there, not that she ever did but she could have.

The Apartment Hunt

Finding an apartment in Italy was not the same as finding an apartment in America.  First off the language barrier was significant.  Second of all they don’t do things the same way.  It is not like they advertise in the paper or put for rent signs out.  Most landlords work through certain agencies, that they have worked with for generations, and the agencies don’t talk to one another.  I am sure with the advent of the internet and advances in technology it has changed a lot, but at the time (1980) this is how it worked.  We also had the strike of having a pet with us. The lady at the navy agency that we were working with suggested that we sell or get rid of the dog.  I am so glad that Lynn was not there when she said that.  I am not so sure she, that agency person that is, would have survived the meeting.  Over the next month we went to see them at various times, she was right though about having a pet.  There were several places that would have taken us that didn’t because we had the dog.
The way that the Navy would reimburse us for the hotel was a pain in the rear.  Keeping the receipts for all of the money spent along with all of the meals that we had to eat out was a pain the butt, but after a fashion they did pay it all back.
During this time I went on my first outing (I am going to call them outings because it really wasn’t a deployment) and it wasn’t that far away.  The Admiral wanted to show up in Naples for a festival.  Looking back on it we did that a lot.  If the Admiral wanted to visit something for fun we would schedule the ship to be there.  It also helped the local economy.  Get 1500 sailors to come to your port during a festival and we spent money.
Anyway when I got back Lynn was very excited, just the day before the agency called and told her (through our friend at the front desk) that she had found the perfect apartment for us.  

The Apartment

When we went to see the agency person, the landlord was there with her.  They had pictures of the apartment with them.  From the way they were talking they wanted us to make a decision based on the photos.  I was not to comfortable with that.  You never know the trust worthiness of the person.  I insisted on looking at the place.  The landlord was actually a very nice person and volunteered to take us to the apartment.  He spoke a little english, so the agent decided to let us go.  When we got there I as actually very happy with the apartment.  We were on the top floor of a three story building, it had two bedrooms, the balcony was actually larger than the ones that we had seen so far.  The furniture (we had left ours back in the states) was nice.  All in all it was a keeper.  The marble tile floors and the wonderful view were the sealers.
While writing this I wanted to see if I could find any pictures of that time of my life.  Lynn took most of them when we got divorced but a few years ago I found some that were tucked away in my stuff.  This picture is on the main rooms balcony.  It is one of the only pictures I have of that time in my life
People long ago_0011

Yes this is me at the age of 20.  As you can see I am in the process of losing my hair.  I had a wicked widows peak at the time and it just got worse as time went on.
But this is one of the views that sold me on the apartment.  I loved the balcony and I loved the view of the hills.  The building you see across the street is a school.  I didn’t really like that but hey….

Once we saw the apartment, I took the lead and said we would take it.  The only downside I saw was that it was on the top floor and that we would have to carry things to the apartment.  Luckily the Navy would have to bring our stuff to us.  We had them pack us up and move the stuff over.  I didn’t want to take the furniture because I was under the impression that apartments were smaller than in the states and it wouldn’t fit.  Besides we really didn’t have that much anyway.
I found out later that there was one more downside.  On the other side of the apartment was a clock tower for town.  It rang every 15 minutes. After a while you learned to ignore it.  Getting used to it was a pain in the, well you know.
So we had an Apartment… The dog was happy to be out of the Hotel… We had great landlords…  All in all a wonderful beginning to our time in Italy.

Next Time

Shopping – a whole new experience…  How do you explain Honey to a shopkeeper???

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Memories Part 4

Checking in

Checking in at a new post is very much like checking in at the amusement park.  There is so much to see and not enough time to see it all.  You end up trying to cram all of the things you have to see into such a short time that you miss half of everything.  I don’t know about the other branches of the military but the Navy is that way.
The very first thing you do is board the ship. I know that sounds like a no brainer but there is a certain procedure for doing that very mundane task.  You walk up the gang plank and salute the flag that is at the back end of the ship (fantail) and then you address the officer of the watch and say, “Petty officer Devine reporting for duty Sir”.  He will then look over the papers that you have in your hand, why I don’t know because he always says the exact same thing, he then orders you to the personnel department to begin your tour. The military is funny that way, they have these little rituals that they go through to do every thing.  Everyone knows the rituals yet we still do them.

Personnel Division

Paper pushers.  At the time I didn’t respect their job that much, mainly because I thought that they stayed up at night coming up with ways to make us wait longer.  (Deep in my heart I know that they did) Now however I know that they were just doing their jobs.  (yeah right)  In all branches of the service the motto is “hurry up and wait”.  I waited in line for about an hour and a half, which wouldn’t have been a long time normally but I was in my dress uniform carrying my sea-bag (duffle bag for all the other services) which even with the bare minimum of gear still weighs about 60 pounds.  Finally I got to the front and the bored clerk behind the counter actually perked up.  I was a newbie, I would occupy a lot of time for him and he wouldn’t have to go from task to task.  That didn’t mean he would be efficient or even fast, quite the contrary, he was going to take his time with me.  So we did all of the normal things, name, rank, division, rate, then we had to verify all of the information on my page 2, which is like an emergency contact list, sort of.  When he found out that I had brought my wife with me, yes there were some sailors that left the wife in the states I found out later, he handed me a stack of papers that detailed which hotel I was staying in, how much it was costing me (I got reimbursed for that expense), it gave me all of the rules that I needed to follow – which receipts I needed to keep – how much they would reimburse me for, what was considered a valid expense so on and so on.  As I write this down it doesn’t seem like it took all that long but I was in that window for at least 2 hours.  At the end he gave me a map of the ship and told me to report to my division. R-6 division was the Nuclear repair division. I think I forgot to tell you all that was my job in the Navy, I was a Nuclear trained Electrician. Now there is a scary thought for all of you to contemplate – The United States Navy let me play with a nuclear reactor. That however is another story.

R-6 Division

I finally found the R-6 division space, which sounded easy but wasn’t. It was secured with an electronic lock (you have to protect people from radioactive things) so I had to knock.  The Chief Petty Officer answered the door and I introduced myself.  We hit it off right away and I knew that we would have a good relationship. He proceeded to introduce me to all of the other people.  I wish I could remember everyone’s name but only a few stand out as actually memorable.
One thing that stands out in my mind is that there were women aboard this ship.  This was one of the ships that was being an experiment having women on board.  Remember this was the 1980’s, that was a radical idea.
I also found out that this ship was the flag-ship of Com-Sixth-Fleet, which meant there was an Admiral aboard.  That wouldn’t normally be an issue but it meant that he had diplomatic things to do and we would have a schedule of two weeks in port and two weeks at another port.  My wife was not going to like that.  One of the ways that I had sold this whole – Let’s move to Italy – thing was that I was going to be home 95% of the time.  Now I was actually going to be gone more than had I stayed on the other ship. I would have to spin this in a way that she would like, NOT going to happen.
I got my berth assignment, the place I would sleep when on duty and out to sea. I went down to put my things away, and I breathed a sigh of relief that I would be home for the next 13 days before I had to pull out for our first port of call.  I found out that I would pull duty, a day on the ship, once every 7 days, very nice. usually on a ship you were once every 4 days or shorter.  I got my TLD (thermo-luminescent dosimeter) the device that measures how much radiation your body absorbs.
I was basically done for the day, I looked around the facility and I toured the ship as best I could.  It was actually a big ship, almost three times as big as the one I was on before.  Now I had to go home and find a way to explain all this to Lynn, it was not going to be a good home coming.

That will be next time…

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Memories part Three

The Beach

On that first early Saturday morning as I headed back to the Hotel room, I noticed a group of young men wheeling a cart of lounge chairs down the road.  Curious I followed them down the road.  I started to smell the sea air as we topped a very small rise, down the street I could see an entrance to the beach.  Most of it was blocked from view by the motels but you could still see some sand and waves.  I continued to follow the men as they wheeled their burden down the road.
They headed for the opening between two Hotels that appeared to be a walkway for beach access.  I followed at a discrete distance. I didn’t want to appear like a stupid American, which I ended up being once again that morning.  I emerged from the ally like opening only to see one of the best beaches I have ever seen in my life.  I wish I still had some pictures of it of my own, but during the breakup of Lynn and I they were lost.  Here is one I found on the internet
beach threeThe sand was exquisite not the course sand you find on most beaches and not the ultra fine sand that gets in every opening of your body, but that in between sand that is fun to sit on and sleep on. I stood there transfixed for a moment or two just looking at this beautiful beach.  My thoughts were interrupted by the next wave of men with lounge chairs that were behind me. I hurriedly got out of the way by walking forward to the beach only to be stopped by a fence and a fierce looking Italian man that was demanding to see my “beach pass”.  I really should have learned some Italian prior to coming over but I was an arrogant American, I knew the the world should speak English and damn it they were going to accommodate me.  I tried to bluff my way past by playing dumb, didn’t work.  I tried to do the I don’t speak the language thing, didn’t work.  I even tried to pay him to let me pass, that really didn’t work.  After about 5 minutes one of the younger men came over to help me (young people in Italy are really nice people) and explained to me that beaches in Italy were owned by the Hotels and reserved for the guests of the hotel.  That is why during the day they look like this
beach five beach fourAlso they are very protective of the beach from other hotels.  I told the person helping me which Hotel I was staying at and showed him my key and he showed me where my Hotels beach strip was. Not a very big spot but enough to satisfy my need to go to the water.
images beach twoAnother great Shot of the beach . I also found out that the right side of the beach was public beach, which is where the cave is, and that anyone could use that part.  Which was nice as I didn’t plan on staying in the Hotel the rest of my stay in Italy.  You all need to understand that one of the reasons I joined the Navy is because I love the Ocean, funny that I live in Utah now, but I love to stand on the beach and look out over the waves and imagine what living on the other side would be like.  At that point in my life I marveled that now I knew.  Once I was down by the water I found out that you could walk the length of the beach as long as you didn’t try to go up into the lounge chairs, or if you did not to sit on any of them unless you were staying at that hotel.  When you think about it, it is a great system.  You see Gaeta is a tourist hub during the summer time.  For some reason the population about triples during the “tourist season” and the beach front hotels have to provide space for their guests.
I stayed at the beach for what seemed like hours but when I looked at my watch it was only 7:30. I decided that I really needed to share this with Lynn and went back to the Hotel to wake her up.  As I entered the Hotel I saw the young man that had helped me at the beach, seems he worked for the hotel and was one of the owners sons, his sister was the girl at the front desk. We ultimately became friends.  She asked me how my morning had gone so far and I blushed as I told her I felt a little overwhelmed.  Her laugh was like the tinkling of small bells, just wonderful to listen to.  Had I not been married…. (just like a man to mention that)

Waking up

I think I have mentioned before that I wasn’t the best husband at the time, but I was considerate of waking Lynn up.  Mainly because she could be a little bitchy in the morning if she got startled awake.  I had thought about bringing her a cup of coffee but hadn’t.  About that time a knock on the door sounded and I answered to see Jakamo ( the beach guy) standing there with a pot of coffee and some fruit and bread.  He explained that it was part of the room cost and usually served in the restaurant but the first day here he thought we could use the break.  I really liked him for that.  Lynn was excited to get coffee and giddy that we were going to go get Mitzie (our dog) that day.  We had flight information and were going to rent a car to drive to Naples to pick her up.
Over breakfast I regaled Lynn about my morning stroll, promising to take her to the beach later that day after we got back from Naples.  We did our morning rituals (showering etc…) and got dressed.  The flight was due in at about 1 PM and if we wanted to meet it we needed to leave no later than 11.  Lynn and I went to the front desk and ask Gina (Jakamo’s sister) where to get a car.  She was very helpful and asked if we had called the airline to see if it was on time.  I told her that we probably wouldn’t get anyone to speak English so we were just going to wing it.  Gina volunteered to call for us, which is one of the ways we became friends, and asked for the information.  We waited while she dialed the number and spoke to someone on the other end.  The conversation got more and more heated and at the end Gina was almost yelling at the phone.  She slammed the phone down and turned to us, took a deep breath and told us that yes Mitzie was going to land today but she was scheduled to be quarantined for two weeks, which was standard for Italy.  Now you need to understand that prior to us leaving we had investigated how to ship the dog over to Italy and found a boarding kennel that specialized in that kind of thing.  We spent a small fortune getting her shots and boarding her to avoid the quarantine period that Italy imposed.  We were assured that all we would have to do is to pick her up at the airport when she flew over.  Can we say SCAMMED.
Lynn was beside herself. She loved that dog like a child.  The only way I knew how to comfort her was to take her out to the beach and shopping.  We spent the next several days shopping and beaching.  Tuesday rolled around and the Ship was due to pull in, I had to be there at 7:00 AM even though I knew that they wouldn’t actually dock till about 9, that is just the service.  Hurry up and wait.

More on that later.

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Memories part two

My First Weekend

I woke up the next morning looking forward to the three day weekend. The ship I was to be stationed on was not due back for that amount of time which meant that I was a free bird until it docked.  In the service you take what ever time off you can get.
My wife (Lynn) liked to sleep in and I usually woke up at 5 AM, just because it was a day off did not seem to make much difference to my body clock. I was very considerate of Lynn, as I had been all of our marriage, just because I was awake no need to disturb her.  I liked my morning time, it was some of the only time that I had to myself, it was precious to me.  This morning was different though, I was in a foreign land now, I knew nothing of the town, I didn’t speak Italian, I will admit that I was a little intimidated.  I quietly dressed and left the room.  As with most Navy men, my father included, the first thing I wanted in the morning was a cigarette and a cup of coffee.  The cigarette I had the coffee I needed.  I went to the front desk and asked in what I considered to be good broken english for coffee.  I was surprised when the girl behind the counter answered in almost perfect english that there was a coffee shop just around the corner.  She added as I walked off “good luck” and laughed, I thought that was strange but needed coffee.  When I got to the Coffee shop I knew why she wished me luck.  The place was packed.  I thought to myself “how bad can this be”…  Famous last words

All This for a Cup of Coffee

I was a brash American, so I do like all of us do and marched up to the counter and hailed the first person behind the counter and asked for a coffee.  First thing he does is say something in Italian that I don’t understand and then points to a receipt on the bar.  Then he makes a grabbing motion.  I found out quickly where the phase “Dumb American” came from.  So I pulled out some money (I had changed some american money into Lira) and put some on the bar.  He laughed and pointed to the door.  I have to say that I was somewhat offended… I picked up my money and started to leave in a huff.   Luckily there was a young  person at the door. I found out later that most young people in Italy speak some english and the more educated ones speak it well… He stopped me and explained that you need to pay for your coffee at the door and take the receipt to the counter and get your coffee. He also spoke about the different types of coffee. Espresso, Cappachino, Cafe Americano, and the list went on. I just wanted a cup of coffee, jeez. He asked me if I liked strong coffee, HA, I was in the navy – you could cut the coffee I was used to drinking with a knife of course I liked strong coffee.  He suggested that I order an Espresso, which was only 500 Lira (50 cents) went back to the bar with my receipt, haughtily threw it down and got this really tiny cup of what appeared to be black oil. At this point I didn’t want to appear any more stupid than I had already proven myself to be.  I looked around and there were men adding packets of sugar to the small cups, so that is what I did, I seemed to have attracted the attention of a group of older men at one of the stand-up tables.  They were whispering to each other and pointing in my direction.  They didn’t need to whisper as I couldn’t have understood them if they were yelling, I guess they didn’t know that.  So here I am looking down at this little cup of coffee, I am still not really sure that is what it is even though it smelled like coffee, and all of a sudden I just did like everyone else and downed it.
I remember the scorching heat as it ran down my throat, I remember the old men howling with laughter, I remember the serious rush of caffeine as the espresso hit me in a blinding flash of GOOD MORNING, but most of all I remember the hard time I had trying not to choke.  From that moment on I loved the taste of espresso, I learned later that you should have a glass of water too, and when you drink the espresso you shoot the water behind.  Funny thing is that when we found an apartment it wasn’t too far from the shop where I had my first espresso.  I frequented that shop on a regular basis and became friends with most of the patrons that were there at 5 AM.  Even the old men that couldn’t speak english became friends.  We communicated with sign language and much broken english and italian.  That morning I had several more shots and it was a great morning.  I actually had the shakes when I left… too much caffeine.

It was still only about 6 AM but I decided that Lynn needed to experience this also.  I started back to the hotel room but didn’t make it there.  I ended up on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

More on that next time…..

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Memories part one

1980 to 1984

My friend here on the wordpress blogosphere RenxKoyko told me that I should write a blog about the time I lived in Italy. I have been thinking of that since then and today I sit with my keyboard and attempt to put down in words a once in a lifetime experience.

I joined the navy in 1977, believe it or not I took the oath on April 1, how ironic to take an oath on April fools day.  I didn’t think of it at the time but I should have jumped up and said April Fools after the oath but I don’t think they would have enjoyed that.  You have to understand that the Vietnam war had just ended and the all volunteer armed forces had just started.  Those of us that joined felt a profound sense of patriotism and loyalty to the branch that we were going into.  I had joined the navy because they were willing to give me the education that I couldn’t afford at the time.  I went into the nuclear propulsion field. Yes they let me play with nuclear reactors.  That however is another story.

I was stationed on the USS Virginia CGN-38 during the Iran hostage crisis.  Our ship along with the rest of the battle group were assigned to go to the Indian Ocean to patrol just in case we decided to wage war on the Iranians.  It was a long and grueling voyage.  My wife of the time and I almost got divorced when I returned. We had been apart for almost 9 months and mail was difficult.  There were no phone calls, there were no emails, just snail mail.  Most of the time it was 2 weeks old when it got to us, if it got to us at all.  I received 4 letters after I had gotten home. Rumor was that we were going to be in port for about 6 months on a refit and then were going back again.  I just knew that if I went away again for an extended period of time my marriage would be over.  It just so happened that the detailer (a person that assigns people to different posts) was visiting the ship in February of 1981, I made an appointment to see him and asked if I could be assigned some sort of shore duty, perhaps an instructors position at one of the schools that I had attended.  Unfortunately there weren’t any actual shore duty billets available.  He did say though that there was a repair ship (USS Puget Sound AD-38) assignment available in Gaeta Italy.  His words were, “that ship is welded to the pier, it never leaves port” more on that later…  You need to understand that at that time of my life I wasn’t much for asking or discussing major decisions with the wife, I had been raised by a military father and what he said the family did.  I told the detailer that I would take the position and proceeded home to tell the wife the good news.  Major lead balloon – she was not happy about that at all.  For a while I thought I would be going by myself.  The only thing that convinced her was that I said we could take the dog and I bought a book on the wonders of Italy.

206778-The_USS_Puget_Sound_AD_38_Gaeta images

The next three months was a whirlwind of activity.  Getting the passport, getting all the shots, getting the dog ready to go, finding a vet that would take care of the dog (at the time you had to ship the dog separately , at least in the military) getting things ready to be packed, getting rid of anything considered contraband (yes there are lists of things you can’t take) renting a storage facility for things we didn’t want to take.  All the things that you do when you move times ten.  Surprisingly it went well, there were no loose ends to tie up and the packer came and went without a hitch.

We stayed in a Navy hotel for about a week waiting for the flight, which was kind of like a vacation and then the big day came.  We were stuffed on to a flight that was crammed full of other service members for about 14 hours.  It was a terrible flight but it was over and we were in a bus going to Gaeta.  I had about 3 days to report after I got to Gaeta and I had been told that I would need to check into a motel (which the Navy paid for) while we looked for an apartment.  We checked into the Hotel Serapo, mainly because it was the only one that would allow a dog of the size that we had.  She hadn’t arrived yet but it would be any day now.  Finding an Apartment in Italy is not an easy task, and one that will accept pets, well that is nigh impossible.   I couldn’t check onto the ship because it was not in port. (?????) I distinctly remember the detailer telling me that the ship was “welded” to the pier. I decided to enjoy my last 3 days though and the room was fantastic.  There was this quaint little restaurant inside the hotel so we decided to eat there.  This was not the first time I had been in Italy, I had been over on the USS Virginia prior to the Indian ocean cruise, we had gone to the Mediterranean so I had been to a lot of the countries there.  Earlier though I went to all of the tourist places that don’t really serve real Italian food.  We went into the restaurant and ordered dinner, salad, spaghetti and desert.  I asked for ranch dressing and the waiter just looked at me and pointed to the oil and vinegar on the table. (which I must point out was of the highest quality) The spaghetti have a very small portion of sauce on it, which I found out later is the way it should really be, and the desert was spumoni ice cream.  I was a little in culture shock… I thought for a while that this restaurant was just different and that the rest of them were “real”… Nope.  In that town they were “real” Italian restaurants.  I laid in bed that night wondering what I had gotten myself into.  I knew that my wife was not a happy camper (that would change) and I knew that I was in for the adventure of a life time.

To be continued.

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The Inauguration

Awe Struck

I just got done watching the inauguration. I am moved and inspired.  This was the very first time in all my years to be able to sit and actually watch the whole inauguration.
The message that I received from the speech was that we are all in this together.  We should try and set aside our differences and work for the good of the country.  That first and foremost we are all Americans.  We are one people, one nation moving into the future.  Together we will shape the future.  Together we will provide for the general welfare.  Together we will combat the troubles facing our generation.

Already the pundits are picking it apart word by word.  Analyzing every nuance, every turn of phrase. I am not listening to them.  I am taking my own message forward.  I am letting the words that the President spoke to resonate in my soul.  To me they were profound and amazing.

I think that this is one of the problems with modern media and ourselves.  Instead of thinking of what someones speech meant to us, we allow the pundits to analyze it and tell us what they said.  Instead of trusting ourselves to interpret the words spoken, we allow others to interpret them for us.   Listen to the words yourself, trust yourself to know and understand what is being said.  Listen with your heart, your soul, your being, and you will hear the message that is being put forth.

The other note worthy piece to note was the poet that spoke today.  His poem was beautiful and poignant.  One Light.

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Entering the Fray

Provieded by B2blog

Gun Control?

Why would I enter the argument about gun control?  What possesses me to start an article about such a controversial issue.  An issue that divides this nation more than any other?  An issue that brings out the passion from both sides?  I enter this fray for just that reason, there is so much passion that I think it is time for those of us in the middle of this argument to speak our minds.

Is this what you are afraid of?

Is this what you are afraid of?

My thoughts

I will be the first to stand up for the Constitution and the bill of rights. They are the foundation of our country and our way of life.  I have served in the military to protect our way of life.  I have tried to live by the ideals of the, in my opinion, greatest documents ever written.  But I have an issue with the way that the second amendment is being interpreted. You would think that the way that the NRA and other groups are talking they want access to all weapons regardless of their appropriateness.  They seem to want access to fully automatic weapons, grenades, rocket launchers, RPG (rocket propelled grenades) launchers just because they want it.  Their latest argument, it seems to me, revolves around the ability to protect themselves from a tyrannical government. Which just astounds me.  I would think that the first thing a tyrannical government would do is round up all of the trouble makers and get rid of them (imagine the pogroms).  It would also take some really far fetched thinking that the military, the only organization big enough, would go along with a “coup”.  I know that when I was in the military I would have never gone to war with my neighbors.  There would have had to been major rioting in the streets for me to consider taking arms against my fellow countrymen.
On the other side are the fanatics that want to repeal the second amendment.  The people that say without guns we would be a better life.  We would  have more freedom, less violence, and a happier, healthier society. They are the ones that think we should round up all the guns out there and only allow the military to have any firearms.  That we are like children that should be protected from ourselves.  We are not responsible enough to handle the responsibility of gun ownership.

Can We Talk???

Can We Talk???

What would I do?

A person the other day asked me “ok smarty, if you were president what would you push for?”
I thought that was a fantastic question.  I would outlaw all new semi-automatic weapons production in the United States and ban their importation.  I would require all prospective and current gun owners to get a operators license.  I would require testing to obtain this license, and require insurance be purchased so that if your gun is used to kill someone the victims family has some monetary recourse.  I am not going to talk about mental health because that is another issue all together.  (I think there is a connection but lets focus on guns right now)
I would not round up any current guns out there. Gun owners should be happy about the increase in value of their current weapons.  It is a fact that when things become banned that the value of the current pieces out there increases at least tenfold.
OMG you are saying, what a repressive and communistic thing to do.  Well lets actually look at that calmly.  Most gun owners say that they use their guns for target practice.  Now I have been target practicing and the majority of the time people shoot the gun, take it from their shoulder to look where they hit and then fire again.  That would be a great time to chamber another round to fire again.  I don’t know of many people that shoot at the target more than one time.
So what about hunting?  I would use the same argument.  If you are that bad of a shot that you need more than one bullet to hit something then you shouldn’t be hunting.  Most hunters I know brag about how good of a shot they are and only need one bullet to hit the animal they are going after.
What about licensing? There you have me.  it does not say anything about that in the constitution in fact it seems to say the opposite.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed
I would point out that I am not infringing on your right to keep or to bear those arms. I am saying that there is a process you need to go through to do it.  I would also point out the first part of the amendment.  Are you part of the militia?  Is it well regulated?  Right now it is regulated very little.

100_2208A learning experience

During the last few weeks I have learned a lot about gun ownership and both sides of the issue.  I have learned that gun manufacturers are one of the only industries that cannot be held liable for the products that they make.  I have found out that the congress is bought and paid for by the NRA.  I have found out that our laws have been written and amended with the specific intent of allowing rampant expansion of gun ownership with little to no thought to public safety.  I have learned that military style guns are freely available on the market to anyone that wants one.  I have found out that the background checks that are supposed to keep us safe only apply some of the time.  All I need to do is go to a gun show and I don’t have to worry about that, or buy if from a private seller.
I don’t want to eliminate guns from our society, I want to regulate them so that the killing of children becomes harder.  Just like we don’t allow people to stockpile explosives I don’t think we should allow the stockpiling of ammunition.  Just like we don’t allow people to own a functioning tank I don’t think we should allow other military style weapons in to the hands of the general public.

I fully expect to get blasted for my view point.  I know that there are rabid pro-gun enthusiasts out there that will provide me with tons of evidence that we are on the brink of a societal meltdown. That the only way to survive the post-apocalyptic landscape would be to have as many guns and ammo as you can.
Just like I am sure I will get blasted from the other side that wants there to be no guns available.  That I am being to lenient and should just round them all up.
That is ok.  I knew going in to this that I would get those sorts of responses.  I am hoping that we can come up with something that will ensure that our safety is not compromised and that the second amendment is still intact.

Have a wonderful day
 

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Back to Work

Canvas – Best LMS around

At the Dixie Applied Technology College, here in St George, Utah we are using the Canvas (by instructure) LMS (learning management system).  I love it.  Being the administrator for the campus, I get to see all the ins and outs of the system.  It is a dream to use, so easy to set up courses.  I am also the program administrator for the OpX (operational excellence) program.  It includes our Manufacturing U, Industrial Facilities Maintenance, and Lean Six Sigma program.  Soon to include our CNC and Quality Technician Programs too. The point being that each program has an on-line portion that is set up through canvas.  Each semester I have to go in and make a new course for the information being covered that semester.  Using Canvas makes that task so easy.  I like it because it is dynamic, fun to use, and best of all easy for the students to use.

Seth’s Blogseths blog

http://goo.gl/NA35c  This is the link to Seth’s blog where he talks about making mistakes and taking chances.  it is called out on a limb. As usual I really enjoyed this piece.  you might have noticed that I used the Google URL shortener.  Which is a good segway into my next subject.

I am ADDICTED to Google

Me looking at homework

That is right.  I will admit it here for the first time ever.  I have become addicted to Google products.  It started innocent enough, a doc here, an email account there.  Soon, however, I had sync’d my Chrome account, and then downloaded the drive app to my desktop.  I would sneak out after dinner to find new apps to add to Chrome, I would encourage others to “just take a look” hoping that they too would come over to the “dark side”.
All Joking aside, I am really enjoying learning about Google products.  They are free, which is the only price I would pay, and they are easy to use.  Everyone warns me about privacy, “Well you know” they say “Google is mining your personal data and using it to funnel ads to your page”  to that I say SO WHAT.  Am I so weak that I cant resist advertising?  Will it be so convincing that I go into unimaginable debt because there was a personalized ad on my website?  I don’t think so.  I think that the individual is in charge of what information is out there.  A dedicated hacker will find my personal information no matter what I do to prevent it.  I try to keep my personal life and my web life separate. I think I do a pretty good job.  Every once in a while I will search my name and see what comes up.  (try that it is pretty fun actually) If there is something I find disturbing I would try to fix it, I haven’t found anything like that yet.
There is a plethora of fun things. To name a few that I use, Reader, email, drive, maps, lucid chart (although not a Google product they have integrated it well) and of course Google+.  I am steadily working on moving from Facebook to Google+, at least that is what I tell myself.  I doubt I will ever make the transition.  I use Google+ for techie things and Facebook for intimate or family things.  They both have a purpose and a specific use for me.  I have to admit that I like the Google+ communities feature, it is kind of like a group but not really.

In Conclusion…

I am glad that I have dusted off the blog and started the conversation again.  It is a fun and enjoyable part of my day.  To all those who read this, find something to learn today. I am still learning Google products and am working on an A+ Certification.  Learning is what keeps the brain active, alive and vibrant.

 

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Happy New Year

I know it has been a long time since I have written a post.  I would have a great idea for a post and then it would be like… yeah but that would take too long to write.  I was really wondering if I was cut out for blogging.  The simple answer was NO.  I would always come up with some excuse not to blog, my school work, I didn’t want to ruffle any feathers about the election, I had other much more important things to do like stumble.com.  The list went on and on.  I have written about this before and nothing has really changed with the exception of my attitude.  

I am not going to make an resolution to blog, been there done that.  I am however not going to use excuses to not blog.  When I started this it was a personal thing, a running narrative with myself.  Then I got hung up on readers.  I would be depressed if no one read my blog, I would pester my friends to read my stuff.  I got very annoying.  I have decided that this is actually for me, if someone else finds it interesting enough to read, thank you.  If not well I am still going to be happy.  

Before I end today, I want to express my utmost relief that Obama won the election.  It is not that I feel he is the savior of the human race, or that he has the absolute best ideas to take the country forward.  I do however believe that his opponent would have taken us down the road of destruction.  

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2012 in review

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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