Saturday Night Retro

17 years ago yesterday – on Friday February 26TH 1993 – I served my final day in uniform as an Active Duty USAF NCO (SGT). I did so at Andrews AFB MD just six months after Hurricane Andrew destroyed my previous duty station – the original Homestead AFB FL. The day was memorable for many reasons – a going-away luncheon in my honour, a snowstorm, and the first terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City. A week later I moved back down to Florida (Melbourne) to start my new civilian life – which would eventually (and unexpectedly) take me back to the USAF in Tampa and then ultimately back to Homestead exactly a year later in March of 1994.

This year as I celebrate my 25TH silver anniversary working for the USAF (military and civilian careers combined) I look back fondly at those final six months in the Active Duty USAF from the end of August of 1992 through the end of February of 1993 up at Andrews AFB MD. It turned out to be the pinnacle of my military career. I certainly left on a high note, and that was truly a blessing in disguise that was unfortunately born out of the destruction and chaos that Hurricane Andrew left behind some 1,100 miles to the south.

Just a short trip down the road from Andrews AFB MD is the suburban bedroom community of Waldorf. Members of the punk-pop band Good Charlotte are originally from there, and they used to hang out as young teenagers at the sprawling St. Charles Towne Center Mall – the very same mall that I shopped at frequently while I was stationed there at the same exact time. Here’s their debut radio smash from a full decade later at the start of 2003. It’s all about those “Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous”.

This concludes another blogging week for me. It’s been a lot of fun getting back into the normal swing of things on here, and I can’t wait to do it all over again next week. Be sure to help me kick-off a fresh new week of blogging come Tuesday night when I present another new ‘Grab Bag O’ Thoughts’. Until then my friends – be safe – be good – and be reasonable.

The Major’s Walk-A-Thon

Time: 6:29 AM – 6:55 AM
Sky: Clear
Temperature: 47°F
Dewpoint: 46°F
Relative Humidity: 93%
Winds: Calm
Barometric Pressure: 29.92 Falling

Here are my walking thoughts in 15 words or less:

– This morning I took a spontaneous walk around my neighbourhood.
– I say that because I had actually decided to skip the walk due to the cold.
– I was gonna go straight to Denny’s to consume a GINORMOUS Breakfast.
– But then when I stepped outside I had a ‘Godwink‘ moment.
– God directed me to grab my iPod Shuffle and earphones and go for a walk.
– And so I did, and it wasn’t as frigid cold as it was originally forecast to be.
– It was still a cold walk – in the upper-40s – but there was little to no wind.
– My neighbourhood smelled good at dawn.
– Aside from the occasional passing vehicle it was peaceful and quiet outside.
– Not a creature was stirring – not even a canine or a feline.
– I couldn’t even find the usual assortment of ducks outside.
– They were probably in the bushes staying warm(er).
– I love my neighbourhood.
– It’s hard to believe that I’ve lived here in one place for nearly 15 years.
– Could I possibly live here for another 15 years ?
– I ended up walking one complete lap around my neighbourhood.
– That’s roughly 1.3 miles, and it took 25½-minutes to do so.
– Immediately following the walk I jumped in my car and went to Denny’s.
– Three words dude – ‘All-American Slam’.
– Need I say more ?
– I didn’t think so.
– It took me 51 minutes to drive to Denny’s, eat hearty, and return home.
– That was exactly twice as long as my walk around my neighbourhood.
– But they were both equally fun and satisfying.
– I’m glad that I did both this morning.
– It’s gonna be a great normal weekend at home for the 1ST time in 3 weeks.
– I’ve got a lot of paperwork and online work to do today and tomorrow.
– Later tonight be sure to come back here for some 2003 ‘Retro’.
– Until then enjoy your Saturday in paradise.
– Make it special and memorable.

The Major’s Friday Night Disco Party

It’s the start of another fun ‘Moldie-Oldie Music Weekend’ here on the big polyester and bell-bottoms blog. I kick it off with my fan-favourite ‘Disco Party’ on most Friday nights because that’s how I roll with it !

Flashback with me – won’t you ? – to the Fall of 1976. Back then I was a short and skinny 9-year-old in the 4TH grade. I walked to and from (public) school, as it was located right in the middle of my Lanham Maryland neighbourhood. After school and on the weekends I loved to play outside past the end of the street – into the woods – and down by the creek. That’s when I first discovered one of God’s Great Creations – mosquitoes. I was also in the Cub Scouts, as I, Christopher Day, promised to do my best to do my duty to God and my country, to help other people, and to obey the Law Of The Pack.

Life was much simpler then, and the world was a whole lot smaller for me back in 1976 – the year of our Bicentennial.

On the radio The Ritchie Family (all-female act, but none of them were actually related to each other) were hittin’ it big with a pop, soul, and disco smash titled “The Best Disco In Town”. It was a medley of disco hits from the era set to a fresh new beat. The group was created and run by the same French producer who also created The Village People. Let’s dance:

Thursday Night Mini Thoughts

– Let’s get spontaneous.
– Let’s not hold nothin’ back.
– Can we talk here ?
– Be reasonable – do it my way.
– A couple of nights ago I posted my weekly ‘Grab Bag O’ Thoughts‘.
– It was all about my recent vacation on the high seas and on exotic lands.
– It served as the ceremonial grande finale of my vacation of a lifetime.
– It was a lot of fun and a great change of pace all last week.
– I threw out my normal daily routine and lived on ‘Vacation Standard Time’.
– But that was then and this is now, as The Monkees once sang.
– This is not reality – it’s actuality !
– It’s back to the old daily grind.
– But this is a great Life that I am now living.
– I always look forward to going on vacations.
– But I also look forward to returning back home again after those vacations.
– I’m slowing easing back in to a normal day-to-day routine.
– My 5-day-a-week blogging schedule is back on-track.
– Tonight I’m rejoining my Life Group after taking last week off.
– I hope to walk around my neighbourhood in the frigid air on Saturday morning.
– That’s right – I’m ready for another cold early-morning ‘Walk-A-Thon’.
– I return to Life Pointe Church bright and early this Sunday morning.
– Incidentally I’m hosting the 9 AM service, so come and see me.
– I can’t believe that the month of March is less than 79 hours away !
– Where did February go ?
– Where did normal South Florida weather go ?
– Our coldest and wettest winter season in about a century continues.
– We’ve had wind chills in the 50s all day long today – RIDICULOUS !
– Tomorrow morning actual air temperatures could be in the upper-30s.
– But wind chills could be as low as the upper-20s !
– Remember that you lived through all of this when you complain in July.
– Oh yeah you know that you’ll be whining about the heat and humidity.
– We all do it, and it’s only natural to do so as we live here in paradise.
– As I stated earlier my blogging is back on its regular schedule.
– This Saturday night on the ‘Retro’ I’m flashing back all the way to 2003.
– And of course there’s the ‘Disco Party’ tomorrow night.
– I don’t blog anymore on Sundays and Mondays, but I still tweet.
– My last 7 tweets are always available here on this blog.
– Check the right-hand side panel just below this month’s calendar.
– Those are my ‘Mini Thoughts’ for this final Thursday night in February.
– Have a safe and peaceful evening my friends, my brothers, and my sisters.
– Come back tomorrow night ready to dance at the discotech.
– You won’t regret it pal.

My Fantastic Journey: It’s In The Lyrics

This week it’s the return of ‘My Fantastic Journey’, as I present to you a current (still climbing up the music charts) pop smash at both mainstream and Christian radio. That’s truly a rarity in this day and age of hit music.

It’s 2009 “American Idol” Champion Kris Allen, and it’s his very inspirational debut smash “Live Like We’re Dying”. 

Yeah we gotta start lookin’ at the hands of the time we’ve been given
If this is all we got then we gotta start thinkin’
If every second counts on a clock that’s tickin’
Gotta live like we’re dyin’

We only got 86-400 seconds in a day
To turn it all around or to throw it all away
Gotta tell ’em we love ’em while we got the chance to say
Gotta live like we’re dyin’

It’s in the lyrics:

Make the most of every single second with God’s Great Creations. Live Life like it’s goin’ out of style. Make an impact. Change the world. Love. Don’t waste this golden opportunity. You may not get the chance to do it again.

Tuesday Night Grab Bag O’ Thoughts

From the 13TH through the 21ST of February of 2010 I sailed for 8 days and 8 nights aboard the luxurious Carnival Freedom. It was my 2ND cruise in 28 months on the 110,000 gross ton / 952 foot long ship. I had previously sailed from Rome Italy to Miami Florida on a 14-day Mediterranean / Transatlantic voyage during her maiden journey to the U.S. from Europe in October and November of 2007. The combined 22 days and 22 nights on the Carnival Freedom is the most for me on any single cruise ship in my 19-year sailing history. I’ve also visited more new countries for the first time ever via the Carnival Freedom than via any other cruise ship. In addition to Italy, Spain, and Madeira (Portugal) I can now add Costa Rica and Panama to the list of new countries visited.

I.  Cozumel México – This is my all-time favourite port-of-call for no other reason than the fact that I’ve been there more often (by far) than any other place in the world during my cruising history. It’s like my one-day home away from home once or twice a year. I know what to expect there, and I know where to go there for shopping opportunities galore if I wish. I’ve been there so often that sometimes I don’t even get off of the ship – but this time I did. I actually went on a rare shore excursion this time around to take advantage of some unusually chilly winter weather for the island (cloudy with scattered rain showers and stuck in the 70s). During the 4½-hour sightseeing and shopping tour one of the highlights was a tequila farm and factory. I didn’t partake in the extended taste test of a wide variety of random tequilas inside; however, it was fun to watch the others who did as well as listen to some of their outrageous feedback such as “This tastes like Windex … I LOVE IT !”  Classic stuff – and a fun excursion all around ‘my’ island home of Cozumel.

II.  Limón Costa Rica – Last Wednesday morning I set foot on Costa Rica for the first time ever – just below the 10°N latitude line (about 690 miles north of the equator). It was a rainy and coolish morning (by Costa Rica standards) with temperatures stuck in the 70s. Eventually the sun came out late in the afternoon and it got hot outside. But back in the cool light rain I took a combination bus, boat, and train tour of the eastern lowland countryside. The boat ride on a river was cool, as we eavesdropped on crocodiles napping, sloths just hangin’ around, and abundant monkeys high atop a tree. We actually saw one young monkey fall from the top of a tree and land much further down on some branches and leaves. He was OK, but now he may be alone for the rest of his life. Allegedly (according to our tour guide) once you’ve fallen from a tree you’ve cast disrespect and dishonour amongst your neighbourhood and nobody wants to be seen with you ever again. Harsh dude !

III.  Panama – Early last Thursday morning shortly after sunrise the Carnival Freedom pulled in to the port in downtown Colón along the northern (Caribbean) coast of Panama. 13 busloads of my fellow cruise ship passengers (over 525 of us) were then loaded up and transported southeastward across the country to the Pacific coast. The drive took about 1 hour and 20 minutes along modern highways and tollways guarded by fully-armed Panamanian militia. Once on the Pacific side our 13 busloads got in to 2 ferries (comfortably), as we began our partial transit through the Panama Canal starting with a beautiful view of the downtown skyline of the bustling capital city of Panama. I never really understood how the Panama Canal actually worked until I got to experience it firsthand. It is definitely one of the greatest modern marvels ever made in the history of the world. Incidentally the Pacific side of Panama is nearing the end of a rather severe dry season. It hasn’t rained much on the south side of the country so far in 2010, and that was quite evident as all of the grass was brown and crunchy. It was very hot there – well into the 90s. The north (Caribbean) side of the country was milder, greener, and lusher. The three highlights of this mighty educational day in Panama were no doubt the one-third transit of the Panama Canal, seeing the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans within 90 minutes of each other, and driving by land and sailing by sea right through the great Continental Divide of the Americas.

This was a wonderful vacation at sea and on land way down south that truly exceeded my expectations, and I can’t wait to do it all over again in about 6½-months when I embark on my next great Carnival cruise vacation !

Saturday Night Retro

It’s a special Friday night edition of the ‘Saturday Night Retro’ !

Back in November and December of 1985 I spent my first two months overseas in The United Kingdom at my first active duty Air Force permanent duty station. As a newly-assigned Airman I lived in one of the old post World War 2 era dormitories on base – rambler style with centralized community bathrooms. In other words you had to leave your room and walk down the hallway to use the toilet, take a shower, shave, wash your hands, and brush your teeth. There was no plumbing within the actual dorm rooms.

In the military a ‘day room’ is essentially a community living room with assorted furniture and a television. Our ‘day room’ in our particular dorm was damaged / unusable / off-limits, so we ‘dorm rats’ gathered together and took over an adjacent dorm’s day room. We met nightly after work to hang out, eat junk food, smoke cigarettes, drink beer (not me), watch British television, play Uno, and pretty much party like it was 1985 (sometimes all night long). Those are some of the greatest memories of my entire military career – from nearly 25 years ago. One of the biggest mistakes that I made early on was to buy my own television set for my dorm room because once I did that I unintentionally removed myself from that day room camaraderie. A few months later I went back over there, and it was never the same as it once was during those first two months. All of my old buddies had moved on – just as I had done.

One of the great Thursday night traditions that began in that day room and continued on during the entire time that I lived in the U.K. (the next two years) was watching “Top Of The Pops” on BBC-1. It aired weekly for over 40 years, and it was essentially their version of our “American Bandstand”. Here’s how a mid-December 1985 episode started at 7 PM GMT. It was one of those episodes that I watched alongside my day room buddies. On that week’s show Amazulu (an all-female British pop band) were in the Top 20 with their vivacious hit at the time “Don’t You Just Know It”.