Saturday Night Retro

Saturday November 27TH 2010
Volume 3 / Number 12 / Edition 109

Late last night I returned home to Miami to begin my 24TH year of living here in America’s Riviera. It was a very nice American Airlines flight – due mainly because I sat in First Class. While checking in at the self-service terminal at AA at DFW I was offered the opportunity to upgrade my reservation from coach to First Class for $105. It allegedly included Dinner. After mulling about it for a good half-minute or so I decided to do it. The $105 turned out to be a very good deal for me. As it turns out there is no charge for baggage for First Class passengers. That alone saved me at least $25 – possibly as much as $60 due to the fact that my checked bag weighed 54 pounds (above the standard limit of 50 pounds per bag). I was able to board the aircraft first – a full 40 minutes before takeoff time. I sat in a very comfortable seat in the very first row – right by the window – my favourite place to sit. I enjoyed lots of elbow room on both sides of me and ample leg room in front of me. Earphones were free if I wanted them.

Here’s what else I enjoyed as a First Class passenger – a bowl of hot mixed nuts (absolutely delicious and quite a bit hot), a warm moist towel (to clean off my nutty hands), a (real) glass of Sprite on the rocks, a (real) glass of bottled water, a large salad with blue cheese dressing (delicious), a chicken piccata (pretty good with the dipping sauce provided), white rice (it was OK), mixed vegetables (good), a warm roll with butter (very good), and a nice slice of pie for dessert (surprisingly tasty). All of this was served on real plates and eaten with a real fork and knife and cloth napkin. The meal was unbelievably plentiful and delicious for airline food in 2010. I realize that back in the day airline food was complimentary for everyone, unlimited, and award-winning, but this is an enitrely different era of budget-cutting flying. I was very impressed with it all.

After the nice meal the rest of my First Class flight experience was quite relaxing and comfortable. I could hear what appeared to be an uncomfortable baby crying virtually non-stop throughout the entire flight way back in the coach section, so I was very thankful to be sitting in Seat 1F. You know it !

More perks of First Class flying included the fact that I was the 2ND person to exit the aircraft at MIA after landing, and my suitcase was among the first to appear on the baggage carousel. I returned home less than 90 minutes after my plane landed. My next airplane adventure probably occurs next May.

It was another enjoyable Thanksgiving Week vacation with my family. We actually celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas together – a family tradition for the past few years. I’m looking forward to my next trip back to Dallas Texas. Who knew that after watching every single episode of “Dallas” ever made all of those years ago that I’d be visiting the real city and its metroplex. I wouldn’t want to live there, but it’s quite all right to visit the area a few times per year.

The Major’s Weekend Blast-Off

WEEKEND GRAB BAG O’ THOUGHT:
I’ve got an interesting idea for a new and innovative television show. It would be similar to the long-running “Cops“, but this show would utilize helicopters instead with no police action involved. They would fly directly above our streets – neighbourhood and city roads and high-speed expressways alike. They would simply fly around the region and record the traffic down below. Don’t even look for anything unsual. Just record what’s happening down there. Make sure that the cameras that are utilized to capture this footage are very high quality so that everything is clear and visible (aside from license plates and people’s faces). Make it in HD. We could then show that footage during a half-hour nationally syndicated nightly TV show – perhaps right after the local and national news at 7 PM. We’ll have a variety of traffic analysis experts in the studio showing each day’s footage and analyzing it via the extensive use of telestrators. They can tell us everything that’s being done wrong and right while we drive. They can show us all of the near collisions that occur. They can spotlight the good, the bad, and the ugly. They can tell us what we need to know to survive and stay alive. I bet that most people don’t have any idea on how bad their driving actually is, but if they saw it for themselves on television then maybe they would get a clue. The TV show idea sounds simple enough. I’d watch. Not reality. Actuality !

BEST LUNCH OF THE WEEK AWARD:
It’s been a too long 25 days since I last ate Lunch at my home away from home – Longhorn Steakhouse – so what better way to spend an hour late on a Friday morning than to pull in to the parking lot, open the front door of the joint, and be welcomed by my regular greeter and my regular waitress. FRIENDLY customer service. DELICIOUS food. I can’t ask for anything more out of a Lunch hour. I enjoyed my standard fare – Renegade Top Sirloin (8-ounce / Medium-Well), Mashed Potatoes, Bread, Coke.

RETWEET:
Facebook is like your high school yearbook getting circulated and signed by people you don’t know or like. Twitter is like tagging a wall.

THOSE CRAZY CRAZY CATS:
My longtime cat Boots (1995-2007) did this frequently with geckos on our back porch screen. It was his warning call. If the gecko didn’t scram within a reasonable amount of time then Boots would run and jump on it and push it off the screen himself (thus saving my life of course). Here’s somebody else’s home video that reminds me of the fun times that I enjoyed while I was living with my very own feline buddy. Maybe some day – when the time and the place is right – I’ll go to a local animal shelter and adopt another abandoned feline and bring him or her to my loving and happy home.

BLATANT PROMOTION:
The weekend blogging continues tomorrow night with the 99TH edition of my ‘Saturday Night Retro’. I’m flashing back to 2003. It was only 7 years ago, but it seems like an era that’s just so foreign to me looking back at it from the light of the present day. Don’t forget that you can stay in touch with me and my Life in-between the weekend blogging simply by following me on Twitter – @majorhitwaves. Watch as I tag my walls with the more notable events of my Life. Have a fun and safe weekend my friends, and I’ll see you out and about.

Thursday Night Mini Thoughts

– Here’s another collection of my spontaneous combustion ‘Mini Thoughts’.
– What else would you expect from me on a Thursday night here on my blog ?
– Tonight I may offend pick-up truck drivers – the bullies of the open roads.
– I may also offend soccer-mom mini-van drivers who are just plain horrifying.
– Let’s start with the bully pick-up truck drivers who think they own the roads.
– Pick-up truck drivers rarely surprise me, as they are very predictable.
– Stop signs and lane markings generally mean nothing to them.
– I often wonder why they run the stop signs yet stop for a red light.
– If you break every other law in the book then you might as well just keep goin’.
– Speed limit signs along the sides of the road don’t apply – and don’t exist.
– What do I see in my rear-view mirror – a GIANT pick-up truck tailgating me.
– Do you really need tires that are bigger than most humans ?
– Do you really need your truck to be so high that you can walk underneath it ?
– Does it really need to be as loud as an F-16 jet ?
– OK soccer-mom mini-van drivers it’s your turn now.
– Men and women are equally bad drivers in soccer-mom mini-vans.
– You guys and gals are stark raving mad lunatics behind the wheel.
– You’re driving your giant gas-guzzling tanks as if they are little sports cars.
– And you’re usually doing so with half a baseball team as passengers.
– When you make a fast turn a wheel should not lift up from the road.
– It’s no wonder that you cause more accidents on the road than any other.
– There should be a special license that’s required to drive a mini-van.
– Incidentally a mini-van is any vehicle that’s not a car or a pick-up truck.
– It’s my somewhat generic label for every obnoxious vehicle on the road.
– Some of the nicest most friendliest people turn demonic behind the wheel.
– Parents that are bad drivers raise kids that are bad drivers.
– The national driving age should be 18 – not 15 or 16.
– Kids should not be driving any vehicles on the road.
– That is all that I have to say about this subject.
– Moving on to even more controversy – Politics:
– The media’s intense love affair with President Obama continues.
– He can do no wrong, as he walks on water that’s up to 2% crude oil.
– Everything bad that happens in the world today is still Bush’s fault.
– President Obama and his administration loves to blame others.
– We’ve been down this same road before – the Clinton administration.
– They blamed the elder Bush while their boss was out playing and partying.
– Don’t get me started.
– Yesterday I had a bad experience at a popular local Latin eatery.
– I got bad service and perhaps bad food.
– I ended up with an upset stomach that lasted the rest of the day into the night.
– The bad service alone was quite shocking, as it was perhaps racially-motivated.
– Needless to say I won’t be frequenting that establishment anytime soon.
– I’m boycotting places that don’t treat all customers equally with respect.
– Well this turned out be a rather dismal edition of the ‘Mini Thoughts’.
– I didn’t intend to shred bad drivers, bad political leaders, and bad restaurants.
– But that’s what happened in this spontaneous combustion.
– You should have seen the original unexpurgated version of all of this.
– This weekend it’s an all-new ‘Saturday Night Retro’ here on the blog.
– It’s the 20TH anniversary of my ‘Summer Of Fun’ in 1990.
– It was my Woodstock – my Spring Break – my endless party on the beach.
– I’ll look back at that decadent summer and present a signature rock song.
– It’s the song that brings back all of those vivid memories of a previous life.
– On Sunday it’s an all-new ‘My Fantastic Journey: It’s In The Lyrics’.
– We are like totally going to jam to some awesome worship music.
– After that this blog goes on hiatus for 5 days.
– Stick around this weekend as we kick-off an all-new summer of fun for 2010.
– You won’t regret it pal.

Thursday Night Mini Thoughts

– I just returned home from my Doctor’s office.
– I was there waiting for nearly 2 hours for what amounted to a 10-minute appt.
– My Doctor told me that I’m in excellent health.
– My cholesterol levels remain within all of the optimal categories.
– She told me that I could decrease my Lipitor consumption.
– I could either go down from 10 mg. per day to 5 mg. per day.
– Or I could stay on the 10 mg. but only take it every other day.
– I choose the latter option.
– Starting today I’m taking my Lipitor on odd-numbered days only.
– Happy odd-numbered day my friends !
– Happy 43RD Birthday CNN host Anderson Cooper.
– Your hair is super gray, yet mine is not.
– But you are a TV star, and I am not.
– I’ll be joining Anderson as a 43-year-old on Saturday.
– This weekend is also the 25TH anniversary of my high school graduation.
– I’ll mark the event this Saturday night on an all-new ‘Retro’.
– Tonight’s edition of the ‘Thursday Night Mini Thoughts’ contains no MSG.
– Tomorrow morning I’ll be staying here at home.
– I’ve got plumbers arriving early in the morning to repair a water line leak.
– It’s my first such leak since the end of 2006.
– Unfortunately the leak is in a bad location.
– It’s located directly behind the wall that’s directly behind my computer.
– It’s been slow leaking for at least a week now based on the mold I now have.
– What’s it doin’ outside ?
– It was a scorcher today here in Homestead.
– We climbed into the lower-90s with humidity readings above 60%.
– Our heat indices were just above 100° F !
– Heavy downpours are drenching much of the region from Miami northward.
– Meanwhile we’ve got bright sunshine and no rain (yet) down here.
– I got word earlier today that I’m hosting the 9 AM service again at LPC.
– That means I’ll be reading and studying more Scripture starting tonight.
– I always look forward to hosting because I enjoy the learning involved.
– ‘The Truth’ be told – it’s ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’.
– I hope to enjoy a peaceful and quiet weekend here at home.
– I also hope that my living room wall begins to dry out once the leak is fixed.
– I hope that you have a safe and enjoyable weekend as well.
– Make it positively memorable.
– You won’t regret it pal.

Tuesday Night Grab Bag O’ Thoughts

Weather Delay – My return trip back home from North Texas to South Florida via American Airlines was just about as crazy and unpredictable as it was going there. My round trip flights last Thursday night and this past Monday night can be summed up in three words – ‘two-hour-delay’. My 4:20 PM CDT flight back home to the land of the ‘305’ was already delayed by 45 minutes several hours before the actual departure time. Then it was delayed by another 25 minutes. It ended up taking off into the wild blue yonder 2 hours and 15 minutes late due to thunderstorm activity all around DFW. MIA also had its fair share of thunderstorms, so while we touched down 1 hour and 40 minutes late it took another 30 minutes just to get to our assigned gate. Long story short I walked in to my front door just a few minutes before Midnight. It was another long day (and night) of travel. I was happy to be home sweet home.

Collared Way – This past Sunday night at Dinner me and my brother were required to put on (what resembled) generic bowling shirts that were provided by the wait staff of the neighbourhood clubhouse restaurant because we came in wearing non-collared tee-shirts. It became a running gag throughout the entire dinner. We pledged to ‘accidentally’ drop as much food as we possibly could on our collared shirts, and then play a round of bowling a la Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble. Here’s what I think about the collared policy. A restaurant should be more concerned about upgrading their food, service, cleanliness, decor, and atmosphere before they worry so much about what someone is wearing to the table. I had issues with all five of those aspects. Here’s what else I think. If you’ve got such a policy then clearly and visibly state so at the front entrance of your joint. And this is the most important thing of them all. Don’t discriminate. Enforce your policy to all of your customers – not just the ones that look young. If you’re old(er) and you’re wearing a tee-shirt then you too should have to put on a bowling shirt in order to eat dinner. You should also have to put on long pants and socks. It makes no sense to me to wear a collared shirt with short pants and no socks to the dinner table. I’m just sayin’.

Taylor Lesley Day – My lovable little niece turned 4-weeks-old today. I met her for the very first time last week when I arrived at DFW. This much is certain. She’s even more adorable LIVE and in person than she is in pictures. She doesn’t eat any food yet, but she drinks a lot of warm milk. She totally digs her Binky. She can’t go very long without it.  Her favourite pastime is clearly sleeping. She gets about 22 hours of it per day. I’ve been told that she won’t get nearly that much when I get to visit her again in about six weeks. Quite a few pictures were taken of the two of us. I’ve got a few on my phone. My sister-in-law specializes in scrapbooking. She’s very good at it. I actually think that she could even do it professionally. I can’t wait to see that first photo album of Taylor chock-full of all of her latest snapshots. Knowing my sister-in-law that first photo album should be filled and completed by the time that I return. I’m counting on it !

The Major’s Walk-A-Thon

Time: 7:35 AM – 8:11 AM
Sky: Sunny & Clear
Temperature: 64°F
Dewpoint: 62°F
Relative Humidity: 92%
Winds: W 6 MPH
Barometric Pressure: 29.84 Rising

Here are my walking thoughts in 15 words or less:

– This morning I ‘slept in’ a bit – until nearly 7 AM !  OMG !
– I took a nice long hot shower, and then I went out for a walk.
– I walked for 36.3 minutes, or about 1.9 miles around my neighbourhood.
– It was a sparkling crystal clear and delightfully cool early Saturday morning.
– We don’t get very many mornings like this one.
– In fact they don’t occur at all for about 6 months out of the year.
– But during this time of the year they are more common.
– While I was walking in the 64°F ‘chill’ I was thinking about the D.C. area.
– The’re being smothered by their biggest blizzard in a century !
– When all is said and done there could be 2½-FEET of snow on the ground !
– We had some big snows up there when I was growing up, but not that big !
– I’m glad that I live down here in America’s Riviera.
– Next Saturday morning I’ll be on my way to Port Everglades.
– The Carnival Freedom will be my home for 8 days and 8 nights.
– I will surely be doing a lot of walking on that MAMMOTH vessel.
– I will also complement that walk-a-thon with an eat-a-thon !
– I figure that if I burn 5,000 calories per day then I can eat that much.
– I won’t regret it pal – at least I hope not.
– On my walk this morning there were a lot of white flying bugs around.
– I don’t know what they are, but the’re annoying if not harmless.
– I keep seeing a large grayish cat on one of the streets during my walks.
– The cat looks at me, I look at the cat, and we agree to be passing friends.
– Most cats understand that I am a friend of the feline species.
– Most dogs don’t like me, as they probably know that I favor cats.
– I am in the best physical condition of my entire lifetime.
– Before this journey began 41½ months I did not take care of my body.
– I did not exercise at all, I ate junk food, I binge drank, and I smoked.
– All of that changed in 2007 and 2008.
– If you don’t believe that God performs miracles then look at me.
– Of course you had to have known me during my teens, 20s, and 30s.
– Compare that lost soul with the man that I am today.
– I once was lost, but now am found – was blind, but now I see.

Tuesday Night Grab Bag O’ Thoughts

It’s time for the informal debriefing of my recent long road trip. Let’s roll:

1.  First I’ve got some raw stats – 1,381.3 miles going from Homestead Florida to Allen Texas – and an unbelievably close 1,383.4 miles going from Allen Texas to Homestead Florida. That’s a difference of only 2.1 miles – or a mere 0.15%. That’s ridiculously close for both legs of the longest road trip of my lifetime. Here’s another crazy fact. I drove 0.0 miles from the moment that I arrived in Allen Texas on a Saturday afternoon until the moment that I departed the following Saturday morning. I meant to drive around and explore the local area, but I never got around to doing so. My brother drove us everywhere that we went, and I was happy with that. He has far more experience driving amongst the crazy North Texas drivers. He is one !

2.  I generally drive an overall average of about 21 miles per day – or close to 7,750 miles per year. (It’s great to live and work within 7½ miles of each other.) I amassed a grand total of 2,764.7 miles on this road trip from start to finish – or about 132 days worth of driving (nearly 4½ months) in a mere 4 days (2 days over and 2 days back). My car’s already due for its next routine 3-month preventive maintenance just a little more than 3 weeks after its last one !

3.  There were a lot of horrifying traffic experiences along the way to (and especially) returning back from Texas. It was truly a miracle from up above over and over again that I did not get hit by any other vehicles big and small by all of the various crazy lunatic drivers that were all around me. I knew that I was driving some busy highways on the busiest travel days of the year, but I always thought that the airports were busy more so than the highways. This past Sunday I-75 from I-10 to Florida’s Turnpike was so thick and congested that traffic occasionally came to a grinding halt at times – 0 MPH. The same was true over much of the entire length of Florida’s Turnpike all the way down to the Broward / Miami-Dade County line. Ironically the Miami-Dade County portion of the Turnpike southbound was the most peaceful portion of my trek as I hit the final home stretch en route to my home sweet Homestead.

4.  One horrific moment that’s still rather clear in my mind occurred high atop the mighty Mississippi River Bridge on I-10 on the eastbound approach into Baton Rouge Louisiana. It is apparently the highest bridge over the entire length of the river, and I believe it !  I was in the middle lane which came to a grinding halt (due to thick heavy traffic at the time); however, both of the other lanes were still moving slowly. As I was stuck in my middle lane for what seemed like forever at the time (but was surely for less than a minute) I could actually feel the bridge sway back-and-forth with the movement of the other vehicles. This frightened me to bits and pieces, and I decided that the best thing to do at that precise point in time and space was to grip my steering wheel harder than I ever had previously. I suppose that during that short ordeal it made me feel just a little bit more secure (for no logical reason whatsoever).

Mississippi River Bridge - I-10 - Baton Rouge Louisiana

5.  Would I do it all over again ?  Of course I would !  Before I embarked on this longest road trip ever I figured that once I got this out of my system that I wouldn’t want to do it again. That was then, but this is now. I want to do it again. I may plan my travel days a bit differently next time so as to minimize the horrific traffic experiences along the way. I really enjoyed the freedom of being able to take whatever I felt like taking on this road trip without any of the various space, weight, and security limitations that exist via flying. I made light of some of the horrific traffic experiences along the way, but there were plenty of peaceful, quiet, and uneventful stretches of this road trip as well. Those experiences made it all worth it, and I’m looking forward to doing it all over again – perhaps as soon as 5 months from now !

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