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Month: April 2019

Makeup Addiction

(Author disclaimer: Men can skip this one, unless you have a desire to understand womens’ addiction to makeup. It can be an eye-opening learning experience not for the faint of heart.)

Makeup goes back to the time of the Egyptians, the Romans, the Vikings…and as little girls, we couldn’t wait until we were allowed to wear that first swipe of tinted lip gloss or light application of blush. But there’s a dark side to makeup that no one talks about: makeup addiction.

Every year we find ourselves buying foundation for summer and winter; concealers; lip glosses in shiny and matte; shadow that shimmer; mascaras that thicken, lengthen, separate; brushes for eyebrows, blush, powder, lips….and before we know it, we have literal drawer full of products that we only use a handful of regularly.

Do I have time to do the “triangle of light” or sugar scrub my lips? Do I need to contour, so I have cheekbones? Lip line outside the line or stay natural? Setting spray? Translucent setting powder? Dear Lord, where’s the brush for the finishing powder – I can’t use my blush brush!! And of course this all comes after you’ve cleansed, exfoliated, DermaFlashed, moisturized, and applied serum…does the makeup balm go on before or after the moisturizer? I need a spreadsheet to follow!!

At times we wonder why do we bother…does it really make a difference? Do women feel better wearing makeup or do we do it out of habit, or because it’s expected? I look better with a little makeup, because I can pass for a cadaver in the dead of winter without any. And don’t get me started on the cost of all this…yes, you can buy cosmetics at CVS or Walgreen’s, but then you have women who worship at the altar of Sephora and Ulta, spending hundreds of dollars, because if I use this blush, I’ll look taller!! I’m kidding, of course. Sort of…

So to any of the men brave enough to read this, consider yourselves lucky… I didn’t ask if these false eyelashes make me look fat.

Forty Four Years Ago Today

Tan son Nhut Airbase
04:00, April 29, 1975

We were decisively winning the war in Vietnam because President Richard Nixon started bombing Hanoi and Haiphong and forced the North Vietnamese back to the negotiating table. We had a victorious end to the war. The Paris Peace Accords promised that should the North continue it’s aggression, we would replace all hardware the RVN lost defending themselves on a piece by piece basis.

Then came Watergate and President Nixon was forced to resign in August of 1974 followed by the November election of the 94th US Congress with it’s landslide Democrat victory. The new congress wasted no time stabbing our South Vietnamese allies in the back by canceling all military aid. The communists tested us over and over by driving deeper and deeper into the South.

On April 10th President Gerald Ford addressed Congress in a nationally televised speech to beg them to honor our commitments but several members walked out. It wasn’t long before more than 13 North Vietnamese army divisions encircled Saigon which was defended with less than a full division of green troops.

In mid April I received orders along with 5 others to move from Kunsan Korea to Clark Airbase in the Philippines to help provide security on the flights out of Tan son Nhut. When we arrived we didn’t get a lot of time to settle in. By that time the C-141 and C-130 aircraft were operating pretty much around the clock and the emphasis was on making sure we got out as many Americans, their families, and at-risk Vietnamese civilians as possible in the time we had left.

I was scheduled to fly out on the 28th but the North Vietnamese attacked Tan son Nhut using captured American A-37s and dropped 500 lb. bombs that day which led to a temporary halt in the flights.

Finally we departed at about 00:30 local on the morning of the 29th carrying a BLU-82 15,000 lb. bomb which was to go to the South Vietnamese defenders. They had earlier employed them against the NVA during the Battle of Xuan Loc in a desperate attempt to stop their advance into the south and planned to use them again. In addition, my partner and I were equipped with CAR-15 rifles, extra magazines, and two bags full of hand grenades.

As we approached the coast of Vietnam, we were told to hold for a period of time for clearance to proceed on in. Finally the decision was made that conditions were safe enough to land and we headed toward the airport.

Our Aircraft Commander, Capt. Arthur Mallano, initiated a combat approach to the runway and let me tell you, that was a helluva ride. I was a real moron back then (the wife says I still am) so I picked out the closest place to the center of the cargo deck beside that big bomb and laid out spread-eagle for the best roller coaster ride ever.

After we landed we stopped at the RVN holding area and unloaded that bomb followed by two other aircraft which also unloaded their load of ordinance and then taxied to the area where refugees were waiting to board.
We were almost full when the second of our three plane convoy pulled up and dropped it’s cargo door to begin loading.

At that time, 03:58 local, the third aircraft approached and I heard a giant whoosh and an explosion. The attackers hit just under its right wing with a SA-7 Strella rocket and the aircraft exploded. The entire crew was miraculously able to escape and run to the C-130 that was about to begin boarding. All hell broke loose as the field came under heavy rocket, mortar, and small arms fire.

There was a SVAF C-130 beginning its take-off roll and we followed behind. Our pilot seemed to be just idling down the taxiway, but I read from his account later that he had wanted to use it for takeoff but realized there was an anti-aircraft emplacement at the end and he was scared we’d hit those guns sticking up as we tried to climb out.

After what seemed like an eternity, he got us to the runway with rockets hitting to the left, right, in front, and behind us.

On my headset I could hear someone in the tower shouting with automatic fire in the background “DO NOT TAKE OFF”. “YOU DON”T HAVE PERMISSION TO TAKE OFF” I don’t know if the answer came from our pilot or someone on the other plane but I heard someone yell back, “FUCK YOU JACK, WE’RE GONE”.

We had over 260 people crammed into the airplane, and as heavy as we were, we had only made it to 6,000 ft. when the one behind us was already crossing 22,000 ft.

As I watched the destroyed C-130 burning on the ground, not knowing that my friends had made it out safe, the pilot yelled that our marker lights were still on. We were climbing above a pitched battle with every light blazing. We might as well have been wearing a sign that said, “Shoot me”. I lunged for the control panel but the load master beat me to it. A little less exposed, we continued our climb.

I watched a SVAF C-119 which had been trying to suppress hostile fire fall out of the sky in flames from way above us to below us for what what seemed like forever. I never saw its impact.

I was thinking just how thin the aluminum skin protecting us really was when things grew quiet and we headed overland towards the coast. Finally we were out of Vietnamese airspace and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

Our trip back to the Philippines no fun either. Imagine that many people who had been made to wait in that hot environment for days wedged into a space meant to hold less than 100 souls. Several evacuees wanted desperately for me to tell them that we would continue to rescue their sons, daughters, parents, and all the others. I wanted to hope we’d somehow continue but it just wasn’t in the cards. We were the last two fixed wing aircraft that made it out of that place.

When we landed in the PI, we taxied to our unloading spot and the refugees began streaming off the aircraft. As my partner and I exited, some asshole Major screamed at us to get back on the plane and stay out of sight. There were news crews there and they couldn’t have us being seen carrying weapons. A half hour later we were finally allowed to deplane.

And… just like that, it was all over.

And Now, Sports! (God Help Us All!)

I have no talent for sports at all. I am essentially a sports talent black hole, in that if I stand next to an athlete, I will, just by being in proximity to them, rip their sporting talent out of their bodies and deposit said talent into the Hole of Sporting Talent Oblivion.

Let me give you an example of how pitiful I am at sports: I went out for the football team in grade school. I went to all the practices, did all the drills, and wound up sitting on the bench. I was put into a game once for one play and I screwed it up so badly I was promptly pulled from the game and benched for the rest of the season. My father was the coach…

You can imagine how much hubris I have to have to be able to say, here and now, that I have a theory about sports. It’s my “Sports Theory”, if you will, and it goes something like this: Some sports are most definitely sports, and some activities that people call sports are most certainly not sports.

Stay with me here.

I think actual sports involve two elements that are essential for being able to call an activity a sport. First, there has to be an inanimate object in play, like a ball, or a puck. A football is NOT a ball. I don’t know what it is…I think the closest I can come to a descriptive noun for it would be to call it a bladder taken from some poor, nuclear radiated monstrosity living in the woods around Chernobyl. Nevertheless, it is an inanimate object, and it is in play, meaning it is moving across the playing field throughout the course of the game.

Secondly, there has to be a goal that the inanimate object crosses over, or into, or under, to score points. This means that football is most certainly a sport. The bladder is in play and the goal is to get the bladder over the goal line to score points. On the other hand, gymnastics is NOT a sport, in that there is no inanimate object in play, and there is no goal for that object to cross for points. I would say that gymnastics is an activity. I would go so far as to say that gymnastics is an athletic activity, but it is not a sport.

Soccer is a sport. There is a ball in play, and the object of the game is to get the ball in the goal for points. On the other hand, ski jumping is not a sport. Nascar is a sport (the car, at rest, is inanimate and has to be driven over the finish line for points), while running hurdles is an athletic activity, not a sport. (Have I pissed anyone off yet? It’s not like I’m not trying…)

I don’t know what to think about Cricket. I don’t think people who play Cricket know what to think about Cricket. There IS a ball involved, but the games sometimes last for days, they stop to drink tea in the middle of the game, and some of the people are wearing what appears to be oven mitts. There appears to be no obvious goal or finish line, but I am willing to admit I am completely wrong about Cricket. Someone tried to explain the game of Cricket to me once, and I lost consciousness after five minutes and started seeing dead relatives.

By the way, I am not willing to go to the mat with any of the assertions I have made here (mat=wrestling: athletic activity, not a sport). You have to pick your battles, and I would rather argue the assertion that all politicians are lying if they have their mouths open and they all destroy more lives on a daily basis than the most prolific serial murders do in their lifetimes. THAT is something I will argue until I lose my voice.

Sports…I don’t really care. I don’t watch sports unless it is a really big game and I have a little bit of money riding on the outcome. Even then, I just drink and eat nibbles and make repeated comments about how sports that have cheerleaders on the sidelines should feature the cheerleaders in the television coverage a lot more than they do. Also, sports that don’t have cheerleaders should get cheerleaders. In fact, all activities involving men doing anything should involve cheerleaders. I want a cheerleader beside me as I write this, but my wife won’t put on the damned uniform because “It’s not my birthday”.

I do think that sports journalism amounts to people who can’t write writing about people who can’t speak and publishing their work for people who can’t read, but THAT is another rant for another day.

A Day In The Life of My Baby Daddy Payday Loans

I wrote this in 2007 for another blog in another land far away. I’ve retired since, but I thought it deserving of being trotted out just for old time’s sake.

I finally bit the bullet and advised the powers that be to shove their job up their proverbial chocolate whizways last Monday. In good conscience I could not make the effort to earn the scum-sucking bottom feeders another dime toward their blood-sucking enterprise that preys on the misfortune of others. I’m free as a bird, albeit a poor one, but the release was so great and satisfying that I’ll just pull a Scarlett O’Hara fiddle dee dee, I’ll worry about that tomorrow number.

It wasn’t a hard choice to make, really. I was being pushed out of a job from which I intended to retire when the time came, by the Little Big Boss who’s stuck up the Big Boss’ derrière so far he hasn’t been able to blow his nose in months.

Being a mature woman means so little to those in corporate America. Having common sense means nothing as well. I’m not a dumbass, and will not be pushed around by a snotty little snake thirty years my junior whose sole purpose in life is to climb a corporate ladder and beat his feminine little chest while he goes on and on about the new Disney On Ice. Besides.. every time he opens his mouth a purse falls out.

I expect to be beating the streets for gainful employment this week, but in the meantime, I must color my grey hair, lift my wrinkles, buy a new bra and bring my stilettos and fishnets out of retirement.

This time around I’m going for the big time.
(Sidenote) Little Big Boss was later busted for cocaine possession. Oopsy.

Self-Tanning Torture

We all want to look healthy and golden in the summer…for some it’s easy, for others it’s an exercise in futility. I fall in the latter group.

Back in the 60s, Coppertone was the only game in town, and it didn’t do too much, as there was no SPF back then. Then they came out with “QT” = Quick Tan, a lotion that promised it would turn you bronzed overnight. It was almost too much to hope for…a tan without sitting in the sun and risking sunburn?? Be still my beating heart!
This sounded too good to be true. I was wise enough at that young age not to get sucked into the baby oil with iodine mixed in it, but as an almost albino, a little color seemed like an unattainable goal. So I begged my mom to buy it…please, just so I didn’t feel so Casper-ish.
Big mistake…big, big mistake. Long before Donald Trump became “Orange Man,” I turned into “Orange Modesty.” Not Cheeto orange, but a sickly, melted creamsicle orange. It was disgusting…and it didn’t scrub off. Also it didn’t help things that I basically slathered the whole bottle ALL OVER me. It stained my hairline, my eyebrows, my nails…argh!

You would think after that experience I would have learned my lesson, but noooooo…even to this day, I search for the perfect self-tanner. Some have come close, but each had a drawback: the smell, the sticky feeling, the transfer of color to sheets/clothing, the cost…some made me tan, until I showered and watched it go down the drain, others streaked or left me some weird flesh color, like the old flesh colored Crayola crayon.
I even went to a professional spray tan location to get a tan for a wedding. You get a paper thong and strapless bra thingy (if you want it,) put a shower cap and goggles on and let it rip. Then you stand there for 15 mins to dry before getting dressed. I went home and went about my business, until I had waited long enough before I could shower. I looked in the mirror…and my jaw dropped. I was GRAY, like I rolled in newsprint. I jumped in the shower and scrubbed until I thought my skin would come off. Thankfully, I wasn’t gray when I got out. Regretfully, I wasn’t tan either.

So after all this, I’ve decided it’s my lot in life to look like a sickly Victorian housewife…pale and anemic looking; living in SPF 30.
Oh.. but hang on! QVC has a new self-tanning product on right now!
Let me check this out..

Tales From The Road: The Grim Reaper’s Got Rhythm!

(Authors Note: This is a true story. The names have NOT been changed to protect the innocent, because no one in this story was innocent)…
It’s fascinating what happens when you think you are about to die…
The first time it happened to me (What?…Look- I have a past so checkered you could lay it on a kitchen table and serve Christmas dinner on it) was in September of 1980. I was with a band called Anthem, the first all-original band I put together, the first time I produced music in a recording studio; four extremely crazy, angry guys playing really loud and really fast. We had just released our first album and were playing at the album release party.
The bass player, the singer, and I were 20 years old. The drummer, Mark, was 17 and still in high school. Three of us were fairly experienced in the Grand Art Of Partying (just say no, kids!) but the drummer couldn’t hold his own yet. Still, when sober, he played like The Who’s great drummer, Keith Moon. He was fantastic.

We had played our set, bashing out songs with names like “Rainbows In The Teargas”, “Break Out The Rubber Spiders”, and “Nailed To The Floor” to a large group of people packed into a barn owned by a local madman named “Murf The Turf”.

That was his name. I had known the man for three years, and that’s the only name he would answer to.
After we played, the party moved into the house. We started celebrating like rock stars and enjoying ourselves when I decided to seek a small bit of peace. I was in one of the bathrooms, smoking a…let’s call it a “herbal” cigarette, shall we?…and enjoying the relative quiet; over the dulled sounds of laughing, talking, occasional screaming and, strangely, the breaking of glass, I could hear the rain.. a storm had blown in and the rain was coming down hard.
Suddenly, my reverie was upset when our drummer, Mark, came rushing into the small room, slamming the door behind him.
“You gotta hide me, man!” he cried, grabbing my shirt, eyes wide in fear.
“What did you do?” I asked him, being able to smell imminent danger over the alcohol on his breath.
Murf was an ongoing chemistry experiment on legs. There was nothing he would not drink, smoke, eat, or snort. At all times, day or night, his mouth was open, his arms were out, his eyes half closed and bloodshot; he was a substance abuse zombie, a permanently stoned landshark able only to keep moving forward to the next sensory re-arrangement.

He also liked firearms.
And dynamite.

“Murf wants to KILL me! He has a GUN!” shrieked my drummer pitifully.
I looked around the small bathroom.
“Quick! Out the window!” I said as I grabbed him and started stuffing him through the relatively small opening in the wall that led to the roof of the porch.
I didn’t ask questions. I didn’t need to. The only two things Murf ever got mad about was people messing with his girlfriend or his party supplies, and when he got mad, he got armed. My guess was, the little idiot got caught with the girl; he wasn’t smart enough to figure out where Murf kept his stash. If I didn’t get him out of the house and away from the drug-riddled madman, he was a dead man.

I got him out of the house, down the roof, and we jumped, rain soaked, into his car. I was in the passenger seat of his 1970 Chevy Nova, a car so old and beaten up that the body was made of rust and dents and it came with holes in the floorboards as a special bonus. I was holding on for dear life as he floored the heap and peeled out of the driveway, sure that Murf would be following him in heated, angry pursuit.
“Slow down, you bastard! You’re gonna kill us both!” I shouted, just as he navigated a curve and lost control of the car.
Then, time slowed down…we were sliding down the side of a steep embankment with the passenger side of the car heading towards a huge, ancient oak tree.  I was immediately aware that I instinctively relaxed and was remarkably calm has we were careening towards my certain death. I became very conscious of the thoughts running through my head:
“Oh, man…this is it…I’m not going to make it out to California…I’m not going to write any more songs…I’m kind of hungry…If I survive this, I’m going to fire this cretin…we sounded FANTASTIC tonight, even though I flubbed that one chorus…MAN that tree is big…this is really going to hurt…that little blonde was cute…I am SO going to fire this stupid…Wow! I’m completely sober now! That’s too bad, if ever there was a time to be completely fried…I wish I had gotten that blonde’s phone number…Damn! I forgot to return Mom’s phone call…I need to pay that bill at the music store. I…wait a minute…I guess I won’t have to pay that bill now…Why are you thinking about bills at a time like this?…One thing I now know, it’s better to die on a full stomach…If we make it out of this death-trap, I’m not only going to fire him, I’m going to beat the crap out of him…Oh! Look at the squirrel scrambling down the tree…yeah, little buddy, no sense in BOTH of us getting offed…I really should’ve let him get shot…Well, here we go! I hope we hit this thing hard enough I don’t have to be wheeled around for the rest of my life…”, and by then, I was seconds from being wrapped around the vast and incredibly solid looking tree.
Then, the car stopped, less than an inch from the tree. Time returned to normal, and I heard the rain pounding on the roof of the car.
“Lemme outta this car, or I am going to climb out over you!” I growled as a noticed the thick, uneven yet perfect pattern of the bark of the tree right outside my car door window.
We stood next to the car in the pouring rain. I turned and looked at the tree; it didn’t seem as big as I thought it was. I looked at the car; it DID look as much of a death-trap as I thought it was. Then I turned to Mark, our drummer, who turned out to be as much of a pain in the ass as I knew he was.
“Mark?”
“Yeah?”
“You’re fired!”

I made my way up the embankment, crossed the road, and started walking. With a little luck, I thought, I can get back to the party and become a land-shark.