Archive for Aviation

The Absolute Best Beach Town…

I love beaches… all kinds of beaches, but one section of the Florida Gulf Coast has had a pull on me for more than 50 years. That stretch is the 200 miles of pristine white sand and coastal island stretching from Pensacola Beach in the west to Apalachicola in the east. It’s all about the deep blue sky, the sand so bright it hurts your eyes. and clear green water that makes it look like a photo shopped travel poster.

Grayton Beach

There’s been noticeable change since I lived there in a one-story cinderblock house 100’ from the water’s edge at Pensacola Beach. A few years before my stay, a hurricane flattened the island and when reconstruction began it was felt that one-story, metal roof houses were the prudent choice.  read more

My Bookish Friends…

Our living room is lined with bookcases. Reading the spines will take you on a journey into our psyches. There are fairy tales, history books, classics, references, art books, biographies, adventure travel, modern fiction, Eastern and Western philosophy – books we had as children, college texts, anthologies, and many we haven’t read…yet. They comfort us, old and new friends, reminding us of our history, our aspirations, and what we love. 

I’m especially inspired by the books my friends have written. The stack in the picture shows some of them but doesn’t begin to include all their titles. Some of the writers are older and some relatively young. Two or three are “retired” but writing full time, and the rest all have day jobs that may or may not involve writing. There’s a neurologist/geneticist, an executive recruiter, three lawyers, two university professors, two journalists, a retired energy consultant, a retired Boeing speechwriter, a former Pan Am Captain and two graduates of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. read more

Half Cocked…

Malaprops were a signature of Yogi Berra. “Déjà vu all over again.” “We were overwhelming underdogs.” “Always go to other people’s funerals; otherwise they won’t go to yours.” Yogi’s malapropisms were always funny and in good spirits, but that was before Donald Trump took the stage.

Marine Corps drill instructors have an amusing half-serious prod for indecisive recruits – “Do something even if it’s wrong,” a lesson Mr. Trump has taken as scripture. The latest iteration is the aborted attack on Iran. Not only did he launch an attack and then change his mind, but he couldn’t even get the terminology right. read more

Rocketman and Me

“And I think it’s gonna be a long long time
‘Till touch down brings me round again to find
I’m not the man they think I am at home”

Elton John’s first hit was Your Song released in October of 1970. My wife, Abby, and I were living in St. Tropez then, and it was the only one of his songs we knew until a friend came to visit the following spring. Francois, a Pan Am friend from our San Francisco days, was on his way to Spain to open a summer bar on the Costa Blanca. He was traveling with a stereo system he bought in Tokyo, a pile of record albums from San Francisco that included Elton’s second album, Tumbleweed Connection, and plans to spin them in his new Spanish venture. I remember sitting on the quai at the exact location you see above as he was telling us his plan. read more

Nerdy Ol’ Me…

Donald Trump exhausts me. He’s the train wreck I saw coming but couldn’t look away from. His mind-numbing ignorance and faux-gravitas would be hilarious if he/we weren’t in a death spiral of his making. He may be time-limited, but four years is an eternity when Pudgy-Wudgy, the village idiot, has the keys to the nuclear launch codes.

Part of my exhaustion comes from my wife’s insatiable need to watch the scum circling the drain–all day every day on two television sets. She and I are different. She is able to work, read, and listen to the competing news sources without missing anything. I’m not good at tuning in and out. I’m too easily pulled into the breathless Breaking News on MSNBC. Ever watch your 8-year-old grandchild when the TV goes on. I’m like that. Or like Joseph Conrad, who used to have his wife, Jessie, lock him in his upstairs study in the morning and not let him out until lunch time. He didn’t have the will power to stay and write without restraint. Neither do I. I’m Conrad’s Mini-Me. read more