Saturday, January 23, 2021


 What's the best class you ever took?  "Best" being flexible (like totally): most useful, most informative, most fun, cutest classmates, etc.

For me, hands down: Mr. Simpson's 0800 freshman typing in the unheated basement of the Athena First Baptist Church.  I think I still have my 40 wpm pin.  Somewhere.  I was oafishly proud even though I won trophies for speech-debate and drumming & stuff…

Related topic:

My childe bride suggests that I get a new keyboard because the current one has worn keys amid the cookie crumbs and chocolate residue.  I told her that I'm an excellent to superb Touch Typist and do not look at the keys for other than computer commands, and maybe numerals.  (Besides: any mis-types immediately show on the screen.)

Got to thinking:


Turns out there are twenty-three THOUSAND Google hits for "touch typing" and "blank keyboards."

I'll make some lucky girl a fine secretary someday.

ohwait...already doing that.


I posted an inquiry on Facebook and received several dozen responses.  Herewith a compendium of replies:

From my brother who attended Stanford & Oxford…

“Tropical disease vectors, thought by a visiting British expert on tsetse flies.  Small class in which I got to know the Huntington twin sisters.”

“Took typing in 9th grade, Schroeder JHS, Grand Forks, 1968 or 1969.  Way up in the Northland, late 60s, still a novelty having a guy in what was predominately a female-dominated class."

“I’m not sure I’d say ‘best’ for typing, but ‘Most Valuable’ would certainly apply.

“And the teacher hated me.

“Catalina High School, Tucson, 1971.”

“Water ballet.  Me, another dude and about 20 chicks.  My last quarter at Auburn; needed the credit hours.”

“As for distractions, the heck with teenage girls: Fraulein Schmidt (or whatever her name was), student teaching in my German class, Catalina HS, 1971, had a propensity to wear highly form-fitting attire.  Wow…”

“Junior Algebra at South Salem sitting next to Kim Olson's miniskirt.  Didn't learn a darn thing all year.”

My sophomore algebra class had a student teacher who was running for Rodeo Queen out at ENMU (Nuevo Mexico). Her Levi’s (generic term only) were properly painted on, and when she was chalking stuff on the blackboard, blood shifted south in all the boys.

“By the time I was a senior, I had emerged from my feral stage and studied.  My favorite class ever was English Lit, especially the Romantic Poets, and I actually was one of two to be exempt from the final.“

Two parachutists including, “Army airborne training as an AF ROTC cadet.  Only school that requires you to drop out five times in order to graduate!” And the 82nd Airborne jumpmaster course.

“API 250 with Jeff Cooper!”  (A graduate of the American Pistol Institute.)

“Open science lab on the second floor and making stink bombs to drop on the open windows of the study hall below?”

“Land survival, resistance, escape and evasion near Spokane, Washington.  You go in one way, you come out way different.”

“Humanities, senior year in high school, 1969.  We spent two weeks on how advertisers and the media use words to influence your thinking.  Mr. Jansen gave us the tools to sift through the BS and see the truth for ourselves.  There was a lot more meat to that class, and I owe that great teacher a lot.”

“Airplane stability and control.  Prof. J.J. Harper, Georgia Tech 76-77.”

“Financial accounting at Indian River College, Florida.  One day the prof did a sidebar module on the power of compound interest and the importance of investing early in life.  It was one of the most practical lessons of life that should be mandatory for every high school student.”

“The Kentucky state hazardous devices technician took me along as the sorcerer’s apprentice to a bomb and arson investigation seminar over a week.  It included the drive from Louisville to Lexington and back daily.  What an education!”

“Miss BeVier’s chemistry class, where my classmates and I secretly produced rocket fuel and built an eight-inch rocket, then while she was at a meeting, took it up to the high school roof and launched!  It exploded on liftoff, sending pieces into the parking lot.  We almost got expelled (again).”

“Vocational drafting in high school.  We had Mr. Hancock, and during the classroom part we thought we were distracting him by getting him off topic but eventually we realized he knew exactly what we were doing, and that there was always a life lesson there.  To this day I believe we learned more about the world than we ever would have if he’d strictly followed the lesson plan.”

“History of technology and Society.”

“Death and Dying in History.  Kansas State University 1994.  Fascinating how humans have treated death.”

“Power mechanics in high school was probably the most fun and learning experience I had in any schools including college.  The courses focused on automotive and industrial engines, gasoline and diesel.  It was the beginning of my journey that led to an A&P and I/A certificates plus other aviation related goals.  Fun times when I was very young.”

 “David Alvarez’s class on European politics at St. Mary’s College in California.  I didn’t realize the diversity of political-legal systems in the Western world.  His class on film noir was more fun, though.”

“Country and western dancing at Texas A&M!”

“Maine Maritime Academy Prof. Groves Herrick, formerly of Sikorsky Aircraft and worked for Igor.  A great class that explored explosive changes like what items gave women a chance to leave the home and work outside.  Vacuums and washing machines saved time over rug beaters and washboards.  We talked about repeating firearms, assembly lines and the loss of oral storytelling around the fire or cracker barrel.  I landed an A the day I finished Sam McGee by Robert Service, proving a point that no one knew poems like that anymore.”

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Annus Horribilis 2020

After missing last month for good and varied reasons, I’m shotgunning this year-end entry more as a stream of consciousness meandering than a focused assessment.

For context:

In 1992, 40th anniversary of her coronation, Queen Elizabeth spoke of Annus Horribilis, with sufficient reason.

Not one, not  two, but three royal breakups:
Princess Ann and longtime husband Mark Phillips


Prince Andrew and Fergie


Princess Diana’s tell-all book about her vastly unhappy marriage to Prince Charles (who 28 years later still remains a prince while Mum retains the throne), ending in divorce in 1996. 

Then there was the disastrous palace fire that gutted or affected 100 rooms.


2020 makes the short list of Worst Annus Horribilis for reasons the CCs know all too well.

Trying to maintain some perspective for a moment:

Massive wildfires ravaged the American West, but far worse than previous years.  Depending upon one’s sources, nearly 60 fires killed almost 200 people and seared 10 million acres.  In my home state of Oregon five small towns were “substantially destroyed.” 

Down Under in Australia, the “black summer” bush fires were responsible for 30 or more human deaths, millions of animals, and destruction of almost 60 million acres.

In March the Chinese-Wuhan-Corona Virus engulfed the world either because the Chinese Communists erred massively or sprung a global pandemic for their own nefarious reasons.  In either case, Beijing refuses to accept responsibility while global politicians’ pledges to Hold China Responsible remain just that…broken pledges.

President Donald Trump, pilloried as a Russian agent for three years by propagandists masquerading as journalists, launched Operation Warp Speed.  

(Sidebar: in nine congressional hearings accessing over 300,000 documents, more than seventy witnesses were asked for evidence of Trump’s “collusion” with Moscow. None were unable to do so.)

Despite the fact that he was dissed daily for the erratic response of the Centers for Disease Control, Food and Drug Administration, etc. (the same bureaucracy inherited by every president), Trump streamlined procedures and seemingly did the impossible—got the first Wuhan vaccines to market in months rather than the usual two or three years.  Or more.

The one-time good deal—praise from hard-over Democrat governors of New York and California—came and went in a single 24-hour news cycle.  Both reverted to type thereafter, and since.  And therein lay the open secret: the president has no authority to dictate health policy.  That's the province of governors and mayors.

Those same liberal governors and mayors--and the rest of the leftist establishment--stood mum for months while Democrats and anarchists rioted, looted, and assaulted people and businesses.  All in the name of...well, whatever blank you care to fill in.  (Occasionally I still hear from liberal colleagues who insist that those black looters were White Supremicists.)

Then of course there was the presidential election, still officially uncertain at this printing.  The scandalously brazen Democrat usurpation of the election process in multiple states—including Arizona where I live—remains a “secret in open sight.”  Few of the conspirators have even been identified, and in the unlikely event that they are, there is Absolute Zero chance that any will be prosecuted.  Lest anyone doubt it, consider the litany of criminal offenses attributed to the Obama administration, still high-centered on the political roadway.

Ohio Republican congressman Jim Jordan—a collegiate wrestler whose trademark is no jacket with shirt and tie—recently was interviewed by Fox News (that’s a story in itself, seemingly swayed to The Other Side of the Aisle.)  He said that time after time constituents and strangers approach him on the street and in airports asking when-o-when somebody—anybody—will go to prison.  His response is always the same: Congress cannot sentence anyone.  That’s up to the Department of Justice, which has been notoriously unresponsive.

And, in a tip of the hat toward objectivity—Trump has a horrible record of selecting people for key positions: attorneys general, FBI, intelligence, secretary of defense, four-star officers, etc.  For a TV mogul whose trademark was “You’re Fired,” he’s exercised the motto while tolerating non-performers.

However, Donald J. Trump has a way of confounding the “experts.”  He defeated a heavyweight roster of 16 Republican candidates to win the nomination and perhaps the last honest presidential election in U.S. history.  The industrial-grade toxicity of his opposition will not change, nor can we reasonably expect it to.  After all, seven decades after Lyndon Bastard Johnson stole his 1948 Texas congressional race, “winning” by 87 votes as “Landslide Lyndon,” the Democrat activist responsible was still laughing about it to LBJ biographer Robert Caro.


With a birthday this year I have concluded that 72 is the new 71.  I’m grateful for friends and relatives, another award to hang on my I Love Me Wall (thank you for the second time, Naval Institute), and a book nearing completion.

In appreciation to one and all.

Saturday, October 31, 2020


This month's entry comes from a long (long) time friend and colleague.  He's one of the smartest and most  versatile people I've ever known--a legal immigrant (!) who built two extremely successful businesses including an industrial plating firm.  Some of his products are orbiting alien worlds; others keep American warfighters in the fight.

As election day approaches, Mr. B's words assume greater importance than ever.

The post originally appeared in David Leeper's earlier this year.


The current dismal state of our nation and the political and social mess we are now in compels me to write this letter to my fellow Americans.

I am an American by CHOICE, not by accident of birth. I was born and raised in South Africa and served eleven and a half years in the South African army. I took my South African citizenship very seriously due in part to the insidious, ongoing, brainwashing literally from kindergarten on. To question or disagree with an edict put out by the government never crossed our minds! This is the moral price one unconsciously pays for being born into an autocratic system of government.

In 1977 I was invited to teach at a world famous school in Arizona, a great honor and, for a young man, a great adventure. Little did I know at that time it would change my life forever.

The owner of the school was a former lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps (Corpse? Re Obama) and a retired political science professor. He was hard-core dyed in the wool believer in Freedom and the Constitution. I ate most of my meals with him and his wife, beginning my education, and in short order my conversion into a FREEDOM loving AMERICAN. 

Two years after my arrival in America I returned to South Africa to visit my parents. My mother was driving us to the family home in Johannesburg and I turned to her as we left the airport and said, “You know Mom, I can never come back to live in this country.” It was a pivotal moment, a metamorphosis that literally came in a flash. All the input from years of indoctrination and then a short two-year tango with Freedom synthesized into a new American. Me!

I love America and the principles for which it stands. 

My proudest day came when I was sworn in as an American CITIZEN. I was no longer a two-bit subject. 

I am in total awe of the founders and their wisdom in propagating what I consider the greatest document about the balance of freedom and government ever written: The U.S. Constitution.

I read it, I study it, and I now understand WHY the Articles and Amendments exist. IT is close to perfect. WE, The People on the other hand are not. 

That our past is checkered with wrongs and inequities isn’t open to debate. But with time we have identified and made a concerted effort to correct these wrongs. However, in today’s climate nothing we’ve done is good enough. I believe this is about the politically inspired manipulation by the brainwashed Left and its supporters, both foreign and domestic, looking to destroy America. 

To understand the basis of my concerns we need a quick history lesson. Remember, those who don’t learn from history….

America was from 1787, with adoption of the Constitution, arguably the freest, fastest growing and most prosperous nation in the world. The rot began with our Congress in 1913. (Pretty much as it is today.) That was a very bad year for freedom, here’s why. 

The passing of the 16th Amendment literally gutted the independence of the States and gave almost total fiscal power to the Federal Government. The Federalist system of checks and balances put forth by our founders eviscerated. What the traitorous Congress did was usurp the power to tax from the State to the Federal (Central) government. That gave Washington the power to tax the individual American citizen. 

That same congress passed the 17th Amendment. Once again the checks and balances on government were castrated. Instead of the House being elected by The People and the Senate from the State house, the 17th Amendment changed the election of Senators also to the People. So in reality what’s the difference? Two years to the House and six years to the Senate. Add another major travesty that year thrust upon We the People; the establishment of the Federal Reserve. You need to research exactly who the Fed is and who controls it. America The Free is an illusion, as you’ll see. You will be outraged!

One more bayonet thrust into the gut of We The People was the 1935 Butler vs. The United States case in which our Supreme Court in its infinite wisdom decided the Founders’ idea of the General Welfare Clause was interpreted and applied incorrectly. Seriously! And thus was born the ever expanding Welfare state spurred on by the likes of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and others of the Progressive ilk. 

Today we are in a similar position, betrayal by elected politicians who swore an oath of allegiance to uphold and defend the Constitution. We might as well add the Supreme Court to the list of miscreants, apparently putting politics over the law. But I digress.

This coming General Election is no longer about Donald Trump or Joe Biden. This is no longer about Republicans and Democrats. This is no longer about Conservatives and Progressives.

This IS about FREEDOM verses TYRANNY.

This IS about CHAOS verses RULE OF LAW.


Being American is about Freedom. Real Americans are free in their heart, their soul and spirit. Freedom is what has made ours the most powerful nation in the history of the world. WE THE PEOPLE have made this happen in spite of government and its continuous goose-stepping attempts to trample our rights in the name of power.

The congress of 1913 I absolutely believe betrayed us, and I believe the Left leaning contingent of Congress in 2020 is in lockstep once again to attempt wrestling power from We The People. 

I have lived in a country that switched systems and can tell you there is no going back. If the Socialists (that’s being gracious) win this next election, we, as the Light of Freedom for so many in this world, will be extinguished and the rest of the few remaining freedom loving counties will fall too.

You have a choice to make. 

The time has come to stop looking at personalities but rather examine the substance of what these people represent. It’s really that simple. Time to use your brain and reason to override the out of control emotional hurricane engulfing so many. Like a hurricane it is totally destructive and short sighted.

One last thought. To you reading this who have children and grand children. How are you going to look them in the eye when they ask you, “How was it to be free Grand-whatevergender?” 

Again, a simple choice, your emotions selling your grandchildren and future generations into what will be tantamount to bondage, or your brain choosing freedom for future generations like that which we’ve enjoyed?  I guess it’s a matter of how selfish and short sighted you are.

Pinch your nose; take a deep breath and vote for FREEDOM.