…………… Let’s Play “Chicken” …………… Reds (bad guys) vs Blues (good guys)!!

War has been declared!! With President Trump as the “overseer” — on the Republican’s side — in cahoots with Tulare, CA’s gift to the world — the supposedly Honorable Congressman Nunes, representin’ California’s 23rd, in the conservative, central part of the state, who will continue to be Trump’s front-line spear carrier — yep, that’s the same guy that was caught “red“-handed in that earlier, somewhat criminal, “unmaskin’ affair”!! Remember he got info from the White House and went directly to that “secret place” where all national secrets are kept — and discovered that Susan Rice — from Obama’s inner-circle — had released secret docs — or somethin’ like that. And returned to the White House with his “explosive ifno”!!  Nunes was found to be a dishonest and a willin’ perpetrator and promulgator of false information — and directly in cahoots with the White House.  At that time, early in the Trump presidency, he had recused himself from the House Intellience Committee’s leadership — re: the “investigation-of-the-2016-Russian-interference” in the 2016 United States presidential race! (What a mouth-ful!!). [aside: To your blogger, it sure seems strange that he’s back and is the leader of the pack — with all the Republicans followin’ his lead, in releasin’ THE MEMO!! I thought that after the unmaskin’ affair he was “side-lined“!! It would seem to me that he should not be involved — yet, he and his staff, plus (that ever-involved representative, who will not stand for re-election) South Carolina’s Trey Gowdy!!  Along with Nunes — in my book — they are two specimens of a lower caliber type of human bein’!!

[aside: Dear blog-reader, if you are not aware of, or familiar with, the Christopher Steele-dossier — I would urge you to “google it”  — and  just scan and investigate its background and  substance — the why, when, how and wherefore — of its existence. And in so doin’, check out the reputation and veracity of its author and the U.S. folks he worked for — in preparin’ the dossier. It is the essence or seed of Nunes’ “THE MEMO” — and one should always remember that the dossier’s original creation was generated by a Republican candidate/opponent of Trump’s — for the Republican  presidential nomination. The seed or root of its creation was not from a liberal democrat — but from a red-blooded Republican. In addition, it is my understandin’ that before he made contact, the FBI had already been alerted to the Russian involvement in our election — by the Aussies!! (Good ole Papadopoulos!!) Steele’s initial contact with the FBI was to inform them that a crime was in progress (and his FBI contact was with someone he had been involved with before).]

But, back to THE MEMO — the key subject involved is Carter Page, an early unpaid volunteer on Trump’s staff (or he thought he was) — and he looks and acts like a real-life characterization of Dopey from Disney’s Snow White movie — the one with the seven dwarfs!! I have come to think of his “persona” as an act — and he sure is good at it!! I don’t believe anybody can be as stupid and bumbly as he looks and acts — he has given an anti-U.S. speech at a Russian university. He just can’t be as dumb as he looks! But, in 2013, he was identified by the FBI, and he was apprised of the fact, that he was involved with two Russian spies (who were later kicked out of the country). This 2013 involvement with those bad Russian hombres, and Carter Page’s more recent visits to Russia, includin’  his university (anti-U.S.) speech, were enough for the FBI to want to surveil him — particularly when he showed up, in early 2016 as an apparent member of the Trump team!! Therefore, the FISA requests came about — in THE MEMO; and the Republicans emphasize that the later requests were generated, at least in part, by information from the Steele dossier — which is what I believe is the crux of THE MEMO!!

Whoa!!,(“ole guy”, who rambles)! Stop, stop, stop, whoa!, hold-your-horses!!  Quit tryin’ to be correct — tryin’ to read every detail of THE MEMO and tryin’ to pick it apart. You readers can “google” or “bing” or “whatever”– and read THE MEMO text — and figure out why it exists! Involved are Devin Nunes and his staff (he’s the House Republican Intelligence Committee chairman), Trey Gowdy, (the ever, vocal commitee member — on the far right), Carter Page (subject of the FISA’s, and known past conspirator with Russian spies), all of the other Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee (where only one defection would have solved the problem by avoidin’ THE MEMO‘s release!), and finally, the entire White House staff up to and includin’ POTUS!! These folks make up the RED team!

And on the BLUE‘s side: the Statue of Liberty (aka Lady Liberty), James Comey (former FBI Director and a true patriot), Rod Rosenstein, deputy Head of the Justice Dept (the DOJ), who is Trump’s Republican appointee to the job — and is Mueller’s boss; Andrew McCabe (just retired/forced out by Trump — was  Assistant FBI Director, and whose Democratic wife had received $$$ from Hillary in a state-wide race); Christopher Wray (current FBI Director — the Trump-appointed replacement for Comey); Adam Schiff (Representative re: California’s 28th re: L.A. County, and head Dem on the House Intel Committee);  none other than Christopher Steele — who may be the true hero in this whole mish-o’-gosh!!! (Maybe, just maybe, this British former spy has been riskin’ his life for what he did — forget the “maybe” Steele has truly risked his life!! — everyone knows how the Russians can get even or administer “get-even” pills to their enemies — check out the death of Alexander Litvenko (lethal plutonium 210 induces acute radiation syndrome — death!!) — and finally (back-to-the-good guys), a true American patriot — Senator John McCain who (just overheard him on TV) has just pronounced that THE MEMO is doin’ Putin’s job for him!! [aside: I could add lots of names of so many current true American heroes to this list — the ones on the side of “right” — not the political “right”, mind you (there are both “lefties” and “righties” in the political sense), one very good person, bein’ the former actin’ Attorney General Sally Yates — who, as early as a week into the Trump administration, warned the White House lawyer Don McGahn — about the then-National-Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s “crimes”!! When it comes to the FBI and the DOJ — there are no lefties nor righties — they are citizen- heroes of the United States and God bless ’em!!

What THE MEMO will ultimately prove is that Devin Nunes and his staff are basically traitors in many respects — people within our own government — who are makin’ it easier for a foreign government to meddle and distort and disrupt the inner workin’s of the government of the United States of America — our own dearly beloved country!! There is no doubt (in this blogger’s mind) that the Russians were involved in our recent presidential election. (I do believe that every reader will agree to that.) They did everything possible to assist in electin’ Donald Trump as POTUS.! period, exclamation point.! As much as it seemed a fantasy and that it couldn’t happen — the Ruskies were successful.  So, O.K. — Trump is now president!! You and I have to live with that!  But, if there were illegal shenanigans durin’ the elections — such as, “collusion” by any of the Trump folks (Carter Page, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, etc., etc., and possibly includin’ some of Trump’s inner circle.) — then every true citizen of the United States should want the guilty parties  identified — and ultimately punished!!

After the inauguration, the lies, the tweets — and the challenges of “fake news” — are some of the other shenanigans that are goin’ on right in front of our noses!! Then, the firin’ of FBI Director James Comey  — and the installation of Mueller to ferret out the bad hombres!! That Comey firin’ was certainly an “obstruction” of justice. And recall — the June ’16 emails and meetin’ with all those Russians — while Trump, Jr. salivated over the idea, and attended by Kushner and Manafort (that was collusion!). It was the manner in which Trump himself, later, tried to cover up that meeting — remember, it was all about “adoptions”!! Bullsh*t!! That’s a down-right lie and it’s “obstruction of justice”. Then just in the last day or so — the news that beautiful and talented Hope Hicks — Trump’s communication chief (or somethin’ like that) made a slip. It has been exposed that she stated that the email Trump sent (re: “adoptions) would “never see the light of day“!! I can only presume that is destruction of whoops!!, I mean; “obstruction of justice”!!  I think I have done enough damage for today!! I’ll let the TV folks and the rest of the world deal with THE MEMO!! I hope that the Dems on the Intel Committee will release their version, maybe even illegally — sorta like the Ellsberg Papers about the Viet Nam War — which were illegally released to the press!! [aside: The wife and I saw “The Post” last week — that’s how the ole guy remembered the story about the law-breakin’ (hero) Daniel Ellsberg!!)

It’s Friday! — it’s February 2nd ’18! — and it’s Ground Hog Day!! Punxsutawny Phil saw his shadow this mornin’ — that means six more weeks of winter. But, who cares, ’cause on Sunday — when my wunnerful Patriots stomp on the Philly Eagles — it’ll be played in the relatively new Minneapolis, MN — U.S. Bank Stadium — and it’s enclosed. So, who cares what that silly ground hog thinks or predicts!! The two pro football teams will play the final game of the season in a warm and comfortable place, on a dry field with a controlled and moderate temperature — and that will help the somewhat old, and possibly mildly arthritic New England (40-year-ole) q-b — Tom Brady!! So, I’ll end this with a “GO Patriots!! Beat those damn  Eagles!! On this comin’ Sunday afternoon!! ‘n that’s finally — ‘nuf ……….

Why Blog?? Personal/Current Issues? Tension Release!! ……….. or Just a Final Diary??

Preface: At 10:22am on Monday the 29th — the ole guy hit “PUBLISH” again — instead of “DRAFT”. I had already “revised” my drafts 12 times — then, on the “lucky thirteenth — I hit “PUBLISH”.  And I had used those 12 drafts tryin’ to develop a “neat-and-balanced” title — a good-lookin’ evenly balanced bunch of “words”!! So, if you’re readin’ this blog — there will be constant updates — plus, since it’s only a “start” — there will be more bloggin’ to come.  Read if you so choose; or return later today for the complete effort!! So, sorry …….!!   It’s OK now!! So, read on ……….

Ya know — I am a 93+ year-ole blogger — I guess I have proven this fact here and now! — “What’s it like to be very, very, very old — and look back on a multi-career, multi-location, multi-every-thing — I guess it’s just an ‘Ole Guy’s Ramblins’ ……

What a wonderful way to express one’s ideas, feelin’s, frustrations, etc., etc. etc. In the past, before computers and the internet — folks would express their feelin’s, their views, their ideas, their “whatever” –in a smallish book (originally with blank pages) called a “diary”!! I am sure that intelligent and thoughtful people still do keep a “private” diary — locked with a small, delicately hidden key. Teenagers probably still do — they don’t want their parents to know what’s up.  Some folks write and save emails — they’re private you know!! Are they?? Look what happened durin’ our recent election — WikiLeaks spread the word and released all the emails written and received by the DNC Chairman Podesta. And more recently, what about the “love letters” between those two FBI agents which also included their personal views and animosity toward our current POTUS — many even before he became President. It is my understandin’ that there were some stuff about some Dems too — it was an “equal opportunity” exchange of their private and innermost thoughts and ideas. So, what the hell!! Everything’s gonna be made public anyway — so that’s why the ole guy rambles and blogs — who wants to keep a secret anymore, any way!!

Personally, I don’t think my blogs are that interestin’ — other than to my children — Gary, Jody, and Susan — and even with them it might be questionable. Our youngest Susan got me started back in April ’16 and she even wrote the title of my first blog — “figurin’ it out as we go …”

It’s now 10:27 on the same day 1/29/18 and I am still alive and kickin’!! Back to my original effort — but as you can imagine — I am a bit befuddled real-time!! We watched part of the Grammy’s last night and all I remember is that Bruno Mars made a “clean sweep” and Hillary was shown — quotin’ from “Fire and Fury”!! Son Gary has the book and has promised to give it to me as soon as he has finished. Don’t get me started on Trump. It’s a total disaster bein’ carried out in “slow motion” (based on the history of the world) in front of our very eyes — misogynist, fat, racist (of the worst kind), liar, stupid yet connivin’, white supremacist, adulterer, p*ssy-grabber, child molester, orange, draft-dodger, cheeseburger devourer, ……….  enough already, that’s sufficient for today!!

Since this has become a potpourri of thoughts and ideas [aside: I had to stop and google the correct spellin’ of the “p” word — and every time I do this, I would normally hit the famous “Draft” key to “freeze” everythin’ — but now I hit the “Update” key.] One last word on the guy — he’ll give his “State of the Union” address tomorrow — I will not watch — but I will follow all the “Fake News” outlets as they rip it asunder. We should just do one thing — and do it soon!! Let’s petition Webster or Google or Bing or all the folks who provide current definitions; i.e., Fake News is, as of Jan 29th, 2017: “All the news printed or broadcast by NY Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, ABC, ad infinitum; (except Fox News and its cohorts) — which will here and now and hereafter be the exact, the real, the best, the “true, by God — NEWS of the day”.  So “fake news” will be the true and honest news — and “Fox News” will now be the untrue and dishonest news!! (It’s only a matter of changin’ the meanin’ of the word “FAKE” — a  simple reversal, nothin’ more!!

We, as a country, should castigate fully the following:  Cal. Rep Nunes with his support from S.C. Rep Gowdy about the “memo” indicatin’ that the Asst Atty Gen Rothenstein surveilled that dummy (maybe not so dumb, after all) — PAGE. The latter is either “stupid like a fox” — or truly, he is just plain stupid; and I tend to believe the latter. 

Wis Rep Ryan and Ky Sen McDonnell for forcin’ a seriously flawed tax bill on the American public. It does not help us average Joe’s ‘n Janes nearly as much as it helps the rich  — and large corporations. (Trump himself is an example of a huge beneficiary!)

California Reps Issa, Rohrabacher, Nunes (again), McCarthy for not truly representin’ the best interests of California nor their constituents.

Iowa Rep King, S.C. Reps Wilson and Gowdy (again), Tex Rep Gohmert for just bein’ a member of our  House of Representative and actin’ so dumb or bitter when bein’ interviewed.

And now, switchin’ subjects — I want to discuss sports!! (I state this up-front — for you non-sports’ lovers — and I use a fav sayin’: To be forewarned is to be fore-armed! There were some sad climaxes to two of my favorite sports teams this year. My Los Angeles Dodgers got within one lousy game of the “promised land”.  They lost to the Houston Astros is game 7 of the World Series — and the final game was played at Chavez Ravine’s Dodger Stadium — in front of the home crowd. What a great season — but it only took the Astros 2 innings to put our boys in blue away. Was our “newly acquired” startin’ pitcher “forecastin’ his pitches”? Some have said yes!! We’ll never know for sure!!  For a helluva good baseball pitcher — the Astros sure feasted on his pitchin’ in the two games he started.  And as time moves along, we’ll look back on this World Series as a huge plus — it pumped up the spirits of a major city that had undergone such serious devastation from Hurricane Harvey.

But when it comes to the fact that Army beat Navy for the second time in a row — that was no fun for this ex-midshipman!! The game ended with a missed field goal in a snow-storm, no less — oh!  how good it would have made me feel if that damn ball had split the uprights. I just googled the “Army/Navy game 2017 — and read a beautiful comment by the Navy field-goal kicker — it almost made me shed a tear.  The score was 14 – 13 in favor of Army — and,  Army had taken the lead in the 4th quarter with a touchdown and extra point. Then, the Navy had marched down the field — close enough for an easy field goal and victory. Sure, it was a snowstorm — but, this was Army vs Navy, by God,  on the field of battle — it was not a long distance from where the ball was positioned before the kick – but, there was no joy for Navy in Philadelphia on that snowy day — the ball barely missed the uprights and the game ended — the Navy had “struck out”!! Followin’ the game, a Naval Academy group stood in front of the blue-clad midshipmen in the stands, while they all sang their alma mater “Navy Blue and Gold” — there was a large poster on each of seven middies with a sign on each back ; it spelled out — R-E-V-E-N-G-E — ya see, Navy had lost the previous year for the first time in many, many, many years. But there was no “revenge — there was “no joy in Middie-ville, our mighty FG kicker had missed his mark!” Revenge would have to wait til next year!! [aside: With apologies to “Casey at the Bat” and its poet Earnest Lawrence Thayer.]

The previous two are in the past — that was 2017 — last year. It’s now 2018 — and a 3rd event must take place in just another week — on Sunday afternoon in a brand new enclosed stadium in normally cold-with-bad-weather Minneapolis, MN — the 52nd Super Bowl (LII) will take place. Pitted against each other will be the NFC’s Philadelphia Eagles against the currently reignin’ Super Bowl champs (last 2 out of 3) the AFC’s New England Patriots — the ole guys fav!! Any past reader of my blogs  — knows that it goes without sayin’ — the whole Meisel family are rootin’ for the Pats — for QB Tom Brady, TE Ron Gronkowski, WR Amendola, Coach Bill Belichick — and finally owner Bob Kraft. The latter is my new best friend. [aside: If I knew how to do it — I would include herein — a photo (in fact, 3 photos) — of the two of us (Bob and me), taken at the Beverly Hills World Famous delicatessen Nate ‘n Al’s  — it was the day before my son Gary’s birthday on Friday, January 5th — he was takin’ the wife and me to lunch when he said “I think Bob Kraft is in one of the booths”! At that moment — upon seein’ Mr. Kraft, I flashed him — I was wearin’ a fav t-shirt with the words: “God, first Family, second,  — then Patriot Football!”  Bob was ecstatic and called me to his booth, when he pulled out and handed me his — LI Super Bowl ring, and I put it on!! — I had to invert my hand — it was so large with so many diamonds on it. What a thrill for this 93+ year-ole- blogger!! And it really did happen — so help me God!!] Go Patriots!! Beat the Eagles!! That’s quite ‘nuf ………….

Only FOUR (4) More Sundays!!

Please Note: This blog was published before it was completed. I was bloggin’ away and just happened to hit “PUBLISH” instead of “DRAFT”!! (This latter effort freezes and updates each draft — while “PUBLISH” sends whatever’s blogged to that point — to the public.)  This is the second time that this has occurred — and I have not touched the tequila yet today. But, I will now take a sip and re-read this sterlin’ piece of prose — ‘n if you take a-likin’, you might give the ole guy a comment or so — I’m thick-skinned enough to handle it — remember the Alamo — whoops, I meant I now have the tequila!! So, read on ……….

That’s right!! The remainin’ residents at the senior-citizen “independent-livin'” facility at 947 Tiverton Ave in the Westwood section of west Los Angeles — will finally vacate said premises. It’s called The Watermark at Westwood Village, ever since the end of 2016 — but the new owners don’t call it by that name — except on their stationery. And, I can understand why — since our 14-story, ex-UCLA dormitory still has the look and feel of a college-housin’-residence — and accordin’ to the engineerin’/buildin’ inspection reports, it is somewhat of  a “danger-to-residents” — lackin’ earthquake/structural protection and with elevators that need safety upgrades (whatever that means).  Well, within California law — we had a year to pack up and move out — there were 121 residents  at that time (that’s accordin’ to my in-house source who has kept me updated on our “remainin’-number” of very, very, very elderly tenants) — durin’ this period of “wait-‘n-see-what-happens” — to the folks that did not want to — or were hesitatin’ to — locate elsewhere!!

Some wanted to stay close to family — with daughters livin’ only blocks (not miles) away. Some are just enthralled with the location with every type of store for food, medicine, etc., etc., etc. — from Trader Joe’s to Coffee Bean! -from Ralph’s to a RiteAid Drugstore! – and a Target housin’ a CVS pharmacy and a Starbucks coffee-house. Then, there’s the UCLA campus — beginning’ just a half-block north ; and that’s where the wife ‘n the “ole guy” have our doctors — takin’ advantage of their nationally acclaimed Geriatric Division — and top-ranked medical staff in every specialty — affordin’ a great deal of peace for aged minds. And since the two of us are movie buffs — we have walked the 3 1/2 block to the Regency movie houses — recently seein’ “The Post”, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”, “Dunkirk” and are plannin’ to see “Phantom Thread” this comin’ week.  And finally, some us just couldn’t afford to move — the Westwood Horizons senior citizen facility (formerly owned by Vintage) — was a real honest-to-God  price/performer. A comparable facility within five miles would have cost the wife and me close to 2-grand additional — that’s 2000 smackeroos per month!! That’s for the same offerin’s — without location, location, location — so maybe you blog-readers can understand why we did not want to leave our happy home.  Yep, in our case, it was a matter of economics (and for sure, the “location” advantage plays a very huge roll!!)  And I’m not ashamed to say that after servin’ in the US Navy for 12 years and workin’ for IBM for thirty years — personal finances were a huge factor in our decision of “waitin’ out” our new owners at 947 Tiverton Ave in the Westwood area of Los Angeles (now represented herewith as “947-TA”).

So, actually, the residents had a whole year to move out due to the major construction planned — re: unsafe livin’ conditions. (aside: This included financial assistance  and an agreement to move back at the same lease rate under price control. Plus, the ones that moved could return at any time for meals at no cost — which was a generous offerin’ by the owners.)  It is my opinion, that very few (if any) of the extremely aged folks that moved to other senior-citizen facilities will move back. They will become “settled” in their new environment and will not want to leave their close friends — breakin’ up is extremely hard to do — especially,  when one is in their nineties and is afflicted with the penalties of very old age. But back to the situation of us tenants that did not desire to move. Durin’ the summer, the Los Angeles City Housin’ Commission, at the behest of Bet Tzedek (our amazin’, pro-bono, legal advisors) and us tenants, that did not want to move out ever, granted us a change in the buildin’s status — such that there was no requirement for all residents to ultimately move. So, by law, while construction is in progress, the new owners are required to furnish equivalent or better temporary housin’ (with benefts)!! And they have agreed to furnish all the “extras” that are now offered here at “947-TA” — for us very, very, very senior citizens who do not want to leave — for whatever reason — this area — so this will be our final nestin’ place!!

And guess what!! The place we will move to on or before March 1st — is located just across Weyburn Street from where I’m bloggin’, right now — it’s the buildin’ we can view through our floor-to-ceilin’ dinin’-room windows. We will stay in this same neighborhood (HAL-LE-LU- JAH!!) — the wife and I can take the UCLA shuttle to all doctor appointments — we’ll be just a “hop-skip-and nooooo!! we can’t jump — from Trader Joe’s to our buildin’s entrance — and just across the street from that Target which houses the CVS Pharmacy and Starbucks. Yeah, that’s right!! We ain’t goin’ no-where, no-how, no-way!! It’s a very modern apartment buildin’ with a humongous “infinity” pool and a very chic-and-upscale gym — and rumor has it that there are lots of UCLA grad students who live there. What a mixture — millennials and very, very, very ole f**ts — a few of the latter in wheelchairs with care-givers, many with walkers, ‘n the “ole guy with his cane (and/or, a hospital-provided-aluminum walker). There’ll be only about nine of us — the wife and I, bein’ — the only couple remainin’.  Also, we will be the only two folks not dinin’ in a “communal dinin’ room ” — an apartment devoted solely for us Watermark tenants — used as an “activity room”, as well as a dinin’ room. Jeez, it might be so good at The Glendon (its official name)  we ole-timers may not want to move back to “947-TA”!!

So, Harriette and I will take up livin’ and survivin’ the same way we did in Mexico — in San Miguel de Allende, GTO,  where we were residents from October ’90 to July ’14. (We moved to “947-TA” on August 1st, 2014!) As I have previously blogged, the wife ended her cookin’ career in the summer of ’83 — when after only a couple of weeks in Paris, while we were still livin’ initially, and temporarily, at the Paris Hilton. We were in the process of spendin’ “mucho francs” on remodelin’ a very, very, very old French kitchen in our newly-found 3-story apartment — it was at the end of a wonderful Parisian meal at a local dinin’ establishment — she just stood up and announced at the table “I’m not cookin’ anymore — I am retirin’ from the kitchen”! What I have failed to mention is that a young French waiter had just placed a large crock at her end of the table (maybe 18-inches-tall ‘n a foot-in-diameter) and with a huge dipper, he placed a mound of chocolate mousse on her plate.  She meant it, and that’s why — while we lived almost 2 1/2 years in the Paris 16th arrondissement  — the only three items one would find in our fridge were wine (both white and red — the latter should be chilled, too!); fresh ham from the three street markets nearby; and lots of chunks of fresh parmesan cheese (which my Italian co-worker taught us — that it made the best “nosh” when eaten in chunks — at cocktail parties, or just before goin’ out to dine at a Parisian café or bistro or brassiere!!

So, if you are ever in our neighborhood — maybe, just passin’ through — you might see this beautiful brunette strollin’ along Glendon Avenue with — what looks like her “anciano” male escort and his squeaky and  inexpensive walker. They’ll probably be headin’ for the Boilin’ Crab, or Tender Greens — or just maybe, for Mexican tacos with freshly-boiled ears of corn covered with their ever-present, red pepper at PINCHE” Tacos Restaurant. Just give ’em a wave — and they just might wave back atcha!! ‘nuf ………

Post Script: Well, this blog was published — maybe 4 hours ago — and I have just corrected a rather “unappetizin'” error. In the next-to-last paragraph in which I mention the dessert’s name that we were bein’ served — I described it as a mouse — that would have shut down that French bistro immediately. Fortunately as I re-read this blog, I noted my error and changed to the correct spellin’ — mousse!! Forgive me, there will be no rodents mentioned in any of my blogs in the future, especially in connection with a restaurant. Finally, with a nod toward cleanliness and a germ-free dinin’ experience, I’ll end this add-on!! Except to explain to frequent readers of  “ole guy’s ramblins”– that the shortened method of describin’ our current livin’ facility has always been the CAN (Casa de los Ancianos del Norte), but in this blog, I wanted to associate the facility’s title with our current address at Tiverton Ave! Truly, I can do this if I want to, ya know!! Finally, ‘nuf …………

Republican Senators/Trump’s Puppets? No, they are “f”-in’ prostitutes – with apologies to all decent whores!

“Shit-hole countries” — who let the dogs out??!! How come this got released to the press!! What’s wrong with you damn Republican senators and congressmen — you were in the room, for God’s sake!! Who let that damn Democrat Durbin in, anyway — what were you thinkin’?? Jeez!! Graham, you of all people — there was a closed Republican meetin’ goin’ on and you come in with that damn Democrat!! This is a Republican deal — it’s a Republican world now — keep those damn Dems out of any and all important meetin’s!! (Remember how successful you were with that Tax Bill — it only helps rich folks. You never let the Dems get close to it before the final vote!)  This should not have happened — this president is bad enough without you lettin’ his stupid outbursts go public. Someone has to pay for this …… so too say some donors (the Koch’s ‘n the Mercer’s ‘n others),  even Fox News is amazed at your stupidity. Mark this day as the day you hit “rock bottom”.  The ‘publicans have made that statue in the New York City Harbor cry — she had to put her torch down to wipe her eyes!!

Two senators in the room, Tom Cotton (R-AK) and David Perdue (R-GA), say they heard no such thing.  And followin’ the meetin’ with the President, they both said that the bi-partisan immigration proposal was a “joke” — and even if they didn’t hear the president use such a word — they both felt that the immigration plan should not allow folks from those “shit-hole” countries — and if that’s what the President said, so be it!! [aside: And it’s hard to understand what all the fuss is about. For God’s sake,  these two senators already have some places in their own two states (Arkansas ‘n Georgia) that most folks call “shit-holes” — so please don’t bring any other folks into this wonderful country from places like that.]

Part of this blog is absolutely true!! — I just embellished what I feel is a follow-on to those two southern Republican senators. [aside: I hardly feel it’s appropriate to capitalize their party’s name anymore (I am so ashamed of (r)epublicans) — Cotton and Perdue were in the room and claim they did not hear Trump use the horrible description of El Salvador, Haiti and African countries.  And accordin to Durbin — he heard him use the term numerous times!  What’s wrong with these folks??are they hard of hearin’?? They should be totally ashamed of themselves. I have a theory!! The current Republican congress-men and -women have the belief that Trump is so “immediately” mind-oriented (rememberin’ the here-and-now only) — that he forgets what he — says and does from day-to-day —  but he does “react to the present” — and there’s no sense in buggin’ him the wrong way in the here-‘n-now and get “trashed” in front of everybody. Keep him on an even keel, in the present, and tomorrow is another day. Just hear and see things exactly as he does. Why tick the stupid fool off!! So, say these two senators — who really don’t have a hearin’ problem!!]

In watchin’ and listenin’ to the Republicans over this past year with the Trump presidency — I cannot believe the number of times I have thought — My, God, they were there, they heard what he said, or saw what he did — yet, when interviewed on CNN or MSNBC — it’s a totally different story!! I stop and think and wonder “what world am I in?” Let me point out right here and now — this blog is not 100% accurate or truthful, as a matter of fact. But, just as Cotton and Perdue claim they did not hear the President use the term “shit-hole” — even Trump’s new best friend Senator Linday Graham (R-SC) said that Trump said it — loud and clear. Then today, Trump states in front of the cameras that he did not use that “horrible descriptive term”. He is livin’ in a “make-believe” world, and sooner or later, we as a nation are gonna have to do somethin’ about it. I’m just not sure that the Republicans will be of any help. And I do believe that is why we are seein’ so many Republican congressman “throwin’ in the towel” for the November mid-term — they don’t want to be around when the goin’ gets “bloody”! And, as God is my witness, it is gonna get bloody — sooner rather than later. The wrath of Mueller will strike and strike hard!! — there will be some jail-time for some awfully rich folks! It’s either that — or God forbid, our country will become in further danger of becomin’ second-rate — we may be goin’ down a rat hole!! (Which is one level higher than a shit-hole!) However, it will all get better when most of the Republican congressmen begin to put “country over party”.

There are some Republican members of the House of Representatives that I have considered — just this side of an asylum. I have rarely thought this about any Republican senators. I just think that with the latter,  there are some who think their refuse does not smell — to be dainty!! But when it comes to the House-dwellers — there’s one from Texas, another from South Carolina, and the last rep is from Iowa. And there are occasions, when any one of them is speakin’, and it’s on television — that’s when I feel I am watchin’ Gomer Pyle, that silly marine in the spin-off from the Andy Griffith television show — when any of these three reps start yakkin’ as if they know what they are yakkin’ about.

This blog is actually my serious response to the stupidity of our president, and the unbelievable “suck-up” attitude from most of the Republican Senators and Congressmen.  By contrast, I watched the brand new David Letterman show this mornin’ with my wife — “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction” by David Letterman on Netflix.  You cannot imagine the comparison, the contrast — when I tell you that the very first guest that he interviewed — and we watched the show this mornin’ — is Barack Obama. That should put an end to this blog!! But there’s more truth than fiction, herein — so “rambles” the ole guy!! ‘nuf ……

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr …………… …………………… Grrr-assley, Grrr-aham!!

Preface: Please forgive a slow blogger — but I started this blog on Tuesday evenin’, a couple of nights ago — almost immediately after the news broke that California Senator Diane Feinstein had released the testimony’s  transcript of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s recent witness, the co-owner of a company that did research on “Trump-and-Russia” — for the pre-, the start-up, and durin’ the 2016 Republican presidential campaign.  It gets a little serious herein, so read on ………

What a wonderful senior senator we have in California!! I have never been more proud of our California congressional team — as last night, when on MSNBC, they could not quit talkin’ about Senator Diane Feinstein — and her handin’ the full transcript of the 10 hours of testimony from that Fusion GPS executive Glenn Simpson — she just straight-out gave it all to the press for public consumption. There were no “ifs, and’s, nor but’s” — she just went public without the okay from the Chairman of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee  — Charles Grassley (R-Iowa).  Madam Feinstein is the senior Democratic senator on the committee, representin’ the minority party. The testimony pertained to the dossier produced by Christopher Steele, former spy from the British MI6 (considered a better “spook” than James Bond — Steele had loads of Russian contacts from his years of  spyin’ and cajoulin!).  Fusion had hired Steele to investigate Trump’s business dealin’s in Russia, prior to his presidential candidacy and durin’ such. Initally, Fusion had been hired by a Republican primary candidate; but when Trump became the Republican nominee — Simpson approached the Democratic Committee who happily hired Fusion GPS!! The results have become known as the “Steele Dossier”!!

Back to the testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee,  Chairman Grassley had refused to release the transcript — even though he had earlier told a constituent group in his home-state of Iowa — that he saw no reason to keep the testimony under wraps. Chairman Grassley  must be “steamin” about Feinstein’s action; but when interviewed, he agreed that it should be available to the public.  He mumbled somethin’ about the release might stymie individuals, yet to be interviewed, that their closed senate hearing transcript might also be released for public consumption. However, Fusion’s exec, Glenn Simpson, had been lobbyin’ repeatedly for its release!! This Republican attempt to “silence” Simpson or “hide” his testimony was phoney — that’s P-H-O-N-E-Y — and in my humble opinion, is borderin’ on “foul play” by at least two Republicans!! In fact, Grassley and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C., chairman of the sub-committee) had requested the FBI — just days before Feinstein’s deliberate action — to open an investigation on the spy himself, Christopher Steele. This ex-British intelligence officer, prior to retirement, may have been the most respected member in the British spy agency. He had spied on the Russians for so many years — and must have made numerous secretive contacts.

While developin’ the dossier, Steele had discovered circumstances such that he believed a crime was in progress — it involved candidate Trump and the Russians — and the latter had sufficient facts and “stuff” to compromise the Republican candidate — as I have previously blogged — it was a case of “KOMPROMAT”!! And, from his many years in the business of spyin’, he had made some serious contacts within our FBI organization. Steele secretly brought his discovery to the government agency that safeguards our “national security”!! So, the not-so-honorable (in your humble blogger’s opinion) two  Republican senators (G. of Iowa and G. of South Carolina) decided to send a request to the FBI to investigate Steele and questioned the FBI’s involvement in this Russian meddlin’ issue!! [Aside: Unknown — to these two senators — was the fact that prior to Steele’s contact,  the FBI had already been alerted to this nefarious situation —  contacted by the Australians earlier — after a drunken George Papadopoulos had spilled the beans to an Aussie diplomat about Hillary-dirt and Russia’s meddlin’! (Papadopoulos was then on the Trump’s campaign  foreign policy advisory panel.)]

Stop for a sec!! You can’t make this sh*t up!! It’s actually what the fictional incompetent Keystone Kops might be involved with. Here’s a drunken neophyte staff member of a U.S. presidential campaign’s foreign policy panel– buddy-buddyin’ with and tradin’ war stories –with a friendly nation’s diplomat —  spillin’ his guts about some very secretive stuff — provin’ his diplomatic manhood!! Ya know– Hollywood might just say that’s a bit too trite to be in a movie — get a better idea!! Then back to the two senators who tried to keep the Fusion exec’s testimony a “secret” and are tryin’ to shift the blame on our movie hero — our brave “James Bond” —  or on the FBI for usin’ the dossier (produced by a foreign national — and shared with the British government) as evidence. Why would two such respected members of the Senate do their damnedest  to keep the testimony locked up!! That stuff (in the dossier) is very detrimental to the President and to the recent Republican campaign– and they didn’t want the public — you and me — to know anymore than what’s already in the public domain.  I will give way to the situation that Grassley professes — except he is Trump’s “new best friend“(along with many others). But, the recent shift in Graham’s attitude toward the president — that’s a whole new ballgame in this blogger’s mind.

Recall some golf games — in early December last year — and Lindsay Graham’s tweets on how great the course was. And our South Carolina senator condemned the tweets that criticized him and called our POTUS a “kook”. Well, just a year before and earlier, Graham himself had made similar comments about Trump. When Graham was one of the twenty Republicans runnin’ for the highest office in the land — he was quite outspoken about his leadin’ competitor “the Donald”.  He and his very close friend John McCain were two of the most vociferous and outspoken Republicans toward our current president. What happened on the Trump golf courses?? Did Graham penetrate the “inner-Trump” — the person that no one on this earth knows about — why and how did Senator Lindsay Graham — close friend of our patriot-hero McCain — become so attached and complimentary of Donald Trump.  [aside: There are whores in all walks of life — not just with female prostitution — and from every possible aspect that I can come up with — Senator Lindsey Graham has become a WHORE!! There is no other way I can fathom the metamorphosis that has occurred in the relationship between Trump and Graham. And, the latter has not yet received his compensation for his salacious turn-around!!]

It is common knowledge that our current  “moron” (president- describin’) Secretary of State Rex Wayne Tillerson — is on a short leash — I do believe he wants out — and  it must be mutual with the president. Wouldn’t it be somethin’  if POTUS would up ‘n award his new fav golf partner that prestigious job. I can just see it now — introducin’ our brand new Secretary of State — the Honorable, the famous, the ass-kissin’ Lindsay Olin Graham — and currently the senior senator from the Red state of South Carolina — except my fav CBS late-night comedy host — Stephen Colbert — is from South Carolina also and he ran for POTUS in 2008!! But back to Graham for a sec — you blog-readers ought to check out the infamous comedian and former talk-show host Chelsea Handler!! She has a different perspective on the sudden ‘attitude-change’ toward Trump by Graham. I’ll let you do your own googlin’ to read what Chelsea has to say on the subject of the “sudden change” in Graham’s attitude toward our current president. And with that bit of malarkey, I’ll end this blog! ‘nuf …………….

Me Too!! — too!

Preface: There’s sure a lot of “ramblin'” goin’ on,  herein — with today’s bloggin’. From the Golden Globe’s last night with Oprah’s spirited challenge — to an ole guy’s retirement — plus some current thoughts about the company in which he was employed for a third-of-a-lifetime. So please read on ………

How does a guy join in?? This brand new wave of solidarity among all the women who have been sexually accosted, or belittled at work — physically, mentaly and professionally. They have been placed in a lower human category (– to men) by men. They have been physically attacked; they have been professionally demeaned; they have been judged or treated by men — as second-class citizens. No, not toward their mothers, maybe not their sisters, and of course — in most cases — not their daughters. But men have classified women as the “weaker sex” physically, and in many cases, mentally —  and, even, spiritually [aside: I am treadin’ on dangerous ground here — it’s a slippery slope for me — but with regards to religion and God, there has never been a female “Pope”!! I think there have been some rumblin’s — but I’m not that well-informed, nor that well-read, with reference to the Catholic faith — and a female Pope, does not pose a specific criterion that “sex-equality” has arrived”!! This thought just sprung up as I was ramblin’! I think there are some females that claim to be priests. But that’s as far as it goes!] And I don’t think that’s what “Me-too” is all about — to me, it means that a person has physically or mentally done harm to a weaker or subordinate person — weaker in physical strength or in professional stature. There are rapes of both women and men sexually; and in the business and professional world, there are many ways to demean a person of either sex ; and it doesn’t have to be physical in nature.

It’ s time for the “ole guy” to speak up and ramble — on this important and pertinent subject!! “Rapin’-a-woman” is an obvious transgression, a mortal sin — the male is typically stronger and more powerful than the female — but, is the male smarter, more intelligent, superior in any way, other than strength!! What if the male, as a hard worker, is a bread-winner, a husband, a father, a dominant person –and probably, in many cases, a favorite child to his mother — such that, in his mind, he has become psychologically superior to most females. Is that what makes him a rapist — a pursuer of women? I have no idea!! [aside: Confession time!! I was definitely the favorite child to my mother — 5 years younger than my sister, and 9 years older than my brother.  I now realize that I was the special child — in her mind.  In retrospect, today, it’s obvious!! But, I never thought about such things while growin’ up!  Fortunately, we don’t have any rapists in our family.  I’ll leave that up to the psychiatrists and family psychologists — it is somethin’ that I know nothin’ about — but, the thought arose while ramblin’!! What makes a rapist?? — is his sex-drive so over-powerin’ that he would harm another human bein’? I guess the answer is “yes”!!]

When Harriette and I married in 1950 — I was a US Naval Officer — and a graduate of the US Naval Academy at Annapolis.  While there — from ’43 to ’46 — it was an all-male institution; and only men served in our armed forces. And, in those days, we didn’t even have a separate Air Force — military pilots were either in the Army or the Navy — and the first black grad at Annapolis was a plebe (freshman) durin’ my last year at the Academy. Times were so, so different then — in so many ways. Men were thought of as the ones who worked outside the home, who fought in war, who flew the airplanes — they were the stronger , the braver, the — [aside: I was about to say {or ramble} smarter — but, suddenly remembered my high school days — when Bernice Wiggins was valedictorian — ‘n June Crutchfield and Josephine Bowers were right behind her scholastically — I only managed to be in the Honor Society, and an “also ran” scholastically!!] The thought of a woman in the military — aboard a US Navy ship — my God, in a submarine — in those close and tight quarters … impossible? Today, the answer is yes — and in every case — it’s “why not”!!

Let me describe how things were — and became — while I was an employee of the IBM Corporation, where I spent 30 great years. When I joined the company as a sales trainee in September 1959, the only women workin’ in our Dallas office were secretaries. It was a “man’s world” (outside the home), and as I recall in those days — yes, there were a few women instructors for IBM’s equipment-trainin’-course. And these women were the only female IBMers, who were in contact with our customers — who came to our education center to be trained to use our “punched-card” data-processin’ equipment (and, computers were just comin’ into use for business, academics, and science).  So, in the fall of 1960 — IBM, in Dallas, hired a young and very attractive young woman, who had just graduated from Smith College in Northampton, MA — and with a little trainin’, she would become a “systems-service girl” (yes, we called her a “girl” in our “business-lingo” — just think how that would go over today!!)– and she just happened to be my sister-in-law — the wife’s younger sister, by 9 years. At this time and shortly before, with the advent of computers into the world of business and technical data processin’– women were becomin’ a part of the IBM customer work-force. In those early days, our free services on the customers’ premises was part and parcel of doin’ business with IBM.  The services rendered at a customer’s site, in later years, would be a “chargeable service” and bred a whole industry — but, in those early days, it was one of IBM’s strength — its people who were on the customer site!!  In fact, that is the major source of revenue for today’s IBM — which has become a service company, instead of a hardware company (and that is the limit of my knowledge about the IBM of 2018)!

The “Me-too” explosion reminds me of a situation (maybe a common one) involvin’ my sister-in-law Raye Ann, that systems-service girl!! Her first work assignment was to assist the IBM salesman at a large and important customer site — an aerospace company. That salesman just happened to be a contemporary of  mine — Ross Perot. (Probably known to you readers as that guy who ran for President of the United States against Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush in 1992.) Yes, we were all in the same office together in the early ’60’s —  and Raye Ann was Perot’s dedicated systems-service-girl, who was assigned to assist in the installation and service of a rather large IBM computer complex in this important aerospace company.  She was  bein’ harassed by the manager of that IBM complex — an extremely large and meaningful customer of IBM — and this guy was a significant part of the data-processin’-decision-makin’ at that company!! Get the picture — in those early days of computin’– in large companies — the Director of Computin’ was almost solely — the person who decided with which computer manufacturer to do business.

Well, I have discussed my relationship with Ross before in other blogs — we were fellow marketin’ reps in the same office — but as for as “friendly relations” went — he was in one camp, and I was in another — all offices have cliques. But, as far as his personal beliefs and marketin’ “courage” — I will place him at the very top. He confronted that relatively senior exec and told him “hands off”, so to speak — and that guy, for the rest of the time that Raye Ann worked in that facility, treated her with utmost respect. So, actually, it was a “Me, too” issue in the workplace in the early sixties. It was a far cry from rape –but it was unwanted “attention”!! And it’s my understandin’ that the movement has expanded from “male aggressive sexual issues” to all forms of issues involvin’ harassment and unfair treatment of  women in the workplace??

IBM was an early example of “fairness” when it came to all their employees — i.e., especially, women-employee equal treatment. I’ll give a few examples of how things progressed while I was employed and shortly thereafter. The “system service girls” soon became “system engineers”. We had marketin’ reps (sales -men and -women) sellin’ our products. And in the early 70’s, after I had become a marketin’ manager — a gal by the name of Ronnie became an associate of mine in the same branch office — her title was “systmes engineerin’ manager” — and we both were part of our branch marketin’ management team. And as you might have expected, some of our marketin’ reps by that time were female — and it didn’t take too long — for there to become a “lady” marketin’ (or sales) manager — followed shortly thereafter by “female” branch managers at IBM.  Women were able to advance to every possible position in the entire IBM Corporation. And guess what happened in October 2011 — when the then IBM President/CEO  announced his successor.  As of January ’12 , it would be Virginia (Ginni)Rometty — as the next Chairman, President and CEO of the IBM Corporation — the very first woman in charge of the 100-year old (formerly male-dominated) company. How about them “apples” and speakin’ of that — IBM was the out-right world leader in the computer field in the 60’s and 70’s, they were the APPLE of that time. And it has since moved  from a very, very, very male-oriented hardware company — to become the “Me, too” services company of today — at least from this retiree’s vantage point.

And can you believe that a sorta “straight-laced” and successful company — such as  IBM — could have nurtured and produced such an ornery, irreverent, ego-centric, ramblin’ ole guy as Emiel or Emiliano or Meis or whatever you want to call him –well, it did!! And they are still payin’ this current blogger for it — monthly, that is!! Surely, that’s ‘nuf! ……..

And then there were five ……..

Blog Alert!!  Ding — ding — ding !!! I published this blog while in the midst of the second paragraph — IN ERROR!! Read at your own risk. I promise to re-publish the complete version soon!!  WARNING: I do a whole lot of ramblin’ in this one!! … “the ole guy” 

It was a time in 1996 when it all began , we were celebatin’ our 50th — no, it was not our golden weddin’ anniversiary (we, the wife and me, had only been married 45 years at that moment in time).  My class had graduated from the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD,  in early June of ’46. We were stayin’ at the Annapolis Hilton — celebratin’ our 50th Reunion — of our entry into the fleet. I had casually and at different times  brought up the idea to some of my close friends and classmates; namely Paul Miller, Wayne Warlick and Chan von Schrader — about comin’ down to visit us in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico — that’s where Harriette and I had settled in 1990. That was the genesis of a “mini-class-reunion” that would not take place until a year or so after we all met again at our 55th annual class reunion — which was held in San Diego/Coronado, CA, in the summer of 2001.

That non-Annapolis location worked out extremely well for the wife and me. We had been spendin’ a month each summer at the Coronado Shores Apartments — and had shared many carefree moments with the Coronado natives — Jim and Sybil Stockdale. So, at the reunion, they up ‘n  offered us their spare basement livin’ quarters, instead of the our stayin’ at the reunion Hotel Coronado. In those fun days of togetherness with ole classmates — we got commitments from 5 couples to come to Mexico for some sightseein’ fun, some mariachi song-and-dance, ‘n some great and fabulous eatin’!! That’s what the wife and I were famous for. We had moved into some very nice quarters in 2000, and would be able to find housin’ nearby for everyone — all would be within walkin’ distance of the town’s center.  (Y, Emiliano y Harrieta son muy famosos en la ciudad!! Solo preguntale a alguien!!)

There were 6 of us fellas with our spouses: namely, Jim and Sybil Stockdale, Paul and Doris Miller, Wayne and Rosemary Warlick, Chan and Nancy von Schrader, Tom and Georgea Hudner plus the wife and me. We were gonna be twelve fun-lovin’ Americanos, and we were gonna paint the town ???? That’s when age and health issues began to take it’s toll on our numbers — Sybil’s doctor told her that she and Jim should not come to San Miguel — that the cobblestone streets would be too difficult for her and Jim to traverse — and, I do believe that their general health issues were beginnin’ to appear in both of their cases. That meant we were whittled down to 8 visitin’ gringos! So, includin’ Harriette and me — there were ten of us —  for our Class of 1947  mini-reunion!!

We found a two-story house nearby with a beautiful roof garden — and a full-time maid. That’s where we housed the Millers and the Warlicks. And, lo and behold, that full-time maid caused a ‘wrinkle’ in their free time and diminished town inspectin’ ‘n tourist shoppin’. They loved the idea of just enjoyin’ the fresh air and blue sky — while in repose on the roof with that Mexican senorita respondin’ to their every need. Or, they would enjoy the frequent games of bridge, inside — if the wind had come up and chilled them a bit. In the meantime, we had placed the von Schrader’s and the Hudner’s in a B&B around the corner.  They were galavantin’ around the picturesque, art-filled town, and lunchin’ in the various restaurants with their “hosts”!! We all met in the early evenin’s for cocktails and dinner — at a different fav restaurant of ours. But back to the beginnin’ of the week …….

On the very first night, we had a welcomin’ party at our casita — invited were all of our gringo ‘n English-speakin’ Mexican amigos — to come ‘n share a fun-filled evenin’ of food, wine, guitar music, dance, and a bit of singin’ by one of the senoritas. But, at exactly 8pm, to everyone’s surprise –comin’ through our front door  — a 9-piece, white-suited mariachi band with trumpets a-blazin’ and  violins a-hummin’ — it literally was a sight to behold — and just bloggin’ about those nine smilin’ Mexicanos — gives me some remembrance chills (at this very moment).

One mid-mornin’, we all met in the jardin in front of the Paroquia (the parish church) — that’s the town’s center. That’s when we took a “guided walkin’ tour” of San Miguel. We must have visited a couple of  churches besides the Paroquia — stopped in a few shops along the way — visited one of the open-air markets — and finally ended up inside the “Nuns’ Church” — Las Monjas. I had arranged the tour by requestin’ a personal friend to lead us — she was a regular volunteer for the tours, the proceeds were for a good cause. So, at the end, we were all seated in the church pews, and she was standin’ in front of us with a cord draped around her neck attachin’ a card with her name on it. When there were no more questions and the tour was at an end — with a twinkle in her eyes she flipped the name-card over and printed thereon was: BEAT NAVY!! Ya see, her husband was a member of the Class of 1940 ……. at WEST POINT!!

One day we hired a couple of vans for a guided tour of the unbelievably unique and historic city of Guanajuato — an hour away. We parked above the city — next to the gigantic statue of Pipila (I’ll let you check on why he is so enshrined!) — but at the statue’s base, one can hop on a funicular which takes you down and leaves you very near the town’s center. Guanjuato is the capitol of the state with the same name. San Miguel is in the state of Guanajuato also. The town is full of history and our guide poured it on. Between San Miguel and Guanajuato, the two cities — you are in the midst of Mexican history when, in the early 1800’s, the fight for freedom from their Spanish overlords began — Pipila was just one of the peasant heroes. The town is nestled in what I might call a humongous gully — in an oblong shape with a beautiful panoramic highway encirclin’ the entire city. And since the town is basically a gully — earlier, when the rains came, the town would be flooded — until the people built some underground reservoirs in which the water could accumulate. Today, however, with modern drainage capabilities — those reservoirs are now tunnels and offer one of the most interestin’ tourist attractions in all of Mexico. And my bloggin’ here barely begins to cover why everyone who visits San Miguel de Allende — will always spend a day tourin’ the spectacular town of Guanajuato.

Drivin’ back to San Miguel that late afternoon, the Millers and the Warlicks were in the other van — Harriette and I were with the von Schraders and the Hudners in a larger limo. Suddenly, they were no longer followin’ us — we only hoped that their car was not havin’ engine trouble or a flat tire. Later, when we met for cocktails and dinner, I asked Paul what had happened. They had stopped at a “tienda” on the outskirts of San Miguel — and did some shoppin’. They had left their limo and went directly into an “every-day, all-purpose” store and met some natives — they were amongst some real Mexicanos. [aside: I luv to tease Paul and Wayne — they did spend an inordinate amount of time in that multi-bedroom, grandiose casa, which included that attendin’ senorita. While the von Schraders and the Hudners, in that B&B, had their single bedroom — and a  general service-room with its “coke-machine”!! As long as everybody enjoyed themselves — that’s all that counted in our book]

Can’t exacly remember where we dined that last night — my aged brain is not able to recover all the details anymore. You readers should understand that this blog is probably fraught with a bundle of what I hope are minor errors and embellishments. But, if it made interestin’ readin’ — that’s what counts. Mind you, when Miller and Warlick get a glance at this — they will let me know where I went astray. But, I want to get a little serious now and bring everyone up-to-date ‘n explain this blog’s title — “And then there were five ……”  And even here I may be a bit wrong with dates, etc., but ….. Jim Stockdale passed in about 2005 havin’ suffered from Alzheimer’s in his final years; while his spouse Sybil passed more recently in 2014 — and we had visited her a number of times while she was sufferin’ from a relatively severe case of Parkinson’s Disease. She wanted us to continue to make our annual visit from Mexico, when we would get in her van and sit in the back — her caregiver would push her wheelchair in, and we would be off to our  regular visit to the Brig — where we would have our fav cocktail — but, she would renege on those “Horny Handshakes“. She couldn’t speak on those last two visits — but she made that pen and paper “hum”.  And this is mentioned in two previous blogs — one about our two BFF’s — and the other about America’s #1 Heros Warrior — the latter, however, mainly about Jim and his so-called, uncalled-for, political career.

I’m not sure of when nor the cause of Rosemary Warlick’s passin’!! As Miller and I will always remember,  in the fall/winter months of 47/48, in a rented house in Winthrop Beach, MA, she was not only married to Wayne — she was our “rock”, our “protector” — the two of us adored her!! She would even do our laundry! We were a five-some with li’l Stevie — and I can’t remember a cross word the entire time — she would talk to me, in private, about Paul; and I’m sure she told Paul a few things about me!! We all do have a few shortcomin’s, ya know!! But, lookin’ back, we all got along and we remained friends — til death do us part!!

It was shortly after Harriette and I moved into our new home here at 947 Tiverton Ave when I got this call from the von Schrader’s daughter. She told me to wait a sec — and Nancy got on the line. I had known that Chan had been sufferin’ from (I believe) severe diabetes!! He had lots of trouble walkin’ — he had even passed out on the freeway, drivin’ his convertible.  And as bad as it got, he was still up for a round of golf — maybe only 9 holes, but he loved that sport. But when Nancy spoke to me, I knew immediately it was over — but it wasn’t the diabetes. Chan had fallen backwards on the lower stairs and hit his head on a door knob. Nancy sounded good — but all of a sudden she stopped and said, “Meis, I have cancer and  they’re given me six months or less. It wasn’t too long after — that I got a call from Jeannie, tellin’ me that Nancy had passed.

Then, it was just a month or so ago, while watchin’ CNN or MSNBC, there was a break in the news — and suddenly there was a picture of naval officer — it was a photo of Tom Hudner. And that same day, I received an email from our current class secretary — advisin’ of Tom’s passin’!! As requested, I sent a contribution to the New England Center for the Homeless, which Georgea had suggested. I’m not sure of the “what” or “how” but it doesn’t matter — we’re all in the final stage of life — the last five of us!! We are all in our early to mid-90’s — we are the survivors!!  And the blessin’ we all pray for is that when it comes, it’ll be as painless as possible. Life sure has been good. We are the U.S. Naval Academy Class of ’47 “Best on the Severn”! ‘nuf ………