Monday, November 19, 2007

Shaving gone crazy

Here I am at 8PM standing in line at the cosmetics counter inside my local Walgreens Drug store waiting for the clerk to get off the phone with her husband. "Why am I here?" you might ask. " Well I am here waiting to buy razor blades of course. It seems that my razor blades, Gillette Mach 3, are such a highly pilfered item that they are kept behind lock and key in a secure cabinet guarded by armed Pinkerton Agents with only the Cosmetic lady having the secret combination. "What happened to my shaving needs?" I asked myself as I waited. For a long time I used a shaving cup and brush and shaved with a single edge razor blade. Over the years, I switched back to that method more than once but my wife or someone would buy me an electric razor and out the window would go the brush and cup. The different electric razors I used were each very good, for a while, and then they would mysteriously get dull. I suspected people of the opposing sex, daughter and wife, would secretly start using my razor which would cause it to go dull. All that you can do with a dull electric razor is change the shaving heads but that never seemed to work right, so in the garbage they would go. I always noticed that when I threw my razor away, both wife and daughter would soon be sporting new electric razors?????? I have tried just about every type of shaving instrument that was ever made. The last I remember about my razor purchases was buying double sided blades and experimenting with different type of shaving creams. The next thing was I somehow got on the Christmas list as needing razors and my wife,bless her heart, slowly moved me up the list with the purchase of; single edge high performance blades, to double edge high performance blades, to triple edge high performance blades with a name to make me think I am shaving with a jet airplane. There are now blade cartridges with 5 blades out there but I have forbid her from purchasing them. Tonight I paid $10 for 4 cartridges. Each cartridge lasts about a week.

As usual, when I write I head for the Internet to check my facts and see if there is anything else out there. I hit upon a web site called The Onion which bills itself as America's finest news source and had just done an article on James Kilts CEO and president of Gillette Company and the article speaks to the shaving blade wars. Check it out at Gillette CEO . A double edged razor blade only costs .16 cents and lasts through 2 shaves which means my shaving costs would be $2.40 per month instead of $10. Time to think about changing back again. I wonder where I can buy a shaving bowl and brush? Probably eBay.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Step 2 Machinist Mate School

Somewhere in the great bowels of The United States Navy lies The super secrete organization called "Bureau of Naval Personnel". NAVPERS as it is fondly referred to by sailors made our life choices for us prior to leaving Boot camp. Dickson, you are going to be a Machinist Mate and go the the Great Lakes to learn. Dalby [my joining up with buddy] you are going to be an Electrician and stay in San Diego to learn. Anyway that seemed to be the system that was used as we got our orders in boot camp and learned where our next duty stations would be. I headed for South Dakota, via Greyhound, from San Diego where I would get some time with my family before I went on to Chicago and learned to be a machinist mate?? Didn't have a clue what a Machinist Mate was but I was sure they would let me know real soon. Leaving SD, after enjoying Christmas, I boarded an airplane bound for Chicago. My father was a frequent fly-er into Chicago and helped me. He told me after getting on the plane to go right forward towards the front of the plane and right after the bathrooms I would find more seats and to grab one of those. Most people didn't know about them and they were larger and more comfortable than the back seats. He was right and it was a nice trip into Chicago and I usually had a least one stewardess sitting with me and visiting the entire way. I included the photo of the SD plains to show you the airplane prop in the photo. Yup, we were still in the early days of aviation but I will say that I never flew again on a plane with such comfortable seats. My Dad had arranged a room for me at The Sherman House on the loop. I remember fighting the bell boy for my sea bag when I checked in. I really didn't have any money to spend on a tip. Made my own way to my room. Got to watch "The Platters" as they were playing in the hotel bar called "The College Inn". No money but I still had a great time.

I hung out at the Greyhound bus depot because I could afford a hamburger there. I was there having coffee when A light skinned black person struck up a conversation with me and after a while said "want to go over to my place and order a pizza?". He would pay. I thought that would be OK and he got up and went into the bathroom and said we would go when he came out. When he was gone a pretty young waitress, who I had talked with before, came up and laid her hand on my arm and whispered "Don't go honey, he's a queer and your not going to like his pizza". Could have knocked me over with a toothpick as that meant he was a real live homosexual person. They had taught us about them in boot camp and some where along the line one of my "more worldly buddies" had told me to watch out for them but this was the first time I had met a real live one. He had told me "if one tries to pick you up, hit them as hard as you can and then knee them in the nuts as it would be OK to do that and the authorities won't bother you". He said he had done that numerous times himself. I was dumb struck as this was big time stuff when your a kid from South Dakota. The man came out of the restroom and I said "no" to him and he left mad, glaring at the waitress's as he headed for the door. I turned towards my waitress and said "I'm kinda new to all of this big city stuff as I'm from small town out in ......" She held her hands up in the air and said "that's OK honey, we know" as she nodded her head towards the other two girls who were watching all of this with much amusement. I slowly sipped my coffee, running everything through my brain, trying to figure it all out. She came over with the coffee pot and as she poured I said "you know he seemed like a real nice guy" and she laughed as she looked at me and again said "that's OK honey, we know, we really do". Trouble was I didn't.

I arrived at the school the next morning and spent the remainder of the day, after I had checked in and got my bunk, shoveling snow because A pretty good snowfall was occurring. When I was a San Diego I had one blue stripe on my shoulder to let the world know that we were recruits, lower than dirt. As we left Boot Camp we had been awarded seaman apprentice rank patches which meant we had graduated and had increased our pay one step, which was still next to nothing. I also got to put a screw above my SA patch which meant I was a Machinist Mate striker and my stripes and screw were red, which meant I was a snipe. I didn't have the slightest idea as to what a snipe was. All I knew was that it was some kinda bird and if anyone ever tried to get me to go snipe hunting I was to hit them as hard ................ In the next 90 days I was taught everything I would ever want to know; steam, water, valves and pumps plus a whole lot more. One of the tidbits we learned was "nothing sucks, not even the Navy" as they were trying to make us learn how pumps work. The poor quality photo is the steam plant control panel of the system we worked on and I would see a few more of those before I got out of the Navy. We were engineers and our stripes were red. Snipes! If you were involved with airplanes you were called "Air-dales" and your stripes were green. So it goes in the Navy. They worked very hard teaching us to be good steam mechanics and the lessons did stick.
Photo is our Barracks.

Liberty was very good in the Chicago area and about half of the time I went to Milwaukee. In Milwaukee we would take the train or hitchhike and head for the USO as there was always a dance there on the weekend complete with girls, coffee, and cookies. It was from there to the Eagles Ballroom, I believe it was called, as we could usually find someone to get us a bottle to mix with our punch or coke. Chicago trips were more of a cultural thing as I would head for the Museum of Science and Industry as they had a captured German U-Boat there that you could walk through. I probably spent 6 days in that museum and never saw it all. If I went back to Chicago for some reason, my spare time would be spent in that museum again. What a great place. To prove to you that I even had some class I have included a photograph from the World Flower and Garden Show at the McCormick place. I have a couple of rolls of film from that show, as it was impressive.

A High School classmate of mine, Norman, was stationed in Chicago somewhere going to Army drafting school. I would hop the train and end up at the base for the weekend. I would sleep in their barracks and they would obtain a mess pass for me so I could eat. We hung out at their enlisted persons club drinking cheap beer then heading downtown afterwords to frolic as befit youth of our age. It was always a cheap weekend for me, as they all were, because we Machinist Mate apprentices didn't make much money. This last photo is me in Downtown Chicago.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Pokemon International trading

Earlier this afternoon, my family and I were having lunch at our local McDonald's using their latest coupon book which allowed for a basic buy one and get one free. I glanced down at my grandson Sam and he was playing with his DS. The Nintendo DS [according to Wikipedia] is a handheld game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. . So I said "what's he doing?" and my daughter replied saying "he is using his DS and Wi-Fi to trade players around the world??????? I then answered her answer with a question "Say WHAT"? I remembered that McDonald's had installed Wi-Fi [it is a system that allows you Internet access from a laptop computer or obviously from some game consoles] a while ago, which I assumed was in competition with Star Bucks as it would encourage people with laptop computers to come in and hang-out a while. Sam answered by shoving the DS screen into my face to prove that was what he was actually doing. All I could see was Japanese writing on the screen and Sam said "that is who he was trading with and they were trading Pokeman players". It was obvious that Samuel was quite pleased that he knew and I did not. At this point the women got up and left for shopping [Saturday afternoon and All] and Sam and I opted out because I had my truck and we both hate shopping. We stayed at Mickey-Dees for a while as my Grandson was continuing his down loading and I was enjoying visiting some friends of ours from the church. She asked me what Sam was doing and I answered "Talking with some kid in Japan I guess". When we got to my house I quizzed Sam on his trades: he traded a Level 100 Palkia.for a Celebi Makes sense to me. Sam is 10 and I am 64!