The stars at night are big and bright...

The stars at night are big and bright...
The stars at night are big and bright...

Friday, November 30, 2012

Unsolved Mystery




RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Donna Gugger's heart was heavy as she sifted through the scattered debris and devastation left by Superstorm Sandy along the Jersey Shore. Pieces of broken furniture. Shards of metal. Chairs ripped off patios. Blue jeans tossed out of bureaus.

But there was something different about that swath of gray cloth with shiny brass buttons. She stopped to take a second look, leaning down to tug on an edge of the fabric that peeked out from under the sand. At first glance, she thought it was an elaborate Halloween costume — a jacket that reminded her of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper.

It was no costume. Gugger had stumbled across an 80-year-old tunic owned by a 1933 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a World War II hero described in his West Point yearbook as a soldier with a "heart like a stormy sea."

The jacket's journey is as mysterious as its history. No one knows how it ended up on the Jersey Shore, hundreds of miles north of the late warrior Chester B. deGavre's home on Virginia's Eastern Shore. His 98-year-old widow, Tita deGavre, didn't even know it existed.

But now that it has been found, the jacket is more than just a recovered forgotten relic.

For deGavre, it is another part of her late husband to cherish. She plans to hang it on the wall along with some of his other military garb and awards at the Deep Creek Plantation, a sprawling Virginia landscape along the shore where she also found her husband's missing West Point ring years ago.

"I found it most impossible to believe," deGavre said after Gugger drove five hours earlier this week to deliver the ornate jacket. "Where could it have been all this time?"

Chester deGavre's parents used to live in Red Bank, less than 10 miles southwest of where the jacket was found. But that was years ago and the house has been sold many times over.

"Somebody must have had (the jacket) under great care, and whether their house blew away with Sandy, I don't know," said deGavre, who met her husband while he was overseas in her native England. They married in 1948.

"It's all a big mystery, but I'm happy about it."

To Gugger, the jacket is nothing less than a symbol of resurrection and renewal in a landscape scarred by sorrow and loss.

The 48-year-old pharmaceutical consultant from Holland, Pa., found the military clothing while she and other members of the Sandy Hook Bay Catamaran Club helped clean up damage from Sandy, which struck in late October.

"I saw blue jeans, I had seen jackets, chairs, backpacks — all kinds of things," she said. "And to go from a point of looking at devastation and the sadness that was associated with that, to find that something so good could potentially come out of the findings in all of that debris, I was just overjoyed."

Gugger took the jacket home, shook out the sand, and washed it off. It was in extraordinary condition, and upon closer examination, she noticed the words "West Point" and "issued to deGavre" on the inside. Determined to get the jacket back to its rightful owner, she contacted West Point's Association of Graduates, which cleaned and preserved it and tracked down deGavre's family.

The heavy coat, studded with brass buttons down the front and sleeves, hasn't changed much since it was first adopted at the academy around 1816, said retired Army Col. Chris Needels, a 1965 graduate of West Point and family friend of the deGavres. With its tails, intricate stitching, and diagonal gold braids on the shoulders, the jacket is still worn by cadets for formal occasions and in parades.

Before his death in 1993 at age 85, Chester deGavre was a Retired Army brigadier general, a pioneering paratrooper and chief of staff for the 1944 airborne invasion of southern France. He was one of the first Army officers to take parachute training at the start of World War II, joining the Airborne Command at Fort Bragg, N.C. The Newark, N.J., native improved techniques and standardized equipment for the airborne forces as a parachute-training officer and chief of test and development. His decorations included a Silver Star from the Korean War and the Legion of Merit with three oak-leaf clusters.

"This was a soldier, this was a war hero, somebody who risked his life for our country, and I was determined to get it back to the family," Gugger said of the jacket.

"It's a miracle because it's still a mystery how it made it to that beach and for me to have even had the opportunity to pick it up. It's not really about the jacket, it's about the journey."
---
"Heart like a stormy sea", that's a pretty prophetic quote considering what happened.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

White Male Over 50? Just Take A Deep Breath and Relax...

One of the fabulous things about VA Healthcare is they take very good preventive care measures. Unfortunately one of those preventative measures involves a rather invasive procedure after you hit the half-century mark. If they ain't happy with that, then  it gets real up close and personal in 1080p.

Bad news: I don't get to pick my doctor. Worse news: they told me not to get my hopes up.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Ritual Continues


Everyone has their own Thanksgiving traditions. Mine started many, many years ago as a impressionable long haired yoot listening to The Zoo (KZEW). I never realized how important it was to me until I joined the Coast Guard and spent my first Thanksgiving away from home. Come to find out, not every rock station around the world plays Arlo Guthrie's iconic tale on Turkey Day and that is a crying shame.

Altho this isn't the original, it's become my favorite version. Enjoy a little Arlo with your turkey and have a happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Angry Old Guy Rant #14

I remember when I used to complain about not being able to walk out of Walmart without spending $100. Now I can't get out of there without dropping Tres Hombres in my wake. And I still don't have Jack to show for it!

I look like a Doomsday Prepper at the checkout. Canned goods, dried beans, pasta, ramen noodles, some obligatory single guy frozen diners (Marie Callendar's are freakin' great!) and organic milk (it has triple the shelf life of regular milk). But honestly, $300? It will only last me 3 weeks tops before I have to do it all over again and that's with several "this and that" runs to the local store.

It makes me wonder how families do it. Kids are ex-pen-sive and they eat their weight in food about 3 times a day whilst outgrowing the new clothes you just bought them.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Off The Radar: Last Resort

ABC has torpedoed the USS Colorado. Despite an intriguing storyline, a talented cast and well written scripts, Last Resort has been foundering in low ratings since it's debut. They are leaving open the possibility of it being a summer replacement series next year, but it's highly unlikely. That means the final episodes could be very exciting as they wrap up the storyline.

More info over at Deadline Hollywood.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

It's Miller Time!

Congrats to "Blue Deuce" driver Brad Keselowski and "The Captain" Roger Penske on winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship! It was a long time coming.

It's Dodge's first Cup championship since Richard Petty's 1975 title and sadly it will be their last for the foreseeable future. This was the final race for Dodge in NASCAR. Penske was the last team to run Dodge power and starting next season Team Penske is committed to Ford.

SNL Recap


The cold open focused on the Petraeus scandal with a CSpan's Booknotes featuring Paula Broadwell (Cecily Strong) reading excerpts from All In. But they sounded more like excerpts from 50 Shades of Gray. Good premise, but it fell flatter than a soufflĂ© in a Tokyo earthquake.

Host Jeremy Renner's monologue started slow with him reminding viewers he's not known for comedy (at this point, he still isn't). He quickly went musical and the live TV gremlins struck when his piano mic was dead. A few awkward moments while that was fixed before he displayed his surprising musical talent on the piano singing songs about action adventure films.

The mock commercial was about vacationing in your hometown and visiting exotic locations like the new Kmart and the old Kmart that's now a closed Michael's. Another belly flop of a skit. So far we're 0 for 3.

Possibly a redemption point here with the return of The Californians. This is one of those skits you either get or you don't. I always get a kick out of watching them roast Left Coasters. Jeremy played the family lawyer and despite being an actual Californian, he didn't get the accent down. It took an upswing when Fred Armisen started channeling Harvey Korman and cracked up doing his lines which gave Kenan Thompson the giggles and it almost went full blown cast giggles before they regained composure. I thought it was funny, your mileage may vary.

Next, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (Jason Sudeikis) reporting on the Petraeus scandal and showing the same clip of Jill Kelly over and over because that's all the footage they had besides a still photo of her with Mardi Gras beads. They threw it to their never used Tampa correspondent Victor Randel (Bobby Moynihan) who commented on spending 3 days outside Kelly's house and her not answering any questions he yelled at her. They were joined by the Mayor of Tampa Derek "Fat Deuce" Derek (Renner). When asked if he had any info on Kelly he said "She fine!" and had no clue about any sex scandal, but "She fine!". It was then discovered Derek "Fat Deuce" Derek was only the self proclaimed Mayor of Tampa.

Another dud.

This weeks video was "The Standoff", a take on an action film with Renner, Bobby Moynihan (channeling his inner Steven Segal) and Taran Killiam in a 3 way mexican standoff over a hard drive. Unfortunately Renner needed to pick up his kid from dance class and wanted to speed things along. The standoff went mobile when they jumped into a cab, picked up his daughter and read her a bedtime story (all the while with their guns still trained on each other). They wound up spending the night in the same bed 3 Stooges style, showered together, went to the bathroom, ate Thanksgiving dinner, ice skated in the park with their guns still trained on each other. They did everything together including giving a stranger (Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine) directions who joined the standoff with his guns before leaving. After 2 days they wind up in the same parking garage where they started and Bobby becomes sentimental telling them these were the greatest days of his life before Renner and Killiam both open fire on him. Having dispatched with Bobby they once again train their guns on each other before Killiam says "Listen, I've got to let my cat out" and they go mobile once again. Funny and original. So far this is the high point.

Musical guest Maroon 5 performed One More Night.

Weekend Update naturally kept the focus on the Petraeus scandal. Included was "Winners and Losers". Winner: Whoever writes the next Petraeus biography. Reading the current biography would be like reading Batman right up to when his parents were killed. Losers: All other biographers. For the next 10 years if you tell someone you're writing a biography expect them to say "Uh huh... yeah nice". Winner: Homeland. Just when your plot twists were starting to look a little far fetched, this scandal comes along and suddenly you look like a documentary. Losers: People trying to have affairs in the digital age. You can't get away with it... The Director of the CIA couldn't get away with it.

Kat Williams (Jay Pharoah) visited to comment on being dragged off stage after attacking a heckler and pulling a gun on another commedian. His explanation for his behavior, "I was being a pimp!".

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (the real Chris Christie) stopped by to comment on Hurricane Sandy cleanup efforts. He was very funny playing the pushy, angry, dominant Jersey stereotype and quoted the great Jersey poet Bruce Springsteen. A huge thumbs up for The Gov's performance.

Following WU a parody of The Avengers with Renner in his role of Hawkeye who suddenly didn't have much to do when he ran out of arrows. One funny line came from Ironman (Sudeikis) "Come on "Hunger Games"! Just pull arrows out of the ones you've already shot, Katniss!". Bobby Moynihan as The Hulk tried to lend a hand with an arrow he found, but broke Hawkeye's hand fist bumping him. Hulk found a way Hawkeye could be useful when he picked up the archer by his ankles and used him as a baseball bat to kill the aliens. Not bad.

Jeremy played himself in the next skit about making an action movie. Jason Sudeikis played evil tough guy thug character actor Dick Fuel (obviously modeled after Vin Diesel) who's afraid to take a slap. Meh.

Maroon 5 returned to perform Daylight.

Next was "Midnight Snack"(possibly a new TV Funhouse type segment). This was a cartoon about the use of drones and included a DOD promotional film entitled "Cool Drones" where 4 drones led a double life as a boy band.

The County Morgue was the scene of the final skit as a man (Renner) has to identify his brother's body for the Coroner and a detective. But the man is nervous and identifies him as Steven Tyler, Yao Ming, basically anybody but his brother. It took a twist in the end when it turned out the guy was still alive. "He SAID he was dead!"

This skit was much funnier than it sounds. A particular bit that broke me up was when the Coroner (Bill Hader) became bored listening to the answers and started playing bongos on the corpse's (Taran Killiam) chest and face. This didn't look like it was part of the bit and was an impromptu test for Killiam to remain playing dead with Hader slapping him randomly in the face. Hader had an evil grin on his face the whole time which made it even funnier.

This episode was very hit or miss. When it was good, it was very good. But it was loaded with an equal or greater amount of flops. At times Jeremy didn't look very prepared and often struggled with the cue cards. In his defense, there was some bad writing. I give tonight's episode a C.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

4 Dead 17 Wounded in Midland Veterans Parade




Four people died and 17 others were taken to a hospital when a train crashed into a parade float honoring veterans in Midland, Texas, late this afternoon.

"From what we know right now, apparently there were two fatalities at the time of the incident and two more at the hospital that passed away after they'd been transported," Midland Police Chief Price Robinson said.

Midland Memorial Hospital confirmed the four deaths to ABC News.

Of the 17 injured at the hospital, 10 were in critical condition and seven were in stable condition, Robinson said.

The float was one of two 18-wheel trailers carrying wounded veterans and their families during the parade when a train approached, according to Hamid Vatankhah, a witness who owns a used car lot near the scene of the crash.

The first truck crossed the tracks in time, but the second did not, Vatankhah said, adding that sirens from the police cars in the parade may have drowned out the sound of the approaching train.

"Some people were able to jump, and some that were sitting in wheelchairs on top couldn't do nothing about it," Vatankhah said.

The floats in the Show of Support's Hunt for Heroes parade were crossing Union Pacific train tracks near Garfield Avenue en route to a Show of Support Banquet around 4:35 p.m. local time, according to ABC News affiliate KMID-TV.

Monday, November 12, 2012

KMG-365

That was the callsign of  LA County Fire Station 51. The home of Emergency! This show was so cool on so many levels. It even made 1 Ton Dodge Duallys cool.

Jack Webb was the original "reality" guy. He ripped the files straight from the... well, files. Dragnet walked you thru a case step by step. Then Adam-12 took you on a patrol with the LAPD. His swansong, and arguably greatest achievement from Mark-VII Productions was following the LA County Fire department and the introduction of Paramedics to a skeptical public.

Sure, we all take EMT's as a given commodity now. But back in the early 70's it was some wild Liberal California idea to make firemen doctors. Rather than take his usual ultra-conservative approach, Jack Webb embraced the idea and strove to highlight the efforts of "Rescue Paramedics" with Producer R.A. Cinader at the helm. Not being Cops throwing people in jail and actually helping sick and injured citizens drew a wide positive response with viewers. Gage and DeSoto became instant action hero medics and an inspiration to a wave of Paramedics across the country.

Without a doubt this one program is responsible for educating the American people on the importance of Paramedics and allowed the program to expand to where it is today. Without Emergency!, EMT's wouldn't be here at the capacity they are today. Every Saturday night NBC took you into LA County Station 51 and gave you a ride along with their calls. Everyone got to see what kind of service EMT's could and need to provide nationwide. This show made that happen.

As a tribute, the actual station featured in the series (LA County 127) was renamed the Robert A. Cinader Memorial Fire Station in honor of the series producer. The series also featured LACoFD Dispatcher Sam Lanie on the radio calls on every episode.

It also featured an odd cast. Executive Producer Jack Webb first cast cowboy actor Robert Fuller as ER Chief Kelly Brackett. He then cast unknowns Kevin Tighe and Randolph Mantooth as DeSoto and Gauge. Next he cast his ex-wife Julie London as RH Dixie McCall and her jazz pianist husband Bobby Troupe (he wrote Route 66) as Dr. Joe Early.

This show had built in drama.

Hiring your ex and her husband had to be kinda weird for Jack... but it worked. If you need further proof, ER is a direct ripoff of Emergency!. Swap Rampart for County General and you've got the same show focusing on a different aspect of the same story.

Formulaic? Yes. Does it stand up to the test of time? Absolutely. Worth watching? Without a doubt.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

SNL Recap

The cold open focused on Mitt Romney's (Jason Sudeikis) election night on the balcony while he was secretly drinking his blues away hitting the hard stuff, whole milk. Constantly interrupted by Ann (Kate McKinnon) and the boys, Mitt took the time to toss Karl Rove (Bobby Moynihan) over the balcony after he told him he could still win Ohio and asked to borrow $300 Million dollars. Sadly, this will probably be the last time we see Sudeikis and McKinnon as the Romneys.

3 time Host Anne Hathaway went musical with her monologue in a tribute to her role in Les Misérables.

Girlfriends Talk Show featured BFF's Morgan (Aidy Bryant) and Kiera (Cecily Strong) and much to Morgans lament, Kiera's newest BFF Tara (Anne Hathaway). Morgan was not happy with the new situation. How many Best Friends do you have because I have one! As the skit progressed Morgan became increasingly annoyed with the much cooler Tara. This bit has recurring potential.

This weeks film was a song by Kenan Thompson that featured Tarran Killiam as "Mokiki Mo" doing the Sloppy Swish.

Up next a parody of Showtime's Homeland with Hathaway as Mathison,  Killiam as Brody, Kenan Thompson as Estes and Bill Hader as Saul. The bit was highlited by Brody's daughter (Nasim Pedrad) who somehow managed to keep wandering into high security facilities.

Hathaway took the lead in the next sketch as a Mc Donald's manager trying to run a staff meeting. Somehow two staffers (Moynihan, Strong) thought they were getting fired so they decided to get some personal attacks aimed at other staffers off their chest. Funniest line "Ba dup bomp bap ba... Go kill yourself".

Musical guest Rihanna featured some impressive 3D video graphics during Diamonds.

Weekend Update naturally focused on the election straying for a moment to comment on the resignation of David Petraeus after the discovery of his affair with the woman who coauthored his book "All In". Of course when they started the book it was titled "Just the Tip". Jay Pharoah paid a visit as Pres. Obama warning Republicans to look out, because he's got nothing to lose now. A Gay Couple From Maine (Hader, Armisen) also visited to comment on newly legalized gay marriage in their state. And in closing a visit from Drunk Uncle (Moynihan) and his thoughts on the election results.

A take off of Ellen DeGeneres' talk show was up next with Kate McKennon in the lead and Hathaway as Katie Holmes. Ellen likes to dance. With a bit of polish it could also be worth revisiting.

A tour thru The Art Institute of Chicago led to the story behind American Gothic with Hathaway and Sudeikis as paid models trying out different poses and props before settling on the classic. This was pretty funny, especially when the pitchfork was introduced to the equation.

An encore performance by musical guest Rihanna singing Stay.

The final bit was a commercial for an allergy medication for people who suffer from made up allergies they invented to get attention. Flaritin. Fake Claritin for fake allergies.

The show was fast, witty and didn't lay any eggs. Anne Hathaway did a wonderful job, Rhianna was spectacular as always, the political jokes were funny without being mean and I there wasn't a cast member that didn't get on stage tonight. I give it an A.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Retrostangs

There's a cool trend in cars lately with retrostyling muscle cars. Some are taking it a bit further than others. More specifically, Mustangs. That is a very cool '69 Boss 302. But it isn't a '69 Boss 302. It's a 2012 Mustang GT with the ultimate facelift compliments of Retrobuilt of Lamar, Missouri.

Retrobuilt fuses custom fiberglass body panels to the existing rear quarter panels and door skins and then replaced the front fenders, hood and rear deck with fiberglass parts. They also add custom exhaust, suspension and air intake to maximize performance.

It takes about 6 weeks and $30K (not including the 2012 Mustang) to convert one.

But wait, there's more... Not to be out done Eckert's Rod & Custom in Molalla, Oregon got the bright idea to fuse a '69 Mach 1 and a 2006 GT 40. At this years SEMA convention in Las Vegas they unveiled The Mach 40!

The Mach 40 won the award for Best Hot Rod & overall Best in Show. But, it will set you back quite a bit more than $30K.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My Baby's Gone and She Ain't Never Comin' Back

I finally decided to pull the trigger and trade in my '08 SLK. I loved that car, but it just wasn't built for someone 6'2" 220. The road trip to Las Vegas proved that. It's OK for a "grocery getter" but not for long trips.

I've been checking online for a couple weeks and found this little gem, 2010 C300 with Sport and P1 packages and only 17K miles. It doesn't have the zip the SLK had, but it's much more roomy and has a very quiet interior. The SLK suffered from horrible road noise on some surfaces.


Got a decent deal. $1500 over Blue Book for my SLK (excellent condition, low mileage) , $500 under Blue Book on the C300 and financed thru MB for 1.99% plus my first two payments were made by the dealer. It also has 3 years of factory warranty.

For once I didn't feel raped when leaving the dealer.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

SNL Recap

The cold open was a funny take on New York Mayor Bloomberg's press conferences featuring his overly expressive sign translator. Bobby Moyinahan did a great Chris Christie bit with his own Jersey sign translator.

First time host Louis C.K. gave a predictably killer monologue. Be careful of old ladies in airports.

The recurring FOX and Friends bit was the next skit with a Donald Trump (Jason Sudeikis) interview and Louis as a FEMA official who's instructions are horribly communicated by the FOX hosts.

The video featured Louis C.K.as Abe Lincoln as Louis C.K. Pure genius. It was a very smart satire of Louis' show on FX.

Australian TV's Australian Screen Legends explored the careers of 50's actors Tess Davies and Graham Dixon (Kate McKennon/Bill Hader) including a Brokeback Mountain parody with Louis as John Chisholm (widely regarded as Australia's Steve Zahn).

This week's musical guests, New York based Indie rockers Fun performed Some Nights.

Weekend Update with Seth Meyers dug into Hurricane Sandy. One funny line was the statement by officials that the NYC subway system would be running at full capacity by sometime next week, which is amazing because it never has before. A Presidential candidate stopped by to make a last minute pitch to voters with Jason Sudeikis as Mitt Romney. Later, Aidy Bryant appeared as expert Kourtney Barnes who gave insight on the part social media has played in the election. To wind things up, Cecily Strong was "The girl you wish you hadn't started a conversation with" and her thoughts on current events.

A man fulfilling a quest by climbing a Kyldrian mountain pass in the Pre-Balorian era (Louis) that annoyed the villagers with his ram's horn and cries for "ZOG!" kind of fell on it's face. The only really funny part was when Louis and the sound guy got out of sync during the horn blowing. For a split second Louis almost pulled a Harvey Korman. Come to find out he had misread the sacred scrolls and it said "ZORD!" not "ZOG". Zord was there the whole time.

Bobby Moyniahan and Louis were in the next bit about a hotel guest in a hurry to check out and a desk clerk reviewing room bogus charges.

Once again Fun took the stage, this time performing Carry On.

The final skit was a visit to Donnelly's Pub at last call with a drunk and desperate man and woman. They wind up in a horrific makeout session with Kenan Thompson as the disgusted bartender.

Not a bad episode. Louis did a great job and the writing was mostly above par. I give it a B+

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My Tired Is Hanging Out


Put a few miles under my butt this week. Here to Pennsylvania and back followed by here to Houston and back. Oh, my aching back.