And Now… The Dissenting Opinion

With my wife now a co-author of my blog, I figured that I better get in here and start posting before she takes over! Although I see she’s been slacking off the last several days, so this is an opportunity to make my move here. I need to get back in the game before she really goes on a roll, and suddenly all my followers are asking “Chris Who??? “We want Jean!”

Since it’s been a very long time for me without posting much at all, I’m going to try and shake off the rust by doing a photo post.

If you were a recently trained and newly certified scuba diver, but you were very inexperienced, how would you feel about teaming up for a challenging New England ocean dive with the guy who put this bumper sticker on one on his tanks?

0 - WHY BE NORMAL

 

Think that maybe you might think twice?  Well this woman didn’t give it the slightest thought at all, and probably because she was too anxious at the time, to notice that one of my scuba tanks carried a message that questioned the value of being “normal”.

1 - Jean at Riverside Park 1987 Best

This is the woman who was destined to become my wife, 25 years ago back in 1987, smiling and looking calm, while waiting to get on a very big, very high and blindingly fast roller coaster. Jean was very scared of roller coasters back then, to the point of being on the edge of terrified. But you’d never know it from looking at this picture.

For as long as I’ve known her, Jean has had a lot of courage. She’s had the courage to face her fears, no matter how afraid she is, and eventually she overcomes her fears, by having the courage to do the things that scare her. I didn’t try to convince her to go on the roller coaster. In fact I kept trying to reassure her by telling her that she didn’t need to go, and it was okay for her to just wait for me until my wild roller coaster ride was over. But in spite of being on the edge of terrified, Jean was still determined to face her fear of the roller coaster, and get on the ride with me.

I think that this is the true definition of courage, because it doesn’t take any real courage for adrenalin junkies like me to do scary things. People like me love to do very scary, dangerous, and even life threatening things, because we get a major thrill from doing these things. It doesn’t take real courage to do something that you aren’t afraid of doing, but love to do instead, because you live for the thrilling rush of doing it. I’ve always admired and respected Jean for her courage to face and overcome her fears, and I always will.

After surviving our life threatening scuba diving emergency together on August 2nd 1987, Jean and I felt a real bond with each other, and also a physical attraction for each other. But we also just really enjoyed each others company. Laughing and having fun together came naturally and easily for us when we were with each other, and soon we were together almost all the time.

In December of 1987, Jean gave me a week long scuba diving vacation in the Florida Keys for my birthday. We also explored the Florida Everglades, where I took this picture of Jean, before we headed further south down to the Keys.

2 - FLA Everglades - 1987

My most vivid memory of our time in the Everglades, was the night that we stayed in the glades until after dark, and I was shining a large flashlight down in the water in front of me, while Jean was standing three paces behind me. Suddenly my flashlight beam illuminated the very large head of a very large alligator, just barely submerged under the water, and only less than three feet in front of me! The gator’s eyes glowed bright red in my flashlight beam, and I excitedly called out to Jean “Jean look! Do you see it?!”

Jean stepped forward, looked down in the water… and she immediately screamed very loud! Then she spun around and ran like a deer over 30 yards away. I chuckled to myself “Yep, I think she saw it.” The gator quickly disappeared into deeper water, and the show was over.

Poor Jean… Because her first impression of me was that I was a skilled, knowledgeable, highly organized and very careful scuba diver, who never took foolishly dangerous risks while scuba diving, Jean assumed that I handled all aspects of my life the same way that I did with scuba diving.

I think the very close and very large alligator sighting that night in the Everglades, which delighted me and terrified her, was Jean’s first hint that I might have a different personality type when I wasn’t scuba diving. I also think I’m very lucky that when Jean ran away from the alligator, that she didn’t keep on running – to get the hell away from me for good. But… that didn’t happen.

Jean took this picture of me careening at high speed on a rope swing over the turquoise blue green waters of Key Largo. Swinging on the rope wasn’t dangerous, but my fanatical enthusiasm for swinging on that rope out over the water as far out and as fast as I could, was another sign of a behavior that I would repeat and amplify to a more extreme degree, the longer that Jean and I were together.

3 - Swinging on The FLA Keys - 1987

Notice how I’m wearing a long sleeved flannel shirt in this picture? This was because of the freakishly cold weather we experienced during our entire week long stay in the Keys, when the temperature struggled to rise above 60 degrees F and often fell lower. Which made the convertible top rental car that I paid extra for, an unnecessary and pointless expense, since it was too goddamn cold to put the top down, almost the entire time we drove it.

We also experienced watching the sun set in Key West, during the coldest recorded temperatures in one hundred years, and yes, we were there for this historic once in a century weather event! People everywhere were dressed up in heavy long sleeved sweaters and sweatshirts covered by windbreakers, and some were  even wearing winter parkas with wool hats. They looked more like they were about to watch a football game being played in December in the cold and wintery Northeast, than they did, gathering to watch the sun set in subtropical Key West, FLA.

But Jean and I still had a fun week in the Florida Keys anyway, so the cold weather didn’t get us down. Except for a couple really rockin’ and rolling dive boat experiences while anchored in rough seas, the diving off the Florida Keys was better than I expected, with a fair amount of coral and colorful tropical fish, both large and small. I also didn’t see any more very large alligators at night and enthusiastically point them out to my terrified girlfriend, or do anything else to freak her out. So it was a trip that we both enjoyed and we both remember fondly to this day.

In Jean’s first post on this blog, she mentioned a verbal altercation that I had with an approaching thunderstorm while we were high up on Franconia Ridge in Northern New Hampshire. (Yes, I really did do that!) This next photo is the view from Franconia Ridge across to the sheer 3,000 foot high cliffs on Cannon Mountain. In clear weather with great visibility, the view is very impressive, and the awe inspiring massiveness of the cliffs is almost impossible to capture in a small frame photograph like this one.

Almost all the photos in this post are in a higher resolution than they appear to be, but if you click on the photo, you’ll see the higher resolution version.

4A - Cannon Cliffs Rescan 30% IF

 

Following Franconia Ridge to the North leads to the summits of Mt Lincoln and then Mt Lafayette. This photo shows the approach to the summit of Mt Lafayette. Again, the photo is a poor substitute for the awe inspiring experience of being there and seeing this view in person.

5A - Mt Lafayette- from Franconia Ridge, NH - 1988 Best

Both of these pictures were taken during the summer of 1988 during hikes that Jean and I did together. Jean mentioned in one of her recent posts that she had a serious fear of heights, but again, she used her courage to face her fear of heights and eventually, she overcame her fears.

Jean took this photo of me hiking across the West flank of Mt Washington, the following summer in 1989, as we were returning from an ambitious three day long weekend of back country hiking, backpacking and wilderness camping.

6A - Chris on West Flank of Mt Washington - 1989 150% IF

Part of our route involved a very steep and at times harrowing descent down the Sphinx Trail into The Great Gulf Wilderness below both Mt Washington and Mt Jefferson. The Sphinx Trail scared me more than a few times during our steep decent, because as I often tell people, even though I’m not afraid of heights, I am afraid of falling… and if falling seems like a very real possibility, I don’t enjoy it. Instead of feeling exhilarated by the danger, I go into a total state of Zen like concentration to do all that I can to not make a mistake that could result in a fatal fall.

Which is why I was more impressed with Jean than ever before, because no matter how afraid she was during our very high and steep descent down The Sphinx Trail, she never panicked and she held it together all the way down, while I did all I could to help her make a safe descent.

Again, what Jean did that day, is what I call real courage, and the extent of her courage was truly impressive.

 

This is a photo of Jean and I in 1989, in the backyard of my parents’ house. I was 32 years old back then, and I can’t believe how young I look!

7 - Chris and Jean 1989 Cr 30%

 

Jean in the Spring of 1990.

8 - Jean 1990 23% P Use

 

And Jean over a year later in 1991, after she accepted my proposal of marriage. This is one of my all time favorite pictures of her. She was lying on a park bench with her head resting in my lap, and I thought that my 50 mm lens SLR 35 mm film camera was too close to her to get the shot in focus. But I was delighted when I got the film developed and this image is what I saw; an image sharply in focus that captured a moment of deepest love and tenderness between my newlywed wife and I, that still deeply moves me to this day.

9 - My Love - 1991

 

Taken on our Honeymoon in 1991, while hiking the Nualolo Cliffs Trail, on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The views from 2,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean high up on the cliffs of the Na Pali Coast were astoundingly spectacular all around us.

10 - Nualolo Cliffs Trail - 1991 45%

 

Another incredible view of the Na Pali Coast Cliffs. Click on this one to see the high resolution photograph.

10A - Na Pali Coast Cliffs 1991

 

In 1994 Jean and I began a personal tradition of celebrating the anniversary of that fateful day on August 2nd 1987 when we first met, by visiting the Cathedral Rocks dive site where our “one hell of a first date” took place. Here we are at the dive site, celebrating the 7th anniversary of the day that changed both our lives for the rest of our lives, by ultimately joining our lives together.

11 - Cathedral Rocks on a Calm Day for Diving - 1994

Unlike on the day that Jean and I first met, conditions on August 2nd 1994 at Cathedral Rocks were very calm and ideal for safe diving. But my wife and I were content to let the other divers do the diving, while she and I soaked up some summer sun and marveled at all that had happened on that day 7 years ago, to put us in grave danger, from which our lives were saved, and then joined together in a life experience we have shared ever since.

 

In 1995, when Jean’s cousin got married in Seattle Washington, we went to the wedding, and then we took a ten day vacation to explore Olympic National Park. Here in this photo Jean is sitting on a massive piece of Pacific Northwest driftwood, formerly the roots of a giant old growth tree that grew in the temperate rain forests of Olympic National Park.

16 - Pacific NW Driftwood - 1995

One of the amazing things about going out West, is that almost everything is so incredibly BIG – compared to what we’re used to seeing back East.

 

This next photo skillfully taken by my wife, illustrates how such huge pieces of driftwood can wash ashore on the beaches of Olympic National Park. Jean and I spent three days hiking and back country camping in the Hoh Rain Forest in ONP. The trees in the Hoh Rain Forest are all old growth giants, and to see the immense size and great height of these trees in person is a stunning and awe inspiring experience.

16A - Ho Rain Forest, Olympic Nat Park, WA ST - 1995

To get some visual perspective on just how enormous this forest really is, look down in the lower right corner of the frame until you see the hiker wearing the red backpack – That’s me, and compared to all these giant trees, I am very small.

 

I’m posting this next photo for two reasons. The first reason is that it’s a dramatic image of a 20 foot high breaking ocean wave whipped up by the high winds of a huge combination hurricane-blizzard that occurred in late March of 1995. In 24 hours, this rare Spring hurricane swept up the entire East Coast of the U.S. all the way from Florida to Maine.

16B - Spring Huricane - March, 1995 - ANP

Before reading any further, click on the image to see it in a larger size, and then come back and continue reading, so I can help you envision the scale of what you see in this photo. See that steel railing fence in the lower left hand corner of the frame? It’s four feet high. The large ledge like boulder 2/3rds covered by frozen white sea water is around 20 feet high, and the breaking wave is approx 100 to 150 yards away from the boulder. Which means that from experience, I can estimate the wave is around 20 to 25 feet high.

I don’t have a photo of the big storm wave crashing into and high up over the boulder, because I knew that when the wave hit, it would launch a huge volume of extremely cold water 50 feet high into the frigid near zero degree temperature air. And a lot of that water would fly in shore far enough to drench me soaking wet, if I had stayed where I was standing when I took this photograph.

The second reason I’m posting this photo, is to illustrate a point about my wife. As the storm raced up the Eastern seaboard, I monitored its progress on The Weather Channel. As the hurricane battered the coastal Carolinas, it’s speed was around 65 to 70 mph as it headed Northeast up the East coast. This suddenly gave me a wild idea for a thrilling adventure…

If we starting packing all our gear ASAP and left immediately, we could beat the hurricane up to Acadia National Park in coastal Maine by driving 75 – 80 mph on the Interstate highways that led to Acadia. Since the weather prediction for the Northeast was high winds and heavy snow, once we were up in Acadia, we could cross country ski around the Park Loop Road, which traveled high above Bar Harbor, and then descended down to almost level with the rocky Maine Atlantic Ocean shoreline. I knew that part of the shoreline route faced East, with full exposure to the open ocean, and this would give us prime viewing of the ocean’s fury whipped up by the hurricane.

So how did Jean react, when I told her about my wild idea for a thrilling adventure? She loved it! By 1995 Jean had almost 8 years of experience living with me, and she had grown to love the adventures that I took her on with me. Jean knew that while I might take foolish and dangerous risks when she wasn’t with me, I would almost never do that when she was with me, and also put her in grave danger. She knew that for me, losing her to a foolish accident that was my fault, would be a fate far worse than my own death.

When Jean was going with me, I almost always took calculated and very carefully planned risks, with the same discipline that I used for scuba diving. So when Jean heard me explain my wild idea to race a hurricane turning into a blizzard up to Acadia National Park, and then cross country ski to the areas with the most thrilling views, her reaction was an enthusiastic exclamation of “Let’s do it!”

The end result was that everything about our wild adventure was a success, and even far more thrilling, rewarding and vividly memorable than I had imagined. It was a truly great experience and one of our all time best ever!

 

This was taken during Christmas in 1997 and the only reason I included it is that at the time, Jean surprised me by suddenly turning into a Red Head. I was delighted, and I loved my wife as an unexpected surprise Red Head! It was a very exciting change, and enough said… ;-)

17 - Christmas 1997

 

Just a picture of Jean and I together in 1998 that I’ve always really liked.

18 - Chris n Jean 1998

 

Jean in 1999 hanging on the anchor line of our dive boat for a decompression safety stop, at the end of our dive in the Caribbean Sea near the Turks and Caicos Islands. 12 years after that day we first met, Jean had become a skilled and accomplished scuba diver, capable of safely doing almost any dive that I could do, and I was very proud of her. Just as I still am today.

18A - Jean Diving off T&C Islands - 1999

 

This is me on the beach after the same dive. I’m grinning with excited anticipation because I’m about to go para-sailing. I loved the idea of being strapped into a parachute and towed high in the air by a fast moving boat while being flown like a human kite. I loved actually doing it even more!

18B - Chris - T&C Islands - 1999

 

A photo I took in the summer of 2000 of Frenchman’s Bay in Acadia National Park, from near the summit of Cadillac Mountain. Jean and I love Acadia NP, we’ve been there more times than I can remember, and we never get tired of it. It’s a beautiful and truly magical place for us both, and the source of so many wonderful shared memories.

19 - Frenchman's Bay - Acadia NP Orig Hi Res -2000 53%

Click on the image to see it in high resolution.

 

This is Jean and I in Cozumel, Mexico on a tropical dive vacation in early November of 2001.

21 - Cozumel Mexico - 2001 P 

After the terrible tragedy of September 11th, 2001, many people were afraid to fly long distances or travel to international destinations via the airlines. We were able to book an all included 10 day travel and accommodations package for a super bargain of a price, because the travel industry was desperate for business. The resort where we stayed wasn’t crowded, which made our stay there all the more enjoyable, and the diving was incredible.

I wasn’t going to include this photo, but I changed my mind at the last minute. I wasn’t going to post this one, because it reveals an embarrassing truth about me… which is that when I reached the age of 40, for the first time in my life, I began to struggle with seriously increasing weight gain caused by excessive eating, related to job stress. But then I thought that instead of coming off like I think I’m some sort of super action hero in this post, why not be honest and reveal that yes, I’m very human and I have my own version of weaknesses that I’m not proud of.

Like being 45 pounds overweight while on vacation with my wife of 10 years, who’s figure had improved instead of looking like she had let herself go. But in spite of becoming a fat man, I still had very good endurance and I could still make a scuba tank last longer underwater than anyone else on the dive boat, except for a couple of the dive guides. But I was still ashamed of my physical appearance to a painful degree.

To give you some idea of just how much weight I had really gained, here is a photo of me in mid 1991, when I was a dedicated distance runner, running at least 6 miles every night after work, and usually 10 to 15 miles on one day of every weekend.

21A - Chris  in 1991 150 lbs

The irony here is that at 150 lbs, I was 30 pounds under my ideal weight of 180 and I had the typically emaciated looking body of a distance runner. Although I don’t like it, this picture is actually one of the better pictures of me from that time, because it doesn’t make me look as much like a gaunt and starving man, like some of the other photos do.

 

But then fast forward to 2001, and I had become this guy… a guy who weighed 225 pounds. Why? Because it’s not easy working in a profession in which prosperity or failure depends upon the boom or bust economy of the construction industry in the Northeast. But obviously overeating as a way to deal with job stress and unemployment is not a very good idea.

21B - Chris 2001 - 220 lbs

But during my time as an increasingly fat man, my sleek and slender wife, who seemed to become even more physically attractive as she got older… she never stopped loving me in the least, and if anything, she loved me even more.

The best thing that could have happened for me, was when in early 2002 Jean and I decided to go on a two week long second honeymoon in Hawaii. This was just what I needed to stop overeating and get my weight back under control.

As a result, this is me in Hawaii in 2002, at 46 years old and back down to 180 pounds. I’m standing near the Kilauea Caldera crater in Volcanoes National Park, and the steam rising up from fissures and flowing out behind me is from the volcanic activity going on underground.

21C - Chris at Kilauea Cauldera - 2002 - 180 lbs

 

And here is my lovely travel companion with a “friend” that she met at the bed and breakfast where we were staying, on the Big Island of Hawaii.

22 - Jean with Kitty - 2002

 

Looks like mutual adoration to me, and I know just how that cat was feeling as Jean gave him lots of love and affection. :-)

23 - True Love 35%

 

On our second honeymoon in Hawaii, we witnessed the most astoundingly beautiful sunset that I have ever seen in all my life, before or since. And Nature deserves all the credit for this photograph, because all I did was point my camera and shoot.

24 - Sunset frm Aawaawapui Trail - 2002 48%

Click on the image to see in high resolution.

 

This one was self taken on August 2nd 2004 by Jean, using the timer on her camera. We are smooching just above the round stone beach that saved our lives 17 years earlier.

25 - Near Shore Exit that saved our lives in August 1987 - Photo Taken on Aug 2nd  2004 - 17th Aniversary

 

Celebrating my Dad’s birthday in 2004 with our dog Bo, who thought that whenever anyone unwrapped a present, it should be full of dog treats and chew toys for him. Lol :-)

26 - Chris Dad and Bo Dog 2004 32%

 

Jean in 2004 trying to celebrate her birthday, by blowing out the candles on her birthday “pie” before Bo can steal it from her. Right after taking this shot, I grabbed Bo and kept him at a safe distance away from Jean and her B-day pie. (The pie was my Mom’s idea)

27 - Jean and Bo on J B-Day 2004 37%

 

Jean on a tropical dive vacation in 2005, on the Caribbean Island of Bonaire. I know that my opinion is very biased, but click on this photo for the high res version and if you see even some of what I see here, you’ll see the woman who made it almost impossible for me to believe that she was really a 44 year old woman when I took this portrait of her.

28 - Jean in Bonaire - 2005

 

And check out the woman who used to be afraid of heights, here on the highest mountain in Maine, in 2006. She’s sitting on the edge of a ledge near the summit of Mt Katahdin, with a 3,000 foot drop directly in front of her.

29 - Jean on Mt Katahdin, Maine-looking across to Knifes Edge - 2006

 

Here’s the picture she took of me up there, that shows what it looks like to look 3,000 feet down a cliff.

30 - A Long Way Down - 2006

The first two years that I knew Jean, she wouldn’t have been able to take this picture because she would have been too afraid to get that close to a cliff and unable to look that far down through the view finder of her camera.

 

But she was on top of the summit that day, and she even looked happy to be there.

31 - On Top - 2006 IF MS

 

By 2006 and 19 years worth of experience dealing with my thrill addicted adrenaline junkie stunts, she wasn’t even afraid of my occasionally deranged behavior anymore, even when nothing made me happier than the possibility of being struck by lightning.

31A - Look OUT

If I got too crazy for her common sense and good survival instincts, she’d either tell me to stop being dangerously nuts in very emphatic language that I understood, and if that didn’t work, she’d leave me behind and seek her own shelter and safety without me.

Okay, the real truth is that the reason I look so happy in this picture, is because we had just won the race against the ominously dark thunderstorm looming over our heads, and we were about to beach the canoe and get into the relative safety of our car.

I’ve done some crazy shit in my life, but with the exception of one time only, I have never taken foolish risks with lightning. On the way home from one of our trips to Acadia National Park, I had to pull over at a gas station because we were on the verge of running out of gas. Just as an entire wave of multiple thunderstorms was heading North right up Interstate 95 and right at us.

As I was grabbing the gasoline nozzle, a huge lightning bolt struck an electrical transformer on a telephone pole less than 30 feet away from me. The transformer sounded like an artillery shell going off as it exploded into a huge shower of blue and white sparks falling down all around me, and the entire gas station instantly went dark. I dropped the gas nozzle and in less than two seconds I was in the car and driving away very fast for the next exit with a gas station. Because even if we ran out of gas, we’d still be inside the car with four insulating rubber tires on the road and far less likely to end up like that transformer did.

The one time only exception when I did take a foolish risk with lightning was the time up on Franconia Ridge that Jean told you about in her post. But even then, I knew that thunderstorm was going to miss us, because I could see how the mist of distant rainfall was being blown on an unusually severe angle in the direction of Southeast and away from us.

I still was out of my mind to be foolish enough to climb up on a ledge and make a game of “taunting” the storm, because I know that people have been killed by lightning strikes even when there was no thunderstorm anywhere in sight.

So why did I do it??? The answer is complicated… and maybe I’ll explain it another time.

 

Back to fair weather and happier times… One of my favorite photos of Jean and Bo together on a beautiful July summer day in 2007 on a sailboat in Casco Bay, Maine.

32 - Jean and Bo Sailing - July 2007 45 %

 

Jean probably won’t appreciate me posting a very close up shot of her face, but the dog wouldn’t be bothered by it… But this was taken less than three weeks after Jean’s 46th birthday, and I never cease to be amazed.

33 - Jean and Bo - July 2007 45%

But by 2007 I had managed to get seriously fat again, and I was my heaviest ever at 250 lbs. I still managed to climb Mt Washington that summer, but it was the most physically difficult hike of my entire life and by the time we got to the summit, I was in a state of near complete exhaustion.

For those of you who don’t know, even though Mt Washington has an elevation of only 6,288 feet at the summit, which is puny compared to the big mountains out in the Western U.S. – Mt Washington is at the center of an eternal perfect storm of potentially extreme weather that kills hikers almost every year, and the mountain has taken lives in every month of the year, including during the height of Summer.

Summer means nothing on Mt Washington, because with a speed that is almost impossible to comprehend as actually real and not just a hallucination or a bad dream, the mountain can turn a hot August summer day into a frigidly cold winter blizzard, with zero visibility whiteout conditions and hurricane force winds that can drop wind chill temperatures over 50 degrees below zero.

I know that this is true from my own personal experience, because in 1983 I climbed Mt Washington on a mid September day when it was 85 degrees at the base of the mountain. It was hot and muggy for most of my entire climb, but as soon as I reached an exposed plateau called the Alpine Garden, I was hit with an instant blast of snow and icy cold high winds. If I hadn’t been carrying full winter gear in my backpack, I could have ended up on the list of the over 120 people who have been killed by the mountain’s deadly weather.

So in 2007 when we were up on the Western flank of Mt Washington at an elevation similar to that of the Alpine Garden, and what began as clear weather turned into thick fog and increasingly high winds, I began to have serious thoughts about my own mortality. I knew that I was too old and out of shape to survive a sudden change for the worse in Mt Washington weather, and I was also extremely fatigued, which meant that if it got extremely cold, I’d succumb to fatal hypothermia that much faster.

Of course I kept these thoughts silently to myself and never mentioned one word of my concern to Jean, who was in excellent shape and not badly fatigued at all. Instead, when the wind and fog got worse, I mentioned to her that if we lost the trail in the fog, we could follow a compass heading due East and inevitably we’d run into the Cog Railway, which we could follow down the mountain to safety, even if we couldn’t see where we were going.

But the Mt Washington Weather Gods gave me a very rare pass that day. Although we were hiking in the fog with the force of the wind increasing, the wind was warm instead of cold. This was a very strange and unusual weather condition that I had never experienced before during my four previous hikes up Washington, and I had never heard any similar stories of other hikers who were high above the treeline on Mt Washington when it became fogged in with strong winds that were blowing warm air. Instead of high winds blowing extremely cold air that turns fog into a frozen mist of ice crystals and forms a coating of ice on everything exposed on the mountain, as the wind chill rapidly drops down to potentially deadly levels.

This rare reversal of temperature while strong winds were blowing and gusting high up on the mountain is probably the reason why I didn’t become another Mt Washington fatality that day. We made it safely to the summit and since I knew that I was in no shape to hike back down the mountain, we got a ride down the nine mile long auto road from a Park Ranger.

This is a photo that Jean took of me on the summit of Mt Washington that day. Our dog looks spooked because the winds were gusting stronger than ever, but the wind was still bizarrely and mercifully warm.

Mt Washington 2007 250 lbs P

It was obviously a serious mistake for me to even attempt to climb Washington that day, since I was so badly out of shape. This photo, with the Mt Washington summit sign looking like a cross in a cemetery, has often served me as a powerful reminder of how lucky I was to survive that mistake, and how unlikely it is that I will ever have that kind of luck again.

Soon after that day, Jean and I planned for another tropical dive vacation, which combined with my experience on Mt Washington, was all the motivation I needed to once again take the weight back off, and hopefully I’ll keep it off for good this time.

This is not one of my favorite pictures of me, but proof that I can still do what has to be done, when I really set my mind to it. In around a year, I lost 70 pounds and I was back down to my ideal weight of 180 lbs. I’m wearing a favorite t-shirt that Jean gave me back in 1988, that hasn’t worn out because of the years that I couldn’t wear it when it didn’t fit me.

Chris in early 2008 150% P        

 

Jean and I made it back to Cozumel, Mexico for a tropical dive vacation in August of 2008, seven years after our first trip there in 2001. Here in this photo she’s still looking great and just like the woman that I love so much, even though her long legs have what’s called where she comes from, a “Maine Tan”. Lol ;-)

34 - Jean in Cozumel Mexico - 2008 Crop 33%

True Mainers from families that have lived in Maine for generations, think of tanning as just another damn fool thing that “Summaahh people” waste their days doing, because they don’t have enough real work to keep them busy. Jean is not a true Mainer, but “from away” which is what Mainers call anyone who wasn’t born in Maine, even if they’ve lived almost all their lives in Maine since early childhood.

I’m saying all this with affection and amusement because I like most of the Mainers that I’ve met and gotten to know, even if some of them don’t think very much of me. It doesn’t even bother me that I will be forever known by Mainers in Harpswell and other nearby towns as “the damn fool that got lost swimmin’ in the bay, but was just damn fool lucky enough to get found and live in spite of his damn foolish ways.”

Jean still looks great to me here, even with her Maine tan, and it’s only fair to mention that I took these photos on our first day in Cozumel, and Jean was soon attractively tanned by the powerfully direct rays of the Caribbean tropical sun.

35 - Jean in Cozumel - 2008

 

On August 2nd 2012, Jean and I celebrated the 25th anniversary of the day we first met. Jean is standing on the very spot where we both plunged into the ocean that day in 1987 at Cathedral Rocks. Once again, the sea was calm and ideal for diving on the day that I took this picture of my 51 year old wife, who still looks like a kid compared to me…

38 - 25 Years Ago Today - in 2012 70% IF

 

Because in this photo that Jean took of me the same day, I look more like “The Old Man and the Sea”.

37 - Cathedral Rocks Shore Entry - 2012

 

I like this photo taken last Summer in Maine better, even though I still look like an old buzzard here. But at least I have the gentle inner and outer beauty of my wife by my side to help diffuse the harsh and haggard look of my face.

37A - Chris n Jean  summer 2013 Use

I heard someone say once, that as we get older, we wear the face that reflects the kind of life we have lived. I don’t think that’s really true for all people, but if it is true about me, I’d rather not spend very much time thinking about it.

But I do think that my wife is living proof that there are some people who really do wear the face that reflects the kind of life they have lived as they get older. Jean is not a Saint; she’s a human being with her own version of faults and failings just like all human beings have. But Jean is also the most consistently kind and compassionate human being that I have ever known, in all of my entire life. Not just to me, but to almost everyone that she comes in contact with in her life experience.

She has a gentle spirit within an empathetic soul, and her heart has a wonderful capacity to love, and to generously share herself and whatever she has to give with others. And somehow, she became my wife… and I’m not really sure why that happened, or what I did to deserve having a wonderful wife like Jean in my life, as the one true Love of my life for so many years. When people ask Jean how she and I first met, she’s quick to answer “Well, we met scuba diving and on the day we first met, Chris saved my life.”

But I’ve thought more than a few times, that the more complete and accurate version is that back in 1987, I saved both her life and mine, and she’s been trying to save my life ever since.

Posted in Adventure, Personal, Scuba Diving, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s a New Day!

Jean ShNow this is cool! I’ve never had my own blog before, but I do now! :-) Technically, I have half a blog, because Chris made me an author here on his blog, so now we’re a husband and wife team here on Word Play, and maybe I’ll change the drapes and redecorate the living room. ;-)

Or maybe I’ll put that off until next week and properly introduce myself here, so I can talk all about me instead of Chris, like I did on the last two posts. Because I’m a blogger now, and although I’ve never been a self absorbed person before, I am a quick study and I think I can pick it up pretty fast. lol

J/K! :-) I don’t really think that all bloggers are self absorbed, and certainly not you! Because I know that you aren’t like that at all. Whoever you are, cause I don’t really know anything about you. So let’s talk all about me, since I know 100% more about me, than I know about you.

See? I told you I’m a quick learner, and I think I’ve already got this self absorbed blogging thing down. :-)

Ok, I’ll stop being a bitch now, and start being nice for a change – So you all won’t hate me forever right from the very start of my new blogging career. And BTW how much do we get paid here? 60K could work for me. Is that a realistic figure? Or am I selling myself short? Short like a hooker who specializes in turning tricks for dwarfs?

Ok, 80K is my final offer, so take it or leave it WordPress. Cause I don’t like leaving money on the table when it should go inside my Versace purse.

Speaking of money, now here’s a fun fact for this evening. E.L. James is now worth 80 million dollars as her just reward for writing (?) “Fifty Shades of Grey”. Just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, doesn’t it? Because who needs real talent, when you can trend all the way to the bank getting rich with a no talent gimmick?

But hey, don’t feel all down and out about it, all you hard working WordPress bloggers! You’ve got the genuine satisfaction of knowing that you already have more real talent in your little pinky ring fingers than E.L. James will ever have! So don’t stress over not having enough money to pay your bills, because you are the real writers, and E.L. James is like the “Pet Rock” of writing compared to you! Yeah, she’s just nothing but a Pet Rock cheap fan fiction gimmick – that’s now worth 80 million dollars.

But even in this atrocious travesty, there is still some humor to be found, and check it out here in this screen shot. Notice that advertisement on the right side? Some may think it’s just a coincidence, but I suspect it’s really a covertly clever editorial comment.

Do you have these symptoms?  Well if you do, then know that you are not alone, because I’m sure many others have had the same symptoms when they found out that “Fifty Shades of Grey” made E.L. James 80 million dollars.      

E L James Symptoms

Happy Holiday WordPress bloggers!  :-)

Posted in Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Another Different Point of View

Hi, it’s Chris’s wife Jean again, and I hope the people who follow this blog don’t mind me posting here again. Chris will be back and blogging again soon. He’s needed an extended break from blogging for personal reasons, which he may or may not want to write about here. I’ll just say that he’s been through a lot for a long time now, but things are finally getting better for Chris, and he’s feeling happier and more like himself again these days.

I want to do another post about Chris, because even though he says he’s fine with what I previously wrote, I feel like my description of Chris was overly negative and incomplete. Although all that I wrote about him is true, and Chris himself will be the first to admit that he’s not an easy man for a woman to live with, I want to say right now that Chris is also a wonderful man for this woman to live with. He is still my one true Soul Mate and the Love of my life today just as he has always been for me, for the last 25 years.

No matter how difficult our issues with each other have been, there has never been a day that I haven’t loved Chris with all my heart for as long as we have been lovers, husband and wife, best friends, and life long companions.

Let me tell you about some of the reasons why I love this complicated and contradictory man so much.

Chris is an excellent teacher who is also patient and supportive while teaching his skills to others, and he never makes anyone feel stupid or inadequate if they are struggling to learn. And if they fail, he tries his best to make them feel better instead of feeling worse.

When I first met Chris, although I had just completed a scuba diver certification training course, compared to Chris I knew almost nothing about diving. I also suffered from a high level of anxiety before going diving. But Chris could almost always get me to relax, and no matter how many times I screwed up my gear or made mistakes while diving, Chris never got impatient with me. Instead, he would straighten out my dive gear without complaining, and cheerfully review with me whatever dive skills that I needed to relearn.

We were both members of the New England Aquarium Dive Club, and soon after I met Chris, I learned that he was one of the most popular members in the club. He was popular with the experienced divers because he was an excellent dive buddy with a very low rate of air consumption who almost never got into trouble during a dive. The veteran divers also knew that he was capable of helping them if they ever had problems of their own while diving.

Chris also frequently volunteered to dive with the newest and least capable divers on club dives, even though sometimes this resulted in a less enjoyable dive for him when rookie divers ran low on air in only half an hour, and he had to surface with them with his tank still 2/3rds full. He seldom complained when novice dive buddies ended his dive almost as soon as it started, when they couldn’t clear their ears or they panicked as soon as they were underwater. Or their rental regulators malfunctioned by “free flowing” a constant stream of fast moving air bubbles underwater at too much pressure to safely breathe.

The club Dive Masters were glad to see Chris show up for a shore dive, since they knew that he was willing to make their jobs easier by helping them with the inexperienced divers, who they knew would be safe diving with Chris.

Even the New England dive boat captains, who tended to be impatient and easily irritated, liked Chris. He kept all his gear well organized so he could suit up quickly and he was usually the first diver ready to go down. Dive boat captains liked this because they didn’t like it when divers were disorganized and too slow, since this could make them late and screw up their schedules.

But the dive boat captains wouldn’t have liked Chris so much, if they had been at a dive club party on the night that Chris did a hysterically funny parody of their sometimes less than customer friendly attitudes by yelling out dive boat commands in a German accent and sounding like a WWII Nazi. “Rause!!! Rause!!! EveryVone OUT of Das Boot REICH NOW!!! Or yoo vill AULL be SHOT! Und then VEE VILL VHIP YOO!!!” I guess you had to be there. lol :-)

Oh, and the female divers? The young female college co-ed divers??? Chris was a little too popular with them for my liking. Chris was friendly and funny, and so totally in his element with anything to do with diving, that he was like self confidence personified. There were some dives when I felt like I needed a big stick to beat those college girls with, to keep them the hell away from him!

When I first met Chris, I also had a really bad fear of heights. But since Chris loved to go hiking in the White Mountains in New Hampshire, I wanted to go with him, and enough to face my fear of heights, no matter how scared I’d get up on some of the steeper and more exposed higher elevation trails. But again, Chris was gentle and patient with me, and eventually my fear of heights wasn’t so bad anymore.

I also knew nothing about back country wilderness hiking and camping. But just like with diving, Chris taught me everything that I needed to know. He also opened up a whole new world of experience for me, and I fell in love with the wild natural beauty and serenity of the wilderness, as I was falling more deeply in love with Chris. And my heart sang when I knew that Chris was falling just as deeply in love with me.

Before I met Chris, I was in a very serious relationship that lasted for three years, but finally failed when the guy I was with tried to coerce me into marrying him by issuing me an ultimatum, telling me that it was over for us if I wouldn’t marry him. For personal reasons I didn’t believe in marriage at the time, so I broke it off with him. It was a very painful break up, both for him and for me.

I started getting frequent migraine headaches, and the pain from the worst ones was so bad that I couldn’t go to work or go anywhere at all. All I could do was lie down in a darkened room and try to stay still and not move, while my head was in extreme agony for what seemed like forever, until finally the worst of the pain went away.

But then around two months after I met Chris, something that seemed almost miraculous happened. The migraine headaches stopped and never came back. Maybe it had nothing to do with Chris, and the timing was just a coincidence.

All I know for sure, is that Chris could do something for me that no man had ever been able to do for me before. He could tell me that I was truly beautiful, and the most wonderfully beautiful woman he’d ever known in all his entire life. He could say this to me in a way so powerfully pure and genuinely sincere that I knew he really meant what he was saying to me. And when I heard him telling me that I was so beautiful, for the first time in my life, I felt like I really was a beautiful woman.

I was beautiful and I knew this was true, because I could see myself the way that Chris saw me. I no longer cared if anyone else saw me that way, because I saw my own beauty reflected back to me from the light shining in Chris’s eyes. His tone of voice and his words, so heartfelt and absolutely real, was my proof that yes, for this one man only, and the only man that mattered to me anymore, I was a truly beautiful woman.

The night that this realization became absolute truth for me, as his precious gift to me forever… came around two months after Chris and I were together, and soon after that night, the migraine headaches were gone; never to return.

Coincidence? Feel free to draw your own conclusions. I already made mine a long time ago, and that will never change.

Posted in Personal, Scuba Diving | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Different Point of View

Hi, this is not Chris here, but his wife Jean.

Jean2Chris asked me to write a description of who he is from my point of view as his wife, after 23 years of marriage.

Chris is… so many things. He’s multifaceted, complicated and also a walking talking collection of contradictions. He’s highly intelligent, but also incredibly stupid when he does impulsive things that aren’t to his advantage or well being, either because he’s in a mentally lazy mood, or he’s in a state of emotional overreaction.

Chris is very well spoken and articulate, but often to a fault when he gets obsessed by a subject and then he drones on endlessly about it, until I’m ready to scream and tear my hair out. Sometimes the only thing to do, is to just leave the house, and hope that he’s off his rant when I come back. I’ve often had dreams about Chris talking endlessly to me, and I wish that wasn’t really true, but it is.

But here’s one of those contradictions that makes Chris who he is. Chris is his boss’s official business letter writer for conflict resolution situations involving customers and business associates. This is because when business and money is involved, Chris can write short but direct and very persuasive letters, that often help to resolve a conflict in his company’s favor. Chris has also written at least three speeches for his boss to deliver at trade association meetings and business conventions. I know that the people who have followed this blog will find this hard to believe, but it’s true.

I think it’s because Chris is a money player, and he’s much more tightly focused and clear with both his written and verbal communication when there’s money on the line. So maybe I should get something like a Taxi cab meter for here at home, and when Chris starts to go into one of his endless rants, I’ll tell him that the meter is running, and he’s being charged 50 cents a word. lol :-)

Chris is also an adrenaline junkie who has a long history of getting off on endangering his own life by doing very dangerous things that could get him killed. During our honeymoon in Hawaii, I thought that Chris was going to turn me from a newlywed into a widow, when he suddenly walked off our hiking trail and ventured fifty yards out onto the very narrow three foot wide knife edge of a cliff, with 2,000 foot vertical drops on both sides. Chris spent the next 45 minutes out on that cliff taking photographs, while I hid behind a tree because I was terrified he was going to die, and I couldn’t stand to watch it happen.

But nothing bad happened, and we both went on to have a wonderful honeymoon together in Hawaii, in spite of some unpleasant weather events that weren’t Chris’s fault. Speaking of honeymoons and related topics, I will say that Chris is the most genuinely heartfelt and originally romantic man that I’ve ever known, and the things he has said and done, often coming as a surprise that I was never expecting, have made my heart just melt with love for him. But unlike Chris, I’m not going to tell you all about our sex life in more detail than you ever wanted to know, because I’m also a woman and I know better.

Fun Random True Fact About Chris: When we were hiking at the top of Franconia Ridge in New Hampshire several summers ago, we saw a large thunderstorm quickly approaching in our direction. Since Franconia Ridge is above the tree line and totally exposed to bad weather, it’s a very dangerous place to be during a thunderstorm because getting hit by lightning is very real possibility. So of course I thought that Chris would probably shout a few frustrated obscene words to curse our goddamn fucking shitty luck, and then reluctantly head back down the ridge to escape the danger from the storm.

But instead, Chris defiantly climbed up on a high rocky ledge, and began yelling directly at the thunderstorm, in a loudly obscene tirade that insulted the thunderstorm’s “masculinity”. And no, no drugs or alcohol were involved. When I told Chris to get his ass back down off that ledge and get us the hell off the ridge, he glowered scornfully down at me and sneered “Why? Because of this gutless little limp wristed pussy of a storm? No fucking way!”

Then he looked up in the sky at the darkening clouds and yelled “Cummon! Hit me! You pathetic little fake excuse for a storm! Yeah, I’m talking to you! Do you see any other storms around here? Well all I see is YOU! And you got NOTHING!!! Show me what you really got, cause I don’t think you’ve got the balls to fuck with me! Hit me with your best shot! What? Nothing? I’m already standing on the highest point up here, so what are you waiting for? Go ahead and fire away! Either show me you’re for real, or get the fuck out of here! What? Do I need to point a fucking nine iron up in your face for you to take a shot at me?

“Chris!!! This is NOT funny!” I yelled furiously at him! “Are you out of your flippin’ mind?! Get down off that ledge RIGHT NOW and hike your fucking deranged and crazy ass down off this goddamn RIDGE!!!”

But Chris just briefly looked down at me and replied “Go ahead and go on down yourself, Jean. And then you can hike your ass back up here, when this candy assed pansy of a storm blows far away from here, and veers off to the Southeast without even so much as raining on us.” Then he was glowering up at the sky again and shouting “Right, pin prick little dick storm? You don’t even have the balls to RAIN on me!!!”

I’d had enough of this dangerous insanity and started heading for the trail that led back down the ridge, but I stopped when I heard Chris yelling at the storm again. “YEAH!!! That’s right! Keep on moving and just blow your pathetic little no balls storm right on outta here! Go see if you can bluff some fools Southeast of here into thinking that you’re for real! Cause that’s not gonna happen up here and you know it! YEAH!!! You’d better run!!! And just keep on running, you pathetic little piece of shit!”

I looked out at the thunderstorm, and blinked twice when I saw that the storm really was veering off to the Southeast, just as my seemingly deranged husband had predicted that it would. ‘Did he know that all along?’ I silently wondered? ‘Or is he just bat shit crazy and very lucky?’ I decided to think that he knew the storm was going to miss us, and he was just messing with my head the whole time. Hey it might be true, and believing it was true made me feel less anxious about my husband’s state of mental health.

On several occasions before and during our marriage, I’ve seen Chris get himself into serious trouble, and then perform a minor miracle to get himself out of trouble unharmed. Like the time in 1992 when Chris impulsively went for a two mile swim out to an island in Casco Bay in coastal Maine. When I tried to warn him about the very dangerous currents that made swimming any distance out in the bay a very bad idea, Chris just blew me off, telling me that I was being overcautious, and there was nothing to worry about.

After Chris swam to the first island, he impulsively swam out to a second island farther out in the bay, and then on to a third island, where he was caught in one of those currents that I tried to warn him about. The result was that Chris spent over seven hours swimming in bone chilling cold Maine ocean water, while a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter spent all day trying to find him. But the USCG helicopter couldn’t find Chris, because he was five nautical miles out in the bay, and they never looked for him that far away from shore.

Chris was finally spotted and rescued by a sailboat in the waters between the second and third island, where he was making an almost superhuman effort trying to swim back against the current, and he had covered over two nautical miles of distance swimming against the current back towards his original starting point. Chris was rushed by an ambulance to a hospital in Brunswick Maine. The ER doctors told me that his core body temperature was 82 degrees, and he was in a severe state of hypothermia that would have caused him to become unconscious and drown, if he had been in the water for 15 minutes longer, instead of being picked up and rescued by the sailboat.

Chris still holds the unofficial record in Harpswell Maine, for being the only person to swim for over seven hours in the cold ocean waters off the coast of Harpswell Neck, and survive.

Chris almost died that day, but I was the one who suffered the most, going through endless hours of emotional anguish while thinking that I’d never see my husband alive again. Of course I was overjoyed when I finally got the call telling me that he had been found, and he was going to live. Then soon after that, I wanted to kill him myself.

But Chris has always had a flair for the dramatic, and I got a vividly unforgettable demonstration of that on the day we first met. I know he’s told this story here before, but I can verify that he really did save my life on the day we first met, during a scuba dive off the coast of Gloucester, Mass. An example of his contradictory nature, is that although Chris has done some astoundingly stupid and dangerous things, he is also a skilled and meticulously careful scuba diver who never deviates from his dive plan, and he never takes foolish risks while scuba diving.

I wouldn’t be here writing this, if Chris hadn’t been able to perform another miracle to save both my life and his own, while faced with a life threatening and nearly impossible situation involving rough seas and big waves crashing into the huge rocky ledges on the shore. But Chris is the most fearless man I have ever known, and his ability to remain calm and think clearly during a crisis is truly amazing. This is why he was able to save me from drowning, and to also save us both, when he was able to spot the only place on a two mile long shoreline, where we could get out of the water without being killed by the storm surf crashing us against the big rocks and ledges.

Chris had the presence of mind to not swim too close to the shoreline while looking for a safe place for us come in, since he knew that we could be suddenly swept into the surf zone and dashed against the rocks. But this meant that he had to keep us on the surface at least two hundred yards off shore, which made it that much harder for him to see where we could safely come in. We were also getting repeatedly buried by big waves rolling over us, which made it even more difficult for Chris to locate a safe shore exit.

Time was also working against us, because I was getting very cold to the point of going into hypothermia, and I was also breathing from Chris’s air supply using his alternate regulator, since my own tank was empty. Even though we were on the surface, we had to breathe through our regulators, because using our snorkels would have been almost impossible with the big waves rolling over us.

But in spite of all this, Chris stayed calm and focused while he held firmly onto my left arm and repeatedly kicked his fins hard enough to rise up above the crests of the waves and see the shoreline. He was able to spot a small thirty foot wide round stone beach in between two large ledges, and he knew as soon as he saw it, that this was our best hope of getting out of the water alive. But he still waited long enough to watch and time the wave sets, so he knew when to swim in for the beach while we were in between the biggest of the waves.

He looked at me and yelled “We’re going in right now, so swim as hard as you can!” With his right arm tightly held onto my left arm, we both kicked our fins hard for the shore, and as soon as our knees were on the submerged round stones of the beach, Chris grabbed me and dragged me out of the water, and he didn’t stop until we were far enough away to be out of range from the big waves racing in behind us. It was a near perfect text book diving emergency rescue, and obviously Chris made a very big impression on me that day, because we’ve been together ever since.

Maybe we really should move to a tropical diving paradise in the Caribbean, where Chris and I could go diving together every day. This would not only be a wonderful experience, but also a way to give Chris less time to do the really stupid and dangerous shit that he does, when he’s not scuba diving. ;-)

 

Posted in Scuba Diving, Humor, Personal, Adventure | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Lovely Miss Lindsey

I’ve been suffering from a very long and debilitating bout with chronic insomnia since before the end of the holiday season. But last night I was finally so exhausted that I fell into a deep sleep as soon as I got into bed.

After sleeping for almost 12 hours, today I feel like a new man!

I’ve gone from feeling like this guy here…

keith_richards_1 mod 3

 

 

To feeling like this guy instead! :-)

superman mod 1

 

 

But I’m really glad that I’m nothing like this guy!

lindseygraham 1st

US Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who I think looks a lot like a late middle aged lesbian in drag.

 

And I’m not the first person to have a similar impression of Senator Graham.

1 - Gay-GOP-Hypocrites

While it’s true that I do have some photo-shopping skills, this level of talent is just way beyond my own humble abilities, and I found this one on Google Images.

 

The credit or blame for this one belongs to the folks at “Destino.net” and they signed their work.

2 - LG 02-12

 

Graham is a 58 year old life long bachelor, who has also frequently spoken out against gay rights and opposed gay rights legislation. Which for a Republican male politician, is an even more telling sign that he may be living in the queer closet, than being a life long bachelor.

Republicans are well known for publicly condemning other people for doing things, while secretly doing the same things themselves. Republican Senators and Congressmen have promoted and voted for legislation against doing the very same things that they are also secretly doing, and have been doing in secret for years.

Here are five bright and shining examples of this kind of Republican hypocrisy:

Mark Foley

U.S. Representative
(September 28, 2006)

The Crime: Sending sexually laced, grammatically challenged instant messages and e-mails to teenaged boys in the Congressional page program for more than 10 years.

The Hypocrisy: Chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children. One of the foremost opponents of child pornography in the Senate.

The Quote: “get a ruler and measure it for me”

 

Ted Haggard

Leader of the National Association of Evangelicals
(November 2006)

The Crime: Paying male prostitutes for sex and snorting crystal meth.

The Hypocrisy: A powerful force in the evangelical movement, Haggard participated in weekly meetings with President George Bush and top advisers where he gave spiritual advice. He taught that homosexuality was an abomination and actively lobbied against gay rights.

The Quote: “I did not have a homosexual relationship with a man in Denver.”

.

Larry Craig

U.S. Senator
Senate Liason for Mitt Romney’s Presidential Campaign

(June 11, 2007)

The Crime: Soliciting sex from an undercover cop in an airport bathroom

The Hypocrisy: Craig twice voted against adding the words “sexual orientation” to the federal hate crimes law. Craig also voted to give states the right to refuse to recognize gay marriage–a right they already had, but the Senator wanted to really, really prove he didn’t like gay people.

The Quote: “I am not gay, I don’t do these kinds of things.”

 

Bob Allen

Member of the Florida House of Representatives
Florida Chairman of John McCain’s Presidential Campaign

(July 11, 2007)

The Crime: Offering an undercover cop $20 to allow Allen to blow him in a men’s room in a public park. After being arrested, Allen tried to explain that he only offered to blow the cop because the cop was a “burly black man” and he “didn’t want to become a statistic.”

The Hypocrisy: Allen was one of 21 Florida legislators to sign Gov. Jeb Bush’s friend-of-the-court brief supporting the state’s ban on gays adopting children, and he co-sponsored an unsuccessful bill that would have enhanced penalties for “offenses involving unnatural and lascivious acts” such as indecent exposure.

The Quote: “I certainly wasn’t there to have sex with anybody and certainly wasn’t there to exchange money for it.”

 

Glenn Murphy Jr.

National Chairman of the Young Republicans
Chairman of the Clark County Republican Party

(July 28, 2007)

The Crime: Murphy got a fellow Young Republican drunk and then spent the night at his house. The other young man woke up in the middle of the night to find Murphy giving him mouth-to-penis resuscitation. After this incident, a 1998 sexual battery report came to light in which Murphy was alleged to have done the exact same thing.

The Hypocrisy: Murphy was a well-paid political consultant for Republican candidates and often advised them to use gay marriage as a wedge issue to paint their opponents as out of touch with traditional values.

The Quote: “I was in the Sound of Music in High School…don’t ask” (from his now-defunct Myspace page.)

All of the above examples are from this link:

http://badmouth.net/top-five-republican-gay-sex-scandals/

 

I know that the Democrats are not squeaky clean either, but when it comes to being outspoken activists and legislators against the same behavior in others, that these same activists and legislators are secretly engaging in themselves, the Democrats look like lightweight amateurs compared to the Republicans, who often look like the Heavyweight Champions of Hypocrisy.

 

But let’s talk more about the lovely Miss Lindsey, and I don’t mean Lohan…

 

Lovely Lindsey 1

The above work of art is courtesy of a website called Free Republic which enthusiastically calls itself “The Premier Conservative Site on the Net!” It’s also a favorite place online for members of the Tea Party to vent their hatefully toxic world views and reenforce each others delusions.

 

This online art work has gone viral on Tea Party websites all over the internet, and is usually seen along with enthusiastic praise for Nancy Mace, a Tea Party candidate who is challenging Graham in the South Carolina Republican primary.

3 - Lindsey Tea Party

Ms. Mace endeared herself to Tea Party members by calling the Republican Senator a “Nancy Boy” on Twitter. “Nancy boy” is an early 20th century term, often considered derogatory, for an effeminate or homosexual man.

 

Here’s a screen shot that is similar to what’s currently on many pro Tea Party websites.

Last Resist 2

 

If you actually want to visit this website yourself, then here’s the link:

http://lastresistance.com/2936/nancy-mace-down-with-lindsey-graham/

The truth is that unlike Republican social conservatives and Tea Party members, I don’t really care if Lindsey Graham is gay, and it wouldn’t bother me in the least if he is. It doesn’t bother me if anyone is gay, or if I find out that someone is gay, after previously thinking he or she was straight.

Okay, it would probably bother me if I found out my wife is gay. But I don’t think that’s ever gonna happen, because after over 23 years of marriage I still haven’t driven her to it. Lol ;-)

What really bothers me about Lindsey Graham is not that he looks like a lesbian in drag, but that he’s a complete and total asshole for something he’s done recently, that’s potentially even worse than the other reprehensible things he’s done before while in the US Senate.

What am I talking about? This is what I’m talking about:

The following is an excerpt from a report posted online by Reuters this past Monday, January 13th.

(Reuters) – “Big powers and Iran are likely to start talks on a final settlement to the long dispute over its nuclear ambitions in February, shortly after a six-month deal curbing its atomic activity takes effect, a diplomatic source said on Monday.

If successful, the next round of negotiations could head off the risk of lingering mistrust spiraling out of control into a wider Middle East war over the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.”

The full report can be read via this link:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/13/us-iran-nuclear-negotiations-idUSBREA0C0L920140113

Because vitally important diplomatic progress is being made to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear armed threat in the Middle East, without the US and/or Israel having to go to war against Iran, the Obama administration is urging the Senate to not vote on the Menendez-Kirk Iran bill. The bill would impose new sanctions on Iran at the worst possible time, with a very high probability of ruining the diplomatic progress being made with Iran.

According to a report posted online on January 14th in The Daily Beast “The Senate is stalling on bringing new Iran sanctions legislation to a vote following another diplomatic breakthrough, but pro-sanctions Senators say the House may not wait to pass the bill that the White House says could kill the talks and lead to war.”

In the same report “Sen. Lindsey Graham told The Daily Beast Tuesday he was working with (Eric) Cantor to bring up the Menendez-Kirk bill in the House, where it will surely pass, as a way to pressure (Sen. Harry) Reid to act.”

Graham is quoted in the report as saying “I am thinking of a House-first strategy. We control the House, so I believe if we don’t get any movement from our Democratic colleagues over here, I would suggest the House take up this bill. I’m talking to Cantor.”

I’m saying here, right now, that I don’t care if Sen. Lindsey Graham gets a hard on for other men.

But I absolutely do care about that fact that Graham has had a hard on for a war with Iran for a long time now, and I’m absolutely furious that he is apparently willing to do whatever it takes to start a war with Iran.

The Lovely Miss Lindsey, along with his Republican National Wrecking Crew buddies, is even willing to resort to a despicable strategy of using the US House of Representatives as a way to sabotage the current diplomatic progress that could avoid a war with Iran.

And that is what really pisses me off!!!

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Link for the full report from The Daily Beast: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/14/iran-sanctions-battle-heats-up.html

 

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Happy Friday After Thanksgiving! :-)

Happy Friday After Turkey Day, my friends and followers here in the World of WordPress!!! :-) I hope it was a very good or least “relatively” tolerable holiday for you and yours…

Here’s an interesting fact that I’ll bet very few people know about the history of the Apollo Space Program, unless you’re as much of a History/Science Channel junkie as I am.

The company that submitted the design approved by NASA for the spacesuits worn by the Apollo astronauts who walked on the surface of the moon, was called ILC which stood for “International Latex Corporation”. But ILC had a division with a much higher brand name recognition for most women, called “Playtex”.

Yes, it really is a historical fact that the same company that designed and produced the Playtex Living Bra for women… 

Playtex Living Bra

 

Also designed and produced this form of apparel for men.

Spacesuit LG

Although it’s true that another company called “Hamilton Standard” designed and produced the lunar life support system for the Apollo astronauts, the lunar spacesuit itself was designed and produced by the parent corporation of Playtex, and was the winner of a competitive bid in which three different contractors submitted lunar spacesuit designs to NASA.

International Latex Corp won the contract with NASA because their lunar spacesuit was less bulky and much more flexible than the other two lunar spacesuits designed by the competition, and ILC’s spacesuit gave Apollo astronauts more freedom of movement. Because ILC’s Playtex division had many years of experience designing and producing smooth fitting and flexible undergarments for women, this gave ILC the competitive edge needed to create a better lunar spacesuit design than their competitors.

Many of the same seamstresses who sewed together Playtex bras and girdles for women, were given the new assignment of working on fabricating the Apollo lunar spacesuits. Quality control was extremely rigorous because each lunar spacesuit had to be completely sealed air tight and 100 percent leak proof while worn in a vacuum. Any leaks in the internally pressurized lunar spacesuit would be fatal to an Apollo astronaut while on the surface of the moon, out in the airless vacuum of the lunar environment, if his spacesuit became depressurized because of a leak.

But during the Apollo moon missions, a total of twelve astronauts walked on the surface of the moon wearing the spacesuits designed and produced by the company that was able to create the best design, in large part because of its experience designing Playtex bras and girdles for women, and there were never any catastrophic leaks in the spacesuits during the Apollo program.

Neil Armstrong, who was the very first human to set foot on the moon in July of 1969…

Astronaut-Neil-Armstrong-1930-2012

wore a size 36C – which is the same size as my wife’s, but I still like hers a lot better. ;-)

And that is today’s seemingly improbable but absolutely true historical fact, revealed to you here on Word Play – A Place For Pleasurable Procrastination, but also occasionally A Place For Unusual Space Exploration Information.

 

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A Funny Thing Happened…

A couple nights ago, a funny thing happened on my way to becoming a 57 year old, frequently humorless, mean and bitter old man long before my time. I saw another guy who is now 76 years old, and although he still has more talent for being funny in his little finger than I’ve ever had on my very best day or night, in all of my entire life, as I watched him the other night on Comedy Central, I could sense an undercurrent of bitterness in his comedy act, which wasn’t nearly as funny as his comedy has been in years past.

I’m talking about Bill Cosby performing in his first “stand up” comedy special in 30 years, called “Far From Finished”. If you like Bill Cosby’s humor, then please watch his new comedy special, and maybe you’ll enjoy it more than I did. Maybe it’s just me, and you won’t sense that undercurrent of bitterness that I felt coming from Cosby, as I watched him perform.

Last night, also on Comedy Central, I watched Bill Cosby performing in his comedy special from 1983 called “Bill Cosby: Himself”. I nearly died laughing back in 1983 when I watched Cosby performing in that special the first time, and I was literally rolling on the floor and laughing so hard that I was having trouble breathing.

I watched the same Cosby comedy special for the second time 20 years later in 2003, under unusual and very unexpected circumstances, while lost at sea… Okay, so I wasn’t really lost at sea; it just felt like my wife and I were lost at sea on the way back from Yarmouth Nova Scotia to Bar Harbor Maine while on board “The Cat”.

To briefly explain, “The Cat” was a 319 foot long high speed catamaran ferry boat with a top speed of over 40 knots, and able to cruise across the Gulf of Maine from Bar Harbor Maine to Yarmouth Nova Scotia in 2 -1/2 hours. More conventional ferry boats took six hours to make the same crossing. But soon after my wife and I were on board “The Cat” and returning from Yarmouth Nova Scotia to Bar Harbor Maine, leaving at around 8:30 PM that night, we and the rest of the passengers on board were told that three out of four of The Cat’s big diesel engines had stopped working, and with The Cat running on only 1/4th of it’s normal power, the trip back to Bar Harbor was going to take somewhat longer than usual. But we were not told how much longer…

In fact, the return voyage took 5 -1/2 hours, and we got back to Bar Harbor at 2:00 AM in the morning. It was a very looonnng night, and it seemed that much longer because we had no idea when we would get back to Bar Harbor, so we could only wait and wonder.

The Cat Ferry“The Cat” – A great ride with all four engines running full speed ahead, but not so great with only one engine working…

To help passengers deal with their very long night of boredom, the crew was showing movies in the cafeteria, and I found myself watching a computer animated kids movie called “Antz” which although it wasn’t the type of movie that I’d choose to watch, I liked it more than I thought I would, and hey, it took an hour and a half off the tedium clock.

But I was absolutely delighted when the next movie to play after “Antz” was “Bill Cosby: Himself” which seemed like a God send to me under the circumstances, and watching Cosby do his stand up comedy act was just as hilariously funny for me that night, as it was 20 years earlier when I saw him doing it the first time in 1983.

Last night, when I watched “Bill Cosby: Himself” on Comedy Central, I was laughing out loud again, and most of all, at Cosby’s 1983 comic riff on a visit to the dentist. Here’s that part of Cosby’s act, courtesy of YouTube.

If you like Bill Cosby, you’ve probably seen it before, but if you’re like me, and it’s been over ten years since the last time you watched this, you’ll enjoy seeing it again.

I do realize it’s not fair to negatively compare Bill Cosby’s current comedy special in 2013, that he performed at the age of 76 years old, with the show he did in 1983 at the relatively young age of 46 years old.

But more important for me personally, watching Cosby’s current show and then watching his 1983 show, got me thinking about how in the last year or so, I had allowed myself to lose much of my own sense of humor, by giving in to being frequently angry and bitter about my own personal problems, and also the deteriorating political state of our country, the constant dumbing down of popular culture in our society, and our increasingly unstable and dangerous global climate, which the human race still refuses to take seriously enough to do much of anything about, that will make a genuine difference.

All that anyone needs to do to see a glaring example of what happened to me in the last year or so, is to just look at three out of the last four previous posts here in this blog, in which humor is all but nonexistent and replaced with angry rants. The only exception to the angry rant content in three of my last four previous posts here on Word Play, is a post called “My Lover Who Loves The Magic of Light” which is really a love letter written to my wife.

So after watching Bill Cosby in 2013 at 76 years old, and then watching his 1983 show again last night, I asked myself a very direct question:

Am I happy being an almost 57 year old frequently humorless, mean and bitter old man long before my time?

I was able to almost instantly answer that very direct question I asked myself, with a very direct answer of ‘Hell NO!!! I am NOT happy at all this way, and I need to change the direction of my own state of mind right now, or become even more unhappy than I already am!!!’

Which is why this blog is getting out of the angry rant business right now and returning to it’s original purpose of being ‘A Place For Pleasurable Procrastination’ again. (within reason)

I’ll wrap this one up with a story about another favorite stand up comedian of mine, Richard Pryor, who’s style was somewhat “different” from that of Bill Cosby, and how one night his stand up comedy movie on HBO created a ridiculously awkward situation involving me, and both of my parents.

This happened back in 1984 after I had just moved out from living with my first wife, who was soon to become my ex-wife after almost six years of a marriage that to this day, often makes me think of the first line from Dickens’ classic “A Tale of Two Cities” which begins with the phrase “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” since that is an excellent summation of my first marriage.

Anyway, I was temporarily living with my parents in 1984 after leaving my first wife, and my parents were out for the evening, so I was watching Richard Pryor’s 1971 stand up comedy movie called “Live and Smokin’ “on HBO. Anyone familiar with Richard Pryor’s stand up comedy knows that Pryor used to drop more F-Bombs during his act than the Germans dropped bombs on England during The Battle of Britain in WWII. But the guy was also a comic genius in my opinion, so his constant rain of F-bombs didn’t bother me, because I knew that he wasn’t doing it just for shock value to try and support weak material like some stand up comics are guilty of doing.

But about 15 minutes into the Richard Pryor movie, my parents came home unexpectedly early, which was awkward because I knew that both my mother and father did not appreciate listening to a steady stream of profanity. But since I was watching the Pryor movie downstairs in the finished side of the basement in my parents’ home, I didn’t change the channel when I heard my parents come home. I was 28 years old at the time, and it seemed ridiculous to me at that point in my life, to automatically bail out of the Pryor movie like an 18 year old kid who was freaked out by Mom and Dad coming home early and catching him watching a movie with lots of profanity in it. So I turned the volume down slightly lower, and if either of them complained, then I would change the channel.

When my father came downstairs, I fully expected that I was about to be told that the high level of profanity coming from my choice of TV viewing was not acceptable. But then Dad threw me a totally unexpected curve ball, when he sat down in a chair and without a word spoken, he began to watch the Richard Pryor movie with me.

Now I was the one who was feeling really awkward and very uncomfortable, because this was just plain weird! But my father seemed completely relaxed, and very interested in watching Richard Pryor’s stand up comedy act, without any negative reaction at all, to all the F-bombs that Pryor was dropping. But Dad wasn’t laughing at Pryor’s humor, and he seemed more interested in watching Pryor as though he was an interesting study in cultural sociology. But my problem soon became that I felt so weird about watching Richard Pryor with my Dad, who although he was clearly very interested in watching Pryor, he never laughed or even cracked a smile at any of Pryor’s comedy, which made me feel too uncomfortable to be able to enjoy Pryor’s humor enough to laugh at him myself.

Then things got twice as awkward when my mother came downstairs because she was curious to see what my father and I were watching on TV together. Mom lasted less than 10 minutes when the onslaught of Pryor’s profanity drove her back upstairs, and I could tell that she was even more confused than I was, about why my father and her husband seemed fine with watching a TV show with such a steady stream of foul language.

Less than 10 minutes later, I also went upstairs because by that point, I had given up on trying to watch Pryor with my father sitting close by and watching Pryor very closely, but without ever laughing or even smiling at any of Pryor’s stand up comedy act, with the end result being that I couldn’t enjoy watching Pryor’s stand up comedy act with Dad.

So now my Dad was watching Richard Pryor downstairs by himself, and my Mom was upstairs watching another movie far more to her liking on the TV upstairs. Mom’s movie looked somewhat interesting to me, so I sat down to watch it with her. And then things turned totally surreal, when my mother glared at me with an expression of anger mixed with hurt feelings, and she exclaimed “You don’t have to do this, Chris! So just go back downstairs and watch Richard Pryor with your father!”

But instead I went up to my room and read a book, so my Dad was the only one in the house that night who watched almost all of Richard Pryor: Live and Smokin’ right to the very end.

Less than 10 days later, I moved out of my parents’ house and into an apartment with a single guy who was a good friend of mine. Because by then I knew for sure that 28 years old is just too old for a guy to be living at home with his parents, and most of all, when his Dad inexplicably wants to watch Richard Pryor with him, and then his mother gets upset when he doesn’t… Yep, definitely time to get out of Dodge!

 

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