Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Code Talkers

I've been meaning to write about a group of men who helped us win WWII. The Navajo Code Talkers they were called.

Here is the Navajo Code Talker's dictionary  having been declassified, we can now see what this unbreakable code looked like.

It was a genius idea to devise a code that was partly based upon the alphabet and word association.

Here's more info on how this code came about using the complex Navajo language where tone of voice can have a different meaning of the same word.

The following are interviews of just eight of the Code Talkers.

Peter MacDonald, Navajo Code Talker.  It was destiny he do something great for his country, after dropping out of school after the 5th grade and joining the Marine Corps.

The Navajo language was not written down so of the 400 recruited to use this code by memory only was one of the reasons it was undecipherable by the Japanese during the war and proved very valuable by the Marines.

Here is Samuel Tso, another proud Navajo Code Talker who didn't want to be called a draft dodger. He tells of the 'First 29' and how he volunteered to run across Death Valley to locate machine guns and how he knew he would survive that mission.

John Kinsel, Navajo Code Talker, tells of the meaning of the colors and symbols and how the Japanese almost got one letter of the code and how he got sick with malaria in South America, and he tells about receiving the Purple Heart which he had to prove he was in the service.

Keith Little was orphaned. Listen to his story hearing of the 'sneak attack' on Pearl Harbor and hearing President Roosevelt say this is a day of infamy. Listen to how he volunteered for the Marines at age 17 and went on to be a Navajo Code Talker.

Kee Etsicitty, a Navajo Code Talker, tells how code talkers had to have a good memory in
order to translate into code.  He tells of why he had short sleeves in uniform and a little about
 enemy conversations on the radio and more.

Joe Vandever, Navajo Code Talker, tells of how it was in war and how he got word from a bird that
he would return home and he speaks of being brave.

Samuel Tom Holiday, Navajo Code Talker, tell of his early years and more.

Chester Nav, Navajo Code Talker, who as of April 2014, is the last of the First 29 Code Talkers.
He speaks of raising sheep when he was young, the livestock massacre, and the hard life living
on the reservation. He explains he was raised as a warrior to protect what he loves and he had to
join the Marines to protect the United States. He tells that until the code was declassified in 1968, he could only speak of his work in the service of just talking on the radio. In 2001 the Code Talkers were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

These men volunteered and bravely served during a time of war so we could live in the land of the free. I would say they served us well.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Bikers on an awesome mission

Recently I learned about an awesome biker organization.
Their mission is nothing less than what I would describe as AWESOME!
 These black leather wearing guys and gals are truly angels on wheels.

Bikers Against Child Abuse. BACA, they're called, are they're doing some mighty good works for kids who've been abused.
Am I the only one who wishes any adults thinking about abusing an innocent child have to face BACA?

Any child would feel safer with BACA around. Take a look.

They are serious because their cause is serious. 

A child should not have to grow up in fear. Bless each of them.

Ride on BACA!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Disability overcome

The Paralympic Games are held following the regular Olympic Games every four years, and give athletes with a physical disability who qualify to compete just like 'non-disabled' athletes to go for the gold.

All athletes have a competitive spirit to win

Photo credit: dtcreations from morguefile.com

Trisha Zorn,  blind from birth, has won 41 gold medals in various swimming competitions.  I believe she holds the record for gold metal wins in any Olympic Games.
 Michael Phelps won 14 gold metals for his swimming wins in the regular Olympic Games.

The Special Olympics are for those athletes with intellectual disabilities.

The Deaflympics are for those athletes with hearing disabilities.

All of these athletes had to start some where and practice, train, practice, train,   the win local,  regional and national sporting events in order to advance and quality to be eligible for the Olympic Game.

Regardless, all competing in any of the Olympic Games have to prepare and face stresses associated with the pressure of these Games.

 The fact that they made it to the Games, means they had to overcome physical, mental and/or emotional challenges. 

 Even with their disabilities, they've accomplished more in the realm of physical endurance and strength than most of us even desire to even try.

They're all winners in my book.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Scaled-down dwellings are all the rage

I've been fascinated with the tiny home movement. These dwellings are adorable and quite the contrast compared to the massive square footage homes have spread out in recent years. Why work just to pay that huge monthly mortgage payment when you can live small and have lots of dough left over for other things, lots of other things.
And, tiny homes sure make house cleaning a tiny chore. What's not to like about that?

Photo credit: wallyir from morguefile.com

Take a look at these small homes- ranging from under 100 square feet to 370 square feet.

I couldn't help but think of the shotgun houses I've seen. They are compact and make full use of interior footage because of the the lack of a hallway.

Then there are the micro-homes which can be made in whatever shape you prefer.

And garage homes with 250 square feet. and I might add looks to be very spacious.

 And for those who like being near the water, you might consider small homes on or near the water, like these.  And, many of these house boats are priced in the $20s. Wow!

And this man made a dwelling out of a garbage dumpster. See video.

All in all, I can see some manufacturers coming out with all sorts of combined fixtures/appliances/furniture  to give the most bang for the square feet in these scaled down dwellings where space is a premium.

For the most part, I think making the most of every inch of living space is a great design for  dwellings, eliminating empty, unused space and leads one to not accumulate and unnecessary stuff.

American Indians were at the forefront of compact dwellings with their teepees, longhouses and such, and they didn't have to climb up a ladder to get to the bedroom or the bed.  And climbing a ladder might be the only draw back that I see in most of the designs to access the bedroom overhead. This could be no problem for the young but it might be dangerous for anyone with a knee problem or not too steady holding onto a ladder after just waking up needing to get to the bathroom in a hurry.

My experience with small living space was twenty years ago when I moved a storage shed out to the country to begin moving my belonging out of a two-bedroom apartment when I was in the process of moving to the country. All my furniture was placed inside a 12 X 16 foot wood floor, metal-roof storage shed with two windows, a door, an overhead light and two wall sockets. It was Springtime and I slept so good when it rained. Everything was within arms reach and I was so happy living in that little space with my dog. I really didn't want to move out of it.

So whatever size dwelling you like, in whatever material you want it constructed of, if it's what you like, live it up and live large in your small dwelling.

 The size of a home matters not.  Just as long as it's where your heart is, it's home.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Swimming the distance

I've been amazed with Diana Nyad, the distance swimmer, and her solidly-determined goal to swim without a shark cage between Florida and Cuba. Well, on her fifth attempt to complete the distance, she now holds the distinctive title as the first person who can honestly claim to have done it and can show proof that she swam it!

I was thinking she had to have a team of helpers to make this happen, not once, but five different times. That must have taken lots of man hours, planning, and belief in her.

I have some questions I would like to ask Diana Nyad.

How does one train to swim this distance?
Who are your support team, are they paid, and how much?
Do you have sponsors? And if so, who are they?
Can you sleep while floating?
Did your skin shrivel being in the water that long?
What did you eat and drink during your swim?
Were you able to speak and could you hear those in the boat at all times?
What is the amount in dollars in equipments, boats, manpower, etc for each attempt?
Are you in the Guinness Book of World Records?
And why was this challenge something you had to do?

Her first attempt was in 1978. Her victory was achieved in 2013.

Congratulations! and what a motivation you are to all of us!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Female sumo wrestlers

Female sumo wrestlers.  I'm just hearing about this. I find that Sports Illustrated has even done a layout on female sumo wrestlers. I sure would've liked to have known of this interesting development before now. I think it's so cool that a few women have taken up sumo wrestling.

This ancient Japanese sport, is reserved for the full, hefty-bodied male, rikishi. Women can compete only at the amateur level. Women aren't allowed in the matches because the platform is blessed by a Shinto priest, and women are considered unclean. There's a lot of ritual purification going on in this sport and no protesting the judges rulings.

Sumo wrestlers charge their opponent with a weighty burst of energy

Photo credit: hotblack from morguefile.com

Wrestling is a full-contact sport with the objective to use your mind to out-maneuver your opponent with your body to get control of your opponent and pin them down, or push them outside the ring. This sport is a blend of self-defense, martial arts, and hand-to-hand combat disciplines, performed while barefoot.

Wrestling reminds me of a chess game, with two queen game pieces remaining on the board, so every move is vitally pertinent for the win. The stare-down is part of the psyching-out your opponent, is all part of the sport.

But unlike chess, tennis or boxing, sumo wrestling has a lot of rituals dating back hundreds of years.
When you watch a match, don't blink, cause the wrestling match could be over in seconds. The opponents size each other up to get that split second lead of charging first with a blast of energy to throw the other off balance. Blink, and you might miss their lightening moves.

I can't believe how some wrestlers are so limber. But wrestlers have to be. A match can put the players in all sorts of configurations.  I like watching wrestling matches and sumo wrestling is the most fascinating to watch.

Dan Gable won an Olympic gold medal in wrestling, and I had the privilege to attend the same high school he graduated. There's a big portrait of Dan hanging in the school gymnasium.  I went to more wrestling meets than football and basketball combined.

Wrestlers have to be quick, strong, limber, and light on their feet. There's always action going, so it's never boring to watch.

Wrestlers have some nice bodies too.  No lie. At least the one's I watched in high school did.

Sumo wrestlers must be comfortable with their bodies to move about while wearing only a big thong, uhh, I mean a belt, called a mawashi. Women sumo wrestlers wear a mawashi over spandex, thank goodness.

Japan's national sport.

More interesting facts to know about sumo wrestling.

These wrestlers are strong and solid. View this video and notice when they go down, nothing giggles.

Back to women and wrestling...if I were younger, and take a look at this young female sumo wrestler from the UK, and also this young lady who used to fight with her brothers and is now traveling and competing in sumo matches, I could see myself participating in this sport for the benefit of exercise. Even though I've never been to a sumo tournament, I can see this sport would increase one's focus and strength, help one be more disciplined and agile and improve mind control, and I'd improve one's self-defense skills as well.

In the UK, this grandmother is a sumo wrestler weighing in at 32 stones, which happens to be 448 pounds. She's been winning her matches. Good for her.
And this Indian woman needing a sponsor so she can compete in more sumo competitions. Good for her for pursuing her passion and doing well without a trainer.  I hope she gets some sponsors.                                                     

If I could quickly charge someone and knock them over before they knew what hit 'em.
They'd think long and hard about messing with me again.

But first, I need to practice my squats.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Little address book

I came across my old address book. It had been hidden inside a box in my storage shed. Flipping through the pages I felt as if I were flipping through time. These pages were like opening a time capsule of the period of time and the people back when I was establishing myself.

My old address book

On the first pages were addresses I resided after college. I needed these addresses a couple years ago when I was filling out an application of all my prior whereabouts. The address of the apartment I stayed in Jackson, Mississippi, and then my addresses where I lived in Shreveport, LA.  I eventually stopped renting and bought a condo, so that address as well as the clinic I worked were all there.

Flipping through the months for birthdays,  I saw names of people I've long forgotten. Name and birth dates listed were Ella Mae Patterson, my Dad's dad's sister. I remember her place was near the Super Dome in New Orleans. It was at her place on hot evening I learned that roaches lived in trees and they can fly and if they land on your head, they give off an awful smell hard to shampoo out. It was a flight of stairs up to her place, and the other side of the duplex was my aunt and her kids. I do believe I have a photo of me sitting with my grandfather and Monique on the sofa at Ella Mae's. I also remember Ella Mae read her Bible daily, and it was a biggest Bible I'd ever seen due to the large print. I haven't heard what happened to Ella Mae after that. Some 30 years ago have gone by.

Names of some of the guys I knew in the Corps, Mark, Rocky, David, to give a few, and names of classmates I went to college with.

Names of my first clients in Montgomery I saw. Virginia Durr was one of them. Her husband, Clifford Durr, defended Rosa Parks after refusing to give up her seat on the bus to a Caucasian man back in the 60s. Mrs. Durr had a memory like and elephant.  She told me many things when I was working on her in my office or in her home when I made house calls. If someone called and wanted to interview Mrs. Durr, she's oblige while I continued massaging her, and when the call was over, she'd hang up. Never did I hear her say 'good-bye'. She summered with her daughters in Martha's Vineyard. Hanging on her bedroom was a photo of her husband, and on the wall in her living room was a large painting of her. One of her daughters was married to Hugo Black, a past Supreme Court Justice. Mrs. Durr was like a living history book. She'd met Eleanor Roosevelt and was instrumental in woman's voting rights. I could go on and on. I still have her book she signed for me and a note in her handwriting that she was well pleased with the services I provided.

 I flipped through and saw names of people I did business with in Shreveport. Some names I ran across drew a blank. I couldn't remember why I wrote their name and phone number in my address book.  They had to mean something to me at the time to write their name in my address book.

Some old boyfriends and their brother's and mother's names I have listed along with birth dates.

I have the couple's name who befriended me in Jackson Mississippi. I hadn't thought of them in
years. I remember their home was situated amongst some big, tall pine trees in Jackson. I wish I had kept in touch with them. I really liked that couple.

And Dr. Ed Gavin, from whom is posted to this day on my board a card he gave me which reads, 'How to succeed in business'. Turn it over and  in bold letters it reads, 'GO TO WORK, IT NEVER FAILS'.

 And Pam, whom Mom hired to make a house call to give Grandpa a massage to help relax his rigid muscles. Pam and I spoke and she helped me get started doing massages in Montgomery. Before I had enough money to order a portable massage table, I made do with a foam cushion that was long enough to lie on and I covered it and use it to give massages. It was rough because I was on my knees. Pam referred her clients to me when she got married and moved to Birmingham. I soon bought a massage table and steadily got more clients from word of mouth and advertising in the Montgomery Magazine. Those were my early days and lean days and got me going until I took the Chiropractic Boards.  Pam gave me so very good contacts for which I am still very grateful, because some became my good friends and stayed clients and patients until I retired.

My friend from high school, Eileen, I have six addresses listed for her ranging from Corpus Christi, Lockhart,  and Austin. She moved around a lot, but she always informed me of her new address.

 I even have Jimmie J. whom is female, one of my patients in Shreveport.

And, Darla, (I've changed her name) who had a house cleaning business located on Southern Boulevard. Her business was doing well and she was employing at least a dozen women. I knew Darla before I opened my first office in Montgomery and in a position to afford hiring staff and employees.  I saw that Darla gave classes to her employees and they worked in teams to clean a house.  Darla's weakness was she liked to buy expensive dresses. She came to work dressed to the
 hilt as a professional business women. I saw her dresses on racks in her office. She could start her own woman's exclusive clothing shop with what looked like a hundred or more dresses.
She confided to me that she was in serious trouble for not paying some taxes. She didn't want to but she divorced her husband as a tactic so their home wouldn't be confiscated.
I hope it all worked out. I noticed her business closed after that and I've not seen or heard from her since.

I have my Dad's addresses listed when he lived in Oklahoma, Mississippi and Florida.

Derrick's address and phone number. Derrick was a Marine Corps vet who lived on the next block in Waterloo. I rode my bike back and forth to work when I was temporarily home but still active duty. He saw me wearing my uniform and stopped me and told me he had been in the Marines. He was planning to learn the trade of working on elevators and went to live in Brooklyn. He started a neighborhood organization called T.A.S.T.E. It's amazing that I remembered that. But I've forgotten what it stands for. Oh well.

This little address book is like going back in time to the places I've lived and the people I've met and were connected to at the time.

Funny how some names immediately conjured up memories, and a few I can't recall anything about at all. From now on I must write something along with their name so in the future I will have something to go on.

I wonder if my name in someone's address book has a problem remembering who I am?

Next, pull out my old journals and see what I wrote back in the 70s.