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The yella squish died. The zookini is lookin' pathetic. The canteloupe is stunted but flowering. The Roma tomato is precisely the same height it was six weeks ago with the same three lonely, pint sized, green tomatoes.
All is not bleak, though, the avocado tree and the citrus trees are thriving. Not to mention the bees & the Texas Rangers, both of whom are happy as a clam.
The House Blond reminds us of the roots of the revolution.
It's going to be a quiet Independence Day around the Casa. Traditionally, we hook up with the in-laws and the cousins, either here or in Tucson. But, this year the kids are off to the beach, Disneyland, and parties with friends. Mrs TWC and I will be left to fend for ourselves with a bottle of wine and grilled steak. The Horror.
I'm a big fan of the fireworks show down in Tubac Arizona. It's a gorgeous resort setting on the Santa Cruz River. Trees, grass, mountains, and far fewer people than the hordes that turn out at every venue in Southern California.
Mrs TWC & The House Blond at Tubac July 4, 2013
Bonus: Tubac skips the TSA-like experience at the entrance gates. They don't search your bags or ice chests, nor will they turn you away on account of your pocket knife. AND, you can buy margaritas. How cool is that?
The only downside is the warrant-less stop and sniff on the way out, which comes courtesy of the Federales checkpoint. The Fourth Amendment don't apply here, Thankee. And if the dog don't like how you smell, you'll spend some time in the other lane while they toss your car. The spot was well-chosen by the Border Patrol because there's no escape from it. Believe me, I've wasted a lot of gas on back roads leading to nowhere, only to end up back in line waiting for the Green Man and his flashlight. Some of the locals don't think much of the checkpoints, neither, which are more about drug interdiction than they are about stopping illegal immigration.
May your Independence Day celebrations be blessed. Though the execution wasn't without flaw, the founder's vision was for a country that elevated the individual above the king and the state. That was a new wrinkle in the continuum.
Kinert Family Vineyards is a private label wine that is apparently made for the sheer joy of wine making. Despite the vast resources of the digital millennium, there is simply no information available to enlighten us. Even the Fairy Godfather, whose care package containing a bottle of Kinert Family Petite Sirah and two bottles of 2009 Cabernet, had virtually nothing to add to the puzzle.
The fruit was sourced from Lajeur Vineyards in the Red Hills of Lake County, which is an up and coming wine region with mucho potential. As for Lajeur Vineyard? Nada. Could it be fruit from Lajour Estate? Maybe, though TWC used a magnifying glass and he gets Lajeur from the label, not Lajour.
The 2010 Kinert Family Petite Sirah is a lovely wine, pretty close to full bodied, deep ruby to purplish in the glass. It is smooth and well balanced with hints of blueberry, blackberry, and black cherry. No alcohol fumes and the tannins were pleasant on the palate with a nice finish. The wine is perfect now and will drink well for the next few years.
Unfortunately, at least for you, Gentle Reader, it isn't available because merely making an exceptional wine isn't enough. One must leap through a vast array of expensive bureaucratic hoops prior to obataining permission to offer a wine to the public.
Back in the days of my vagrant yoot, Pop drove a truck for Knudsen Dairy Products. Long before the sun came up, he'd snaffle a bowl of hot Cream of Wheat. His mid-morning snack was hot-out-of-the-lard-fryer donuts washed down with a quart of half and half. He was a big burly guy who needed a lot of energy because slinging milk cases built of galvanized steel and hardwood was tough work.
Five year old TWC was mighty proud that Dad was responsible for delivering those little cartons of five-cent milk that Del Sur Elementary School was happy to pre-warm to room temperature before serving at lunch.
Although he rarely had two days off in a row, the money was pretty good and the taxes were light. It was 1950's America and we had our slice of the comfortable life.
These days Dad is 85 and still cuts his own firewood though it takes him a bit longer than it once did. He also takes care of his invalid wife.
Father's Day 2009-Mesquite Nevada
Father's Day 2012
Tip of the glass and a Happy Fathers Day, to all the hard working dads out there.
My folks were High School kids during the Big War. Every morning they awoke with the gnawing fear that the Nazi flag or the Rising Sun would be unfurled over the capitol in Washington DC. These guys made sure that didn't happen.
By then, the first security guy was back with his boss and there were two security guards screaming at me from down below. Seems they wanted me to move along and I was pointedly ignoring them. I'd already flashed them the index finger, which was the wrong finger, and mouthed: just one more minute. They were doing tit-for-tat, and both pointedly ignored it.
Nobody was complaining, but security guy number one had been hassling me for several minutes. Just me, though. Not the fifteen high school kids on the steps or the woman next to me with the lens she needed to carry in a violin case like Bugs Moran's Tommy Gun. Talk about lens envy. Dude, that was a fine lens. I tried wandering from place to place, but, apparently, never far enough to suit them.
Then, *Jacob Snell! Honors!*, booms out across the stadium and I'm snapping pictures like a mad man while these two security guys heads are exploding. Click. Click. Click. Except. There was no correlation between the calling of the names and the handing of the diplomas.
AND ITS NOT EVEN MY KID. Good Lord. As I walked away I scowled at them and, in my best Curly Bill voice.....
For the rest of the night, a guard was posted, who blocked the view they claimed I was blocking, so as to keep any other parent from blocking the view while taking a pic of their kid graduating. Did you follow that? We're going to block your view in order to protect you from jerks who might block your view.
At the pre-graduation dinner, Mrs TWC kept the wine flowing. She said it would keep me mellow during the ceremony. I expect she was right.
None of these 58,000 some-odd people got away for the weekend at Lake Havasu. They won't be tipping a cold frosty while grilling burgers with friends and family. You won't find them chilling at the beach, the park, or running a 10K on this CONgressionally mandated, three day weekend that mostly marks the first onset of summer.
That's not a scold or a guilt trip..... I don't fault anyone for spending time with family and friends. We all work hard and it's a three day weekend. Enjoying life in the face if what is meant as a somber occasion doesn't mean that people don't care about the war dead, most do.
That said, Robert McNamara, the idea man and purveyor of the Viet Nam War, died at 93. He lived decades longer than any of the people whose names are etched upon this wall. He was called a Wunderkind, but his real contribution to our culture was to ensure that none of these people would ever hold a grandchild in their arms. He, along with LBJ, JFK, and Nixon, bears the moral responsibility for financing the carnage and putting into place economic policies that set the stage for the ruinous inflation of the 1970's and Jimmy Carter's recession.
Sending young men off to die in old men's foreign wars is a time honored tradition. Next time let's send the McNamara's to the front lines. With M-16's that malfunction regularly*.
*Despite being described as “the best individual infantry weapon ever made” in 1965, the XM16E1 began to exhibit catastrophic problems in 1966. Reports from the field indicated that U.S. troops in Vietnam were experiencing chronic failures to extract. In the malfunctions, a cartridge’s brass case would seize fast in the chamber and the extractor would tear through the rim. Such a stoppage could only be cleared by pounding the case out of the chamber from the muzzle end using a cleaning rod—something that was terribly impractical and dangerous to do in the middle of a firefight. This situation was exacerbated by the fact that XM16E1s were not issued with cleaning rods at this stage in production. In fact, they even lacked compartments for cleaning kits in the buttstocks. When a cleaning rod could even be scrounged at all, troops resorted to taping them to the forward handguards of their rifles. Through the end of 1966 and into 1967 these malfunctions reached chronic levels and resulted in lives lost on the battlefield. After one especially violent battle, a Marine wrote home to his mother saying “Before we left Okinawa, we were all issued this new rifle, the M16 … practically every one of our dead was found with his rifle torn down next to him where he had been trying to fix it.”
Someone mentioned that today is NOT National BBQ day. I appreciate the sentiment, but, decades ago, your CONgress decreed that Memorial Day *is* a three day holiday. The main reasons given at the time were to facilitate partying and to give federal employees more three day weekends. Sure, they used big words, but the result is what you see today. The unintended consequence of that mandate is gridlocked highways and oversubscribed recreational facilities. It's the main reason why I stay home.
Sundance, Back In The Day
That and Memorial Day 1977. I realized, too late, that the river was an absolute zoo. My little hot rod was a retired circle racer, a Raysoncraft flatbottom with very little freeboard. The Saturday morning ride up river wasn't bad, but getting back was nuts. The water was choppy and crowded, which meant plowing through at a fast idle, making it impossible to keep enough forward momentum to prevent the sloppy, three foot swells from washing over the transom. There was way too much water for the bilge pump to handle and the damn thing sunk right in front of Sundance Saloon, on the Parker Strip. Sundance is where the wet tee shirt contest was pretty much invented. Ironically, I had just rescued a guy from the same fate. Apparently, no good deed remains unpunished.
BONUS: An outstanding live version of Manic Monday