Tag Archives: MPP

Memberships

I am proud to announce that I have been accepted into the Tuskegee Airman, Howard Baugh Chapter. I will be helping to spread the memory of these fine brave men and to help the chapter grow. It is an honor to give a hand and attempt to educate the younger generation about these men. Not only were they the men depicted in the movie “Red Tails”, but they did so much more. If it were not for them, African-Americans would not be where they are today in the military. Black people have been in every war and conflict that this country ever had. They were even on both sides of the Civil War. Another fact I want to put in…Capt. Howard L. Baugh of the 99th Fighter Squadron earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroism on a mission on 12 May, 1944.

Then the history goes even further than that. Blacks started out in the Revolutionary War up to the present time. Blacks were flying in other countries before they were reluctantly excepted in the USA. Even then, they were given inferior equipment and segregated from the rest of the units. And looking at the movie “Red Tails”, they still did not gain the respect or honors as others, especially when they came back to America.

After World War Two, they were disbanded but some stayed in the Army and, after the Air Force was founded, some crossed over to it. Therefore, there was army and air force veterans that were actual Tuskegee Airmen in World War Two, The Korean War and The Viet Nam War, not counting the smaller conflicts around the world that we as Americans had a part in. Again, I am proud to be apart of them. I will do my best writing for them and speak when and where ever I can. Check them out on the internet http://www.hbc-tai.org

I am still part of the Mighty Pen Project (MPP), check them out on Facebook. I love to occasionally submit a story or two, for whichever class is in session at the time. The writings get dissected, sliced and diced and my heart sinks when there is something wrong that I should have known better. Such is life and a person learn from the mistakes. Therefore, I am happy to report that the Mighty Pen Project is still going strong and is gaining momentum. Let’s bring more aboard.

There is one more thing that have just come up and I will express my opinion in this blog. In other words, I want to vent so I may go on with life. I try to write my blogs, this one and the one with the religious theme, in a way that everyone can understand, both American and non-American. Some people call it “dummy down”. I call it using plain English. What I am referring to is an article I read the other day that used English but I still could not read it without using a dictionary for every third or fourth word. The article used long intricate words that defied the knowledge of the reader. I really don’t think the average PhD. grad could understand what was written. Why use such wording to confuse the average individual? I say this…I will continue to use plain English and if there is something that is not understood, let me know and I will attempt to clarify it. If I continue to confuse people, I am sorry and will try to change for the better.

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Casinos

Had another good week last week (this week was just for relaxation and recharging my energy) with a four day trip to Maryland. If you looked at my Facebook page you saw the picture of my wife holding our latest great-grandchild when we made a stop on our way back to Virginia. We were in Maryland to do our usual thing, gamble at the casinos. We headquartered at Maryland Live’s hotel which put us between Horseshoe and MGM. We get perks from all the casinos but decided to use Maryland Live’s because it was between the other two.

Look at it this way; four day stay at their hotel, their perks and our acquired points gave us all our meals and each gave us slot machine money. All I needed was the gas money and a little more to keep it interesting. In fact, we came back with money in our pocket. Can’t beat that for a four day stay at three casinos. Plus we got to visit the baby on the way back (got through Washington the day before the inauguration).

Thinking about that, this is what we ran into. Usually, on week days, the hotel does not have many people staying. I noticed the parking lot almost full and more cars were coming. All the other hotels had the same thing. Then I started calling myself a dummy because, after talking to a couple that was checking-in, I was told that they were getting the hell out of DC before the crowds hit. Then I noticed that most of the cars had DC plates.

After visiting the baby it dawned on me that it was the same area that The Last Graduating Tuskegee Airman (an article I wrote) lived. In fact, I am still trying to get the article printed for the general public. It have been approved by the MPP (Mighty Pen Project) and they have a copy but the Richmond-Times dispatch turned it down. The newspaper say it does not have a Virginia connection although the man live in Ashburn, Virginia. It does not make any sense to me, but who am I to say? Also, the man is Black and his wife is White, they had to live in Washington because of segregation, that is the same as the Loving story that hit the movies last year.

The highlight for this week came on Monday. Four of us from the Mighty Pen Project had a townhall type panel discussion, at The University of Richmond, for a freshman class that is writing about war. They included my two writings on protests in the 1950’s. The question and answering went well and, in fact, we could have gone on much longer than we had time for. This is our second time doing this. The first time was at the Library of Virginia and that went very well also. I hope to do it again.

This year I work on my birthday and my wife is out of town. As I get older, holidays, birthdays, etc. does not mean as much as it did when I was younger. I prefer peace and quiet plus time to read or write. I stay busy, although my wife say otherwise, and I believe staying busy help the body stay active, younger and spry. Inactivity bring on more aches and pains, more than usual, and it can be avoided without medication for that particular ailment. I see too much inactivity around here (Imperial Plaza) although there are so many programs and events for the residents. Most do not attend any of them. Alas, what can I say or do about it? Not a thing.

Until next time…Stay warm, keep on keeping on. I’m out!

A Week of Delectation

I am still on cloud nine from all that I have seen, done and went through this week. In a nut shell, I interviewed the last graduating airman from the famed Tuskegee Airmen of Tuskegee, Ala. Myself and Len Rasmusen, with Len driving, went to northern Virginia to meet with (Ret.) Col. Carl Johnson. He was the last to graduate because before his class graduated he had a bout of appendicitis and was hospitalized. When he got out of the hospital, his class had graduated and he was all alone. He was thinking he would be sent home but, instead, he was allowed to finish his training and graduate as the Last Tuskegee Airman.

At 91, he is clear voiced, full of spirit and was eager to talk about his storied career as an Army Officer although he did time in the USAF and the Army National Guard. Through him, I found out about Tuskegee Airmen flying bombers, although it was after WWII. He also flew in Korea and Viet Nam and was posted at the Pentagon, among many other places. Len and I viewed a number of scrapbooks and saw pictures of many people of note, such as Gen. Chappie James as a lieutenant. We were told that he was good friends with Chappie James, because he was his co-pilot, and they remained friends for years.

I have it all recorded so I can refer to it as I write a longer, more precise, work for The MPP (The Mighty Pen Project), the Virginia War Memorial and self-gratification. I love history. Everything about history. I love to dig deeper as I ask the question, why? I don’t mind the research nor do I mind the inevitable self induced trance I fall into.

In the middle of the week Imperial Plaza took us to the new Afro-American Museum, officially entitled, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. After lunch in Washington, D.C., we traveled the very short distance to the museum, which was very crowded. A word of caution for anyone that is planning to go there. Go on-line and get tickets first but plan to wait a few months before the tickets will allow entrance. Getting tickets now will allow you entry in April or May although there is a line for people that arrive without a reservation but there is not a guarantee that you will get in that way, even if you wait all day.

There is no way you can view the entire museum in one day so I concentrated on the lower three floors (basement) of the eight floors. I quickly went through most of the displays, not spending too much time on any one thing. I had three hours and almost didn’t make it although three hours seem like a long time but when you are engrossed in the displays, time flies and there is so much.

The thing that bothered me most were not the displays but the kids. Most of the kids were either running through the place, playing with each other or mindlessly texting. The great majority were not interested and, I will make a bet, could not tell you about anything there. What a shame. What a waste.

In that section was a short display on the Tuskegee Airmen and, I noticed, one of the pictures on display was one that I took a photo of from Col. Johnson’s scrapbook. There, on display, is one of the planes that the Tuskegee Airmen flew (The Spirit Of Tuskegee) and a few other pictures. I wish the display had more but you take whatever there is to take. The photos of some of the grotesque hangings done to my people where very haunting to say the least. The display of an actual slave house really show how small they were for the number of people that lived in them, or should I say survived in them. That’s all there was then, survival any way you could.

That was my week and I am overjoyed to have lived it. Col. Johnson and the museum made my entire week and I’m happy for it. Imperial Plaza’s Activity Department get thumbs up for the work in getting tickets, getting us there and getting us back safely. Praises to Kayle, Ron and Jerome.

See you next blog. Don’t forget to check out my other blog, although it will automatically pop up on other sites (twitter, google, etc). The weekend is coming and my wife and I are off again. Our schedule is full and we have a lot of fun and adventures to catch up on. Bye-bye and remember…Be kind to your neighbors and ensure your words are soft and sweet.

A Little Of This, A Little Of That

Wow, busy is as busy does and I have been a little busy, for a retired person. First, at Imperial Plaza there was a fashion show of which my wife and another woman worked extremely hard to present it and decorate the stage (can’t forget the Activities Department). It turned out really good and I have included a smidgen of photos. Personally, I like the Elvis impersonator (LOL). He was a gas and sang two or three Elvis songs. Of course, I was roped into participating, therefore, I was made the photographer.

Myself and two others, from The Mighty Pen Project (MPP) (go to the web site or Facebook page) got together for coffee and, accidentally through conversation on various topics, an idea was formed. There was an article in the Richmond Times Dispatch, which was originally in the Washington Post, about a ninety one year old Tuskegee Airman (remember the movie Red Tails) and he live here in Virginia, about three hours away. Well, he was contacted and myself and another person will interview him next month. I will write a back story about him and I’m not quite sure what else, we’ll figure that out as we go. He seem quite nice and, so far, I’ve spoken to him twice. Keep me in your prayers that the story will be good.

Oh, how I love pro football season especially my Dallas Cowboys. The rookie quarterback, Dac, is good and he is a great improvement to the team. I said that in order to say this. You know what I am doing on Thursday night, all day Sunday and on Monday night. Are you ready for some FOOTBALL? On the other side, my Dolphins still find ways to lose even when they play a team that they should conquer. Oh well, such is life.

Imperial Plaza was going to the new Afro American Museum, but, the overwhelming response for entry have caused the museum to issue entry tickets. The next available possible bulk ticket issue for bulk tours is next spring, I am told by the Activities Department. Instead, we will go to D.C. just for lunch and I guess for the ride. I can hardly wait to go. Other things are on the schedule, especially, ROMEO (Retired Old Men Eating Out), so I have a full plate when football is added in the mix. Then I have my writing, in which I have slacked off lately, and I have to get back into it. I have seen some notices about freelance writing jobs/contests, etc. and I am missing out on some good cash by not writing like I should.

The people that have garden plots said they wanted rain for the things they are growing. As a kid I was always told to be careful what I ask for because I just may get it. Well, the rain has come and now the cry is that it is too much. All that was needed was patience enough to wait for the state fair to arrive. Why? It always rain during the state fair, without fail.

Well, after I edit this before uploading, I must start in earnest the writing I have been putting off for so long. In fact, I have more than one piece I am presently writing on. So, next week I am hoping to post my other blog, faithingodministries.net, before I go to a military retirement ceremony in Hampton next weekend. If not I’ll post it the following weekend and this post following that. Sorry about the delay but, as I’ve said many times before, I am retired and I don’t have a schedule anymore. See ya later! Gotta get a move on!

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MPP and Casinos

You should have been there. The third class of the Mighty Pen Project had their graduation ceremony, of which I was a part of, on the 6th of April. There were at least eighty five people in attendance and food in abundance (after the ceremony, of course). And, to top it all off, there were six or seven readings of some of the pieces written during the ten weeks of intense university level instruction. This was my second class and I loved this one most of all. The next class will be starting in a week or two (I forget which) and Mighty Pen Project (MPP) will begin to take applications for the fall class that will start in September. Those of you that can make it should sign-up for this ten week course. You’ll be surprised in what you can accomplish. Registration is taken through the Virginia War Memorial (our partner in this endeavor) on their web site, www.virginiawarmemorial.org I am still working on our web site (I finally made a break through in getting it started) and it’s located at www.themightypenproject.org I finally have a few photos from the graduation and a couple from NPR when they were at the second class (I’m in both of the photos which ended up in the papers also). Keep looking at both sites because information change often.

I love going to the casinos but I am out with Charlestown Casinos in Charlestown, West Virginia. The horse racing was good (they can’t rig that) but the slot machines are brand new and set to not pay. Maryland Live and Horseshoe (Baltimore) is much, much better. You may not get a jackpot but you will make and lose a little with the occasional jackpot or near jackpot. West Virginia must want us to pay for the new machines. Not on my dime. But, on the other side of the coin, my wife love to play Roulette and does pretty good on the table. It’s hard to rig the table but the machines are another matter. Therefore, we’ll go to Maryland Live for a week, starting Monday, and my religious blog will be late if at all (it’s not like I’m getting paid for this blog).

I see we have the typical Virginia weather…wait five minutes and it’ll change. Seem as though we are getting March in April, therefore, we may get April in May. Either way, our Virginia weather, in my opinion, is the best in the USA. A little of this and a little of that with not too much of any one thing. Here in the Richmond, tri-cities area, the very bad weather either go around us or skip over us. I love it and try to enjoy it. It’s never too hot nor too cold (three bears?) and I don’t like the cold although I spent most of my military career in cold places. Oh well, there is nothing that can be done about it even if you don’t like it. We all have to suck up the bad weather and hope we are never in it.

Take care, be good and I’ll see all of you when I get back.

Busy, Busy, Busy

I have neglected putting out my blogs for good reasons. It is not because I am lazy (some may argue that is the case but I’ll never waver) but have been busy with my MPP (Mighty Pen Project) classes and with the board of the MPP. I am also getting together (finally) the website for the MPP that will give much more information than I could give to you here. As you know, it is geared to all active duty military, ex-military and the families and/or friends of each service. To go further, in case you have not read my other blogs, it is for writing. These papers can be for memoirs, books or just plain getting things off your mind. The course is a once a week, ten week class taught by an instructor from a college, university, etc. In other words, this is a free college level course Who can argue with FREE?

How can this be free? That is where the Virginia War Memorial come in. With their help and guidance, we have come a long way. Now we have our own board and is attempting to function (some day) on our own. I have the task of setting up the website and keeping it running. A daunting task, to say the least. I hope to premiate myself by accomplishing this in a very expeditious manner. Wish me luck and the fortitude to carry on.

As far as Brookdale’s Imperial Plaza is concerned, it is slowly but surely moving right along… making people angrier and angrier along the way. The director (I should say “ex”) is no more. She was fired (she say she left on her own) but the rumor mill is really humming. I strongly believe the rumor mill (I have my sources). I will not say what those rumors are because, if wrong, I could be charged with slander. There is enough going on that I don’t want to be in the middle and end up on the wrong end of the spectrum. I have not seen nor met the lady that’s holding down the fort until a new director is named but I hear she is nice. I don’t remember her name but I do know she is from another facility that is in the Brookdale family. And, I want to add, people are not happy with the changes at the Magnolia Room or any of the dinning rooms, to be exact. Like I said before. People are always against change, whether good or bad. It doesn’t matter.

I am also a member of the grounds committee and, just think, I am suppose to be retired. I am doing more now than when I wasn’t retired. I guess being busy does not give you time to think about your age. I think about it every now and then and cringe. Personally, I think the two guys that do all the grounds work does not need anymore supervision or oversight than they already have. They do a fantastic job. I’m one that believe in the saying “if it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it.” I am told that I am expected to attend the different building gatherings in order to get their input about what they want done on the grounds. NOT!!! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it plus I don’t have the desire or time to commit to such an endeavor.

Anyway, I’ll try to keep the blog going. I have so much coming up. A trip to Puerto Rico, a cruise, a trip to Colorado and, of course, the casinos. Add to that the MPP and I should finish my classes by the end of March. I forgot the Neighborhood Watch program, I am committed to that also. In order to be a good neighbor, commit your services to the neighborhood. If we all did a little, crime would be at an all time low.

Until next time…be kind to your neighbors because you’ll never know when you’ll need them. Also, insure your words are soft and sweet, you’ll never know when you’ll have to eat them. BYE!!!

Mighty Pen Project

It was a great night, 1/6/16, at the Virginia War Memorial where we had the reading and reception of the Mighty Pen Project. Quite a few people were there, the food was good and the readings went very well. There was six of us, that was in the second class of the Mighty Pen Project, and I was first to read one of the pieces I wrote for the class. All of the written material was well written, very moving and covered a wide area of military life from Viet Nam to the present time.

Mr. James Triesler, Education Director of the Virginia War Memorial gave the welcome. Dr. David Coogan, Associate Professor of English, Virginia Commonwealth University and our instructor for the second class of the Mighty Pen Project, gave the remarks. Mr. David L. Robins, program founder/author/teacher at VCU, gave the introduction of readers.

The Mighty Pen Project is in need of students, like myself or better, that is military connected, past or present, and want to write. People that want to write about their military experiences, feelings, just to get things out of their system or just to leave something for their loved one, to name a few things, need this class. It’s too late to registrar for the class starting on 1/20/16 but contact can be made for the class starting in April. Each class is every Wednesday night for ten weeks and involve reading, writing and supreme insight into the material from the instructor.

Go to the Virginia War Memorial web site, www.vawarmemorial.org, for information on the Mighty Pen Project ( MPP) and the Virginia War Memorial. The Mighty Pen Project also have a Facebook page and a lot of information can be gained there. A web page and blog is in the works. Since I have joined the board, I have been appointed to help with initiating the web site and helping with future entertainment. I hope my work goes well. If anyone need information or know someone that would qualify, they can either contact me or go to one of the sites.

I know that this is not like my normal blogs but I feel that I can at least help get the word out with one or more shots from my blog. Don’t hesitate to do this and I will surly get back to you as soon as I can. There are a lot of retirees out here that would like to try this and the person does not have to be good or retired. That will come with time and it’s not to write a book (it’ll give you a start, if you want), just snippets. Well, I’ll see ya the next time. Contact me.