Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The OG Death Valley...

 Only Clemson or true college football fans will get the title reference here.  Clemson's home "arena" is nicknamed Death Valley.  And, I was conceived a Clemson Tiger fan (even though I attended in-state the University of Tennessee).  The joke is once my Clemson orange fades, I can wear it to Tennessee games (or to hunt, serve prison time or pick up trash on the side of the road.)  Seriously, Tennessee has the worse shade of orange in history.  Whoever said orange is the new pink was seriously deranged (thanks, Elle Woods).

Anyways, back to the OG (original gangsta) Death Valley...(for real, I have adult ADHD and embrace it 100%).  I recently had the opportunity to visit Death Valley National Park -- the hottest, lowest and dry National Park!  Located in California + Nevada, it's the largest National Park in the lower 48 states + home of the Salt Flats!

Truck packed with a cooler full of ice cold water!
This is the hottest place in the USA...in 2018 DVNP broke it's all-time ever heat record at 108.1 DEGREES FARENHEIT!  And, for 4 days straight after, the daytime temps were 127 degrees.  I'm melting just typing this...
On a serious note, visitors have no cell reception, so it's highly encouraged to stay on well-traveled roads in the park so park rangers and or other visitors can stop to help if your car overheats (highly possible) or you run out of gas or break down.  You will die!
Still working off some winter weight...does this pose work?  Tee hee, more to love, right?
It's so hot, you'll quickly peel off your shirt!
Ta Dahhhhh! The Salt Flats...
The pictures do no justice whatsoever on how cool this terrain really looks in live + living color...
How did all the salt get there?
Answer: Rain washing the minerals from the rocks down into the basin...
Just amazing, right?  God is so creative...
Okay check this out!!!!  I'm at the lowest place in the US and still smiling!
When you go low, I go high!
No, but seriously I'm standing at 282 feet BELOW sea level, yo!
Okay serious scientific question: How on God's green Earth is there any water in the desert? 
Leave me a comment with your answer (no Google cheating!)
I loved the scorching desert.  The west really is the best.
I cannot describe the feeling of this type of heat, but it was so peaceful walking the boardwalk into the basin and out towards the mountain range (or maybe I was slowly dying of dehydration)...
Anyways, it felt like warm kisses to my skin...
There is seriously SO MUCH more to see in this park such as the Ubehebe Crater, the charcoal kilns, Artist Drive, Devil's Golf Course, and Eureka Sand Dunes, just to name a few.  Alas, we were on a schedule and couldn't quite fit it all in.  One thing I'm kinda bummed I didn't see is the most common species in DVNP...the roadrunner.  BEEP BEEP!  However, this experience was so wonderful and truly a bucket list item checked!

Stay cool my friends and drink plenty of water.  I woke up this morning with severe cotton mouth, which means I was super dehydrated.  I've been chugging water like a mad woman!


Monday, June 28, 2021

Green Eggs + Ham (Hold the Salt)


Me and the Bella-meister at the "Dr. Seuss Library!"  Such cool architecture makes the Geisel Library at the University of California, San Diego...

I'm still chuckling that Dr. Seuss posthumously became the new target for cancel culture by the salty PC mob.  (The same PC mob who won't let us say "mother" insisting on "birthing person" + the same boneheads who don't like "Mister" in a popular spudded children's toy...) -----> FACE PALMING... 

In fact, in case you didn't hear, there were six Dr. Seuss books targeted for alleged "racist" and "hurtful" imagery.  (Yet, we have a sitcom called "Blackish" that openly targets and spews racist comments towards white people.)  

Even the "Cat in the Hat" came under vicious scrutiny with a mob that has no productive hobbies.  I mean, you have to laugh at this "Dr. Seuss bashing" when kids are not even reading books anymore and instead accessing:

 Pornography with the simple click of a mouse

Rap music (with lyrics about wet anatomy on awards shows during prime time television)

Violent video games promoting car theft and killing prostitutes

 Live streams which may have inappropriate content in which they can potentially be exploited

Chat rooms full of predators where kids could be potentially trafficked

(just to name a few off the top of my head)

But, no, let's target Dr. Seuss, because that sounds like the best use of resources in helping today's youth (scathing sarcasm)...

So, this post is to do the RIGHT thing.  I'm going to actually do my part to shed light on his life + career and commend and applaud Dr. Seuss for being one of the most iconic story tellers + illustrators of our time!  This dude, born Theodore Seuss Geisel, was actually a highly fascinating person and deserves some mad props, mainly for publishing over 60 delightful children's books over the course of his career!

I'll start with this interesting fact that I never knew!  Dr. Seuss never had any biological kids of      his own!  

Sadly due to the societal culture at the time and an undue pressure on women to reproduce, his first wife committed suicide when she found out she was barren.  Dr. Seuss went on to remarry and his second wife, Audrey Diamond, had two kids (daughters).  When Dr. Seuss was questioned why he didn't have any biological kids of his own, he joked, "You make them, and I'll amuse them."  Dr. Seuss was actually a bit "wary" of kids due to their "unpredictable nature."  I can relate Dr. Seuss, I can relate.

But, as a joke, Dr. Seuss would jest with his friends by making up imaginary kids.  One he named, "Chrysanthemum Pearl" and boasted she could whip up "the most delicious oyster stew with chocolate frosting and flaming Roman candles."

What do I have in common with Dr. Seuss, besides a love for writing?

Dr. Seuss had an enormous collection of hats.  He had up to 300 in his collection at one point.  I'm not quite there yet, but I do love a good hat.  When Dr. Seuss battled writer's block, he would go into his room of hats, put a hat on and imagine the sort of character who would wear it.  He would sit on the floor until the inspiration hit him.

The fun and unconventional twist to Dr. Seuss's books at the time was...

Up until then, kids had Dick and Jane books which taught strict Victorian moralism and "how to behave."  But, Dr. Seuss, feeling that children's books were just plain boring, added a naughty twist which allowed "kids to be kids" in a fun chaotic sort of way.  And, what happened?  Kids READ MORE!

When asked where Dr. Seuss got the ideas for his characters, he replied: "I get all my ideas in Switzerland near the Forka Pass.  There is a little town called Gletch, and two thousand feet up about Gletch there is a smaller hamlet called Uber Gletch.  I go there on the fourth of August every summer to get my cuckoo clock fixed  While the cuckoo is in the hospital, I wander around and talk to the people in the streets.  They are very strange people, and I get my ideas from them."

His first children's book?

It was rejected TWENTY SEVEN times before And to Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street was finally published in 1937.  That's some serious rejection + motivation for anyone undergoing the scrutiny of non-writers criticizing writers.

Was Dr. Seuss really a Doctor? (a recent debate over happy hour yesterday)

No, he was not a doctor, sort of like how "Captain Kangaroo was never really a Captain" (credit: my friend, Louis).  He was caught partying with his friends in his dorm room with a bottle of gin.  As punishment, the "powers-that-be" stripped him of his editorship at the school paper called the "Jack-o-lantern."  In turn, he conjured up several pen names to still be able to publish his work.  And, Dr. Seuss just stuck.  

And, actually the correct German pronunciation of Seuss is "Soice" or "Zoice", but he loved how "Soose" rhymed with "Mother Goose."

(Are you learning a lot so far?  Keep reading)

Was he a fun guy in real life?

His father, at one point, ran a zoo.  So, Seuss began sketching animals.  His character, Yertle the Turtle was based on Adolf Hitler.  

In one year, Dr. Seuss received 9,267 POUNDS of fan mail.  So, yeah, he was a fun guy.

He had a vanity license plate that read: "GRINCH"...

Was Dr. Seuss a racist?

No, Dr. Seuss actually vehemently fought against racism, particularly anti-Semitism.  He was a proponent for the US to enter WWII.  He wanted to join the Navy, but instead made war propaganda films with Frank Capra.  His war cartoons set the way for his future book illustrations, rhymes, and story lines.  During war time, he was a political cartoonist for the newspaper and posted cartoons such as:

As the commander of the Animation Department of the First Motion Picture Unit of the US Army Air Forces, he made training films and war propaganda films.  One of his most remembered was a short called SNAFU.

Was writing children's books lucrative for him?

Actually Dr. Seuss left his most lucrative career, writing ads (marketing) for an advertisement agency.  He wrote ads for both "Standard Oil" and "Flit Bug Spray."  Notice anything about these ads?

What was Dr. Seuss's all-time best selling book and what inspired it?

"Green Eggs and Ham"!  His editor bet him $50 that he couldn't write a book in only fifty DIFFERENT words or less.  Dr. Seuss took that bet and "Green Eggs and Ham" was born.  It's the story of a very picky eater, which most kids are.  As a writer I find this to be the coolest thing ever.  The book has sold over EIGHT MILLION copies since its publication.  It was banned in China for its alleged portrayal of "early Marxism"...so, China banned Seuss in the 60's and the US banned Seuss in 2020...yep, absolutely nothing to see here.  Cancel culture is definitely NOT Marxism/Facism...(scathing sarcasm)

Interesting fact: Other books were inspired or "born" by his doodles.

Dr. Seuss brought us the word "Nerd" + the word "Grinch" as a grouch...

In his book, "If I Ran the Zoo," (one of the books under scrutiny by the Cancel Culture Mob) Dr. Seuss described a nerd as a red, yellow, and white haired sour puss.  It's since been used as a derogatory name for a bookish person.  Also, the word "grinch" was in existence, but Dr. Seuss made it a popular term for an extremely grouchy person.

Dr. Seuss actually failed greatly as a writer!

He published two adult books.  One was called "The Seven Lady Godivas" and centered around two naked sisters.  Several critics claim the book failed because Dr. Seuss could not draw erotic, sexy pictures of naked women.  He later wrote, "You're Only Old Once" which was also a big flop.  This should be wildly encouraging for any aspiring writers reading this!  Keep writing until you find your niche!

I'll leave you with this solid Seuss quote encouraging you to always be your authentic self:


Wednesday, June 23, 2021

I Ate His Liver with Fava Beans and a Nice Chianti...(slurp)

(My fist blog drop from my iPhone 12!)

I did a wine presentation recently complete with a charcuterie board.  I love hostessing + doing wine presentations and just chatting people up.  Let’s face it, I’m nothing if not full of interesting and random stories.  I often times think I would make for an excellent vintner...(mainly, because I really wanna stomp in a tub of grapes so bad.). Also, I love those Netflix specials called “Som” (about the wine sommeliers/experts who can sniff some wine and tell you the grape, region, and soil type.)

(So, no, I didn’t plan this shirt before this trip to the cemetery...oh but the irony!)

FYI: Wasted Wine is an indie group from Greenville, SC...catch them on YouTube: https://youtu.be/RMMxxdKCeto

If I were a vintner in Denver I would for sure tell people about Alfred G. Packer, the “Colorado Cannibal” while they sipped from their boujie stemmed glassware.  Spoiler alert: This dude ate a lot of other dudes and admitted to it.  He confessed to cannibalism in the winter of 1974...

Alfred Packer, the OG Hannibal (1/21/1842 - 4/22/1907)

Ol’ Al was a self-proclaimed mountain guide + an American prospector, but his critics later argued he was not accomplished enough to be a guide during a winter in the Rockies (referring to him as a “poser”)!  Others said Packer took 5 men into the woods to rob them (one of them had prospecting gold/coins + a nice gun that Packer came out of the wilderness toting as if it were his own!).  Incompetent or greedy!?   Regardless, not a single one of these five men who entered the San Juans with Packer, emerged with him in the winter of 1874.  Packer originally just said the men abandoned him and gave him a gun for survival.  However, not appearing malnourished at all when he emerged, he was questioned + accused of murdering his travel companion to feast, errr umm, “survive” off their flesh.

Packer told about 3-4 different versions of what happened often changing his story even 9 years after the incident.  One story was that as the men died, the other men agreed to + also partook in cannibalism to survive (which a lot of people accepted and understood as a harsh reality of surviving winters of the west and especially a after the Donner Party cannibal fiasco during the winter of 1846-47).  What they couldn’t get over was cold-blooded murder.  The bodies were all actually found together which disproved one of Packers earlier stories that they were spread over miles and died-off one by one.  

Packer was, at first, sentenced to death.  However, at his retrial he was convicted of manslaughter and served time.  I found this super amusing: a local newspaper captured the presiding Judge MB Gerry’s sentence in the first trial:

“Stand up ya voracious man-eatin’ sonofabitch and receive yir sintince.  When ya came to Hilsfale County there was sivin Demmycrats.  But, you, yah et five of ‘em, goddamn yah.  I sintince yah t’be hanged by th’neck ontil yer dead, dead, dead, as a warnin’ ag’in reducin’ the Demmycratic populayshun of this county.  Packer, you Republican cannibal, I would sentence ya to hell but the statutes forbid it.”

Wow, harsh!

Thanks for stopping by today...clink clink, cheers!

Enjoy some photos from Packer’s final resting place + a “bomb” charcuterie board I was served in Denver:

Love, Kimmie


Sunday, June 20, 2021

A Letter to My Dad (even though I don't think he reads my blog)...


I kinda think these "Hallmark Holidays" are lame, because it promotes a "once a year" gratefulness.  And, the truth is that I'm thankful every single day for having you!  We are in a society where Dads like you are scarce!  As I've gotten older, I learned that a lot of people had absentee dads, dads who they don't get along with, dads who have gone to heaven, or even abusive dads.  I realize how blessed I am to have such a strong male role model to call Dad.  No doubt I've recognized that not only am I half your DNA, I wouldn't be the strong + fiery woman I am today without you!  Here are some things I wanna say about that:

My fave pic of us...

People ask me all the time why I am single, and I tell them: "My Dad set a high bar!"  Thank you for always loving Mom and demonstrating that love to us on a daily basis.  Your example showed me how a woman should be treated.  Because of you, I've known when to walk away.

Mom told me that you said, "She intimidates the boys."  That made me smile.  Thanks, Dad.  As I sit here writing this, I'm looking out at Long's Peak (an intimidating 14er)...maybe one day!

When math started introducing the alphabet, thanks for your help with my homework!  And thanks for making it so much easier than the textbooks showed.  Work smarter, not harder!

Thank you for giving me an appreciation of good music!  

Thanks for not giving up on me through the many stages and "wrong exits" of my journey.  I'm fully aware of how aggravatingly insufferable I was as a "vegan" + as a "liberal."  However, you did raise me to have a voice!

Thank you for making me self-sufficient.  One thing I've never had to relinquish is my own power or dignity to anyone!

Thank you for supporting me as an advocate/fighter!  I'll never forget those times you stuck up for me when I couldn't advocate for myself!  My heart almost leapt out of my chest!  Thank you for teaching me it's okay to stick up for others and for what I believe in!  You taught me to be brave and even stand up to "Goliaths"!

Thank you for teaching me self-defense, how to shoot a gun (and gun safety)!

Thank you for showing up to my ballgames, throwing ball with me, shooting hoops, teaching me to ride a bike, taking us to the beach + riding bikes, being at my recitals (and taping them), helping me academically, being at my graduations and for being my biggest fan (even when you could have been doing stuff for yourself)!  I recognize that sacrifice!  

Thank you for those times you had to drive across the state in the middle of the night to come to my rescue!  I'm not sure I can ever pay you back for that.

Thank you for teaching me to make lists and set goals and for pushing me to work hard for my goals.  Because of the example you set for me, I, too, have your strong work ethic!

Thank you for teaching me how to view failure as a learning experience + how to get up gracefully and dust myself off and try again.  Thank you for NOT giving me participation awards and teaching me it's okay to fail sometimes.

Thank you for raising me in a Christian household and teaching me conservative values.

Thank you for all the hikes, the fishing days at the lake, building the tree house + sandbox, the road trips, the amusement parks, the weekend sacrifices and for the most excellent childhood memories.  You bestowed on me a love for the Great Outdoors!

Thank you for all the times you picked up the phone when you were busy and talked me through a crisis.  You never hung up the phone until you "talked me off the ledge."

Thank you for the invaluable advice you so freely have given + continue to give!  I'll never forget all the Bible verses, adages and proverbs you gifted at just the right time.

Thank you for always telling me how proud you are of me (even when I'm not proud of myself)...

Dad, you are my hero + my mentor + my advocate...and I love + thank you SO MUCH for being such an excellent dad to me!  Money definitely cannot buy everything and you have been a prime example of that.  I'm the biggest fan of your dry humor + dad jokes, know that!  And, lastly, when I think of you, I think of this verse:

I didn’t do a letter to my mom this year...but know this: behind every successful man is a strong woman (the other half of me).  Love you too mom!!!



Friday, June 18, 2021

Hyper Critical People...Can't Live With 'Em + Can't Work With 'Em...

This post is dedicated to a few female supervisors of my past: I'm so glad I no longer work with you!  Also, if anyone reading this is "on the fence" about what to do next, I hope this is the sign you need!  No amount of money is worth abuse.  Know your worth!

If asked what kind of personality trait I have the hardest time understanding (albeit I've recently dug into some research on the topic) or even jiving with (whether it be friendships, coworkers/supervisors in the workplace, and DEFINITELY romantic relationships), it has to be, hands down, HYPER CRITICAL PEOPLE!  They drive me nuts, up the wall...and I just can't...I can't do it.  We have all had our experiences with them.  They are usually recovering perfectionists themselves.  And, the irony of it is THEY are usually the ones making the most mistakes.  YET, they can't stomach human error in others in the slightest.  So, not only are they hyper critical, they are hypocritical.  

The absolute worse is working with or working for a hyper critical person!  Let's face it, most of us spend the MAJORITY of our lives AT work.  So it can get very toxic working with them.  I'm not dismissing those who have to go to bed at night with a highly critical person.  That has to be hell.

Having a lot of management experience, I live by the mantra: "If you're not mistakes you're not doing anything!"  Mistakes should be taken as learning experiences and not a hidden book to tally failure in others.  Mistakes/errors actually show people are rolling up their sleeves and getting busy!  And, mistakes are TO BE EXPECTED when people are training/learning...

So let's dig right in...some insufferable traits of hypercritical people:

First and foremost, highly critical people are super insecure!  Therefore they project their own insecurities on other as a way to validate themselves and make themselves seem more superior or more important than they really are.  This is why when you are in the cross-hairs of an HCP, you shouldn't take it personally (so hard to do when you're being criticized, I know)...

They will talk smack about everyone else (no one is immune: not their boss, not the CEO, not HR, not even their closest confidante).  But, "everyone else" will be soon be you when you're not around!  They never have anything nice to say about others.  In fact they smile and relish when pointing out the flaws in others.

They are micromanagers!  They have a hard time delegating, but when they do, they may as well do it themselves (because nothing can be done right unless they do it...or, at least that's what they tell themselves).  They may even set you up for failure or sabotage your work.

Some psychologists evaluate hyper critical tendencies as a mental disorder.  Take someone who exhibits traits of: "If I see it, I have to fix" ALL. THE. TIME.  They sometimes take it to such extremes that they don't even care how it affects others, how it hurts the morale of the group, or even if it impairs their own performance or reputation.

This is what is so ironic!  More often than not, the critic usually attacks and deplores in other what he/she hates about himself/herself.  So, in essence, he/she becomes even more aggravated and insufferable chronically projecting.  

They don't just monitor other's behavior, they beat people up, calling them failures and stating how little confidence they have in them.  (Sending out positive energies to you right now if you are married to an HSP...sprinkles + fairy dust).  

It's a psychological defense mechanisms that essentially allows a person to deny their own insufficiencies by making others look bad.  People like this in the workplace usually runoff highly talented individuals.  How?  Besides chronically criticizing them (while they, themselves, do no work) they usually give subordinates menial tasks/assignments because they feel threatened by their true abilities.  They withhold training their "subordinates" to their true potential, because they are afraid of being replaced.  And, lastly, these people are a major threat to company morale.  Never underestimate the power of company morale and attitude.  A bad morale can spread like wildfire.  Many psychologist who study this behavior reflect that hyper critical people also display hyper-rigid moralism (better than though mentality) + intense bias against those they see as "transgressors."  Ironically, the hyper-rigid + critical person is highly flawed themselves. 

If you try and reason with the hyper critical person, they rarely can offer any solutions to meet their unattainable demands.  Example: I asked a hyper critical "boss" how I could achieve higher scores on a performance review and she stated: "you would need to be Jesus Christ and walk on water" and "with more time and experience" (neither of which I had any control over)...  

Instead of rose colored glasses, hyper critical people wear jade colored glasses.  They have a "one size fits all" mentality.  All pretty girls are dumb.  Southern girls who suddenly exhibit boundaries are displaying "tone" with them.  

They always look for what is wrong before what is right.  They will chronically accuse you of things (such as losing and misplacing things) and then later find out you did nothing wrong.  Additionally, when asking for advice, they will focus on everything that could go wrong.  Never ever go to an HCP for advice.  Lesson learned!

The speak in hyperbole.  If you have to reset a password, you "have chronic issues with password management."  If you have one typo and misspell a name, "you frequently misspell executive's names."  I'm no doctor, but that's mental.

Usually, hyper critical females will display hyper jealousy and be threatened by other females (especially if other females are well liked in a group/organization).  

They can bring you down to the lowest point you can possibly feel without any forewarning and feel perfectly fine doing it.  If you get upset, they somehow will make themselves the victim of their own behavior.  Again hypercritical people are only pointing out flaws in others and chronically fail at looking inward to their own toxic traits.

Let's face it, we all know our flaw(s) better than anyone else, so it's really toxic to be around someone constantly pointing them out (especially in a relationship).  

 They offer solutions to...(wait for it)...non-existent problems.  True story!  I got a work review from a hyper critical "boss" who suggested solutions for things I had never done.  This still makes zero sense to me.  Alas, she had zero management experience, and zero experience + a hyper critical personality makes for a train wreck.  RUN!!!

So, let's talk some SOLUTIONS THAT WORK (when dealing with hyper critical people)!

When working with hypercritical people, we will always resort to fight or flight.  I'm a fighter.  Sometimes, this will work.  9/10 it won't.  While people publicly praise strong females who know their worth and stick up for themselves, this is rarely the case in the reality we live in.  Therefore, I would say "avoidance" is the best solution.  Avoid these people at ALL COSTS!  Which is so hard when your hyper critical boss is a micromanager standing over your shoulder 75% of the day.  (With this being said, I will continue to be a fighter until the day I die, because I'm nothing if not truly authentic).

Force the hyper critic to produce documentation on performance reviews!  Yes, manager with an ounce of training should already know this.  A manager should be able to produce a pattern showing or backing up a hyper critical review.

In the workplace, leadership should show/demonstrate outwardly to all employees that you ignore fault finders and reward problem solvers.  Encourage grace, transparency and forgiveness.  In reality, there are few mistakes that can't be fixed.  If things become PATTERNS, then yes, they can't be ignored.  But, people in positions of being supervisors should not tick off every little mistake.  Nitpicky-ness is a trait that turns everyone's stomach and people will start RUNNING when they see you.  

Know your worth!  If someone makes you feel like you're not valuable, then leave the situation!  Read that again.  This is exactly why hypercritical people usually scare off the talent.  You can usually find patterns with them (such as 4 people leaving in a short time frame).  Talented people know their worth and what they know what they bring to the table.  And, they will not, for one minute, tolerate this behavior.  People who do the bare minimum are much better at taking criticism with a grain a salt.  But, when you put your heart and soul into your work + work overtime and work your butt off, it's much harder to stomach chronic criticism.

I mentioned earlier: Limit contact!  However, eventually for peace of mind and mental health (and because you do spend the majority of your time at work), you'll want to end the relationship with the hyper critical person.  QUIT!  I promise it's not worth it.  You can NOT put a price tag on health and peace of mind.  (This is hard if it's family related.  Therefore, you'll need to learn boundaries.  Maybe I can do a post soon on boundaries.  Boundaries are the ultimate self-care)...

Imagine you had their voice in your head all day every day.  YUCK!  Feel sorry for them.  That's how they live their life.  Also, sometimes the hypercritical person was bullied or abused growing up.  Sadly they never dealt with the pain in healthy positive ways, so they continually project negativity on others.  Sadly you can rinse and repeat this behavior, because these people will become terrible parents (who had terrible parents + their child will become a terrible parent).

MOST IMPORTANTLY!  Don't let their negative projections affect how you see the world.  If you've worked for a highly critical person, you know how abusive it is to experience that day in and day out.  You may stop working out, start eating like shit, and stop loving yourself over time.  It's important to start working on your self esteem.  Their toxicity is contagious, so don't let it affect how you see others.

For everyone who has ever had to deal with a hyper critical person, I hope this publication has brought some light to how you were feeling + gave you closure to be able to look into a brighter and better future and never look back!  The goal is to get to this point: "I don't think about you at all." - Don Draper

A clip from Mad Men:


Best of luck,


Thursday, June 17, 2021

Go Falcons!

When I first visited Colorado (specifically, "the Springs", this was a "MUST SEE" destination on my list (along with the US Olympic Training Center)!  Located in Colorado Springs, Colorado boasts the prestigious US Air Force Academy (the youngest of 5 United States service academies + ranked #28 school in liberal arts colleges across America).  Surrounded by a humbling view of the Rockies, the US Air Force Academy boasts one of the top tourist destinations in Colorado with over a million visitors a year!  So, I'm one in a million!  (wink)

See more interesting architecture below...

Lovely statues all over the campus...

Sweet airmen cadets helping a sister navigate the campus...

What is the US Air Force Academy?
It's one of the most selective colleges (tied for 5th place) in the US for people who want to be officers of the US Air Force (graduating as 2nd Lieutenants).

To be eligible to enter the Academy, a candidate must:
Be unmarried with zero dependents
Be of good moral character
Be at least 17 but no older than 23 by July 1st of that year
Be a citizen of the United States
Meet top leadership, academic, physical + medical standards (physical standards for example: pushups: 62 for men/41 for women; One mile run: 6:29 for men/7:30 for women....

Some interesting facts:
There is an 8:1 student faculty ratio!
Elevation: 7,258 feet above sea level
There are 30 programs of study!
Campus size is 18,500 acres making it the 2nd-largest campus (28.906 square miles or the size of Ann Arbor, Michigan!)
The class of 2020 was the first to graduate officers into the US Space Force.
There is an 11% acceptance rate + a 79% graduation rate.
October 7, 1975 (only 4 years before I was born) then-President Ford signed a law allowing females to study at service academies.  The first female entered the US Air Force Academy in 1976!
The first honor scandal happened in 1965 when more than 100 cadets were caught in a cheating ring.  All of them had to immediately leave.  There were similar scandals in '67, '72, '84, 04, and '07.

POP QUIZ!  Time to put on your thinking cap!
Two of our past presidents were airmen and graduated from this prestigious academy!  Can you guess?  Leave me a comment with your answer! 

The Cadet Honor Oath, located in the Honor Code Handbook:
We will not lie, steal or cheat, nor tolerate anyone among us who does.  Furthermore, I will resolve to do my duty and to live honorably, (so help me God).

Integrity first, Service before self, Excellence in all that we do

[Me] at the  Cadet Chapel on the Air Force Academy base.  Side note: I miss these REI sunnies so hard (playing TAPS in my head for these).  I have no idea what happened to them.  But per usual, in this photo, they are smeared with with sunscreen (such is my life with Euro skin in the desert).

When you visit, you cannot help but notice perhaps the coolest building on the entire campus...the Cadet Chapel.  Constructed in 1959, it's such an optical illusion!  Here are a few things to know about this chapel:

Completed in 1963, it took 4 years and $3.5 million in efforts...

The frame is constructed from 100 identical tetrahedrons weighing 5 tons a piece.

It's visible from the interstate over 25 miles away!

You probably would not want to attempt to pole vault over it.  OUCH!  Towering 150 feet into the Colorado blue skies, it has a total of 17 spires.  However, it was originally intended to have a total of 21.  Due to budget constraints when the construction began, the chapel was redesigned to have 17 total spires.

This bad boy hosts over half a millions visitors annually!

The Cadet Chapel has three levels and can host 5 services simultaneously (with separate entrances)!

The Cadet Chapel hosts an average of 100 cadet weddings post graduation.

At first the Chapel was highly controversial.  But, now it's well accepted.  The top floor is the Protestant chapel.  The middle floor is the Catholic chapel.  And, the lower floor houses a Muslim prayer room and the Jewish chapel which features the famous "Holocaust Scroll"...

The Cadet Chapel under construction, 1959
The interior!  WOW, no?

Okay, so if you've made it this far, let's dig into the cool stuff...

November 1, 2019, 500 drones met in the sky over Colorado Springs to produce a light show.  There were over 6,000 spectators 

Click here to see the light show!

Could the US government stage an alien invasion?  Ummmm, yea, did you click on that link?

Anyways, these drones weighed less than a pound and were covered in LED lighting:

Thanks for stopping in!  If you like my content, feel free to scroll all the way to the bottom of this blog and subscribe.  When you subscribe, you get any new content emailed directly to you!  However, please do not respond to the email (as it's powered by Blogger and will not get to me).  Feel free to leave me comments, though!  If you don't want your comment published, just let me know!

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Have a wonderful day, guys!  Stay hydrated by drinking water like a fat kid eats cake?  Can I even say that now?  I don't even know anymore...



Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The San Ysidro McDonald's Massacre...

A few days ago, I met a friend for a pitcher of margaritas to cool down from this crazy heat wave.  I also got random lobster tinted streaks on my upper thighs and lower torso while being completely engrossed in a book by the pool.  Usually I'm religious about sunscreen application so I'm not really sure what happened there.  Anyways, tequila + refrigerated lidocaine/aloe were the perfect prescription...  

Margaritas should spur on jovial conversation...however, my friend began recounting how he feels people have gotten way more aggressive and even violent over the past year.  Whether it be the craziness reported by the main stream media or the lockdowns, perhaps there is definitely a noticeable change in people these days (fights on airplanes are up 130% for instance).  Here in Colorado, we had the Boulder King Sooper's shooting earlier this year.  They are still investigating what prompted the unhinged gunman to enter that market and shoot innocent people, including an officer of the law.  It was a truly sad day.  And, apparently his family had seen some signs leading to this shooting rampage + had previously taken away his gun(s).  But, have people just recently gone mad, or have we always had madness in society?

[Me] Standing at San Ysidro Massacre Memorial located in front of South Western            Community College.

I recently visited the great state of California.  San Diego is, by far, my favorite city in California + a place I would seriously consider relocating.  It's so crazy to think one of the deadliest mass shootings by a lone gunman in US history happened in the San Ysidro neighborhood (a largely impoverished + Hispanic community located right next to the Mexico border) of San Diego at a McDonald's!  I was six years old when it all happened on a bloody Wednesday on July 18, 1984...a shooting rampage that lasted 77 minutes, killing 21 (+ an unborn baby and the gunman himself) and injuring 19.

The gunman, James Oliver Huberty, had confided in his wife, Etna Markland Huberty, just days earlier that he thought he had gone "mental."  A few days after that he reached out to the San Diego Mental Health Clinic requesting a telephone call back.  However, the operator logged the call as a non-crisis call (since Huberty had never before been hospitalized for mental health conditions --non-crisis calls were typically returned within 48 hours -- not to mention they misspelled his name).

Huberty sat by the phone patiently awaiting a return call that never happened.   Huberty had two daughters, ages 12 and 10.  The following days he took them to the park, the San Diego Zoo, watched a movie with his wife and acted otherwise normal (aside from his wife recalling comments like: "My life is over" + referring to the non-returned call from the mental health clinic: "Society had their chance," which she blew off at the time.  On Wednesday, after having lunch at McDonald's July 18th, after having lunch at McDonald's with his family, he walked into the bedroom wearing battle fatigues and kissed his wife + told her goodbye.  Then he said he was "going hunting...hunting for humans.  At the time Etna blew it off and didn't take him seriously.  Holding a gun and a box of ammunition he told his eldest daughter: "Goodbye I won't be back."

At 3:56 p.m., Huberty entered into the San Ysidro McDonald's in his Mercury Marquis (the restaurant was located only 200 yards from his apartment).  He thought about the post office and a few other places.  He perhaps settled on the McDonald's because there would be more victims.  He carried with him a 9mm Browning HP semi-automatic pistol, a 9mm Uzi, and a Winchester 1200 12 gauge pump action shot gun (along with a cloth bag packed with hundreds of rounds for each gun).

At the time there were 45 customers dining inside.  He yelled: "EVERYBODY ON THE GROUND!" and "Dirty swine, Vietnam assholes."  He kept saying he had, "killed a thousand and intended to kill a thousand more."  When a victim tried to reason with him, he shot him 14 times.  Huberty had never served in any branch of the military.  

A call was made to dispatch around 4 p.m. but officers were sent to the wrong McDonald's!  Meanwhile Huberty continued his rampage, stopping to turn the dial on the radio behind the counter.  He was trying to find coverage of the incident, but then he quickly turned it to music while he danced and continued shooting.

Finally at 5:17 p.m. an officer (Chuck Foster) got a clear enough shot.  Huberty was blown back to the counter with a gaping wound to his aorta, instantly killing him.  Before he was killed, he had fired a total of 257 rounds!  The saddest part was his victims ranged from 74 years old to as young as 4 months old.  Several children died at the hands of this madman (which didn't make sense since Huberty was a father himself).

The McDonald's was demolished later that year.  The land was donated to the City and later sold in 1988 to South Western Community College (with the agreement that the front of the property facing the road would be left vacant for a future memorial to the victims).  In 1990, a memorial was constructed by one of the students.  The memorial has 21 hexagons of different heights + sizes to represent the different ages of the victims.

The victims' families tried suing McDonald's.  But, the lawsuit was dismissed because McDonald's had no "duty of care" to protect patrons from an unforeseeable rampage at the hands of a lunatic.  Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald's offered to pay for all of the funerals -- even starting a survivors' fund.  Although, the survivors had to sue to get the funds released.  One thing to mention that was really distasteful - within 72 hours after the rampage (before it was decided to demolish the restaurant), McDonald's had completely refurbished and fixed the restaurant to reopen (almost like nothing had happened.)

Ray Kroc, Founder of McDonald's

Also, there was heavy discussion about the 77 minute response time by the SWAT team.  People argued the officers should stormed the restaurant.  The SWAT team could not see through the splintered plexiglass windows due to Huberty's rampage (which is what took so long to get a clear shot of Huberty).

"It was like they had just stopped in time.  All these bodies were lying around.  Heads were slumped on the table...the old man walking out was lying on the floor, donuts beside him.   The two kids were dead by their bikes; the infant was dead in the arms of the people...there were two burned hamburgers on the grill."
-Dr. Tom Neuman, UC San Diego Medical Center Life Flight Physician describing walking into the restaurant seeing the aftermath

What went wrong?  Were there signs that could have prevented this massacre?  What do we even know about Huberty?

At young age, he contracted polio and had to wear braces on his legs.  He walked with a limp for the remainder of his life.  Due to antisocial and awkward behavior, he was the target of severe bullying all through high school. 

Mad Hatter's Type Disease?
He had been an embalmer at a funeral home and worked with chemicals such formaldehydes.  He had also been a welder (like Marv Heemyer - if you read my "The Bulldozer Dude" post earlier this week).  His wife, after the massacre, sued not only the McDonald's but his previous employer where he had been a welder for decades.  She argued that he inhaled lead and other highly toxic and poisonous metals such as cadmium (found in his blood during his autopsy -- and also found in batteries + cigarettes -- see "Mad Hatter Disease" from Mercury poisoning).  Further, she complained that the company failed to provide her husband with reasonable respiratory protection -- causing fits of rage and delusional thoughts from the toxic metal inhilation.  The lawsuit was dismissed.

A History of Domestic Violence?
He had a history of domestic violence, holding a knife to his daughter's throat and beating his wife.  While his wife failed repeatedly to get Huberty in counseling, she did come up with a fake tarot card reading that seemed to de-escalate matters.  She recounted that he would come down from his mania after she performed a tarot reading and he would believe her "readings" wholeheartedly.

He had, at least on one occasion, held a gun to his head and threatened suicide in front of his family.  Having been laid off (which he blamed on the Feds), he feared he could not provide for his family.  He had also reported hearing voices, some telling him to kill himself.  Sadly, his wife would later state that she wished she had just let him go on with it [suicide]. 

Conspiracy Theorist?
Huberty was known to retaliate and keep a tally on his "enemies."  He also believed the Cold war was impending and Carter, Reagan and the US government were all conspiring against him.

Racial Motivations?
Although the massacre was not considered a hate crime, Huberty did not like being the only Anglo-American in his entire complex (which is odd since he moved to Tijuana years earlier).

ANSWER: Yes, there were signs, but hind site is always 20/20, isn't it?

What ever happened to Huberty's family?
They relocated under assumed names after receiving hoards of death threats.  Both Etna and Zelia expressed they never took any of his "ramblings" or threats seriously.  In 2003, Etna died of breast cancer.

Etna Huberty

Apparently there was a documentary released in 2016 called "77 Minutes" about this horrificly tragic incident.  I've not seen it, but I may check out Amazon Prime to see if it's available.

Remembering the victims of the San Ysidro McDonald's Massacre:

Killed inside restaurant:

Elsa Herlinda Borboa-Firro, 19 years old
Neva Denise Caine, 22 years old
Michelle Deanne Carncross, 18 years old
Maria Elena Colmenero-Silva, 19 years old
Gloria Lopez Gonzalez, 22 years old
Blythe Rega Herrera, 31 years old
Caludia Perez, 9 years old
Jose Ruben Lozano-Perez, 19 years old
Carlos Reyes, 8 months old
Jackie Lynn Wright Reyes, 18 years old
Victor Maxmillian Rivera, 25 years old
Matao Herrera, 11 years old
Arisdeli Vuelvas-Vargas, 31 years old
Hugo Luis Velazquez Vasquez, 45 years old
Laurence Herman Versluis, 62 years old
Paulina Quino Lopez, 21 years old
Margarita Padilla, 18 years old

Killed outside the restaurant:

David Flores Delgado, 11 years old
Omarr Alonso Hernandez, 11 years old
Miguel Victoria-Ulloa, 74 years old
Aida Velazquez Victoria, 69 years old

The Memorial in daylight, decorated for the 35th anniversary (July 18, 2019) and in memoriam of the victims of that horrific grim day in history.

Thank you for visiting.  I hope you learned something new.  

Have a lovely rest of the week + drink plenty of water!  It's supposed to get up to 100 today here in Colorado!


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