Friday Bag o’ Brimley

brimley bagI’m not going to be coy: my blood sugar started inching up a few years ago; this year it crossed a line and my doctor says I now have type 2 diabetes. At my age I’m probably in for the duration.

It’s totally on me, of course. I couldn’t feel guiltier if, after years of unprotected anal sex, I’d contracted AIDs. I couldn’t feel more shame if I’d gotten hepatitis from mainlining horse with a dirty needle. I judge people whose diseases are the wages of sin. Now you can judge me.

But then I’ve always been one to come down hard on myself for weaknesses of body or mind. The weakness in my case is my love of good food, and, over the past few years, a sweet tooth I never had before.

Time to pay the piper. Diet, medication, exercise. Forty years back, I quit smoking (the hardest physical addiction I’ve ever overcome). Eleven years ago I gave up alcohol (easy by comparison). I can do this too. The good thing is I’ve been losing weight, and other than sore joints (I need to have my second knee replaced) have been feeling great.

TMI? Well, it’s my blog. I don’t do a lot of self-confession here, but I try to be honest.


Donna and I went to the Goldwater Range with a group of air museum docents a couple of weeks ago, where we watched a flight of four F-16s from Luke AFB practice bombing and strafing. The friend who organized the trip took some great photos, far better than mine. I’ll share two here:

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Nickel Two on a strafing pass (100 rounds per second coming out of the gun, and one is visible if you look hard)

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Our group in front of the range tower (Donna and I are on the right, last row)

There were outdoor speakers on the range tower and we were able to listen to radio calls between the F-16 pilots and the range officer. The Vipers, out of Luke AFB in Phoenix, used the “Nickel” callsign, the same one I used when I flew 555th TFS “Triple Nickel” F-15s on the same range in 1978. The 555th left Luke for Aviano AB in Italy in the 1990s, but it remains a part of Luke AFB’s legacy, which must be why they still use the callsign. I’m pretty certain the pilot in my friend’s photo, above, is Nickel Two, the one female pilot in the flight. Kinda hard to tell with the helmet and mask, though.


I sat down at 7:00 AM to check Google News for the latest headlines. Now it’s 8:30 and I haven’t walked Mr. B yet. Here he is yesterday, smelling the flowers. Such a refined gentleman.

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Wild rosemary grows everywhere in our neighborhood, and he loves to sniff that, too.


Much as I hate the Kims and the horror dystopia they’ve created in North Korea, I’m (naively?) encouraged by yesterday’s meeting between Kim Jong Un and South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in. Bootlickers are already talking up a Nobel for Trump, who as far as I can see is piggybacking on something started by North and South Korea (and encouraged by China) months ago, but bootlickers gonna do what they do, and I’m trying to keep an even keel here at Paul’s Thing, so I’ll just say this: fuck Trump.


One of our dearest friends retires today and we’re having her over for dinner. I’m making Salade Niçoise with ingredients I bought yesterday: Boston lettuce, small potatoes, tuna, Greek olives, anchovies, Roma tomatoes, green beans, hard boiled eggs, and a vinaigrette. If I skimp on the potatoes, dinner should be well within the parameters of my new diet. But here I am thinking of myself when I should be thinking of our friend, finally able to enjoy the fruits of her lifelong labors. Congratulations, Mary Anne!

© 2018, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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1 comment to Friday Bag o’ Brimley

  • Bob Clarke

    Looks like a great visit to the Goldwater Range!
    Back in the Late Jurassic (abt 1968) I was able to join a group of fellow AFROTC cadets from ASU up the road in Tempe on a trip to the Gila Bend range (as it was called then). It was terrific! There were miltiple flights of F-100s from Luke & Tucson, German F-104s, and F-5s from Willy. All real classicd. The F-5 was like a mongoose – very manueverable!
    Almost sad to be moving to New England! ? Family calls.

    Take Care,

    Bob Clarke

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