WHEW!!  After 2 long weeks of hanging out in a variety of honkytonks, sports bars, waterfront dives and any other venue we could locate which offered the critical combination of chicken wings, Margaritas and Wi-Fi, my technical support staff has finally completed rebuilding and uploading our website.  There were a few moments during which she was heading for the rails in an attempt to abandon ship which sent me scrambling to find more enticing locales which would keep her working.

After arriving in Phoenix and dropping our urban assault vehicle off at the body shop to have the forward armor plating reinforced against the approaching rigors of traversing the California freeway system, I treated her to a relaxing sun-filled day of “lounging” around the pool at the Chaparral Resort in Scottsdale.  Coincidentally we discovered that Wi-Fi is available in the pool area.  I was dumbfounded…

When in the Phoenix area we always stay at the Tempe Elks Lodge.   We had no idea that they were going to replace their 2-ton air conditioning units with evaporative coolers on this particular day.  We arrived just in time to see this departing A/C unit precariously dangling from a nylon strap about 5 feet above the roof of our home.  As if the sight itself was not a coronary inducer, the guy in front of the crane truck running around with hands on his head screaming, “Go left, go left, go left…” had my normally stoic bunkie as rigid as if struck by the curse of Medusa and me trying to remember the signs of a stroke…STAT: smile, talk, arms, tongue (check to see that a person can smile evenly, talk in coherent sentences, raise both arms and stick out his or her tongue).  Although our home survived this experience unscathed, I discovered my first grey hair the next morning and my bride decided to throw culinary caution to the wind...

We can’t wait to find out what Ian plans to do for Tim’s seventeenth birthday!!  Perhaps a pleasant afternoon of diving with great white sharks in the Farralon Islands near San Francisco is in order.  We’ll let y’all know when we do.  Hugs, C&K.

His “handle” was immediately changed from Lazy Bear to Lunch Bucket in reference to a flight maneuver which occasionally results in one’s lunch in their lap instead of their belly.  All things considered, I think they had a good time…

The Pollack Cinema has a pretty neat interior for a discount theater, huh?!  Oh yeah, we ended up seeing “Tangled,” the story of Rapunzel, and enjoyed it so much that we bought the DVD for our grandkids. 

We arrived home that afternoon to this…

Tim had disgorged himself from seat belt, safety harness and parachute and hit the ground before the prop stopped spinning or taking the time to return his tray table and seat back to the upright position.  Ian’s hasty retreat from the cockpit was slightly delayed when the ground crew refused to let him off the wing until he collected the abundance of sushi-filled barf bags scattered throughout the cockpit…

When Saint Paddy’s Day arrived I was determined to make amends to my long-suffering technical staff for the unexpected discovery of Wi-Fi at the Chaparral Resort which resulted in her day of relaxation quickly eroding into just another of hours-long staring at a computer screen wrestling with obnoxious website protocols and the less-than-helpful technical team at Go Daddy.com.  Though I am completely without guilt in the aforementioned fiasco, I nonetheless determined that she should enjoy the best day I could provide quaffing Irish ale with corned beef and cabbage served by an appropriately attired Irish lass at an authentic Irish pub…

Both Tim and his aircraft approached the coming battle with a look of grit and determination while Ian mustered all of the courage possible in an airplane equipped with pop-up barf bags and sporting recent dental work on its cowling…

I occasionally overwhelm myself with the sacrifices I’m willing to make for my travelling companion’s enjoyment.

Several years had passed since we last attended a movie and my bride, quite frugal by nature, had been waiting patiently for a particular movie to come to a discount theater.   Her patience was rewarded when she discovered “Dirty Harry” in a $3 movie theater in Phoenix which offered “Two Dollar Tuesdays;” however, she made this discovery on Wednesday so we had to wait until the following Tuesday to see a movie we didn’t really want to see because “Dirty Harry” ended on Monday…

Unbeknownst to our airborne crusaders, the earlier unceremonious dismissal of the school’s only “enemy” pilot forced them to make a substitution “on the fly,” so to speak, enlisting the assistance of a couple of other aircraft to act as “the enemy”…

(If ye happen to be keepin’ score, matey: ‘Tis Ian to port, meself, me mate, Bev, Hoop, and Terry to starboard)   The one redeeming feature about pirates is our willingness to turn any chance meeting of fellow misfits into a raucous night of great food, Rum Swizzles and the re-telling of tall tales of past glories, dubious conquests and unbridled debauchery…

Hoop is actually the head magilla with the railroad in the Panama Canal Zone and I can only imagine that this Grand Canyon exposure is the origin of the adage, “Is this any way to run a railroad?

Ian and his son, Tim, had come to Phoenix from Vancouver, Canada to celebrate Tim’s sixteenth birthday with a father/son behind the scenes tour of Hooters and a day at one of the local gun ranges firing all of the various weapons declared illegal in Canada, including ALL firearms, bows, arrows, lances, spears, slingshots and a variety of underarm deodorants and feminine hygiene products…

The Heart Attack Grill is located at 6185 West Chandler Blvd in Chandler, Arizona and is a must see on your next visit to Phoenix; or coming soon, to Dallas, Texas

As luck would have it, we happened to be in Phoenix during the same time frame as 4 of our former shipmates from our days of piracy in the warm azure waters of the Caribbean…

After a few hours of weapons testing and with the aroma of cordite still lingering in their nostrils, our team of soon-to-be novice pilots struck out for the Mesa-Gateway airfield and aerial combat school...

That’s Ian between the full moons and Hoop sans cutlass, which seems to be a pretty common occurrence…

 Phun In Phoenix                                                           March 31, 2011

After several years of my pleading, cajoling and finally begging, my bride agreed to go with me to the Heart Attack Grill just down the road from Tempe in Chandler.   Somewhat like Hooters and the Tilted Kilt, the Heart Attack Grill hires a particular type of “nurse” to see to the needs of their “patients”…

We on the ground are not entirely certain as to what transpired in the skies above us during the following moments.  Ian’s and Tim’s were the only planes we were able to see and both were performing maneuvers beyond the mechanical and aerodynamic ability of their aircraft as live machine-gun fire and air-to-air missiles raced past them leaving fiery contrails and sonic booms in their wake.  Their pre-planned 60 minute flight ended after only 4 minutes and both, it seemed, were quite happy to return to earth…

It was unfortunate for our delirious duo that Hoop had also signed up for the same training in the flight immediately preceding theirs and his poor showing in aerial combat threatened to destroy the school’s reputation of turning out “Top Gun” caliber dogfighters.  His record for the six highly choreographed and scripted combat scenarios was one victory, one loss and 4 surrenders before a shot was ever fired.  He considered himself lucky to have survived the experience…

His instructor was immediately declared incompetent and frog-marched from the runway

Meanwhile, Ian and Tim, having been in the “ready room” receiving final instructions for their flight had no knowledge of Hoop’s unremarkable performance and the inglorious exile of the school’s top instructor.  Emerging from the pilot’s lounge and sushi bar, they climbed into their aircraft and taxied toward their mutual destiny…

Their menu consists of burgers and fries, milkshakes, beer and coke.  The burgers are 1 to 4 half-pound patties affectionately called single, double, triple or quadruple “bypass burgers;” the fries are cooked in lard and offered as all you can eat from a “fries bar” (in lieu of a salad bar); the milkshakes are made with butterfat; their only soft drink is regular Coke, no diet or other flavors; and if you want a beer, it’s Pabst Blue Ribbon or nothing.  You can’t share your food.  They have no doggie bags.  They don’t do “take-out.”  All the “patients” wear hospital gowns and ID bracelets and they offer “Taste worth dying for.”   This place is the ultimate man cave…