Sunday, November 15, 2009

Video Tribute to Frank Forgione

Frank Forgione was not only the "father of the U.S. Navy Showband"--he was the father of a devoted son who has created a video tribute to his father.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Credit where credit is due

I got my first credit card in the mid-80s and was immediately surprised by how little security is involved in the typical transaction. You whip out your card, scan it, sign it and walk away from the counter with your six-pack of Bud or gallon of paint. Maybe a clerk asks you for I.D. Maybe she compares your signature with that on your driver's license.

Those are big maybes. Usually, the clerk is busy chatting with her friend at the next register or silently counting the minutes until his shift ends. Osama bin Laden could present a credit card stolen from Bernie Madoff, sign it "Adolf Hitler" and the clerk would hand him his bag of Fritos and say, "Have a nice day."

It was in protest against such sloppy security that in the mid-1980s I started signing credit card receipts with the name of my old shipmate from San Francisco and Newport, Fred Muzer. Not once in the quarter of a century during which I've been doing this has a 7-11 clerk, airline ticket agent or musical instrument dealer (I once bought a $4,000 upright piano in Fred's name) noticed that the only thing my signature has in common with my name is the initials.   

I keep meaning to let my old friend know that I've been on a charge-it-to-Fred shopping spree since 1986. Fred, I know you read this blog now and then, so if you ever get some inexplicable charges on your monthly credit card statements from stores in the Midwest (I'm writing this on a powerful and pricey Mac that "Fred Muzer" bought from a dealer in Fort Wayne, Indiana) don't panic. It's just me and my one-man crusade to improve credit card security. 

Sorry to drag you into this.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Veteran's Day card for all of us.

I'll be a few minutes late for work, but I want to share this with you.

I was on my way out the door, feeling bad that I haven't put up a Veteran's Day post here. All over the web you can find stirring speeches, videos and songs in support of America' veterans past and present. That's the problem--there's too much on the menu.

I noticed the mail had arrived, and amongn the flyers for Veteran's Day sales at the local bigbox stores was a letter from the Browns, my neighbors across the street.

Inside was a card signed by the parents, sons and grandchild, my good neighbors I see every day. The  card says, "All across our country, our flag still waves, its heart and sould stronger than ever. And beneath its proud colors, America stands together--because of you."

It's nice, sure, when someone goes out of their way to thank you like that. But in this case, there's an added bit of emotion that's tangling me up right now: three of the four sons in this family are members of the Illinois National Guard. Young soldiers who are volunteering to do their part in serving our country, keeping us safe and, I hope, helping maintain our important image as a great nation--these kids are thanking me.

As I think about my father and grandfather, both naval officers who served during our worlds greatest wars, I start to understand. It's important to thank all who have marched before us.

So I'm sharing this card with all of you, shipmates. If those in uniform wish to thank us. let's accept those thanks with humility and gratitude that traditions endure.

Sorry for any misspellings--I'm late for work.