Off Topic: An announcement and Swag Time!

Very excited, maybe too excited to make this announcement.  Frank’s Place just got it’s own FaceBook page.  You can find it here Frank’s Place or click the link on the right side of the page. From now on all posts from the blog will appear on that page.  Some other features will pop up as we get rolling.  Head on over there and give us a click on the old “Like” button.  To quote the world’s greatest pastor, “It’ll  change your life.”

In honor of this monumental achievement we are bringing back a fan favorite: the Frank’s Place T-shirt give away.

That’s right, we sold off a few of our Obama phones on eBay, cashed in some food stamps with a dude named Warren who hangs by the gas pumps at our Kroger, dropped our health care coverage, and we’re dirty with cash once more.  So we’re spreadin the wealth.

The hot Christmas item this year

The hot Christmas item this year

Here is the smart looking shirt and current logo of Frank’s Place.  Shirts come in men’s and women’s sizes.

We have used a few different formats to pick winners in the past.  This month we’re going with a tried and true method. Randomness.  I gave Frank a list of the legions of people who follow and comment here at Frank’s Place and he randomly selected 4 lucky winners.  He may have just been reaching for some M&Ms or as he calls them “nems”.  Who knows? Either way his sugar induced shakes caused his hand to land on 4 winners.

As I have said before this is not some dumb reality show that creates a stupid crescendo only to go to commercial right before announcing the big thing.  We get right to it.  The winners are as follows:

New follower, non-blogger division: John Harris, USA!

John is a total newbie to Frank’s Place, having just signed up by e-mail 8 short days ago.  In less than 2 weeks John has hit it big at Frank’s Place.

Congrats John.  Get me your T-shirt size and I’ll chuck one on your porch.

Full disclosure, Harris is my next door neighbor.  Gotta keep peace in the hood.

Longtime Friend of Frank’s Place, E-mail division: George Wessler, USA!

George has been following and commenting at Frank’s Place and at Unfiltered/Unfettered, my political blog/podcast for over a year now.  A retired US Air Force Master Sargent, and Aircraft Hydraulic Systems Specialist, Wessler is living the good life as he so richly deserves. Now he can do it in a fancy t-shirt. Size and shipping address to franknfran0967@gmail.com please George.

Longtime Follower, Blogger Division: Chef Mimi – parts unknown!  You can catch her righteous food/cooking blog here: http://chefmimiblog.com/ If you can’t cook, go read her blog. If you can cook, go read her blog.  Either way you’ll learn something.  T-shirt size and shipping address to franknfran0967@gmail.com please Chef.

Frequent Commenter, Non-suscriber Division: Lisa Edwards, USA!  Lisa normally links to us from Facebook. For a non-subscriber she is one of most loyal followers, and for that Lisa we thank you.  T-shirt size and shipping address to franknfran0967@gmail.com please.

If you haven’t guessed by now, the categories are made up by me after Frank picks the names.  So if you feel like your particular group is underrepresented, don’t, it’s not.

To be eleigible you must be either a member of Frank’s Place by submitting your e-mail in the space provided under Get It Fresh Off The Belt! or be a frequent commenter.  

Get your name on the list somehow.  

Don’t miss out!

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Kathy’s Krew: Cause good causes never stop being good.

The dollars, always the dollars: Kathy’s Krew

Joe Pesci had it right in Casino. Ultimately it always comes down to money.

Yeah it’s a beg for money. Not claiming I won’t say some funny or wildly inappropriate crap on the way to the big ask, but at the end of the day, I’m asking for a donation. The beauty in this deal is I won’t be calling you at dinner time, hiding behind a caller ID that masks my true identity as a solicitor, and I’m not some obscure charity.

Nope this one is all too real and all too personal.

The Warden getting her walking papers from the radiation team.  Nice robe bro.

The Warden getting her walking papers from the radiation team. Nice robe bro.

This is my little sister Kathy. We call her The Warden. She’s the youngest of the 8 of us but for some reason when you say, “You’re not the boss of me” and she replies “Yes I am” – you believe her. Hence The Warden. Anyway, she is a breast cancer survivor. So far she’s kicking cancer in the ass. Even though I used to beat her ass when we were kids and would act out the WWF Wrestling we watched from The Spectrum in Philadelphia way too long ago, she’s tougher than me.

 

 

 

The kid whisperer with Frank and The Warden's son Nicholas

The Kid Whisperer with Frank and The Warden’s son Nicholas

This is my brother-in-law Bob. He’s one of the nicest, kindest guys you will ever meet. Never stops working. Works a little too hard if you ask me, but hey I think we’ve established my laziness already. Bob is also a pet/baby whisperer.  Not kidding. Bob can calm any animal, any baby. They all take to him immediately.  He really is a regular Dr. Doolittle and whatever the equivalent for kids would be. Bob was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma (ALL) in 2010. He has been kicking cancer’s ass for a while now. He is a survivor too. He’s tougher than me too.

Now beside the cool nicknames and the survivor thing, they have another thing in common. They are the Lilliputians of our family. They’re tiny. Those pictures aren’t to scale, they’re life size. (not really) As it turns out, the smallest amongst my giant family, (8 kids, 7 spouses, 10 grandkids) happen to be the biggest ass kickers.

This small person/big ass kicker thing might be a new evolution of the human species. Read Lisa Haffner’s blog for an incredible story of a another pint sized woman who has been beating cancer about the head and face since she was like 11. Lisa Haffner is something special. She lost her leg as a child and is still kicking cancer in the ass. I continue to be amazed by this women’s will and fortitude.

Celebrating a deuce.

Celebrating a deuce.

Update Feb 28 2014: Lisa has since gone terminal but you would never know it. She was told she had 6 months to live…. 13 months ago. The picture to the left is of Little Lisa Lollipop and her husband Juan. That ain’t a gang sign they’re throwin. It’s to celebrate her first normal poop in quite some time. Yeah cancer struggles and victories come down to the smallest of battle fields.

Life’s not fair. Some people are just blessed with more grace and more smarts and more toughness than the rest of us. Lisa is one of those people who just squeezes every ounce out of life no matter the circumstances. Do yourself one favor this morning and read her blog. little lisa lollipop

The other commonality The Warden and The Kid Whisperer share is they both decided to take their survivor-ability on the road. They started a team to raise funds and awareness.  Their first Relay for Life event is June 13th in Linwood, New Jersey.

And yeah we have arrived at the moment.

The big ask.

The squeeze.

The pimpin.

The gratuitous beggin for your hard earned greenbacks.

Now do yourself another favor.

Donate.

Go to my sister Kathy’s Relay for Life web site and donate: Kathy’s Krew  If you see the same picture of her in that smart looking hospital gown, you’re in the right spot.  She has set a goal of 5 large, or $5,000 for you non street people. They are making progress but they are not quite half way there. This reminds me, she’s also a Bon Jovi stalker so you might see her quote some of his musical offerings on her page; another indicator you are on the correct web site.

Frank’s Place has already ponied up 50 bones, (again, a street term for money). Don’t be left behind. Drop a few nickels in the tip jar and join two of the smallest ass kickers I know in the fight against cancer.

They ought to put that on the t-shirt: Kathy’s Krew – Ass Kickers for Hire.

I’d wear one.

Off Topic: It’s a Major Award!!

It’s a Liebster Award!

It's a Major Award!

It’s a Major Award!

What’s a Liebster Award, well I’m glad you asked. You may not be so glad you did.

Liebster is a German word meaning sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.  That might be the top 12 words that are exactly opposite of me.  Yes I am aware those that know me are wondering how in the hell I won this.  More on that later. It is granted to up and coming bloggers with fewer than 200 followers who deserve some recognition.

A great blogger, Chef Mimi, put me up for this, and I gladly accept.  Thanks Mimi.  If you like food, and like experimenting in the kitche, you need to peep her blog.  Find Mimi here: Chef Mimi.  I’m telling you, if you like to throw down in the kitchen, Chef’s blog is where you need to be.

Ok now to the formal stuff.  It’s not just the wild west out here in blogger land, we have a thing called the rule of law.  Read now the rules of the Liebster Award.

1. Link back and thank those that nominated me.
2. Answer 11 random questions about myself and/or tell seven random facts.
3. Nominate 5 other bloggers and link them to the award in their comments section.

See the link to Chef Mimi above.

Here are the questions, along with my answers, Mimi posed to me.

1. What is something you’ve always wanted to cook or bake but never have? – A nice Cannoli

2. What country have you always wanted to experience? – Italy/England

3. Are you red wine or white wine? – nondrinker

4. Sweet or savory? – Savory

5. What’s your favorite cheese? – Mozzarella

6. Do you have a dream camera? – Any camera not pointed at me

7. Winter or summer? – Summer (can’t golf in winter)

8. Do you have a favorite food? – Sesame Chicken

9. If you could photograph a famous person, who would it be? – Tiger Woods

10. If you could hire any famous chef to cook for you, who would it be? – Chef Mimi

11. Would you ever want to be on a cooking tv show? – Oh yeah, I’d go on Cake Boss in a second.

 

I’m gonna go off menu, like Chef did, and only nominate 1 blogger for the Liebster.

For my nomination, it’s gotta go to longtime friend of Frank’s Place, Elvira at First Time Mom.

 

I had several blogs in mind, but it’s hard to tell who’s under the 200 subscriber mark. The rules of the Liebster shan’t be taken lightly.   So First Time Mom, if you have more than 200, my bad.

But congrats anyway!

And here are the questions for you to answer.  Don’t remember where I stole these from.

  1. What’s one of your favorite books from childhood?
  2. What are you reading right now? 
  3. What’s a go-to meal you make on busy weeknights? 
  4. Favorite thing to do in your free time? 
  5. Favorite season? 
  6. Favorite magazine? 
  7. Favorite author? 
  8. Favorite teacher (and why)? 
  9. 4 Presidents, living or dead, you would invite to dinner.  
  10. Do you prefer reading short stories or novels?  

 

 

Edward Vincent Devlin Jr. – A profile of a great American

Edward Vincent Devlin Jr.

Edward Vincent Devlin Jr.

In 1992 I was fortunate enough to meet Senator John McCain and the then surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen.  It was at an Air Force Sergeants’ Association banquet in Indianapolis, Indiana.  As a young airman myself, only 4 years into a 22 year career, I was more than a little star struck.  I remember thinking how awesome it was, the chance to meet such great Americans.

What an idiotic thought that was.

Now don’t get me wrong, those men were and are great Americans and their service to this country and their contribution to our freedom may go unmatched.  The idiotic part was thinking I had not already met some great Americans.  Even dumber was the implied premise I had constructed that you had to have grand achievements and be noticed by a bunch of people in order to be considered a great American.

Mr. Devlin blows that premise out of the water.  To most of you this matters not a bit, and that’s ok.  Really no way you could know who he is, or why I consider him to be a great American.  But if you read on I’ll tell you who he is and why he is.

I met Kevin Devlin, or Duffy as we called him, when I started working in the Sears hardware department, back in Jersey, in 1985.  Man, Duff was a different dude.  Respectful to a fault, always on time, never left early, work hard from punch in to punch out (time cards kids – look it up), and the most conscientious kid you will ever meet.  Sadly those qualities made you standout, as they were not the norm in that joint.  The manager introduced me to Kevin and later told me she doesn’t mess with the stockroom, Kevin has it squared and we like it that way.  I said, “He looks like he’s only 12.” She said “17, but that’s ok, he’s the best worker in the place and he’s all ours.”

It took six weeks of Air Force basic training for me to learn the labels for the traits that made Kevin a “different dude”: character, honesty, leadership, followership, desire to do well just to do well.  Duff has those in spades.  I had seen them before, in my old man, just didn’t know what they were called.  I also learned in those six weeks at Lackland AFB that people don’t come by those traits by accident.  They are taught and they are learned and hopefully they are applied.  Ed Devlin had taught his youngest son well.

So Mr. Devlin taught the kid to be a stand up guy, respectful and respected.  What else did he do?  Oh nothing really, other than serve his country almost the entirety of his adult life.

A United States Marine, Mr. Devlin served in Korea with distinction during the war. After getting home he became a New Jersey State Trooper.  He served the state of New Jersey as a Trooper for 31 years retiring as a Lieutenant.  During that time he, along with his wife, raised a family of 7 kids: the afore mentioned Kevin, two more boys and four daughters.

He sought no fame, no fortune.  He chased no excess.  He gave and he served.

Some of you may be saying, so what, a lot of people do this, what makes him great?

Good question.

Answer: All of it.

The people who tend to get labeled great are such because of their ability on a court or field, or because of their acquisition of enormous wealth.  Some get that label for just being born into families of athletes or millionaires and somehow become famous for no apparent reason and we are left scratching our heads asking why.  For some it seems the more bizarre the circumstances surrounding their tragic and untimely death, the higher the pedestal they are put on, the more notoriety they receive.  This appears to be society’s definition of great.

I’m tired of that definition.

Mr. Devlin never asked for applause, limelight, or tried to put his kids birth pics on the cover of People Magazine for a hefty sum.  He built a life, raised a family, served his fellow man, and taught his kids to do the same.

This is what greatness should look like.  This is how we should define it.  These are the people who should be celebrated.  This is what we should strive for I think.

Look through that lens and I bet you know a lot more great Americans than you thought.  When you think of someone fitting that definition you should tell people, people should know it and we should celebrate them.

Edward Vincent Devlin Jr. is a Marine, a father, and a great American and I think people should know it.

Semper Fidelis or Semper Fi, the Latin term for Always Faithful, is the common exchange between Marines when they come and go in combat or everyday life.  I’m not a Marine so I’ve not earned the right.  I’ll close with an Air Force tradition when one of ours takes their final flight to the heavens.

Blue Skies Mr. Devlin

Off Topic: We’re back!

One of the questions I get the most when people find out I’m retired from the Air Force at such a young age is “Do you miss it?”  I can honestly say that I don’t.  I have a lot of things going on, raising kids, blogging here at Frank’s Place, trying to get a book published, etc… that I don’t really miss it after 22 years of service.  Every once in a while I miss certain aspects of it, and that usually stems from running into guys or girls I served with and start tripping down memory lane.

One of those trips down memory lane prompted me to move my political blogging that I used to do here, to a new site with an old friend from my Air Force days, Tony Hupp.  It’s called Unfiltered and Unfettered: The World Explained – by Us.  It’s politics, but it’s a lot of social and cultural stuff too.

There you can read Tony’s take down of the ridiculous 32oz soda ban in NY, Tony’s take down of the word police and political correctness, Tony’s take down of the haters attacking Victoria Secret ads and lingerie shows.  In short, aggravate The Tony at your peril.  Oh, I did a pretty decent, (if I do say so – and I do), takedown of PETA.

Tony and I met as instructors at the Noncommissioned Officers Academy in Knoxville Tennessee.  After a few years we ended up in the same branch of the Academy doing broadcast work for the Air National Guard’s Warrior Network.  It was all about distance learning, live interactive education programs, etc.

Tony was the gold standard of live educational broadcasting and I was fortunate enough to learn from and co-anchor the desk with him for two+ years.  We were live on the air four hours a night, two nights a week, for about seven months out of the year.  No commercials either.

Live television was the best thing I ever did in the Air Force.  Except for that time I got lost in the jungle in Panama and walked into a gorilla’s dumping ground and then got chased by fire ants while I was trying to pee, but that’s a different story.

Well a new trip down military memory lane has spawned a new idea and a new venture.

So it turns out we have both been missing our time on the air, and after my friend Kevin said we should get back to that somehow, we figured out a way.  We started a pod cast.

Uh wut?

Yeah man, a podcast!

Tony and I have decided to take to the airwaves.  Again.

So live, (well, previously recorded really), from The Monolith, Studio 1B it’s UNfiltered and UNfettered: The World Explained – by Us.

We have mics and everything.  see.

The Snowball, from Blue Microphones

The Snowball, from Blue Microphones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah strictly audio…. for now.  I’m working on Hupp to get back on TV.  We’ll see.

We finished the first show Thursday night, Tony is editing, and it should be posted at our joint blog Unfiltered & Unfettered, Friday or Saturday.

You’ll hear my views on the game with-in the game surrounding the Kerry nomination, our views on the inauguration speech, and a lively debate on Hill-dogg’s Benghazi testimony.  Plus some fun stuff too.  And that’s just the first episode.

So if you’re tired of reading our stuff, just come for the listen.  Then drop us an e-mail at theunmail@yahoo.com and tell us what you thought, think or might be thinking. Comments, questions, debate welcome.  We’ll even answer them on an upcoming podcast.

Come back Friday or Saturday and hear what two old, retired, military guys sound like when they complain about everything.

That’s some quality weekend entertainment right there.

Don’t miss it!

Statler & Waldorf or Hupp and Linardo.  Who knows?

Statler & Waldorf or Hupp & Linardo. Who knows?

 

 

Flag half mast

 

 

Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Matthew 11: 28 – 30