Shinybass journal entry 06-06-12
And they don’t THINK they are heroes…
D-Day, the 6th of June. It was called D-day, because for some reason the Military emphasized the event, like H-Hour, D-Day, T-Tank, etc, But Operation Overlord was a bit more important than just any old O-Operation. It was the catalyst to finally end the war. Imagine the world- the entire world -at war. Imagine what that would look like in today’s terms. Let’s say the billion or so people in China and India, respectively joined up and wanted to fight us. Well, of course, it won’t happen now because of the economic implications, but the world against itself would be a scary thing – especially since weapons have become a little more scary in the past 70 years.
I have always said that I was born 50 years too late. I could have been 21 when the war broke out, and tried my best to fly PBY Catalinas or like many other pilots, who were checked out on a number of classic aircraft. Sadly, my life expectancy would have gone down to nil if I were in an airplane in WWII. I learned this past week that we lost over 4000 B-17s in the war, each with 10 man crews. Over 40,000 men died just in bombing raids. When you meet a WWII vet (or any vet), shake their hand and thank them for their service. They aren’t going to be around forever, and the extra 10 seconds is much-deserved.
I don’t know why WWII resonates so loudly with me. Like you, I had a score of relatives that either signed up or were drafted, so maybe it’s the family connection. Maybe it’s because there really is something heroic about our country at that time – the Greatest Generation. Maybe it’s because I really, really like old planes. Either way, it seems that over the past 10 years I have seen an awful lot of vintage aircraft and museums, and I love every chance I get.
But before we go back, we must go back. To this past weekend. Off to California, where we headlined the Temecula Hot Air Balloon and Wine Festival. That’s a mouthful. Maybe they should call it like the ‘Rich Folks Getting Together in a Beautiful Setting’ Festival. Because it was. Temecula is an interesting little place. It has a lot of wineries, but then there is an Old Town that boasts bars and touristy shops, etc., which made for a fine afternoon of exploring. The Temecula Olive Oil Company is a must-see (and must taste), and although I didn’t eat in Old Town, it seemed like there was no shortage of food offerings. I love being the headliner – the stage, the feel of the show, everything is much different than if we were a support act. We can loosen up a bit on the bigger stages, too. Another plus was that two of the boys from Lifehouse were hanging out that night (they were playing the next night), so we had a few laughs at the taxpayers’ expense.
With the wining (whining) behind us, we headed to Palm Springs for a day off. This meant driving through the high desert, which was a picturesque and enjoyable 90 minutes, but the real treat came when we touched down at our hotel Or should I say resort. We were at a swanky little place that was the playground for the rich and entitled. The pool was dubbed ‘Silicone Saturday’, and it seems that the only thing these people have to do is work out and get plastic surgery. It was so jam packed in the pool, I can’t even imagine that it was remotely refreshing. It looked like the watering hole in on the African Savannah with all the different species vying for water and space, and the water’s tint was not a happy resort-blue. Needless to say the family pool was OK with us, and with much less Affliction gear.
When I have a little time off, I am always searching for the ‘thing’ to do – and usually I don’t know until a few minutes beforehand, which adds to the adventure. I will say that the internet has helped my search for things to get into, and for the (very specific) locations. I’ll explain – we had a morning that touched on the macabre. We visited a cemetery. I don’t mind cemeteries, especially old ones, but this one was fairly new. The reason we visited was pretty surreal – we went to see Frank Sinatra’s grave. It’s very simple and unlike what you would think, but it’s classy, and honestly, what more do you need? He’s buried next to his parents and his friends, which is nice, too. I honestly couldn’t believe I was standing there, which sounds funny, but it was Frank. The Chairman of the Board. And in a similar note, Sonny Bono is buried there as well. He’s got a nice shady spot. I was jealous, but not THAT jealous. Anyways, the internet search helped find the spots in a sea of granite, which was helpful.
The internet also helped me find another big highlight of the day, which was the Pam Springs WWII Aviation museum. Now we’re getting somewhere. The interesting thing about this place is that there are no ropes around the planes. It’s a ‘please touch’ museum, but the planes are still operable. There were 3 hangars of historic amazingness, and the kicker was that the docents are all WWII vets. If you need the real stories, and more information than what’s on the placard, then this place is for you. Special thanks to Col. Tom for the incredible history/world lessons, and for your service. I met a true hero that day. Tom was in WWII, Korea, and in Vietnam. Put that in your pipe.
The car above was originally built for the Japanese ambassador. Yeah, we sort of kept that. The big, lumbering, gorgeous airplane behind it is the PBY, which is a seaplane used for reconnaissance and picking up people from the water. The one on the right is a P-51 Mustang, painted in the scheme of the Tuskegee Airmen. Jeff and I also forked over the extra cash to be inside of the B-17, which is in the 3rd hangar. Still children, we are.
And all this was before noon. On a show day. We sure do pack a lot in, don’t we? We played a big radio event at the Jackaloupe ranch restaurant, a 40 million dollar (yes 40!) behemoth of a place with an amazing courtyard out back where we rocked the warm California evening. Even though our show was really loose and fun, the jubilation was short-lived when we got back to the hotel and realized we had to be up in 4 hours for a lobby call. Then drive 2 hours to the airport, then hop on 2 flights home. I finally caught up on sleep, which is why I am here now. And now it’s CMA week.
CMA week always slightly stressful, just for the simple fact that nothing is every really easy. Traffic is snarled, there is no parking, and getting to and from any shows in town is a mess. But with all the money being poured into our little ‘ville, it is a welcome event. Tomorrow we are at the River Stage, which will have 20,000 folks jammed on the Cumberland to see a bunch of artists throughout the day. We’re on at 10AM, so our sweating will be at a minimum.
Again, there’s the slice of my little existence on Mother Earth. I hope you were as happy to read it as I was to live it, and I hope you can get out to see some of these things I experience. (Then I want to read about your adventures!)
See you on the road!