Saturday, December 26, 2009

Snowball Sling

I and my sons were out playin' in the snow Christmas afternoon. Sledding down the back yard and chuckin' snow balls.
We discovered that a giant waterballoon sling-shot can fling a snowball at an alarming rate of speed for an amazing distance...
Joe is going to bring one back to school with him. Plenty of snow in Upstate NY. He plans to ambush his fellow classmates from
the balcony of his dorm building. Cool. (Literally...)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Christmas Tree Stump Chain

Not much to look at but I like it a lot. Every year I must cut a slice off the trunk of the Christmas tree before I put it up so it'll suck water better. I save the stumps and mark them with the year and put them on a chain. I have stumps going back to 1984...

Friday, December 18, 2009

1982: Our First Christmas Together

These photos were shot at Christmastime 6 months after we were married.

Our first home was a nice townehouse in Navy Housing - completely furnished with antiques (1950s vintage). The Dog's name was "Candy". Our first little Christmas tree was propped on top of the spare tire from our 1980 GMC pickup truck. I still use that toolbox. Barb was expecting our first child, Stephanie...That ice field behind me in one of the photos was a hunting ground for (ohmygosh!) baby seals.

We were stationed at a US Navy Intelligence's Integrated Undersea Surveillance System facility in Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada. Our crew detected, tracked, and provided targeting info on Soviet nuclear submarines in the Arctic Ocean. Barb worked Supply and I ran the Calibration Lab in Operations. The IUSS system was Classified until the mid-90' they use other technology for that mission.

Our friends were Dan and Emily Walsh. Dan went on after this duty station to work at the Pentagon and then for a Navy SEAL unit. I think Dan did his 20 yrs. with the Navy and jumped over to the private sector. Last I heard, Emily is in management for "Child Time" learning centers in VA. We still get a Christmas card from them every year...

Monday, December 14, 2009

New Song: This Christmas

I put this song down on paper as an answer to prayer.
I had the opportunity to sing this for my friends at church last Sunday. It was hard to do and I think more than a few could see that I was struggling with it, trying not to lose my composure. I got-r-done though...

(Notated with Guitar Chords)

s. kappesser 2009

[Intro Am D G]

G Em
Oh, this Christmas will be diff’rent,

Am D
Than many in the past,

G Em
Things just aren’t the same now,

Am D
Time has gone too fast.
G Em
Haven’t seen old friends,

Am D
In a while - - I don’t know,

G Em
And a cold, hard feelin’ settles in,

Am D
As I watch the fallin’ snow…
Oh, this Christmas will be

Am D
Friends have come and gone,

G Em
Mem’ries of days gone by,

Am D
Makes it hard to sing this song.


G Em
The only Hope I have is here,

Am D
The Book shouts words of joy,

G Em
It began so long ago,

Am D
With the birth of a Holy Boy.

The sky lit up,

The Host sang out,

It must’ve been a glorious site!

A baby born from High above,

Have no fear in His awesome love,

I know I found the Light.

G Em
Oh, this Christmas will be diff’rent,

Am D
Can I be strong and able?

G Em
I am told that Hope’s alive

Am D
It was born in a Christmas stable.

G Em
Oh, this Christmas will be diff’rent,

Am D
While some things cannot be,

G Em
Love is strong, as it was ment,

Am D
It’s a gift He gave to me…
G Em
Yes, this Christmas will be diff’rent,

Am D
Than many in the past,

G Em
But in many ways, it’ll be the same

Am D
It’s finally here, at last…

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Joe's Home

Joe's been off to school since September. We missed him but did not miss tripping over his shoes, which he always kicked off and left in the living room. Well, we drove 400 miles, picked him up Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and brought him home. The traffic was terrific, especially on the New Jersey Turnpike.

This morning I couldn't sleep, so I walked out into the living room and there were Joe's shoes...I smiled and said to myself - that's OK, he's home for the Holidays...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Stephy's Christmas Bell

I've had this photo of my daughter Stephanie and a Christmas Bell she made me hanging out in my shop for years. I'm guessing she was 10 or 11 years old when the photo was taken. Everytime I see these it reminds me of the wonderful Christmases we celebrated when our children were very young...The house was decorated completely and Stephy even had her own Christmas tree in her room.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


A popular phrase in November is "You're pushin' Christmas!" - - directed towards people who are already in the holiday spirit 7 or 8 weeks from Christmas; decorating, shopping, wearing Christmas clothing, etc.

So what? What the Sam Hill is wrong with Christmas?

So what if Christmas is the remnant of a PAGAN holiday that organized religion twisted into a Christian celebration of Jesus's birthday, completely shot through by the global manufacturing-retail complex in their quest to make a buck.
No reason to be depressed about it, hating it because you might feel COMPELLED to spend money on gifts nobody really NEEDS - unless they depend on Christmas for new skivvies and socks...

Where does that leave us? The only thing that matters is what is in your heart. God knows...
Legalism and human judgement muddies the water, doesn't it? We all want to do the right thing...

In any case, personally, I like it. I like the whole holiday season - it's the BEST time of year.

So in complete child-like anticipation, I put up some new LED Christmas lights yesterday and introduced them to our newest grandson Ryan, who will be experiencing Christmas #1 this year...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fire Rainbow

Driving through the Shenandoa Valley on I81 last summer in Virginia, I spotted a fire rainbow. It's caused by ice crystals at extreme altitudes. Very rare...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009



Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Day of Clouds

Since 1996 I have had a Zondervan Men's Devotional Bible Calendar on my desk at the office.
It was a gift from my wife.
Each day I can review a snippet of Scripture with a commentary by a Godly person.
Here is the entry for September 11th:

Zephania 1:15
"That day will be a day of wrath,
a day of distress and anguish,
a day of trouble and ruin,
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and blackness,..."
(end quote)

"I have prayed against political tyranny and unfairness and injustice."
I have prayed for a miracle, for proof of God's existance. But as I read the prophets' descriptions of the day when God finally will take off all the wraps, one prayer overwhelms all others: "God, I hope I'm not around then." God freely admits he is holding back His power, but He restrains Himself for our benefit. For all scoffers who call for direct action from the heavens, the prophets have ominous advice:
just wait."

Not be taken out of context, here is the whole Scripture passage:
Zephania 1:14-18
"The great day of the LORD is near—
near and coming quickly.
Listen! The cry on the day of the LORD will be bitter,
the shouting of the warrior there.
That day will be a day of wrath,
a day of distress and anguish,
a day of trouble and ruin,
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and blackness,
a day of trumpet and battle cry
against the fortified cities
and against the corner towers.

I will bring distress on the people
and they will walk like blind men,
because they have sinned against the LORD.
Their blood will be poured out like dust
and their entrails like filth.

Neither their silver nor their gold
will be able to save them
on the day of the LORD's wrath.

In the fire of his jealousy
the whole world will be consumed,
for he will make a sudden end
of all who live in the earth."
(End quote)

The attacks and mass-death of 9/11/01 was a tiny sample of what lies ahead.
God allows things to happen for a purpose - and He allowed those sick men to kill thousands of our fellow Americans that day, in a hideous way that none of us can forget.
Well, the End Times will be "9/11 multiplied by 10,000, or even a million" !
In anticipation of The great day of the LORD , He prompts us to look for opportunities to tell others what He has done for us, what lies ahead for those who are not Believers, and that His love is boundless & eternal.
Frankly, there are no words in any language that can adequately communicate any of it is necessary to pray for wisdom and guidance.
Today, on the 8th anniversary of that attack, remember to pray for the loved ones of those who were killed on that dark day.
And remember to honor those in our Armed Forces who are fighting this evil that is spreading in advance of the End Times. Pray for them and their loved ones today.
If you spot a person in uniform or someone who is obviously military (the haircut is a giveaway) stop them, excuse yourself, thank them for their service, and buy them a meal or a coffee...
And...pray for a peaceful day today, but stay alert.

Friday, July 10, 2009

20 Years is a LONG-Time-a-Comin'

I put down the guitar 30 years ago when I started my service in the US Navy.
I played some at my wedding reception at the Officer's Club, NAVFAC Argentia, in 1982

I have played one song in public since then - in the Spring of 2008 during a Homeless Outreach Benefit. The song was "Turn Turn Turn" by Pete Seeger. I wrote to Mr. Seeger asking permission to play his tune - - and he wrote back granting it. He's a good man and a fine musician. If I had half the talent in his little finger I would be extremely satisfied.

So I decided to pick up the guitar again and found this gem at Dave's Deals down the road.

It's an acoustic-electric and it sounds like something an angel would play.

Time to rehearse - I'm giving it an hour a day until I die. Practise is key - with everything you need to be good at.

Looking for songbooks now...

These are the controls for the on-board microphone.

I haven't forgotten much - but I have no callouses on my fretboard fingers and it's gonna hurt for a month getting them back.

Tody I will re-learn the song - "Stuck In Lodi Again"...

Friday, June 19, 2009

All In The Family...

While looking for a photo of my Dad's boat I stumbled upon these photos taken when we were stationed in Canada.

Relaxing after work...1983.

With Stephy our newborn...1983.

On leave posing with sister Amy...1985.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Once in a while some mongoloid butthead will try tell me I'm not a Veteran because
I didn't dodge bullets while crawling in the mud (or sand).

Not sure what the true definition of Veteran is, but I do know I worked hard for my country for 6 long and satisfying years, and will always cherish those days when I was part of something that was vital to the existance of the good ol' USA.

The only advice I can give to a young person is that if he or she decides to serve then they will NEVER regret it...

This photo was taken sometime in September 1983 just a few months after Barb and I got hitched. I'm in my dungaree work uniform on the way to the Q-Building (Q is for "Quarters") at Naval Facility, Argentia, Newfoundland. Barb snapped this photo from the passenger's seat. I probably just picked her up at work over the Supply Building at the end of the day.
Here's Petty Officer Barb after work. She was an SK3: that's Storekeeper 3rd class.
Gosh Honey, where'd you get those big EYEGLASSES?

During some downtime we would explore the old Base. Here, Barb poses next to an old 5 inch shore-defense gun overlooking Argentia Harbor. Argentia was an important base during WWII, providing Navy escorts to convoys of freighters carrying war materiel and supplies from the USA to our allies in Europe. Nazi submarines sank hundreds of our freighters in those dark days.

This was snapped at the Northeast Arm Camp, a recreation area for Navy squids who needed a little well-deserved R & R...There were rustic cabins there and BBQs every day.
This is my dream boat. This was taken on the shore of Placentia Bay near the Base. I am actively looking for one of these to buy and use on the Chesapeake. Much better than any of the modern boats...and a lot more seaworthy!

Our jobs back then? Well, I consciously cultivate my humility, but setting that aside for a moment I'll break my 24 year silence on the subject. For many years I could not confirm or deny anything about it, but then Uncle Sam declassified that base's mission in the 90's. I'll try to explain it it general terms:

NAVFAC ARG (Naval Facility Argentia) was part of Ocean Systems Atlantic - part of SUBLANTFLT (Submarine Force Atlantic Fleet).
I supervised the Electronics Calibration Lab in the Operations Department.
My Cal Lab calibrated (ensured absolute pin-point accuracy) all the electronic equipment my Oceanographic Technician shipmates used to maintain the then classified SOSUS System arrays that were used to detect, track, and provide targeting intel on all of "Ivan's" (Soviet) nuclear submarines patrolling under the Polar Ice Cap.
[There were NAVFACS all up and down the Atlantic Coast from Keflavik Iceland to Antiqua - all keeping an eye on Ivan's boats.]

That electronic equipment had to be kept as pin-point accurate as possible in order to provide the best targeting data on Ivan's subs, enabling our guys to nuke them all if it came to that. I understand that we were close a few times but by God's Grace we were spared the absolute Hell that a nuclear exchange would usher into our world.

I understand that Ivan still likes hiding under the ice - it's more difficult to get a fix on and reach out to touch him there. The nuclear missiles launched through the ice from those subs could wipe out ALL the cities and strategic targets in the US, including every Army fort, Air Force installation, and Navy Base within 30 minutes if provoked.

The Captain told us our job was "vital" and that a document from our little crew was on President Reagan's desk every morning for his National Security Briefing. Not sure how truthful the Cap'n was there, but that's what he said.

Theoretically Ivan never knew we knew where he was. Practically though, I suspect he knew what we were doing at NAVFAC ARGENTIA. Americans love to brag and St. John's was rife with Soviet Operatives ready to buy a sailor a drink...Navy Intel warned us more than once to beware of strangers drinking "wodka" and buying drinks for service people.
Barb worked her tail off at "ServeMart" and Stock Control our Supply / Logistics Dept. I never had any problem getting Supply support for my Cal Lab.- (thanks Honey!)

NAVFAC ARG was decommissioned in the eighties and turned back over to the Canadians. You can read more about life there at

These days most of this type of intel is gathered by satellites.

Back to the old photo of me driving: We are probably going to check the mail at the post office on the first floor of the Q-Building, go home to our new townhouse in Housing, have supper, then hit the enlisted club. Once in a while the USO would provide some decent entertainment there - usually a rock band from the midwest.

At ARG, we worked hard and played hard.

Off in the distance you can see a supply train on the Canadian National Railroad.

She didn't know it yet but at this point Barb was in her first month of pregnancy with daughter Stephy...

I still have that Casio digital watch you see on my wrist and, and like my wonderful life with Barb, - - it still works fine... just needs batteries now and then.


Found this in some old files from a by-gone day...

Next Veterans Day, if you meet an Air Force veteran, don’t ask him,
"Did you fly a jet?"
For crying out loud - not everyone in the Air Force is a pilot...

If you meet an Army or Marine Corps veteran, do not ask him,
"Did you shoot any bad guys?"
Jeez-Louise Budso, not everyone in the Army or Marine Corps is in the Infantry…

If you meet a Navy vet, do not ask him,
"Did you drink a lot of rum?"
Another stereotype! Not all sailors drink rum!
Some like BEER!

Such ignorance…deserves a good ASS-KICKING.

Monday, June 8, 2009

About Me