Thursday, July 24, 2014

What Defines Us?

Wasp-Class Amphibious Assault Ship (Multi-Purpose) (LHD)
Photographed from the flight deck of USS RONALD REAGAN, CVN-76
Somewhere off the Coast of San Diego
Fifteen years, one month and twenty-three days ago, I retired from the United States Air Force.

Prior to joining the Air Force I had been a civilian for 22 years. When I retired, I had been in the military for over half of my life.

In many ways, my time in the Air Force defined, at least to some extent, who I was. What I was.

I still shudder when someone attaches "Mister" to my last name when greeting me.

Though that event is rare enough in today's slap-happy, no respect for anybody or anything kind of world.

No. I prefer to be addressed as "Master Sergeant." It's what the Air Force molded me to be.

And I was a damn good one.

At least I thought so.

But it has been a long road from then...

Lackland AFB, TX - 1975

to now...
Shakespeare's, San Diego, CA - 2014

Lost quite a bit of hair, what's left is mostly gray and yes, I've gained a few pounds. Quite a few pounds.

While I still think of myself as a retired Air Force Master Sergeant, I'm also father to three kids. One of whom was an officer in the United States Navy, a lieutenant, two of whom are still on active duty with the Navy. Both daughters are lieutenants. That's three lieutenants.

At family get togethers I am surrounded by officers. The three kids, one son-in-law and The Nuke's man, he being an officer in the reserves. A Naval officer mind you. A submariner.  (That's two more lieutenants, for those keeping score at home.) So I have to keep my wit's around me at all times. They all know I'm a sneaky enlisted type. Mustn't let down the side!

Heh, heh, heh.

Old Air Force Master Sergeant and Navy Dad.

So the military has probably been the biggest influence in my life outside of my family.

As near as I can tell, the family record in the military goes back to the Civil War. (Easy my Southern comrades, I know what you call it and I know why. What's more, I understand that sentiment now, more than ever.)

Tales of military service, never of battle, nearly always stories meant to invoke a laugh or relate some silliness. But they influence a lad.

Made me want to serve.

I suppose my own career made my kids want to serve as well.


Get me around aircraft which are meant to take the fight to the enemy...

...and I'm like an old war horse who hears a distant bugle. The blood stirs, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, I recall the days of my youth. Gone. But ne'er forgotten.

That's what defines me.

What's your story?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Miscellaneous Musings and Such, A Wednesday in July


The view from my driveway looking west late last summer.

I just ran across this picture on my cell phone today. Had to share it. Because it's a neat picture. A picture which is mine.

Look Ma! No copyright infringement!

Am I still P.O.ed about that?

No. Not really.

Well, maybe just a little.

So I have all these photos to inflict on share with you, some are older. Some are newer.

I know the progeny get a kick out of them. A little glimpse of home.

Here are a few more:

The beer I drank Sunday, upon completion of "Operation Imminent Glowering Sky"
(Also known as mowing the lawn.)

Hhhmm. I think I might start giving military-sounding names to all of the household chores. I can see it now...

The Missus Herself: "Honey! What on earth on you doing?"

Your's Truly: "Why, I'm clearing the LZ* for Operation Red Dawn!"

The Missus Herself: "What?"

Your's Truly: "I'm taking the trash out. Doesn't Operation Red Dawn sound a lot cooler?"

Then I know the love of my life would stop whatever she was doing, look deep into my eyes and say...

"You're an idiot."

Best job ever, being a Dad.

Man, was I ever that young? From left to right, The Naviguesser, The WSO and The Nuke. (Me in the background. Note the 1980s-style eyeglasses. Yes, ladies. I was awesome.)

Good times. That photo was taken at Christmas in 1984. In our wee apartment in Fort Collins, Colorado. The premises were tiny. We loved every minute of it. (The WSO was two months old at the time. Ooooh, and this is 2014 isn't it? I'll leave the math to you.)

Selfie in the Bullets ready room.
USS RONALD REAGAN, CVN-76
April 2014

It was a rough day at sea that day back in April. The waves must have been a towering 12 inches high with gusts of wind coming over the bow at a blustery five knots. Not a Dunkin' Donuts in sight.

Yeah, right!

One of the "best days ever!"

Ask ORPO, he knows.





*LZ = Landing Zone. You know, for inbound helos.

Note on rotary-winged aircraft, i.e. helicopters. The Navy calls them "helos", the Army calls them "choppers" (or they did back in the day) and the Air Force calls them "helicopters." Because we're comfortable with big words.

And we're not as cool as the Navy or the Army.

What's that? What do the Marines call them? I dunno, "old Navy hand-me-downs" perhaps? Any Marines out there care to enlighten us?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Son-In-Law

My Son-In-Law
(Taken at sea, note the "Cruise 'Stache")
I have two daughters, the youngest (that would be The WSO) is married to that dashing young man in the sexy aircraft above. That's a Rhino (the jet, not the pilot) also known as the F/A-18E Super Hornet. The son-in-law is known as Big Time to his squadron mates in VFA-122. I don't know what his students call him (for he is that most lofty of individuals, an Instructor Pilot, or IP), but in his old outfit (VFA-136) they christened him Big Time. (Now there's a story which bears telling. Not today though. I need clearance for that.)

He's a good lad, though he sometimes vexes my daughter. My granddaughter, Little Bit (aka Baby Big Time) adores her Daddy. He's teaching her to play golf. She's not quite four and she's already a fanatic golfer.


Why, one time at the driving range, when told it was time to head home, she turned to her Dad and said "We need another bucket of balls Dad!"


And so they did. Little Bit got to spend some more time on the driving range, Dad got to watch.


Ah, fatherhood.


But like I said, sometimes he vexes my daughter.


Because they're married (and really, he is a good kid) I don't let it bother me.


Much.


However, I found a lovely item I just have to get my daughter when she returns from RIMPAC. This...




Yup, a Big Time controller.

She may find this useful from time to time.


Not sure how he will feel about it.


I wonder if he can jam the signal while in the jet?


Time to check the NATOPS I think.


Hopefully, that's not classified info.


But then again, this might work on him too...

Works for me.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Motorcycle Diary

“You're never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.” *

So There I was……** Kunsan AB Republic of Korea, my first operational fighter pilot assignment.  A dream I’d had since I was a boy.
According to Mama Juvat, her boy is pointing at F-86s in the Pattern at Naha AB Japan

Graduated from ROTC as one of the two pilot candidates in the class.  When I’d gotten my scholarship, there were probably 20 pilot candidates in my class, but my senior year, we’d all been called in to the classroom and been handed a letter.  The opening paragraph read “As you are well aware, the United States Air Force is in the midst of a drawdown.  This drawdown requires changes in the number of personnel being assigned as pilots.”  This went on for a couple of paragraphs, but I’d stopped reading.  “Crap, I lost my slot! “  I looked around the room, everybody there had very long faces.  “Crap, EVERYBODY lost their slot! Now what am I gonna do?”  The Professor of Aerospace Studies (The Colonel in charge of the ROTC detachment) got up and tried to give us a pep talk without much success, then dismissed us.  As I’m walking out, he took me aside and quietly said “Congratulations”.  I looked at him like he was nuts.  I’d just lost my slot and he’s saying congratulations? He must have read my face, because he asked what was wrong.  I handed him my letter, he takes a look, confusion on his face, then finally a smile comes back.  He hands it back to me pointing at the last line which read “Congratulations on having retained your flying slot.”  If I EVER run into the SOB that decided to send out a form letter……

Graduated from Pilot Training near the top of my class.  Not #1, we had a guy that was a natural, so good, we took to asking him to “bless” our flight gloves prior to taking a check ride.  Couldn’t hurt. It’s assignment night, and I’ve been hearing rumors that the Instructors want me back.  I hadn’t volunteered, which usually meant that if Training Command wanted you back and you didn’t volunteer, you got a T-37 for being so peckish.  I’m nervous.  They call my name, I come to attention.  F-4 to Luke AFB.  That was about as good an assignment as could come at the time.  I floated around the room the rest of the evening. 

So it’s off to Lead-In Fighter Training at Holloman AFB, NM, little did I know how that location would figure in my future.  Got through that with only a few dings. A gradesheet that said “Lt. Juvat cleverly showed the flight lead his burners, inverted, while overshooting during the rejoin out of traffic” comes to mind.  Well, my IP never should have said “Go get him, Tiger!” as I took off.

Got to Luke and am checking in at the squadron and am standing at the ops counter waiting for the duty sergeant to get back from whatever he was doing, when in walks a Lt Col who promptly starts yelling at me for not calling the squadron to attention.  Apparently, he was the Squadron Commander.  So much for first impressions.  My IP is Lt Squidly, USN.  We’re up on our first sortie which involved Hi AOA rolls.  The Recovery from a badly performed one is :

1.       Stick-Forward
2.      Ailerons and Rudders –Neutral.
3.      If not recovered-Maintain Full Forward Stick and deploy Drag Chute.

That was from memory, 32 years after last flying the F-4.

Anyhow, Lt. Squidly and I are in the traffic pattern and I am about to perform my first landing in an    F-4.  I get all set up and am looking pretty good on numbers and position when Squidly yells “Go around, burners”.  I comply and set up again, and the same thing happens.  Squidly says “here, let me demo.”  Comes in what looks steep to me, but I’m thinking it’s because of the back seat visibility, chops the throttles at what seems to be 100’ in the air and slams the jet onto the runway.  “THAT’s how you land an F-4” he declares.   Hmmm, well OK then.  I take it around and crash it onto the runway in a similar fashion.  “Good Job!  Now let’s do one more as a full stop.”  CRASH!  I passed! 

Ride #2 is with Capt. Smedlap, USAF.  All is going well and we’re back in the pattern and I’m setting up for my first landing.  High, steep, chop the throttles, just like I learned on Ride 1, when I hear a shriek from the back seat.  “Oh My Lord! Go around, Burners, Burners, Burners!”  I comply, pitch up onto downwind and set up again.  Same result.  He demo’s the next landing.  Nice smooth flare with just a touch of power added at the last second to “grease” the landing.  The light bulb goes on.  While the USAF and the USN may fly the same jets, they don’t fly the same way! 
Back when I was young, slim and had hair!
Anyhow, I’ve graduated from RTU and spend a few days paddling around in a raft in Florida for Water Survival followed by a couple of weeks in Eastern Washington for survival.  Early November in the mountains is mostly freezing rain.  Not a lot of fun.

I’m now on short final in a Boeing 707 that I’ve been riding for Forever!  Travis to Elmendorf, 5 hour delay while they fix the aircraft.  Elmendorf to Yokota another delay.  Yokota to Osan AB, ROK.  We touch down and I’m looking out the window and see Vulcan AAA and Hawk SAM sites.  Juvat, we’re not in Kansas anymore.  Get through the disembarkation procedures and get in the Blue Bus bound for Kunsan.  As the ranking officer (My Date of Rank was 2 days before the other 1Lt on board), I’m in charge.  I look around at my “troops” and decide they’re not going to be any trouble as they’re already asleep.  It’s dark out, I join them.  Some 40+ hours since the trip began, we arrive at Kunsan.  The bus pulls to a stop at the gate and two men get on board in Combat Gear asking for me by name.  I wake on hearing it, and glance up at two Oriental men with guns.  My sleep deprived brain comes up with the analysis “Good Grief!  The war started, we lost, I’m a POW and I didn’t even get to participate.”  Not even close.  The wing was holding an exercise in preparation for an ORI, the two guys in combat gear were guys from my Squadron (they were Chinese in heritage) picking me up to get me settled in.

I was here.  24 years old, two degrees, 21 months of flying training and I was exactly where I wanted to be.


So, it’s a few days later and I’m briefing with my new Flight Commander, and IP, (let’s call him “Speed”) whose going to take me out and give me an area check out ride and, most importantly, get me landing currency again.  I’m not sure what the actual number was, but if a pilot hadn’t landed in x number of days, he had to fly with an instructor to get currency back.  I was to learn, during the years of the second worst President, this was a constant issue. I had to get recurrent 3 times in this one year tour. It may be worse today. Do they have to put in a second Barcalounger if a drone pilot loses currency?

We’re out in the arming area and are cleared on and for takeoff.  I run up the jet, give it a good, albeit not quick, look over and hear a “better be looking” from the back seat.  “Huh?”, I release the brakes, the aircraft accelerates, leaving me behind (figuratively of course, I’m strapped in and along for the ride).  We get airborne, I remember I have to raise the gear and flaps and change several other switches, frequencies etc.etc etc.  I hear again, “you better be looking!”  “Huh?” About this time, another F-4 comes speeding by me and does an aileron roll as he passes.  “WTF?”  “I told you you’d better be looking.” Speed says.  We drive North and in very short order, Speed tells me to come hard right to East.  He tells me to look left and talks my eyes on to an object on the ground.  “North Korea”  I look at my clock, we’ve been airborne about 15 minutes.  HMMM, I begin to see the strategic implications of this assignment.  Head back south, find some clear airspace and perform some Hi AOA rolls.  I manage to avoid performing the Bold Face recovery procedures, although Speed asks me to recite them before we begin.

As we enter the landing pattern, I ask Speed if he’d ever served with the Navy.  He said no. Ok, then, Landing Style #2.  First landing was a little firm, but the rest were within acceptable parameters. 

It’s Friday Night, and the Squadron is at the Club.  There’s a movie projector rolling and there’s film from various missions during the week.  I’m drawn to a clip showing an F-4 on the takeoff roll with gear and flaps hanging and on the film the pipper is buried on the front canopy as the range bar descends through minimum gun range.  It dawns on me who’s the star, just as I feel a heavy hand on my shoulder.  I turn, it’s the Wing Commander!  “Son, I don’t get to do that very often anymore!  If you’re gonna fly in my wing, your better be looking.” 

We’re about a month from an ORI (for an excellent description of this, see Jay Riedel’s book  “Memoirs of a Fighter Pilot”.  Jay, Lt Col Riedel to me at the time, was my Squadron Commander and the ORI described in the book was the one I’m talking about).  I have to get “Mission Ready” before the ORI hits, or else I'll be relegated to non-flying (i.e. non pleasant) duties.  I've been to the range during the day a few times, had a couple of dedicated air to air flights as well as a couple of impromptu engagements going to and from missions.  I’ve been in a few movies, but never again as a non-participating target and even contributed some film a time or two.  In short, I’m learning.  It’s been decided that I will be on the night schedule during the ORI, so I’ve got a night air to ground ride scheduled.  Because it’s the first time I’ve been to this range at night (and only a minimal number of times at night at all) and because it’s the first time I will try Dive Toss, I’ve got an IP in my back seat again.  I’ll leave the mechanical details of Dive Toss to our resident Radar Expert, but suffice it to say, the back seater finds the target with the radar and locks on.  The radar determines your range to the target.  When you get to the computed release range, the bomb drops and the bad guy is slain, you return a hero.  When it works.

I’m going to be #2 in a 2 ship.  Speed will be in the lead, Marv is in my pit.  We brief, step to the jets, and on crank up, Speed has a problem that will cause him to abort.  There are no spares, but because I’ve got an IP in my Pit, I can go as a single ship.  The weather is overcast at 20K or so and the eternally present haze has obscured what little horizon that might be visible.  We blast off, find the range and check in.  We’re cleared on.  The target tonight is a small island, a rock actually, a mile or so of shore in the Yellow Sea.  The rock has several of the old roadway flares scattered in a circle on it.  These flares are the ones that look like an old bomb with a wick and flames coming out the top.  They don’t provide much light.
The rock is the dark spot to the left of the oval,  The Range used to be the area on the mainland to the right, but it looks like it may have been given back to the ROK.

We’ve got a few high drag practice bombs on board, so we initially fly practice nuke runs.  Since that mission is part of the Wing’s overall Combat Mission, we’ll be evaluated on it in the ORI.  Nothing particularly exciting about the runs, it’s just a matter of flying the aircraft as close as possible to what the computer says to fly it, pull up when it begins beeping at you and keep pulling until the beeping stops.  Our scores are acceptable, we pull up into the 30 degree dive toss pattern with the roll in altitude about 12K.  Very difficult to keep the target in sight and since we’re mostly over water, there are very few cues to position yourself with.  I roll in, am cleared hot, and put the pipper on the target.  Call that and am waiting for Marv to tell me he’s locked on.  He doesn’t and I’m at pickle altitude, so call off dry.  Up on downwind, Marv tells me the Radar won’t lock on to the ground return, but he’s going to try and manually track the ground return.

 Fortunately, Marv and I will be able to debrief the wrongness of our decision to continue trying Dive Toss.

The cloud cover has gotten thicker and what moonlight that had filtered in before, was now gone.  I’ve been looking out the side to keep track of the target and unnoticed had crept closer to the target.  I roll in and put the pipper on the target, but, because I had neglected to adjust the pipper intensity to compensate for the reduced lunar illumination, I lose the target in the brightness of the pipper.  Marv is concentrating on tracking the radar return and is not looking at altimeter, airspeed or dive angle.  Oh, and the throttles were still in Mil (full non-AB) power. The brilliance of our actions are about to become abundantly clear.

I’m searching for the target in the pipper when all of a sudden, the flares come out from behind, They’re BIG and Bright.  I pull as hard as I can on the pole while pulling the throttles to Idle and putting out the speed brakes (high speed dive recovery procedures).  My first glance at the attitude indicator is all black (it was divided into gray for above the horizon, black for below) so I had to be at least 45 degrees of dive or more.  We were supposed to pickle at 6000’ and recover by  3500’  We were already below pickle altitude. 

The nose comes up, but our momentum is still down.  The altimeter is slowing and stops at about 200’.

  I call the range officer and tell him I’m heading home.  I get a terse “Roger that”.  Marv chimes in and asks why we’re headed home.  I tell him “One, I’ve over G’d the aircraft, two the right engine isn’t running, and three, and most importantly, I’ve scared the crap out of myself”. 

Declared the emergency, but landing was normal.  Get to dearm, and the crew chief connects the comm panel, not a usual procedure, and advises me to shut down.  Climbing down, I see why, many of the panels are missing, the skin is buckled.  The right engine is kind of twisted in the engine bay.

We get back to the squadron, and there are a lot of people waiting for us.  We spend a lot of time talking about that flight and the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s.  

I went on to become mission ready. We passed the ORI and I became Speed’s wingman.

“So, Juvat, good tale, but why is the title Motorcycle Diary?”  Well, it seems that car ownership was prohibited for GIs in Korea at the time and only Motorcycle parts could be imported.  This limited the ability of Fighter Pilots to get around on their own (which may have been the plan).  But an enterprising member of the squadron found out that a complete Honda 90 could be disassembled and all the “parts” would fit into a centerline baggage pod.  Several of these were ferried from Okinawa to Kunsan before the plot was discovered.  The policy was then published that said parts had to be transferred to another individual upon the owners PCSing.

Speed was up for PCSing a couple of months after the incident and one night at the club asked me if I would do him a favor by buying his motorcycle.  I had no real desire for a motorcycle as I had a bicycle which did fine for me getting around base.  I had mastered the bus to Kunsan and the train to Seoul, but I asked how much.  $1.  I told him ok.

Looked it over the next day, nothing much to speak of.  Tried to fire it up, didn’t work.  Ahh well, I’ll see if I can figure it out this weekend.  Forgot about the whole issue. Speed PCS’s, gets an F-16 which puts him in a different sphere than me and I lose touch.

Months pass. Now it’s time for me to PCS.  I’m out processing and I get asked for the transfer of ownership paperwork.  Huh?  The papers that show you transferred ownership of your motorcycle.  Crap!  Forgot about that.  I go over to Speed’s old quarters, figuring I’ll pay someone $1 to take it off my hands.  It’s GONE!

I had to file a stolen property report in quintuplicate, then fill out the transfer of property statement to reflect ownership by person or persons unknown.  I’ve always thought it was NORK special forces that stole it to infiltrate the base, but what do I know?
NORK Special Forces Infiltration Vehicle
Oh Yeah, and by the way...
Photo: ShareAlike 2.0 generic (CC By-SA 2.0)
So, I had forgotten this story until this past Friday night.  My wife owns a Bridal Boutique and was having a show today.  She had asked my lovely daughter to find some friends who might want to model for the show.  They arrived Friday night.  I had the pleasure of dining with 7 lovely women (one of whom is my wife, thank you very much!) After Dinner, we’re sitting around the table conversing and it became known that I had been a Fighter Pilot in a prior life.  One of the young ladies mentioned that she had a Uncle that had been a Fighter Pilot.  I asked what his name was. She laughed and said  “We call him Uncle Speed”.

It's a small world!




Richard BachIllusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah 

**What'the difference between a fairy tale and a war story?  A fairy tale begins "Once upon a time..." ,a war story begins "So, There I was...".

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Love


So what is this thing called love?

Today's lead-in photo tells two love stories. The love of one's grandchildren and the love of good friends.

The little watering can was purchased by The Missus Herself when the oldest granddaughter came to visit, for Little Bit loves to help out in the yard. Turns out that grandson Big O, also enjoys helping his grandma in the yard. He's the one who left the can positioned on that stone.

I noticed that when I was done cutting the grass today. It was one of those moments that made me stop and think. For there is a story behind that stone as well.

When we first moved to Little Rhody the house we purchased (and within which we still reside) had a very nice evergreen tree out front. I really liked that tree.

But upon my Father's first visit to Little Rhody, he declared that "someday that tree will tower many tens of feet high and the first hurricane will drop it upon your house."

This came about because when we were kids, my Dad went up into the forest and brought back a small pine for to plant in the front yard. It would look very nice and provide a certain je ne sais quoi to the landscaping there. (The Knights who say Ni would have been very proud.)

Unfortunately, said tree was a wild tree. The descendant of the mighty fir trees which decorate the hills and mountains of my native Vermont. So that tree did grow to be many tens of feet high (I think it was forty feet tall at it's greatest height, before my Dad laid it low).

So Dad naturally assumed that all fir trees grew that tall. I disputed Father's contention that our lovely tree would grow that tall and to please leave it be. Forsooth, The Missus Herself gave an ear to my Father's theory and one day I came home to find that my beloved tree was no more.

All that was left was a lot of dirt and these two humongous rocks. (One of which is in the lead-in photo. By the way Bill, don't claim that picture. I took it today. You rascal you!)

The Missus Herself commanded me to move the two rocks to the backyard. I tried. Oh Lord, I tried.

But I swear that each of those remnants of the last Ice Age weighed in excess of 300 pounds. Lift them I could not.

That's when a dear friend of mine (Fred, of whom I wrote here) offered to move the boulders for us, with the assistance of his son Brian. He had this little cart he used when building stone walls (for such was his hobby) and he could move those rocks with very little trouble. In later years Brian told me those rocks were actually a great deal of trouble and that he counted himself lucky to still be in possession of five toes on each foot. He says he nearly lost a toe for each of the two rocks. Seems his dad, Fred, dropped each rock perilously close to Brian's feet.

Fred assured me that Brian's toes were never in danger. Brian tells the story differently. After all, it was his toes that stood in harm's way.

So what does all that have to do with love?

Fred is gone now. He died some six years ago. Every time I look at those rocks I think of him. He is gone. The love remains.

The watering can reminds me of my grandchildren. How much I love them cannot be expressed in words. They are precious.

Which leads me to think of my children. They are my pride and joy, my raison d'être, the sole reason for my existence. This I truly believe. Without them, there would be no point to my existence. Though, mind you, I would still be very happy to be here. For what that's worth.

I think my point today is that without love, what's the point? Love comes in many forms, affects us in many ways. I love my family beyond words. I would die for them, what's more, I would kill for them. And I do not say that lightly. The taking of a life is so serious as to render the life-taker changed forever. Ask one who knows. If they can bring themselves to speak of it.

I also love my friends. There are those I call "friend" with whom I grew up, some of whom I remain in touch with (and say what you like about Facebook, there are many a childhood friend with whom I reconnected via that medium, that alone makes it useful, and precious).

Other friends are those I served with in the military. Men and women I worked beside and shared bonds with which cannot be described in words. There are friends I've made in the blogging world with whom I also share a bond, a bond cemented by death and love. They will know what I mean.

There are even some with whom I work now, in my civilian job that I call "friend." People whose company I enjoy and who enrich my existence. Yes, I love them too.

Love.

If you don't have it, you're not living.

Alfred Lord Tennyson said:


I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

The man knew what he was talking about.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Lookin' Out My Backdoor

Friday, 18 July 2014 - Late Afternoon
Alrighty then.

I'm back. I had a very nice week away, no comments, no ominous warnings from the good folks at Blogger vis-à-vis copyright infringements etc., etc. But...

Damn, did I miss blogging.

Many is the time I was sorely tempted to put virtual pen to virtual paper and regale you with my exploits, opinions and the occasional (though rare) bon mot. (Yup, I still like to throw the occasional foreign word or phrase out there.)

So at any rate, I have returned.

And yes, that lead-in photo is a little blurry.

But it's my photo.

As is this one...

To the north, Friday evening...

Hhmm, perhaps I had the cell phone set to "Blur", which is the setting just below "Stun."

While on the subject of backyards, today's photos were (mostly) taken in mine. The post's title was suggested by the Creedance Clearwater Revival song. CCR, I used to listen to them a lot back in the day. You know them, that "Cajun" band from Los Angeles. Or something like that.

Technically speaking, we don't have a back door. So I used a bit of artistic license for the title, because "Lookin' Out My Upstairs Bathroom Window" doesn't have quite the same cachet does it?

We have a front door, which is more or less decorative. We open it but we don't normally use it. The main door into Chez Sarge is the side door, which goes into the kitchen from the deck. Let me see if I have a photo of that, I think I put one around here somewhere. While I look, here's another door picture. It's the entrance to "the computer room" here at Chez Sarge. It's where the magic of the Chant du Départ happens. Such as it is...

Rather "woody" innit?

Ah yes, here it is...


Oh yes, there's that upstairs bathroom window as well. (To the left, the only window looking out the back on the second floor.) That door off the deck is the main entrance to our dwelling. The occasional person will come to the front door, where they quickly discover there is no door bell. If we notice them, we'll respond. Most folks go to the side door. It has a door bell.

Seeing as how I'm back at my post here, I decided to share one of my favorite flowers with you. It's the portulaca grandiflora (Moss-rose Purslane or Moss-rose). Which I just so happen to have pictures of. From my yard. From my camera.


We used to have an entire garden devoted to moss-roses, surrounded by a border of baby's breath, it was pretty awesome. I had made mention recently of how much I missed that garden. So The Missus Herself surprised me with a smaller garden this year, totally devoted to moss-roses. Love 'em. Thank you Dear.

As I was away for nearly a week, I should post a couple of aircraft photos. My aircraft photos, I do have a few. Mostly taken at the Military Aviation Museum down there in Pungo, Virginia. One of my favorite places on this Earth.

Focke Wulf FW-144 Stieglitz. WWII Trainer
Me and the Polikarpov I-16 Rata. A Russian bird of WWII vintage.
Me and the Fokker Dr. I Triplane

Yes.

It's good to be back.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

On Hiatus


Blogging has been fun up until now.

So, with that being said, I'm going to take a few days off.

If it ain't fun and you're not getting paid, why do it?

I need to think about this for a few days.

Besides which, The DIL is in town with two of my grandchildren. Think I might just enjoy their company and not worry about the blog.

I might be back, I might not.

Yup, someone ruined it for everyone.

I sure hope they are happy.

I'm not.