Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Virgil Xenophon, Paging Virgil Xenophon, Please Pick Up the White Courtesy Phone...

Virgil, please contact me on Guard (oldafsarge at gmail dot com).

It seems that Juvat will be in your AO in August and would like to get together with you.

No doubt so that the two of you can tell tall tales and shoot your watches.

He said something about dinner. I said something about "who's buying."

Seriously, shoot me an e-mail and I'll shoot you back with Juvat's particulars. (That is, his e-mail address.)

All will be held in strict confidentiality.

Unless someone makes me an offer.

Just kidding. Just kidding.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming...

[Hhmm, I wonder what this button does....]


"Repair One Provide..."

SOUTH CHINA SEA (May 30, 2015) Engineman 2nd Class Terrance Gallagher, from Seattle, Wash., conducts repairs to the ship's reverse osmosis water purifier aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89).
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class David Flewellyn)
Sunday night, the end of a nice long weekend, I'm sitting in CIC monitoring the affairs of the world via the blog, other peoples' blogs and the Book of Face and listening to the occasional Tube O' You tune.

Sunday night's favorite was Le Chant de l'Oignon, or, in English, The Onion Song. This blog was almost named Le Chant de l'Oignon rather than the Chant du Départ. Two things prevented that. I couldn't remember the name of the song en français and I didn't want to be confused with The Onion.


What's that? How does the song go? I'm glad you asked.

Lyrics? Sure, I've got those too!

Chant de l'Oignon

J'aime l'oignon frît à l'huile,
J'aime l'oignon quand il est bon,
J'aime l'oignon frît à l'huile,
J'aime l'oignon, j'aime l'oignon. 

Au pas camarade, au pas camarade,
Au pas, au pas, au pas.
Au pas camarade, au pas camarade,
Au pas, au pas, au pas.

Un seul oignon frît à l'huile,
Un seul oignon nous change en lion,
Un seul oignon frît à l'huile
un seul oignon nous change en lion.

Au pas camarade, au pas camarade,
Au pas, au pas, au pas.
Au pas camarade, au pas camarade,
Au pas, au pas, au pas.

Mais pas d'oignons aux Autrichiens, 
Non pas d'oignons à tous ces chiens,
Mais pas d'oignons aux Autrichiens, 
Non pas d'oignons, non pas d'oignons.

Au pas camarade, au pas camarade,
Au pas, au pas, au pas.
Au pas camarade, au pas camarade,
Au pas, au pas, au pas.

Aimons l'oignon frît à l'huile,
Aimons l'oignon car il est bon,
Aimons l'oignon frît à l'huile,
Aimons l'oignon, aimons l'oignon

Yes, I really do like onions fried in oil.


Anyhoo. Sunday night, enjoying myself when the alarm is sounded down in the galley by The Missus Herself. I respond (I am Repair One around the domicile) and sure enough, the old copper tubing coming out of the faucet I replaced 12 years ago is leaking.

I wonder what idiot bent that tubing like that? Oh yeah, that was Your Humble Scribe. A plumber I'm not. Though I can get by in a pinch. (Said pinch I had put in the copper tubing which over time decided to give up its structural integrity.)


Off to the hardware emporium, which is ten miles away and which would close 70 minutes hence. No problem. Off I went.

Bought what I (thought I) needed and returned to the vehicle. After gazing upon the box containing the faucet, I realized that it did not have that squirty-thingie attachment off to the side. No problem, lots of time left.

Went inside and got the faucet with the squirty-thingie attachment.

Upon my return to Chez Sarge, I unpacked the stuff I'd bought and pulled all the crap out from under the sink in order to effect repairs.

Only to discover that I had all the wrong hardware.

Twelve years ago, the replacement faucet I had purchased had water connections which terminated with male half-inch connectors. The water feed lines had nuts permanently attached (unlike politicians) which one could use to attach the lines coming from the faucet.

'Lo and behold, the new hi-tech faucet had two flexible lines with 3/8 inch female ends.


This would not work. Alas the hardware emporium was now shuttered and the employees had all gone home.

I told The Missus Herself that I would take a couple hours off in the morning and get the right stuff to replace Monsieur Le Robinet. So I went back to the computer and monitored the Internet goings-on for a while longer before retiring to sleep the sleep of the just.

Awakening to the dawn, I headed out to the aforementioned hardware emporium. Talked to a somewhat knowledgeable chap who immediately noted that I didn't have the right stuff. (Never was an astronaut though at one time, but ya know, I didn't have it...)

We got the right hardware (and a different faucet, apparently the one I had purchased didn't have a long enough, nor high enough neck, for those giant pots we use to stew eye of newt and the like) and I returned to la maison.

There to discover that the compression fitting I had purchased was a 5/8ths and the copper feed line in the residence is 1/2 inch.


Back to the aforementioned hardware emporium, where the employees were starting to call me by name (or was it "call me names" - I forget) and tell a different employee (also knowledgeable of des affaires plumbing) and show him the end of the copper pipe. Which I had had to cut off to use the compression fitting thingie. (Those who know these things will know what that is, apparently it squeezes onto the pipe forming a water tight seal. I consider it one of The Dark Arts as I don't really grasp how it works. There are times when I am much like the apes encountering the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey.)

So he looks at it and says "Well, that's an odd size. Never seen one of those." I'm guessing that's because he didn't work at the hardware emporium 30-odd years ago when my dwelling was constructed. Apparently by a group of people who cornered the market on discontinued and rare parts and used them all in my house.

I might also make mention that I doubt any of those guys owned a square. There are no real 90 degree corners in my house, they are all 90 degrees plus or minus "close enough."

But eventually we discover that I can use a 1/2 inch compression fitting on the copper pipe, with a 3/8 inch male connector screwed onto that which will then fit the flexible hoses coming off the faucet.

As I'm leaving the hardware chap asks me if I have any "pipe dope." Not knowing what that is, I ask if they carry that sort of thing. He says...

"Teflon plumber's tape, yeah it's over in the next aisle..."

I cut him off, not wishing to appear completely ignorant of the plumbing trade, I told him I did indeed have some of that tape. Why he referred to it as "pipe dope" I have no idea. Perhaps the pipes use it to get high? (Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip your waitress...)

Properly equipped now, I headed home.

I should note that at this time the "couple of hours" in the morning had turned into all morning and a chunk of the afternoon. And the job wasn't done yet.

Notifying my place of employment that I was wrestling with pipes, Teflon tape and compression fittings and did not foresee making it into work at all, I headed for the sink's nether regions.

There everything miraculously came together. Teflon tape was applied to pipe threads, fittings were tightened and nothing was leaking.


"Honey, why are the hot and cold swapped?"


Fittings unscrewed, old tape stripped off, new tape applied, lines swapped and fittings reattached.

No leaks, cold water comes out when commanded and as expected, ditto the hot water.

It seems that the mission has been accomplished.

I guess you could say, "That's what I did on my summer vacation."

An entire day's worth.


Where I spent Monday, it ain't pretty but it works.

Indoor plumbing, one of the great inventions of homo sapiens.
But does it need to be so complicated?


Monday, June 29, 2015

Blogging at 85

So,  There I was....* Headed to Colorado to celebrate my Aunt's 80th Birthday.  Little Juvat (he hates that moniker, but like Tuna said about callsigns, the more you gripe, the harder it sticks) is doing the driving and I'm taking the opportunity to ride in the back seat.  This may be my first time back here since I started driving. 

Anyhow, we're headed to southwest Colorado, to a place outside Dolores called Stoner Ranch.  Now, if that don't set you back....

"Howdy Officer,  what can I do for you?"
"I clocked you at 85 in a 75.  Where you going?"
"Got to get a blog post up.  Sarge is getting nervous."
"Where you coming from?"
"Big State,  Where specifically?"
"Stoner Ranch"
"Outta the car, Longhair!"

Making pretty good time.  4 miles every 3 minutes.  Except....
55MPH on right, 55.001MPH on the left

Got a bit of time to think back here.  Last time I saw my Aunt was when she and my Uncle traveled to our neck of the woods for my Dad's Funeral.  My Uncle (Dad's brother) has since passed on.  It's now down to 3 left in that generation of my famiy and I'm the elder statesman for the next generation.  Having just "celebrated" a zero birthday, that's been on my mind a bit lately.

Thinking about the last time I saw my cousins (4 Boys and a Girl).  Have to believe it was my Grandparent's 50th Anniversary.  Celebrated that out in Tuna's neck of the woods, Escondido in 1979, so it's been a while.  Pretty sure my Aunt is a great-grandma.  Well, I am sure that whether or not her grand children have kids of their own, she's a GREAT Grandma. (Just in case she reads this).

Discovered another benefit to being chauffeured, naps! A little siesta and I'm suddenly 100 miles closer.  Well out of the hill country now and definitely got some "see 'em comin'" vistas.

The Pecos River in all its raging glory
It occurs to me, the last time I actually spent serious time riding was at the Puzzle Palace.  One of the most unique things about the area was slugging.  Traffic in the area was (is, I'm sure) horrible.  HOV lanes helped enormously, but finding 2 additional folks that were going your way at your time was next to impossible.

So, without any Federal Government involvement (I know, hard to believe, right?), people found a way to get extra riders and use the HOV lanes.  The driver would stop by the Pentagon bus station and find the bus that served the route near their destination.  Then starting at the front of the line would proceed down the stating the bus stop he would end up at.  The first two people that had that stop or an earlier one would say so and they'd get a ride. 

One would think this was lunacy, getting in a car with strangers.  As far as I know, there never was a problem.  If you didn't like the looks of the driver, you were under no obligation to ride with him.

There weren't any federal government mandated rules, but there were some generally agreed upon conventions.  First, the only slug initiated conversations were "Good Morning" and "Thank you".  The driver could initiate a conversation if they wanted, but were encouraged not to discus religion or politics.  In DC, not discussing the latter meant it was usually quiet.
Phone conversations by the slug were limited to "On my way home, be there in xxx"
Since the bus stop nearest my home was the closest one to the HOV lane, that made the wife and I an attractive slug option, so we rarely rode the bus home. 

One morning, I'm at the bus stop, by myself, it's raining.  I've got about 10 minutes before the bus is supposed to arrive when a van pulls up.  Guy rolls down the window and asks where I'm headed.


"OK"  Transaction completed.

"Good Morning" I say as I get in.  Quick look around the van and it's only he and I.  There's no other slug pick up point prior to the HOV, but it's not my problem.  Besides the van's windows are tinted and it's still dark.

We're on the HOV making good time when the Driver asks "Where do you work in the Pentagon?"  I tell him and he responds with "Oh so you work for Shmuckatelli?"

"Yes, Sir, but I usually call him General"

He laughs and says "I'd say so".

I say "If you don't mind my asking, where do you work?"

"I'm the senior Senator from Montana."

As I said, slugging was one of the few very interesting aspects of life in DC.

Back in the back seat, we've cleverly managed to arrive in Pecos, home of the Best in the West Rodeo, just in time to meet the Rodeo parade head on.  Our 4 in 3 average speed is taking a quantitative hit.

Lots of Fracking traffic out here.  Take that anyway you'd like.

Arrived safely in Albuquerque.  A Little New Mexican food for Dinner with a very nice Hefeweizen. Or Two.

Expecting a paucity of Internet access, so signing off for now.

Tough view to read a book and have a cup of coffee with, but as expected.it's 15 miles to any internet, cell or GPS signal
Woke up Thursday morning in ABQ and did my weather check and discovered some UFOs

Saturday we went to Mesa Verde NP.  WSF's first CO Home!
My Ladies!

Pretty Decent "See 'Um Comin" Views!
But in the end...it's all about Family!

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Old plum tree, surrounded by daisies.
So I've been rather negative the past couple of days, bleh, that's not me. While I do get down from time to time, I can't stay that way. It's just not in me. Life is too short to let stuff bother one for any length of time.

So let's get upbeat today.

As you might be able to tell, I've been out in the yard playing with the camera again. Trying new angles, different perspectives, helps ease my mind.

Old solar lantern. It doesn't work anymore but it looks kind of cool surrounded by those flowers. This sits next to the pond at Chez Sarge.

Beans of some sort, The Missus Herself knows what they are. I just eat them.

While I was out by the garden playing at photographer, the neighbor's chickens came over to see what I was doing.

No we're NOT dinosaurs! Silly human.
Hey, put that fork down!

This one is a troublemaker. She likes to fly over the fence and root in the garden.
Not healthy if The Missus Herself catches her! As chickens go, she's damned clever.

This rock was hidden under a big fir tree in the front yard for many years.
One day, The Missus Herself decreed that the tree interfered with her gardening plans.
So the tree came down. Underneath were these two 200 pound rocks, this is one.
It was a mother bear getting them out back by the pond. I love the texture of it.

A tangle of greenery next to that rock.

While I was outside taking pictures, Sasha, The Alpha Cat, came to the front door to see what "her" humans were up to.

The sound of this waterfall is soothing. Day and night.

Me trying to look thoughtful and wise. Succeeding at neither. I do manage to look old though. Doesn't take much effort!

Flowers, flowers, everywhere. Peaceful.

From inside the front garden, looking to the backyard.
In the foreground is The Missus Herself's latest project.
Some of our fish. Easy Virgil!
One of two water lilies in the pond. There's a big old frog who lives in there. Used to be two.
I did manage to get a couple of photos of the interior of Chez Sarge.

Sasha has the watch!

Another day in Paradise. I thank God for the favor He has shown me.

Stay tuned for Monday. Juvat is blogging from the road. While it's not Kerouac, it's good. Matter of fact, I like it better than Kerouac.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Dans les Hussards

Vive l'Empereur! by Édouard Detaille, 1891.
French 4th Hussars at the Battle of Friedland, 14 June 1807. 
Because of my penchant for all things Napoleonic, I was listening to some of the music from that time period on Ye Olde Tube O'You. 'Twas there that I found this charming little ditty I am about to inflict upon share with you.

For those who don't know, hussars were light cavalrymen who's uniforms were inspired by Hungarian fashions of the 1700s. I've seen references made to "based on the Hungarian national dress" but can't pin that down. Seems reasonable. Just can't confirm it.

I do know that hussars originated in Hungary. They were one of those units that just impressed the Hell out of many opponent.

So they were copied.

The Polish version of hussars were extremely ferocious. Polish soldiers on horseback tend to be that way!

Polish Winged Hussar by Aleksander Orłowski

Anyway, I give you Dans les Hussards, cavalrymen sans peur et sans reproche. (The lyrics are en français, bien sûr...)

Dans les hussards

Le hussard au quartier
Le hussard au quartier
N'a pas besoin de marchepied,
pour engueuler son brigadier...

Ah ! La belle vie que l'on mène
Dans les hussards, dans les hussards.

Ah ! La belle vie que l'on mène
Dans les hussards, dans les hussards.

Le hussard, au manèg'
Le hussard, au manèg'
Malgré la basan' qui l' protèg'
Use plus vit' son dos que son siège

Ah ! la belle vie que l'on mène...
Dans les hussards, dans les hussards.

Ah ! la belle vie que l'on mène...
Dans les hussards, dans les hussards.

Le hussard, en amour
Le hussard, en amour
Va de l'avant comme un tambour
Jamais on n' l'a vu rester court

Ah ! La belle vie que l'on mène...
Dans les hussards, dans les hussards.

Ah ! La belle vie que l'on mène...
Dans les hussards, dans les hussards.

Le hussard, au cercueil
Le hussard, au cercueil
Même après qu'il a tourné lœil
S'écrie encore avec orgueil

Ah ! La belle vie que l'on mène
Dans les hussards, dans les hussards

Ah ! La belle vie que l'on mène
Dans les hussards, dans les hussards

Ah the beautiful life one leads, in the hussars, in the hussars!


As the sun slowly sets on another beautiful New England day, I have to pause and think, "What in Hell is going on out there in the world?"

Why do some find it necessary to tear things down, both literally and figuratively? Are their own lives so pathetic and devoid of meaning? What exactly is the government up to? Are they evil, incompetent or abysmally stupid? A combination of all three?

Is this the country I spent 24 years of my life defending? Is this the country my kids have sacrificed for? Is this the nation that so many died for?

This nation has some of the most beautiful places on the planet. Opportunity abounds if you're willing to work for it. Yet there are those who feel that the nation owes them something without having earned it. Where did we go wrong?

What's the end game here? When the rabble-rousers and the social justice warriors are done with the place, what do they expect?

Some benevolent power to take over the land and pay off all the student loans? Free marijuana for all?

Who is going to maintain the roads? Grow the crops? Keep what's left of the infrastructure functioning?

There are powers in this world who seek to enslave the human race. They don't care what color you are or what you believe. All they want is to bend us to their will and do their bidding. They will live in luxury while the rest of us toil and spout meaningless slogans. It will be a land of illusion where only the men with power have any freedom at all.

As I sit here, thankful for the many blessings bestowed upon me and mine by a most merciful Creator, I wonder where all this is going.

Believe me, I won't go gentle into some new Dark Age. Those who think they will dictate to me and those like me will be in for an awful shock. This nonsense needs to end and it needs to end soon.

Otherwise I foresee dark times ahead. The death of the "last best hope of mankind." If Western Civilization collapses, there will be years of destruction and injustice. Do these thrice damned "activists" know that they will be first against the wall? Do they understand?

Probably not, they have proven time and again that they are ignorant of everything except their grievances. All they know is how to be "offended." They build nothing. They understand nothing. They are unwitting dupes of evil. This, I truly believe.

Is this it?

Are we entering a new Dark Age?

I pray to God enough of us wake up soon.

Before it is too late...

Friday, June 26, 2015

Say What?

Not the first time this flag has been at the center of a fight.
(If anyone knows who painted this, please let me know. My Google Fu is weak right now!)
After a horrible tragedy in Charleston, I guess the powers that be and the Social Justice Warriors have decided that the story isn't about a grieving community.


That doesn't fit their agenda.

It's about a flag.

Seriously, a flag.

For those who aren't sure, this is what is known as a "distraction," it's not the real issue but something else which the screaming crazies of the world want to take away from people.

Yes, I know some people find it "offensive," get over yourselves. It has meaning to some folks and with good reason. That meaning is good to some people, bad to others.

And please, don't compare that flag to the Nazi flag. As soon as you do, you've invalidated your argument. There is no comparison between those two items whatsoever.

I'm pretty damn sure the Confederacy didn't want to conquer the Union. Really, they just wanted to be left alone.

We could argue from now to eternity regarding what caused the war, whether or not those states had a right to secede or not. Immaterial really. The government in Washington D.C. decided that they didn't, went after the secessionists and defeated them.

End of story.

I'm sure there are some folks who want to try again. Really? Seriously? Exactly what are you fighting for?

That war ended 150 years ago.

I get the whole fight against tyranny thing. Really, I do.

If you wish, The Skipper has a pretty good post over at his place you should read. Some fair comments too. I don't agree with everything being said over there but the folks are at least being civil with each other.

Which is more than I can say for some folks.

Just wanted to chime in on this topic. FWIW.

One thing I will say, the Federal government is out of control. The Congress is useless and the Administration borders on the criminally negligent.

The Supreme Court?

Don't get me started.

There's days it just don't pay to get out of bed.

Another circus for the masses.

Old AF Sarge sends...