Thursday, November 21, 2019

In My Experience...

The graphic above pretty much says it all.

It seemed like a good idea at the time
At least it ain't one of these...

I suppose it could be worse?


Yeah, I got nuthin'...

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Confession Is Good for the Soul...

It is?

All kidding aside, another title for this post could have been "Things I Suck At" but it would have to be part 1 of 1026, so yeah, I picked a different title, I simply don't have time to go into all of the things I suck at. For instance...

The Missus Herself: We should take up golf.

Your Humble Scribe: Uh, no thanks. I already have a number of sports I suck at, I don't need to add another.

The list of sports I suck at is a very long one. Some I only semi-suck at, in other words I was seldom the last guy picked when choosing up sides in grade school. (Seldom as in it did happen occasionally.) Some people sucked at every athletic endeavor known to mankind, most of them grew up to be multi-millionaires or better. They sucked at sports so they studied.

Anyhoo, the point of all this is that I am not very good with discussions. There are times that I wish to throttle the people I'm discussing things with, it's not that they're wrong, it's just that they tend to be smug about being right. (What's worse are the smug ones who are absolutely wrong, but are still smug about it. They tend to be politicians.)

So the topic of the Zumwalt-class of ships came up over at koobecaF t'other day. A buddy of mine had a link to a nearly year old article regarding some of the problems the class has had. Well, okay, mostly the gun system. As usually happens, a number of folks began to chime in with their thoughts/opinions/arguments - mostly against the class.

So yeah, I work for a defense contractor, won't say which one, and have been involved with the Zumwalt class for a number of years. Too many years probably. It's been an on and off sort of thing. The Navy is like a kid with a paper route (or so it seems to me, having been there and done that as well, I only semi-sucked at that), they don't always have the money they need to pay for stuff. In the early days of this project that meant that the work would stop, often for months at a time, then pick back up again.

When the work stops one of two things happen, I mean if you don't have work on a project you need to find those people other work, or you have to let them go. (Those being the two things I mentioned.) Now unless the timing is perfect, those sent to work on other projects don't automatically come back to Zumwalt when the money spigot is turned back on. Nope, the bosses on that other project don't want to let those folks go until their project is done.

So unless the return of Zumwalt coincides with other projects being done (or their money getting turned off - hey, it's what happens when contractors "miscalculate" and/or Congress doesn't pass a budget) then you have to find new people to work Zumwalt. Often people fresh out of college or people with zero experience on a military project. So in some ways you have to start from scratch. All of which adds to the cost of a project and the time it takes to complete it.

So I've been at this Zumwalt thing for a while, I've seen many stupid decisions made (by us, by other contractors, by the government, and yes, even by the Navy). I've also seen some brilliant work go into this thing. Yes, it's big, it's expensive and yes, probably could have been done better. But it is what it is. A lot of money has been spent on this thing.

Point being, do we just say "fire truck it" and drop everything, realizing that a lot of money has already been spent and just say "Oh well, that didn't work." Or do we suck it up, spend a bit more (that bit having a quite a few zeroes after it) and get those three ships finished and useful?

After all, we've already spent a lot of money on the LCS program (the gift that keeps on giving precisely nothing) a "ship" which can't do anything and probably never will. Zumwalt, at the very least, has a useful radar and sonar system and the capability to carry a whole bunch of missiles. Something LCS is incapable of.

I vote for finish it, learn the right lessons and move on. Some of the Zumwalt technology is pretty slick, far more complex and interesting than some dumb ass writing articles for UPI will ever understand. A lot of the stuff is also classified and not something well known even inside the Navy. If you don't work Zumwalt, you don't know, and if you do know and aren't in the Zumwalt world, someone has committed a serious security violation.

But I shied away from further discussion over on koobecaF as I really do suck at discussions and don't want to piss anybody off (especially friends) over a "tilting at windmills" scenario. In other words, some of us know things, some of us don't. I am actually required by law to keep it that way.

So if my departure from that discussion seems odd, well, I like my job and really, really want to keep it. So I have to stop talking.

In other news...

I've added The Gormogons to the blogroll, been reading them for a while, figured I'd share. It's what I do. (Okay, I suck at sharing, but you probably knew that.)

At any rate this recent post of theirs I found very educational, it's about taverns, bars, saloons, beer halls, and the like. Good stuff.

I had no ideer...

And for what it's worth, I suck at drinking.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Uh, What? (Perhaps I Should Ask WHO?)

Saw the above at Ann Althouse's place, made me shake my head. Say what?

Apparently, this truly is a thing, observed on the third Sunday of November since 1993 (started by those RoadPeace folks). Of course, the UN has the answer. (FEVR is a European thing, RoadPeace is in the UK.)
WHO, FEVR and RoadPeace have jointly developed a book, World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims: a guide for organizers, to provide practical guidance to people or groups on how to plan and organize events on this day. The book gives a brief history of the day, offers suggestions on how to plan the day and provides examples of specific activities that can be organized. We encourage all those concerned with road traffic crashes and their consequences to use this guide to organize annual events in different parts of the world to ensure that the advocacy opportunity of this day is fully realized. (Source)
What are the facts, here in the U.S. of A?

According to statista -
Between 2011 and 2017, road traffic injuries in the United States grew by about 530,000 incidents to some 2.7 million road traffic-related injuries in 2017. Over the same period, fatalities had also increased by about 5,000. This follows two decades of a general decrease in the amount of traffic-related injuries.
They go on to say -
In the United States, male drivers are behind the wheel in the majority of fatal crashes. Speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol have often been to blame, neither have led to a rise in traffic fatalities in the U.S. Instead, cellphones are primarily the cause. Smartphone ownership has become almost omnipresent in the U.S. since 2011, and drivers are likely to be distracted by texting and using social media. Young drivers are the ones accounting for the highest share of cellphone use fatalities. Another reason why fatal accidents are rising in number is that non-occupants’ exposure to risk is also increasing. As residents become more encouraged to walk or cycle in cities, the extra time amongst traffic has led to higher rates of fatalities and injuries amongst cyclists and pedestrians. Lastly, poor infrastructure and lack of awareness by motorists is prevalent in large parts of the United States.
They even have a chart -

Do chase that source link under the chart because on statista's website the chart is interactive. Also note, if'n you don't wish to chase the link, while the number of fatalities appears steady on the graph, the numbers look like this-
  • Year Fatalities
  • 1990 44599
  • 1993 40150
  • 1996 42065
  • 1999 41717
  • 2002 43005
  • 2005 43510
  • 2008 37423
  • 2011 32479
  • 2014 32744
  • 2017 37133
So traffic accidents are indeed a major source of deaths and injuries, something like 1.25 million people a year die in traffic accidents worldwide. (Where I got that is here.) Another interesting chart is over at Wikipedia, so yes, take that with a grain of salt, but it seems valid based on my personal experiences in driving in different parts of the world. (As expected - by me - the Germans rank low in fatalities per 100,000. They really are pretty good behind the wheel and their driver education is also top notch.)

As for Fauxcahontas' tweet...  Seriously, #EndTrafficViolence? How about any of the following instead?
  • #EndStupidityNow
  • #TeachPeopleHowToDrive
  • #PayAttentionBehindTheWheel
  • #ShutUpLiz
You might gather that I am not a big Elizabeth Warren fan. You would be correct in that assumption.

I find the inability of many people to correctly operate a motor vehicle somewhat appalling. Seeing examples of complete stupidity and woeful failures to actually pay attention every single day, it rather staggers the imagination when you wonder how some people were ever licensed to drive. Perhaps on the day they were tested, they actually knew what they were doing, but over time they've developed some very bad habits it would seem.

Yes, it's a problem but it's not a problem that's going to be solved by observances, sanctimonious tweets, and the like. Not to mention that the mourning of a lost loved one is a very personal affair, not sure how all of that WHO stuff will fix anything or comfort anyone. I dunno, maybe it will, no doubt YMMV.

But seriously, #EndTrafficViolence? Like the bad drivers are doing this intentionally?


Monday, November 18, 2019

Mos Eisley-The Cantina

So...A couple of Weekends ago, Mrs J and I traveled to what I had believed to be THE most wretched hive of scum and villiany in the universe.  Well, turns out...I was wrong.  The only remaining reliable news source has determined that DC is in fact third worst.

Having lived in DC, but not in the first and second place winners (losers?), I still have my doubts, but that's neither here nor there.

As I said, we traveled to the east coast WHOSAV* and checked in to the Airport Hilton arriving there in the early evening.  After dropping off bags at the room, contacted Little J who was headed our way along with an overabundance of other souls fleeing WHOSAV.

He would be delayed.

We decided we would have an adult recreational beverage while anticipating his arrival. That momentous decision was unanimously decided, so we proceeded to the  hotel's Cantina.  Fortunately our arrival therein was recorded.

I'm the one in the Gold outfit.

Turns out that not only was the hotel hosting the Juvat Clan reunion, it was also hosting an Online Gamers Marathon.

As we were boarding our flight from Austin, (which was an adventure in itself.  It took us an hour and a half to transit a little over a mile due to traffic light malfunction at the Y at Oak Hill.  Anybody who's transited Austin East-West knows that intersection.  Yes, we OJ'd through  the airport.)

You were saying something about "Boarding your flight", juvat?

Lo siento, mi sargento de la Fuerza Aérea increíblemente viejo, ¡me distraje!

As we were boarding our flight, I noticed a young guy, scraggly beard, T-shirt, flip flops, with a computer under his arm.  It looked pretty expensive, and he treated it with a bit of care placing it in the overhead compartment.  I had wondered what that was all about.  Most people travel with a laptop, not a CPU.

In any case, this guy was with us all the way to the hotel.  It was only when I saw the above sign did I begin to understand.

But, Mrs J and I walk up to the entrance to the "cantina", music is playing, people are talking.  Sounds like fun is being had.

We walk in, and much like the video above, the music stops and someone growls, "We don't serve that kind here".

OK, maybe not the latter.  but I'm pretty sure the music stopped.  

And I KNOW everyone was staring.

I also know Mrs J and my presence in the fairly crowded bar raised the average age in it by 20 years.

Fortunately, the hostess took pity on us and led us to a table near the bar.  Where we ordered our adult recreational beverage,  a single malt Scotch, in this case, The Glenlivet

While the Bartender is fixing our libation, Mrs J and I are looking at all the peeps, and glancing at one another and starting to chuckle.

It's every cliche about millenials ever one room.

If this threesome had walked in to my wine tasting room, I'd have asked for at least two forms of ID.

Actually, the bar wasn't all that noisy, Mrs J were able to carry on a conversation, although we could overhear some of the others near by.

My favorite?

"How did you do on the Final Fantasy Round?"

 "I heard Karbo won the round."  (Coulda been Carbo, I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt)

"Yeah, so did I, I heard he was maxing out the game using only 30% of his CPU capacity."

Drinks have arrived, that is a glass of water.  I was thirsty and elected to chug a glass of water rather than a glass of expensive Scotch.
Well, as the evening progressed, more of the tournament players started to show up.  The group at the bar picked up a few more and expanded in our direction.  Turns out, as I overheard an introduction, Karbo is the guy in the middle with the black T-shirt.

Their conversation quickly devolved into techno-geek babble which was untranslatable to mere mortals like ourselves.  Fortunately, right around this time, Little Juvat arrived and we went to dinner.

As Little Juvat's wife is wont to say.  "It was HIGHLY entertaining."

-->  wretched hive of scum and villiany

Sunday, November 17, 2019


I'm guessing that right about now you're shaking your head and wondering, "Just how much did Sarge have to drink last night?"

Uh no, no. It's not like that at all.

Last week I stumbled across a fellow on YouTube who was very funny. A comedian I thought that I had never seen nor heard before, a very funny guy who, unfortunately died at the age of 50, some five years ago. (Actually he made a brief appearance in the last episode of Seinfeld. He's the reason Jerry, Kramer, George, and Elaine go to jail.)

At any rate, I watched a few clips of the guy on YouTube, he's hysterical. I laughed so hard I think I hurt myself. That's when I looked him up, dead at 50 in 2014. I was kind of crushed by that. But he did leave behind a lot of good laughs.

But still, I wish he was still here.

As to turnips themselves? I think I had some once at Thanksgiving, I don't have a bad memory of eating turnips, quite unlike the dread memories I have of eating liver. I recall a vegetable with a rather odd texture which had somehow been drenched in butter. One way of masking the flavor perhaps?

Anyhoo, John Pinette, a very funny guy. Wish he was still here but time marches on. While I believe that everything happens for a reason, I don't have to like that reason.

A very pleasant Sunday to you all.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Stuff That Falls Out…

I tend to keep mental notes of potential blog items, holding on to them until I get enough relevant items that flow well enough together to put them down here.  However, sometimes I either don't get enough, or they don't flow at all.  Then my brain gets a little too full and those mental notes become The Stuff That Falls Out for this rare (for me) Saturday post.

Those Epstein memes being shared on social media are pretty creative. Why do we care if a pedophile was murdered? We don’t, at least not too much. But we don’t think anyone should get away with it either. We abhor a dictator, and offing one's opponents is exactly what dictators do.

With that being said, I hope Amy Robach from ABC is watching her back.

California- a state where you can’t have a straw with your beverage and a grocer can’t give you a plastic bag, but they’ll sell you a thicker and less-biodegradable one for 10 cents.

Trump gets bashed by the left for talking about bad behavior in an era of #MeToo, but Clinton can use his power of the office to engage in actual bad behavior and nobody blinks an eye.

I read today that the majority of the company owners featured on Mike Rowe’s “Dirty Jobs,” the ones covered in filth, are multi-millionaires.  And today’s college kids need a cell phone signal to learn how to change a tire.

Sunset over my sister-in-law's house
College kids go to school to get smart, meanwhile doing stupid stuff like borrowing 200K to get a degree for a job that doesn’t exist.

Young adults today would consider themselves more tolerant and open minded than we are/were.  Except when it comes to ideas that don’t line up with their own.  They have been indoctrinated by the left in that they think don’t have to listen to opposing viewpoints.  The left has created a generation that doesn’t want or care about the truth, only about what they’re being fed.

This was ‘so well’ said:
“Envy was once considered to be one of the seven deadly sins before it became one of the most admired virtues under its new name, ‘social justice.’ “  Thomas Sowell

Badass SLUF                                                                   Pinterest

I think Nikki Haley is going make an outstanding President.  2024 is my hope.  And she wouldn’t be nearly as vulnerable to attack as others in the GOP.

Why do the police and Border Patrol get harangued for enforcing certain laws, but not the lawmakers for passing those laws?


There was a little anger from the left this week about the potential Supreme Court ruling on Trump's repeal of DACA, and how if ruled unconstitutional, some illegal immigrants brought here as children who are now adults, could be deported. Hey Congress, this is in your wheelhouse. How about you get off your @$$es and make a law. The President doesn't write laws, (DACA is an Executive Order), you do.
Speaking of which, what the heck is Congress doing for us anyway? Remember that immigration not a crisis crisis? Well, it's still happening down at the southern border. Besides DACA, the NAFTA replacement has been awaiting a vote for the entire year, but they won't bring anything to a vote that could be bipartisan, helpful to Trump, or positive for the economy.

I read that Applebees is declaring bankruptcy. They mistakenly offered free alcohol to vets on Veterans’ day!

So it looks like the Houston Astros cheated, not only this year, but during their World Series Championship year in 2017. NASCAR has always had it. Cycling and Track & Field have dealt with doping, as has Baseball with PEDs. However, I don't think anyone wants our National Pastime tainted with cameras stealing signs. I expect this is going to be a big deal.

I gotta admit, I'm a little perturbed at the new "Mustang Inspired" electric SUV Ford is soon to release- the Mach E. I think it damages the legacy of a great and iconic car. It's a marketing grab for sure, taking one of their best selling vehicles, borrowing some design features for what is really a completely new car. Why not make a sport version of the Ford Edge or Escape and electrify that? Or, make an electric Mustang. That car has always been a two door coupe, but now it's...just wrong.

Venezuela went from the third richest country in the hemisphere to a failed state in about 10 years. This included private gun ownership becoming illegal and the government firing on its citizens. And despite this real world evidence of how socialism never works, the top 2 Dem candidates are socialists.

Safe Passage- photo of a painting at the office. 

We live in what is probably the least racist country on earth, but many people don't want to see that. Race is often just a useful tool to divide us and pit one side against another. When your side has nothing to give, you can always give them something to hate.

Is it just me, or are there traffic scofflaws than there used to be? I see red-light runners far more often than I remember in the past. Every morning I see drivers ignoring the metered on-ramps and right on red turn restrictions during rush hour. I don't want to sound like chicken little, but the fabric of society seems to be breaking down a little, when some people don't have a respect for the law. Then again, we've seen this happening in DC for years and years.

Amazing story about Chuckles
Christmas has gotten completely out of hand, and it's not because we're celebrating Jesus earlier. It's been trending that way for a while, but c'mon people, October is not the Christmas Season! I also think "Black" Friday is very aptly named.

But before Christmas, there's pie! Thanksgiving is nearly upon us. And after that I have a follow up appointment with my Primary Care Doc. Last March she gave me a few things to work on. I'm going to have to tell her that I've been so busy this year I didn't have time to lose weight. I don't mind getting older, but my body is taking it badly.

Ok, I've made enough room for more mental notes in the future. Enjoy your pie.

P.S. Just kidding about Applebees

Friday, November 15, 2019

So, Who Was That Guy?

He was French Général de Division
César-Charles-Etienne, Comte Gudin De La Sablonnière

You may (or may not) have seen a fairly recent article in the news, real news that is, about the remains of a French general being found under a dance floor in Russia. You can read some of the details here and/or here. (I often get my news from The Telegraph and sometimes from Fox News, seldom anywhere else, but I digress...)

So in these modern times we often think of a general as some guy (or gal, after all this is the 21st Century) well behind the lines directing operations from afar. Sure, generals do come under fire and get killed or injured (Major General Harold Greene of the U.S. Army springs immediately to mind), but that is relatively rare in modern times.

That wasn't the case in Napoleonic times (and most wars prior to the 20th Century) when generals led their troops from the front. Even staff officers got shot at and quite frequently hit. While the commanders were maneuvering their units, the staff was coordinating all that, on horseback and certainly in range of enemy cannon, sometimes within musket range as well.

General Gudin was no stranger to battle, he had joined the French Army before the Revolution in 1782. (He had also been a classmate of the future Emperor at Brienne.) He was known as a hard worker and also cared for the lives of his troops. He fought in most of the major campaigns in the Napoleonic Wars, except for Spain.

Always near the front of his troops he had been wounded in action twice before receiving the wounds that killed him near Smolensk: wounded at the Battle of Auerstädt on 14 October 1806 and then again at the Battle of Wagram three years later on 6 July 1809, where he was hit four times!

General Gudin didn't have to suffer the retreat from Moscow in 1812, he was hit by cannon shot on the pursuit after Napoléon's defeat of the Russians at Smolensk during the Battle of Valutino. The shot which hit him severed one leg and crushed the calf of the other. He wasn't killed outright, he lingered three days before the gangrene which had set in finally killed him

A tough soldier in a tough time, one of the Emperor's favorite generals.

Of course, the French want to repatriate his remains and give him a proper burial in France. A well-deserved honor for a man whose name is carved on the Arc de Triomphe. A fine way to honor the memory of a very brave man.

Général de Division Gudin, moments before being wounded.
(On the right with sword held high.)

Napoleon's hopes of trapping General Barclay's army were dashed when he discovered that the Russian force awaiting the French was a rearguard under General Tutchkov. Barclay's main force of three infantry and one cavalry corps was strung out near Smolensk, trying to get away from the French after the Battle of Smolensk. They then turned around to fight the French on the Stragan river.

After a heavy bombardment, Ney launched an assault against the Russians, crossing the Stragan but failing to capture the crest. Murat's cavalry attacks were bogged down in marshy ground and accomplished nothing. General Junot's force was close to the battlefield and was urged to attack the Russians by Murat. Junot did not engage, and the opportunity for a decisive victory passed.

A few hours later, Ney launched the last French attack. General Gudin led the assault and was hit by a cannonball, which removed one leg. He died three days later from infection. The French managed to capture the crest after hard fighting. By that point the majority of Barclay's army had escaped and was heading towards Lubino. (Source)

Other Sources: