Friday, March 24, 2023

In Memoriam ...

I learned Thursday that one of those "best friends I've never met," as Lex called them, passed away on Wednesday.

Valory was a gem, she was ever cheerful, she never commented here but commented often over on FB.

I shall miss her a great deal.

With apologies to Gaius Valerius Catullus¹ ...

Ave Atque Vale
Through many countries and over many seas
I have come, Sister, to these melancholy rites,
to show this final honour to the dead,
and speak (to what purpose?) to your silent ashes,
since now fate takes you, even you, from me.
Oh, Sister, ripped away from me so cruelly,
now at least take these last offerings, blessed
by the tradition of our parents, gifts to the dead.
Accept, by custom, what a brother’s tears drown,
and, for eternity, Sister, ‘Hail and Farewell’.

Farewell Dear Lady.

¹ For he spoke of the loss of a brother, I modified the poem to speak of the loss of a sister.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Yeah, Right, Pull the Other One!

Rant On!

So, because of the current way we live, Mrs. Andrew and I watch a bit of the TV.  We watch NCIS, Blue Bloods, stuff like that.  And a lot of educational and murder-death-kill shows.  Some movies and such, both ancient and modern (love watching old Fred Astaire movies and such.)

And we have noticed things about dramas lately, really starting around 2015 or so.  All the crime dramas, really. Guess who the Big Bad has become?  Is it Drug Cartels?  Nope.  Communist China? Nope.  Intercity Gangs of any flavor? Nope.  Space Aliens?  Nope.  Bigfoot?  Nope.  Bigfoot Space Aliens? Nope.  Antifa? Nope. BLM (either the minority group or the Bureau of Land Management who are really evil federal jerks?) Nope.  Think of any actual criminal violent group of people who are working hard to destroy the very fabric of our nation and are they the Big Bad? Nope, nope, just nope.

The "SWAT" reboot, "NCIS: Los Angeles," NCIS: New Orleans," "NCIS," all of the "FBI" shows, all have the same Big Bad who are causing fundamental damage and are planning the fundamental rearrangement of this great country.

Uplifted Hamsters or other animals escaped from various labs? Canadians? Cubans? Nope.

White Christians.

Get that?

White Christians.

Who are also assumed to be... Nationalists or Supremacists.  Because Christians can't be anything else than Nationalists or Supremacists.

Admittedly, the reboot of "SWAT" was a dog-turd to begin with, but in the greater Los(t) Angeles area, no other problem was as critical as dealing with those crazy White Christians (assumed to beNationalists and/or Supremacists.)  Same with "NCIS: Los Angeles," sure, Commie China was a problem, so were drug and human smugglers and traffickers and such, but it was the WCNS that were the real threat to the team and the city and, by inference, the nation as a whole.

Same with NCISNO.

Tried watching some of the FBI shows, and, well, besides badly written, again, WCNS are the uber bad guys.

And now, even the original "NCIS" has fallen upon White Christians as THE WORST PEOPLE EVER, whatever the flavor they are, especially if they believe in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (and that pesky 2nd Amendment thingy.)

So, because of Loyalty and Stupidity, I'll give NCIS one more chance.  And then I'll ditch it like so many other shows.  Seriously, every year more and more shows get sent to the trashheap of my tv viewing history and looks like yet another one is joining the pile of jetsam.

It's like the scripts are being written by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is one of the most prejudicial, racist and bigoted organizations I've ever encountered.  And after reading their version of various activities taken by people in Florida, in comparison to what actually happened, those yahoos at the SPLC are just lying liars that blatantly lie.

Seriously?  My fat fundament is The Most Dangerous Threat to This Great Nation Ever? And, yes, I guess I am a nationalist, as I assume that, overall, the US of A is the Best Nation Ever and I want to keep it The Best Nation Ever.  But that's supposed to be evil and bad now.

And it's not just Hollyweird.  Our own Federal Government, who is supposed to serve us, has taken the stance all throughout its bloated corpulent pustulant body and all of its squiggly corrupt appendages. Like the military.


I hate being stuck in The Fall of Civilization.  Dangit.


Rant over.  Dangit.


So... Music. 

Because of evil Christian stuff... OOOOHHH (waves evil wiggly fingers at all y'all) Muhahahahaha...

There's this group called GOL (gods of luxury) and they did a piece based upon... The Song of Solomon (you know, from The Old Testament) which, of course , you know will make this piece of music weird.  It's electronic, and weird, and I really like it.

Angelica in Delirium - GOL
Okay, weird, but for some reason it seems catchy to me.

And just because ELO is still my favorite...

Telephone Line - Electric Light Orchestra
Jeff Lynne - songwriter and band leader
has a thing for soulful contemplative songs


Hello, how are you? Have you been alright?
Through all those lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely nights
That's what I'd say, I'd tell you everything
If you'd pick up that telephone, yeah yeah yeah

Hey, how you feelin'? Are you still the same?
Don't you realize the things we did, we did
Were all for real, not a dream? And I just can't believe
They've all faded out of view, yeah yeah yeah

Doowop dooby doo doowop, doowah doolang
Blue days, black nights, doowah doolang

I look into the sky
The love you need ain't gonna see you through
And I wonder why
The little things you planned ain't coming true

Oh oh, telephone line, give me some time
I'm living in twilight
Oh oh, telephone line, give me some time
I'm living in twilight

Okay, so no one's answering
Well, can't you just let it ring a little longer, longer, longer, longer, oh
I'll just sit tight through shadows of the night
But let it ring for evermore, yeah yeah yeah, oh oh

Doowop dooby doo doowop, doowah doolang
Blue days, black nights, doowah doolang

I look into the sky
The love you need ain't gonna see you through
And I wonder why
The little things you planned ain't coming true

Oh oh, telephone line, give me some time
I'm living in twilight
Oh oh, telephone line, give me some time
I'm living in twilight
Oh oh, telephone line, give me some time
I'm living in twilight
Oh oh, telephone line, give me some time
I'm living in twilight

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Silencing the Voice ...

Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.
 - Harry S. Truman

And it's not just government.

While I have been fairly well-behaved here on the blog, as have my co-bloggers, I have been censored here. Once.

I posted about the Battle of Britain, used a lot of great photos. One individual apparently complained to the powers that be that I had used one of his photos. So down the post came.

No proof, no evidence, no "Hey man, that's my photo, please don't use it." (Or please attribute it to me, or please pay me to use it.) I mean I get it. But an entire post (a good one I thought) taken down? For one bloody photo!

I get it, Google does own the platform, I pay nothing (that's right, zilch, nada, rien) to use the platform. There are rules for using the platform, which I try to obey.

But, some folks are getting antsy about the future of Blogger (which is the platform I use, and yes, it's owned by, and provided by Google, free of charge) so they are bailing to places like Substack, or even setting up their own servers and the like to provide a platform for bloggers who may not toe the party line of their current host platform.

Me? (Us?) We're not so controversial, when we do post on des affaires politique it's usually level-headed without a lot of ranting and raving. Which tends, as you might gather, to attract attention. Often unwanted attention.

But other than the one alleged, unproven instance of copyright violation, I've never had a post taken down by "the authorities." Not even the Book of Face has ever taken down one of my links to the blog. (Because I'm guessing that their bots, er, I mean "fact-checkers," don't chase links to sources outside of the Meta-verse.)

I was recently slapped upon the wrist for making a disparaging remark about Russians, in Russian. Now that comment was removed and I received a "don't do that again" warning. No big deal, I'm guessing that Zuckerborg¹ is in league with the Rooskies, but I digress.

I was rather stunned to see that CDR Salamander was heading for Substack (as has another blogger I enjoy) and not using Blogger anymore. Obviously someone believes that he has pissed in someone's Cheerios and he doesn't want to deal with the censors anymore. I get it.

This place? I have no plans of going anywhere, I want this place to be even-keeled without a lot of extremism to either side of the political spectrum. Heck, I have liberal, nay, progressive friends. Their views and opinions are not my views and opinions, but I don't hate them for it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Not that I despise people, I try not to anyway, but I do like this quote, seems appropriate in a lot of cases ...

If we don't believe in free expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.
 - Noam Chomsky

Free expression is just that, protected by the Constitution and everything. But some entities have rules for playing on their fields, if I use that field, I try to play by their rules. No matter how rankling those rules might be at times.

Just thought I'd mention that. I'm here to stay, unless the position becomes untenable, then we'll see.


'Nuff said ...

¹ Not a misspelling, that was intentional, Star Trek geek that I am.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023


The Road to Brussels
La Belle Alliance on the right.
To say that I'm obsessed with the Battle of Waterloo is something of an understatement. At the moment I am in the midst of reading yet another book about the battle, the fifth book in a set of twelve by the Andrew W. Field which I wrote about here. So two to go there.

To top it off, I bought yet another book about the battle, The Longest Afternoon, by Brendan Simms -

Said book details the fight of 400 German soldiers defending the farm shown below. (Yes, I've been there, more than once, but never inside. It's still a working farm.)

La Haye Sainte
Germans? What's that you say Sarge, dontcha mean Prussians?

No, I do not. Unbeknownst to many, the army which fought Napoléon on the 18th of June 1815 upon the field of Waterloo wasn't comprised of just British soldiers (and by British I mean English, Irish, Scots, and Welsh). Oh no, it also contained many Dutchmen and Belgians, also Germans of a number of varieties.

Embodied within the British Army were the units of the King's German Legion, soldiers from the state of Hanover (George III was not only the King of England, he was also the Elector of Hanover, Hannover auf deutsch) who had fled their homeland after it was overrun by the French Army and went to Britain to enlist in the fight against the French.

There were also later Hanoverian units formed after Napoléon's first abdication in Hanover proper. These were typically manned by very young and inexperienced soldiers.

Not to mention the soldiers of Brunswick (Braunschweig auf deutsch). These chaps also skipped out when the French overran their country (1806) and formed their own unit which fought in Spain with Wellington. Though that unit was disbanded, the Duke of Brunswick got the band back together (so to speak) after Napoléon abdicated the first time. The Duke fell at the Battle of Quatre Bras, two days before Waterloo. There is a monument which was placed near where he fell, leading his men in battle -

Monument to Friedrich Wilhelm, Herzog von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel
~  Kampf gefallen,
 16. Juni 1815¹ ~
The Duke's father was also killed fighting against Napoléon nine years previous to the son's death. His father, Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand commanded the Prussian army at the Battle of Auerstädt in 1806. The father was wounded in action at that battle, dying of his wounds in November of 1806.

Within the army of the United Netherlands (which had had Belgium added to it, much to the dislike of many Belgians) there were units known as Nassauers, from Nassau, but not the one in the Bahamas. No, these guys were also Germans but their ruler apparently had ties with the Dutch. (The current Dutch royal family is the House of Orange-Nassau, which is why you hear Dutch football² fans chanting Oranje boven! at matches.)

So Wellington's army really was a mishmash of different nationalities and languages!

Many histories of Waterloo paint the redcoats as the guys who really did most of the fighting and give scant recognition to the "foreigners" among their ranks. (Many histories also go out of their way to paint the Hereditary Prince of Orange, son of the King of the Netherlands as a complete dunce. Which he really wasn't. Over-enthusiastic and inexperienced? Sure, but stupid he was not. He was also, some have suggested, overly brave.)

Every time I devour, er read, another book on Waterloo I learn something new and interesting

I also tend to go overboard with games about Waterloo, just found and bought a game which I had years ago. Originally put out by a company named Talonsoft, Matrix Games now carries it.

It was like catching up with an old friend ...

In game screenshot
Old but lots of fun to play. Originally sold separately, the bundle from Matrix Games ($29.99) now comes with Prelude to Waterloo, which covers the battles of Quatre Bras and Ligny, and Napoleon in Russia which covers the massive battle of Borodino.

As an added bonus it also comes with Age of Sail, which, as you might gather, covers naval combat during the Napoleonic period.

In game screenshot
Much to keep me busy, I have. (As Yoda might put it.)

On a side note, a memory just popped up which tends to do so from time to time.

I took that opening photo and added a red arrow where I almost died. Yes. Died. Almost.

See that big truck speeding down the road (and believe me, they go like a bat out of Hell on that chaussée from Charleroi to Brussels), well ...

I was leading a couple of my sergeant buddies on a guided tour of the battlefield. I stumbled a bit and nearly fell into the roadway. One of my fellow NCOs was just turning around and saw me teetering and saw a giant-ass truck approaching.

Just about where the red arrow is pointing. There I almost became a statistic.
With a deft tug on the sleeve of my jacket he pulled me out of the road. I felt the "breath" of that behemoth as it passed by, within a foot of my mortal flesh. Bit of a close call that was.

So thanks Tom (or was it Ryan?). If y'all hadn't of saved my ass twenty-five years ago I wouldn't be writing about it today.

And you, my dear readers, would have to find something else to do as you drink your coffee!

Seriously though, I am somewhat obsessive when it comes to Waterloo (or La Belle Alliance as the Prussians would have it, or Mont St. Jean as the French would have it, if they talk about it at all). Can ya tell?

I am starting to get the urge to write again.

Baby steps, Sarge. Baby steps.

¹ Killed in action, 16 June 1815
² What the Yanks call soccer. I'm in the middle on that one, I usually just go with the German word, fußball.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Leaving...On a Jet Plane...Maybe...Change 1...Probably

 So...There We were*...Looking forward to a nice little vacay drifting down the Danube River for a week with our Wine Maker Friends and 26 others.  Enjoying various wines and wineries along the way with a couple of follow up talks and tastes on board.  

Ahh...Retired Life!  Woke up Saturday morning a tad early, still working on changing the body clock to sync with the alarm clock.  Mrs. J is still asleep, she's been working hard to get all her guests on board their flights and enroute to Munich.  All are enroute or in-country already.

All except she and I.

Insert ominous music score here.

So. I'm sitting in the kitchen, being as quiet as I can to let her sleep.  My cell phone dings, I glance at it.  The sender is British Airways.  NBD, I think to myself, they've been sending me updates on our flight for a few days now.  2000 TO from Austin Bergstrom to London. Clear British Customs, then board another BA flight to Munich to meet the bus to take us to Vilshofen to board the boat.  Been getting this info regularly.  At that point, I believe it was my Sainted Mother, now Guardian Angel, that tapped me on the shoulder and said "Hey, Dummy! Read the frickin' message." 

She's gotten a bit more direct (and tetchy) since she took over the Guardian Angel duties.

Anyhow, who am I to question her?  I open it and read that our London to Munich flight has been cancelled and we are now scheduled on a London to Salzburg connecting flight.  Should be no problem, right?


Google Maps

Apparently, there isn't an easy way to get from Salzburg to the River. Nice!

So, Mrs. J is working with the River Tour company to figure this problem out.  I'm being very quiet and doing what I'm told without asking or commenting.  

Self-preservation, doncha-know?  Waiting to see how this turns out.

Given the traveling, I think a little space/time physics update regarding this and this week's post is appropriate.  It's 6 hours ahead there.  Given the circumstances mentioned above, it may be a while before I can get to the internet and respond to comments.  Similar circumstances will occur a week from  now.  The boat docks next Monday early and we're herded to the airport.  A million hours later we arrive back home.  Responding to comments will be nigh on to impossible.  So...Discuss amongst yourselves, please.

On the Grand Daughter front, a bit of good news.  She had a visit with her pulmonologist this past week.  The appointment went well and the Doc gave LJW the OK to try weaning her off her supplemental O2.  She had been using it with a 50% supplemental oxygen level since birth.  The Doc said to lower it to 25% for 2 days and see if she handled it ok.  Friday (I'm writing this on Saturday VS usual Sunday, see reason above.) the experiment started.  Checking with LJW that evening, Miss B was doing fine.  So, finger's crossed and prayers up, please.  Success here will be a VERY BIG THING!

Pen making has slipped to the back burner of late.  Mrs. J commented that there was a lot of dirt being tracked into the house lately, what with the drought, and that we needed to have "Outside Shoes" and "Inside Shoes".  Recognizing that I was in the middle of a very large mine field, I responded "Yes, Dear" and the laundry room became my shoe transfer facility.

Unfortunately, the days of my being able  to reach down from an upright position and touch my toes without shortly thereafter touching my face to the floor are way in the past.  Which is problematic as the laundry room has no seating.

So..A project being presented, regardless of the source,  is a gift from above.  In the picture above, I'd just applied my first coat of polyurethane to the Shoe Rack/Bench.  I'm on coat #3 #6 now and it's beginning to look pretty darn nice.  Unfortunately, drying time will finish right about the time we need to leave for our flight.

Assuming, of course, that British Airways figures their contractual obligations out properly. (See update below.)

We'll see.

Given that good news, I decided this picture pretty much sums things up.

Mrs J.  Captioned it with "But they told me to pull this to Eject."  Girl's got Fighter Pilot blood in her!

Hang in there, y'all and Peace out.  Whatever will be, will be.

Late Breaking news.  Apparently, the moons of Jupiter are in alignment.  Mrs. J was able to talk to the right person who could talk to the right person who could...

The River Tour company's agents got us on a Lufthansa flight that arrives in Munich from London within about an hour of our original arrival time.  BA couldn't seem to make that connection (in all meanings of that word).  So, we've got to get to the airport a little earlier than we were in order to get new tickets printed, but with a little luck we should be good to go.  We will see what we will see.

(Hang in there, y'all and Peace out.  Whatever will be, will be.)2


Sunday, March 19, 2023

Wasn't Going to Post, Changed My Mind ...

Old Town Alexandria
OAFS Photo
Been doing a lot of reminiscing as of late and while going through the photo archives saw this one. I need to get back down to Old Virginia one of these days. Love that town in particular.

Anyhoo, I also wanted to give Beans a break from carrying the load (which he has done magnificently) and I felt the urge to post something. Anything!

Beans' mentioning of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass the other day really sent me down memory lane. My parents had a number of his albums. This tune was a big favorite (me being a Taurus¹ and all ...)

Sounds very "south of the border," reminds of Sandy Eggo in some ways. Moi, The Missus Herself, and The Nuke in a Sandy Eggo eatery dining on very good Mexican food and being entertained by a strolling mariachi band some years back (like seven as I recall). Good times, good company, good food.

One of the benefits of being old (ish) is having lots and lots of memories, nearly all of them good. Been strolling memory lane a lot recently. It was good to hear that song again.

As for me, the status quo is being maintained, and for now, that's all I can ask for.

Be well, mi compadres.

¹ The astrological sign, not the car.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Arghhhhhh. And Music.

 Head still hurts.  Back still hurts.  Dog stomped on my wedding tackle so that hurts (120lb dog moving at roughly the speed of light means lots of force and energy transferred.)

So, instead, back to Dad's hi-fidelity music.

Yesterday I was commenting on Anonymous' comment posted at 2:42AM (probably West Coast Time) about his comment:

My parents had a Herb Alpert album with the girl covered in whipped cream and a white blanket (to give the impression it was all cream) on the cover. Boy that sure got my pubescent hormones raging.

  1. Um, that and the album cover for Apollo 100's "Joy" album. Can neither confirm or deny same with the Sears catalog if you know what I mean.

So, yeah, I was a pervy little kid, full of raging hormones and such.  Eh, I turned out, according to Mrs. Andrew, okay, so...

Apollo 100 was a band put together (from Wiki - Apollo 100 - Wikipedia ) by Tom Parker with fellow session musicians drummer Clem Cattiniguitarist Vic Flick, guitarist Zed Jenkins, percussionist Jim Lawless, and bassist Brian Odgers, starting in 1970 and ending in 1973.  Electronic variations of classical pieces, and their first piece, "Joy," an interpretation of JS Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" hit the top 40 chart and was included in several movies.  It was, sadly, all downhill for the group.

Good song, good album, totally hot lady on the front cover.

For to compare, here's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" as Bach and God intended,
On a cathedral pipe organ.
I like both versions.  Seriously love both versions.

And then, to go strange again, Werner Müller and His Orchestra, was another of Dad's favorites. Werner was one of the big composers of space age bachelor pad music according to Werner Müller ( and from the web page "Who was/is Werner Müller? Well, he contributed numerous albums to London's Phase Four label, the longest-running of the Space Age Bachelor Pad series. But thanks to London's standard approach to liner notes, although we know exactly what channelization was used and what other Phase Four records were available, we are left knowing nothing of Werner Müller."  Nice going there, London Records.  Jerks

His (and his orchestra's) version of "Aranjuez Mon Amour" which is part of the Concierto de Aranjuez by Juaquin Rodrigo, always a very soul-stirring piece of Spanish classical music, and Werner does it proud.  The piece, played correctly, always has a wistful and somewhat sad sound to it, kind of how I imagine Spain actually is, wistful and somewhat sad. 

"Aranjuez, Mon Amour" or "Concierto de Aranjuez" 
depending on who's doing the citationing
Lovely piece of music.  
Beautiful horn work, and sad strings
with a little electronic organ added in to spice it up
Dad's copy had a bunch of mouths on it, not some corner babe.

And, well, just because Bach, JS Bach...

Geez, youtube, canna you giva a guya a breaka with the album arta?  Seriously, corner babe again?  Yeesh.
And, yes, album art in the 60's and early 70's tended to not be very arty much.

Seriously, can you imagine a 17th Century time period spy novel where the main character who's doing all the spying and killing is none other than Bach, JS Bach?  In between building pipe organs, codifying modern music notation and scales, having lusty intentions with his ever-fertile wife and pissing off his employers because they were pissing him off, he has a life of intrigue and contract murder...  Sounds like fun, no?

So.  Herb Alpert, Apollo 100, Werner and his boys, and others.  Dad had eclectic tastes.

See ya.