Thursday, January 31, 2013

I Like These Guys!

My "cousin" SKK turned me on to this band. Like just now. (Well, she sent me the CD, which I'd won in a contest over at her place, long story, I'll tell it someday. When I can embellish it to the point where I'm rescuing her and a bunch of orphans from pirates. Or something.)

But why am I still going on? Give 'em a listen. I think you might appreciate the message. I did, of course I really liked the music as well!

Oh, the lead singer, Dave Bray, US Navy veteran, Corpsman with the 2nd of the 2nd Marines. Ooorah, Doc Bray!

Well look at that. The blogging bug did bite once more in January.

The 31st of January, 2013

For some reason, the concept that January has thirty-one days has been freaking me out all day. Not sure why. January has had 31 days for my entire existence. Perhaps it's one of those things, like when you write/type a word which for some reason just doesn't look right. You know it's spelled correctly, but for the moment it just looks weird. Not just, "Is that spelled right?" But, "How can that even be a word?"

Or is that just me?

And then there's this:

30 days hath September, April, June and November. All the rest have 31, except February, which is screwed up.
No, that's not how I learned it in grade school. But that's the version I use now.

So, at any rate, the first month of 2013 is nearly "in the books". From my perspective, the month went by rather rapidly. Also worthy of note (meh, maybe, YMMV) this month has seen a veritable blizzard of posts from Your Humble Scribe. This one makes 48.

48 posts in one month. Whoa! All of 2012 saw only 162 posts, December being the previous all time high with 29. Not sure where all that energy came from, not sure if it can be sustained. But I'm having fun with it, hope you are too.

From a Soviet Union perspective, I should (based on last year's productivity) produce 216 posts in 2013. Having 48 "in the books", I have accomplished roughly 22% of my annual quota. At this pace, I should reach quota sometime in May. Then in true Soviet style I would knock off for the rest of the year and drink vodka.

Of course, most of those posts would be of shoddy workmanship and not really worth reading. And if there was nothing new past May, why would you come back in 2014?

Whew, good thing we don't live in the Soviet Union innit?

Or do we?

Just sayin'...

On another note, how about this picture?

I mean, like "Holy Crap!" I would not want either of these big fellows pissed at me. But it turns out, that like most fights in the wild, animals "lower" on the evolutionary scale aren't really into slaughtering each other over mates, or territory. But don't take my word for it, go read this for the story behind this great photo and the outcome of the donnybrook depicted above.

As Buck is wont to do, here's the weather for my neck of the woods, which I humbly like to refer to as the "Dominion of the Old AF Sarge", also known as the People's Democratic Republic of Rhode Island

Yeah, it's breezy all right.

See you in February, unless of course I get bitten by the blogging bug again, between now and midnight.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bienvenue à Mercredi

Ja, ja. Willkomen auf Mittwoch, welcome to Wednesday. I've been on quite a pace lately. Sometimes blasting out up to three posts a day. And today? Nada, bupkis, nothing.

What? Yeah, okay some of those posts were really nothing more than a picture or two, some slightly witty text, and a link to somewhere else. That is, "I didn't build those." Er, uh, yeah, right. Begging your pardon, I respect the office and all but really, "me piquer, Monsieur le Président."

So yes, the entire day has sped past and it hit me, sitting in der alte Feldwebel Bunker that I had posted absolutely nothing today. In my defense, I have been busy. But still, nothing? Not even a link to somewhere else. Surely someone, somewhere has posted something brilliant which you can slap a couple of sentences around, toss in a picture and then post. Surely there must be something? Neh?

Well, I guess that's something.

A new thing is revealed regarding Your Humble Scribe, we likes to play with Microsoft Paint we does.

Carry on (really) nothing to see here...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Worth Your Time

The Runaway
Norman Rockwell
I can't say it any better, so I won't even try.

Six has written a brilliant essay over at The Warrior Class.

An Old AF Sarge "Must Read".

So go on, go read it. I'll leave the light on for you...

New Stuff, File Under Cute, Non-Threatening (I Think...)

The Sole Proprietor of "Silicon Valley Redneck"
Current Top Nominee
Best "About Me" Photo
(Most Hysterical Division)
Alright, so I see that Marcus, over at Shots from the hip, has some new content. As is my wont, I hurry on over for to see what my fellow Vermonter has posted.

It's good stuff, I read it and then (again, as is my wont) I scan Marcus' "Fellow Lexicans" list. And 'lo and behold I spot one I had not seen before. With a catchy title no less.

So I head on over to the Silicon Valley Redneck and he has some recent posts about some feral kittens he has rescued. Now I believe that I have mentioned before that I'm a "cat person". And I am a sucker for a kitten, let alone three kittens. So a guy who rescues feral kittens is, as you may well imagine, very high on my list of outstanding humans.

And ya gotta love that picture. I can only dream of scaling such heights of hilarity.

So I've got a new entry in "Stuff I Like to Read". A list which seems to increase weekly.

I may have to retire just to keep up on my blog reading.

Oh yeah, that'll make the Wife happy.

Now I could (in theory) go live with the WSO and her brood. She would love that.

But I'm guessing that Big Time (father of Little Bit, husband of the WSO) might have some, shall we say, "reservations" about that particular living arrangement.

Besides they're in California, near (shudder) Lemoore. Hhhmm. Need a better plan.

Better not quit the day job.

Just yet.

Are You Insane?

Seems like we might be going down the socialist toilet faster than I thought...

Political abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In the Soviet Union, systematic political abuse of psychiatry took place. Psychiatry of the Brezhnev period was used as a tool to eliminate political opponents ("dissidents"), people who openly expressed their views that contradict officially declared dogmas. In case the person did not agree with the specific actions of people in leading positions and criticized them by using philosophic dogmas according to the writings by Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, the term "philosophical intoxication" was widely used to diagnose mental disorders. This method was also employed against religious prisoners and most especially against well-educated former atheists who adopted a religion. In such cases their religious faith was determined to be a form of mental illness that needed to be cured. Formerly highly classified extant documents from "Special file" of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union published after the dissolution of the Soviet Union demonstrate that the authorities of the country quite consciously used psychiatry as a tool to suppress dissent. 
Following the fall of the Soviet Union, it was often reported that some opposition activists and journalists were detained in Russian psychiatric institutions in order to intimidate and isolate them from society. In modern Russia, human rights activists also face the threat of psychiatric diagnosis as a means of political repression. 

Hhmm, there are folks in Washington concerned with your "mental well-being". Oh yeah, and the possibility that you might be exercising your 2nd Amendment rights.

Mongo is pondering this kind of heavy stuff over at his place.

If you value your freedom, you need to consider what your government might have in mind for us lowly plebeians.

Monday, January 28, 2013

All Things Bright and Beautiful

There's a blog I've started following lately which I enjoy a great deal. The blog is The Warrior Class and is listed at right, in the "Stuff I Like to Read" area.

Now the good folks over there (Six and Lu) have a dog, a beautiful dog (hhmm, is there any other kind?) His name is Angus, and recently Angus broke his leg. (I know, made me cringe too.)

Well, a whole lotta folks left their best wishes and offerings of prayers for Angus over there. Six and Lu have been keeping their readers informed as to Angus' healing. But when I stopped by today to see how things were going with Angus, found this...

and this...

Why, yes. This did make my day.

Your Humble Scribe is in the center column, third from the top. FWIW, there are a lot of great bloggers listed in those photos. Seek them out, read their stuff. It's all good.

Here's to Angus, Six and Lu.

(Go, go read 
The Warrior Class! I'll still be here when you're done.)

Happy Monday!

Well, it's Monday.


Not really, Monday's have a sort of sucky quality all their own. Now some people actually like Mondays. No, seriously, I read that somewhere. But I can't remember where, here's probably why.

Imagine that. As you get older, you don't sleep as well, which affects your ability to remember things. Damn. That explains a lot.

What was I posting about?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I Got Nothing...

I have been sitting here for quite some time.

Did the Facebook thing.

Did the FreeCell thing.

Looked out at the driveway, decided that my Muse has apparently decided to take the day off.

Can't say I blame her. It's a lazy, kinda do nothing Sunday.

But Constitutional Insurgent over at Libertas and Latte had a great post yesterday. Which was very much in keeping with the weekend's Lexican theme.

Go, enjoy. Just don't stay out too late. I'll still be here.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Old AF Sarge, From A to Z

Figured I'd lighten things up a bit today. I "stole" this concept/idea from blog-buddy Suldog who (in turn) stole it from Jenn Flynn-Shon. So here we go...

Age - 59. Seriously, I am actually 59 though my Mom will introduce me as her "oldest son who is turning 60 this year". Thanks Mom. It hasn't happened yet, can I please stay 59 for another few months? Please?

Bed Size - Queen. The Missus Herself and I once experienced the majesty of a king size bed in a Marriott Courtyard hotel. It had (drum roll please)...

The. Best. Mattress. Ever.

The sheer size though was intimidating, you needed a GPS to get from one side to the other. But OMG was it comfortable. And when we finally bought a house, we realized the biggest bedroom was too small to fit a king size bed. (Or maybe it was because I am too cheap to buy one. Oh well, it's one of those two, take your pick.)

Chore You Hate - Hhhhmmm, can't think of one in particular that would be worthy of my hatred. I'm not a big fan of any chores. Of course, they are, after all, chores. By definition, not fun. But if I had to pick one to actually "hate", it would be taking out the trash on a cold, snowy winter's morn when I'm running late for work. When I still need to clean the snow off the deck and the walkway When I still need to clean the snow off my car. And it's cold, and it's snowing, and it's windy. And it's...

Why yes, I think I can bring myself to actually hate that one.

Dogs - I love dogs, though I don't have a dog. I am (and believe I've mentioned this before) a "cat person". The Nuke has a dog, Bear is her name. She is my grand-dog and I love her dearly. But around Chez Sarge, we have cats. Two of 'em. Anya and Sasha. They are my boon companions. My best buds before that were Pat and Tiger (pronounced the way the Germans say it, kinda like "tee-grrrr", but it always came out sounding like "tigger"). They were brothers from the same litter.

Clockwise starting from top left:
Tiger, Pat, Sasha and Anya -
My Furry Babies
Pat and Tiger were born in Germany. Tiger died there. Anya and Sasha are New Englanders, as am I. Anya and Sasha are sisters from the same litter.

Essential Start To My Day - Having my cats jump onto the bed to wish me good morning. Yeah, I know, what they're really doing is harassing me into giving them breakfast. But on Saturdays, when the Missus lets me sleep late and she feeds the cats, they still come in to greet me when they hear me stir. I love them, they love me. And they show it, everyday.

After that, it's gotta be coffee. Used to be coffee and a smoke. I ditched the "smoke" part. And yes, I do miss it, thank you for asking. However, the other day, when the outside temp was just a hair above zero, I did not miss going out for my morning smoke. No, not at all. But some days I miss it.

Favorite Color - Blue. Of almost any shade. But this is the shade of blue I love best of all.

Gold or Silver - Yes, both. But not the way you'd think. More along these lines...

House or Apartment - Both have their advantages and disadvantages but I gotta go "house" here. I love my house. Though we haven't had it for that long (a little over 13 years) and it's just the Missus and I now (well, there's Anya and Sasha too, but they are very quiet) this house has echoed with the laughter of my children and their spouses. It has rung with the sound of my grandchildren's footsteps as they tried to outrun Grandpa who was on a "Search and Tickle" mission.

There's a lot to be said for a house, once it becomes a home. An apartment can, I understand, be something like that. In reality, it's not the rooms, or how many there are, it's the people who have been in those rooms. It's the memories contained in those rooms.

Instruments Played - Bass guitar, guitar, bagpipes. Seriously. My best instrument is the bass, though I have not played mine in a number of years. The guitar I sorta play, again though, not for many a year. Both instruments are played only to please myself and no one else. I never had any real ambitions in the musical realm.

At one point in my life I was determined to be a piper. I wasn't all that good at it, truth be told. I used to practice on the porch of my 2nd floor apartment on the occasional Friday evening. Our place was near the end of the street and the porch faced away from the bulk of the neighbors. Those familiar with the Great Highland Bagpipe (for such it is called) will realize that my actual location would not have mattered much. For 'tis a loud instrument as it must be to carry over the sound of battle.

One Friday I did NOT play and a couple of days afterwards our landlord mentioned that one of the neighbors had mentioned my attempts at the pipes. As I was about to apologize for the noise, my landlord told me that the neighbor had actually missed the sound of my pipes as the sun was going down. I really wish I had continued playing the pipes. I love that music most of all. (YMMV - Buck.)

Job Title - Right now, on paper, I am a Senior Software Engineer II. Big deal. Their are only two titles I've held in my life that really meant anything to me. The second most important to me was my last title in the Air Force, which was "Master Sergeant". I still hate being called "Mister".

The title I love most? "Dad". Of course as the grand-babies get older, I'm thinking that "Grandpa" ain't bad either.

Kids - Yes. I have three. Three of the best kids any man could ever ask for. When I look back at my life I cannot begin to understand why it is God has blessed me so. For He has. Three beautiful, intelligent and healthy children who have also given me three beautiful, intelligent and healthy grandchildren. With the likelihood of more someday. I am truly blessed.

Live - Actually I prefer Memorex. I've been to music concerts and while they were nice, the only one I truly enjoyed was the one my brother, the Musician, took me to for my fiftieth birthday. This was to see Jethro Tull out at Tanglewood in Western Massachusetts. It's a beautiful outdoor venue, nestled in the lovely forested hills of New England. We had incredible seats, like 20 yards from the stage.

I've only been to one, big time, live sporting event. Michigan versus UMass at the Big House. That was a once in a lifetime experience which I truly enjoyed.

But, in reality, I'd rather watch sports curled up in front of the TV with the Missus and the cats. Perhaps it's an age thing. After all, I'm "going to be 60" this year. (Geez Mom, give it a rest.)

Married - Yes. For 35 years to the most incredible person I have ever met. Bar none. And she ain't too hard on the eyes either. When people meet my wife for the first time, they look at me and wonder if my wife's eyesight is all it's cracked up to be. All I can say is that she saw something in me and it was enough for her. Again, I am truly blessed by God.

Never Again - Will I not listen to an idea my wife has. First of all, her ideas are usually quite good. Second of all, I've learned that not listening to one's wife is, shall we say, "not healthy". Or smart. Or fun in any way shape or form. Just sayin'...

Other Fun Fact - My children are the fifth generation in my family to serve the United States in the Armed Forces. My great-grandfather, my grandfather and my father's generations were Army, my two male cousins and myself were Air Force. My three kids are all Navy. (Does this mean my grandchildren will be Marines? Only time will tell.)

Pet Peeve - People who have no idea what is going on around them. I try to always maintain "situational awareness". I see people operating motor vehicles who have absolutely NO CLUE about what is going on around them. That is my biggest "pet peeve", though I do have others. My pet peeves are legion. Seriously, though I'm generally a very happy guy, lots of things piss me off. I just try not to dwell on them. Much.

Quote"I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country."
Captain Nathan Hale
What could anyone add to that?

Righty or Lefty - I am a righty. My Dad once suggested during my Little League career that I attempt to bat left-handed. We practiced it a little bit, it was awkward but I did okay.

The first time I stepped to the (ahem) wrong side of the plate in a game, two things happened. Firstly my coach went ballistic, wanting to know what was wrong with me. This he did in front of "God and everybody" to his subsequent everlasting shame and embarrassment. Secondly I got on base with an easy walk.

The pitcher was a kid who knew I was right-handed. My being on the "wrong side" of the plate freaked him out. So badly that not one of his pitches were anywhere near the plate. Hell, they weren't in the same zip code. So I got the easy walk.

What did I learn from the experience? One, my Dad was a very clever guy, not above trying a little something "outside the box", well before that term was coined. Two, my coach was a complete ass. Yeah, perhaps we should have revealed our little ploy BEFORE the game but to go off like that? At a Little League game? Back in those days, that just wasn't done. Those were simpler and, yes, better times.

Siblings - I have two brothers. Both younger. The three of us have our similarities but in reality we are three very different people. Two of us are conservative. One of us is (gasp) a liberal. But at the end of the day, we love each other like brothers should. Which is very much. Very much indeed.

Time You Wake Up - On a work day I get up (reluctantly) at 0600. I am most assuredly NOT a morning person. For a number of years in the Air Force I worked at night. It suited me well. But one thing I can safely say, I hate getting up early. And that's all I'll say about that.

University Attended - Freshman year I attended Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont. I learned there that I was totally too immature to be in college. I also learned that Air Force Basic Training was absolutely easy compared to the Army ROTC training we were required to do at Norwich, back-in-the-day.

After a long break between my freshman and sophomore years (uh, that would be 1972 to 1983) I eventually got my bachelor's degree at Colorado State University, courtesy of the Air Force.

Some time later, also courtesy of the Air Force, I got my Master's degree from Bowie State University. Now Bowie State is in Maryland. I have never set foot on the campus of Bowie State. The degree program was offered overseas, through the University of Maryland System. As they called it.

Though I am, what one could call "highly educated", I don't put on airs about it. I've met folks who perform manual labor and didn't finish high school who are better men and women than myself. Education will only take a body so far.

Not to mention that all three of my children are WAY smarter than I.

Veggies You Dislike - Green beans. Or string beans if you will. No matter what you call them, I don't like them and avoid eating them. Note that I said "avoid". Sometimes my wife, for her own wifely reasons, will cook and serve green beans. And I better eat them. Or else. I learned THAT particular lesson the HARD way.

What Makes You Run Late - Staying up too late the night before. Or forgetting to misinform my wife of "what time we have to be there". If it's eight, I'll tell her seven-thirty, and we might get there at eight. I would've mentioned "being late" as a pet peeve, but people who don't pay attention were number one. This would be number two.

X-Rays - Many of these. Mostly dental x-rays as that's really the only way they can tell if something is about to go "south" with my teeth. I've had other x-rays for various reasons. I have never "knock on wood" (tapping self on head) broken a bone which required x-rays. I broke my little toe on my left foot once. Last summer actually. I would not recommend this, it hurt like ungodly bloody hell, I can tell you. It is not something I would wish on my worst enemy. I wish I could excise that particular memory from my brain.

It. Hurt. That. Bad.

But I didn't go to the doctor and have it x-rayed. As my doctor said, wouldn't be much they could do. Other than tape it to the next toe. Which I was fairly capable of doing myself. Without having to sit in a waiting room for an hour and without paying a co-pay.

Yum Food - Chocolate, preferably the dark kind. Milk chocolate is "okay". As in, "Do you have any dark chocolate?" No. "Okay, I'll take that."

I also have a rather deep, abiding passion for fried clams. Perhaps it's a New England thing. There are a number of things I can't eat anymore for various reasons. Fried clams are not yet on this list. If, someday, they are added to the "you can't eat these" list then you will hear me say, "God, please take me now."

Hmm, now that I think about it, I once said that about peanut M&Ms. Can't eat those anymore, as in "because you might die". I have not asked the Good Lord to take me home over that. So yeah, I could probably survive without fried clams. But that would suck.

Zoo Animal Favorite - Tigers. As I have mentioned, I am a cat kind of guy.

They have a majesty which, to me anyway, is breathtaking. There's also this, apropos of not much...

That's my granddaughter, Little Bit, "petting" a tiger at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk. At her second birthday party. Obviously, as you can see by the reflection on the glass, she is not actually petting the tiger. Though she would, if she could. She is one tough and strong willed little girl.

I share that picture for two reasons. One, it's got a tiger in it. Tigers are my favorite zoo animal. And two, it's got my oldest granddaughter in it. Have I mentioned how much I love my grandchildren?

Just sayin'...

So that's the Old AF Sarge, from A to Z, as it were. This was a lot of fun to write. Hope you enjoyed it. Try it yourself, it's kinda therapeutic.

Friday, January 25, 2013


Saudade (1899),
by Almeida Júnior.
Over on Facebook I learned something new last night.

You see, lately I've had this nearly indescribable feeling that "something is missing". At first I thought it was just a touch of post-holiday depression. But it's more than that, much more.

Then on Facebook, I saw a post from a friend, regarding an "Instagram" from the daughter of another friend. That friend was the late Carroll "Lex" LeFon. His daughter had posted a picture of her with her Dad when she was much younger. She also explained the Portuguese concept (for it is more than just a word) of saudade. As the first anniversary of Lex's passing approaches, I can only imagine what his family must be feeling. Especially how is youngest child is dealing with it.

From Wikipedia:

Saudade is a Portuguese word that has no direct translation in English. It describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. Moreover, it often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing will never return. A stronger form of saudade may be felt towards people and things whose whereabouts are unknown, such as a lost lover, or a family member who has gone missing.
Saudade was once described as "the love that remains" after someone is gone. Saudade is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, well-being, which now triggers the senses and makes one live again. It can be described as an emptiness, like someone (e.g., one's children, parents, sibling, grandparents, friends, pets) or something (e.g., places, things one used to do in childhood, or other activities performed in the past) should be there in a particular moment is missing, and the individual feels this absence. In Portuguese, 'tenho saudades tuas', translates as 'I have saudade of you' meaning 'I miss you', but carries a much stronger tone. In fact, one can have 'saudade' of someone whom one is with, but have some feeling of loss towards the past or the future.
In Brazil, the day of saudade is officially celebrated on January 30.
Saudade is exactly what I've been feeling lately.

For me it's getting close to the anniversary of my Father's passing, three years ago. It does not nearly feel like it's been three years. Every time we go to visit my Mom, it feels like Dad has just stepped out for a moment. Saudade.

We didn't go to my Mom's for Christmas this year. Instead we went up for New Year's. Of course, the Christmas decorations were still up. And naturally she told us all about the Christmas she had, with my brother the Old Vermonter and his family and my other younger brother the Musician, up from Boston. It was something I wish I'd been there for. Saudade.

Then at New Years' I had a lot of fun with my Mom. She's in her 80's yet still acts like she did in her 30's. But still, she's in her 80's. I am terrified at the prospect of my Mother not being around someday. Saudade.

At least it's how I understand the concept of saudade.

Where I live there are many Portuguese, primarily from the Azores (
Açores in Portuguese), I can't wait to talk to my Portuguese friends about saudade.

It's something I've felt and understood for a long time. Now I'm glad to know there's actually a word for it. A word with many subtle shadings and nuance. Saudade.

I also have a new day to "celebrate". On the 30th of January, I'll remember those absent from my life.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Want Awe Inspiring?

I saw this over at the daily timewaster, it is most definitely NOT a waste of time. Left me a little teary-eyed it did.

Just two things, go to full screen and (if your machine supports it) go to HD (click on the little gear thingy at bottom right).

Thanks c w!

I Like This Guy!

At left, Justice Antonin Scalia of the US Supreme Court at the Inauguration of the pResident.
At right, Sir Thomas More, English lawyer, social philosopher, author, statesman, and noted Renaissance humanist

First of all, the point is "Check out the hat". While some have laughed at Justice Scalia, the knowledgeable know better. I first learned of this over at blog-buddy c w swanson's place. (Go read, I'll wait.)

And courtesy (naturellement) of Wikipedia, I give you the following biographical tidbits.

Sir Thomas More
Sir Thomas More (7 February 1478 – 6 July 1535), known to Catholics as Saint Thomas More since 1935, was an English lawyer, social philosopher, author, statesman, and noted Renaissance humanist. He was an important councillor to Henry VIII of England and was Lord Chancellor from October 1529 to 16 May 1532. He was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1935 as one of the early martyrs of the schism that separated the English Church from Catholicism in the 16th century. In 2000, Pope John Paul II declared him Patron of Catholic Statesmen and Politicians. 
Thomas More was an opponent of the Protestant Reformation, in particular of Martin Luther and William Tyndale. However, since 1980, he is also commemorated by the Anglican Church. 
More coined the word "utopia" – a name he gave to the ideal and imaginary island nation, the political system of which he described in Utopia, published in 1516. He opposed the King's separation from the Catholic Church and refused to accept the king as Supreme Head of the Church of England, a title which had been given by parliament through the Act of Supremacy of 1534. He was imprisoned in 1534 for his refusal to take the oath required by the First Succession Act, because the act disparaged Papal Authority and Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. In 1535, he was tried for treason, convicted on perjured testimony, and beheaded. He also helped originate the phrase "grasp at straws" to mean "desperately trying even useless things", in Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation. 
Intellectuals and statesmen across Europe were stunned by More's execution. Erasmus saluted him as one "whose soul was more pure than any snow, whose genius was such that England never had and never again will have its like". Two centuries later Jonathan Swift said he was "the person of the greatest virtue this kingdom ever produced," a sentiment with which Samuel Johnson agreed. Historian Hugh Trevor-Roper said in 1977 that More was "the first great Englishman whom we feel that we know, the most saintly of humanists, the most human of saints, the universal man of our cool northern renaissance."
Justice Scalia
Antonin Gregory Scalia (born March 11, 1936) is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. As the longest-serving justice currently on the Court, Scalia is the Senior Associate Justice. Appointed to the Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, Scalia has been described as the intellectual anchor of the Court's conservative wing. 
Scalia was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and attended public grade school and Catholic high school in New York City, where his family had moved. He attended Georgetown University as an undergraduate and obtained his Bachelor of Laws degree from Harvard Law School. After spending six years in a Cleveland law firm, he became a law school professor. In the early 1970s, he served in the Nixon and Ford administrations, first at minor administrative agencies, and then as an assistant attorney general. He spent most of the Carter years teaching at the University of Chicago, where he became one of the first faculty advisers of the fledgling Federalist Society. In 1982, he was appointed as a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by President Ronald Reagan.
In 1986, Scalia was appointed by Reagan to the Supreme Court to fill the associate justice seat vacated when Justice William Rehnquist was elevated to Chief Justice. Whereas Rehnquist's confirmation was contentious, Scalia was asked few difficult questions by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and faced no opposition. Scalia was unanimously confirmed by the Senate, and took his seat on September 26, 1986.  
In his quarter-century on the Court, Scalia has staked out a conservative ideology in his opinions, advocating textualism in statutory interpretation and originalism in constitutional interpretation. He is a strong defender of the powers of the executive branch, believing presidential power should be paramount in many areas. He opposes affirmative action and other policies that treat minorities as groups. He files separate opinions in large numbers of cases, and, in his minority opinions, often castigates the Court's majority in scathing language.

I wonder if the pResident knows that the US Government does not have an executioner on staff?

Air Force, Chair Force, Air Farce... WTF, Over.

Gen. Mark A. Welsh III
I retired from the Air Force in 1999. Prior to my retirement I was assigned to Geilenkirchen NATO* Air Base, Germany. That was truly an "international" assignment. Germans, Italians, Canadians, Norwegians, Danes, Belgians, Dutch, Greeks, Americans and Turks, all in one unit. As you may well imagine, cultural standards in those nations differ greatly.

What may offend an American female, won't even merit notice from a Belgian female. Different standards, different cultures. On the base, the rule of thumb for the types of things you could have in your office (calendars, art work, photos, etc) followed the general rule of "If you can see it on German TV before 10:00 PM, it's okay in the office."

Let me tell you, there were many things on German TV between 8:00 PM and 10:00 PM that were pretty "racy" by US standards (at least back then). So the standards on the NATO base were a lot different from what you'd see on a US base.

Okay, Sarge, what's that got to do with the picture of the Air Force Chief of Staff? (Wearing that stupid-looking uniform, about which I posted back in August of 2012.)

Well here's what your Air Force has been up to lately. (Make sure you read the comments, not all of my fellow airmen are as politically correct as General Welsh would like, me thinks.) The gist of that link is:

The Air Force released the results of the service-wide health and welfare inspections that were completed in an effort to emphasize an environment of respect, trust and professionalism in the workplace.
"Every Airman deserves to be treated with respect. They also deserve to work in a professional environment," said Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Air Force chief of staff. "I've talked with Airmen across the force, and believe that some units were not meeting those standards. It's simply unacceptable that we have people who don't feel comfortable in their workplace, so we're addressing it, head on."
The purpose of the inspection was to reinforce expectations for the workplace environment, correct deficiencies, and deter conditions that may be detrimental to good order and discipline. Commanders looked for and removed items that hinder a professional working environment.
Commanders inspected thousands of units at more than 100 Air Force installations, where almost 600,000 Air Force military and civilian personnel work. Commanders looked for and removed three broad categories of material: pornographic, inappropriate or offensive, or unprofessional.
Some of the "unprofessional/inappropriate" material confiscated by the Gestapo inspectors included depictions of WW II Air Force Nose Art, such as this:

Yes, the Air Force had depictions of ladies (sometimes nearly 
"oh my goodness" nekkid) on our combat aircraft during war time. This is not just historical fact, it's part of Air Force tradition.

The politically correct idiocy which emanates from Washington DC is poisoning our country. The article indicates that "some people are not comfortable" in their work place. I wonder if they would care to identify which groups of people are "uncomfortable"?

The inspection results are contained here. Some of the stuff these "inspectors" found to be unprofessional or offensive boggles the mind. Men's Fitness magazine, Cosmopolitan and other such things. Now a jezzail-toting tribesman from the wilds of Afghanistan would no doubt find those items offensive. I haven't seen any statistics but I'm pretty sure there aren't a lot of them wearing Air Force blue.

Let's just say, there were times when people assumed that I was retired Navy because of all the cool Navy stuff my progeny provide for me. And which I wear with pride (for an example see my profile pic). But I was always quick to point out that my kids were Navy and that I was retired Air Force.

Lately, while still very proud of my service in the United States Air Force from 1975 to 1999, I have started to think that it was a very different Air Force back then as opposed to what we have now. Of course, many of my generals were Vietnam vets in the latter years. I'm guessing the current flag ranks don't have a lot of real combat experience.

Sure, there was Desert Storm back in the '90s. But that experience didn't last as long as "going downtown" did in the '60s and 'early '70s. Longer duration conflict, more generals-to-be getting combat experience. Point here is that this trivial crap the USAF is doing now doesn't warrant a mention in war time. Those who haven't "been there, done that" don't get it. Today's crop of GOFOs**? Just a bunch of politicians in uniform.

And don't get me started on the Senior Enlisted Advisors and their ilk.

So when people ask if I was in the Navy, I tell 'em that my kids are in the Navy.

And leave it at that.

While proud of my service, I'm not so proud of the service I was in. At least not right now.

As a dear friend might have said,

"It is to weep."

*NATO = North Atlantic Treaty Organization
** GOFOs = General Officers / Flag Officers

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


"Cry God for Harry and St George!"
The Battle of Agincourt
The Battle of Agincourt (La Bataille d'Azincourt, en français) has always held a certain fascination for me. But what spurred this particular post was a comment from Tam of View From The Porch fame (and if you're not following her, I ask, "Why not?" - she's very good) on my recent post Prince Harry.

Tam's comment was (and I quote) 
"Let the lad win his spurs." -Edward III at Crecy.

To explain that, I need to throw some Wiki-magic at you. At the Battle of Crécy in 1346,
The French attack fought bravely but could not break the English formation, even after several attempts, and they suffered many casualties. Edward III's son, the Black Prince, came under attack, but his father refused to send help, saying that he wanted him to "win his spurs". The prince subsequently proved himself to be an outstanding soldier.
(Uh, gee, thanks Dad, would've been my reaction. But I'm not English royalty.)

The way MY mind works is as follows: "Ahhh, 
Crécy - hhhmmm, Agincourt!" One battle triggers thoughts of another, Agincourt primarily because of Henry the Fifth's Saint Crispin's Day / Band of Brothers speech. That having been triggered by reading a post over at Bring the Heat, Bring the Stupid dealing with the two HBO mini-series, Band of Brothers and The Pacific. (The inner workings of my brain have fascinated and annoyed my wife for most of our 35 years of wedded bliss. At any rate, that's how I see it and it IS my blog. YMMV.)

I had also recently seen the quote "warriors for the working day" somewhere. (I perhaps read far too much, and way too fast. Many things stick but damme if I can remember where they came from.) This also caused some dust to stir in the cranial memory banks. For "back in the day" I did, from time to time, read the plays of the Immortal Bard. (Ya know, Shakespeare.) A wee bit of research yielded the fact that Henry the Fifth had uttered that phrase as well. In the same act! So I did some more digging research and came up with the following.

The Life of King Henry the Fifth, Act 4, Scene 3. Early in the scene, King Henry gives us:
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
The "band of brothers" speech, if you will. And then farther on, after Montjoy has delivered his message from the Constable of France:
Let me speak proudly: tell the constable
We are but warriors for the working-day;
Our gayness and our gilt are all besmirch'd
With rainy marching in the painful field;
There's not a piece of feather in our host--
Good argument, I hope, we will not fly--
And time hath worn us into slovenry:
But, by the mass, our hearts are in the trim;
And my poor soldiers tell me, yet ere night
They'll be in fresher robes, or they will pluck
The gay new coats o'er the French soldiers' heads
And turn them out of service.
And there you have "warriors for the working day".

Where am I going with all this? Well, it's simple really. Though the Bard wrote the play circa 1599, and was writing about an event which occurred in 1415, his description of soldiers is as accurate today as it was then.

Nothing fancy. They may have gone to war for many reasons but once battle was joined, they fought for each other. The few, the happy few, the band of brothers (and sisters!)

We're not talking about mythic heroes of yore either. No Norse nor Greek figures need apply. Here there be no Thor, no Achilles. No, just common men (and now women) doing their jobs. Adhering to their training and "gettin' 'er done", so to speak. Warriors for the working day.

If you wish, Wikipedia has good treatments of both battles I mentioned above. Here are the links:

Battle of Agincourt

Battle of Crécy

And the scene from the play, right here.

Prince Harry

Prince Henry of Wales
From Wikipedia
Prince Henry of Wales (Henry Charles Albert David, born 15 September 1984), commonly known as Prince Harry, is the younger son of Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales, and fourth grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Therefore, he stands third in the line of succession to the thrones of sixteen independent sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms, and to the governorship of the Church of England, preceded by his father and elder brother, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge.
Now before we go on, please go read this. (Yeah, I dislike having to do that too, but bear with me. Read it carefully, take notes, there might be a quiz.)

Okay. Prince Harry has killed people. Bad people. Apparently this has a number of Brits running about with their "knickers in a twist". Oh no, now the terrorists will want to target the royal family. Uh yeah. They didn't want to before?

Journalists nowadays seem to panic and run around with their hair on fire over the littlest thing. Can you imagine being in a crisis situation with a bunch of modern journalists?

Neither can I.

Of course, there is this:
In Parliament on Tuesday, Defense Minister Mark Francois praised Harry, saying the prince should be commended for his bravery. 
He "has done well for his country," Francois said, offering kind words for a prince who has occasionally embarrassed the royal family, most recently by being photographed naked as he played strip billiards at a Las Vegas hotel.
Hhhmm, "strip billiards at a Las Vegas hotel" is a problem? Didn't they mention earlier in the article that Harry was a pilot? What am I missing here? Or am I just so non-politically correct that I'm not seeing the problem with said behavior? Good Lord man! That might be termed de rigeur behavior for a military pilot.

But it sounds like Mr. Francois gets it. Where we can we get somebody like that?

At any rate, carry on Captain Wales! And welcome home.

The man is a stud in my book.

Oh, and Lindsey German?

(I said there might be a quiz!)

Just sayin'..

The Fine Print: Just so you don't have to go look it up for yourself - Lindsey German is the convenor of the British anti-war organisation Stop the War Coalition and a former member of the central committee of the Socialist Workers Party. She was editor of Socialist Review for twenty years until 2004.

What Did I Miss?

I knew this was happening. I don't get out much but I do get out on occasion.

Went through the company cafeteria and glanced up at the TV monitor and immediately regretted it. Kind of like accidentally glancing at the sun and then quickly turning away. I did not wish to burn out my retinas, or my brain.

You all know how I feel about the recent unpleasantness election, but for a far better take on all this, you need to go read 
the DiploMad 2.0.

He nails it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Oh Look, An Eagle

This one has been around for a while. But it's a classic.

Ya Gotta Love the Law... Right?

Supreme Court in 1968
Saw this over at the View From The Porch. Did my standard "Say what...?" then did the Wiki-thing. Found this:
Haynes v. United States
The National Firearms Act of 1934 required the registration of certain types of firearms. Miles Edward Haynes was a convicted felon who was charged with failing to register a firearm under the Act. Haynes argued that, because he was a convicted felon and thus prohibited from owning a firearm, requiring him to register was essentially requiring him to make an open admission to the government that he was in violation of the law, which was thus a violation of his right not to incriminate himself. 
In a 7-1 decision, the Court ruled in 1968 in favor of Haynes. Earl Warren dissented in a one sentence opinion and Thurgood Marshall did not participate in the ruling.
Um, okay. Apparently the Supremes "fixed" that later on. (Sure they did.)

All I can think to say is that sometimes the interpretation of the law makes no sense. But when it does, count on someone coming along and over-complicating things. (See 2nd Amendment national "discussion". Yeah, right.)

Can't have everyone understanding the law now can we?

Then we wouldn't need lawyers.

Wait a minute...

Read me that last bit again...

Now there's a thought!

We're a Plague?

"Humans are a plague on the Earth that need
to be controlled by limiting population growth"
Sir David Attenborough
When I first saw this over at Random Acts of Patriotism I was a bit irate. (The link to the whole article in The Telegraph is over there as well.)

So, we're a plague? My guess is that what they really mean is that all of those poor people in the Third World are the plague. Perhaps they should not breed so much so that the well-off television personalities of the world can guarantee resources for THEIR progeny in the future. Not theirs. (Wouldn't surprise me if they considered conservatives to be part of the plague as well.)

What is it with these people? You see and/or hear of this kind of thing from time to time and it always makes my head spin. Here's another quote from (ahem) Sir David:

“We are a plague on the Earth. It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now,”
Yeah pal, that's what nature does. Your problem is that you don't view yourself as part of that "enormous horde". You and yours are somehow special. But don't worry, you lot will fix it all up won't you?

Seems Sir David belongs to "Population Matters", which according to the Wiki-ites
Population Matters, formerly known as the Optimum Population Trust, is a registered United Kingdom charity, think tank, and campaign group concerned with the impact of population growth on long term sustainability, quality of life and the natural environment, specifically natural resources, climate change, and biodiversity. The Optimum Population Trust was founded in 1991 by the late David Willey. 
At least Mr. Willey has done his bit. Note that he is the "late David Willey". Guess that frees up a slot for another Western liberal to survive. I'm guessing that members of that "enormous horde" need not apply.

File this under "people who piss me off".

I'm sure they "mean well".


Monday, January 21, 2013