Sunday, March 31, 2013

Why do you look for the living among the dead?

Luke 24
New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Has Risen

24 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.

9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

He Has Risen!

He Has Risen Indeed! 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Play This, Loud (Volume 2)

Heh. Volume 2, get it?
I CAN be tedious.
Stumbled across this tune...
It appeals to me.

Not exactly sure why.
But it does.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Kids

The Naviguesser's At Sea Assignments
The Nuke's At Sea Assignments
TRex's At Sea Assignments

The WSO's Squadrons

Big Time's Squadrons

As some of you may know, all three of my kids went into the United States Navy right after college. All three went through the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, the Navy being kind enough to give all three of the progeny a "free" ride through four years of a not inexpensive education.

"Free" is in quotes because the education wasn't exactly "free". All of the kids owed four to six years of active duty after being commissioned.

My son, the Naviguesser, was a black shoe Professional Surface Warfare Officer and did five years active duty, three in the reserves. Now he's no longer a "Fleet Lieutenant", he's become a civilian once more. On his first ship he was the Electrical Officer, or ELO, of the USS Briscoe. Note that while "ELO" is an acronym, you pronounce each letter individually. My son's sailors would call him "E" "L" "O". (At least to his face.) Briscoe was a Spruance class destroyer but now sadly lies deep in the Atlantic where she was expended as a target.

I'd been on board the old girl and it was a sad day when I read she'd been sunk in a gunnery exercise, what the Navy likes to call a "Shoot-Ex".

On his second ship, USS Nitze, he was a plank owner (member of the original crew which brought the ship into commission) and served as Nitze's navigator. Hence his nickname, the Naviguesser. No, I don't think he's fond of that moniker.

The Naviguesser is also a Shellback. That you'll need to research yourself. Let's just say it's something sailors are proud to have done. But it ain't much fun while you're going through the "ceremony". As it were.

The Missus Herself and I were privileged to attend USS Nitze's christening ceremony up at Bath Iron Works (Bath Built Is Best Built) and also her commissioning ceremony down in Norfolk. I say privileged because it is an honor and a privilege to attend the ceremony where a ship is officially christened (champagne bottles breaking on bows) and where the ship is officially accepted into the United States Navy, the commissioning. It's an awesome moment when the crew is commanded to "bring her to life". Here's a photo of that moment - 

I'll tell the whole USS Nitze commissioning ceremony tale at some other time, it truly deserves its very own post. If you look real close you can see the Naviguesser up there on the port-side bridge wing. Yes, he's one of the two dots wearing hats in the distance.

My oldest daughter served as a commissioned officer on two ships, the third ship (her first) provides an interesting story. Prior to her becoming an Ensign, she headed off to the Mediterranean for her First Class Midshipman cruise on the USS Enterprise. Normally this cruise is what they call the "officer" cruise. The midshipman will learn what they can expect when they receive their commissions and join the fleet.

So the Nuke and her fellow midshipmen show up on the Enterprise, which is about to embark on a long exercise in the Med. Upon being welcomed aboard, the kids are told that their is a shortage of Junior Officers on the Big E and would anyone like to have a "real job" for the period of this cruise. My daughter and another girl raised their hands and voila, my daughter was now the Division Officer for First Deck Division on board the Big E.

She actually spent six weeks at sea, received lots of kudos and an evaluation from the Captain of the Enterprise (no, not Kirk, no, not Picard, this is the real Enterprise!) Now midshipmen normally do not receive evaluations from the captains of aircraft carriers. Normally midshipmen are not really noticed by the captains of aircraft carriers. At least not individually. The Nuke was. I had the chance to read this evaluation. I was impressed and having been career military, I can tell a "fluff" eval from a "real" eval. The Nuke received the "real deal".

When she returned to her ROTC detachment she also learned that she had gained notice from a four star admiral. As a matter of fact, it was the "head nuke" the admiral in charge of naval nuclear propulsion. The Nuke had indicated early on her desire to go into nuclear propulsion. The admiral told the commander of the Nuke's Navy ROTC unit, "have her submit her paperwork as soon as possible, she impressed the Captain of the Enterprise, this lady could go far."

I know what some of you are thinking. For PR purposes it would look good to have a female ensign do all this good stuff. Yes, you're right. But I'm here to tell you, the Nuke earned her accolades. She got there by being good at her job. Damn good. I've had people tell me these things. People who would know.

Am I a little proud of her? Why yes, yes I am.

The Nuke also married a nuke, TRex. TRex (whose story I told here) is also a graduate of the Boat School (Naval Academy). He has since left active duty. The Nuke is approaching the eighth anniversary of her commissioning. Right now it looks like she'll be staying in at least two more years.

It's also worth noting that before the Nuke became a nuke (yes, that confuses me too) she did a couple of years on board a destroyer, the USS McFaul. She did two Gulf deployments on McFaul as the Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer (or ASWO). She "owned" the sonar-men and torpedo-men. She was pretty good at this job too. Her Department Head was impressed both with her duty performance and her "salty" vocabulary. Which surprised him until she told him, "My Dad's a retired Master Sergeant". Then all became clear to the young man.

"Ike" was her last at sea assignment, she also did two Gulf deployments on the Ike. Oddly enough, though she has more "at sea" time then her older brother, she has never crossed the Equator, she's still a Pollywog. Go figure.

Now many stories of the WSO have I told herein. Many more will be told. Suffice to say that for the moment she is out at Lemoore, getting back into the saddle as it were. When she was assigned to VFA-32 is when she discovered she was pregnant, Little Bit, my granddaughter actually was "on board" for a number of cat shots and traps. Big Time still wants to sign her up for Tail Hook, though I'm not sure if those cat shots and traps count when your seat is in Mama's womb.

So the WSO was out of the flying game for quite a while. She had to go back to the RAG* (VFA-106) for refresher training and then she went "out west" to join the Bounty Hunters of VFA-2.

For while she was raising Little Bit and had a shore job at Dam Neck (an annex of Oceana NAS), hubby and father of Little Bit, Big Time, was with VFA-136, flying the "friendly" skies of Afghanistan off the USS Enterprise. He did two combat tours and he has promised me tales of those, someday. I guess I need to haul my not so insubstantial butt out to Lemoore to get those tales. And I will, soon I hope.

After his return from his last (and Enterprise's last as well) he found himself with orders to VFA-122, the West Coast RAG. There for to teach budding young Naval Aviators how to fly the F/A-18E Rhino. He wanted VFA-106 at Oceana, he got VFA-122 at Lemoore. So the Navy kind of works like the other services in terms of assignments. Whatever you ask for, you'll get the opposite. If you try the old reverse psychology trick, they'll still get you. As in:

You - "Yes, I want to go to Lemoore in California!" (Meaning I really want to go to Ocean in Virginia.)

Navy - "Why sure, we'll send you to Lemoore, thanks for asking!" (Ha, you thought you were gonna get Virginia, dintcha?)

So, that's all for now. Y'all have a fine Navy day!

*RAG = Replacement Aircraft Group, this is an old term,
officially not in use anymore. The Navy prefers the term
"FRS" or Fleet Replacement Squadron. Everyone stills
calls it "The RAG". Old habits die hard.  Besides how does
one pronounce "FRS"?

Good Friday

As you go about your day, please take a moment to reflect.

My Freedom I owe to many... Salvation I owe, only to Him.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Blog-buddy Joe (aka Cranky Old Man) inspired this post. His memories of the "good old days" took me back, not to the days of my youth, but to the days of my kids' youth. So to speak.

Once upon a time (in this galaxy, for those who need to know) I was assigned to Germany. The family and I packed up our stuff and went off to Europe and the land of the Best Beer on the Planet. (If you wish to debate that, fine. But I'll stand my ground on this, Germany brews the best beer on the Third Rock from the Sun. Though YMMV. Technically Guinness is a "stout", so it's apples and oranges.) Now where was I? Oh yeah, Germany.

When spring came, the progeny played baseball and softball. The Missus Herself and Your Humble Scribe attended nearly every game of all three kids, sometimes not both in the same place. Perhaps I would be at the Nuke's and WSO's game, the Missus Herself would be at the Naviguesser's game. Or vice versa. We made some excellent friends at these affairs and generally had an excellent time.

Then came the fall. The progeny decided that they wanted to play what we Yanks call soccer, what our British cousins call football and what the Germans call fußball. Worth noting (for your cultural edification) that funky "
ß" letter is a critter foreign to our alphabet, it's called an esszett, or sharp "S". Think of a double "s" when you see that, or fussball if you will. Being a (ahem) purist, I'll stick with fußball.

So, the kids want to play 
fußball, and of course this involves arising on a Saturday morn at some ungodly hour for to haul the kinder to base for "tryouts". For those who don't know it, I am not a real big fan of getting up early. I like the night, I like to stay up late and howl at the moon from time to time. At any rate, we arose early of a Saturday and trooped out to the family Volkswagen and drove to the base. (Volkswagen is in italics because I pronounce it as a German would, none of that Volks-wagon business. It's pronounced "folks-vagen", so I render it Volkswagen. Like I said, I'm a purist. Uh no, that doesn't rhyme with "anal-retentive but thank you for asking. Grrrrr.)

So we went to tryouts and had a pretty good time. Like many a German day, it dawned misty and a bit damp. So the air, the grass, the trees, everything - was damp, if not downright wet. Upon returning to the family schlo
ß (castle) we all proceeded to dry off, change clothes, etc. etc. I went up to take a shower.

Upon returning from my ablutions I was informed by the progeny that I was now the proud owner of my very own soccer team (er, I mean 
fußball team. D'oh! Nah, I'll go with the USA version from now on, after all, I'm an American!)

"Uh, when did this happen?" I queried the children.

"While you were in the shower Captain Pita* stopped by and wanted to know if you'd like to coach a team. We told him yes. Yeah! You're my Coach Daddy!" said the Nuke.

Yes, I was now, officially, the Nuke's soccer coach. (The WSO didn't play that year and the Naviguesser, being older, was on a different team.)

Well, the Nuke and about 10 other kids. Co-ed. Boys and girls. Ranging in age (initially) from about 8 to 10. That later expanded from 5 to 11. You'll see how in a few moments.

Of course, I did ask the Nuke what possessed her to volunteer me as a coach.

"Well Dad, you told me you used to play soccer so I figured you'd know how to coach us. Also, isn't it great that you get to coach me?" she asked, eyelashes all a-flutter and cutesy-like. I had to admit that, logic-wise, her argument was without flaw. Besides which, it might be fun.

Well, first day of practice came and I was resolved that I was going to be a "fun" coach. Stern and demanding at times but with a certain Puckish wit to be sure. (None of the kids remotely understood that last reference, but I digress.)

The skills of these kids were all over the place. But I quickly discovered a secret which I will share with you now. Bear in mind, this was a co-ed team. Now girls at that age are very attentive and work 
really hard. Boys at that age? Meh. If you can get them to pay attention for more than five seconds, it's a wonder. But the secret to being a good coach for kids of that age, is get the girls to do something and do it fairly well. Like I said, they pay attention and work really hard. Then tell the boys, "Hey, if you can't do it, I understand. I'll get Sally to do it." Then the boys will fall all over themselves trying to outdo the girls. Until they see something shiny in the grass. Or a jet flies over. Then you start over again.

Eventually my team grew by leaps and bounds to span the age group I mentioned above. We also, eventually, had 16 kids. As I look back on it, they were all really great kids. They tried their best, every game and for every minute of every game. We laughed with each other. Practices were semi-organized scrimmages, parents versus kids on occasion. Picture every game as a big family outing. We were nearly invincible.

We played 19 games that year. Because we had so many kids on the roster, we could outrun and outlast the other teams from dawn 'til dusk. We would just wear them down. I could have 8 fresh kids on the field most of the time (we played 8 on 8 on a small field). The kids were like those packs of African hunting dogs. Steady and persistent. Damn, were they persistent!

So why did I have so many kids on the team? Did the other teams have the same? No. I had more because some parents always showed up late for registration and the other coaches didn't want to take on any new kids. The sports director on our base (a very nice German lady named Ingrid) knew that I would take them. The idea was to have a good time. The other coaches took things far too seriously.

Our last game of the season was against a team who were undefeated. Their coach (I later learned) got to handpick his kids every year, with the complicity of certain parents. I guess with some people if you can win by cheating or bending the rules, it's just as good as playing "fair and square". I never felt that way.

So here's this team. Now their big player that year was a German kid, Marcus. Most of the kids in the league were US and Canadian, the European kids all played off base in the German and Dutch kids' leagues. Those were some serious leagues. But this one German kid also liked baseball. He had many friends who played baseball and soccer so he decided to play in the soccer league on base. Let me tell you, the kid was one helluva an athlete. Great soccer player and (oddly enough) an even better baseball player.

So this kid pretty much carried whatever team he was on. If you had him, you won.

We didn't have him. But I had what I liked to call my secret weapon. Her name was Chevonne. She could run like a deer, corner like a very expensive sports car and had the brains of an Einstein. Before the second game we played Marcus's team, I told her, "Chevonne, I want you to cover Marcus, one on one, the entire game. Don't let him get the ball. If anyone can stay with him. It's you."

It worked, for most of the game. Marcus was frustrated and you could see it in his face and in his play. Chevonne was stuck to him like she was his second shadow. Until it happened.

A pass to Marcus down near our goal, one of our more awkward players gets in Chevonne's way. She is screened now. Marcus sees he's free of his shadow, he shoots, he scores.

One - nil.

Chevonne is devastated. I told her, "Not your fault kiddo, ya got screened, Marcus had like a two second opening, that's all he needs".

Game back on. You can see Chevonne is working even harder than before. Marcus waves to the sidelines for a breather. He goes out. I ask Chevonne if she needs a break.

"I'm good Coach, I'm good. Leave me in." Alright, play on.

Did I mention that I've also got these two Canadian brothers on the team? No. Well, I did. Both were really good players, but the older one was unbelievable. He was our top scorer all year. I seem to recall his name was Matt. (Though I could be wrong, it was over 20 years ago.)

So Marcus is on the sidelines, watching, about to come back in. Chevonne steals the ball and takes it up field. Makes a nice pass to Matt. He shoots. He scores!

One - one.

Marcus comes back out. Chevonne is now completely neutralizing him. Though we don't score again, neither do they. Whistle blows, game over. It's a tie.

Our kids act like they've won the World Cup. Their kids act like the world just ended. It was the only game the didn't win all season. The only blemish on their otherwise perfect record.

It was a fun season. We finished the year with 13 wins, 3 ties and 3 losses. We had a lot of fun. But it had been a long season. I was glad I had done it, but I was pretty sure I didn't want to do it again.

Until we had our banquet after the season. When the youngest kid on the team looked at me and asked,

"That was so much fun. I can't wait until next year. Can I be on your team again, Coach?"
Did I return to coach the next year? You bet I did. And every year we were in Germany. We had a blast. I had really good teams every year. No hand selecting of this kid or that kid. We played by the rules. And we had success. The key is to have fun. The kids had fun, I had fun. Teach 'em up, then let 'em run. They'll figure it out.

I've had a lot of titles over the years. But this one is my favorite -


Pita  is an acronym,  stands for "pain in the..." well you get it.
Obviously it was not the Captain's real name. And in reality he 
was an awesome  guy. I just needed something to call him here.
"Pita" seemed both humorous and somewhat appropriate,
given the circumstances.

Maundy Thursday

The Last Supper
Leonardo da Vinci
Lest I forget...

(All quoted material is from the OAFSSRFTOTN.)
Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great and Holy Thursday, Sheer Thursday and Thursday of Mysteries) is the Christian feast, or holy day, falling on the Thursday before Easter. It commemorates the Maundy and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the Canonical gospels. It is the fifth day of Holy Week, and is preceded by Holy Wednesday and followed by Good Friday.
Maundy (from Latin Mandatum), or Washing of the Feet, is a religious rite observed as an ordinance by several Christian denominations. John 13:1–17 mentions Jesus performing this act. Specifically, in verses 13:14–17, He instructs them, 14 "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet." 15 "For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you." 16 "Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him." 17 "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them." As such, many denominations observe the washing of the feet on Maundy Thursday of Holy Week Moreover, for some denominations, foot-washing was an example, a pattern. Many groups throughout Church history and many modern denominations have practiced foot washing as a church ordinance.
And of course this week is also the celebration of Passover -
The Jewish people celebrate Passover as a commemoration of their liberation over 3,300 years ago by God from slavery in ancient Egypt that was ruled by the Pharaohs, and their birth as a nation under the leadership of Moses. It commemorates the story of the Exodus as described in the Hebrew Bible especially in the Book of Exodus, in which the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt.
In the narrative of the Exodus, the Bible tells that God helped the Children of Israel escape from their slavery in Egypt by inflicting ten plagues upon the ancient Egyptians before the Pharaoh would release his Israelite slaves; the tenth and worst of the plagues was the death of the Egyptian first-born.
The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a slaughtered spring lamb and, upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord knew to pass over the first-born in these homes, hence the name of the holiday. There is some debate over where the term is actually derived from. When the Pharaoh freed the Israelites, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread dough to rise (leaven). In commemoration, for the duration of Passover no leavened bread is eaten, for which reason it is called "The Festival of the Unleavened Bread". Thus Matzo (flat unleavened bread) is eaten during Passover and it is a symbol of the holiday.
It was to Jerusalem Jesus went, to celebrate Passover with his Disciples and to fulfill his destiny. Without Judaism, there would be no Jesus. Without Jesus there would be no salvation. I hope we would always remember just how intertwined these two great faiths are and to treat each other with love and respect.

Of course, I would hope that regardless of what faith someone professes, we would always treat each other with love and respect. Whether we believe it or not, we are all God's children and we are all brothers and sisters in His Sight.

I will be reflecting deeply on the meaning of this weekend and the events which took place two millennia ago. Especially when I look around me at the secular world. Without my faith I would be in absolute despair at times. But I have faith and I have hope.

Regardless of which of these two faiths you adhere to, or whether you adhere to no faith at all, may God grant you peace, long life and happiness. Never lose hope.

Silly Sarge will return, it's just that 
sometimes Serious Sarge has to get a
few words in.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Play This, Loud

It Seems That I Need To...

It seems that I have let the honors, awards, accolades, glory, compliments, kudos, praise, recognition, high fives, applause, congratulations and such go to my head.

It all started with a simple story about having been recognized at another blog. Then it escalated into the whole "I Love Me Wall" thing. And then, and then, I was recognized at another blog. I became...

... full of myself.

Normally I am a shy, retiring, humble, non-assertive, meek, mild, law abiding, simple man, who would never, ever seek the limelight or make a spectacle of myself and...

Sorry, sorry. Perhaps next time, I'll actually think of a good topic to post about or maybe...

I like being silly!

A Plethora of Honors

The Rumbear Honors were announced last night. And Your Humble Scribe was awarded the prestigious and coveted Rumbear Seal of Approval (depicted above). It was a gala (virtual) event. As you can see I wore my very best "photo-shopped" uniform.

It should be noted that Rumbear was the second commenter on Ye Olde Blog and the very first grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) to comment. For a rather large and powerful animal he's rather deft with a keyboard. (I included his "About Me" bit from his blog, that's him in his pool, cell phone in hand, er, paw.)

It's been quite a week here. First the Suldog honors and now this.

I won't be attending the dinner at the White House. (What, there is no dinner at the White House? Oh. I see.)

I might be attending the dinner at White Castle...

But only if I can be at the same table as Harold and Kumar. I'm led to believe they might be there as well.

The I Love Me Wall

When I retired from the Air Force, my fellow sergeants presented me with a couple of things which really touched me deeply. The picture above is a really not-so-good photo of my "shadow box". This contains (on the left) the various ranks I had borne over my 24 year career. On the right are the medals I earned and at the top (kinda fuzzy, I know) are an Air Force crest with my qualification badges to either side. The one on the left is from my flight-line days (Senior Aircraft/Munitions Maintenance) and the one to the right is from my days as a "bit-whacking weenie", or computer programmer (Master Communications and Information).

The globe has arrows pointing to the various locations where I was stationed and at the bottom, the best part of all, is a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol building. (Provided by the Congress-Critter of one of my buddies. Said Congress-Critter having at one time been an actor on The Love Boat. Kinda tells you who the Congress-Critter was and what state my buddy was from. For those of a mind to go look.)

My fellow sergeants also gave me one of these - 

Yes, a French heavy cavalry saber. The one depicted is from the 1st Empire (think the Napoléon), mine is from the 2nd Empire (
Napoléon III, nephew of the Napoléon). Yes, the officers in attendance got a little nervous when I drew my saber, then breathed a sigh of relief when I returned it to its scabbard. I had a reputation as being something of a "wild child" back in the day. Not wholly undeserved but I had somewhat mellowed by the time I retired. Somewhat.

Now many folks have, what we in the Armed Forces of these here United States like to call an "I Love Me Wall" (ILMW). You'll hang your various diplomas, pictures of you in olden days (sometimes with famous people, most times not, just the folks you served with) and other bits and pieces of bric-a-brac which make you feel good about yourself.

I used to have an ILMW until the Missus Herself decided that my Command Post needed to be gussied up and prettified for when folks came to visit. (For those of you who have seen my inaugural video post, the mess in the background is what I have made of the gussied-up-and-prettified Command Post. When people come to visit, the door is closed and the guests are told "that room we use for storage". Sigh...) But I see that I digress. Surprise, surprise. That almost never happens.

Now, here on Ye Olde Blog I have an ILMW of sorts. Over on the right sidebar you may have noticed this -

There are 13 folks at the time of this writing who are accounted as members by Gargoyle Google+. I like to call them "The Friends of the Old Sarge" (that's that French bit at the top). And they are (Left to right, top to bottom):
  • The Chief (Yes, A Real Live Retired Navy Chief, so mind your manners!)
  • Tuna (Of Aquatic Fame, self-noted for his sense of humor.)
  • Greg (My Old High School Buddy, he still holds the local record for holding one's breath in chemistry class.)
  • jphag13 (Cranky Old Man - that's his blog. We just call him "Joe".)
  • Six (Of The Warrior Class. The blog AND he's an actual warrior.)
  • (not necessarily your) Uncle Skip (That's his moniker. I don't make these things up when they fall into my lap like ripe apples. Hhhmm, that could be painful.)
  • jib (Also a blogger and a surgeon. Good with a blade. Just sayin'...)
  • Flying Tiger Comics (Don't know much about this one. But hey, they clicked the button to join! Cool icon too.)
  • Dapper Dan (Another blogger. Also an Oh Brother, Where Art Thou reference.)
  • Suldog (Yes, that is the Suldog, thank you very much. Accept no substitutes.)
  • Your Humble Scribe (A man who wouldn't join his own blog wouldn't be much of a man, now would he? And you're right, I don't know how that happened. I was playing with the buttons on the dashboard. Never a good idea.)
  • WING WIFE (Yes, that Wing Wife. An actual published author, unlike we scribblers of blogs, she has written an actual book. Also her husband is a Marine, a flying Marine, so tread lightly.)
  • Bag Blog (Uh, that would be Lou. Who's blog is splendiforous. Which isn't a word in the real world. It is here though. I made it one by Imperial Fiat. Which is parked in the garage next to the Royal Chevy Malibu.)
I view it as a personal triumph over the Dark Forces menacing the world every time someone joins. Er, no, not really. But I do feel humbled and honored. That's gotta count for something, right?

Then there is another honor I have received in the past week which really got me going.

Seems I had an e-mail from my blog-buddy Suldog (or blogger extraordinaire as I sometimes call him, yes, need I say it again? The Suldog.) announcing that I had been promoted on his blog and now had my very own category. So if you head over there and look, on Suldog's left sidebar, you'll see this - (go on, go look, I'll wait)

Yup, that's me at number three, just below Buck!

So thanks go out to all the members of my blog (noted above), to Suldog and to all the fine folk who stop by here from time to time to read my musings, rants, war stories, tales of my improbable escapades and occasional political commentary (thought that last lot is a bit rare).

Let me leave you with these words of wisdom...

Think about it.

I'm willing to bet Suldog gets it. (Yes, that Suldog.)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Iterating With the Diametric Leg

Pulled this from the Spam Filter at my other blog this morning, too weird (and bizarre) to just throw away and not share. Or something to that effect…

Now, one time this bade is dry trading floor, then Iterate with the diametric leg. They fifty-fifty own the car been more than set aside seen by the USCG outset, not put out in circulation for the executive chairs fourth part backs to shell forth with their condemnations.

Yeah, bro’. Don’t be shelling forth with those condemnations. Otherwise…


Well, they DID mention the Coast Guard (I think) so yeah, it’s relevant.

Head. Going. To. Explode.

Yup, been over to Quick Meme again. Can't help myself. There are days I want to post about certain things and I quickly get to the point of imagining my neighbors being interviewed on TV:

"He was such a quiet guy, always kept to himself. But he seemed nice..."
Um, yeah. I'll fantasize about "going postal" but am far too civilized to ever actually do so. Though she might disagree from time to time, I actually was paying attention when my Mom was teaching us common sense, good manners and the sorts of behaviors guaranteed NOT to upset the neighbors. (Usually immediately after we HAD upset the neighbors.)

Today at work was one of those "If I get one more unreasonable, no-value-added request from those idiotic so-and-so's in the such-and-such department I am going to turn in my badge, head for the door and bid this place farewell!" Let them fix this problem, let them explain to the customer at some future point in time why this stuff "ain't done yet".

No, it came close to that, but cooler heads prevailed. I was actually able to provide a rational explanation as to why I would not be performing an action which (a) made no sense, (b) added no value to the product, (c) would delay the execution of the real work I needed to get done and (d) all of the above. Damn-it! Um, yeah. I'll get "feisty" at work from time to time and it usually manages to amaze one or two people who just aren't paying attention.

I may seem jovial and happy-go-lucky all of the time, but there are days when that's just a thin veneer covering the raging animal buried in all of us. Imagine Santa suddenly pulling out a battleaxe and laying about himself like a frenzied Viking berserker. Yeah, it's like that. When the old dog's tail ain't wagging, stay off the damn porch!

I prefer to be the cute, cuddly little bunny.

But I can be the wolf. If that's what you want. If you push too hard.

The wolf almost got loose today.

I feel better now. Much better.

Monday, March 25, 2013

I Am Such A Guy...

So. The weekend was, shall we say, interesting. Now that I've had a chance to get over the Monday "blahs" I can tell you about it.

It involved speakers. Seems that the Missus Herself has a bit of a project she's been conspiring with her friends on. It involves (shudder) a karaoke machine. And Chez Sarge. As a matter of fact, the family domicile plays a large part in this conspiracy project.

A while back, I arrived at the Manse to find a large, rather weighty cardboard box in the kitchen. Innocently, I asked the Love Of My Life, "What's this?" She answered me, "It's a karaoke machine. My sister sent it to me."


Now my youngest sister-in-law is a bit of an entrepreneur. She once owned a karaoke bar on Okinawa. I don't think the machine came from there though. I'm not really sure of the provenance of this particular karaoke machine other than to say it was manufactured in Korea. Well, all the controls are in Korean. Could have been (and probably was) manufactured in China. But that's beside the point. All I know is that it's an older model karaoke machine and it was at my sister-in-law's before it was where it is now.

At any rate, this karaoke machine has been collecting dust on our TV stand for a month or so now. Though when we first got it we had hooked it up and checked that it actually worked, it hasn't been touched since. I had rather forgotten we had a karaoke machine until my wife started talking about speakers on Friday evening.

"I was at the Navy Exchange today and saw some nice speakers." was how the Missus Herself started the conversation. Now, given my cat-like nature, all I'm thinking about is "What's for supper? When is supper? Is supper right now?" So I had to do some mental re-alignment there when the subject of speakers at the Navy Exchange came up.

"Uh, why do we need speakers?" was my innocent and impossibly stupid question. After all, we had been talking about the karaoke machine the last time speakers were mentioned at Chez Sarge. Hadn't I been paying attention?

No, apparently not. At any rate, the Boss had planted the speaker bug in my brain and I'm guessing I was supposed to "deal with it". Unfortunately, being a male of the species, subtle nuance and gentle hinting are lost upon me. First hit me with a 2 by 4, then talk to me. Ya know, get my attention first.

Saturday morning dawns. The Missus Herself is up and about "getting ready". I presume her best friend (also Korean) has decided that they are going to "do something" this day. In olden times I used to ask what the "something" was and be told that it was a "Korean-thing" and I should just stay out of it. So I know better now. Also, the wife's best friend is older than her. So in Korean terms, she "out-ranks" my wife. Definitely a Korean thing. What the elders want to do is just agreed to. Everyone smiles. Everyone's happy. Move along, nothing to see here.

So there I am, all of a Saturday afternoon, sans wife, sans souci. A condition which is nice, unless there's grass to be cut. That's not too far down the road mind you. Then, when left to my own devices, "that grass had better be cut before I get home or I'll know the reason why!" Not the case, the grass is still dormant.

So I decide to go to Best Buy, a purveyor of things electronic, movies, music, software and speakers. It's the speakers which took me to Best Buy. Speakers for the wife.

What did I buy?

Speakers for my computer. They're very nice. But, naturally, I "had some 'splainin' to do".

"You bought speakers for your computer? What about the karaoke machine?" I was asked.

In a display of mental agility (for which I am not noted) I answered with, "Well, I saw so many, I thought you should come with me. Just to make sure you get what you want."

And she bought it.

I'm still amazed.

Sunday, after church, we went together to Best Buy. Wound up buying some very nice Bose speakers for the television karaoke machine. To the tune of $540+ Yankee dollars. I did manage to slip in Seasons One and Two of Game of Thrones on Blue Ray as part of the deal. (Hhhmm, perhaps I should run for Congress. That sounds like attaching pork to a spending bill. No wait, that's exactly what it was! Perhaps I should NOT run for Congress.)

Now we have a major crisis on hand at Chez Sarge. Where do we put the sub-woofer? It's a big box which looks "ugly" sitting next to the TV stand. OMG we have totally screwed up the decor. Erg. I will simply do as I'm told, like a good husband. I foresee furniture re-arranging in the immediate future.

Oh and I've been told to clean my room. Management is not happy with the scenery in the background of my inaugural video post. Sincerely not happy.

I know, I know. What was I thinking?

Dead End

The Road to the Future?
Not to start the week off on a down note, but Monday's are like that. The current ship of fools down there in Washington D.C. are leading us all to ruin. I had a post in mind but the Chief said it better over at Plan of the Day you should check this out.

Not a "feel good" post by any stretch of the imagination. But if you're paying attention to what's going on in the world, t'ain't much to feel good about right now.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday

Luke 19

28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”

32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”

34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.”

35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.

37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
       “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Le Vieux Sergent Parle!

I have some new toys, this could get ugly...

My inaugural video post. Please buckle your seat belts and ensure your seats are in the upright position and your tray table is stowed. All carry on luggage must be returned to the overhead bins or placed under the seat in front of you. Hold on...

Oh look! A jet!

Family Ties

(Your Humble Scribe)
(My Son-in-law, Big Time)
(My Daughter, The WSO)
(My Granddaughter, Little Bit)
Now I'm not saying that my oldest granddaughter will someday take to the skies and: slip the surly bonds of earth, and dance the skies on laughter-silvered wings, but it is in her blood.

Just sayin'...

Day One, The Second Year

Wondering What the Future Holds...
It's Saturday, a day off after a rather long work week. No longer in terms of time then any other work week, just longer in the number of "management panics" undergone. Seems a day didn't go by without someone running around with their hair on fire. Oh yeah, a fun week.

I remember reading a novel once, I dare say it was an Alexander Kent novel. This one perhaps? 

 Though it's been so long I can scarcely remember. And if you've not read any of these, I ask why not? The man is brilliant, simply brilliant. Alexander Kent and his tales of Richard Bolitho, Royal Navy are rousing sea stories of courage, patriotism (though not the kind you might think), betrayal, battle and the love men feel for a superb leader. Bolitho's career stretches from before the American Revolution to the Napoleonic Wars.

But, once again, I digress. Point of this little side track is that as a leader, never, ever, let the troops see you panic or being unsure of yourself. A sure guarantee for trouble. As a senior British naval officer told the young officer, "Walk Lieutenant, walk! No need for the men to see you in an unseemly rush. Panic is contagious. So walk Lieutenant, walk to your post as if you had not a care in the world."

As you might well imagine, didn't see much of that at work this work. But things got done and done much to the customer's satisfaction. Jim and I are far too experienced to let management's panic attacks influence the competent accomplishment of our mission. (Jim is a former sailor, six years as an enlisted nuke aboard USS Abraham Lincoln. A very smart guy and a joy and pleasure to work with!)

But now it's Saturday, the cares of the work week have fallen away. But today, as the title suggests, it's also Day One, of the Second Year of the blog. Of course, it's also Day One of the rest of my life. I view every new day as something special and shiny. No matter what happens I have my family and my friends. With the Good Lord watching o'er all.

Snapped an interesting photo this past week, during our latest bout of frozen precipitation, i.e. snow. Just before going to bed, I looked out the window and just had to take the shot. It came out well. Then today, which is gorgeous, I took more or less the same shot. A before and after, if you will. I like it, YMMV.

(Hey, looks like the bottom of my down spout has wandered! Guess I'll have to mend that!)

But it's time to get out and enjoy this bright new day! I wish you all the joys of the day and may some wonderful small thing come along to give you pleasure and take away whatever troubles may beset you at the moment. Until next time...

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Friday Flyby - 22 March

Oui, Mesdames et Messieurs, it's time for another "Friday Flyby". Just a couple of notes before we get started. The new logo you see above the awesome Phantom picture is something which I have designed specially for the "Friday Flyby". When you see that logo, you'll know it's an authentic Old AF Sarge Friday Flyby and not some cheap knock-off from a sweat-shop in some dirt poor 3rd World nation.

Now in that logo there are two things I want to point out. Though it is very small, the aircraft depicted is the Lockheed P-2 Neptune, in other words, one of these - 

The reason that particular aircraft is in the logo is simple and goes with the other thing I wanted to point out. Just underneath the Neptune, you may be able to just make out the text "H/T to joeh!". (I don't think you'll be able to make this out on a cell phone, unless you can zoom WAY in.) Anyway "joeh" is our own Cranky old man, who gave me the idea for the "Friday Flyby" theme. The next day I mentioned to (not necessarily your) Uncle Skip that I should include some kind of credit to Joe for the idea. This is it.
And the Neptune? Joe mentioned that his brother had been a Captain in the Navy (back in the day) and "was a navigator in a P something-something following Russian subs for probably 12 hour or more shifts". I kind of assumed (given the time frame) that it was probably the P-2 which Joe was referring to. So it's a tribute to Joe's brother as well, who is no longer with us. So that's the introduction to the new "Friday Flyby" logo along with the back story. Now onto the meat of today's post.

Now the really big news today is this:

It has been one year since I started this blog. At the time, I started out with these thoughts rolling around inside my head:
What the Hell am I thinking? A blog? Isn't that like an every-damn-day kind of thing? I must be out of my mind.
Then there was the reason I was starting. To attempt (in my very small way) to honor the memory of a friend who was no longer with us, a friend who was an amazing writer, Naval Aviator, officer, husband and Dad. (Most of you should know of whom I speak, those who don't should be able to figure it out.) So it's something I wanted to try but because of the reason for wanting to try, I didn't want it to, ya know, suck.

Well, it doesn't, as far as I know, suck. I have some very loyal readers who actually take time out of their busy days to read my sometimes unfocused and chaotic musings, ramblings and "war stories". (That's "sea stories" to my aquatic friends. And you know who you are.)

It's also, dare I say it, fun! Well, it can be. Sometimes these posts seem to write themselves. I get a certain spark or idea and then it just starts to flow. But there are those posts which started well, yet linger still in that half-world of the draft post. Still around but sitting there, waiting. Waiting to perhaps one day be completed and published. Or, perhaps given up on and deleted. (I don't do that much, maybe twice in the entire 12 months I've been doing this. I don't like throwing things away. Ask my wife or take a look at my computer room.)

The writing seems to come fairly easily when that creative spark is there. And it doesn't take much to get the creative "juices" flowing. Sometimes it's provided by my accomplices fellow bloggers. They'll write about something, something which lends itself to copying and expanding upon and I'll do so. Posts like this and this are examples of that.

And totally off topic and completely out of the blue - a little something, hand selected by me, for Virgil Xenophon (old Phantom jock and Friend of the Blog)...
497th Tactical Fighter Squadron 8 December 1965 – 16 September 1974 (F-4C/D Tail Code: FP)
8th Tactical Fighter Wing
Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand
(Well it is the Friday Flyby, innit?)

So it's been one year. How about that? For those who wish to reminisce, here's the link to that very first post, one year ago today. One more thing, I just checked, this is post number 301! (Update: No it isn't. Never mind. I went a little dyslexic when I wrote this. It's actually #287, still seems kind of cool to me, but what do I know?)

My hope is that I get to keep doing this and that y'all keep reading. I'll end this post as I ended that very first post, one year ago this very day... honor The Man Himself...

Here's to You Lex!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring in New England

Yes, it's spring in New England! Yay!

How can you tell?

See the red circle above? Those are daffodils. I kid you not.

Those bunches in the picture above? Yup, more daffodils.

Just struck me, but I need to head north. Not just to see my Mom but because of this - 

It's maple sugaring time!

Oh, such memories I have of this time of year. The smell of my grandparents' farm, the wood smoke, the smell of boiling sap and something warm and wonderful cooking in my grandmother's kitchen.

Gramp and Uncle Hank sharing a wee nip while stoking the fire to boil the sap. Stirring and stirring, skimming off the top. Keeping a weather eye out for Gram who didn't approve of drinking around her bairns!

Gram's dogs, Tippie and Bimmie dancing in the snow with delight as "their kids" drive up and pile out of the family car. Those two dogs loved my brothers and I with such abandon and pure joy. To us, they were our four legged cousins. God, how we loved those dogs!

Doesn't matter that it's snowing, spring is in the air. The birds know it, the sugar maples know it and most certainly the daffodils know it.