Sunday, June 30, 2013

Things Remembered

James Taylor
I saw "Sweet Baby James" in concert in the way back. 'Twas the basketball arena at the University of Vermont (or UVM as it's known round these parts), about 40 years ago. We had pretty good seats looking down onto the stage they had set up on the court. Acoustics were good, at least where we were sitting. As I recollect, it was an awesome concert. I have always enjoyed his music. Though it's been awhile since I've heard any. Since the post yesterday on Charleston, I've been indulging myself.

The man's voice, the way he plays the guitar, the songs he writes, they mean something to me which cannot be expressed in words. Best way I can put it, James Taylor makes me "happy sad". Things missed, old times not forgotten, people not seen anymore but remembered with fondness. Sad that those times are gone, but happy to have experienced them.

So there's days I get nostalgic for what was. I know that I'm on the "back nine" and I'm alright with that. But there are days...

Days I wish I was young again. Man, does this song take me back.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Where My Head's At Tonight

Charleston, SC
The Nuke went through Nuke School down in Charleston. We went down for her graduation. It was hot, it was sticky and I loved every minute of it. I need to get back down there. Hit this place up again -

Take the ferry out here again -

Like the man said, in my mind I'm goin' to Carolina...

Good times with folks you love, that's what it's all about.

Anybody See Where June Went?

It's hard to believe, but tomorrow is the last day of June. Today, of course, is the penultimate day. Heh.

Seriously though, the older I get, the faster time seems to go by. Well, time in terms of months seems to go by rather quickly. Time on a normal workday goes by with amazing slowness. I'm thinking that each day still consists of 24 hours, it's just that time isn't really linear. You'd think that one hour would be pretty much the same as any other hour wouldn't you?

But picture yourself in a meeting, or a conference. A really boring meeting. Like one of these -

Each minute spent in one of these feels like days, no years. When I've been in these meetings I imagine that if I could watch the outdoors, I would see time go by like in one of those time lapse sequences. For instance, here's how time moves for the rest of the world while we're stuck in some boring meeting.

(That is a pretty cool video, neh?)

But if you want time to speed up, well that's easy. Just go on vacation. Where one day feels like 5 minutes. You take two weeks off and before you know it, it's Monday morning, you're driving in to your place of work and moments later, everyone is wondering why you're standing in the parking lot screaming "No!". Over and over and over and over.

Now there are days at work when time goes by very quickly. Particularly when the high ups want something done in a most expeditious manner. Say you have five hours until the deadline. You check the time, it's 8 in the morning. So you start to work on whatever it is the bosses want.

Then the next time you look up, 4 and a half hours have gone by. What the heck? But I'm not done yet. Where did the time go?

On the other hand, here's how Mondays at work usually go:

  1. Arrive at work, boot up computer - 10 minutes elapsed
  2. Go get coffee - another 10 minutes elapsed
  3. Start reading the specifications for the new project you've just started, time is 0800
  4. What seems like hours pass, you've gone through dozens of pages of schematics and requirements, you check the time - it's 0815. Fifteen minutes have elapsed.
And so goes the entire day. Time does seem to speed up as Wednesday approaches, but not to worry. It will slow right down again until Friday finally arrives, with glacial slowness.

So my theory is that each minute spent at work is approximately one-one hundredth of a second outside of work. That's why being 8 hours at work feels really long and why sleeping for 8 hours feels really fast. And where does that other 8 hours in a day get spent? Why can I seldom fully account for that other 8 hours.

Oh yeah, time spent getting ready for work or getting ready for bed. Time spent eating and attending to various and sundry other things which Nature demands. Then of course, there's reading, blogging, television, radio, listening to music and whatever else one does to entertain one's mind.

Anyhow, my fuel low level light is flashing, time to hit the tanker.

Bis morgen!

The Open Road

It appears that my buddy c w had to work late again yesterday. Perhaps my Friday bedtime is far too early. At any rate, just so you don't miss anything, head on over to the daily timewaster and check out this week's Friday Open Road.

Friday, June 28, 2013

New Contributor, New Month (Almost) - So A New Look

Okay, So Maybe Everyone Doesn't Like the New Look
Seriously, let me know what you think...

Tuna... Arriving

As Tuna's contributions to the blog have been very well received ...

Yup, those are nice numbers!
... I have invited Tuna to be a contributor to the blog. Methinks he has accepted as he's now listed over there on the side bar. Of course, there are so many buttons on a blog dashboard (for that is what it's called) mayhaps I pushed the right button but over-interpreted the result. We shall see.

But I expect the good fellow to be able to post from time to time without going through Your Humble Scribe. 'Tis the least I could do. (Also saves me some work...)

So without further ado, let's hear it for Tuna...


And here's a couple of videos to tip you off as to Tuna's old job...

Tuna has checked in, all systems are go. He hasn't posted yet or taken the blog for a test drive but when he does, be gentle with him. Of course, the way these things usually go, in a matter of months you'll all be saying "Old AF Who?"...

Seriously, I look forward to Tuna's contributions. Check out the new sidebar, "Tuna and the Sarge". Not quite as catchy as "Jake and the Fat Man", but Tuna's name isn't Jake.

Just sayin'...

Good Stuff From Tuna

Static Display Area, Edwards AFB Open House and Airshow
Blog buddy, frequent commenter and sometime blogging accomplice Tuna sent me this link to a great presentation put together by a Mr Bernard Zee. Well worth your time!

As always, thanks Tuna!  

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Friday Flyby - 28 June

P-51 Mustang
One of the Most Beautiful Aircraft of All Time
As promised, this week I'm featuring Allied pilots. Well, actually this week it's an All-American show. Future editions of the Flyby will showcase the British, the Russians and the other Allied nations who sent the Axis down in flames. But this week it's the Yanks. In particular the men who flew in Europe against the Germans. We'll get to the Pacific theater eventually. So all you Naval Aviators and NFOs can just go on back to the O-Club and have another drink, the Air Force is taking center stage this week! (Army Air Corps, Army Air Force, etc. - to an Old Air Force Sarge, it's all "Air Force" to me. Buck, can I get an "Amen"? And I know there's more USAF types out there, y'all can chime in down there in the comments. Don't mind the squids, grunts, gyrenes and coasties. They're all right. Once ya buy'em a drink of course.)

Major George E. Preddy, Jr. USAAF
26.83 Aerial Victories
1919 - 1944

Mustang in D-Day Livery

General John C. Meyer, USAF
24 Aerial Victories
1919 - 1975

The Flying Dutchman

Major Dominic Salvatore "Don" Gentile, USAAF
21.83 Aerial Victories
1920 - 1951

P-47D Thunderbolt, aka "The Jug"
"It better dive, because it sure as Hell can't climb." - Don Blakeslee

Colonel Francis Stanley "Gabby" Gabreski, USAF
28 Aerial Victories
1919 - 2002

Three Jugs Are Better'n One
More Bang for Your Buck

Lieutenant Colonel Robert S. Johnson, USAAF
27 Aerial Victories
1920 - 1998

"Razorback" Jug

Now there's a sight!

Colonel Walker Melville "Bud" Mahurin, USAF
20.75 Aerial Victories
1918 - 2010

Colonel Donald James Matthew Blakeslee, USAF
15.5 Aerial Victories

Started with the Royal Canadian Air Force
Claimed his first kill on November 22, 1941!
1917 - 2008

Colonel Hubert A. "Hub" Zemke, USAF
17.75 Aerial Victories
Jimmy Doolittle praised Zemke as his "greatest fighter group commander".
He commanded the 56th Fighter Group in England,
which came to be known as "Zemke's Wolf Pack".
1914 - 1994

Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF
16 Aerial Victories (World War II and Vietnam!)
1922 - 2007

Brigadier General Charles Elwood "Chuck" Yeager
11.5 Aerial Victories
First Man to Break the Sound Barrier
Born 1923

So there you have it, quite a collection of pilots and aircraft. Next week maybe we'll wander out to the Pacific theater, maybe we'll introduce you to the Aces of Imperial Japan. Or maybe we'll do the American Aces of the Pacific. Or maybe, we'll introduce the Brits and the Russkie Aces. And no. I haven't forgotten the Italians. Though their armed forces performed somewhat abysmally in World War II, there were lots of Italian fighting men who did their nation proud.

No, not sure what I'll do next week. Guess you'll just need to stay tuned!

But I'll leave you with this...

Why yes, I do like the P-51...
Why do you ask?

Tout sur ​​Moi

As I was making my way around the blogosphere tonight, I came across something I liked, a lot. I got there via Rumbear. It's the blog of a guy who is no longer with us. But he had this pretty neat "About Me" page which inspired this post.

From all the evidence, Rob "Acidman" Smith, was quite a guy.

All About Me - (Not that I'm the center of the universe or anything, though the opening photo might suggest otherwise...)

Name: Chris, obviously there's more but there's only so much I'll share. I do believe I got dinged for not sharing in grade school. I also got dinged for my cursive skills. So now I print everything, screw cursive. And sharing, uh, let's not go there...

Nickname: Sarge. Seriously. Well, I got tagged with this in Basic Training by my fellow recruits. Drove the instructors nuts it did as time went by. But by that time I had established a spiritual domination of my Basic Training flight. The instructors knew it, my fellow recruits knew it. What a hell of a bunch we were. Wellington knew the type.

Astrological sign: Taurus. But no, I don't buy into that stuff. But the bull thing, that's kind of cool.

Age: 60. Damn! As a friend of mine used to say "If I knew that I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself." Um no, probably not.

Height: 5' 8". Though my Doc says I'm only 5 seven and change now. But really who cares? It's not like I could play basketball or something.

Level of Education: MS in Management Information Systems but I don't really use it. My employer said it's the "wrong" masters degree. They can go ride a fire truck.

Occupation: Software Engineer. But I'm more of a tester now. I actually like writing computer code but they've made it too "happy" for my tastes nowadays. Like the latest panacea-du-jour, "scrum". Where do they come up with this nonsense? For me it's just a man and his compiler. Everything else is male bovine feces.

Birthplace: Vermont and proud of it. The old Vermont, not this Bernie Sanders nonsense they've got going on up there now. If I had to pick a state to call home now I'd probably go with Texas. Except the weather down there ain't to my taste. (Too damn hot! I'm a four seasons kinda guy.)

Marital status: Married. For 35 years. Still amazes me that she's put up with me for so long. Because I really can be an asshole.

How many children: Three. All better looking and smarter. And all really good people. The kind of people I'd get drunk with.

Do you drink (alcohol): Yup, sure do. When I go to parties the goal is to catch a nice buzz. Not to get falling down drunk, though that has happened, but not since I retired from the Air Force. My farewell party in Germany was amazing, what I remember of it. I think my head required 5 stitches and the German Polizei found me annoying, yet amusing. I speak better German when I've had a few Pilsner. The German Doc who sewed me up was annoyed that I had injured myself while imbibing. No anesthetic. (Yeah, like I needed it, I couldn't feel a damned thing!)

Do you smoke: No, but I used to. Quite honestly I miss it a lot. I know, I know, it's not good for me, but still. Nothing like a good cup of coffee and a good smoke to start the day. But it's been 8 months since I had a smoke. Don't plan on resuming, but seriously, I do miss it.

Favorite outdoor activities: Enjoying nature in all its splendor. Seriously, I can sit and just observe for hours. Drinking beer.

Favorite indoor activities: Reading and blogging. Drinking beer.

Favorite colors: Blue first, green second.

Favorite type of music: I used to say "damn near anything", I don't anymore. Can't abide Gospel music, though I am a religious man. I am also very partial to the bagpipes. Many of my ancestors came from Scotland. Oh, I almost forgot, rap sucks. Especially German rap. (And yes, there is such a thing. I discovered one day, much to my chagrin.)

Favorite musical groups/performers: Beatles, Jethro Tull and others too numerous to mention.

Favorite soundtracks: Brother, Where Art Thou

Favorite song at the moment: B-52s Roam

What's in your home CD/Cassette player right now: Nothing. I do the YouTube thing. It's free and I'm cheap.

What's in you car CD/Cassette player right now: Nothing. Talk/sports radio is my thing. I get too excited listening to music.

Do you play an instrument: I play an indifferent bass. (My skills are indifferent, the bass is, well let's just say it's inexpensive.)

One pillow or two: One, if it's the right pillow.

Croutons or bacon bits: Yes. (If pressed I'd share my croutons but hands off the bits!)

Favorite salad dressing: Blue cheese.

Have you ever had your appendix or tonsils removed: Nope. My big "under the knife" thing was the gallbladder. The stuff leading up to having to have it removed was painful. Two days after surgery was horribly painful, but I got over it. People can no longer say "the gall of that man" about me. I just don't have it in me anymore.

Have you ever gone skinny-dipping: No, while nudity looks good on some people. I'm not one of those people.

Do you make fun of people: Constantly. I may have mentioned that I can be an asshole. I try not to be cruel about it though.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up: Fighter pilot. Note that, not just a pilot but a fighter pilot. I love being in the air. Shooting down other airplanes actually appealed to me at one time. I've mellowed with age.

What would be your dream job now: Full time blogger.

Have you ever been convicted of a crime: No. Never did anything worse than speeding. Got ticketed twice, warned a couple of times. I try to go with the flow of traffic. There have been a few times though that I got "over excited", shall we say. And leave it at that.

Places you'd most like to visit: Austerlitz, Moscow and the Isle of Skye.

Your first car: White 1971 VW Beetle.

Dream car: M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank. Seriously. It would be the ultimate "don't f**k with me" statement.

Toothpaste: Anything minty with no grit. I hate freakin' grit.

Shampoo/Conditioner: Do guys really care? Anything that gets whats left of my hair clean and cuts the grease back a bit.

Favorite season: Fall

Favorite holiday: Christmas

Favorite board/card game: Pinochle. Though it's been years since I played and I kind of suck at it.

Favorite hobbies: Reading.

Favorite sport to play: Used to be football, then it was softball as I got older. Now it's chasing my grandkids.

Favorite sport to watch: Pro Football. Can't really abide college ball. Unless it's the Army-Navy game. And since you asked, I root for Navy.

Least favorite sport to watch: Basketball, though I've grown to tolerate it.

Most humiliating moment: Hhhmm. Not sure if I've had one of those. If I did I must have repressed it. Or forgotten it or realized that the world wasn't going to end on account of it.

Do you have any siblings: Two younger brothers

Do you get along with your parents: Yes, I love my parents deeply. My Dad passed in 2010, not a day goes by that I don't think of him. And my Mom is a blast to hang out with. (I got my sense of humor from her.)

Favorite place to chill: My computer room.

Favorite place to visit: My kids. Two in California, one in DC. All three are a blast to hang out with.

What is your bad time of day: Right after the freakin' alarm goes off. I can get up at 0400 and enjoy it if I don't have to get up. Any day which starts with an alarm is a bummer. (24 years in the military and I think I needed the alarm five times, and that's as I was approaching retirement.)

What is your good time of day: Sunrise is awesome, then again so is sunset.

Favorite perfume or cologne: Um, don't do scents. It's not my thing.

Favorite scent of candle: Uh, seriously?

Favorite flower/plant: Well, roses are awesome, the Missus Herself has a lot of them. But my favorite plant is just about any kind of tree. I'm from Vermont! Anyplace without trees is like a different planet to me. But seriously, Louisiana has too many trees. I mean damn, there's places you can't see the sky.

Favorite subject in school: History.

Least favorite subject in school: Gym. (Is that really a subject?)

Favorite authors: Wow, that's a tough one. There are so many. But because he just passed, I'll go with Vince Flynn. That man could spin a marvelous yarn.

Favorite book genre: Anything with action.

Favorite book: Do I have a favorite book? Hhhmm, another tough one. But if forced to choose, it would be a toss-up between Shogun by James Clavell and The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy.

Current book I'm reading: The Guns at Last Light by Rick Atkinson. This is the third book in the Liberation Trilogy, I've read the first two already. I read the other day that someone didn't consider these books to be "serious" history. I guess that fellow was either an academic historian (a very boring group of people for the most part) or learned in school that "serious" history has to be boring. Well, I don't subscribe to that crap. Mr Atkinson makes history come alive.

Favorite magazine: I don't really do magazines. But I do like Yankee Magazine. It's the Vermont thing.

Favorite movie you have seen recently: Kingdom of Heaven, the Director's Cut.

Favorite movie of all time: A tough one, I have so many. If forced to choose, I wouldn't, I couldn't.

Other favorite movies: Gangs of New YorkLast of the Mohicans both with Daniel Day-Lewis, a great actor. Waterloo, Rod Steiger overdoes Napoleon, but I think the Emperor would have found his portrayal too subdued. Tora Tora Tora. The Final Countdown, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, there are many more, that will do for now.

Favorite actors/actresses: John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Clint Eastwood, Carol Burnett.

Favorite TV programs: Don't really do much TV, did love Firefly and am currently addicted to Game of Thrones and The Sopranos (yes, I know those are reruns and it sucks that James Gandolfini died.)

Favorite cartoon character: Donald Duck, second would be Bugs Bunny. They're both smart-asses.

Favorite food: Fried clams. (Whole belly, of course.) Second favorite would be clam chowder. And to a true New Englander there is only one kind of clam chowder. If you have to ask, there's no point in explaining.

Chocolate or Vanilla: Chocolate. (Duh)

Favorite ice cream: Rocky Road, but I can't do nuts anymore (it's a gastro-intestinal thing, not an allergy thing) so now I'd say mint chocolate chip.

Favorite Snapple: I don't think I've ever had one. If it comes in iced tea flavor, that would be it. If it doesn't, what's the point?

Favorite alcoholic Drink: Beer. If I can't get beer, I go thirsty. (Though a wee dram of whiskey wouldn't be turned down. Mind you, what you call Scotch, we Scots call whiskey. If it's free, you can call it anything you like as long as "ye refill ma glass laddie").

What is your bedtime: When I'm tired. On a work night, I try to make it no later than 2200. On weekends, round about midnight suits me fine.

Best on-line friends: There are so many, I would name names but then I'd forget someone and that would suck. I guess like the Acidman said, see the blog roll.

Best friends: Anyone who has honorably served in the armed forces of the United States or Great Britain.

Worst enemies: Liberals, socialists, MBAs, Communists, North Koreans, anyone who thinks they know better than everyone else and anyone who would take someone's freedom away.

Interesting fact about your childhood: Uh, I survived to adulthood? (I find that interesting, YMMV.)

How many rings before you answer the phone: One, I check who's calling and either answer it or terminate it.

The first thing you think of in the morning: What time is it? (No, not what time is it when I think of the first thing, no, I literally ask myself "What time is it?" If I have to get up, the second thing I think of is how nice it would be to stay in bed.)

Favorite thing to do when you're home alone: Blog.

Things that make you feel good: My wife, my kids, my grandkids, my cats, my Mom. In no particular order mind you.

Things you don't like: See Worst Enemies. Also Obama, I can't abide that SOB or his wife.

Worst feeling in the world: Obama getting re-elected.

Best feeling in the world: Knowing Obama can't serve another term.

Do you get motion sickness: No, never had it.

Roller Coasters - Deadly or Exciting: Deadly.

Thunderstorms - Cool or Scary: Cool. Well, to be perfectly honest, they're scary and cool. Which makes them awesome.

Pen or Pencil: Pen, unless I'm drawing, then it's pencil. I haven't drawn anything in a long while. I used to be good at it, in fact, I was damned good.

Do you like to drive: Yes, I love to drive.

Do you sleep with stuffed animals: No, not since I was little.

Did you have imaginary friends or a blanket as a child: No, not that I recall. Oh wait, I did have a blanket, it gets cold in Vermont in the winter. It was a survival thing, not a sentimental attachment.

What is on the walls of your room: Paint. I used to have the commissioning posters for the USS Momsen and USS Nitze, but the Missus Herself made me take them down. So she could paint. Sigh.

What words or phrases do you overuse: Fire truck. Without the "ire tr". I use that way  too much. I am far too fond of that particular Anglo-Saxon epithet.

Coolest things anyone ever gave you: My wife gave me a GI Joe halftrack for our anniversary one year. That was cool. The kids gave me a thirty minute ride in an SNJ-6, with aerobatics and everything. That was really, really cool.

How would you characterize your political leanings: Politics sucks. Leave me and mine the Hell alone. The Feds should maintain a strong military and a sound infrastructure, most everything else should be handled by the individual states.

If you could pick one super-human power, what would you choose: Flying. Now that would be awesome.

Favorite Quotes/Lyrics/Poems

L'audace, l'audace, toujours l'audace. Friedrich der Grosse

Damn near anything by Kipling, Six always has Kipling on Sundays.

And of course, this poem really sings to me.

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Wow, that was fun.

Do I Regret Not Joining the Navy?

Not really...

Weekend in Sight!

Yes, the weekend is in sight. For me, it starts tonight! Hoorah for me.

In the interests of international solidarity and to ensure maximum coverage around the globe. Here's the above in a multitude of other languages. Some of which I would actually recognize if someone spoke them at me. Others I would simply stare blankly back at them and eventually mutter...

"Bloody foreigners!"

, el fin de semana está a la vista. Para mí, se inicia esta noche! Hoorah para mí.

Oui, le week-end est en vue. Pour moi, ça commence ce soir! Hourra pour moi.

, il fine settimana è in vista. Per me, inizia stasera! Hoorah per me.

Ja, ist das Wochenende in Sicht. Für mich beginnt es heute Abend! Hurra für mich.

Is ea, is é an deireadh seachtaine i radharc. Maidir liom féin, a thosaíonn sé anocht! Hoorah dom.

Да, в выходные дни в поле зрения. Для меня это начинает сегодня вечером! Ура для меня.

Ναι, το Σαββατοκύριακο είναι το θέαμα. Για μένα, ξεκινάει απόψε! Hoorah για μένα.

Ja, het weekend is in zicht. Voor mij, het begint vanavond! Hoera voor mij.

Ja, er det helg i sikte. For meg begynner det i kveld! Hoorah for meg.

네, 주말 광경입니다. 나를 위해, 오늘 밤 시작! 나를 위해 만세.
So, until next time. Which may be later tonight or not until tomorrow. It all depends on when the grandkids show up. (Yes, sorry dear reader but the progeny of the progeny do have priority. Nothing personal mind you but they are family. Not that you aren't familiy in a "we're all in this together" kind of way but we are talking blood relations here. Sorry.)

Um yeah, Old AF Sarge out...