Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tuesday's Trash

I'm sure you've noticed that my semi-regular bit here on the Chant - Trivia Tuesday, has been on hiatus the last few weeks.  Not that it's run it's course or anything, but I just haven't come across enough trivial material that is singularly focused to put together a decent post.

Now I'd suspect that some of you may be cheering the fact that I'm not playing Stump the Chump with my trick questions, multiple correct answers, and ones with the ever-popular answer "It depends." 

So what I bring you today, which not-so-coincidently is Tuesday, is a bunch of material that has been rattling around my head for several weeks-  the Trash per se.  Hmm, this could possibly be my new Tuesday title...  Anyhoo, I always have a bunch of trash up in my noggin, which does need to be taken out periodically, but Tuna's Total Trash Tuesday, or just Tuna's Trash, which both have an alliterative likability factor, might give a reader the idea that it's not quality material I'm posting.  /Snark/

I think I've mentioned before that I've never intentionally phoned it in. Sarge might have given you that impression by suggesting that I've slammed together a post late on a Monday night, but it's often just me writing my post in MS Word, later transferring it to a post here. However, I try to do my research throughout the week and on weekends, saving pics to my computer as I go, then combining them with the text just prior to publishing the post.  But enough about the mechanics of my blogging.

First piece of "trash" I'll dispose of here is this:  What famous person who served in the US Army Air Forces, later played the movie role of another celebrity who served in the same?


Would you believe that the music of my youth was the Big Band Sounds of the Glenn Miller Orchestra?  Well not exactly, but close.  While I'm no spring chicken, the big band era was well before my time- the late 30's and 40's, but my Dad grew up listening to that music.  And thanks to a Time-Life anthology of the Big Band Swing Era which he bought himself for Christmas one year, I also grew up listening to the swinging sounds of Glen Miller, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington.  I played some of that music myself, being part of my high school's swing Choir- not as a singer, but accompanying them as a drummer.

In two earlier trivia posts I quizzed you on military celebrities, but Glenn Miller (the celebrity who also served in the USAAF) was left off that list.  
In 1942, at the peak of his civilian career, Miller decided to join the war effort, forsaking an income of $15,000 to $20,000 per week in civilian life. At 38, Miller was too old to be drafted and first volunteered for the Navy but was told that they did not need his services.  Miller then wrote to Army Brigadier General Charles Young. He persuaded the United States Army to accept him so he could, in his own words, "be placed in charge of a modernized Army band". Wikipedia
The Navy didn't need his services?  There's a joke in the Navy about Changes of Command- they are either "With Band" or without.  The latter meaning you were fired.  Exploding bolts you see.  I guess during WWII we either weren't firing all that many or we just didn't take the time to schedule the band.  

But I digress.

Miller was later transferred to the USAAC and played in both the US and Europe.  His service as the leader of the AAF Band was characterized by General Doolittle as second only to a letter from home as the biggest morale builder in Europe.  Sarge can enlighten you on when the USAAC became the USAAF.  I tend to ignore those corporate name changes.

UC-64A Norseman (National Museum of the USAF) Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
On December 15th 1944, Major Miller was flying from the UK to entertain troops in Paris, but the UC-64A he was riding in was lost over the English Channel.  In the 1954 movie, The Glenn Miller Story, he was played by Colonel Jimmy Stewart, USAF Reserve, later promoting to Brigadier General.  And know you know...the rest of the story.

Actually Jimmy Stewart, the great American that he was, is a story unto itself.  A commercial-rated pilot before the war, he enlisted in the Army in March of '41, becoming the first major Hollywood personality to join the war effort.  He was commissioned into the USAAC following Pearl Harbor, but relegated to mostly recruiting duties because of his celebrity status. However, in the Summer of '42 he was appointed CO of the 703rd Bombardment Squadron, flying the B-24 Liberator.  During the war Stewart flew a total of 20 combat sorties earning two DFCs and the Croix de Guerre


Now for some general musings.

The Jury Pool                                                            UT San Diego

I recently spent a day doing my civic duty for the Superior Court of San Diego.  The Jury Summons is one of those things people dread, but I only had slight reservations about it, at least until later in my day there.  I thought the process would be interesting so I was ready to serve if needed.  While I didn't necessarily want to be chosen, I was almost hoping I would be.  My concern was mainly that I would be stuck on a long trial, but apparently those are very rare- most running only a few days to a week. Showing up at 0800, I sat in the above room while the various instructions were given to us. We were thanked for doing our civic duty and told that while the sitting and waiting might seem like a waste of time, knowing that we were there ready to sit on a jury enabled the lawyers, plaintiffs, and defendants to negotiate in good faith, and not feel they had to settle unnecessarily.

I thought I'd just be sitting in the room all day and then be sent home.  However, after about 90 minutes, my number was called as part of an initial 50 potential jurors.  Once you're selected, the painful part of the process begins.  What I noticed, first just by observation, but soon by the answers to the various questions the judge and lawyers asked, is the wide disparity of...Hmm, what's the right word...intelligence?  I realize that's judgmental and possibly a tad arrogant, but C'mon people! Use some common sense.  The questions asked of us were very repetitive, and extremely straight forward,  but some of the responses showed that some people still didn't understand what was being asked.  A standard question was "Have you ever been the victim of a crime?"  One person said that they once lost their sunglasses, but they thought that someone stole them.  Hmm, oookay.  And by the way, an ingrown toenail or a sore shoulder because you walked into a door is not a reason you should be excused from jury duty.  

I wasn't part of the first group of jurors seated, but the questioning quickly eliminated a whole slew of folks for various reasons and I moved up to the jury.  As an educated guy on the other side of middle-age, I knew I had the knowledge required to listen to the testimony and fairly determine a verdict.  Among other questions, the Prosecution asked what I did for a living and I'm guessing he was willing to have a retired Naval Officer on the jury because he had no further questions.  However, it's my opinion that in general, a Defense Attorney is afraid of an educated and intelligent juror, especially if they know their client is guilty or probably guilty.  The Defense wants to be able to appeal to the emotional side of a juror, vice their logical side, as these people can be swayed by arguments, possibly ignoring the facts.  Why else do you think we get jurors awarding multi-million dollar settlements for spilled coffee?

After questioning, I was excused by the Defense with no explanation.  I was definitely not trying to get out of it, but for this case (assault on a prisoner, by another prisoner, with a Prison Guard being the sole witness), I guess I was seen as a threat to the Defense. 

I remember hearing a comedian say that if you ever commit a crime, you don't want to be tried by a panel of people too stupid to get out of jury duty. Hmm.

Last bit of trash for today.  

Anything and everything requires passwords these days.  And because of all the breaches of security anywhere and everywhere, we're constantly being reminded to change our passwords regularly, don't use them on multiple sites, make them hard to figure out, don't write them down, and so forth.  And the complexity requirements?  They make it nearly impossible to come up with ones that are somewhat memorable.

Your password must be 12-20 characters long, contain a combination of both upper and lowercase letters, numbers 0-9, 3 characters from wingdings font, and special characters (!@#$%^&*+=), none of which may repeat, nor can be in order on the keyboard, nor can they be an actual word or anything remotely memorable, and must be changed every 2.5 hours or your account will be locked out for a week, or two, or until whenever we feel like you've groveled enough to Tech Support.

I think we ought to just say screw it and write them down anyways.  Ok, maybe using some sort of personal code that helps you know what the passwords are, but nobody else could ever figure out without waterboarding you.  It's WAY more likely that someone will break into your computer than into your desk drawer at home for that old envelope from the birthday card your Aunt Judy sent you 8 years ago.  Heck, stick it in your family bible.  No criminal will ever open that up.

Yeah, yeah- I know we should make our passwords into some sort of sentence, My1std0gwa$f@t but geez, can't we just move to a live DNA-based security system already?  Did you see the Sci-Fi movie Gattica?  In order to ensure they were authorized for entry into work, they put their finger on a scanner that took a tiny speck of blood from each person which was immediately checked against the company's DNA database.

However, the only way I know to check your blood today is through those little spring-loaded finger prickers they use when you donate at the Blood Bank.  I think they were designed during the Spanish Inquisition, because these miniature torture devices kind of hurt!

"Please place your finger on the keyboard for DNA verification of your account."  Ooh, how bad do I want to get onto Facebook today?  Nah, I'll skip it. I didn't really want to see yet another picture of my second cousin's cat anyway.

Before I forget- Spring Break is next week and we're taking the kids on vacation.  Maybe the trash will be full again after Easter.

P.S. "My first dog was fat" is definitely NOT my password, and I don't even have an Aunt Judy.  Honey, I need to log into our bank account.  Where'd I put that jury summons envelope? 


  1. As the IT, Security and Training manager for my unit I had more than my share of passwords. One particular password finally crumbled my cookies. After filling out numerous forms and having the base level intel shop do their blessing I was allowed to pick a password and then they let me know the rules: ALL passwords had to be 23 characters long (not 22 or 24, but only the magic number 23), ALL passwords had to have upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters, ALL characters must not be repeating (no two letters or numbers together) and no ascending or descending series in letters or numbers anywhere in the 23 character series. After half an hour of trial and error I finally stumbled upon a password the program would accept, which I promptly wrote down under the scorn filled gaze of the high priests of management. Considering the amount of grumbling and complaining I had done while trying to find some combination that the program would accept, they were rather shy about admonishing me about writing it down. I did make a suggestion when I left, the next step in the dance would be to have people use Egyptian Hieroglyphics and donate next of kin for access to their precious systems. Grrrrrrrrr

  2. You may know that my tastes run toward hard rock and heavy metal. That's what I like to play when I play my instrument (bass) and what my various bands mostly played while I was in them. However, I've amassed quite a collection of big band stuff and I've been listening to that more than anything else for the past year or so. Goodman, Miller, Charlie Barnet and Tommy Dorsey are in heavy rotation on the CD player. I've especially become enamored of Dorsey. What a tremendous trombone player!

    (I've wanted, for many years now, to get a band together and record heavy metal versions of the biggest hits in big band music - In The Mood, Cherokee, Sing Sing Sing, Opus One, Getting Sentimental Over You, Tuxedo Junction, etc. I expect it will never happen, but I keep putting the idea out here in case someone with more ambition comes across it and is willing to do it. I'd be happy as hell just to hear it.)

  3. Yah know Suldog, maybe I'm just not musically creative enough, but I just can't wrap my head, or is it ears, around a metal version of something like Tuxedo Junction. Some of the beauty in that swing music is the lazy beats, the slow ride of the cymbal, etc. Metal just seems diametrically opposed to Big Band stuff, but what do I know? If you are musically inclined to put something together and put it on Youtube, I'd love to hear it. By the way, you know the song Hell is for Children by Pat Benatar? Now that song is just begging to be played a little harder. Can you imagine Metallica doing it? I sure can.

  4. Not big band, and not Metallica doing it, but there's a group of cellists that cover Metallica and here's a video of them playing Edward Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King. They are called Apocolyptica.


    Hope you enjoy it.

    You could also check out 2 Cello's if you've a mind. Those dudes play pretty well, too. :)

    1. I love 2 Cellos, I need to check out those other guys as well. Thanks Freddy BB!

  5. A very timely post Tuna.

    Why just today I had to jump through a number of wonderful hoops regarding accounts and User IDs and passwords and headaches and odd desires to get extremely drunk and wander into the woods, casting all technology aside and...

    Well, you get my point.

    Most systems now want a password as long as the frigging alphabet with all sorts of magical combinations and such. Imagine my chagrin at discovering that I had to limit my password to just 8 characters. Yes, there were the usual reminders to use at least one special character, a number, etc etc. But to be told my password was too long.

    Threw me for a loop that did!

  6. Has anybody ever tried to remember their DFAS MyPay password? Minimum of 16 characters, expires in 60 days, can never be used again, no more than 2 consecutive numbers from any of your identifiable numbers,
    I don't even bother when I go there (roughly once a year for my tax paperwork). Just hit the forgot my password link and drive on.

    1. Last time I actually got in was after much trouble and digging through my archives. (Where the Hell is that password I wrote down, knowing that I'm not supposed to do that...) At that point, I checked the box that said "Send me paper everything..."

      Haven't been back since. I can breathe easier, food tastes better, it's a wonderful feeling I tell you, wonderful.

    2. I have used "Forgot Password" more than I've used the correct one!


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