Thursday, March 31, 2016

It Rained On My Parade

My automotive conveyance, yclept Big Girl
Heading in to my place of employment on a recent Tuesday, commencing my final approach onto what the higher ups like to call "the campus," (yes, it's all collegiate we are) I made the hard right required to depart the main thoroughfare. As I did, I heard, over the squalling of the radio sports personalities, a rather harsh scraping noise emanating from somewhere to the rear of my ride.

Quickly dropping the cockpit windows to their fully lowered extent, and chopping the sound on the radio, I listened. Carefully. For I have heard that noise before, 'tis the harbinger of incipient brake failure. (In fact I heard that noise every other year on my old Dodge Stratus. That car went through brakes like a shark though a school of fish. Okay, it wasn't that bloody but I like the imagery. Okay, the car chewed up brakes like crazy. In the many years I owned Volkswagens I don't think I ever had any brakes replaced. The Stratus kept a pads and rotors factory somewhere in Southeast Asia in the green for many a year...)

Anyhoo. With the radio off and the windows down I heard not a peep from astern.

Hhmm. Imagination? Some random background noise on the radio?

I dunno and I thought nothing further of it.

Until Tuesday night, making the hard right onto my street, there it was again, that scraping noise. The radio was already off (my station of choice seems to enjoy running commercials for nearly every minute of my afternoon commute, so it goes to O.F.F. mode), down went the windows.

"Scree scree scree scree."


After parking in the drive way, I heard this slow, "tick, tick, tick." Which I thought to myself, "sounds just like hot metal cooling."


So Wednesday morning, I nurse the ride to work. At an appropriate hour I call the Honda dealership. They can fit me in.

Before y'all go off on "the dealership," you must understand my philosophy. Having an excellent mechanic at one's beck and call is indeed a wondrous thing to be cherished. A tale to tell around the campfire after a long day's hunt.

It's also hard to find one of those. I had a really good one in the Netherlands. But he retired and the land of the Dutch is rather too far to take an ailing vehicle anyway.

A good mechanic is a rare and wondrous thing. Something to be sought much like the Holy Grail. Folks might say that they know a really good mechanic, but he's not taking any new customers. Or that he works out of his shop in the far reaches of the Yukon and only repairs cars on odd numbered Tuesdays in months where one shouldn't eat oysters.

I know they're not like unicorns. I have actually seen a good mechanic. I have never actually seen a unicorn.

They're more like Sasquatch, or the abominable snowman (Yeti to his neighbors). I think they're real, I might have seen one once in the deep woods. Then again it was dark and I did have more than a few pints in me. Hey, we were at a hunting cabin playing cards and drinking beer. It's what we rustics did back in the day.

So, no personal mechanic in my phone's memory (though I have a real wizard of a roofing guy therein) so I called the dealership. Now mind you, I like this dealership. It's where The Nuke bought the car (which I was gifted some years ago) back in ought-five. They've treated us fair and they've done superb work in the past so...

So maybe I do have a guy, well actually a bunch of them.

Anyhoo, it was discovered that the right side calipers had frozen and had done their worst to the other bits of braky stuff on that side of the car. The left side braky things were also showing their age and...

Long story short, I had the brakes replaced just about all around. To include the calipers on the starboard side, port side was fine. Not sure what caused starboard to go tango uniform, but as the Germans say "egal!" What's done is done and my wallet has suffered.

To the tune of, well let's just say it was north of a grand and leave it at that.

The Missus Herself says we need to think about a new ride for Your Humble Scribe. As it costs me (maintenance wise, to include oil changes) less than two thousand a year to keep Big Girl in fighting trim, I'm wondering, does she know a place where I can get a new Japanese-make SUV for less than two grand a year?

If she does, I'll let you know.

In the meantime, car repairs are a fact of life. Expensive and somewhat unpleasant but hey! I'm helping the economy and keeping a number of folks employed.

Yeah, I've got that going for me...

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Cruel Is The Sea

Scapa Flow, the Orkney Islands (Google Street View)
Off the northeastern coast of Scotland lie the Orkney Islands. As that picture above shows (taken in August of 2010), even in the summer the Orkneys are gray and bleak. The Nuke once visited the area on a high school field trip. She told us about the puffins she saw there. I remember asking her if she had seen any sunken ships there.

"No, why?" she had answered with a puzzled look.

Well, Scapa Flow was the home base of the British Grand Fleet in World War I and again in World War II. It was also the destination of the German High Seas Fleet after Germany's defeat in World War I. The Germans scuttled their ships in Scapa Flow rather than let the British have them. While most of those ships were raised (due to being hazards to navigation and of course it was a Royal Navy anchorage) a number of the Kaiser's ships still lay on the sea bed there.

The battleships SMS König, SMS Kronprinz (renamed SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm in 1918), and SMS Markgraf (all of the König class) lie upside down with over 80 feet of water over them. All three ships were involved at the Battle of Jutland in 1916, enduring some of the heaviest fighting.

SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm at Scapa Flow in 1919 (Source)

There are also four cruisers:  SMS Dresden, SMS Karlsruhe, SMS Brummer, and SMS Cöln lying on their sides under 50 to 65 feet of water.

One ship, treated as a war grave, which went down in Scapa Flow during WWI is HMS Vanguard.

HMS Vanguard in 1909 (Source)

HMS Vanguard blew up at her anchorage and sank in 1917, probably due to a stokehold fire heating up cordite stored against a bulkhead in an adjacent magazine. She went down with 804 men. Only two men onboard at the time of the explosion survived. One of the men who died in the catastrophe was Captain Eto Kyōsuke of the Imperial Japanese Navy (allied to the British in World War I) who was assigned to the Royal Navy as an observer.

Another war grave wreck is that of HMS Hampshire, an armored cruiser. This ship hit a mine just off the coast of the Orkneys and went down with the loss of 655 crewmen and 7 passengers. Only 12 men survived. The passengers were Field Marshal Lord Kitchener and his staff. All killed.

Yes, that Lord Kitchener...


One of the more famous episodes in the history of Scapa Flow occurred in October of 1939, the 14th of that month as a matter of fact, World War II was 44 days old.

In the quiet of the night, Kapitänleutnant Günther Prien carefully maneuvered his Unterseeboot U-47 through the shallow waters and shoals leading into Scapa Flow. There his torpedoes struck and sank the battleship HMS Royal Oak, supposedly safe at anchor at the Home Fleet's base.

Günther Prien, Bundesarchiv (Source)

After this exploit, Kapitänleutnant Prien was known as the "Bull of Scapa Flow," (Der Stier von Scapa Flow).

He died at the age of 33, he and his boat going missing in March of 1941.

HMS Royal Oak in 1937 (Source)

HMS Royal Oak was one of three British battleships lost in action in World War II (out of 20+). HMS Prince of Wales was sunk by Japanese aircraft in the South China Sea in December of 1941.

HMS Barham was also sunk by a U-Boat in the Mediterranean, the U-331, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Hans-Diedrich von Tiesenhausen. She was also a veteran of the Battle of Jutland. Her loss was actually captured on film, a film which remained a secret until after the war.

Cruel indeed is the sea...

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Vietnam Veterans Day

To honor my elder brothers...


...and sisters.

To those who came home...

...and to those who did not.

Thank you.

Awards and Decorations

The Sarge's Medals and Badges* (Source)
So, I noticed a bit of commotion in Juvat's post yesterday regarding the proliferation of awards, decorations, ribbons, and other gewgaws which soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen might be awarded to decorate their uniforms. Some folks say we have too many, I lean towards that point of view but I also subscribe to the following...
A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon. Attributed to the Emperor Napoléon.
There is also this...
"Men can, of course, be stirred into life by being dressed up in uniforms and made to blare out chants of war. It must be confessed that this is one way for men to break bread with comrades and to find what they are seeking, which is a sense of something universal, of self-fulfillment. But of this bread men die." Antoine De Saint Exupéry
A dress uniform should look good, it should be something the wearer is proud to don when going out in public. What better way to adorn that uniform (especially when it is drab and ordinary looking, like Air Force uniforms these days, don't get me started) with a bit of colored ribbon and a shiny badge (or three) above the pocket?

Your average patriotic civilian should take a certain amount of pride in seeing the proud warriors of our nation clad in their military finery. Those ribbons upon the chest serve two purposes out there in civvy street: one, to make the wearer feel good about him or herself, and two, to impress the civilian folk.

Of course, they serve another purpose. When two military people meet, and they are in service dress or even mess dress, they will immediately scan each other's awards, decorations, and badges. In the aviation services, pilot wings are noticed first and foremost. The ability to operate a flying machine is big medicine to some folks.

Other badges of note would be the SEAL trident (or Budweiser), the Fleet Marine Force Corpsman badge, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the ever popular jump wings. The latter being awarded to those who voluntarily jump out of perfectly good aircraft.

Now the point of this is to determine where the other fellow (or gal) has been and what they did when they were there. So to speak.

Combat decorations always garner respect. Those who know what to look for can easily distinguish real "been there, done that" decorations from the "look what I got for showing up" awards. When I enlisted, the "everybody gets a ribbon" mantra had not kicked in yet.

Eventually it did though and we started seeing things like the Air Force Training Ribbon. Which essentially means "Yay! You managed to graduate from Basic Training or Officer Training School and now get to wear the uniform." With that one measly ribbon. Unless you managed to join up when there was a war on, an approved sort of war (or conflict if you will) which then entitles one to the National Defense Medal.  So there ya go, in for less than a year and you've already got two ribbons!

Of course, you could be an Honor Graduate of Basic Training (yup, another ribbon) maybe even a "marksman" (you were able to punch a certain number of holes in a paper target) which entitles you to another ribbon. Wow, less than a year in uniform and you've got four ribbons!
General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower

That picture of Ike was taken around 1945, after the end of World War II. The war in which he commanded the entire Allied army on the Western Front. In the picture Ike is wearing the five stars of a General of the Army and had been in the United States Army since 1915.

And he's wearing three, count them, three ribbons. Of course, he had far more than that he could wear. He just chose not to. Other generals back then liked their bling. Like this fellow...
General George S. Patton, Jr.

General Patton liked to wear his awards.

Some folks did (and do) some folks don't.

When I was in I didn't normally wear my badges and ribbons on my everyday uniform. Well, with one exception that is. I always wore this one...
Senior Aircraft/Munitions Maintenance Badge

That badge told my fellow office wienies, er co-workers, that I had, once upon a time, dragged a toolbox out of a Step Van and worked (in all sorts of weather) on aircraft. Things which flew and dropped ordnance on the enemies of freedom everywhere.

That was one badge I really enjoyed having. Didn't "need" it, but it was "nice to have." Made me feel that I used to be "somebody."


Here's my full "fruit salad" display...


From top to bottom, left to right, they are:
  • Master Communications and Information Badge
  • Senior Aircraft/Munitions Maintenance Badge
  • Defense Meritorious Service Medal
  • Air Force Commendation Medal, Two Awards
  • Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, Two Awards
  • Air Force Good Conduct Medal, Six Awards
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Korea Defense Service Medal
  • Air Force Overseas Service Ribbon - Short Tour, Four Awards
  • Air Force Overseas Service Ribbon - Long Tour, Three Awards
  • Air Force Longevity Service Ribbon. Four Awards
  • Air Force Professional Military Education Ribbon, Two Awards
  • Air Force Training Ribbon aka "Battle of Lackland Award"
Nope, not a hero or anything, just a slightly above average joe who did his duty to the best of his ability. With no regrets whatsoever. (Okay, yeah I'm still kinda pissed about missing "Marksmen" with the M-16 by one round. One frigging round. But hey, the rules are the rules. And those paper targets were just as dead...)

So yes, there probably are too many awards, but those who know can separate the wheat from the chaff. For instance, someone might be wearing one small ribbon, and nothing else with it, and command instant respect from those "who know." This one...

That's the ribbon for the Medal of Honor, our Nation's highest award for valor in combat. Most of those who have been awarded this medal, had it awarded posthumously. That is, the action which merited the award also cost them their life.

Someone wearing the Medal of Honor is entitled to a salute from all other military personnel, regardless of rank. And believe me, they earned it.

*Badges? We don't need no stinking badges!

Monday, March 28, 2016


The wife and I were up somewhat late the night before last.  OK, it was after 2130 which is the official Juvat hour where I have now achieved a moral victory by staying awake.  In any case, I was reading General Piotrowski's book on my iPad for a future project, the wife was reading the news on hers.    

At that point, I hear her saying she's found something for me to blog about and as I'm about to reply "Yes, Dear."  I hear her mention something about Medal of Honor. Well, seems that March 25th is Medal of Honor day.  Didn't know that.  Seems also that a Navy Medal of Honor recipient had been buried and had not received proper honors, so the Navy was rectifying the situation.  Well....Good, we should always show proper respect, even if a tad late, like 65 years or so.  

Still not seeing a post yet. But, having been married to my wife for close to 34 years now, I realise she's way smarter than I and if she senses a post, there probably is one. So I humor her.  


"Well,  The Medal was awarded for peacetime actions."

"What?  Send me that URL!"

I put down my Good Night Rum and dialed the URL in on the iPad.  The Fox News article served as a starting point.  It talked about the Navy making right the burial plot of Emil Fredreksen who died in 1950 and was buried in an essentially unmarked grave.  The ceremony was held Friday  and rendered honors befitting a Medal of Honor recipient.  

The article then stated that Mr Fredreksen was a Watertender aboard the USS Bennington (PG-4) and was among 11 members of the crew that were awarded the Medal for "...extraordinary heroism when boiler exploded on ship".  Eleven Medal of Honor recipients in one incident?  I've got to look into this!

This led me in several vectors for this post.  

The first vector was Mr Fredreksen himself.  Born in Denmark in 1867, he was 30 when he enlisted in the Navy.  He served for 33 years, finally leaving the Navy as a Chief Watertender.  

According to the" source of all verified knowledge", a watertender is " a crewman aboard a steam-powered ship who is responsible for tending to the fires and boilers in the ship's engine room" .   The rating was in use until 1948 when it became "Boilerman"  and then became "machinist mate" in 1996.  The "Chief" part meant he was a Chief Petty Officer, so E-7 to E-9.

He worked in the Northwest for another 20 years and passed away of natural causes with no known next of kin.

His Medal Citation is pretty short and sparse on details.

"Serving on board the U.S.S. Benington [sic], for extraordinary heroism displayed at the time of the explosion of a boiler of that vessel at San Diego, Calif., 21 July 1905."

A touch more detail was included with his wikipedia bio.

"On July 21, 1905, Bennington was off San Diego, California, when a boiler exploded, killing 66 and seriously wounding 46 of the 179 men aboard. In the immediate aftermath, Fredericksen "[w]as prominent in the work of rescuing the injured from confined spaces below decks" despite those areas being "filled with blinding steam and the decks covered with scalding water; and while the ship was heavily listed, rapidly filling, and thought liable to sink at any moment."Eleven sailors, including Fredericksen, were awarded the Medal of Honor on January 5, 1906, for their efforts to save their crewmates and the ship.

That's not a lot of information on someone who was awarded the Medal of Honor.  So I looked in to the USS Bennington.
Offloading the dead and injured
USS Bennington (PG-4) was a gunboat commissioned in 1891.  As such, She was equiped with six 6-inch guns, two on the forecastle deck, two on the poop deck (love that term) and two amidships.  The guns were capable of sending a 105 pould round 18000 yards.  Additionally she was equiptes with 4 x  57mm and 4 x 37 Hotchkiss guns with a range of about 1000 yards.

The ship saw action in the Philipines at the turn of the 20th century.  And on July 21st 1905, was preparing to get underway to assist the USS Wyoming who had broken down.  At about 1030, they experienced a boiler explosion.  Most of the crew was below decks cleaning up after loading coal into the ship.  66 men were killed, more than the entire Navy's death toll for the Spanish American war.  Mr Fredreksen and 10 othe survivors made repeated trips below decks into steam and scalding water to rescue wounded crew members.  Interestingly, one of those survivors, John Henry Turpin, had also survived the explosion aboard the Maine.  Would that qualify him as "lucky" or "jinx"?  Hmmmm.....

The crewmembers that lost their lives were buried at Ft Rosecrans and a Monument was raised to commemorate the disaster.

USS Bennington was refloated and towed to Mare Island where it was decommissioned and struck from the register.  It was bought by Matson Line and used as a molasses barge and finally scuttled off Oahu in 1924.

I then got to thinking about 11 men being awarded the Medal of Honor for what, no doubt, were "actions above and beyond the call of duty"  but during peacetime.  I didn't think that was how the Medal was awarded.

Well, turns out, I am right, now, but back then it was possible to be awarded the Medal during peace time.  In fact, it's been awarded 193 times, from the time it was created in the Civil War.  Most of the recipients were Navy, although there are a few Army and Marine Recipients.  Capt. Charles Lindbergh (US Army Reserve) was the most notable one. 

Another name I recognized was associated with Joseph Matthews, who received the Medal for "going over the stern during a heavy gale and cutting the fastenings of the ship's rudder chains".  The ship was the USS Constitution.  

Many of the actions involved rescuing or attempting to rescue crewmen from drowning, but a significant number of them were in response to "boiler explosions" and fires.  Apparently the transition from sail to steam could get pretty exciting.

The practice of awarding the Medal of Honor during peacetime was stopped in 1939.  


Saturday, March 26, 2016

That Saturday

It is the day after the crucifixion. Those disciples who remain are terrified and grief stricken. Because it is the Sabbath, they cannot leave Jerusalem, they must remain where they are, wondering.

Are the Sanhedrin satisfied with the death of the Teacher? Or will more of them be denounced to the Romans?

Along with their terror, they are nearly paralyzed with grief. They cannot understand fully the events they have witnessed over the past few years. The miracles, the sayings of the Son of Man. His wisdom.

Is that finished? What do they do now?

Perhaps John, who personally witnessed the death of Jesus and who always seemed far wiser and stabler than the other disciples, spent the day in deep thought. He was always the one who paid close attention to the Teacher, ever the practical one.

What of Peter? The rock upon whom Jesus said he would build his church. He had denied the Son of Man three times, just as the Teacher had predicted.

Peter had also attacked one of the temple guards that Thursday night in the garden. Surely the authorities could not, would not, forget that. Perhaps plans were already afoot to seize him and bring him before Pilate. Surely the Romans would not condone an attack upon the very forces they entrusted to keep peace in the city.

Peter must have been stricken with remorse, grief, and fear for his own safety all at the same time.

What of dear Mary, the mother of Jesus? Her grief must have been profound and nearly paralyzing. All parents fear and dread the thought of outliving their children. Now she was living that reality.

No one knew what would come next. Perhaps some remembered this -
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Matthew 16:21
On that day of grief and sorrow, of mourning and yes, even terror, who can say what those who knew and loved Jesus best were thinking. There was one though, who thought no more, who had died even before his Master. Did the other disciples even think of that one, the one who betrayed Him? Who, much to his own later dismay, fulfilled the words of Scripture by his treasonous behavior.
When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”
“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”
So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. Matthew 27:3-5
I have often wondered what that Saturday in Jerusalem was like. That Saturday so long ago. We focus on the horror of that preceding Friday, trying to keep in mind the glory that was to come.

But on that Saturday, those who knew our Lord best must have been miserable beyond belief.

Something perhaps to keep in mind as we live through these trying times. Many are miserable and in fear, terrified, wondering what is to come.

There will be hard times for many. But do not despair, the darkest hour is always just before the dawn.

He will return, when God wills it.
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.

“Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” Mark 12:32-37

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday

Ecce homo!
Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 
So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?” 
“If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.” 
Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”

“But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected. This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die. 
Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

“Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
“You are a king, then!” said Pilate. 
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
“What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”
They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” John 18:28-40
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.
Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” John 19:1-5

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”
Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.
“Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”
This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,
“They divided my clothes among them    and cast lots for my garment.”
So this is what the soldiers did.
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. John 19:16-27

Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:28-30

From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). Matthew 27:45-46

It is finished...

Let God's will be done.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Spring Has, Wait For It, ............Sprung!

Believe it or not, these daffodils were coated with about three inches of snow on Monday morning.

Heavy snow. Good snowman making snow. Not too wet but real sticky, good for rolling, good for making snow balls.

If I wasn't a working man I might have constructed a snow person Monday morning. (Gee, look at me, all PC I am. Not!) But no, it was off to work I had to go. After clearing my vehicle of all that heavy white stuff.

I took the picture upon arrival at the manse Wednesday instant, after coming home from work. The flowers got my attention, I decided to photograph them for posterity. (Yes, I used the cell phone camera, didn't want to miss the moment dontcha know?)

I received an awesome photo from The WSO recently, seems she and her tribe went down to L.A. County over the weekend to see the Blue Angels. She and Big Time know the Number Four pilot, fellow yclept Mumbles. (Why they didn't make him the narrator for the show would seem to be obvious. Of course, his old squadron mates, which include son-in-law Big Time, felt that he was a natural for that role. Heh.)

So there will be a Blue Angel post coming up in the next cuppla Earth rotational periods. This was the youngest granddaughter's first trip to see the Blues. As she's only six months old, L'il Sweetie probably won't remember the show all that well when she's older, but the whole experience sparked a memory of my kids seeing the Blues for the first time in Colorado. L'il Sweetie's Mom wasn't much older than her wee daughter when she saw the Blues for that very first time.

So it got me to thinking. Blue Angels? Let's do that, soon.

And apropos of nuthin' (as Buck was wont to say), I stumbled across this catchy tune not too long ago. As I will share things of a Euterpean nature from time to time, and have not done so recently, I felt it was time. To share, that is. It's what I do...

As I had never heard of this artist before, I did a little research on him. I have to say that I don't particularly care for his politics. But the fella sure can play the guitar. And that will forgive a multitude of sins, perceived or otherwise. Anyhoo, that's my take on it. (Hell, I like Alec Baldwin in 30 Rock, he's entertaining. So sue me. No, no, not literally...)

Anyways, I liked the song.

As always, YMMV.

Oh, for the record, do I think that the Federal Government should be in the business of regulating the production and sale of alcoholic beverages?

Why no, no I don't.

But that's just me...

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Okay, Okay, I Get It!

Whenever I have a post with a foreign language title, the number of hits on that post goes way down. Now I'm not saying anything regarding my legions of loyal readers, not at all. (And by the way, in Roman military terms a legion was composed of up to 6,000 men. In my parlance a "legion of readers" is three or four.)

I guess folks see the foreign title and assume I'm writing something esoteric and even (perhaps) weird. Sometimes I just get carried away.

So I'll try and restrain myself in the future.

But what happened in Brussels still pisses me off.


Lève-toi, lutte contre la tyrannie!

Pier A of Brussels Airport. By Jérôme (Source)
I have been there many times, the first time on the 2nd of January, 1992, arriving early in the morning after a long flight over the Atlantic from JFK in New York. Arriving for what was a three year assignment which we extended to seven and a half. The horror which occurred there is no surprise to anyone paying attention to what's going on in the world. (See here.)

I will not comment at length on these events for they sicken me, they enrage me. How many people think still that we are not at war? How many people still believe that this scourge, this plague can be negotiated with?

The barbarians are through the gates and are rampaging through the halls of civilization, they portend a new Dark Age if we don't stand up to them.

Meanwhile, that incompetent in the White House, whom the voters elected, twice for crying out loud, poses for pictures in front of a mural dedicated to a murderer. He preens for the photographers with a dictator. Quelle parodie!

My heart goes out to my Belgian comrades, to the people I fondly remember from my time in Europe I say, "Courage mes braves, vous n'êtes pas seul! Moed mijn dapperen, je bent niet alleen!"

No, you are not alone, those who cherish freedom will remember, those who perpetrated this atrocity will suffer. Let the negotiations begin...