Thursday, November 30, 2017

On The Horizon

(Source)
Christmas, as I mentioned the other day, is on the horizon. In less than a month as a matter of fact. Though we've been seeing commercial signs of its approach since shortly after Halloween. Decorations for sale in many stores are usually the first sign. While a number of my friends bemoan this fact and always wish to remind us that "Thanksgiving Comes First," (and calendrically speaking it certainly does, though historically it does not, think on that for a bit), stores sell a lot more Christmas merchandise than they do Thanksgiving merchandise. During this time period a lot of stores will sell more stuff than they sell the rest of the year. Or so I'm told and I have no evidence to doubt it. (Heck, Wikipedia has an article regarding this phenomenon.)

At any rate, I have no qualms with profit, I am no soul-devouring Communist.

So what is today's post all about anyway? Well, it has to do with looking towards the immediate future (perhaps beyond) and, as is my wont, there will be reminiscences. I like to reminisce, more so as I age. Before I get into all that, let me regale you with a tale of the Naval Station Norfolk waterfront, specifically the Navy's annual "Festival of Lights." (A great name, covering both Hanukkah and Christmas. Intentional? I want to say yes, anyone who knows better can chime in down in the comments.)

This phenomenon -

(Source)
(Chase the source of that photo above for more of the same.)

One year, while visiting the female progeny, both of whom were stationed in the Norfolk area, The Nuke took us on a tour of the Norfolk Botanical Garden, which was delightfully decorated for the Yuletide festivities, and then on down to the piers. There we saw the surface combatants of the Navy dressed for the holidays. It was a very moving sight, very picturesque and no doubt anathema to the souls of the bean counters. (Do bean counters even have souls?)

One of my favorites was this one -

(Source)
(Oddly enough, 2008 was the year we visited, which was when that photo was taken.)

As we were driving down the road which runs besides the piers, oohing and aahing, The Missus Herself sang out, "Oh look, that one has a fairy on it!"

Rather confused, The Nuke, The WSO, and Your Humble Scribe were looking all around for the alleged "fairy" upon a warship of the United States Navy. (Okay, okay, I know what you're thinking, stop. Just stop. The Missus Herself had in mind the fairy in myth and fairy tales. Ya know, think Tinkerbell.)

Eventually my eyes fell upon the bow of the mighty USS Wasp, lead ship in the Wasp-Class, a Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) amphibious assault ship (that's also her on the horizon in the opening photo). A ship manned by 1208 sailors, carrying 1800+ Marines, and having the ability to put those Marines ashore via multiple means (think landing craft and helicopters). She also has a complement of Harriers (six I believe). When one of these comes a calling off a hostile shore, you know that a butt kicking is in the offing.

"Honey, that's not a fairy, it's a wasp. The ship is the USS Wasp."

"Well, it looks like a fairy to me."

"But..."

"Dad, drop it." Was The Nuke's sound counsel.

So I did.


So what is on the horizon here at The Chant? Expect more Christmas stories for one thing. Christmas is my favorite time of year, for many reasons, some of which have to do with my childhood, some of which have to do with the childhoods of the progeny. Haven't spent a Christmas in person with the grand-progeny yet (watched The Naviguesser's kids open presents via Skype one year) but expect to someday.

Other posts will be of the standard "here's what strikes my fancy today" variety. I don't know if I'll gripe about politics between now and the end of the year, it could happen. But don't count on it. I'm in a holiday mood and politics would just spoil it.

While I'm not going to promise "no reruns," I will try to avoid it. No, really.



34 comments:

  1. I remember Christmas lights on the Norfolk ships back in the seventies. (except for when the bean counting grinchs banned the practice to save a few cents worth of electricity)

    We never got around to visiting the Norfolk Botanical Gardens, I think that it would be a great excuse for a springtime road trip from Philly.

    I suggest visiting the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk if time permits.

    I followed up on the link to other photos.

    Thank you for this memory inspiring post.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bean counters are soulless.
    They’ve lost all compassion and have no capacity for empathy. (DAMHIK)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Speaking of beancounters and unintended consequences (well, I am going to speak about unintended) it appears that the move to 'save electricity' by banning incandescent lightbulbs and forcing LED 'bulbs' on us has resulted in a marked increase in light pollution.

    Seems that the LEDs, which pack more lumens per watt, means that people are putting in brighter lumen LED bulbs that still result in a watt savings, and that a lot of outdoor installations (farms, workshops, etc) are swapping out equal watt-for-watt. And lots and lots more Christmas lights (always nice, unless you are phobic or something) which means, yep, more and more light pollution.

    Bean counters can go stuff it. They're the ones that have resulted in us getting LCSs and other boondoggles (well, at least the F-35 can somewhat fight, unlike the LCS..)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The F-35 is...

      Sorry, I can't go on about that beast, it's too painful.

      Delete
    2. At least it can shoot its gun. The LCS (both classes) have to have a working party remove the front handrail before they can get their 2" gun in action.

      Delete
    3. I've heard that the software for the gun system wasn't ready. Might be an old report.

      Delete
    4. Software or not, still can't fire the 57mm on the horizontal with the handrail up. Which means no self defense against small boats other than some 7.62mm machine guns.

      I would just cut 6" off the handrail stanchions and call it good. Or keep a supply of extras in the hold if one or more got accidentally blown away.

      Delete
    5. The software I was referring to was on the F-35, no, really.

      As to the handrails, yup, get a hacksaw.

      Delete
    6. There were issues with the radar and gun computers handshaking and making sense on the LCS boats, maybe they got it working, but 57mm? Meh, a damned Bradley with its 25mm chain gun could kill it. Damned system doesn't even have a manual control from what I hear.

      From what I've heard, at least the F-35 has a chance to fully function, even the Marine version. The LCS (either class, trihull or single hull) will suck until the day they are struck, barring some random miracle happening like sci-fi elves coming from Planet In-Furk fixing the damned things, then they'll be just miserable excuses for real fighting ships.

      Or, at least, that's what I think.

      Delete
    7. The F-35 is an overpriced concept bird. Lots of stuff still not working, has a tendency to hurt the pilot during a cat shot. It is far too expensive, those associated with that contract are incompetents. Every "man" jack.

      Delete
  4. Really enjoy the photos that get posted on this blog....:)..... Thought I read somewhere the Navy is looking for a new surface ship to replace the LCS, frigate-sized? That close? Agree on the LCS boondoggle per Andrew. Whoever approved that should be keelhauled.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup. Word on the pier is that the Navy wants a new frigate. An actual frigate, not that "thing" masquerading as a warship.

      Delete
    2. Problem is the LCS Cabal is pushing a lengthened LCS as a 'frigate' candidate. I would much prefer the National Security Cutter that the Coasties are fielding. The LCS system is at it's max in growth. The NSC has plenty room to grow, especially if they put in an additional hull section.

      And the NSC Frigate candidate is cheaper, too, and proven (the Coasties have been beating the hell out of theirs, with no significant breakage, unlike the LCSs that are basically harbor queens.

      Delete
    3. The LCS Cabal just won't give up, will they?

      Delete
    4. Well, no. But the Navy has put out a request for proposals, so hopefully some sense (not listening to that Lazarus guy on CmdrSalamander's blog, for starters) will win out.

      Every war-game simulation between LCS groups and 1 enemy destroyer results in LCS loss except when the parameters are fudged so bad even a dem poll worker would blush.

      Delete
    5. She's not a warship, they're still scrambling to make warfare modules.

      How do they fudge the parameters, enemy DD out of ammo and out of fuel? DITW with a blind captain?

      I'd like to be a fly on that wall.

      Delete
    6. Congress would never allow it, but I'd rather we just bought something off the shelf. I learned about these when I visited Norway last Spring: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fridtjof_Nansen-class_frigate

      Delete
    7. I fully endorse buying NANSENS. Call them DEs, and have them be the JOHN C BUTLER class! Name one SAMUEL B ROBERTS, of course!

      Delete
    8. In Re keelhauling, I would rather see him keelraked. Keelhauling is port to starboard, keelraking is bow to stern. On a NIMITZ, please. I would rather the raking be under the JARHE VIKING, but she, alas, was scrapped.

      Delete
    9. How do they fudge the sim results? From what I hear, every shot from an LCS weapon is a 'golden bullet' and every hit from an enemy is downgraded in damage. And the radar capabilities were set to what they wanted them to be, not what they actually are. And they used modules that are still very much 'vaporware' to achieve any significant hit.

      Kinda like playing World of Warships and spending actual money to buy all the modules and bonus features and then playing against the computer. Yes, you might lose, but...

      As to what Tuna postulated, I have also heard about the Brit's new Frigate, and the South Korean's Frigate. Never happen, but the National Security Cutter looks equally capable and, surprise, actually built by real yards in the good old USA, and, as I said before, they have been rode hard by the Coasties and found to meet or exceed their requirements, so that's a point in favor.

      Anything but a thin aluminum-hulled wondership. Something that can actually survive the North Atlantic, or handle going around either of the two Capes, or handle a Pacific typhoon. Steel, real steel.

      If you gotta use aluminum, then spec out aluminum plate the same weight as decent steel plate, which would provide the added feature of stiffening the hull.

      And, SCOTTtheBADGER, just tow them behind a Nimitz and then push the carrier to full, absolute power. That ought to beat the snot out of the buggers. Or, duct tape them to a catapult shoe and fire away..

      Delete
    10. All very fine ideas. I like the look of the Fridtjof-Nansens.

      Delete
    11. As to keel-hauling, or keel-raking, nah, just shoot 'em.

      Delete
  5. Thanks for the post. Up to usual standards, it is.

    As for Nylon12's comment, I only half agree with him (?), they should only be dragged half way along the keel and then left there for to feed the fishes.

    Paul L. Quandt

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ya..... I'm a him and upon reflection I'd go along with your change.

      Delete
    2. Nylon12 - Made me chuckle you did "Ya..... I'm a him".

      Delete
    3. Can't you drag them halfway, then drag them back to the bow? Then repeat as necessary?

      But....There I am, being charitable again.

      Delete
    4. Ah Juvat, ever the kind and gentle soul.

      ;)

      Delete
    5. Good anti-fouling protection took all the fun out of keelhauling. Damned scientists, ruining everything.

      Delete
  6. I'll try to help reduce the reruns.

    ReplyDelete

Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)