Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Now was the Summer of Our Discontent...

So, I was re-reading past episodes of this blog…  Okay, maybe some explanation of my back-reading is needed.  When I stumbled upon this blog, how I do not remember, must have been the magnetic attraction of so many bright souls, I so darned wanted to comment on posts, but I had already ruined my standing on some other blogs by chiming in when I didn’t quite know what the blog was about or the exact bent of the blogger and commenters (oh, yeah, poor Beans got scorched, stuck to the pot so to speak, on other locations on the interwebs.)  So I went to the beginning and started reading all the posts and comments and eventually caught up and started commenting and then I got drafted by a nefarious cabal of cabalistic bloggers (must be Templar Freemasons of the Illuminati) and when I did a guest post it suddenly wasn’t a guest post and then I was official and there went all the royalty checks (THAT BOUNCED!!!) for providing post topics, all shoved into general salaries and benefits checks (which, surprisingly, have all bounced!!!) and then I started remembering that some of the topics I thought of for my future posts have already been posted by other posters in the ancient pre-Beans past posts and so it was time to go and re-read to see what has and hasn’t been discussed and there you have it.  Have I made myself clear yet?
I re-read Juvat’s epic fight with the tribe of Grendel, okay, skunks, rabid skunks, right after he decided not to vineyard his property.  (See  https://oldafsarge.blogspot.com/2014/09/summer-of-skunk.html for more details.)  And it brought back memories of an epic struggle against an evil tide of were-trash-pandas aka – Racoons.  Yes, Racoons.  Beans does not like raccoons, not at all, and this story may tell some of why raccoons are despised… Hates them…  Hates them, he does…..
Many moons ago, Beans and Mrs. Andrew lived in a lovely 3/2 house with a cement pond on 1/3rd of a wooded acre backing up to woods, in a nice subdivision outside of a leftist cesspool, on almost the top of a hill (for Florida, a hill, the rest of you may call it a minor ground fluxuation.)  And Beans was tasked with the task of maintaining said cement pond, called ‘a pool’ that was fortunately under a screen room so that no leaves would get into the pool, at least until Mrs. Andrew decided the pool deck would be an excellent place to grow a containerized garden and plant some rose bushes and other things that shed leaves…  Grrrrr…
One day, early in Summer, Beans was pool-boying the pool, brushing the sides and such when he sensed the presence of EVIL at his 8 o’clock.  Because  Beans had seen bad horror movies, he knew that the appropriate thing to do was to slowly turn one’s head towards the evil, and so he did.  Lo, he spied upon a lattice (placed for to train the rose bushes to) a furry demon of a lower plane, a veritable evil trashus banditii, a raccoon.  Screaming at me.  Screaming and frothing and he lunged from the top of the latticework towards me (sorry, 3rd person tense seemed so pretentious) and I used the pool brush pole to quickly intercept flying bandit and knock him from his aerial path towards my face.  A brief tussle ensued, with me using my fulsome pole-arm skills to attempt to whack the living snot out of the little screaming bastige.  Which devolved into a weird, bad SyFy movie version of Whack-A-Mole as I tore chunks out of that screaming bane of my existence, knocking him back, only to have him spring up and charge again, over and over.  Thinking quickly, I quickly swept the raccoon into the pool and using the brush end of the pole held the furry demon under water.
Taking a few long breaths while carefully checking myself for injuries while keeping an eye on the Thing I was holding under water, I started counting.  After what seemed at least 5 minutes, and no more bubbles, and waiting what seemed a few more minutes, I released the dead raccoon from the bottom of the pool.  I happily observed the dead, limp, non-moving body languidly float towards the surface.  I cackled with glee at my excellent movements with the pool-pole, the quick, decisive strokes that rained blow upon blow upon the furry beast and the brilliant decision to flick said beast into the watery depths of Doom.
And then the body broke the surface.  The skies darkened, ancient arcane voices were heard, and a black bolt of un-energy… Er, somehow, that damned beast came back to life, or, perhaps, un-life.  I immediately began emergency backup procedures, backing up while chopping furiously at the now insane guided fur-torpedo heading towards me.  I attempted using sonic shocks, by screeching like a little girl, a very loud little girl, to no avail.  Finally,  I managed to divert the Beast, and made  my escape from the pool deck to the porch deck and made one final spear toss with the pool-pole at Fur-Evil, I ran inside the house and slammed and locked the door.  That little bastard stood at my back door, chewing on the glass frame (it was a French Door, so maybe it should have surrendered, but it stood Maginot Line strong) and eventually the beast went away.  Leaving a large panel of screen ripped and forcing me to fix that huge hole (while looking ever over my shoulder for attacks from evil forces.)
Calls to County Animal Control confirmed that I was out of luck regarding the ‘coon.  If I got CAC traps,  and managed to trap the furry freak of nature, then CAC would charge me for removal of said ‘coon.  (I did tell you I live in a liberal hell of a county, right?)
Thus, the Summer of the Raccoon began.
Suddenly, there was a veritable horde of coons seen around my house.  Extrapolating from the lack of patchouli smells, unwashed bodies or ‘hempish’ vapors coming from my next door neighbor, I figured out that the communist hippy cultists that lived there had finally fled, been evicted, bodies repossessed by the mothership, and They (the hippy freaks) had been feeding a large population of raccoons.  Okay, I’m cool with wildlife, having a 10 foot rule, hard and fast, that pertains from ants to elephants.  They stay away from me, at least 10’, and things will be fine.  Otherwise (makes slitting throat motion while making gurgling noises.)  Hey, I’m part Norman-French.  Normans are the ones that taught Sicilians the meaning of the word ‘Vendetta.’
Afterwards, no sight was seen of ‘Foamy Mouth the Floating Undead Coon’ for at least a week or more.  Then, one dark and stormy night, Mrs. Andrew woke me up to the rather loud sounds of wood being chewed outside our bedroom window.  Lo, I sprang forth, after putting clothes and shoes on, to investigate, and saw a large, huge, big raccoon eating the wood siding under my bedroom window.  Mr. Coon was unimpressed with me yelling at it, only deciding to shamble off when I threw a 5lb hand weight at the jerk.
Daylight inspection showed a 3” hole eaten into my wooden fortress.  And more damage at my back door and porch windows, which meant, yep, even more damage to my screens (why is it always screens?  What?  Do I look like a Star Trek freak?) Game On!  County Animal Control being as useful as teats on a boar, and Mrs. Andrew not wanting wanton gunplay around our house, I contrived to attempt chemical means.  Getting a can of cat food, and mixing in half a box of mole poison (supposedly this stuff would kill anything, according to the box) I baited my back porch with the deadly mixture and sat inside and waited.  Sure enough, not an hour went by until Senor Snuffy, my old nemesis the Foamy Mouthed Undead Freak, came and sucked the dread gruel down and wandered off.  My dreams of SS standing up on his hind legs, grabbing his neck, turning circles and falling down DEAD now dashed, I at least rejoiced in the knowledge that he was living on borrowed time and underworld mob enforcers were coming for his pitiful soul.
Off and on, for days, I watched this raccoon stumble drunkenly around my yard, bouncing off of trees, until, on the third day, he had this massive spasm, his whole body shook like a rat in a rat-terrier’s mouth, and he… pooped a huge raccoon poop.  The Evil One straightened, turned around, looked at the turd, and, I swear, turned his head to look at me and then wandered away, perfectly fine, well, as fine as an undead eldritch horror straight out of HP Lovecraft could be, trapped in a raccoon's body.
Ohhhhh.  That sucked.  Status of failure of nefarious entity eradication program (NEEP) reported to Mrs. Andrew, I subsequently unearthed the fearless firestick, the boom of bang, the Remington 510 Bolt-Action, Single Shot, .22 cal Targetmaster!!!  And off to WallyWorld for a box of the most fulsome cartridge available to man, the .22cal Kurz…  Yeah, .22 Short.  Hey, don’t laugh, I was trying not to startle my jerk neighbors and surrounding idiots. 
The next day, while fixing breakfast, I heard the horrid sounds of claws cutting through screen as demons once again surmounted my porch in an attempt to scale the walls of my castle.  Load, unlock (the Rem 510 automatically engages the safety when loading a round) and aim and, bam, one down.  Hmmm, aimed low, caught him under the chin as he was coming down from going over a chair and pithed his miserable brain.  Yay, me!  (But was it my imagination as I heard the woods begin to shake and move, as the horde of trash-pandas postured and postulated retribution for their fallen fellow?)
Over the next few weeks, me and Mr. Remy went a-hunting, getting one coon about every two or three days.  Most only took two shots max (that hit, we won’t talk about the misses) before expiring.  Bodies disposed in trashbags in my garbage can and off to the landfill.

It was during one of these Deerslayer moments (the book, not the leftist propagandist movie of the same name that had nothing to do with the book) with me chasing down one wily offender while taking brief moments to pot a shot, reload, chase, repeat, when I chased one poor coon to that dark, still, haunted hole in the woods behind my  house.  Bastige stopped, looked at the hole, looked at me, and gave up.  I p-tinged him between the eyes, his body dropping not into the dark hole, and I bagged and canned another.
After going through 3 boxes of 50 rnds of .22 Kurz (okay, Short, geez, trying to make it seem more dramatic) with a success rate of about 1 coon per 5 shots, I racked up a sizeable mound (at the county dump) of dead bodies.  Titanic struggles, in the woods, on the plains (the open sections of my yard) and even one cheeky jerk in my attic, me chasing him in and out of the nest of wires, ducts and trusses, finally winged him, he stumbled, I shot again and he fell through the soffit over the front door like a terrorist at Nakatomi Towers on Christmas Eve!  

Yet I was victorious, ever victorious, cutting the enemy down one by one.  I was a crazed vigilante, going after Ranger Rick's evil brothers, sisters, cousins, kissing cousins, step kissing cousins.  I was Deathwind.
Only one huge bull male was left, and he was a crazed arsehole, pooping on my car window, chewing the water line to the house, attacking the pool pump and air conditioner.  Finally, after a 4 hour stalking chase, I cornered him under my shed (or should it be floored?)  Taking careful aim from 6’ away, I potted him between the eyes.  Tuft of fur, splash of blood, and I noticed my old nemesis, the Undead Walker, was before me.  I had 20 rounds, and expended 19 more, until I finally broke the eldritch wards and spells that kept his evil essence trapped upon this mortal plain.  From 5-7 feet away, shot after shot, I felt like a British cruiser potting shots at the Bismark.  Shots rained home, only for a snarling hisssss to come from my opponent.  Literally, the last shot remaining finally penetrated some horrid hidden portion containing a small demon, releasing it back to its plain of existence, and what resembled life fled the shattered body.  Victory, bloody victory was finally mine.
And then I had to drag and bag said corpse without splashing any fetid ichor upon myself.  And off to detox, delouse and defrag myself I did.
Apparently, in vanquishing the Cursed One, I broke the curse.  The horde was no more, and peace reigned upon the land.  Sun shined down, owls pweet-pweeted (seriously, amorous owls pweet-pweet amorously at each other), hawks called and dive bombed, Luna moth caterpillars munched upon my trees, and life was brighter, more full, more... more.
Soon after, developers finished the subdivision, banishing the woods, filling up the cursed hole, and no more evil forest dwellers bothered the House of Beans ever again.
Only Fred remained.  Only Fred… But his tail, er, tale will wait for another day.
Sorry, no photos.  The images were just too horrid to share with you.  Trust me.  Your sanity should be important to you.  Actual photos would cause you to lose sanity.
(and I finally convinced Mrs. Andrew to release the ROE, allowing .22LR to be used in defense of the homestead, too little, too late…  But now Mr. Remy has a Big Brother 870, and since I lived in the county I could have used up to, heck, an 8” howitzer as long as all the damage and blast effect stayed on my property, I was good to go.  Some, most of Florida is still a great place to live.  If I could have turned Foamy Mouth into a bloody mist, I would have.)

Monday, July 30, 2018

Air Spare

 Well.....They're Ba-ack

New teacher orientation is Wednesday and returning teachers start a week from today, students start on the 13th.  Installation of the connected classroom projectors and interactive boards starts today and already the "I don't have sound in my classroom" requests have started.

"Yes....we know.....the contractors have just begun the installation process.  I don't know....whenever they get to your room."

Which is usually followed by "I can't teach without a projector."

I generally stop listening after the third word in that sentence, because that's where the truth is.

However, as you probably undoubtedly don't want to hear about this, I thought I'd talk about a more exciting part of my life.

I ran across this video a month or two ago and stored it as a "just in case" post for use when Schmedlap decided not to whisper an idea in my ear.

She's good like that.

I've seen several Mach Loop vids before, but not one with C model Eagles.  For those unfamiliar with the term, the Mach Loop is a low altitude training area that covers most of Wales.  Aircraft are allowed to fly low and fast, but not supersonic despite the name.

While there are numerous areas like this in the states (there's a low level route that passes very near to Rancho Juvat) as well as in the Pacific, this one seems to be the most famous.  That's probably because the RAF posts the times it will be in use and aviation enthusiasts climb the hills along the route to photograph and film the aircraft.

Frequently from above.

But like I said, I've seen a lot of different videos both from within the cockpit and from the outside, but I'd not seen one with a 4 ship of Air to Air Eagles, so I spent a few (Ok quite a few) minutes watching it and noticed a few things.

The first thing I noticed is how difficult it is to see an Eagle when it's pointed directly at you.  I hadn't remembered that, but then realized that Air to Air tactics tend to minimize your closure after missile launch.

When you launch a missile, a large smoke plume follows the missile and points right to your aircraft.  You do not want to be there, you also don't want to follow the missile in as the adversary generally launches a heater in the hopes of a lockon, if he doesn't already have a Radar guided one on the way.

So to slow closure and increase the probability that your missile turns off the bad guy's radar (in a rather cataclysmic manner), you turn away from pointing directly at him, while still keeping him within the gimbal limit of the radar.

When I flew the Eagle, the standard configuration was a single external tank on the centerline.  It seems that now, the standard configuration is a wing tank on each inboard pylon.  I'm not sure why that decision was made and I don't remember whether there was a g-limit on the tank, but probably not after the fuel was gone.  But I thought it made the jet look a little "dowdy".

However, as I watched the video, I think that change may have made the jet a little harder to see.  The centerline bag made the jet bigger in the vertical direction, by tucking the tanks onto the wings, the vertical cross section is reduced while the horizontal cross section is not increased too drastically.

I could be wrong, maybe the schedulers are just trying to get more flying time.

You may ask why they roll inverted, or nearly so, as they come up and over the top of the hills.

Part of the answer is "Negative G's suck".  All the things in the cockpit start floating around, maps, dust, you, change in an unzipped flight suit pocket.  Besides, the jet's overstress limit for negative G's is significantly less than for positive G's.  IIRC (which is never a given) I think you had to bring the jet home if you went over 3 negative or 9 positive.

Also, the probability of killing yourself by hitting the ground is just ever so slightly under 100%.  I know of just two people who hit the ground while flying tactically and survived.  So knowing how high you are above the ground is critical.  When you "bunt" the aircraft by pushing negative g, the ground is below your nose, so judging the pull out is more difficult.  If you roll and pull, you can see the ground and your nose, so that helps with the pull out.

Yes, you can commit the nose too low and not have enough altitude to recover with both methods.

Finally, one is flying at low level to avoid detection as well as putting some granite between you and something that might have been shot at you.  So, we practiced coming as close to the terrain as possible, paralleling it if you could, then rolling into the terrain while pulling the nose up, so as to clear the top as close as you could and timing the roll so that you crested over the top inverted and immediately began the pull down so you were silhouetted against the sky for the absolute minimum time.

Yes...that took practice.  A lot of practice.  If you noticed, the Eagles made the loop several times.  Some of them did it better than others.  If I'd hazard a guess, the guys that did it right were the flight leads and may have even flown air to ground at one point, like someone you all know.  The ones that spent a lot of time with sky showing under them were less experienced.

But...Hey, we all get to learn.

I thought this was a cool photo. Mrs J saw this on FaceBook and sent it to me.  Unfortunately, I don't have any info on who to credit.  If anyone does, let me know in the comments and I'll fix it

While we're on the subject of Eagles, Instapundit cited an article in Popular Mechanics about the F-15X.  Supposedly the airplane will be able to carry up to 22 Air to Air Missiles and will be able to work in conjunction with the F-22 and F-35 as a "Missile Carrier".

 Those tactics would be interesting to see.

And just because....well Eagles!

The Source article says they're "dated" and carrying 2 AIM-9 sidewinders and 4 AIM-120 AMRAAM.  Wadduino, but looks like 4 by 4 to me!  Photo by Getty Images

Finally, Sarge and I had a bit of fun with "If I won the Lottery" a while ago and I suggested this for my Bucket List.  Anybody out there want to hit the tip jar for about 20G each?

We'd certainly appreciate it.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Why I Can Sleep and Feel Safe

Old soldier and faithful reader Barry gave me a heads up on that opening photo. His grandson is second from right. He and the other "kids" in the picture just finished up their training to be crew chiefs on the mighty F-15 Eagle.

I say "kids" but they're old enough to have stepped up and volunteered to watch over our freedoms, that makes 'em men and women in my book.

With the exception of their instructor, that fine looking fellow in the middle with the stripes, they all look so young don't they?

But damned if it doesn't bring a tear to this old sergeant's eye to see such fine men and women wearing the Air Force uniform. The generals and the staff pogues might give one pause, but the kids?

The kids give me hope for a better tomorrow.

Aim high.

Lord, guard and guide the men who fly
Through the great spaces of the sky;
Be with them traversing the air
In dark'ning storms or sunshine fair.

Aloft in solitudes of space,
Uphold them with Thy saving grace.
O God, protect the men who fly
Through lonely ways beneath the sky.


Don't Bring Me Down


Bah. Humbug.

Damned near everyday I see completely nice folks go batshit crazy over some political thing. I think we can all agree that your average politician is not the sort you'd leave alone in a room with your wallet.

Or your son or daughter.

Let's accept that and move on. You folks who think you're going to change the world with your whining and your antics, ain't happening. Give it up.

Trump's the President, Clinton isn't. Do I think we dodged a bullet? Ah, who knows? I have my opinion, you have yours.

Fire truck it, don't mean nothing.

Live your life to the full, find the ones you love and do so. Keep your nonsense to yourself.

I'll do the same.

That is all.

In other news, Chez Sarge has a new roof, itsa very nice. Cost me a pretty penny it did, but that beats waking up in the middle of the night to discover that you now have an indoor waterfall. Been there, done that.

Not good.

But for another cuppla decades the domicile should be "good to go" in the roof not leaking department.

Or so one hopes.

The title of today's post was semi-inspired by the junior member of the staff here at The Chant. Well, he likes ELO, as do I, not as much as other bands but they're good, real good. I thought of this song after I was subjected to another semi-coherent rant from someone who had perhaps a bit too much politics in his soul.

Poor bastard.

"Dude, don't bring me down..."

Cue the drums, take it away boys, and a one, and a two...


Sarge, out...

Saturday, July 28, 2018

A Long Day, But a Great Day

Fenway Park, Boston
From Chez Sarge to Fenway Park is roughly 60 miles by road. Should take about an hour if we were located in the wilds of Iowa. Seeing as how we are actually located in southeast New England, that trip could take up to two and a half hours on a weekend.

And it did.

But what a day, what a great day.

Now I've had some great adventures with my kids, when they were young and now when they're adults. I've got great kids, like the man said, "No brag, just fact." (A reference to an old TV show, the quote was one by Walter Brennan's character. Who can tell me the show and find me a clip?)

Anyhoo, I had expressed an interest in attending a Foo Fighters concert some time ago. The WSO, who shares my enthusiasm in such things, thought it was a capital idea. And wouldn't you know it, she would be home right about the time the band was going to be in Boston.

Fortuitous, neh?

Plans were made, options were examined, meanwhile real life stepped in and we kind of forgot about it.

Then a couple of days after she and the bairns arrived, she brought it up, "So Dad, still interested in seeing the Foo Fighters?"

"Why yes, yes, I am!"

So online we went, seats were chosen, tickets were purchased, for which The WSO paid I might add, and then parking was discussed.

I mentioned to her that her uncle, my kid brother The Musician, lives in not-too-far-away-from-Boston - Somerville actually. My plan was to visit him before the concert, go out for lunch, then he'd give us directions on the best way to get there, leaving my vehicle at his place.

"Dad, why don't we just see what's available for parking near the stadium?"

"Um sure, we could do that too."

We acquired parking within a stone's throw of Fenway for a very reasonable price.

The circle at 55 Jersey St. (ex-Yawkey Way) is where we parked.
The yellow line is the path we took to the stadium.
The yellow circle inside Fenway is where we sat.
I thought our seats were pretty fire trucking awesome.

The view of the stage from Right Field Box 97, Seat 13. Yes, that IS my lucky number.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Like I mentioned above, with no traffic and with fine weather, we could have gotten to Fenway in like an hour. When does that ever happen you might ask, why never would be my answer.

Okay, my brother's place is only four miles farther than Fenway, same deal right. Yeah, right. It took us roughly two and a half hours to get to my brother's crib. The direct path to Boston would have taken about the same amount of time but a big chunk of that would be sitting in traffic, like, you know, not moving.

So we opted for a longer route (it skirted Boston to the west so we entered the city from the west, rather than the south, which would have been the direct route), which while time consuming had the benefit of constant movement at normal highway speeds.

So yeah, it took a while to get there. But as I have a couple of Foo Fighters CDs, we listened to those, ya know, to warm up. One thing I'll tell you right now, the front man of the Foo Fighters expects the crowd to sing along. They, and we, did. Foo Fighter's concerts are very interactive!

We did get to my brother's place without much ado, though he's lived there 14 years, it was my first visit to his place. Liked it I did. Oddly enough, he lives not far from where the previous President lived while attending Harvard Law. Odder still is that there is a marker in front of that building with that fact and a picture of the former President contained therein. The odd bit is that this marker is painted on the sidewalk.

Think about that. Painted on the sidewalk. Where people can walk on the former President's face, have they a mind to. Though I'm not a fan, I assiduously avoided stepping on the former President's face. May not like the man, but you have to respect the office.

And this in what is arguably one of the most liberal bastions in a very liberal state! Go figure. (What, they couldn't afford a plaque or something?)

Anyhoo, we had a very nice lunch, then it was time to climb aboard Big Girl and navigate down to Fenway. About two miles I think it was, took close to half an hour. City traffic dontcha know?

But we got there per my plan, which was to be in place no later than one hour prior to the official concert start time, which was 1730, local. Mind you, the Foo Fighters weren't going to play at that time. Often there are one or two opening acts to get the crowd riled up, or something. Often it's to give bands a bit of exposure by opening for a major act like the Foo Fighters.

Not to worry, we had our seats, we had beverages, and the day itself was drop dead gorgeous. Warm with a nice breeze, a bit of cloud to keep the sun out of our faces now and again, like I said, gorgeous weather.

So we did some pre-concert photo ops...

The obligatory "normal" selfie.
The equally obligatory goofy selfie.
Why yes, I did want to show off my concert going attire!
Prior to the show, The WSO, true to her aviation roots, had to have an adult beverage

The WSO is all smiles...
Whereas the pilot, the vehicle commander if you will, is beer-less. And is signalling his distress...
(Well, I was driving and didn't want to spend a portion of the show seeking the lavatory. Which someone else did...)
The first act, The Monsieurs, consisted of a rather odd chap wearing what appeared to be a leather hat, leather trousers, no shirt, and wearing (brace yourselves) a cape.

Yes, a cape.

Oh, two blonde ladies wearing identical dresses made up the other two thirds of The Monsieurs. One on drums (oddly enough, she played while standing up) and t'other on guitar. (Really, two chicks and a guy and they call themselves The Monsieurs?)

The Amazing Andy California, and his cape. No, seriously, he's wearing a cape.
As the chap kept making "pouty face" or "duck lips" I think it's called as well, The WSO and I felt that we should follow suit, just so that folks knew we were paying attention.

Yeah, we bad...
While The Monsieurs weren't that bad, The WSO found them très amusant, I found them to be painfully loud. It struck me that there had been no sound check prior to them blasting away. I felt rather like I was in the midst of an artillery barrage, I felt the need to plug my ears and scream. Well, I did plug my ears.

For the grande finale, the Amazing Andy shoved the microphone down his pants, threw his cape up over his head and wandered rather blindly off stage. You cannot make this stuff up, no one would believe you, but I swear it's true. The WSO and I laughed until I thought we were gonna die.

The second act? Much, much better. They did do a sound check and as a result their music (for such it was, unlike the first act) was much more enjoyable. I had checked these guys out on YouTube, pre-concert like, and felt that "they didn't suck." Hearing them live, they didn't suck at all, pretty good actually. Chase them down on YouTube if you've a mind to, they're really pretty good.

The Struts, from the UK. Not bad at all. Pretty damn good actually.
But none of that was why we paid so much and drove so far. Finally, at 1930 local, the Foo Fighters took the stage.

I was torn between recording stuff and actually watching the show. I opted for the show, I have a bunch of pictures but only four short clips of the band. Someone else recorded the first song, All My Life...

That guy got the whole thing.

The Foo Fighters are magnificent in concert, the energy is unbelievable. And you might have noticed in that video that Dave Grohl likes to say "fire truck." A lot. My kinda guy. It might surprise you that Your Humble Scribe has been cautioned once or twice at his place of employment for his use of certain Anglo-Saxon epithets. Especially the one that rhymes with fire truck.


Anyhoo. Here's the other three clips I shot.

It was an amazing experience, I guess I can claim to have been a back-up singer for the Foo Fighters. Yeah, me and 35,000 other people.

It was amazing. Even fighting traffic and again going way out of our way to get home (round about 0100 I think it was), I would do it again in a heartbeat.

A buddy of mine went to the show on Sunday. It rained like crazy. I had sent him this picture from during the show...

His response?

"You bastard."

"It's gonna fire trucking pour tomorrow..."

No, he didn't say fire trucking, but close. (He's a co-worker, he likes his Anglo-Saxon epithets nearly as much as Your Humble Scribe.)


Will I go see them again?

Oh yeah, in a heartbeat.

I can't wait.

Happy now Beans? 😁

Friday, July 27, 2018

But I Like It, Like It, Yes, I Do...

It was 1963, I was 9 years old, going on 10. I was still in what we called elementary school (grammar school to some), the 4th grade to be exact. A major controversary surrounded our interactions on the playground...

Beatles or Rolling Stones?

JFK was still alive. Vietnam was on the horizon but unknown to we young Vermonters back in the '60s. World War II vets were everywhere, heck, they were mostly still in their late 30s, early '40s. For a white kid in New England, it was a great time to be alive. (Not that I knew anything about it at the time, but for some folks the late '50s, early '60s sucked. In my whitebread, non-diverse world, things were pretty damned good. No one told us about the other things going on in the world. Hell, going on in our own country. But that's off topic, moving right along...)

A year later, The Ed Sullivan Show happened. My Dad was convinced that it was the end of the world. Well, in some ways it was, the end of one world, the beginning of another. Better? In many ways yes, in some ways maybe no. But from that day forth, rock and roll was my music.

Yes, I like other forms of music. One day though, I made the mistake of telling this older lady at church, after being asked what type of music I liked, that "Oh, I like almost any kind of music." After which she began to hand me a contemporary gospel CD, which I began to decline when The Missus Herself, (being far more diplomatic than I) took and thanked her for. She knows my taste in music, she knows that contemporary gospel music is very far from what I like.

I mean, give me some Rock of Ages, A Mighty Fortress, and other such old-school hymns, especially with a pipe organ providing accompaniment, and I can listen to that without a whimper. (Favorite hymn? Glad you asked, I have two - Be Thou My Vision and Eternal Father Strong to Save. The latter is also known as The Navy Hymn depending on the lyrics.) But gospel? No, no, thank you, but no. Just no.

Bagpipe music, Cajun music, anything Irish, German and French military marches and the like all float my boat and can make the hair stand up on the back of my neck. (For the bagpipes I mean that quite literally.)

What I choose to listen to, most of the time, is rock and roll.

What can I say?

FWIW, in the fourth grade?

Beatles man, all the way.

After that? The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Kinks, and bands of that ilk were my favorites. And still are. (Yes, The Rolling Stones as well, I learned at a young age that I didn't have to pick just one, I could have it all.)

And yes, that concert post is coming, soon mes braves, soon.

Juvat mentioned these guys...

Listened to that song a lot post-high school, still do, still gives me chills...

Loves me some rock and roll.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Something, Anything

Fenway Park in the gloaming, 21 July 2018
Another short post I fear, I linger yet in the after glow of the visit from the youngest child (you know her as The WSO, or LUSH) and her lovely daughters, my grand-kids. They flew off to rendezvous with Big Time out in Michigan for a visit with his parents this past Wednesday instant.

Big Time's Mom and Dad, or, as I will sometimes jokingly refer to them, "The Other Grandparents." Nana and Poppi as the children call them, an Italian thing I gather. Which, as I recall from my own childhood, makes things a mite simpler for the young'uns, no need to attach a last name or other distinguishing moniker to the terms Grandma and Grandpa.

The Missus Herself and I are Grandma and Grandpa (that would be Gamma and Gampa, sometimes Pop-Pop, to the littlest of the tribe, L'il Sweetie as I call her here in the friendly confines of The Chant), Big Time's Mom and Dad are Nana and Poppi, what could be more distinctive than that? (My attempts to get the kids to call me "His Imperial Majesty, Lord of All He Surveys" always results in gales of childish laughter and admonitions from my better half to "not be an idiot." Sigh.)

The house is bereft of the laughter of the wee bairns and the witty repartee of the adults of the tribe.

The feline staff on the other hand rejoices at the silence. How do they do that? Why they sleep, it's what cats do when they are not hungry.

I ran across a bit of wisdom from Our Lex on the morning of the end of the kids' visit here, which explains nicely my need, my obsession if you will, to post something each and every day here at The Chant  even if it is just some wee sma' thing (though 'tis much easier now with Juvat, Tuna, and Beans pitching in for a spell at the oars),-
It’s funny, because I’ve an almost pathological desire to write something, anything, even if it’s only a link to something thought provoking. Partly because I enjoy writing, and partly because I enjoy the interaction and discussion that blogging engenders with you, gentle reader – I guess the fear is that if I take too many days off, then it will be harder to pick back up again (or easier to abandon). Yeat’s once wrote that poems are never finished, but rather eventually abandoned. So many brave starts out there have gone dark, new voices raised only to be extinguished under the weight of continuing effort, or the perceived lack of anything left worthwhile to say. A sad thought. 
On the other hand, Stalin once famously opined that quantity had a quality all it’s own. Maybe that’s true for armored divisions, but it’s probably less so for the written word. - Lex
Miss him I do.

On another topic entirely (having to do with music, but not the Foo Fighters, not just yet, I need more time to do the concert we attended the justice it deserves), alert reader Rick passed along a tip as to some music I might enjoy. While not a big Chicago fan back in the day, I did enjoy their talent, which was immense. Anyhoo, Leonid and Friends is a Chicago cover band from, of all places, Russia.

I gave them a listen and was much impressed. So, let's collude with the Russians for a bit because, from what I understand, everyone else is...

Pretty dang good ain't they?

If that doesn't rock you enough, Rick also sent along a tip to watch the following video, a Russian lady (again with the Russians) who sings with Leonid and Friends, well when she ain't rockin' a Rolling Stones cover -

Хороший материал да?

The lady can sing neh?

More music to come.

Patience my children, patience.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Avec mes excuses aux Herman's Hermits...

No post today, my Muse has gone away
The keyboard stands forlorn, a symbol of not much
No post today, it's not a common thing
But people passing by, will know the reason why

The WSO and the grand-progeny head back to California today.

The house will be quiet, too quiet.

Though I do believe the feline staff will welcome a return to normal operations.

Such as they are...

Oh look, airplanes!

What's that about Herman's Hermits?

These guys, a fave back in the day. Yes, I'm that old...

Tuesday, July 24, 2018


Flak-Bait, or rather parts of her, in the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hamgar
Back in March of '14 I ran this Friday Flyby featuring the B-26 Marauder. Not long afterward I had an email from the Smithsonian.

Yes, that Smithsonian.

No, I couldn't find the email. Yes, I did look.

This nice lady wanted to know where I had found that painting of Flak Bait which I used to open the post. Back in those days I wasn't as meticulous as to where I got photos from, so I had to do some checking. As I recalled, the art came from a model kit of the B-26 produced by Hasegawa. A Google search said, "Yup, that's where it came from..."

I told the lady where I got it and suggested they contact Hasegawa. I was sure that Hasegawa would appreciate the free advertising. She thanked me and that was that.

Or so I thought.

I received this rather nice print in the mail on Friday.

I note that this version has the artist's name on it as well, T. Hoshino. Very nice work Hoshino-san! And thanks to Hasegawa for allowing the Smithsonian to use the image.

I'd like to think not, though I was a Smithsonian member until March (I'm still up in the air about renewing), so it could be that. There was no note with the print.

I thought it was awesome.

Of course, the Smithsonian itself is awesome.

I love that place.

And as you can see from the opening photo (and the next two) I did get down to the Smithsonian (Udvar-Hazy out at Dulles) to see Flak-Bait after I wrote that post.

Those last two photos are from my most recent visit. When the museum gets the old girl back in one piece and out on display, I guarantee I'll get back down there and report back to all of you. (All y'all, right Beans?)

Here's a page on what the Smithsonian is up to regarding Flak-Bait. Fascinating stuff, superb museum.

I'll be back in a day or two with the story of The WSO's and my trip to the Foo Fighter's concert on Saturday last. Needless to say, we survived. And yes, we had a blast.

Sarge, out.

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Mores, they are a changin'

Thankfully, I think I'm seeing a light on the horizon as far as our hectic summer schedule is concerned.  MBD and SIL have celebrated their one week anniversary, but must return to work and reality this week.

Ah Well, such is life!

The teachers arrive back at work a week from today, all rested from summer vacation and anxious to know when X will be completed.  I SO look forward to that.  X will undoubtedly be  the priority assigned to their want and, much like the old joke,  we're currently handling priority G.  Notwithstanding that explanation, they will continue to argue (with the person who's working on project G and not the person able to change priority) that X is much more important than G.  Reason?  Because X affects ME and G does not.

Funny that!

They fail to realize that this conversation, while scintillating and calming to my blood pressure, only delays the completion of G and further delays the start on H and by extension therefore X.

As I said before, such is life!

Pondering this phenomenon through the lens of a dram of amber liquid created in Scotland (or three), I came to remember a statement from a wise Master Sergeant stationed at Kadena.

No.  Not our beloved and fearless leader.  Wise Master Sergeants are not all THAT rare.  Some even exist in the Air Force today, although I fear "there wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago" to paraphrase a song from long ago.

I had just arrived on Okinawa and as part of in-processing, was forced strongly encouraged to take a driving course and obtain a Japanese Driver's License.

Now, I had arrived on Okinawa via commercial airline via Phoenix to San Francisco to Tokyo and finally arriving at Naha International after about 36 hours travel (in the cheap seats) at about 9 AM.  I was met by my sponsor, who had been in my Squadron at Holloman, we collected my luggage and walked to his car.

Having become acclimatized to the dry desert heat of both New Mexico and Arizona, that first breath of 98o/98% humidity took my breath away.  Loading up his beater, (for that was what they called the cars the Americans drove. Purchased from prior Americans who had PCS'd home and generally covered in rust from the salt air), we pulled out onto the road.

At which point, in a moment of panic induced by sleep deprivation, I endeavored to put my foot through the floorboard as he pulled onto the left side of the median and started accelerating.  Fortunately, the floorboard was strong enough, or I was too tired, to withstand my assault.  However, my sponsor spent the next few minutes chuckling and saying "Welcome to Okinawa".

Some Beach!

So when the Wise Master Sergeant said "You folks need to understand that driving in Japan is different than driving in the states", I instantly think "Well....Duh!"

Being a Wise Master Sergeant, he said (looking at me) "I know what you're thinking.  Well Duh! They drive on the wrong side of the road."

I tolja he was Wise.

He then went on to say something I've since come to realize was truly profound.

He said "In the United States, people drive with the mindset "I won't hit you".  In Japan, the mindset is "You won't hit me." 

That statement and the philosophy behind it stood me in good stead throughout my tour in Japan (as well as trips to Korea, the Philippines and even a visit to Naples.  I would expect a car approaching a stopsign to run it and plan accordingly.  Similarly, I would expect a car turning across my path to do so without warning and certainly without sufficient room, and plan accordingly.

Got through the tour without a scratch on my car.  Couldn't do anything about the encroaching rust though.

That was in the mid-80s.  Back then, people in the US did, for the most part, drive with an "I won't hit you" attitude.  People would ease off the gas as they approached a stop sign, thereby indicating to cross traffic that they were aware of the sign and intended to stop.

"I won't hit you" people would see that Blake Shelton was waiting for that parking spot and go find another. Likewise, an "I won't hit you" Blake Shelton wouldn't be driving in the left lane unless he was actually passing someone.

That seems to have changed.

Now the US seems to have adopted the other philosophy, "You won't hit me".  Now people will drive at 15-20 MPH under the speed limit in the left lane.  "You won't hit me, you'll just go around."

Or they'll drive up to a cross walk at just under the Mach and brake only at the last minute, laughing as the pedestrian grabs his wife and jerks her to a halt.  Of course, pedestrian is pondering whether the "You won't hit me" driver is actually screaming "Aloha Snackbar" and seeking to paint a stick figure on the side of his vehicle to commemorate a confirmed kill.  How would it look any different?

But it's not just driving that this philosophy seems to have taken over.  It seems to be changing the Norms and Mores (pronounced More-rays) of polite society.  These are the informal rules that are not written, but, when violated, result in severe punishments and social sanction upon the individuals, such as social and religious exclusions.

While the "I won't hit you" crowd believes that it's "OK to disagree", the "You won't hit me" crowd demands that you acquiesce to their ideas, indeed even their behavior.  Further, action on their part to enforce their demand, including behavior far outside the normal pale of acceptable behavior, is absolutely acceptable.

However, they're relying on the belief, that if you don't agree, you belong to the "I won't hit you" crowd.  What I don't think they realize is the "I won't hit you" crowd is no longer subscribing to the old version of the philosophy, "I won't hit you, under any circumstances."

Nope, now it's much more likely to be "I'd rather not hit you, but I will to protect me and mine."

We're starting to see that more and more, and I think we can thank our previous president for his advice.  "Punch back twice as hard."

I don't think he thought that one through.  The law of unintended consequences rears its ugly head again.

Wish things were different and pray that I'm wrong, but......

Some days I wish I was  cat.