Saturday, July 31, 2021

Weirdness Abounds

Weirdness abounds everywhere, doesn't it.  And Ima gonna share some of it with you all, just because!

Been watching, or trying to watch the Olympics and, well, it's weird.  Normal countries, supposedly, but... The Russians are at the games, but not as a nation.  As a committee.  But it's not the Russians, who've been banned because of all sorts of shenanigans.  It's the Russians, who haven't been banned.  Okay.  So the Russians, as a nation, aren't allowed to play, but the Russian Olympic Committee, which, apparently, has nothing at all to do with Russia as a nation (wink, wink, wink) is playing.  Got that?  There are no Russians in the Olympics but there are Russians in the Olympics.  Not Russia the nation but Russia the committee.

My head hurts.

And then... Chinese Taipei.  What?  Lessee, we have (takes off shoes, starts counting) the Communist Chinese (the big country) and Communist Chinese Hong Kong (the little country that Great Britain gave away, the rat bastids) and Chinese Taipei.  (goes to interwebs because head hurts more and more...) And... Because the ChiComs (the big country) and the ChiKongs (the little city/country,  but only the actual communists in Hong Kong, not the non-communists in Hong Kong, because, well, communists and now my head really hurts) got all butt-hurt over the Republic of China (also known as the Republic of Taiwan) telling the People's Republic of China to, not so politely, go Copulate OFF, well, can't have the Republic of China/Taiwan be called an actual separate nation, because the Communist Chinese have totally subjugated-NOT the Nationalist Chinese that escaped to Taiwan, but the ChiComs, and now ChiKongs, consider FREE-COPULATING Nationalist China (in Taiwan) to be just a bunch of fruitcakes who are really still part of Communist People's Republic of Communist China.

Thus, well, butt-hurtzzzzzz ChiComs and other commies and we have the Republic of China/Taiwan being called Chinese Taipei.  Because, apparently, the City of Taipei is the only place one can play Olympic style games on the island of Taiwan, which is occupied by the Nationalist Chinese.

Argh.  My head hurts.

And then, well, we have a US Olympic athlete who the governing body of Gymnastics says is too good so in fairness, the governing body of Gymnasts will penalize the US Olympic athlete because she's too good.  I thought all the copulating bull-scat from the good-old Cold War Olympic days was over.  But... nooooooo. Because butt-hurts and everyone hates America or something.

Between this and other personal stuff, well, I wish she'd decided to drop out at the US Olympic Trials and open up her spot for another gymnast or two.

Gaaahhhh... My head hurts.

Then, of course, we have a tropical fish-imitating fembot soccer star and others who dissed the US flag and then proceeded to lose a game and now are having to fight to stay in.

And then there is a US sportscaster who is flaming about the use of a symbol of hatred at the Olympics.  That symbol being the US flag.

Then, and don't laugh, watching Women's Trampoline Gymnastics, and come to find out that the great number of spectators in the stands are made up of athletes and their coaches and other team handlers and staff and.... Dignitaries.  We'un peons and family members can't attend and watch in real life, but the copulating rat-bastiges who have lied, cheated and stole from us for the last year or so are able to fly in and watch whatever they want in real life.  Just like some ancient feudal leader or some power-crazed warlord or something from some dystopian fiction, like "Mad Max" or "The Hunger Games."

My head has now split in two and I'm looking at myself.  Pain, oh the Pain...

The pain is so intense, it's to Dr. Smith level.

We have millionaire politicians who flew from Texas in order to stop legislation who are begging for care packages from home.  What the Copulation?  Buy your own damn chips and salsa.  Better yet, go home and do your durned jobs! (see, I spoke Texan there...)

Seriously, though it's been crazy for a while, I didn't realize that we've entered into "The Sytem of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether" (wherein two normal people go to visit an insane asylum and things seem normal until they realize the crazies have taken over the asylum.)

Alan Parson's Project (The System of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether
From "Tales of Mystery and Imagination"
If you aren't an Alan Parson's Project fan, please avail yourself of their musical catalogue
as the records are rather fabulous and good to listen to.

Added bonus, my favorite from the album
Alan Parson's Project "The Cask of Amontillado"
From "Tales of Mystery and Imagination"
My mother thought this was such a sweet song, until I read the lyrics to her.
Gotta love a whole concept album based on Edgar Allen Poe

I think I'll go read some Anime about monster girls  or the spirit realm or such fun madness.(yes, read, subtitles are great and the stories and artwork are really groovy.)

Peace Out!  Stay safe, and embrace your inner Rooftop Korean, or your actual Korean or whatever.

About Those Callsigns...

A question came up regarding callsigns yesterday. My youngest, The WSO, aka LUSH, has a classic callsign. But Ward Carroll explains it better than I can.

And there you have it.

Forgive me for going video-heavy for a day or so. But my brain is fried from work. Long hours, little sleep (my body insists that we're on East Coast time, we're not, but to my body 0400 is really 0700 and... ARGH!).

Anyhoo, I didn't even address all of the comments yesterday, juvat covered himself in glory in answering a couple of comments from his aviator experience. I guess it's why we keep him on staff. Besides he works for free with very little complaining. 🙄

At any rate, here's the story of how The WSO got her callsign, it was epic. Brought a tear to her old man's eye. (And not a few gray hairs to her Mother's head!)

Speaking of LUSH, she and her bairns will be visiting me for a few days. So I'll be even less productive here in Blogtown.

Bear with me. (Cue a bear...)

Friday, July 30, 2021



I remember when the guy in this incident came up for promotion to admiral. Not a good look for the Navy as I recall.

Sure, go read the article at the link above, but I like Ward Carroll's take on it as well.

Why yes, I got nothing!

Seriously though, check out Ward's YouTube channel, lots of aviation goodness!

Thursday, July 29, 2021

More Pics from USS Midway...

CH-46 Sea Knight, aka "Phrog"

When I saw that blue helo in the opening photo, it reminded me of The WSO's introduction to naval aviation. It was the summer of 2003, she had just completed her first year at the College of the Holy Cross and as a midshipman on an NROTC scholarship, it was time for CORTRAMID (Career ORientation and TRAining for MIDshipmen). This is the summer cruise¹ where the prospective naval officer gets a one week taste of: the surface warfare community, the submarine community, the aviation community, and the Marine Corps.

I can't remember where The WSO did her COTRAMID cruise (it was a while back after all) but when it was aviation week she was introduced to the mighty Phrog. It was a Marine Phrog and the first thing it's pilot asked the young midshipmen was where everyone was going to school. As luck would have it, the Marine pilot was from Massachusetts and as The WSO was the only midshipman going to school in Massachusetts, she got to fly first.

In fact, as I recall, she had about 20 to 30 minutes of stick time (stick and collective time?) and the others had quite a bit less. She loved it and made the decision to go the aviation route. Now she didn't go helos, she went jets. But still, that old helicopter has a place in our hearts.

The Phrog's cockpit.

The Phrog's cargo/passenger bay.

Vought F-8 Crusader
The Last Gunfighter

The view from the flight deck. The tall pair of buildings in the foreground is my hotel.
My room is in the tower furthest from the camera. I can see this part of the ship from my room.

Looking over at NASNI. That's USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) at the pier.
Couldn't make out the hull numbers on the two Fleet Replenishment Oilers forward of her.

The Shooter. How could I not take a picture of this iconic figure on the flight deck?

See the statue of the sailor kissing the nurse? An iconic image from the end of WWII.

The photo upon which the statue is based.

Okay, so there is rather a funny story about that statue. Well, not the statue itself but my perception of said statue.

Now I had been in Sandy Eggo for one week. Up every day at 0500 (or earlier) and out the door of the hotel by 0600. I'd been looking out my window at the scene below all that time and not once had noticed that statue. Until Sunday morning when I awakened after "sleeping in" until 0730.

Upon opening the shades I noticed the statue, perhaps it was a trick of the light, or just random synapses firing in my brain, but I wondered to myself, "Why is there a statue of a penguin in that park?"

You can see the statue in this photo, circled in yellow.

Now you might remember that I rather like penguins, as I confessed in this post. So I am perhaps fixated on that aquatic creature. (I am also the sort of person who, upon hearing hoofbeats, might think zebras, not horses. I am wired differently. Let's leave it at that...)

After breakfast, with two cups of coffee on board, I decided to look up why there was a statue of a penguin in Sandy Eggo. Imagine my chagrin when I discovered that it was not, most assuredly not, a statue of a penguin, but a statue known as "Unconditional Surrender" which is in Tuna Harbor Park. (I had no idea Tuna had a harbor named after him...)

Yeah, not a penguin...

Of course I had to visit the pilot ready rooms.
(Yes, the Phantom called to me...)

The WSO's first operational squadron was VFA-32. Back in the day it was VF-32.

We must never forget those who gave all...

The guy at the desk caught my attention. That's a very typical "cruise 'stache." Yes, Big Time grows one every time he goes on deployment. Yes, The WSO makes him shave it off. Well, "makes him" is too strong, convinces him to shave it off is more accurate.

Never forget...

Had to throw this one in for my buddy, The Steeljaw Scribe. I also appreciate the tough job the VAW squadrons² have. The eyes of the carrier they are!

So yes, you get more pictures, so I can get more rack time. Though today (Wednesday) was "only" ten hours, I'm still tired. I'm getting too old for this...

Until tomorrow!

¹ Midshipman at the Naval Academy and on a Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) scholarship will spend a month (or more) each summer learning about the Navy. The first cruise they visit each warfare community, the second they learn about the men and women they will lead someday, this is their "enlisted" cruise, and the final summer before their senior year is their "officer" cruise.
² VAW = Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021


Got off work a tad early on Tuesday, which gave me the chance to see USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) returning to NASNI¹, which was a neat thing to see. In the photo above, if you look real hard, you can see USS Carl Vinson just above and to the right of the aircraft carrier currently berthed at NASNI, USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72).

I pretty much just sat next to my window while watching and snapping pictures. It was a neat thing to see. To give you an idea of where this all took place, I give you (TA-DA) a map.


Plenty of room for both ships.

Home again.

Pretty cool to watch her come in.

Now it's rack time.

¹ Naval Air Station North Island

Tuesday, July 27, 2021


What's a museum visit without a Corsair?

So I spend all week going up and down ladder wells, then spend hours sitting in front of a console in CIC¹, so what do I do on my day off? Climb around this venerable ship -

There are more pictures than this, many of which feature my finger occluding part of the lens, but I will cover that later, when I head back East. (And have more sleep accumulated!)

I've been to Sandy Eggo many times, this was my first time on the USS Midway (CV 41). Won't be the last.

A whale of a tale. (I'll leave that to Cap'n Andy.)

Paddles seems somewhat two-dimensional...

Tuna was right, she's in rough shape. (The Mighty War Hoover.)

But this old girl is in fine fettle.
(Looks like Murphy might have popped the canopy open. No, I didn't tell him how.)

An odd vantage point!

Loves me some Spad!

One of LUSH's old rides.

An excellent memorial to the men of Taffy 3.
Heroes all...

More to come, but I need to score some rack time...

¹ Combat Information Center, not what it's called on this class, but many still call it that.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Dear New Texan


Dear New Texan,

Howdy! Welcome to your new home.  We're glad you're here mostly. I thought I might provide a bit of information that will help you as you start learning the mores to get along with your new friends and neighbors.

I realize that many of you fled left your previous locale because of "reasons".  Maybe financial, maybe new job, maybe the state/local government went (to use a term used by a friend of mine) "Copulating Bonkers".  

All good reasons to have set out for a better place.  One of the first changes I'd advise is to avoid sentences that start with "When I lived in NewYawkafornia, we did xxx this way...".  The person on the receiving end of that, even if they don't verbalize it, is thinking "Then why didn't you stay there".  Alternately, and less charitable, the thought is "Go Back!".

We had a letter to the editor a while back, from an ex-NewYawkafornian decrying the deer carcasses lying by the side of the road.  It mentioned "Back in (Very large town in NewYawkafornia), we had City employees who's job was to pick them up and dispose of them." The letter went on for a few more paragraphs with more suggestions on how to improve things here.

The following week (it's a weekly paper), the Letters to the Editor page was very full of responses.  My personal favorite was "Mrs X, Here in Texas, the Lord has provided a solution to the problem of dead animals on the road.  They're called Birds of Prey and they're very good at getting rid of them.  If an animal is obstructing traffic, please call Law Enforcement, they will move it out of the roadway, where the clean up crew can enjoy a quiet meal in a safe location."

Mexican Caracara feasting on some tasty Road Kill. Got lots of them around here, beautiful birds in flight.

One more lesson to glean from that letter. Don't include your actual name with it.  It's a small town, people know you.  It tends to be hard to live some things down.

Another area of "it's different here",  Driving.  Texas Department of Transportation used to have signs that read "Drive Friendly".  That's good advice.  Here's some tips on how to do so.

 I know you left NewYawkafornia because you spent at least 2 hours a day in traffic, and you haven't driven at the speed limit in years, if ever.  However, once you get out of Texas' 5 huge MSA's (Houston, San Antonio, Austin, DFW and El Paso), you'll find that people pretty much stay at the speed limit plus or minus about 5MPH.  If you're uncomfortable with that, stay in the MSA's, you'll feel right at home. Nutballs driving 90 weaving in and out of lanes.  Minutes later every brake light in front of you comes on at the same instant.  An hour later and one mile further down the road, you'll see the nutball's car either smashed to pieces along with several more, or, more charitably, pulled to the side with a car with flashing lights behind him.  Just like in your old home town.

(Please Lord, put me on that jury!)

But, if the sky is clear, the road is dry and traffic is moving smoothly, drive the speed limit (which from here out means the posted speed limit or the speed of traffic whichever is slower).  If you're not on an Interstate or otherwise controlled access freeway, you should still be driving at the speed limit   

Yes,  That means 70 on most of the Interstates in the Eastern Part of the state, 75 in the middle part and 80 out west.  Weather conditions, of course, modify that, as in "Slow the heck down". But if it's clear and a million and the road is dry...

If you're on a two lane highway and you look in your mirror and see a long line of cars behind you, glance at your speedometer, if it doesn't at least match the speed limit, you're not driving friendly.  Two things you can do to remedy that.  First, accelerate to the speed limit.  Second, Texas Highways usually have a large shoulder.  Look up ahead and if the shoulder is clear, pull over and drive on that.  Let the folks behind pass, then pull back on and go about your merry way.  If the passer's by are True Texans, they'll wave or hit their flashers a couple of times as a way of saying thank you.

If, however,  you're one of those people who's greatest thrill in life was being "Line Leader" in 3rd grade and get your jollies by making people do what you want them to do....Well, suffice it to say, you're not being Texan if you drive 50 or so on a two lane highway in no-passing zones, then somehow find yourself doing 80 in a passing zone, then 50 again because "it's no passing, it must be dangerous, and anyhow I AM the line leader!".  Line Leader or not, the people behind you are saying some pretty nasty things about you and your parents. And when they do pass, they are quite likely to wave at you, albeit with only one finger showing.

Virtually every Texas Highway has a particular sign on it.  Apparently the version of English used on it is different than in NewYawkafornia because it is frequently misunderstood. That sign looks like this.

That sign means "Left lane for passing only." The "Even You" part was left off to save money and because normal people can read and understand. But, for clarity, unless the vehicles to your front right have apparent motion towards your back right, you should not be in the left lane.  If you are, and they are moving in the opposite direction, from back right to front right, you might just get that single fingered wave I talked about earlier.  If this happens repeatedly and in rapid succession, the odds of the latter happening go up significantly.

I don't know where this is, but I love it.

Oh, one last thing, put your copulating cell phone away.  You are not fooling anyone by having it in your lap and texting from it.  There are a couple of "tells". First is your head.  It bobs up and down like one of those toy ducks. 

Second, and most disturbing, you're weaving across lanes of traffic.  Just say No!

I lied, one more "Last Thing", get Texas plates! You're a resident of Texas now, no longer a NewYawkafornian, and your expired NewYawkafornia plates don't impress anyone, including the friendly officer behind you with his lights flashing. 

A few, minor and easy, behavioral changes will make your transition much more pleasant.

Once again, welcome to Texas, Howdy! And...

Peace out, Y'all!