Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Rumor Has It...

As I mentioned back in August, there was a possibility of heading back to Sandy Eggo around Labor Day...

Well, say no more, it's been confirmed, booked, scheduled, etc., and Your Humble Scribe is heading back to Sandy Eggo for to work upon a U.S. Navy warship. Hold the snide remarks, I ain't talking about LCS, and no this class isn't synonymous with that train wreck. However, some of the same asshats who brought you the former have had a hand in the latter. There are many reasons why the sumbitch costs so much, but that ain't the point of this here post.

Anyhoo, they liked the work we did so they've invited the same folks back out, all two of us from Little Rhody. Well, then there were three. We have a rookie coming with us to a) see what a real ship looks like, and b) see what goes into a test event aboard said USS Real Ship. It ain't the same as in a lab, not even close.

The boss is confident that the rookie will learn a lot. I'm pretty sure that "swear like a sailor" isn't on the list of objectives. But Hell, I'll do that for free. No extra charge, but don't try this at home I'm what ya call "an expert."

So I've spent some time since returning from the previous trip being a royal pain in the ass asking about the next trip, the one I'm talking about now. For to get good rates, seats, accommodations, etc. one needs to book early. (And often.)

Well I was too late in one respect, didn't get the airline I wanted (Delta) but got one that ain't that bad (United). Unfortunately I got stuck on the aisle for the long legs of the out and back trips but hey, at least I can get to the rest room faster, right? Also, the last time I flew there wasn't all that much to see out of the window, except landing and taking off. Clouds, lots of clouds. Hey, at Salt Lake City all I got to see was smoke. Still no idea of what that looks like from the air. Besides which, I'll probably read most of the way. Did last time.

Now hotel wise I did book early enough. My colleague waited a few days too long and our preferred hotel got priced through the stratosphere. I got in at $161/night, she couldn't touch it for less than $324 on the first night and slightly under $300 for the subsequent nights. I wonder why the rates jumped so fantastically high. Well, it will be Labor Day weekend. Why I was able to get in at the lower rate, I have no idea. But it's booked, we shall see if anything changes between now and Friday. (The day I'm flying.)

So there it is, a return engagement on USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001). Looking forward to it, and yes, I'll keep y'all posted.

On another note...

Didn't mean to be so dramatic the other day, but I was having an awfully crappy week after the return from Maryland. My grandson was having a bout of RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) which he shared with his Dad and grandparents. Ouch, no thank you, don't want that again. I was in the grip of that when I wrote the aforementioned post.

I'm getting better now, can't say enough good about Nyquil/Dayquil VapoCOOL. Good stuff, though it did have a tendency to make me wake up feeling like I had eaten sand, lots and lots of sand. Totally dried the old sinuses (and eyes, and throat, and ears and, and... well you get my drift) to the point where the hacking cough was non-existent.

Stuff's clearing out but damn, now I know why my grandson was so cranky. (Well, cranky for him, which is what in other children is called "having a good day." I swear the lad is one of the most even tempered children I've ever met...)


I'm recovering and I'm headed back to Sandy Eggo, for roughly ten days this time, much more tolerable...

The book on the French and Indian War is becoming something of a struggle to write. While I like the characters, I'm having a lot of trouble actually giving a damn about the story. Perhaps the sojourn to Sandy Eggo will help regenerate my endeavors in that direction. I dunno.

But if it ain't fun to write, why am I writing?

One last thing...

On Beans' last post (Sunday) I didn't notice the label initially.

I noticed it just now.


I was expecting something far worse, something to rock me to my core. No doubt he did that just to make me nervous.

It worked.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Come Monday

 So....just in case anyone is wondering, "juvat, why do you post only on Mondays?"

Cause I like Jimmy Buffett?

First, to clarify, I have posted on other days when conditions had required.  A 25th anniversary comes to mind, in an unhappy way. I've also filled in when our fearless Leader has gone in for slicing and dicing, but...I do usually post on Monday.

Why?  Well, back in my post Air Force Youth, I had fallen into a second career.  We had a German Exchange student living with us, and just prior to Spring Break, at dinner, he'd announced that his computer teacher had up and quit. He didn't know what was going to happen to the class.  I have a Master's in Management Information Systems (Computers, Beans), so the next morning, I went and spoke to the Principal.  She hired me as a long term spare for the rest of the school year.  18 years later I retired from the district.  

But,  while teaching, I met our sweet talking and fearless leader, who conned me into contributing to the blog.  Knowing my own skills at writing were (are, juvat, are!) minimal at best and that turning out a blog post on a regular basis would be difficult to maintain, I lobbied for Mondays, which really means Sunday for the writing part. He acceded to my request. 

The first Monday in June of 2014, I published my first post, I don't think I've missed a Monday since, although I have used blogger's schedule feature to cover for a few vacations.

One of the things I've noticed about this engineered virus released one way or the other by the Chinese, it seems to have unforeseen effect on events (other than that whole death or illness thing).

I really have to think about what day of the week it is.  I jokingly refer to it as Groundhog day. (No, Beans, I haven't reached the point where I'm teaching a Groundhog to drive,   Yet!)  There aren't enough differences in my activities nowadays to keep them straight in my mind. Probable cause is that the activities aren't all that crucial anymore.  Getting up and going to work to earn a paycheck was sufficient in the past.  

So, my current method of tracking DOTW, (other than tapping my watch to wake it up and looking for the day of the week function) is to count days since Sunday.  Sunday is the DOTW where I get up, go to church, have brunch, then write the post for publishing (automatically) at 4AM Pacific time. A time which is stipulated by the boss as a respect to Lex LeFon of "Neptunus Lex" blog fame.

I now use Military Day Count using Sunday as the base ("D-Day"), Monday becomes D+1 and so on. However, Thursday rotates to  D-3 because Mrs. J has dictated that we go eat Pizza in town that day.  Which is good, because I rarely can remember 4 days prior. And I get to eat Pizza...Win/Win!

But, this losing track of days thing really came to a head this week, when I walked out in the front yard and noticed this.

This is our septic system, the darker green grass is where the dirt has compacted around the sides of the system, leaving an approximately 8-12" trench around it. I'm a bit concerned about the tilt of the control panel which I noticed this week. So, I go back into the house and look through the Library of Congress sized document library of house closing paperwork to find the Septic installer's contact info.  Having no luck, I look in my contacts list and call my Tilson rep.  No answer.  So, I call the Tilson Office number.  It rings a few times and I get voice mail. It starts out with "Tilson is now closed".  I immediately jump to Wu-Flu  as the reason.  It goes on, "Our Office hours are 9-5 M-F and 9-12 Saturday".  I look at my watch, it says 3:30.  

What the Heck?

Then it dawns on me.  Today is Saturday.  I hang up and almost immediately, my phone rings and it's my Tilson Rep.  I answer with "This is juvat.  I'm really sorry, I didn't realize it's Saturday.  I'll call you back on Monday."  She laughed and said "I lose track of days of the week all the time."  Which made me feel a little bit better.  I have a scheduled call time with her in my phone's calendar now.

And, there you have it.

As a parting gift, here's the late Jerry Reed telling of his incentive ride in an F-16 at Misawa AB, JA.  He's on live TV and they only gave him a few minutes to tell.  Here's the full version (17:45 minutes and hilariously well worth it, even if it's audio only.)  I've given many incentive rides in my day.  What he says is exactly true if they choose the "Makes an E ride at Disneyland look like a merry go round" option versus the "best view of the local area" option.  Mr Reed chose the E-ride option.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Recipes for Disasters

 Whooo! I'ma in the driver's seat!  Whooo!

So, in the crazy world we live in, we can rely on nobody to save us from bad food except ourselves.  I mean, in this pandemically-post apocalyptic fallen dystopian world, do you really trust food cooked by medical marijuana users and transported to your door by some gloved up, masked up idiot who was smoking something on the way from the cook shack to your doorstep?

No.  I don't think you do.  

So simple solution is to cook at home.  But what to cook that doesn't take time away from digging fortifications, armoring up one's walls, reloading spent ammo, cleaning, canning, planning conspiracies against the local feudal lord and Byzantine bureaucrats of the evil empire?




Which requires absolutely no cooking.


Cole slaw.  Delicious cole slaw.  You know, that shredded and chopped stuff that has some sort of slurry of wet flavorings mixed in with all the vegetative matter?

"Beans," you are probably questioning the computer screen, "what has cabbage/cole slaw have to do with anything remotely related to this blog?"

And my answer is, "You gotta eat."  Not everyone can live by cold Chef Boyardee mini-ravioli or canned tamales eaten straight out of the can.  Beans can because he's weird, and also likes mustard bread, literally a slab of bread with mustard on it.  Beans also eats cold baked beans, cold spagetti noodles with soy sauce, cold rice with soy sauce, ramen noodles cooked with a whipped egg added to the mixture before cooking (and some peas for flavoring) and other gastronomic monstrosities and abnormalities.  But Beans also eats normal food.

So you gotta eat. Why not make it 'relatively quick' and tasty.

So cole slaw.

For two people, use this recipe.

Shredded carrot, about a cup to two cups depending on how much carrot you like.
A wedge of cabbage, chopped up, about two cups to one cup depending on how much cabbage you like. (cut a wedge out of a cabbage, wrap up the rest and keep in the fridge for other cole slaws or even a green salad with cabbage.)
And a slurry composed of:
      1 tablespoon sugar
      2 tablespoons milk
      1 teaspoon vinegar (I use rice wine vinegar, as it's not nearly as obnoxious as apple vinegar)
      1/2 cup mayonnaise
Mix the slurry with the shredded and you have cole slaw that isn't too sweet or too sour.  Adjust levels of sweet or sour as you go along.

Pairs well with:

      Heat oil in a fryer or dutch oven to about 350.
      Take one envelope of hotdogs (there are two in a standard pack of Oscar Meyer dogs) and cut into bite sized pieces.
      Dust lightly the dog pieces with corn starch and shake off the excess (this helps the breading bind)
      Whip up an egg and some milk, add some self-rising cornmeal or mix up some cornbread mixture following your favorite recipe.
      Drench a chunk of dog in the cornmeal mixture, drop into oil, cook till brown
      Drain cooked dog, toss onto a rack in a warm (350) oven.


Pulled Pork
      At lunch timish...
      Take about 5-6 lbs of pork shoulder roast, cut off excessive fat.
      Place into crock pot
      Add 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 cup of favorite BBQ sauce (my fav is Sweet Baby Ray's Brown Sugar.)
      Cook 5 hours on high, then turn to low
      Scoop out meat, pull out bones and remove excess gelatinous fat.
      Shred the meat
      Put on toasted bread with extra sauce or in a bowl or plate with extra sauce
      Freeze the excess in serving sized amounts.

And Fries.
      Heat oil to really hot (350 or above, to 425 or so)
      Scrub 4 regular potatoes or more smaller ones or less larger ones.
      Cut the spuds into fry-shaped pieces
      Now this is the really weird part - take the spud pieces and nuke them for 8 minutes on high in your microwave.
      Drain, being careful to not burn yourself, the spud pieces.
      Drop spud pieces carefully into oil, cook till outside is color you want and to the degree of limpness you want.
      Drain and blot on paper towels, serve.

All of these are easy to fix, don't take a lot of time overall, and don't require you to heat up your house too much during the summertime.

As to disasters, basically any time you're dealing with hot oil, well, that can be a disaster.  Only fill your fryer to the level it says to, or fill your dutch oven to a max of 2/3rds full, as wet ingredients like fries will cause the hot oil to boil over.  Always have lots of paper towels ready just in case of an overflow, and be cognizant that paper towels serve as an excellent wick for all that oil and your electric stove gets quite hot or if you're cooking with gas there is an open flame and, well, disaster.  Know how to deal with said fires before futzing around.  And don't splash hot oil on yourself.  Trust me, it hurts.  Wear a good apron.  And don't turn your apron or other clothes into a wick for the oil.

What?  You wanted an actual article on something important?  I will assure you I will get one out as soon as Mrs. Wetzel actually gives me the photographs of a ring I talked about last time.

I promise a better one next time.  I'll throw my gauntlet down on it.  Hmmm... gauntlets... hmmm....

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Not Feeling It...

Sorry, had an awful day.

Go read the folks on the side bar.

I might be back Sunday, I might just take a few weeks away from the Internets.

The world kinda sucks right now.

As does my attitude towards it...


Friday, August 27, 2021

A Costly Encounter...


Seamus MacTavish turned to his cousin, Dougal Campbell, as they cleaned and prepared their gear, camped within the ranks of the 42nd Regiment of Foot, "So Dougal, a fellow could look to get a wee piece of land out here wouldn't ye think? Settle down, start a family, 'tis lovely."

Campbell shook his head, his cousin on his mother's side had always been a dreamer. "The winters here are brutal laddie, snow up ta yer arse and the wind sweepin' doon from the north wull freeze ya to death. Only the bloody Indians live out here."

"What about the French, don't they live even further north?" MacTavish was young and impressionable, always looking for the silver lining in every cloud.

"Aye, they do lad. What is it then, do ye wish to be a bloody frog eater then?"

Before MacTavish could answer, their sergeant put paid to their talk. "Would you two ee-jits like to shut up, or do ye need my boot up yer arse? Pay attention to yer surroundings, or, as me old Da' might have said, shut up and get back to work!"

In truth though, it was a lovely day as the regiment camped where the army had landed at the top of Lake George. The sun was shining, the birds were singing in the trees, and the men were confident of victory. Their scouts had reported that they had the French badly outnumbered. 

Near the confluence of Bernatz¹ Brook and the La Chute River

General George Augustus, Third Viscount Howe, turned in annoyance from speaking with Colonel Thomas Gage, commanding the 80th Light-Armed Foot, as a rattle of sporadic musket fire broke out somewhere to the rear. It was followed by the sound of war cries and screams.

"What the bloody Hell is that all about?" Howe muttered to his aide. At that moment a man came pounding up from the nearby woods.

"Sir, it's the French!" the man gasped.

"Merde!" Capitan Sieur de Trepezec hissed as he realized that he was now cut off from the rest of Montcalm's force.

He and his detachment of 350 men had been observing the advance of the English army from the slopes of Mont Pelee.² Once they had seen enough they endeavored to return to Carillon. Somehow they had gotten lost in the forest and had stumbled upon the rear of General Howe's column.

Firing had broken out but the fighting quickly became hand to hand.

"80th to me!" Howe bellowed as he began to run towards where the action seemed hottest. Gage's regiment immediately followed with their Colonel leading them, hot on Lord Howe's heels.

As they approached the main action, powder smoke erupted from the brush to their front.

The firefight that ensued was brisk and confusing. Men engaged in hand-to-hand combat as both French and English were clubbed and tomahawked. Howe was at the head of the 80th Regiment and quickly led the rest of his force to the Connecticut men’s aid. Within minutes Trepezec’s detachment was surrounded by Rogers to the north, Howe to the east, and the other British columns advancing from the south. Howe, on foot and ignoring the pleas from his subordinates, rushed forward into the maelstrom beside another officer from his own 55th Regiment of Foot, Captain Alexander Moneypenny. It was at this moment that a ball struck the general, killing him instantly. “Never a ball had a more deadly effect,” Moneypenny asserted, “It entered his breast on the left side, and (as the surgeons say) pierced his lungs and heart, and shattered his back bone. I was about six yards from him. He fell on his back and never moved, only his hands quivered an instant.” (Source)

Death of General Howe

In one stroke, one of the most talented officers in the British Army was lost. The most senior officer who really seemed to understand warfare in North America was gone.

Abercrombie's Army would pay dearly for that in two days.

As to the forces of General Montcalm, his deficit in numbers were made worse by the loss of nearly all of Trepezec's force. Of nearly 350 Frenchmen engaged, 150 were killed and a further 150 captured. Capitan Sieur de Trepezec survived the annihilation of his detachment but succumbed to his wounds shortly thereafter. He had been with a party of fifty men who had managed to swim the La Chute River to safety.

The British detachment, demoralized and stunned by the encounter, but especially by the death of General Howe, camped on the field that night. They returned to the main body of the Army the next day.

¹ Now called Trout Brook. The picture was taken from Lord Howe St. in Ticonderoga, NY.
² Now called Rogers Rock.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Prelude to Disaster

The field of battle

Alain Gaudry was alone for once. His brother Jacques had stayed behind in their village to await the birth of his first child. His wife, a Wyandot woman who had been baptized Marie-Jeanne, but who normally answered to White Fawn, was very pregnant. Though she was a very healthy woman in her late teens, Jacques worried.

Since the death of their Abenaki brother, Little Wolf, Jacques had become more of a settler than an adventurer. Now Alain was the adventurous one. Of course, he already had children, a boy and a girl from his wife Little Raven, a sister of White Fawn.

But when the governor of New France called for volunteers to help defend Fort Carillon, between Lac du Saint Sacrement and Lac Champlain, Alain readily joined a company of militia. These men were mostly Canadian but had a number of Wyandot and Abenaki scouts attached as well. Alain was one of the scouts.

At that moment they were to the south of the fort, seeking word of the English army that was coming to attack them. There, to the south, a large number of boats carried what seemed to be thousands of red coated soldiers. General James Abercrombie was indeed bringing his army north.

They looked unstoppable.

Captain Will Jefferson of Abercromby's Regiment of Foot (the 44th) marched beside his grenadiers. Since purchasing his captaincy and being accepted as the commander of the 44th's Grenadier Company, he had made a few changes. The first was concerning the man he wanted as his top sergeant.

His company sergeant major, one Sergeant Milton Lewis, had been with him on the Monongahela, he had promoted Lewis on the field and his superiors, having noted both men's performance that day, approved that.

While he was a strict disciplinarian, his men grew to appreciate his attention to detail and his willingness to accept the same risks as they did. Though his battalion commander often chided him for carrying a musket the same as his men, that officer did realize that war in North America was very different from Europe. Jefferson might be on to something, he realized.

No dressed lines, no careful approach to battle in the woods while maintaining dress and cover with the man next to you. No, here in the forests warfare was looser, more spread out. Though the "hat men" (the non-grenadiers, in fact the bulk of the battalion) still marched in tight ranks, Jefferson used his men more as individuals.

Roughly a mile ahead of the column of the 44th, Captain Edward Rutland marched with his own company of the 60th Royal American Regiment of Foot. He had managed to attract the attention of powerful men in London, including his own father, John Manners, Marquess of Granby. Though Rutland was a bastard, the Marquess's other sons had proved to be disappointments to him.

His eldest half-brother Richard, was a Lieutenant in the Blues, otherwise known as the Royal Horse Guards. Though Richard had managed to avoid going on active service so far, word from London indicated that he had left London to join his regiment in Germany. Rumors of pregnant ladies and outrageous gambling debts were left in his wake.

His other half-brother, Charles, managed the family estates and was a member of Parliament. His management of the estates was disastrous and he was considered a fool as an MP.

So the Marquess had taken a greater interest in Edward.

Captain Rutland didn't mind the attention, it had helped him advance his military career, but as he looked around at the steep, wooded hills around him, he realized that influence could only take one so far. At some point one had to actually perform.

He wondered where the New Hampshiremen were, supposedly they were also with Abercrombie's army marching north to seize Carillon and open Lake Champlain to King George. He would like to see the men he had served with at Number Five. Though it had been a few years since he'd seen them, his wife Molly had reminded him to seek his old comrades out.

The New Hampshire Provincial Regiment, also known at times as "Hart's Regiment," was indeed assigned to Abercrombie's force. However, they had yet to disembark from their boats. It was a large army, 6,000 regulars and upwards of 10,000 provincials, rangers, and Indians. It took time to land that many men.

"Damme Sarn't Major, what the devil is the bloody hold up?" Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Jenkins called out to Edward Jacobs, his long suffering Sergeant Major, at the prow of their boat.

"Hold yer water, Sir. We're about to land, the bleeding Connecticut boys are still clearing off from the shore. It's a dog's breakfast Sir. Let 'em get sorted, then we can get ashore!" Jacobs' tone would have shocked a more conventional officer, but Jenkins was used to it, in fact, he reveled in the rapport he had with his men.

Colonel John Hart, traveling with Jenkin's battalion, shook his head and turned to his aide, John Charles, "Frontiersmen, can dress 'em up, make 'em look like soldiers, but they're still rough around the bloody edges."

Lieutenant Charles just shook his head, he had heard stories of the Colonel when he had been a young officer in King George's War, some thirteen years ago. The men still told stories of those days. Seems that young Ensign Hart had been something of a hellion back then.

"No Sir, he ain't respectable like you Sir. Carries on like a young subaltern doesn't he?"

Colonel Hart looked at his aide, sure that he was being mocked. His days of swearing and carousing were well behind him. Damn it, he was a colonel now!

"Begging your pardon, Sir." Charles said, doffing his hat to his superior officer.

"Harrumph," was all the colonel could offer in reply.

As Abercrombie's army got itself in order near the ruins of Fort William Henry and moved to the north, they were being watched. Louis-Joseph de Montcalm-Grozon, marquis de Montcalm de Saint-Veran had scouts covering every possible approach to Carillon. He was ready, though outnumbered.

His force numbered a mere 3,600, a mix of regulars, militia, and Indians, he had set up field works to cover the approaches to the fort itself. Les anglais would have to fight their way through abatis and trench to even begin to attack the stone walls of the fort itself.

So Montcalm had to consider what Abercrombie might have in mind. The only approach by land was to the northwest of the fort, where he had his field works. So far none of his scouting parties had reported any detachments from the English forces. No fleet of boats worked its way up to the shore below Carillon.

Surely the man wasn't going to attack him straight on?

That would be madness.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

In Case You Didn't Know...


Nope, still not in a fiction-writing mood. Not really in an anything mood. However, there is something I need to address concerning the posts you see here on The Chant.

Unlike the film Highlander, there can be more than one. At least here there actually is...

Confused yet?

Though I, the Old AF Sarge (sometimes known as OAFS), am the creator and sole proprietor of the blog, there are others who "come out to play" at various intervals. Some of whom are at well-defined intervals (juvat owns Mondays) and two of whom post seemingly at random (Tuna and Beans immediately spring to mind, mind you that is not a casserole). One blogger exists only in legend and has (as of this date) never actually published a post. That would be my youngest, The WSO, aka LUSH.

SIDE NOTE: The AF, in Old AF Sarge, really does stand for "Air Force" and not, as some have suggested, "As F**k," as in "Old As F**k." Though it fits, it really does stand for the service in which I spent 24 of my formative years.

Now why would I bring all of this "there can be more than one" stuff up? Well...

I post links to the blog on two social media outlets, Facebook and MeWe. There are occasions where folks at those two places get confused as to who posted what. Some folks assume that everything I link at those two places was written by me. It usually is but there is a chance that it wasn't. (There is a roughly 14% chance that juvat wrote it.)

For instance, juvat's Monday post dealt with a wart growing upon his stern visage. A number of people, after reading that post on the Book of Faces, asked if I was doing all right. Being confused for a moment, I assured those folks that, other than a vicious cold, I was doing fine. Then it dawned on me, they thought it was I who had had the wart removed, not juvat.

So once again, I must insist that one "read the label" included at the bottom of each and every post, to wit...

The "Posted by" is an indicator of who actually wrote the post. It will also give the time the post was posted by the poster (yes, I did that intentionally) and in two instances (as of this date) a label which categorizes the post. As of right now, only Tuna and Your Humble Scribe actually use the "label" feature of Blogger. It's something I had been meaning to do for quite some time, but kept forgetting.

Then one day, fairly recently, Tuna actually attached a label to one of his posts. I decided, that very day, to follow suit. What good is the label you might ask? Well...

At the top of the starboard-side of the blog (on computers, not on "smart" phones) you used to see this:

As of now, it looks like this:

Selecting a label from within "Labels" will show only those posts marked with that label. Giving you the freedom to wander through those posts on that particular topic without having to wade through the remainder of the dreck interesting things found on The Chant.

As an aside - Why did I change it from the "list" format to the "cloud" format? The latter takes up less space, especially as the number of labels grows, which I suspect it will/might. And because I can... (Also, it's another of those things I kept meaning to do but kept forgetting. Life is exciting when you're older...)

Why don't juvat and Beans use labels? I dunno, it ain't required and FWIW, the thought of Beans adding labels to his posts absolutely terrifies me. I cannot begin to imagine where his mind might go.

I am doing research on the next step in the War in the Wild series. Expect a few years (about three) to be skipped in order to get to the next phase in the French and Indian War. I'll leave it at that.

Be seeing you...

No, there can be more than one!

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Yes, Yes It Is...

The Doctor
Sir Luke Fildes

Today's post title piggybacks off of Juvat's Monday post title of It's always Something!.

Prior to our kleine Reise to the Old Line State, eldest daughter, The Nuke, had warned us that the newest member of the tribe had contracted some malady from his companions at day care. I had forgotten what a Petrie dish those places are (along with schools and other places where people gather in numbers).

The lad was tested for the Wu Flu and had received a clean bill of health for that particular malady. But he did have an upper respiratory thing of a viral nature going on. There was a name for it, no doubt designed to sound much more serious and ponderous from what we called it back in the day. That is, a "chest cold."

So we went into this situation with open eyes and firm purpose, for it was the lad's first birthday and we were determined to be in attendance. However, to paraphrase Caesar -

I came, I saw, I got sick...

Son-in-law Tuttle also came down with the malady - stuffy nose, coughing up massive amounts of phlegm, and a general feeling of malaise. He was the first to be impacted by it, I was second. Grandma had a scratchy throat for a day, no more.

I decided to go in late on Monday, letting myself catch a few more hours of sleep to attempt to recover my equanimity. Which did help, somewhat. But I still feel, how do you say, miserable. Effing miserable.

Hence you get this post of me whinging about my infirmity rather than something which might have been more entertaining.

Oh, forgot to mention...

Whilst performing my ablutions on the morning of the day in question, my right ear decided to malfunction. A wee bit of water got into that ear and, as it sometimes will do, decided to remain plugged, as if I had poured molten wax into said ear. No amount of clearing, dancing on one foot, nor bellowing at the Heavens would suit. The sinuses declared that as the nose must suffer, so must the ears, well, one of 'em at least.

The day passed in a muffled haze of semi-misery, much hacking and coughing, much running of the nose, and many commiserations from my colleagues at work. Seems that some of them have experienced a similar malady in the past cuppla weeks.

Apparently "something is going around."


As the newest member of the tribe might say, "Booger."

Yes, he's fond of that word. As am I.

Monday, August 23, 2021

It's always Something!

 Seems like I've been living in Doctor's offices this past couple of weeks.  First there's the follow up visit to the surgeon to take a look at my hands after the Carpal Tunnel surgeries.  He's very happy with the results and, apart from the occasional need to massage the site(s), so am I.  

I also had a visit with my cardiologist.  I found out I needed to do that when my prescription for my (very important) blood thinner couldn't be refilled because I hadn't seen him in over a year.  We had met virtually during the wu-flu festivities a year ago, last spring.  He had ended the call by saying he'd get his helpers to give me a call and schedule.  Apparently, we both forgot.  In any case, the prescription has been renewed, the EKG is good, blood pressure....well, it is what it is.

I also had my normal every 4 month visit with my regular doctor.  Weight's down quite a bit, Heart and Lungs clear, shots are up to speed.  Did I get the vax? Yes, doctor I did. Only because Mrs J asked me to.  Did I have any concerns?  Well, Doc would you take a look at this thing on my head? It's driving me crazy.

He gets out his magnifying glasses and "hmm's" a couple of times with an "uh-oh" or two thrown in for an enhanced dramatic effect, then says "I think you need to see a dermatologist, since it has grown and changed color since your last visit."

That afternoon, I get a call from the dermatologist's office, saying the Doctor would like to see me first thing Monday morning.  This was Friday.  Monday arrives and I'm ushered into the room,  Dr Derm asks what's the issue, I point to my forehead and explain that I've had it a while, but it's been growing and changed colors.

"Hmmm, let me take a look."

He gets out his magnifying glasses, looks at it for a couple of minutes then says "we're going to have to take it off."  

I say,   "When?" and "Why?"

"Right now"

"It might be a squamous cell carcinoma, and we'll need to do a biopsy."

I'll confess, I used a bad word after the "Ahh" in my next statement.

So, a few minutes later, I've got a bandaid on my head and the little beastie is gone.  The next day I get a call and caller ID says it's Dr Derm.  I think to myself if it's the doctor himself, or they want to schedule an appointment, it's not good news.  

I answer, and it's the lady at the front desk.  She says the sample came back.  It's just a wart.

I've been thanking frogs ever since.

Once the scab clears, shouldn't even be much of a scar.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

So How Bad Was the Traffic?

Vehicles from 7. Panzerdivision, France 1940

We had originally planned to head back north on Thursday last, but...

The Nuke was on travel and Tuttle was working from home, hard to do with a one-year old inquisitive toddler running rampant through the household. As Tuttle had a rather important meeting to call into, The Nuke asked us to reconsider our travel plans.

So we did, leaving Friday morning instead of Thursday.

Not a real big problem except for the rain.

At 0400 it was drumming on the roof hard enough to nearly drown out the sound of the air conditioner (central air for those who want to know such things). How did I know what it sounded like at 0400? Don't ask, it's an "old guy thing." Those who know, well, they know. Those that don't, just wait, you'll get there someday.


When it came time to pack up the vehicle, the rain had stopped. Except for the mass quantities of moisture dripping from the numerous trees in the neighborhood, that was enough to sound like rain without actually being rain.

Car was loaded, farewells were said and off to the highways we went for the trip north.

I had thought to switch from the New Jersey Turnpike to the Garden State Parkway in the vicinity of Woodbridge Township in the Garden State. That way I could avoid the mob scene in the vicinity of the George Washington Bridge.

Now Google will let you plot a route, then email it to one's self (like via one's cell phone). If you open the email, you can see a choice to "Open in Google Maps." Which works, more or less. But then try to use that route via the phone to vehicle hookup.

Yup, fails every time. Effing Google always seems to ask "What route?"

So went back to Waze and rolled the dice. (And yes, since Google bought out Waze, the latter app had gotten worse. No more, "take this route because there's an accident ahead." Now it's "Take this route." No reason, just trust me. No thanks.)

Now the traffic wasn't all that bad, until we got to Connecticut, where if someone taps his brakes, so will everyone else, making traffic stop and start to the tune of "We're all going 75, okay now we're all going 10, then speed back up again."

As an experiment, I tapped my brakes at one point, nearly everyone behind me immediately slowed down, even though the car behind me was a good 100 yards distant. Something in the brain I suppose makes people react to the flash of brake lights.

Not a bad thing mind you, but if there is no reason to slow down, sometimes merely lifting one's foot off the accelerator is sufficient to arrest the vehicle's forward momentum to maintain spacing in traffic. However, it seems my countrymen are incapable of such reasoning.

So there was a lot of stop and go throughout the Constitution State. Let's leave it at that. Oh, one last thing, Tesla drivers are assholes. At least every single one I saw on Friday. Not sure why, perhaps because they think they are "saving the planet" with their electronic cars. (I'm sure the child laborers in Africa mining all that lithium would beg to differ.)

But I digress.

I should mention the beginning of the trip and the rain. Lots of vehicles on the road, lots of mist being thrown in the air. Trucks are the worst, all those tires. You couldn't actually see the trucks but you could see the moving cloud of mist which contained a truck at its core. Very scary. The first 100 miles was nerve racking to say the least.

New Jersey was, well, it was New Jersey. People weaving in and out of traffic at insane rates of speed. I'm used to it. But it always amazes me at the people who seem to have no concept of the safe operation of a motor vehicle. God truly does watch over fools and drunkards. (Sometimes one and the same.)

But hey, we made it home, in less than record time to be sure. But in one piece and with most of my sanity intact.

As for the GW Bridge and the Cross Bronx Expressway? Piece of cake heading north. But I observed the southbound traffic and I have to say, I pitied those folks, I'm sure some of them are still out there. That was me the week before. Two hours to get from the outskirts of NYC to the New Jersey Palisades. Going north? Maybe a half hour.

Dang. Well it's over, until I do it again of course.


Saturday, August 21, 2021


So, earlier this week, juvat shared with us some historical stuff that his DIL had ("Hidden Treasure" at Chant du Départ: Hidden Treasure (oldafsarge.blogspot.com) and in the comments section I talked about a peculiar ring that my wife, Mrs. Andrew, has from her family, her good side of the family.

(This would be several pictures of THE RING, but Mrs. Andrew is busy futzing with it and not sending me any photos because she's trying to clean them up and isn't taking "It's okay, it's for a bunch of people who don't see well anyways" as an excuse so, well, I'll post the pics as soon as she sends them to me.  No, she's not persnickity at all...)

That is a ring, made from a stainless nut, supposedly, from the supply that was used on Little Boy, the first war dropped atomic bomb, the one that was an enriched uranium gun bomb (basically a gun fires one chunk into the other chunk of uranium and makes the boom.)  Or it was from the machines that separated all the uranium.  From Plant Y-12, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  

Y-12, you know, being the electromagnetic isotope separation plant that made enriched uranium.  It was part of the Clinton Engineer Works, built as part of the Manhattan Project.  What? You didn't know what Y-12 was?  I blame the socialist teachers for that.  No, seriously, once the secrecy veil was lifted, our accomplishments should have been lauded and held in high esteem by our educators for at least a couple hundred years.  

By Department of Energy Oak Ridge - http://www.oakridge.doe.gov/em/ssab/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1931232

Seems Mrs. Andrew's mother's father was a machinist during WWII, at Plant Y12, in Oak Ridge, during the whole Manhattan Project. And, being proud of his work, once it was known what the work was, he made said ring out of said nut using the machinist tools he had access to.  Putting his last name, the year, the plant onto the ring.

Really friggin neat, I think.  So does Mrs. Andrew, who wears it proudly.  Problem is, well, all her mother's side of the family has either passed or are not good family, so what to do with said ring when, eventually, Mrs. Andrew passes.

My suggestion has been, for the last few years, to contact whatever museum or historical unit that is in Oak Ridge, TN, that deals with said neato stuff dealing with the Manhattan Project.  Or the museum at Los Alamos (if there is one) or some other museum (juvat suggested the National Museum of the Pacific War in lovely Friedricksberg, TX.)

So, well, she wants me to hang photos, I want her to contact museums, I still haven't finished fixing the sink.  Yes, we have issues with procrastination and 'getting to it.' 

Then there's the other ring, besides her wedding ring, that Mrs. Andrew wears.  My dad's wedding ring (I have huge fat knuckles) that comes from his mother's side of the family that was her great-grandfather's ring.  Old gold, more rose than bright yellow, just a plain thick ring. That came to me after my dad passed.  5 generations, and we have no kids.  So what to do?  

Fortunately, my Godson, who is also my #1 nephew, from oldest brother, is getting married, finally, to his fortunate maid, come March 2022. So ring will go to him for his wedding.  It's not a present from Mrs. Andrew and I, since it's more of a trust being passed down from one generation to another. 

What's kind of weird, but isn't for my family on either side (mom or dad) is that we've always had this hand-me-down attitude of generational stuff.  My eldest brother's house is chock full of post Civil War/Gilded Age furniture, including a huge corner china cabinet that was at one time a built-in (possibly pre-CivWar) that was made into a stand-alone.  End tables in the living room?  Gilded age with marble tops.  A sideboard and a huge expandable table (and chairs) that can fit 12 easy, and if one can stretch out the whole thing, will extend to 20' but eldest brother would have to have new leaves made for the spaces, else things would fall down.

We've lived with it, used it, taken care of it. We have a Singer sewing machine, one of the treadle models, that we've used before (punches through thick cloth or thin leather better than modern electric machines.)

My favorite pots are the ones my mother got, stainless steel, as a premium for buying a Kirby upright vacuum cleaner in the 50's.  Thick stainless, strong, holds heat well, cleans well.  Sure, some of it is damaged (the non-stainless handle attachment points rusting out so the handle falls off, one of these days I'll take it to someone who welds stainless and get them to weld a stainless nut or something) but the pots are still very useful and work with my nice induction cook plate (if you don't have an induction stove top or cook plate, well, it's like cooking with gas, that much of a quick response, without, you know, using gas. The apartment-provided stove can't get hot enough to heat a wok to good stir-fry temp but the induction cook plate, well, if I'm not careful, I can burn off the seasoning from my wok, but at that temperature it almost makes new seasoning by itself.)

I see people, daily, shedding their ancestral stuff and going with modern garbage.  Which I understand.  It's nice to minimize junk in the house, and junk in one's life.  But, well, how much is too far?

Ancestral stuff.  It's what allows us to keep in touch with our ancestors. I feel sorry for people that don't have ancestral stuff.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Dark Thoughts


I feel the need to have a sword close at hand. Too much darkness on the horizon, too many wanting to tear down this country that so many have built. The enemy within is the worst of all.

I was trying to remember a song which fits my current mood and outlook.

This is it...

Broadsword - Ian Anderson

I see a dark sail on the horizon
Set under a black cloud that hides the sun

Bring me my broadsword and clear understanding
Bring me my cross of gold as a talisman

Get up to the roundhouse on the cliff-top standing
Take women and children and bed them down

Bring me my broadsword and clear understanding
Bring me my cross of gold as a talisman

Bless with a hard heart those who surround me
Bless the women and children who firm our hands
Put our backs to the north wind, hold fast by the river
Sweet memories to drive us on for the motherland

I see a dark sail on the horizon
Set under a black cloud that hides the sun

So bring me my broadsword and clear understanding
Bring me my cross of gold as a talisman

So bring me my broadsword and a cross of gold as a talisman

It's a travel day, back to the shores of Narragansett Bay after a nice trip down to see the kids in Maryland. Not sure if I'll post Saturday or not...

So Beans, if you wish...

Thursday, August 19, 2021


US Army Photo

The old soldier leaned heavily on his cane. He grew slightly misty eyed as he looked down at the gravestone sitting in the sunshine just outside the nation's capital. He had known the man buried there, had served with him in two wars. Had held him as he died on a snowy hilltop in Korea.

He knew his own time was coming, and soon. He was nearly a hundred years old, he carried shrapnel from a Chinese grenade in one hip and had been scarred badly on his right leg when a friendly aircraft had dropped its load of napalm an instant too soon. All of his friends were dead. Just that morning he had attended the funeral of his great-grandson, killed in action in yet another foreign war for which he could see no good reason.

Perhaps he had grown cynical over the years, who could blame him? He had killed, he had seen the men serving in his unit be killed, or worse, maimed so that the rest of their lives were dogged by pain and regret.

He had been lucky, neither German, North Korean, Chinese, nor North Vietnamese bullets and grenades had injured him to the point that he couldn't function. Sure, he chuckled to himself, he could tell when it was going to rain well before most folks. Some of that was the damage his body had had inflicted upon it in three wars. Some of it was, he chuckled again, simply the irony of making it to old age.

Many of the men, and now women, that he knew hadn't been so lucky. He'd also lost a son and a great-grandson to the wars which the politicians had said were "necessary." Two of his grandsons, and one granddaughter, had seen the elephant. They didn't talk about those things with their spouses or their friends. But they did talk with their Grandpa, usually after a bad day or after some new outrage on the news.

The old soldier was beginning to wonder what had happened to the country he had spent most of his adult life fighting for. Had the suffering and all the death been worth it? He was no longer sure.

But as his youngest great-grandson had said that morning at the funeral of his brother, "We can't quit Grandpa, otherwise all this has been for nothing."

Young Stephen had shaken his head, then wiped a tear from his cheek as he had said that, then he'd straightened his uniform, he was a midshipman at the Naval Academy of all things, and returned to rigid attention as Taps was played.

The old soldier sighed, saluted the grave of his oldest friend, then turned to limp down the hill to where his family awaited him. It all had to mean something, didn't it?

He was no longer sure. But he and his family served and had always served, he still felt that they lived in the best country on Earth, regardless of which crop of politicians were in charge. Something had to change, he knew that, but he doubted that he would live to see that change.

As his grandson, father of the man they had just buried, held the car door for him, the old soldier looked back up the hillside one more time. He knew that his next visit to this place would be in a casket, drawn by horses, the mournful thump of the drums taking him to his final rest. He would be in fine company here.

He regretted nothing.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

No, I Didn't Forget...


I was just up late, editing the book. Once I realized that I hadn't posted anything here, I noted the hour. Rather than give you some half cocked, written while half asleep post, I decided to wait until morning. And give you a half cocked written while wide awake post.

And so it goes...

I've made it to page 290 of 1003 in the editing process, that latter number will either shrink or grow (probably the latter) as I continue editing. Remember I've got to continue (and finish) the stories of the Brits and the Poles. Another thing to keep in mind is that the book as written in Word is in what I like to call OG font. As in, "Old Guy" font, big enough to read comfortably while editing, small enough to fit the page without being too ostentatious. So the final length is anybody's guess.

So I'm off, sorry for the short post, back to enjoying the grands and the heat and humidity of Maryland in the summer. No, it isn't a "dry" heat, it's pretty damp. Which is why, I suppose, the area around Annapolis is so green.

I like it.

Greetings from Maryland and the weather vane atop the garage...

Why yes, that is a flying pig.

Wonder what that portends?

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Doing It Right...

American infantrymen seek shelter from German shells in the town of Geich, Germany. December 11, 1944.

As I spend time with family by the shores of Chesapeake Bay, working on my novel (and yes, that sounds somewhat pretentious to me, but it is what I'm doing), I do stay somewhat in the loop on what's happening in the world. I've even stayed in the loop with work, though my boss has told me to lay low and enjoy my time off. I'm trying George, really, I am.

But the world situation just pisses me off, especially the events in Afghanistan. We should have never gone in there, some bright boy thought, no doubt, that we would succeed where so many others had failed. A pipe dream.

But politicians have ever been assholes and will always be, pretty much doesn't matter what party they belong to. Yes, yes, there are exceptions, but not enough to be worth a bucket of warm spit. There's a reason I stay away from politics on this blog. It's like wrestling with a pig, you get mud all over you and the pig likes it.

Anyhoo. The book, let's talk about the book.

I remember the day I decided to stick with the Americans and the Germans as the major protagonists in the book and left the Scots and the Poles out in the wilds of Belgium somewhere. Quite frankly, I knew more about the American campaign in Western Europe than I did of the other participants. I wanted to focus more on the story than on the history behind it all. I could do that with the Americans and their German opponents.

After all, I had two relatives who had been in the ETO as combat infantrymen. The character of Charlie Gammell is loosely based on my Uncle Charlie (63rd Infantry Division) and my Great-Uncle John (4th Infantry Division), last name Gammell. I wanted to focus on my impressions of what they might have gone through and seen during their time in combat. Both were wounded, both received the Bronze Star.

I still have Uncle John's helmet, bullet hole through the top, which he'd been wearing in the Hürtgenwald when he was wounded. I also worked with a German whose father had been captured in that area during the same battle. So there are some strong connections there.

I really want to continue on with the stories of Sgt. Billy Wallace, Cpl. Kowalski, and Sgt. Fitzhugh and his Sherman VC (aka Firefly). I left them dangling (so to speak), so I'll be adding more to the book during this editing session to continue their stories. Kowalski will probably get his own tank at some point, I mean my buddy Paweł in Poland actually wrote one episode and promoted Kowalski to corporal! So I need to follow up with those chaps.

Going back through the book, I'm remembering why I wrote things a certain way. Also, not to blow my own horn, but the story flows nicely in spots. Very riveting, lots of action but there are the poignant moments as well which make the characters more human. I have to say, I'm enjoying rereading this tale while I edit it.

I also recall how when I introduced Charlie Gammell's character, I had him relating his part of the tale in the 1st person. I stopped doing that after a while. I'm not sure why I stopped that, perhaps it was to signal that Gammell was no longer "the new guy" but a valued and talented soldier in his own right. Remember, when he was introduced he was "only" 17 years old. I'll be revisiting that device to see if what I did makes sense. It certainly seems to flow.

To me at any rate.

Thanks for all of the tips as regards Word, style sheets, and getting rid of hidden formatting characters. I knew all of that setting out on this journey. Word is a tool which I've been using for a very long time. It has its strengths and it has its weaknesses, like most tools. The advice reminded me that I don't know everything. Keeps me humble it does.

Most of all, I want to do this right. Since 1945 our nation has fallen into "Great Power" status, something which, no doubt, has our 1st President spinning in his grave. Avoiding great power entanglements and trying to be the world's policeman is all well and good. But we sometimes stick our noses in to places where it really doesn't belong. We also tend, since 1945, to do so half-heartedly. If you're going to fight, then fight goddamn it. Blow things up, kill people, and let the devil take the hindmost.

Or stay out of it.

World War II was perhaps the last time we "did things right."

So the book is intended to be a tribute to those ordinary men and women who rose up, did the job, then went home.

We could learn from that.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Hidden Treasure

 First a little background info to set the stage.  Little Juvat has successfully transferred to his new location and has entered self-quarantine in his apartment.  The good news is the grocery store is on the first floor of the apartment complex and delivers.  Evidently, they recognize the severity of the situation as they also deliver the essentials.  Beer, Wine and Whiskey.  So, the British Empire's influence is still there.

As most of the long time readers here know, their Dog, Tex, was with them in Kuwait.  Kuwait falls into the list of countries that has a history of Rabies.  If a dog transfers from those countries to HK, they must go into quarantine for 6 months. But if the dog transfers from a country not on that list, they go right in.  Therefore, DIL and Tex have been living in one of our guest houses for close to 6 months now.  But...the time to rejoin with Little Juvat is nearing.  So, she's been making the rounds saying hello/goodbye to family and friends throughout the state lately.  She just got back from one of those trips to visit family in Wichita Falls.  

When she got back, she came up for dinner.  (It's more fun when the three of us get together, so she does it regularly.)  While I'm cooking dinner, she's telling us about some railway journals her father had discovered a while back.  

Note the Dec 42 publication date

Her great-great uncle had been an engineer on the railroad prior to WWII.  I thought thumbing through those would be interesting, so when I got to one of those lulls in the cooking process, I wandered over and opened one up.  This was the page I opened it to.

Her great-great Aunt, had used the journals as photo/clipping albums while her husband was away in the South Pacific during the war.  That picture was kind of spooky as I was in the middle of reading Kevin Miller's "The Silver Waterfall", a novel about the Battle of Midway told from the point of view of the little guys, not the guys with stars. That afternoon, I had read the section of the novel that described  VMSB-241's attack from Midway on the Japanese fleet.  This was a picture of that squadron taken shortly before the battle.  If you read the picture's caption, it's obvious that it was taken from before the attack.

What startled me was that while I had known that the first attacks on the Japanese during the battle had been disastrous for the US, seeing this picture from a newspaper from that time period induced a "OMG, it REALLY happened." feeling. They were REAL people. Not just names and numbers. I pondered that through dinner and the next morning got up and went through the rest of the journals. Most were full as "Scrapbooks" not railroad journals, and it was interesting to see the depth and breadth of war subjects that the Wichita Falls Newspaper covered at the time.  The variety of subjects was undoubtedly helpful in understanding the magnitude of the war.  Although WWII in the Pacific has been an interest of mine since I was very young, I still learned a few things from this exercise.

 I liked this picture as I've visited several of the islands at the top, including two where not nice things happened, Wake and Camp O'Donnell in the PI. 

I've been here.  Eerie

Tucked a couple of pages into the journal/album was this envelope which was filled with snapshots.  Apparently Great-Great-Uncle Berry was a photo buff, as well as a SeaBee.  Cool!

I shook out the pics and this one was on top.

On the right, a hometown boy that had done well and has a phenomenal Museum named for him in town.  Not sure who the two other guys in the picture were and the only annotation on all the pictures was:

Other pictures in the envelope:

According to this site, the 16th Naval Construction Battalion (from the return address on the envelope) was involved in operations on Tarawa albeit after serious combat operations had stopped.  So these could have been taken there.  I don't know what the guys were looking at in the sky, nor do I have any idea what the explosion was from.  But...It's a pretty darn big one.

I liked both these photos,  Cover, but no shirt, and a bit of quiet Sunday celebration, in the midst.

I thought this picture was unique, actually fairly accurate on the places invasions came from.  (Yes, Beans, Churchill's Balkan's plan was scrapped very early on.)  But it does make an interesting graphic.

The paper seems to have done a fairly good job in trying to explain the how's, why's, when's, and where's of the war to the civilian populace.  I think these next few do a pretty good job of graphic explanation.
Lotta land to cover.

Roughly the same size as the Southwest Pacific Theater

This one really put's WWII in perspective. I know for a fact that the bottom line there from Hawaii to Japan will take 10.9 hours (and 15 refuelings) flying in an F-4. It's a LONG way!

There were also clippings of locals involved in the festivities.

I got a chuckle out of this picture (which also has a "not for distribution" censor stamp on the back.
Not how I remember Waikiki

Shortly after this picture was taken, USS Wasp (CV-7) was transferred to the Pacific Fleet to replace losses from the Battles of Coral Sea and Midway.  Unfortunately, on September 15, 1942, she and Japanese Submarine I-19 got into a duel.  She lost and had to be scuttled.

I found this picture to be illuminating.  War affects everybody involved.

Look at the name of the game!  I guess it helps them cope.  

Finally, got to the bottom of the stack and found the SeaBee Battalion's yearbook, and found Great-Great-Uncle Henry's photo.
Official Name but he went by Henry

Survived the war and married rejoined his bride, DIL's Great-Grandmother's sister.  They had no children and that's how the stash came into DIL's hands.  Unfortunately, I have to return it to her.  There's still an awful lot of "clues" I'd like to investigate therein.

On a lighter note, I texted the family a "Dad Joke" I stole from Powerline Saturday.  It went like this.
I got official groans from Mrs J, Little Juvat and DIL, and MBD and SIL.  For which I received this trophy.

Thank you, Thank you, you've been a great audience, be sure to tip the maître d'.  He traveled all last week and needs the gas money.