Friday, March 24, 2023

In Memoriam ...

I learned Thursday that one of those "best friends I've never met," as Lex called them, passed away on Wednesday.

Valory was a gem, she was ever cheerful, she never commented here but commented often over on FB.

I shall miss her a great deal.

With apologies to Gaius Valerius Catullus¹ ...

Ave Atque Vale
Through many countries and over many seas
I have come, Sister, to these melancholy rites,
to show this final honour to the dead,
and speak (to what purpose?) to your silent ashes,
since now fate takes you, even you, from me.
Oh, Sister, ripped away from me so cruelly,
now at least take these last offerings, blessed
by the tradition of our parents, gifts to the dead.
Accept, by custom, what a brother’s tears drown,
and, for eternity, Sister, ‘Hail and Farewell’.

Farewell Dear Lady.

¹ For he spoke of the loss of a brother, I modified the poem to speak of the loss of a sister.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Yeah, Right, Pull the Other One!

Rant On!

So, because of the current way we live, Mrs. Andrew and I watch a bit of the TV.  We watch NCIS, Blue Bloods, stuff like that.  And a lot of educational and murder-death-kill shows.  Some movies and such, both ancient and modern (love watching old Fred Astaire movies and such.)

And we have noticed things about dramas lately, really starting around 2015 or so.  All the crime dramas, really. Guess who the Big Bad has become?  Is it Drug Cartels?  Nope.  Communist China? Nope.  Intercity Gangs of any flavor? Nope.  Space Aliens?  Nope.  Bigfoot?  Nope.  Bigfoot Space Aliens? Nope.  Antifa? Nope. BLM (either the minority group or the Bureau of Land Management who are really evil federal jerks?) Nope.  Think of any actual criminal violent group of people who are working hard to destroy the very fabric of our nation and are they the Big Bad? Nope, nope, just nope.

The "SWAT" reboot, "NCIS: Los Angeles," NCIS: New Orleans," "NCIS," all of the "FBI" shows, all have the same Big Bad who are causing fundamental damage and are planning the fundamental rearrangement of this great country.

Uplifted Hamsters or other animals escaped from various labs? Canadians? Cubans? Nope.

White Christians.

Get that?

White Christians.

Who are also assumed to be... Nationalists or Supremacists.  Because Christians can't be anything else than Nationalists or Supremacists.

Admittedly, the reboot of "SWAT" was a dog-turd to begin with, but in the greater Los(t) Angeles area, no other problem was as critical as dealing with those crazy White Christians (assumed to beNationalists and/or Supremacists.)  Same with "NCIS: Los Angeles," sure, Commie China was a problem, so were drug and human smugglers and traffickers and such, but it was the WCNS that were the real threat to the team and the city and, by inference, the nation as a whole.

Same with NCISNO.

Tried watching some of the FBI shows, and, well, besides badly written, again, WCNS are the uber bad guys.

And now, even the original "NCIS" has fallen upon White Christians as THE WORST PEOPLE EVER, whatever the flavor they are, especially if they believe in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (and that pesky 2nd Amendment thingy.)

So, because of Loyalty and Stupidity, I'll give NCIS one more chance.  And then I'll ditch it like so many other shows.  Seriously, every year more and more shows get sent to the trashheap of my tv viewing history and looks like yet another one is joining the pile of jetsam.

It's like the scripts are being written by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is one of the most prejudicial, racist and bigoted organizations I've ever encountered.  And after reading their version of various activities taken by people in Florida, in comparison to what actually happened, those yahoos at the SPLC are just lying liars that blatantly lie.

Seriously?  My fat fundament is The Most Dangerous Threat to This Great Nation Ever? And, yes, I guess I am a nationalist, as I assume that, overall, the US of A is the Best Nation Ever and I want to keep it The Best Nation Ever.  But that's supposed to be evil and bad now.

And it's not just Hollyweird.  Our own Federal Government, who is supposed to serve us, has taken the stance all throughout its bloated corpulent pustulant body and all of its squiggly corrupt appendages. Like the military.


I hate being stuck in The Fall of Civilization.  Dangit.


Rant over.  Dangit.


So... Music. 

Because of evil Christian stuff... OOOOHHH (waves evil wiggly fingers at all y'all) Muhahahahaha...

There's this group called GOL (gods of luxury) and they did a piece based upon... The Song of Solomon (you know, from The Old Testament) which, of course , you know will make this piece of music weird.  It's electronic, and weird, and I really like it.

Angelica in Delirium - GOL
Okay, weird, but for some reason it seems catchy to me.

And just because ELO is still my favorite...

Telephone Line - Electric Light Orchestra
Jeff Lynne - songwriter and band leader
has a thing for soulful contemplative songs


Hello, how are you? Have you been alright?
Through all those lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely nights
That's what I'd say, I'd tell you everything
If you'd pick up that telephone, yeah yeah yeah

Hey, how you feelin'? Are you still the same?
Don't you realize the things we did, we did
Were all for real, not a dream? And I just can't believe
They've all faded out of view, yeah yeah yeah

Doowop dooby doo doowop, doowah doolang
Blue days, black nights, doowah doolang

I look into the sky
The love you need ain't gonna see you through
And I wonder why
The little things you planned ain't coming true

Oh oh, telephone line, give me some time
I'm living in twilight
Oh oh, telephone line, give me some time
I'm living in twilight

Okay, so no one's answering
Well, can't you just let it ring a little longer, longer, longer, longer, oh
I'll just sit tight through shadows of the night
But let it ring for evermore, yeah yeah yeah, oh oh

Doowop dooby doo doowop, doowah doolang
Blue days, black nights, doowah doolang

I look into the sky
The love you need ain't gonna see you through
And I wonder why
The little things you planned ain't coming true

Oh oh, telephone line, give me some time
I'm living in twilight
Oh oh, telephone line, give me some time
I'm living in twilight
Oh oh, telephone line, give me some time
I'm living in twilight
Oh oh, telephone line, give me some time
I'm living in twilight

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Silencing the Voice ...

Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.
 - Harry S. Truman

And it's not just government.

While I have been fairly well-behaved here on the blog, as have my co-bloggers, I have been censored here. Once.

I posted about the Battle of Britain, used a lot of great photos. One individual apparently complained to the powers that be that I had used one of his photos. So down the post came.

No proof, no evidence, no "Hey man, that's my photo, please don't use it." (Or please attribute it to me, or please pay me to use it.) I mean I get it. But an entire post (a good one I thought) taken down? For one bloody photo!

I get it, Google does own the platform, I pay nothing (that's right, zilch, nada, rien) to use the platform. There are rules for using the platform, which I try to obey.

But, some folks are getting antsy about the future of Blogger (which is the platform I use, and yes, it's owned by, and provided by Google, free of charge) so they are bailing to places like Substack, or even setting up their own servers and the like to provide a platform for bloggers who may not toe the party line of their current host platform.

Me? (Us?) We're not so controversial, when we do post on des affaires politique it's usually level-headed without a lot of ranting and raving. Which tends, as you might gather, to attract attention. Often unwanted attention.

But other than the one alleged, unproven instance of copyright violation, I've never had a post taken down by "the authorities." Not even the Book of Face has ever taken down one of my links to the blog. (Because I'm guessing that their bots, er, I mean "fact-checkers," don't chase links to sources outside of the Meta-verse.)

I was recently slapped upon the wrist for making a disparaging remark about Russians, in Russian. Now that comment was removed and I received a "don't do that again" warning. No big deal, I'm guessing that Zuckerborg¹ is in league with the Rooskies, but I digress.

I was rather stunned to see that CDR Salamander was heading for Substack (as has another blogger I enjoy) and not using Blogger anymore. Obviously someone believes that he has pissed in someone's Cheerios and he doesn't want to deal with the censors anymore. I get it.

This place? I have no plans of going anywhere, I want this place to be even-keeled without a lot of extremism to either side of the political spectrum. Heck, I have liberal, nay, progressive friends. Their views and opinions are not my views and opinions, but I don't hate them for it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Not that I despise people, I try not to anyway, but I do like this quote, seems appropriate in a lot of cases ...

If we don't believe in free expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.
 - Noam Chomsky

Free expression is just that, protected by the Constitution and everything. But some entities have rules for playing on their fields, if I use that field, I try to play by their rules. No matter how rankling those rules might be at times.

Just thought I'd mention that. I'm here to stay, unless the position becomes untenable, then we'll see.


'Nuff said ...

¹ Not a misspelling, that was intentional, Star Trek geek that I am.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023


The Road to Brussels
La Belle Alliance on the right.
To say that I'm obsessed with the Battle of Waterloo is something of an understatement. At the moment I am in the midst of reading yet another book about the battle, the fifth book in a set of twelve by the Andrew W. Field which I wrote about here. So two to go there.

To top it off, I bought yet another book about the battle, The Longest Afternoon, by Brendan Simms -

Said book details the fight of 400 German soldiers defending the farm shown below. (Yes, I've been there, more than once, but never inside. It's still a working farm.)

La Haye Sainte
Germans? What's that you say Sarge, dontcha mean Prussians?

No, I do not. Unbeknownst to many, the army which fought Napoléon on the 18th of June 1815 upon the field of Waterloo wasn't comprised of just British soldiers (and by British I mean English, Irish, Scots, and Welsh). Oh no, it also contained many Dutchmen and Belgians, also Germans of a number of varieties.

Embodied within the British Army were the units of the King's German Legion, soldiers from the state of Hanover (George III was not only the King of England, he was also the Elector of Hanover, Hannover auf deutsch) who had fled their homeland after it was overrun by the French Army and went to Britain to enlist in the fight against the French.

There were also later Hanoverian units formed after Napoléon's first abdication in Hanover proper. These were typically manned by very young and inexperienced soldiers.

Not to mention the soldiers of Brunswick (Braunschweig auf deutsch). These chaps also skipped out when the French overran their country (1806) and formed their own unit which fought in Spain with Wellington. Though that unit was disbanded, the Duke of Brunswick got the band back together (so to speak) after Napoléon abdicated the first time. The Duke fell at the Battle of Quatre Bras, two days before Waterloo. There is a monument which was placed near where he fell, leading his men in battle -

Monument to Friedrich Wilhelm, Herzog von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel
~  Kampf gefallen,
 16. Juni 1815¹ ~
The Duke's father was also killed fighting against Napoléon nine years previous to the son's death. His father, Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand commanded the Prussian army at the Battle of Auerstädt in 1806. The father was wounded in action at that battle, dying of his wounds in November of 1806.

Within the army of the United Netherlands (which had had Belgium added to it, much to the dislike of many Belgians) there were units known as Nassauers, from Nassau, but not the one in the Bahamas. No, these guys were also Germans but their ruler apparently had ties with the Dutch. (The current Dutch royal family is the House of Orange-Nassau, which is why you hear Dutch football² fans chanting Oranje boven! at matches.)

So Wellington's army really was a mishmash of different nationalities and languages!

Many histories of Waterloo paint the redcoats as the guys who really did most of the fighting and give scant recognition to the "foreigners" among their ranks. (Many histories also go out of their way to paint the Hereditary Prince of Orange, son of the King of the Netherlands as a complete dunce. Which he really wasn't. Over-enthusiastic and inexperienced? Sure, but stupid he was not. He was also, some have suggested, overly brave.)

Every time I devour, er read, another book on Waterloo I learn something new and interesting

I also tend to go overboard with games about Waterloo, just found and bought a game which I had years ago. Originally put out by a company named Talonsoft, Matrix Games now carries it.

It was like catching up with an old friend ...

In game screenshot
Old but lots of fun to play. Originally sold separately, the bundle from Matrix Games ($29.99) now comes with Prelude to Waterloo, which covers the battles of Quatre Bras and Ligny, and Napoleon in Russia which covers the massive battle of Borodino.

As an added bonus it also comes with Age of Sail, which, as you might gather, covers naval combat during the Napoleonic period.

In game screenshot
Much to keep me busy, I have. (As Yoda might put it.)

On a side note, a memory just popped up which tends to do so from time to time.

I took that opening photo and added a red arrow where I almost died. Yes. Died. Almost.

See that big truck speeding down the road (and believe me, they go like a bat out of Hell on that chaussée from Charleroi to Brussels), well ...

I was leading a couple of my sergeant buddies on a guided tour of the battlefield. I stumbled a bit and nearly fell into the roadway. One of my fellow NCOs was just turning around and saw me teetering and saw a giant-ass truck approaching.

Just about where the red arrow is pointing. There I almost became a statistic.
With a deft tug on the sleeve of my jacket he pulled me out of the road. I felt the "breath" of that behemoth as it passed by, within a foot of my mortal flesh. Bit of a close call that was.

So thanks Tom (or was it Ryan?). If y'all hadn't of saved my ass twenty-five years ago I wouldn't be writing about it today.

And you, my dear readers, would have to find something else to do as you drink your coffee!

Seriously though, I am somewhat obsessive when it comes to Waterloo (or La Belle Alliance as the Prussians would have it, or Mont St. Jean as the French would have it, if they talk about it at all). Can ya tell?

I am starting to get the urge to write again.

Baby steps, Sarge. Baby steps.

¹ Killed in action, 16 June 1815
² What the Yanks call soccer. I'm in the middle on that one, I usually just go with the German word, fußball.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Leaving...On a Jet Plane...Maybe...Change 1...Probably

 So...There We were*...Looking forward to a nice little vacay drifting down the Danube River for a week with our Wine Maker Friends and 26 others.  Enjoying various wines and wineries along the way with a couple of follow up talks and tastes on board.  

Ahh...Retired Life!  Woke up Saturday morning a tad early, still working on changing the body clock to sync with the alarm clock.  Mrs. J is still asleep, she's been working hard to get all her guests on board their flights and enroute to Munich.  All are enroute or in-country already.

All except she and I.

Insert ominous music score here.

So. I'm sitting in the kitchen, being as quiet as I can to let her sleep.  My cell phone dings, I glance at it.  The sender is British Airways.  NBD, I think to myself, they've been sending me updates on our flight for a few days now.  2000 TO from Austin Bergstrom to London. Clear British Customs, then board another BA flight to Munich to meet the bus to take us to Vilshofen to board the boat.  Been getting this info regularly.  At that point, I believe it was my Sainted Mother, now Guardian Angel, that tapped me on the shoulder and said "Hey, Dummy! Read the frickin' message." 

She's gotten a bit more direct (and tetchy) since she took over the Guardian Angel duties.

Anyhow, who am I to question her?  I open it and read that our London to Munich flight has been cancelled and we are now scheduled on a London to Salzburg connecting flight.  Should be no problem, right?


Google Maps

Apparently, there isn't an easy way to get from Salzburg to the River. Nice!

So, Mrs. J is working with the River Tour company to figure this problem out.  I'm being very quiet and doing what I'm told without asking or commenting.  

Self-preservation, doncha-know?  Waiting to see how this turns out.

Given the traveling, I think a little space/time physics update regarding this and this week's post is appropriate.  It's 6 hours ahead there.  Given the circumstances mentioned above, it may be a while before I can get to the internet and respond to comments.  Similar circumstances will occur a week from  now.  The boat docks next Monday early and we're herded to the airport.  A million hours later we arrive back home.  Responding to comments will be nigh on to impossible.  So...Discuss amongst yourselves, please.

On the Grand Daughter front, a bit of good news.  She had a visit with her pulmonologist this past week.  The appointment went well and the Doc gave LJW the OK to try weaning her off her supplemental O2.  She had been using it with a 50% supplemental oxygen level since birth.  The Doc said to lower it to 25% for 2 days and see if she handled it ok.  Friday (I'm writing this on Saturday VS usual Sunday, see reason above.) the experiment started.  Checking with LJW that evening, Miss B was doing fine.  So, finger's crossed and prayers up, please.  Success here will be a VERY BIG THING!

Pen making has slipped to the back burner of late.  Mrs. J commented that there was a lot of dirt being tracked into the house lately, what with the drought, and that we needed to have "Outside Shoes" and "Inside Shoes".  Recognizing that I was in the middle of a very large mine field, I responded "Yes, Dear" and the laundry room became my shoe transfer facility.

Unfortunately, the days of my being able  to reach down from an upright position and touch my toes without shortly thereafter touching my face to the floor are way in the past.  Which is problematic as the laundry room has no seating.

So..A project being presented, regardless of the source,  is a gift from above.  In the picture above, I'd just applied my first coat of polyurethane to the Shoe Rack/Bench.  I'm on coat #3 #6 now and it's beginning to look pretty darn nice.  Unfortunately, drying time will finish right about the time we need to leave for our flight.

Assuming, of course, that British Airways figures their contractual obligations out properly. (See update below.)

We'll see.

Given that good news, I decided this picture pretty much sums things up.

Mrs J.  Captioned it with "But they told me to pull this to Eject."  Girl's got Fighter Pilot blood in her!

Hang in there, y'all and Peace out.  Whatever will be, will be.

Late Breaking news.  Apparently, the moons of Jupiter are in alignment.  Mrs. J was able to talk to the right person who could talk to the right person who could...

The River Tour company's agents got us on a Lufthansa flight that arrives in Munich from London within about an hour of our original arrival time.  BA couldn't seem to make that connection (in all meanings of that word).  So, we've got to get to the airport a little earlier than we were in order to get new tickets printed, but with a little luck we should be good to go.  We will see what we will see.

(Hang in there, y'all and Peace out.  Whatever will be, will be.)2


Sunday, March 19, 2023

Wasn't Going to Post, Changed My Mind ...

Old Town Alexandria
OAFS Photo
Been doing a lot of reminiscing as of late and while going through the photo archives saw this one. I need to get back down to Old Virginia one of these days. Love that town in particular.

Anyhoo, I also wanted to give Beans a break from carrying the load (which he has done magnificently) and I felt the urge to post something. Anything!

Beans' mentioning of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass the other day really sent me down memory lane. My parents had a number of his albums. This tune was a big favorite (me being a Taurus¹ and all ...)

Sounds very "south of the border," reminds of Sandy Eggo in some ways. Moi, The Missus Herself, and The Nuke in a Sandy Eggo eatery dining on very good Mexican food and being entertained by a strolling mariachi band some years back (like seven as I recall). Good times, good company, good food.

One of the benefits of being old (ish) is having lots and lots of memories, nearly all of them good. Been strolling memory lane a lot recently. It was good to hear that song again.

As for me, the status quo is being maintained, and for now, that's all I can ask for.

Be well, mi compadres.

¹ The astrological sign, not the car.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Arghhhhhh. And Music.

 Head still hurts.  Back still hurts.  Dog stomped on my wedding tackle so that hurts (120lb dog moving at roughly the speed of light means lots of force and energy transferred.)

So, instead, back to Dad's hi-fidelity music.

Yesterday I was commenting on Anonymous' comment posted at 2:42AM (probably West Coast Time) about his comment:

My parents had a Herb Alpert album with the girl covered in whipped cream and a white blanket (to give the impression it was all cream) on the cover. Boy that sure got my pubescent hormones raging.

  1. Um, that and the album cover for Apollo 100's "Joy" album. Can neither confirm or deny same with the Sears catalog if you know what I mean.

So, yeah, I was a pervy little kid, full of raging hormones and such.  Eh, I turned out, according to Mrs. Andrew, okay, so...

Apollo 100 was a band put together (from Wiki - Apollo 100 - Wikipedia ) by Tom Parker with fellow session musicians drummer Clem Cattiniguitarist Vic Flick, guitarist Zed Jenkins, percussionist Jim Lawless, and bassist Brian Odgers, starting in 1970 and ending in 1973.  Electronic variations of classical pieces, and their first piece, "Joy," an interpretation of JS Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" hit the top 40 chart and was included in several movies.  It was, sadly, all downhill for the group.

Good song, good album, totally hot lady on the front cover.

For to compare, here's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" as Bach and God intended,
On a cathedral pipe organ.
I like both versions.  Seriously love both versions.

And then, to go strange again, Werner Müller and His Orchestra, was another of Dad's favorites. Werner was one of the big composers of space age bachelor pad music according to Werner Müller ( and from the web page "Who was/is Werner Müller? Well, he contributed numerous albums to London's Phase Four label, the longest-running of the Space Age Bachelor Pad series. But thanks to London's standard approach to liner notes, although we know exactly what channelization was used and what other Phase Four records were available, we are left knowing nothing of Werner Müller."  Nice going there, London Records.  Jerks

His (and his orchestra's) version of "Aranjuez Mon Amour" which is part of the Concierto de Aranjuez by Juaquin Rodrigo, always a very soul-stirring piece of Spanish classical music, and Werner does it proud.  The piece, played correctly, always has a wistful and somewhat sad sound to it, kind of how I imagine Spain actually is, wistful and somewhat sad. 

"Aranjuez, Mon Amour" or "Concierto de Aranjuez" 
depending on who's doing the citationing
Lovely piece of music.  
Beautiful horn work, and sad strings
with a little electronic organ added in to spice it up
Dad's copy had a bunch of mouths on it, not some corner babe.

And, well, just because Bach, JS Bach...

Geez, youtube, canna you giva a guya a breaka with the album arta?  Seriously, corner babe again?  Yeesh.
And, yes, album art in the 60's and early 70's tended to not be very arty much.

Seriously, can you imagine a 17th Century time period spy novel where the main character who's doing all the spying and killing is none other than Bach, JS Bach?  In between building pipe organs, codifying modern music notation and scales, having lusty intentions with his ever-fertile wife and pissing off his employers because they were pissing him off, he has a life of intrigue and contract murder...  Sounds like fun, no?

So.  Herb Alpert, Apollo 100, Werner and his boys, and others.  Dad had eclectic tastes.

See ya.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Brame Frammage

 Hey, guess what?  It's Spring! So my head is splitting from severe sinus pressure and I've been snarling at Mrs. Andrew, Kegan the wundermup, passing animals and just, er, everything.

Seriously painful.  Sinuses swell, put pressure on frontal lobe, frontal lobe controls personality, personality goes all Mr. Hyde.  Usually I realize it before it gets bad and I can take my anti-Hulk pills (Vitamin I, ibuprophen) before I destroy too many bridges and wreck too many relationships.

Um, not today. 

I think it was about the third time Mrs. Andrew used The Voice to tell me to go try asexual reproduction or sexual self-reproduction or something along those lines while Kegan was curled up on her and not me that I realized I had become Hulk-Smash Hyde.  So instead of relief in 30 minutes or so, it's going to be a couple hours before snarly surly HSH is under control. Until then I'll just hide from the world, wich is kind of hard to do when you live in basically a trumped up studio apartment and your major piece of furniture where you live on is the bed you share with, uh, Mrs. Andrew and Kegan the wunderdog.

Back when I had the house, don't think I could escape, because being out of touch/out of reach of Mrs. Andrew was not a doable thing for a lot of reasons, mostly because she needed to make sure I didn't do anything too stupid to myself, like trying to use sugar and chocolate to control my mood, and, yes, I have eaten 3lbs of peanut M&Ms before in a depressive funk that was epic only in the amount of said candies consumed but everything else about that episode was just stupid and best left alone in the past. Unfortunately the guilt center of my brain keeps periodically cycling through all the guilt episodes so short of accidentally getting hit by lightning or having rebar pass through a portion of my brain or some other traumatic brain injury event, that memory will continue to surface.

Gloom, depression and sinus pressure.  

Wanna know what makes it all so extra special?  The smell of incipient sinus infection that comes from having sinuses filled to 3 times the approved pressure with sinus fluid thanks to trees and bushes and other green growing things having wild passionate vegetative sex all over the area, especially on my car and right where I want to walk.


So instead of witty repartee regarding other bodily issues like the time I passed out for three daysish after almost dying and other neat moments in my life, I get to regale you with Tales of Snot.

So we'll leave that at that and go into some music or something.

Growing up in occifer country on military bases in the 60's, well, guess who was very popular amongst said occifer class occifers?  If you said, "Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass," you'd be correct.

I could tell my dad was happy when strains of HAatTB came out of the occifer-class required really nice Japanese high fidelity stereo system (usually smuggled/carried lovingly from duty-free stations or on overseas flights as extra cargo from Okinawa or Japan itself) at volumes to be heard on the back porch while he and his occifer-mates were grilling on those big ceramic Japanese hibachis (probably secured the same way as the stereo pieces,) you know, the ones that once they get hot they get fragile so basically when you move you leave it for the next occifer or you move in and one's been left from the previous occifer and rumors abound about ceramic hibachis that have 'lived' at one quarters for 5-6 rounds of occifers moving in and out and in and out.  Seriously, growing up in the 60's on AFBs you would see said Japanese ceramic hibachis.  Kind of the predecessor of the Big Green Egg bbq grill. The reason they work so well is that once the very heavy ceramic shell is heated, it retains that heat for a looong time so you can cook evenly using a small amount of heat-making fuel.  As said before, actual period Japanese ceramic cookers were fragile once heated once, so in Japan and on Air Force Bases there was a cult of ceramic egg cooker users (and some that could, around 95% of the time could move the cookers by one house, maybe.)

Like this, except Made in Japan, 
not Made in America by Big Green Egg
A must have for certain levels of officers on AFBs back in the 60's

So HAatTB.

The Lonely Bull - Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
one of my Dad's favorites
and mine.

Spanish Flea - Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
another one of my Dad's and my favorites

Back when I had the lonely staff ass job at the outpost from hell working for the city of losers' police department, I would and did regularly blast Tijuana Brass' works at volume because I was all alone in a big building all alone.  Other groups that were blasted out loud will follow in the future or I have already talked about.  No clowns, no post-modern jukebox, all old school CD stuff (weird being able to call compact discs 'old school.')

Thursday, March 16, 2023

23075 Update

Patiently Waiting
Alexander Boden - Bonn, Germany
Our beloved feline friend, Anya, is approaching her 20th birthday, which is August 8th. It doesn't look like she's going to make it that far. She weakens daily, refusing to eat anything other than treats. She will also eat, just a tiny bit, of canned food with a gravy or cream base. But other than that, not much at all.

Her loss of kidney function is irreparable, her doc tells me that there's no way to fix that. We give her subcutaneous fluids every other day (100ml, if she'll hold still that long). It's no fun for us or her, but it helps flush some of the toxins from her system that her kidneys are no longer able to get rid of.

She is still kind of active, she'll walk around the upstairs, even jump up on Mama's bed or her own bed. But that's about the extent of it. We wait on her hand and foot and don't mind at all, she has been a valued member of the family for nearly two decades.

For those of you wondering, the average life span of an indoor cat is 12 to 18 years. The lower range being the usual, at least in my experience.

We knew that this day would come, since getting married, The Missus Herself and Your Humble Scribe have had four cats. Two brothers from Germany and two sisters from here in New England. The Missus Herself has already declared that Anya won't be replaced (as if that was even possible) as she just can't go through this sort of thing again.

I know what she means, I nearly lost my mind when our first cat, Tiger, died. The memories of the loss of his brother Pat, then the loss of Sasha, Anya's sister, still linger. They hurt to this day.

It seems odd, and somewhat unfair if you will, to have so many wonderful years together with a companion animal, only to remember the last few days of their short lives. It hurts, it really does, anyone who doesn't think so has either never gone through it or has some fundamental flaw in their makeup.

I do remember all of the great times we had with our cats, but to have Anya look at me, her eyes begging me to do something to make her better, leaves me feeling both helpless and useless. She's not in a great deal of pain at this time, no more than any really old being feels, but it bothers her and it bothers us, her human caretakers.

I know her time approaches, I know there is no reversing this process, but it hurts, the waiting, it hurts. The look in her eyes, it hurts. While waiting is hard, it's not the hardest part. Knowing that once the time comes, things will change forever. That's the hardest part.

I can hardly bear the thought.

We shall get through this, we shall remember all of the good times we had together, but these last few days of her existence will linger and make me wonder if there was anything I could have done to stop this from happening.

I know there is nothing I can do different, death is part of life. The time will come for us all. But yeah, it hurts.

I live, but I'm not living at the moment. Merely, waiting ...

This too, shall pass.

Be well.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Nay, Fewmets!

 Fewmets being the medieval Engrish word for deer poop, well, poop.

Threw my back out sneezing. One sneeze, and it shanked me but good.

Heating pad, massage machine, Vitamin I (ibuprophen) and sitting very still leading to not doing a big posting.

Between that, and potential Great Depression Part Deux, with a bunch of even more leftist socialists in control than when FDR ruled, well, not much in the mood for long exposition.

So you get music.

Firstus, Post Modern Jukebox - a group that does modern music in various forms ancient, like Jazz-ish, 50's Chanteusse, yada yada.  Nice orchestrations, the singers have good pipes and, for the most part, no Puddles Pity Party clowns.

Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass," in the style of PMJ ft. Kate Davis, of course. Not only does it feature vocalists Haley Reinhart, Morgan James, and Ariana Savalas rocking some Andrews Sisters- style harmonies, but it also features a sweet four hand bass solo by Casey Abrams and Adam Kubota. (from the youtube description.)

And some Alan Parson's Project, from the first album "Tales of Mystery and Imagination."  Just a tad inspired by Edgar Allen Poe, dontchaknow?

The Cask of Amontillado - Alan Parson's Project
One of my favorite Poe stories and a darned sweet sounding but not sweet at all song.

Other than that, Peace Out, hope you all are doing well, and all your monies are safe.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Fish Friday, (on a Tuesday)

No, I'm not all messed up from the time change, nor is this an advertisement.  It's just a recap, s
o don't try showing up to my parish hall this Friday.  I ran my church's Lenten fish fry this past Friday, which was a little mixed in the pros and cons department.  Before I get to that I'll give you a little background.  Catholics tend to skip meat on Fridays during lent.  Why?  Well, Friday was the day Jesus was crucified, and the abstention from meat is in memory of him giving up his body (his flesh).  Hence, Fish Fridays.  It's not a sin to forget, or even skip it intentionally, but it is a sacrifice that we try to make to focus us as a form of penance.  It also can help us get a little more into the spirit of the Lenten season which is one about prayer, fasting, and penitential sacrifice ahead of our Lord and savior dying on the cross, and the best part- rising again!

To be perfectly honest, not eating meat on a Friday during Lent is not much of a sacrifice for me.  Yes, I know fish is a meat, but historically, we consider fish more of a plebeian entrée than the flesh from livestock, which was more expensive, eaten only occasionally, and was associated with feasting and rejoicing (Scallops, Lobster, and Chilean Seabass are notable exceptions!) Still doesn't make sense to you?  Dig deeper if you want more.  But as I was saying, me skipping meat is no big deal.  Not that I don't enjoy having something meaty at pretty much every meal, but I really enjoy fish and we are often having seafood or pasta as an entrée.  Fish tacos are close to the top of that "meatless" list, and San Diego definitely does that well.

If you didn't figure it out from that lead photo and missed me mentioning it in past posts, I'm a member of that fine organization, the KofC, and I pretty much head up the group of us at my church.  So when things need to be scheduled, planned, and coordinated, that duty falls to me. It might be "Keeping Christ in Christmas" by selling religious Christmas cards, running the beer garden at our parish school carnival, or during Lent, running the Lenten fish fry.  Some parishes run one every single weekend, but we are a small parish and have an even smaller handful of men who are willing to step up and help, so we just run a single dinner during the season.

I've been doing it for going on 16 years now- going back to when I PCS'd back to SanDog from duty in Tampa Florida.  I took it over from the previous Knight in 2008 who decided he didn't want to be a member anymore.  Always willing to step up, I was asked to help run it and I have been doing it ever since, never able to take a step back.

On the positive side, it was our most successful one to date, at least when it comes to the food.  Everyone that attended thought it was our best effort at making fish, tilapia in this case, and everything was prepared just in time for us to open and everything was still warm when the guests started showing up. We've often struggled with the timing and having people need to wait as we wait for the first or next batch to finish up.  We've baked the fish, grilled it, fried it, and usually gotten mixed reviews in the past.  But this year, we used some Old Bay, then quick fried it in a pan with butter, then finished it off in the oven which made it cook much faster and helped keep the supply going.  Most of our patrons thought it was better than any other attempt.  

It's always a challenge with our ancient kitchen to get the oven right and get the fish cooked through properly on all sides of the pan, in all corners of the oven, or keeping the fryer at the right temperature, and to make sure we have enough ingredients and servings for everyone that shows.  It's also a balancing act to charge enough to make a little money for the church and the council, but not too much to scare anyone away.  Or have too many leftovers which means I overbought and wasted money that could have been profit for us.  We usually do it to benefit one cause or another, sometimes the school, sometimes the maintenance of the church, pro-life efforts or what have you.  This year it was for the repairs to our church bell tower which was discovered recently to be separating from the main structure of the church. Not sure what that maintenance bill is going to run, but my little parish has not recovered after covid and we have a very small collection plate and an even smaller maintenance fund through a second collection which is only once a month.

There are quite a few well-off parishes in the diocese that probably do well with their collections.  The diocesan tax on them probably helps some smaller parishes get by (barely), like mine, as we rarely bring in what it costs to sustain our parish needs.  We are cut to the bare bones though, trying to make ends meet, going down to just one part-time office staff member, more CCD costs shifted to the parents, and plenty of deferred maintenance.  I only explain that to show how much need there is for successful fundraising from any effort.

But anyhoo, I said it was a mix of pros and cons. While the food was delicious and no waiting was required, it rained quite heavily last Friday evening.  That severely dampened the turnout, despite the weeks-long announcements from the pulpit, church bulletin notices, and a couple emails to the parishioners from the church office.  I planned for 80 people which is actually very small compared to a lot of parishes but it's about 10% more than I usually serve, thinking the heavy advertisement would help.  That rain though.  We only served 20 total meals.  I had a small group of men to help, so each of us took home rolls, potatoes, and fish- enough to make us tired of fish for the rest of the season.  Assuming we eat it all of course before the already thawed-out fish needs to be tossed.  Yes, I considered donating to a local foodbank, but most of it was already cooked, and the fish that wasn't, had been sitting out waiting to be cooked.  I couldn't risk donating it to the general public.  

Fortunately we covered our costs.  We charged $15 this year ($10 in years past since the pastor wanted to make it affordable) as we need some funds for that tower.  I spent $268 on supplies so there are a few small bills I can throw towards the tower maintenance.  If only the rain had come some other day, we could have brought in over a grand, especially with beer and wine sales, of which the product was donated at no cost to us.  

Oh well, there's always next year.  However, I announced that someone else has to take the lead next year.  It's pretty stressful for me, buying all the supplies, shopping around to get the lowest prices, coordinated the volunteers, running the kitchen, etc.  I don't sleep well the week of the event, and the preps invade my dreams.  16 years in a row is some dedicated service to the parish if I do say so myself.  We'll see if any other Knight steps up next year, or if another group at the church wants to take it on.   

My last post alluded to me growing tired of my job.  This one has me tired of running a fish dinner.  

Maybe I'm just tired.

Monday, March 13, 2023

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

 What's the only thing you dislike about Daylight Savings Time, juvat?

Why, Beans, that would be the first day.  That alarm going off at 0500 Global Body Time (0600 DST) to a pitch black nighttime view.  Getting dressed, copping a quick cup of coffee before departing at 0700 for the 0730 Mass.  It's still pitch black and the deer are migratory, but only crossing roads, and only the ones I navigate.  I particularly like to watch them analyze closure rate and begin to execute their passing across my nose at the latest possible second.

AXIS Deer, Non-Native, Very Prolific, dumber than a box of rocksSource

Do you suppose they get an adrenaline rush much like I do slamming on the brakes and swerving if possible?  Got to or they are the world's dumbest animal in addition to having a death wish.  Moving back to Texas and meeting them made me a deer hunting advocate.

So...If I were king of the world, or think I am like somebody we all know in DC,  I'd make DST last all year long.  It would take the shock effect of an hour early out of play.  One would be used to driving in the dark, The stupid deer might realize that they have to get up WAY earlier to transit the roads safely.  Win/Win.

Ok, 'nough said about that.  It's been an interesting week this past week.  I'm at HEB early on in the week doing my usual "hunter/gatherer" thing.  (It substitutes for a social life.  I see a lot of friends, acquaintances and former co-workers there.  We have a quick "How ya doin' conversation" then go back about our business.  Fills my need for social interaction without wasting a lot of time. Usually the other half in the conversation is happy with the duration also. Win/Win.)

Anyhow, So...there I was *, checking out after navigating the aisles at high speed, searching out and locking on various targets, when my communications device informs me of an incoming transmission.  I glance at the identifier.  Uh-Oh, it's the Commander, Mrs. J.

"juvat, we've lost electricity for the entire property."

"How long so far?"

"About 5 minutes"

I start doing math in my head.  Miss B's oxygenator isn't functional without electricity.  LJW has some O2 Bottles (much like scuba tanks, may actually be them), but they're relatively short term also.  We've got a limited window of time to get Miss B someplace where she can get O2.  I tell Mrs. J I'm on my way home and will stop by the Electric Co-op to see what the estimated outage time will be.

So, I do.  Arrive there, stop at the front desk, explain Miss B's situation and ask about an ETR.  She says that it should be back on line already.  Ok, Great. I confirm that with Mrs. J.  I then tell the lady at the desk that we had given them paperwork saying that we needed notification of planned/unplanned outages but hadn't heard anything from them.  She asked my name then went clicky clack on the computer.

"Sorry, Sir, we don't have that on file.  When did you bring it in?"

"First week in January".  There's a Highway Patrol officer sitting in the lobby about 5' away.  Going postal at this point would not be wise for several different reasons, so, I'm doing my VERY best not to lose my cool.

"Do you have time for me to look into this?"

"You Betcha."

Very shortly thereafter, a different person comes out of the office.  Seems to be quite a bit further up the food chain, but she's carrying a piece of paper.  

"Sir, I'm XXX, Vice President of  YYY.  I'm VERY SORRY, we've got your notification, but it didn't get scanned into our system.  I, personally, took care of it, just now."

Ok.  Feces Occurs.  They fessed up and fixed it.  We talked for a couple of minutes about what info we should have received and will now receive if it happens again.

I thanked her.  Wished the Highway Patrol officer a good day and good luck with his issue and left.

Pretty sure, The Big Guy Upstairs took action so I would be made aware of the problem and get it fixed.  I'm good with that.  A little high blood pressure episode for all concerned on our end, but better now.

 Speaking of Breathing (and on a good note this time), LJW discovered that the Medical Supply company in town now has a portable oxygenator that's battery powered, rechargeable and the size of a laptop computer.  She took Miss B downtown for a stroll up and down main street yesterday.  All concerned needed that respite and things went quite well.  So...Progress!

On a down note, our StarLink connection is still non-functioning.  The new router arrived a couple of weeks ago.  The repair man and I hooked it up and powered it on...No data signal...Nada.  


Re-opened the ticket (again, 3rd time), explained what we'd done and that we had no signal whatsoever.  A day or so later, they replied (this is via a message window on their website e.g. not live) "Oops, we're supposed to have sent a new antenna cable with the router.  We'll get that to you ASAP. "

That was 10 days ago.  Reopened the ticket again (4th time) and sent them another message box text yesterday and got this reply (again a day or so later) "Sorry, juvat, we should have already sent that. We'll send another one.  You should get it within a week to 10 days."

Elon...My average bandwidth over the past couple of months isn't even close to what you advertise.  I've never been a patient man.  Whiskey, Tango, Fox Over!

The only good news there has they've credited me for the 2 X $110/mo usage fee.  I've been using our limited wireless backup, which has neither fast nor large bandwidth, but is somewhat workable. Just about the only thing I use that for is the blog.  Hence why commenting has been less profuse lately than usual.  Blogging via phone is a definite PITA.

Just sayin'

So, juvat how have you been keeping sane?

Well, the result is in doubt, but this helps.

I've been trying my hand at turning a pen with a Celtic Knot as a decoration.

Started out like this.

Took three other cuts exactly like this one with the Maple Strip glued in.  One for each side.

Then, we started turning.

So far, so good!  But still a little bit chunky.

Starting to be a bit more "pen like".  Entering the danger zone, where you're very close to finished dimensions and an "oops" now is quite likely not fixable.

So, Patience, juvat?

Patience! Aye!

Above shows the results after the first couple of coats of CA Glue finish.  Gonna need a bit of buffing out before continuing.  This is my first attempt to finish a pen with CA Glue and I didn't quite have the Bold Face Procedures down pat yet.  All that having been said, I'm pretty happy with the results so far.

At least it didn't disintegrate.  

Peace out, y'all.

*Standard Fighter Pilot war story beginning