Friday, April 19, 2019

DEEP THOUGHT ON FUTURE LUNAR MISSIONS

It is an interesting read. I had kind of hoped back when I was a boy reading Analog in the 7th grade that we would have had a moon base roughly 30 years ago. It got pissed away by the War on Poverty, the War on Drugs, the War on Terrorism, etc. I doubt I'll see it but it would have been nice.

There were some 448 comments on the article at the time I wrote this and I did not trouble to read through them although the first few seemed on point. I just wondered to myself as they talked about interlocking totally single mission point failures (they never used that word, the authors expect everything to be as thoroughly proven and every bit as reliable as Apollo or the Space Shuttle) if they have read The Martian and have considered packing away a decent amount of fertilizer and some potatoes in each payload, just in case.

Once there was an author called Sam Nicholson who wrote some stories many disliked but which I enjoyed. She postulated a mandatory UN presence on the Moon devoted to 'sharing the resources' and since she wrote long ago she was unkind enough to make sure her UN negotiator was drawn from real life and would naturally expect room in the nascent colony for his cow barns, sacrificial fowls and harem.

I wonder, why does the UN leave such a bad taste in literally everybody's mouth? I don't recall reading a single speculative or any book of fiction that gives the UN credit for anything but turmoil, vice, ruin, war, poverty, disease, and corruption all the way down to the bottom.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

UTTERLY PREDICTABLE

Once again the "authorities" dismiss the idea that the fire/attack was a deliberate act. This time they kind of leaped the gun by making their idiotic pronouncement before there was even a hint of credibility to justify their monumentally stupid statement:

According to Daily Mail
Investigators believe an 'electrical short circuit' was responsible for starting the blaze which devastated Notre Dame cathedral this week.   
A French judicial police official said investigators brought in to work out the cause of the inferno made the claims - despite them not having been given access to the church yet for safety reasons. 
The official, who spoke anonymously about the ongoing investigation, said the monument is still being consolidated with wooden planks to support some fragile parts of the walls.   
Only after it is fully made safe will investigators will be allowed a closer look in order to accurately determine the cause of the fire. 

Zut Alors Henri, even from here it is as plain as the nez on your face that this fire was caused by an electrical short-circuit!
Nice try guys. What a shame you have damned your words and statements on matters like these to the point where only cretins and idiots who listen to NPR bother to pay attention to you anymore.

NPR INSANE, NEWS AT ELEVEN

Had the car out for some brake repair today and got to listen to NPR tie itself into delicious knots again and again as they tried to explain that President Trump's failure to fire Mueller amounts to obstruction of justice. Over and over and over and over they all wept and gnashed their teeth at the conclusions that were revealed in the special velociraptor's  report.

Then, when they went berserk with rage they screwed up and had a rethuglican woman come on and started beating her with their inconclusive sticks of shame and remorse and she said that the failure to fire Mueller hardly constitutes obstruction and what's more Trump turned over 1.5 million pages of documents to the velociraptors and if they really want to talk about obstruction we can talk about how Hillary used bleachbit to wipe out 30,000 emails that were ordered to be retained by the courts but which she just went ahead and had destroyed. The guy asking the questions tore at his ears unable to hear over the screaming as the rest of the studio poked their eyes out in rage and then threw the woman to the pack of little velociraptors they keep on hand for eating dangerous food such as rethuglicans.

It was a funny moment as they swept her away without a moment of regret or remorse and went right back to asking each other if perhaps there was some way to prove a case against President Trump...

Democrats who wonder why Trump blindsided their half of the nation by winning the presidency have only to understand that if their news comes from the main stream media, CNN, and NPR, that they are basically pig ignorant and uninformed.

ORIGINAL FAT TIRE

We went to New Belgium's brewery in Fort Collins a couple of years ago. A pilgrimage of sorts. I saw this tonight and thought back to that visit where the Fat Tire bicycles are so prominent. Coca-Cola did it first.


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

YOU ARE IN LUCK

It is International Bat Appreciation Day today and I was going to do a post in celebration of my surviving bat delivered rabies with hardly any medical intervention at all except those 37 shots of bat globulin and gamma globulin in my thumb all around the thumbnail. (I kept asking for alfa globulin but they pretended I was raving mad and kept needling me about it.) So there I was today, seeking bat inspiration on you tube and my fingers did the walking, even the hyper-ventilated left thumb. (No it wasn't enough that the bat sank its fangs in there but I believe I mentioned the needles....) And there was a typo in my tube of u search vector and it delivered unto me,



which introduced me to Manny (the good one, not the one in Fawlty Towers) and Blacks Books which we enjoyed enormously several years ago. I had never heard of Bill Bailey before seeing this show. The link should take you to youtube where the first season's six episodes are on file for your enjoyment.

Enjoy.

MENCKEN NAILS IT

Ripped off from those smart guys at Maggies Farm.

I'm reminded of a forward I read by a famous author I liked about another author less famous but a treasure who ended his writing career way before his time.  "He knew the grand sweep of history."

1. The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

2. Government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advance auction in stolen goods.

3. Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.

4. Democracy, too, is a religion. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses.

5. Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.

6. Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

7. Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.

8. If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.

9. As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

10. All government, of course, is against liberty.

THE TRIUMPH OF STUPID IN COLORADO

I was out and about this morning so I listened to how the Denver Metro Area shut down most of its schools because a scary Floridian, (no, not that one), was known to be on the loose in Colorado and was not only armed but infatuated with Columbine. I'll leave it till later to determine if that was so much BS as usual or has any hint of truth or reality.

Surely this was a massive woman hunt, no?


Just how did they ascertain that there was no longer a threat to the community? Does that last indefinitely, for all time, or until the next glory-seeking loser blows the doors off the school and tears the hearts out of parents of school children the state, city and country refuses to protect?

But let's just look at the FACTS.

Denver metro schools were ordered closed because they had a so-called lunatic 18 year old weirdo from Florida in town who had supposedly bought a shotgun and ammo upon arrival. My God, was she allowed to travel without a parent? How on earth could she buy a gun at such a tender age? All of these questions must be pouring through the place in liberal heads where other people keep their brains and intelligence.

Ask yourself, what possible justification does the school district in greater Denver use to justify keeping the schools open the other 173.5 days of the year? Surely there are about 100,000 known gun armed types roaming the state at large for the entirety of the year and they somehow don't pose a danger?

Don't they have any consideration for the poor innocent children and teachers forced to attend the schools on the other 173.5 days of the year?

Well, we have barely touched on the stupidity in Colorado. They are hellbent to save money on education and half of their schools now only teach 4 days/week. Think how much more money they could save if they cut back to just Sunday school one day/week and left it up to the churches to pay for while also mandating BLTG studies and hourly classes against 'privilege,' all paid for by the churches of course. And of course the same crowds of fools, idiots and morons that eschew vaccination could also insist on blowing off school altogether if it meant any kind of ooooooooh, religious instruction.

Honestly, Heinlein was prescient. These are the crazy times.

AGAIN, LIONS LED BY DONKEYS

Nigel Farage, is one of my favorite 'Speakers-to-Animals'. Hopefully he'll be 3000 quid richer for this.



UPDATE:
That didn't take long and while I enjoy Farage it is obvious that the other politicians in Britain are nothing more than a bunch of damp smelly dishrags.


MY FIRST DAY OF 'PRIVILEGE'

I went shopping at the market yesterday and as I strolled into the check-out line the girl behind me, SWB and talking on cell phone informed all nearby parties and whoever was on the end of the phone line that she was just cut-off by a guy with privilege. I laughed. I suppose that now we see the other boot of fascism descending fast upon us people that were born and raised without sin, who accepted the 'wisdom' of our elders, instructors, teachers, employers, etc, that there could be no such thing as stereotyping because such behavior implied racism. This was the very first time anybody ever accused me of privilege and it bore about as much resemblance to racism as one can find today in America.

HA!

Well, as it happens, I started rejecting the idea that stereotypes were racism many long decades ago. The thing about accepting that stupid premise is simply that it makes no allowance whatsoever for appearance, previous interactions, lessons-learned from others and of course leaves those who practice situational awareness always at the point of a dagger when assumptions based on all the foregoing are ignored or waved away.

I've been doing the SA thing about as long as I've been alive. I dare say all of you have been doing it too. Oh, I meet the occasional fool or idiot that brags about how they don't hesitate to cut through the bad parts of town because, nothing ever happened to them. That's OK with me. Somebody has to contribute to the bloodshed and the body count and rather it was idiots like them than me.

Patterns and response are simply part of life as we know it. For instance, in my experience over the last 50 years or so there are some things that count as near certainties when it comes to shopping at just about any place I care to go. First, some women, you know them, wait until they get to the register and everything has been rung up before they start fumbling around in the cavernous vault hanging from their arm that they call a 'purse' and only then start to rummage around for cash or check or credit card; none of which can be found easily or quickly.

Second, the same person will then question the cashier about 3 to 20 items she might also be interested in and pay absolutely no attention to the line backing up behind her as she discusses cost, options, lack of appreciation for the customer and general contempt for the cashier.

Third, anybody in line who is on their cellphone is going to make the wait longer when they get to the head of the line and slightly more unbearable since they won't hang up or put on hold their little conversation for any expediency of carrying out the operation of getting through without holding up the line.

Four, you can tell all of these people at a glance. 90% of them share the same exact characteristics and their behavior follows a known standard where they quite literally don't see anybody else as a person except themselves. Now I ask you, is that stereotyping or experience?

Monday, April 15, 2019

NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL FIRST OF MANY

Notre Dame Cathedral, built in 1160 AD, was gutted by fire today. I suppose that like all the sudden, overwhelming and devastating 'wild fires' California has suffered from in recent decades, that the destruction of this cathedral will be the beginning of a trend in Europe and elsewhere.



I'm glad I spent some time there on my first trip to Paris and my last trip to France.

UPDATE: Well, I did know that it was by no means the first church, great church or cathedral that was attacked and desecrated by the mobs of unbelievers swarming old Europe. It's been happening twice a day to churches in Europe for years.

UPDATE 2:

This captures what I thought from the outset. I don't really think they hired crazy lunatics who were going to wave heat, electricity and sparks on the roof of an 800 year old wooden roof.
If there was a real investigation as contrasted with the sham investigation like the FBI investigations, this would probably show up in the result. 
1) the workers who were refurbishing the roof of Notre-Dame are among the best specialized craftsmen in the world, concerning the restauration of medieval monuments (their title is “Meilleur Ouvrier de France”).They love their work, and take all the necessary precautions. They have worked in many rooms of the Castle of Versailles, they have restored many churches and cathedrals. For example, they worked during more than 20 years on the marvelous Strasbourg cathedral (I lived in Strasbourg and saw their progress), and there was never a single problem. 
2) the workers stopped at 6:00 PM, the fire started at 6:50 PM, near scaffoldings, used to climb there. 
3) no electricity was allowed near the roof, because it was made in wood and as a matter of security, every inflamable thing was banned too. So, to have a fire there, someone needed to bring something. 
Here is the latest update from Maxime Lépante, our French correspondent in France (emphasis is mine): 
This is an update about what we know today about the fire that destroyed the roof and parts of the vaults of Notre-Dame: 
1) Restoration work hadn’t started on the roof. The scaffolding were still being put in place. The architect in chief of the “Monuments Historiques” (“Historical Monuments”, the administration that maintains and repairs monuments in France), Philippe Villeneuve, who was responsible for the refurbishing of the spire of Notre-Dame, has stated that : “Work had not started yet, scaffoldings were still being built”. 
2) Everything was done to avoid any source of heat near the wood of the roof. No electrical plug, no welding were allowed. So, Philippe Villeneuve says : “The hot spot hypothesis is therefore not the right one”. 
3) The head of the company that was building the scaffoldings (Europe Echafaudage) (Europe Scaffolding), Julien Le Bras, was interviewed by a French TV (BFM) : “All I can say for the time being is that at the moment of the fire, absolutely none of the employees of my company was present on site”. 
4) He added : “All safety procedures on the Notre-Dame de Paris site have been respected”. 
5) One of my friend sent me an email concerning the security on the roof of Notre-Dame. She has a diploma in Art history and studied in the “Ecole du Louvre” (“Louvre School”, were students learn art history and restoration processes) : “I visited the framing of Notre Dame with architects of the “Bâtiments de France” (“Buildings of France”, the highest rank for an architect in France), some years ago. This 13th century timber frame was extremely protected. Each intervention is always accompanied by historians, architects, experts; no work is envisaged without extreme caution; no source of heat, no torch, no electrical apparatus is allowed; a high-performance alarm system is in place; and very strict supervision of all people allowed there. I think we will eventually learn that this was arson.” 
6) So, as I said yesterday, with all these security measures, to have a fire on the roof of Notre-Dame, someone had to bring something there, and lit it up.
Somehow I suspect we will never see this reported anywhere. It will be as that idiot congresswoman said, 'some people did something to something that day.'

I don't think the idiots understand the realities of modern C6I.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

NO BIGGIE, IT WAS MY SUNSET

Every now and then, I miss it. You sort of get used to it and then it's gone.


HOTWATER

It's not always a bad thing although it can be. I was trying to find out why Powerline decided to blacklist me today and was looking into the google closet with a torch and ran across this old story about Joe Paterno, a wholly admirable man who was pilloried to death by the media and the deep state and yeah, I happen to think the deep state exists and will always exist. You look at the guy they chose to 'investigate' the crime and who was it?  Yeah, former FBI director Louis Freeh. What do we have to do to rid ourselves of these poisonous losers? The first Director, named Hoover, was hideous and they only got worse!

The Pharoahs had to put up with it and so did Louis XIV. I found a couple of authors of fiction that wrote a little bit about the deepness. Kingsbury and Wouk where the underlying story is in the text as a fable written about what was entirely real. Or could be in Kingsbury's case.

So, anyway, banned I am from Powerline which is no big deal really since I think I've posted comments there about 3 times in the last 13 years. Scott has taken the trouble to email me twice tonight to ask for what I posted that ired them and I have to admit, I don't have a clew. I do actually. Counting my laser sails I'm pretty sure I still  have two clews and two tacks but who's being pedantic? Besides, I might still have my racing sail which means 3 clews, and 3 tacks. Yep, you'd have to know your sails to have a.......wait for it........clue.

You don't care.

Spring has sprung here in MetroparkCentralis and we are free!!!!! to gallivant and roam and enjoy the parks, the river, the lake, the coast guard station long abandoned and the cemetary. WE have had a glorious weekend and it's NOT OVER!

Saturday, April 13, 2019

BURN

I want this President's Attorney General to just go ahead and burn the lot of his subordinates and not have every excruciating detail wormed out of the FBI scumbags or the DOJ scumbags. I want instant and full compliance with Congressional scrutiny of their misbehavior and crimes.

WHY IS THAT SO HARD?

If the Executive Branch waives any and all so-called rights about disclosure I'd like to see it answer for it's Gun-Running under Obama and the crimes they all signed up for and waged against the people of this country when they all gave themselves fully over to overthrowing the will of the public and tried to frame President Trump for crimes he never did or even thought about doing and while they went all out to conceal the crimes of Hillary Clinton, Lynch, Mills, Holder and the rest of that sorry shower. Clapper, Comey and the rest of the Intel politicians should be in jail now for the rest of their lives.

They attempted a coup against our government.

Friday, April 12, 2019

TOO BAD

Poor little spaceship, it went so far, only to crash at the last moment.

I made this. I thought it was funny.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

NEVER MIND ALL THAT

I got a bit closer to the law than usual over the last few days and while my service was brief and didn't actually involve any kind of service I was left wondering after I read this at reason.com. That we find an awful lot of men behind bars is not all that unusual. Most bartenders I've met are men. That we have so many men who have been sentenced to prison for crimes they never committed is a failure of the people. If you read the story at the link, it briefly mentions some of the corrupt practices that led to what amounts to lifetime sentences in jail because somebody managed to fool the jurors a lot of the time.

I think that defense attornys should be given a special allowance at voir dire proceedings to eliminate the people who are too stupid to listen to the facts of the case and too stupid to make up their own minds about a person's guilt or innocence. Believe me, I have seen some really stupid potential jurors and you don't want them with your fate in their stupid little hands.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

NOT GOING TO BE A CHUMP

I think this most elegantly sums up the state of affairs in America and Congress. Simply put, we're not going to be McCained anymore.
“WHO IS TO BLAME FOR THE RISE OF RADICAL PARTISANSHIP IN CONGRESS?”: Over at the Federalist, Madeline Osburn is asking who killed civility in Congress. She resists (as she should) the usual story that it was Newt Gingrich. Instead, she reports that, according to Professor Kevin Portteus, the trend was already well underway in the 1970s. 
I can add this: Part of the problem is that legislative compromise is a dying art in Congress. Why? Because one side (and for the examples that come to mind for me, that side is the GOP) has been repeatedly made into a chump when the compromise comes unraveled in the executive branch (through one-sided enforcement) or in the courts (through one-sided interpretation). The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 is a good example. For many years at least the part that GOP favored most went unenforced, while the part the Democrats favored most was interpreted broadly and enforced vigorously. There are other examples. 
When legislators feel like chumps, they start shying away from legislating. That gets them out of the habit of negotiating with their colleagues across the aisle. Instead, they spend their time posturing. That posturing in turn makes future negotiations more difficult. Alas, I don’t know how to solve this problem. Once trust is lost—whether in the context of a legislature or elsewhere—is it  it is hard to regain. 
`````````````````````````````````````````````````````````by Gail Heriot

MACK REYNOLDS GETS IT

Reprise and now perhaps a spoiler. B'cause, I do like it.

LIEUTENANT COLONEL RICHARD COLE, USAF

Another brave man and the last of the volunteers to fly in the Dolittle Raid on Tokyo from USS Hornet on 18 April 1942, has stepped into the clearing at the end of the path. Of the 80 men who took flight that day to bomb Tokyo in retaliation for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he was the last survivor. What they did will long be remembered. Most of what is below was by Richard Goldstein at the New York Times.

The crew of the lead plane in the 1942 raid on the Japanese homeland. From left, Lt. Henry A. Potter, navigator; Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle, pilot; Staff Sgt. Fred A. Braemer, bombardier; Lt. Richard E. Cole, co-pilot; and Staff Sgt. Paul J. Leonard, flight engineer/gunner. All five were rescued after the raid.CreditCredit  U.S. Air Forc
Task Force 16.2 under Captain Mitscher, CO of USS Hornet enroute to Japan in April 1942.
Richard E. Cole, who was Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot in the lead plane of a storied misson in the history of American air power, the bombing raid on Japan in retaliation for its attack on Pearl Harbor months earlier, died on Tuesday in San Antonio. He was 103 and the last survivor of the 80 Doolittle raiders, who carried out America’s first strikes against the Japanese homeland in World War II.

His death was announced by Gen. David L. Goldfein, the chief of staff of the Air Force.

The Doolittle raid was a low-level daylight attack in April 1942 that resulted in only light damage to military and industrial targets. But it buoyed an American home front reeling from unbroken reverses in the Pacific, beginning with the Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 7, 1941, and it shattered the Japanese government’s assurances to its people that they were invulnerable to an American air attack.

It also prompted Japan to launch a naval attack on the American base at Midway in the mid-Pacific in June 1942 out of the mistaken belief that the Doolittle bombers had departed from an aircraft carrier based there. The Americans, having broken the Japanese codes, knew the attack was coming and dealt the Japanese Navy a major defeat.

The commander of the American bombing raid, Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle, was awarded the Medal of Honor, becoming one of the nation’s first heroes of World War II.

The raiders’ story was reprised for succeeding generations at their annual reunions. Mr. Cole was among three survivors at the airmen’s final reunion, on Nov. 9, 2013, Veterans Day weekend, at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Dayton, Ohio.

On the morning of April 18, 1942, 16 Army Air Corps B-25 bombers flew to Japan off the aircraft carrier Hornet from a point more than 650 miles offshore.

Doolittle and Lieutenant Cole alternated in flying their bomber, armed with high-explosive and incendiary bombs.

“Everyone prayed but did so in an inward way,” Mr. Cole recalled in an account for the Air Force information office in 1957. “If anyone was scared, it didn’t show.”

Then came a moment that perplexed Doolittle. As Mr. Cole remembered it: “The tune ‘Wabash Cannonball’ kept running through my mind. One time I was singing and stomping my foot with such gusto that the boss looked at me in a very questioning manner, like he thought I was going batty.”

The five-man crew of the Doolittle plane spotted more than 80 Japanese aircraft while approaching its target area, the western section of Tokyo. But no fighters attacked them, and antiaircraft fire made only a few holes in the bomber’s tail.

The lack of a formidable Japanese response evidently resulted from their belief that an American air attack was improbable, at the least. And the relatively few Doolittle bombers in the mission did not suggest to the Japanese that a large-scale strike was in progress, one that would require a furious response.

After dropping its bombs, the plane with Doolittle, Lieutenant Cole and their navigator, bombardier and engineer/gunner descended to treetop level to avoid flak. To the Japanese civilians on the ground in Tokyo, it seemed to be just another plane in the skies that day, when a scheduled civil defense drill was being conducted.

The 16 planes were supposed to fly on to China after the attack and land at Nationalist Chinese airstrips, since they could not return to the Hornet. Army bombers were not designed to take off from or land on aircraft carriers. The planes ran low on fuel and none of them made it to the airstrips prepared by the Chinese. Fifteen crash-landed in Japanese-occupied territory or ditched off the Chinese coast, and one plane flew on to the Soviet Union.

Doolittle, Lieutenant Cole and the other three crewmen of their plane bailed out in rain and fog soon after their bomber crossed the Chinese coast as darkness arrived.

After the Doolittle mission, Lieutenant Cole flew transport planes over the Himalayas in the China-Burma-India theater

Richard Eugene Cole, who was known as Dick, was born on Sept. 7, 1915, in Dayton. He became enthralled with flying as a teenager when he watched Doolittle, a trophy-winning aviation pioneer, making test flights from an airfield there.

After attending Ohio University, he enlisted in the military in November 1940. He flew Army Air Corps planes seeking Japanese submarines off the West Coast before he was chosen to be among the volunteers for what was described as a dangerous mission, with many of the details to come later.

Lieutenant Cole was the co-pilot on a training flight in Florida when its pilot became ill and Doolittle filled in for him. Doolittle was so impressed with how the crew worked together that when the ailing pilot was unable to return to duty, he became the pilot for that crew in the raid.

Mr. Cole retired from the Air Force in 1967 as a lieutenant colonel with three Distinguished Flying Crosses. He settled in Comfort, Tex., about 45 miles northwest of San Antonio, and owned a citrus farm there. He was the subject of a 2015 book, “Dick Cole’s War: Doolittle Raider, Hump Pilot, Air Commando,” by Dennis R. Okerstrom.

TASK FORCE 16 AND THE RAID ON TOKYO

The United States was up to a great deal in the Pacific back in 1942 and it didn't have much to do it with but it did have some outstanding people who made a difference. This is their story. 



Tuesday, April 9, 2019

JURY DUTY

Two four letter words ending in why. At any rate my day was fantastically pointless since I sat there all day in the anteroom to hell jury waiting room and was never called to form part of any of the 10 juries they put together on Monday. I have at least four more days of this before my time in the bowels of justice comes to an end. Still, they have decent wifi and it gives me a chance to catch up on my reading.


Saturday, April 6, 2019

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH

It is, once again, time for poetry. So, my favorite is still Billy Collins.

The Country by Billy Collins

I wondered about you
when you told me never to leave
a box of wooden, strike-anywhere matches
lying around the house because the mice

might get into them and start a fire.
But your face was absolutely straight
when you twisted the lid down on the round tin
where the matches, you said, are always stowed.

Who could sleep that night?
Who could whisk away the thought
of the one unlikely mouse
padding along a cold water pipe

behind the floral wallpaper
gripping a single wooden match
between the needles of his teeth?
Who could not see him rounding a corner,

the blue tip scratching against a rough-hewn beam,
the sudden flare, and the creature
for one bright, shining moment
suddenly thrust ahead of his time -

now a fire-starter, now a torchbearer
in a forgotten ritual, little brown druid
illuminating some ancient night.
Who could fail to notice,

lit up in the blazing insulation,
the tiny looks of wonderment on the faces
of his fellow mice, onetime inhabitants
of what once was your house in the country?

–Billy Collins, from Nine Horses: Poems

For some reason I read this and every time I'm carried back to Failaka Island where we, the IRT, were using radar to observe the Iraqi coastline and the various oil runners that tried to slip out of Umm Qasr, ABOT, KAOT and even, when the atmospherics permitted, out of the Shatt al Arab. But there we were just the 35 of us and our radar and communications systems with the blockade forces and one night there was Petty Officer Cole standing security watch at one of our entry control points and he was 'cold' so he built a little fire all by himself. He used pallets and old debris from the Iraqi occupation and in no time at all he had flames shooting 15 feet into the air a little after 2 in the morning. It was something of a surprise.

Cole was an interesting (psycho) who relayed to me the news his father gave him about speeding up his departure from the Navy. I should have known better but I asked, "what did he propose?" Cole said his dad told him to punch an officer and the Navy would toss him out. I allowed as how this was so and added that we'd probably arrange to send him to the brig at Miramar for 3-6 years after his court martial and he should consider that time in the Navy too.

Still, a gigantic raging fire on the beach just a few miles off the Iraqi coast where the officers that sent us there told us they had proposed setting us up on Bubiyan Island at first but then conceded that Intel was right and an Iraqi spec ops team would swim the channel one night and slit all our throats.

Working for the Commander, Middle East Force was always entertaining.

Friday, April 5, 2019

OUTBOUND AFTER A MONTH IN KARACHI

We spent a long month in Karachi and pulled out on Christmas Eve, 1984. We spent New Years day taking on JP-5 in the North Arabian Sea from a civilian tanker using our close-in rig with the B&A crane. It was a 6 hour long underway replenishment 90 feet from the nearest ship the whole time on our way back into the Persian Gulf enroute to Bahrain.

Picture I sent home to the parents of 'the techrep' in my new chair bought in Karachi
As you can see, I was really bummed to be heading back into the war zone.

Interesting side note about that chair. It survived the next 20 years and a dozen moves including getting shipped home from Bahrain. My sister borrowed it when she was living in Del Mar about 10 years after I bought it and claimed it was the most comfortable thing for a mother-to-be to sit in and so off it went to her place in Del Mar for half a year. It came back though and lived on and was well liked up until I got married.

Now that I think about it, I should have kept the chair.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE

This is an interesting question. What would Mueller's report look like if this had been turned up in his investigation into President Trump and all his minions?


And what if every single computer, cell phone and Blackberry used by all of the principals was wiped, bleach-bitted and smashed to bits with a hammer by a minion who worked directly for President Trump? And what if the RNC's computers and the Republican Congressional staff's computers were maintained by Pakistani criminals who gained access because they were hired by the Congresswoman who lead the DNC and gave them access to every bit of the Democratic Party's Congressional computer networks and then fled the country one  jump in front of the law and not one single computer or file was turned over to the FBI during the course of the investigation?

Things would be a little different just by a tiny shift in perspective and where you stand.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

OH THE STUPIDITY: IT BURNS

The Army has determined that the replacement for the Bradley Fighting Vehicles must offer less protection than the Bradley because they require that two of the Bradley replacement vehicles fit on a single C-17 aircraft. The M2 and M3 Bradleys, although lighter than an M-1 tank, still comes in too heavy for more than one per plane. You can see where they used to advertise 2 Bradleys/C-17. We ran through the same thing with the uparmored HMMVW. Add the armor and it was a very different vehicle.



Those in a position to remember the end stages of the Bradley procurement will recall that an Air Force Colonel at the Pentagon Office of Test and Evaluation managed to convince most of the dunderheads that the Bradley must be fully fueled and armed and then shot with anti-tank weapons in order to discern whether or not the infantry/cavalry fighting vehicle was up to snuff as a tank. When the Army's Program Manager refused to go along and pointed out that the Bradley was not acquired, designed or built as a tank his objections were poo-pooed by the Colonel and Congress and much of the public as insufficiently germane.

I was a Program Manager for a Navy Patrol Boat contract many years ago and I had two pages of specifications delivered from the Pentagon office in charge of Expeditionary Warfare back then; OPNAV N85. One of the first requirements was that the boat must be air transportable on C-130 aircraft. That set the upper limits on everything about the boat from width, height, weight, etc. We demonstrated that it would fit on delivery by taking the first boat from the builder, driving it over the highways and bridges from Kingston, Canada to Fort Drum and loading it on a C-141 which has essentially the same door dimensions as a C-130.


I was not involved in the next patrol boat acquisition for the same expeditionary force which showed that the idiot in charge of that procurement left out any requirement for the boats to fit in any aircraft. When it was delivered it suffered from two major design flaws. It was too big to fit in anything the USAF flies and it wouldn't fit under normal height highway bridges which meant that quite a few had their mast and radars snapped off when they were loaded on low-boys for transport from the building yard to the end users.

When we invaded Iraq, part II, the only boats that could respond instantly were the handful I bought as PM and the remaining boats from the first patrol boat acquisition. It took almost a year to customize the third generation patrol boats to hinge the masts and get them to fit, into C-17 aircraft. They still wouldn't fit in anything older than the C-17. They were not really all that expeditionary but they did have air-conditioning!

We all know what happens every single time the people who write the Request for Proposals skimp on the necessities of modern combat. It is called creep. It's obvious that even if a vehicle is delivered that meets the criteria specified, the add-ons that make it a useful weapon system will quickly mean that it will grow too heavy to fit two on a single aircraft.

Depleting the armor on the outset is always a mistake. We saw it with HMS Hood's fate and earlier at Jutland where the Admiral in command is said to have remarked, "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today." The Royal Navy lost two of its lightly armored Battle Cruisers in the opening salvos of the battle because their armor was sacrificed for speed and left the ships and magazines vulnerable.

And we saw it with the M551 Sheridan light tanks.

You would think the army would have learned something from the past but they appear to be as resistant to the lessons of battle and history as our Navy. It was with something like awe that I witnessed NAVSEA procure additional armor, after the boats were built, for the 3rd generation patrol boats to the tune of over a $1,000,000 only to find out, too late, that if it was actually bolted onto the boats the additional topside weight would cause the boats to flip over and sink. NAVSEA is home to the only naval architects in the Navy. It's their job to run stability calculations on things we buy that float before we buy it.

We really should be designing our weapons for war rather than for our aircraft.  One admiral famously remarked that the docks and piers exist to support the fleet, not the other way around. OTOH, we always took into account the constraints of width and draft in places such as existing canals in Suez and Panama.

Do you think anybody at TRADOC is paying attention to FEDBIZOPS and things like the new future army combat vehicles?