Saturday, February 23, 2013


We're hitting the road for a bit. Off to Key West and other parts.
Talk among yourselves.


Interesting snippet of news from gCaptain at
She has been found from space. That'd be your Total Maritime Domain Awareness thing.
If you read the article, Transport Canada's statement about turning the derelict loose again sounded a lot like this to me.....
No worries, its been towed out of the environment.

Friday, February 22, 2013


Have societies in collapse ever bounced back from catastrophic ruination? What constitutes collapse in a society? What if a society was never rich in any of the trappings of civilization; that the nature of that society was merely covered over with a thin veneer of civilization? Obviously I'm talking about total devastation of a society. History is replete with disaster overtaking civilization. None ever made it back although I can think of one. The one that made it just keeps on bouncing back. In fact, one might argue that it never collapsed.

Assimilate this!


I just read this about Inside Washington last Friday when Mark Shields responded to the topic of increasing the minimum wage; "If you can't pay somebody nine dollars an hour, you probably shouldn't be in business." John Daly of said, "Well there you have it… If you own a company that would have a hard time adjusting to a 20%, across-the-board hike of your employees’ salaries, you might as well just hang things up. You don’t deserve your shot at the American dream!" Hundreds of companies, large and small have responded to Obama care by using their connections to opt out of the scheme imposed on the nation. They see it as fundamentally unaffordable. Some of these organizations are, wait for it, labor unions.
The World Upside Down

With any luck at all the sequestration will roll over the country next week and we will not spend $44 billion but at what cost? Well, it will take us back to the same budget numbers we had in 2007. Harsh aint it? I think the Bill proposed to help out all the victims of Storm Sandy was over $67 billion so it all gets lost in the wind anyway. But, in the meantime we are treated to sage panels proposing the end of the world as we know it because 800,000 DOD civilians might have to take off 2 days per pay period. A. Why are there 800,000 DOD civilians anyway?  B. Who cares if they take the whole week?

On the other hand we also hear moans coming from the uniformed branch. I'll stick to one of the ones I know and just wonder why it matters if we drop to a single Carrier Battle Group in the Persian Gulf instead of two. We didn't have ANY Carrier Battle Groups in the Gulf until Desert Storm and that includes throughout the Tanker War between Iraq and Iran. We mostly kept one in  the Indian Ocean but that's a lot of room unbounded by the sandbox and relatively free of coast launched anti-ship missiles and cheap mines. I always saw putting aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf as an invitation, kind of along the lines of putting battleships in Scapa Flow or Pearl Harbor.

Say no to aircraft carriers in the Gulf!

We also learn that an Amphibious Group stuffed with US Marines will not sail to the far reaches of the world leaving the far reaches of the world in some Peril. Nobody is exactly sure what the Peril is but the world is apparently fraught with Peril. But again, on the gripping hand, if they couldn't be bothered to do anything about the US Ambassador and Consulate in Benghazi what use are they likely to be anyway?

When the Royal Navy withdrew from east of Suez they left behind a fairly ordered place with just the flames of newly created state of Israel's fires banked behind them. After all, the world had the US to start stepping up to the wicket. Now it looks like the US is ready to withdraw east of Suez and leave the Pacific's far rim to the natives at long last.
GSMA, an awesome place.

From here it looks like western civilization has had enough of the rest of the world (ROTW) and is making its usual informed decision to leave the ROTW to the dogs. There are places where I wouldn't go to now although I've been there in the past.

If the brightness of the new world is owed to the hinterlands going up in flames it is comforting to reflect on the famous words of LOUIS XV, "après moi le déluge"
 No flies on this guy!

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Why are cruise ships so damaged by engineering fires in this day and age?

As I read the news I am once again struck by how the modern cruise ship industry is plagued by morons and radicals. The morons run the ships into reefs and other things while the radicals rule the engine rooms. How does a fire break out and burn out of control in a modern cruise ship? In particular, how does it happen in a cruise ship engineering space? I don't think there is a good answer.

We had installed twin agent firefighting systems actuated from stations within the engine rooms and from the damage control decks above which used (aqueous fire fighting foam (AFFF) and potassium bicarbonate powder (PKP). We also had CO2 flooding systems in addition to CO2 extinguishers and then we had PKP extinguishers that worked on spoiling the fire triangle by acting on the free radicals required for combustion even when the fire triangle was present; fuel, heat and O2. If all that failed we had HALON flooding systems that would flood the affected space and put the fire out instantly and keep it out unless the ventilation was still running or there were significant holes in the fabric of the compartment allowing fresh air in.

So how in the world does a cruise ship suffer catastrophic damage to its generators and switchboards that cannot be made good by shifting to alternates? I haven't seen the engine rooms of the ships that keep doing this but it I can't believe they don't have separate generators and main propulsion spaces. Even with electric drive there is no reason to have the switchboard in the main engine room. I guess the real questions are just who in the world controls the specifications for modern passenger ships; who designs it to fail catastrophically; why and how can none of these fire fighting systems put out fires in cruise ships? They all worked in my ships. An electrical fire lasted no longer than it takes to turn the burning unit off. The class A and B fires didn't survive the application of twin agent long enough to notably heat the spaces. None required dumping halon or CO2 systems and only one required PKP.

It's a modern cruise ship so why are unmanned spaces not equipped with fire detectors (smoke, heat) attached to automatic fire suppression systems that will flood the space with chemicals?

Saturday, February 16, 2013


A sign I photographed outside the Coventry Village library yesterday.
What the hell does it mean? Is that not the most stupid sign you've ever seen?


I have a number of letters written by one of the family who fought in the Civil War a long time ago. Tonight I thought I'd try to post some of the scans I made of them over Christmas. It may work. This was written to his sister fairly early in the war and comes from the first file of the letters. His unit was posted to a camp outside of Silver Spring, Tenn. Hopefully, the pages will embiggen if nudged. Wow, they look great on iPad.

Here is smooth copy of the letter. transcribed as he wrote it one hundred and fifty years ago,

                                                           Camp near Silver Springs Tenn.
                                                                        Nov 16th 1862
                                                                   Dear Sister
                                                                                                Emma I have got back to my tent just now from hearing a good sermon given by our Chaplain and having nothing else to do but read or write I concluded to write letter to you and give you some little account of what we have been doing for the last week and if you will send me a blank book I will keep a full account of all the important things I see or see during the rest of my time in the army which will be very interesting to look at in the future. We arrived at this camp about a week ago but did not do any thing until yesterday when we went on a reconnaissance to Lebanon, Tenn which about 11 miles a little south of east of this camp. We started from our camp at 9 in the morning and got into the town about 1 in the afternoon by fighting some of the rebs cavalry but none of our men was hurt. We destroyed the works in a large grist mill and left the town on road to camp but had not got far until we heard the women and children calling for us to come and put out the fire that the mill was burning with all the flour in it but we (the enemy) told them that it was not our intention to burn the mill but that scoundrel had set fire to it but that perhaps it was all the better for it to burn so we would not put it for them but if their husbands and sons and fathers and brothers would come home from the confederate army we would give them a chance to do so but we would not do so for the rebs might come and repare the mill again and use it which we did not want them to do. They then told the Gen to put a guard over the mill and not let the rebs use it. The reply of the Gen, was that it was not the intention of the commander of this army to leave troops at every town but to destroy what would do them any good and keep the army together, after making the above reply he gave the order forward and arriving at camp just 15 minutes after 12 P.M. I have heard cannonading for some time but I do not know who it is but it is off toward Murfreysburough Tenn which is 18 miles south of here. I am going to write to Ma this afternoon and will give her the rest of the knews. Give my respects to all and still will I be remaining your affectionate brother.
                                                                                         Luther Beaver


Exile in Portales provided an interesting opportunity to test the incredible writing of this site. He pointed us at:  This clever little site takes text from a blog site and computes all manner of smart intelligent shiny things. So I did it anyway.

The numbers are in:

Reading Ease

A higher score indicates easier readability; scores usually range between 0 and 100.
Readability Formula Score
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease 58.4

Grade Levels

A grade level (based on the USA education system) is equivalent to the number of years of education a person has had. Scores over 22 should generally be taken to mean graduate level text.
Readability Formula Grade
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 11
Gunning-Fog Score 13.8
Coleman-Liau Index 11.2
SMOG Index 9.9
Automated Readability Index 12.1
Average Grade Level 11.6

I'm happy with that. Clear and concise prose is what I was trained to write and pretty much what I write with the odd bit of snark thrown in --- always. I read a graduate level paper last week waxing lyrical about layered polymers of all things and my eyes were bleeding midway through. I shudder to think what would happen to them if I tried to read anything coming out of the MLA's chapped little hands. I pasted in some of that polymer paper and the results were too horrible to reveal.

I am going to post some Civil War letters followed later by stupid signs.

Oh, and if you use the shiny web site on your own blog do try to select the longest winded and most turgid prose you can find if you want to get your numbers up there in graduate level territory. Lots of syllables and stuff like that.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


An article today from Investors Business Daily describes the latest Gallup poll that finds that 92% of Pakistanis dislike US. That sounds fair. We are after all the ones behind the drone strikes that kill hundreds of our enemies in Pakistan. OK and we also shell them on their side of the border when their army gets frisky and shoots at ours in Afghanistan. Oh OK, we also launch full scale raids into their country with the aim of killing our enemies holed up there.

Well, that worked out well: 92% of Pakistanis dislike America

The writer enjoys twitting the regime here for their "smart diplomacy" but I think we have common ground with our friends in Pakistan; all 800 of them. Americans despise Pakistan. Pakistan created the Taliban and it created Al Queda and it deliberately with malice aforethought moved its forces to destabilize and topple the regimes in Afghanistan. I don't doubt that it supported the vicious attack carried out by Pakistani extremist haters in Mumbai a couple of years ago. More disgusting than that: Pakistan knowingly played host and protector for bin Laden after 9/11.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


This is a hoot. Take a look at the link and the first comment. It reads exactly like the usual comments to military blog sites discussing the incredible damage budget cuts and blindfolds will do to our military by short-sighted non-thinking anti-myrmidons. Pesky anti-myrmidons.

JordanViray 2 days ago

Have you even served with the Imperial forces? Sure it's easy to take potshots from your military blog in some no-name star system while the fleet and its legions fight the rebel insurgents, but combined space/air/ground operations are a lot messier than any infographic could ever portray.
Even with the Empire's full spectrum dominance of the battlespace, you can't just leverage fleet assets which are optimized for ship-to-ship combat into a large scale ground invasion force. A Star Destroyer might have more firepower than the entire militaries of less advanced worlds but you still need a proper ground assault ship to support infantry landings.
Unfortunately, the do-nothing blowhards in Coruscant couldn't get funding for the promising alternative designs from Sienar Fleet Systems and we ended up (as usual) with Kuat Drive Yards' overpriced, overdue, and underperforming AT-AT mess.

Monday, February 11, 2013


I hadn't known any murderers in my life. 

I'm pretty sure that I met LT Dorner a long time ago back when he was a member of Squadron 34. I met most of them as they went through their workup after mobilization before heading overseas to Kuwait. I was initially thrown by reports that he was with a riverine unit in Bahrain but other reports indicated that he was in MIUWU 105 and I knew almost all of them at and around that time. In 2006 what we had in Bahrain was Mobile Security Detachment Bahrain and it worked for Mobile Security Squadron Three under Navy Coastal Warfare Group One and I'd forgotten that they played host to our reserve Embarked Security Detachments that were created out of and manned with a lot of the Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare personnel immediately after Operation Enduring Freedom began. The ESD deployed to the Persian Gulf and elsewhere to provide embarked security teams for ships of the Military Sealift Command in the Mediterranean and Central Command areas.

The events since the murders at Newtown have concerned me because some forces are trying to use that violence in an effort to shape a confrontation best avoided and one that is completely unnecessary. Words like 'confiscation, seizure and ban' enacted into law by vote or executive fiat is asking for violence.

People who see no options are faced with two stark choices; the path Aaron Swartz opted for rather than spend the rest of his life in jail because the federal prosecutor was on a personal jihad or Dorner's way out. The end result is the same. Judges, District Attorneys and the various people who routinely get away with wounding dozens of innocent bystanders are generating incoherent rage. It's not truly incoherent but once all the legal alternatives have been exhausted the option remains for those that believe they have been denied justice. Picking a fight that the other guy can't win doesn't always mean that the stronger party survives to witness victory. We see it every day where death IS the victory.

I think it's safe to say that Dorner is headed for the clearing at the end of the path. According to his lights he was mortally wounded by people he has taken the trouble to name. If they thought that he couldn't hurt them because they are armed and guarded I'm afraid that he is reminding them of what it means to have 'hostages to fortune.' Those police officers made and left a live enemy behind them and didn't care at all. They made a terrible mistake.

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand;
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the A gaean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Dover Beach
Matthew Arnold

Sunday, February 10, 2013


The first link is just a few seconds of film from the second link. Thanks to Goodstuff.

This is the full 2 minute video:


I have copied this from Broadside Blog by Jeff Bacon and it's from Military Times. I included the original comments.

It's all true!

Broadside Blog

The most interesting SWO in the world
Posted by Bacon on January 30th, 2013 filed in Broadside moments
This was sent to me by my buddy Ernie, a Navy veteran and former shipmate. The author of this is unknown, but whoever wrote it is brilliant. May I present…

The Most Interesting SWO In The World

He is always the stand-on vessel.
Stars navigate by him.
He always eyeballs it.
He wears wash khakis under his NWUs.
The equator crosses him.
He has sailed the eighth sea.
He got his SWO pin in two days. The first was spent checking in.
Detailers ask him about their career progression.
He doesn’t dead reckon…he dead knows.
He maintains a permanent no-shave chit signed by Adm Zumwalt.
His ship’s aren’t INSPECTED by INSURV, they are ADMIRED.
He won the annual TYCOM Shiphandler of the year award in 1996…twice.
He doesn’t call them Battle Orders, for by the time someone reads them, the Battle is over.
The carrier does plane guard for him.
Marine mammals avoid him.
Clocks retard and advance to conform to him.
He once conned a ship alongside an oiler…….while aboard the oiler.
The CNO asks him for permission to carry on with duties assigned.
He has caught a leviathan and a mermaid. He released them both, of course, and wished them well.
Aviators ask him for stories.
His NMCI account works flawlessly.
He invented the MOBOARD.
He is always on station.
Dolphins taught him the sonar equation.
He maintains the Secret Billet List.
Lights the plant off by himself… from the bridge.
His sea stories have changed foreign policy.
He once won the Battle E for three different classes of ship in one year…while on shore duty.
He caught a cold once. His ship sent a CAT-4 CASREP.
He can carry an open coffee cup from shaft alley to the pilothouse without spilling a drop.
CO’s call him to report contacts.
The Rules of the Road read, “Whatever this man wants”.
He is… the most interesting SWO in the world!
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7 Responses to “The most interesting SWO in the world”

  1. Broadside Blog – Military Times – The most interesting SWO in the world | Bring the heat, Bring the Stupid Says:
    [...] via Broadside Blog – Military Times – The most interesting SWO in the world. [...]
  2. Sierra Caddis Says:
    - Stay angery my friend.
    - Stay tired my friend.
    - Stay sleepless my friend.
    - Stay on station my friend.
    Who can come up with the best closing quote?
  3. Sierra Caddis Says:
    He slept once, just to see what it was like to be a Supply officer.
  4. Sierra Caddis Says:
    - He tells OTSR where to route ships.
  5. Campbell98 Says:
    Something I made:
  6. Bacon Says:
    The Supply Officer comment is an absolute classic! I heard from a reliable source that it will be forwarded on, destined to live on within the Supply community.
  7. Broadside Blog - Military Times – There’s a storm a brewin’ Says:
    [...] well, I didn’t write. It was a poem, except it didn’t rhyme, and was called, “The Most Interesting SWO In The World.” It was hilarious and well-written, and like I said, I did not write it. I hate it when that [...]

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


One of the proletariat speaks up in an amusing way. From HouseofSunny.


A lot of Americans wearing uniform forget or don't know that our war machine was created and allowed to balloon to enormous size because of the immediate threat to the country posed by the Soviet Union from 1950 until 1989. The USSR literally collapsed overnight as any kind of existential threat to the United States but we have kept and maintained an Army, Navy and Air Force capable of defeating the USSR at its military zenith for over 20 years now. We can look back and find that this was a worthwhile accomplishment given how well our forces engaged the enemies of the US in Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Grenada, Panama, Libya, Lebanon, Mali, Somalia, Libya again, Iraq, Iran, Iraq again, Iran again, Haiti, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan.....I'm sensing a trend here.

So anyway, let's take a look at our avowed and declared enemies around the world. Those who hate America. Al Quida and the nORKs. The War Machine, it must be admitted, is overkill for the likes of Al Quida. Maybe we can trim a few ships, men and aircraft from the arsenal of democracy ~ or sell them abroad. The nORKs are pretty darned insular; not like the muslims. The nORKS bleed 'leave me alone.' I think we should just leave them alone. Everybody agrees. They're not like Syria with thousands of bleeding hearts in America and the West just thirsting for the US to send in the Marines and kill Syrians so no more Syrians get away with killing Syrians. Nope. Nobody on earth cares about what happens in nORKland.

Perhaps we are overdue to consider that the war machine we built in 1941 and lovingly maintained since then is no longer appropriate for the world of the 21st century. There are no more 'isms' out there that must be toppled or countered for the sake of humanity. Nation building is a fool's game. Ali A Mazrui did a wonderful series: 'Africans: A Triple Heritage' on the results from hundreds of years of trying to impose western civilization in all of Africa. It is one of the saddest things you will ever see how all that love and labor lavished on Africa was in vain for nothing.

Miscalculation was its ruling star.

 Mutatis mutandis. Let us leave them to play with their own devices in their own way. Leave Us Time To Get Away.