Thursday, May 30, 2024


 The raconteur absolutely nailed the pier to Hell. You should read it.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024


 Just out of curiosity, can you name anything outside of some sports that got better after it was integrated? I'm having trouble coming up with anything myself so I could use some help here just in case I have to explain it someday.

Monday, May 27, 2024


For those we lost.


Sunday, May 26, 2024


 Like several other people, I took this silly quiz that was going to reveal my inner slant on things political, economic, etc. Without further ado, here are the results from the test that I took after posting yesterday's blog last night and I just want to say that there is something either very very wrong with the test or I'm not quite the monster some people long suspected I am. I'm appalled.


 I sometimes forget but there is always something to call them to mind. I thought about this last night when I was thinking about something else. There are memorials all over this country like this one that I ran into today just outside the Orthodox Church where they hold an annual Greek Festival in Tremont.

We honor their memory and we're also glad our names aren't up on a monument beside the names of others we fought alongside. I was fairly lucky that way and after my first visit to Little Creek I made a point of mentioning to the Almighty that I didn't need or want any buildings or bridges named after me and perhaps it would be best if I just never climbed into any gun turrets.

But that's not what I thought about last night. No, I remember how peeved we were back when I was still young and living with my parents in our house in Newport, Rhode Island where, after a year spent as a student at the War College, they asked him to stay another year and teach. It was a rarity I suppose to find in an Army Lieutenant Colonel a fanatical sailor who came alive with victory madness when sailing out on Narragansett Bay in Rhodes 19s or his favorite Shields. They found the right man. But my sister and brother and I were all a little ticked there during the summer that we had to share our floor and our bathroom with a lady who seemed to take 3 showers a day and who entirely covered the available counters with an enormous barrage of cosmetics.

It wasn't until many years later that my mother told me that she was widow of one of the last officers killed in Vietnam. The year was 1974 and she was a young widow with even younger children who was hoping to find a husband among the students at the War College. She was there for one particular officer and it is fascinating in hindsight to see how her circle of friends all stood by her.

I hope that things like that have not changed or fallen by the wayside. I hope that everyone had a memorable Memorial Day and was able to spend some time with family and friends and spare a moment or two to remember the ones that didn't come home.

Friday, May 24, 2024


Possibly the most photographed owl in history


Thursday, May 23, 2024


 I heard something about this yesterday and it was top of the page at the NYT at 0300 this morning as I checked out the Spelling Bee. This is what turned up in my initial baseline search:

Where do they get off calling any of the battle flags of the Revolutionaries that founded this great country, far right? That's not the normal appellation for revolutionaries overthrowing a tyrannical monarchy but so be it.

Good for Justice Alito. I think they should hold a competitive flag flying contest at their houses and see who can come up with the best flags between now and Election Day.

Oh and yeah, google turned commie colored again but God only knows why, or cares.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024


 What can I say, this is brilliant. Found on x, naturally.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024


 I wonder what the relationship between the two looks like today. I read the title novel about 30 years ago and it was interesting but I'm not sure I'd believe a single word of social research that alleges to peer into the current relationship between the soldier and the State today. Social research back then had what I thought was no place to go but up but it still surprised me and turned into more useless garbage that its not worth peeling back to read now.

That said, what has the State done to the mind of the warrior elite as its social policies and prattlings have divorced them further and further from the cares and interests of men who set themselves on the path of danger at a young age and then stayed in and accepted the rigors of that life only to find that their own Secretary of Defense decided to overturn the law and spend appropriated money in specific ways that defied the rules because nestling gays and pregnant lesbians was more important to Lloyd Austin then the promotions of every single officer that required the advice and consent of the Congress to get that promotion. He maintained his stand right to the end and never once blinked which left it to others to find some way to let RFK Jr climb down.

It turns out that officers knew for decades that the water they were making their soldiers, sailors and Marines AND THEIR FAMILIES drink and use was toxic in both Pearl Harbor and Camp Lejeune and they are still toxic and likely will be for hundreds of years. They're not unique either since it seems the fire fighting agents we used to put out fires and train with are also quite toxic and have contaminated the ground water everywhere they were used.

All those zillions of DoD officials supposedly concerned with keeping the natives from getting restless have mostly wasted their time and our money doing the opposite if they have done anything at all. How long before the next episode of workplace violence given that we now know that actual no-shit terrorists are casing the bases and have little trouble getting on and off base and does it help that so much of base housing is not even on a base or in anyway protected?

I don't think any of the smart ones use social media at all anymore. Any use of it today is toxic to careers since it can only end up at some point being critical of the people running things so I don't think any of the smart ones even bother. What happens when you simply bottle up your discontent? I think all the truly smart ones see this and move on and leave the service behind to those who are less intelligent or less caring. It might be time to reread the classic Once an Eagle.

Monday, May 20, 2024


 Islamic Republic of Iran President and Foreign Minister both dead in helicopter crash after flying for some unexplained reason over some desolate territory in the middle of nowhere from one pointless place to another pointless place in a 45 year old helicopter dating back almost to the Vietnam War. As the Sailing Coach at the Naval Academy back after the end of the War in Vietnam used to say of the boat in distant last place, "your position has been established" and it meant they could safely head back to the raft to swap boats for the next race. Raisi's next race will be in Hell.

At some point someone somewhere is going to ask what was the President of Iran doing with the Foreign Minister.

I was looking to confirm the news with a legitimate news service but all I could find were these old liars and has-beens. Thanks google et al. I mean, you realize at this point I would believe Fars before I would believe anything from the news services listed below.


 Have you ever noticed how we never get even one single biased report or story about the horrible atrocities being committed by the Russian occupiers of Ukraine? I wonder why that is. You'd think the savage warriors for peace in what passes for the media these days would be stuffed with stories about the ongoing brutality of the Russian occupation of former Ukraine but I've never seen a peep. On the other hand they also never ever mention the border crisis between Armenia and Azerbaijan which has been dragging on now since the end of the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War. Of course there is nothing to see here either since most Armenians in Armenia are Christians (97%) and are members of the Armenian Apostolic Church, which is one of the oldest Christian churches. It was founded in the 1st century AD, and in 301 AD became the first branch of Christianity to become a state religion.

Isn't it interesting that the Azerbaijanis, Turks and leadership of Ukraine hate Christianity and have taken active measures to destroy and disrupt the Christian Church in every area they exert control over. 

You might even think it was a religious war, a Crusade if you will or perhaps, more accurately, a Jihad that the muslims are winning hands down because nowhere does the Church or the State fight back. I'm not a Churchian but it's like there are very few of them left and fewer everyday. I don't think the world is going to like living in the next Caliphate. Seriously, you'd think people in and running the media would have noticed something like this that's been going on for the last 1400 years.

Sunday, May 19, 2024


 People have no idea how useful and therapeutic a stash of zip ties can be when they're carried along in the car. They come in useful for all kinds of things and can you imagine how effective they would be clearing the road of annoying nuisances that never learned how dangerous it is to play in the street? Those radicals that think they're unstoppable because they secured their arms in PVC pipes and connected themselves to their mates can all discover how uniquely refreshing it can be to rediscover breathing once some kind passerby snips them off and its not like they can block people from just coming up and dropping one over their heads while they're screaming death to America or whatever it is they're so willing to give their lives for. I'm sure counter-activists drive away happy knowing that they have brought some joy to the freak's dismal and humdrum lives. 


Saturday, May 18, 2024


 I have to admit that I am really impressed that the CIA hasn't gone all in on killing various people around the world with their weaponized drones. I would have thought for sure by now that they'd have offed President Trump with a mystery drone appearing out of nowhere at one of his rallies but they seem to be holding off for some reason. Maybe they want to wait until the election is too close to find an alternative to President Trump. On the other hand that would probably mean that they have already arranged a little accident for Governor Ron DeSantis because he is obviously the People's next choice.

Happy Armed Forces Day!, whatever the Hell that means. To us and those like us and there are fewer and fewer of us every day.

Friday, May 17, 2024


 It just occurs to me as I read the various blogs this morning that the last time I was actually in a woman led organization my mother was the Den Mother. I see that college kids today are more and more being led by the hysterical distaff anti-American haters that dominate university life thanks to the sinking enrollment numbers of young men and the huge increases in the university bureaucracy that feeds off the money their parents and the U.S. government bring to school. 

It doesn't seem to bring out the best in people and to be honest, watching young people lose their shit over the perfectly reasonable retaliation for a direct and vicious attack is a major loss of confidence in just what universities were supposed to be about. On the other hand, it was the young men of the Oxford Union that failed the test proposed in King and Country debate. Not everyone can play the victim.

It feels a little odd to suddenly realize that over countless jobs during the last 50 years or so that in not one of them did I find myself working for or reporting to a woman.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024


The results that google shares with me in response to even the most directed search for information that I KNOW is out there and current bears no relationship to the information that I am seeking. This aspect has been getting worse and worse and I periodically shift my search tool away from google and over to duckduck. The problem I have with that since I blog with a google product and many of my co-bloggers do too, is that the google program locks me out of commenting on their blogs. I literally cannot comment on most of them and can only comment as anonymous on the few that google still lets me comment on.

I may have to look for an alternative to google and I'm not sure that Wordpress is the way for me to go.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024


 The Republic of the United States appears to have fallen. It is by almost any definition the exact opposite of what the Founders intended when they sat down together and thrashed out the Constitution for governing this new nation they were creating on our side of the Atlantic Ocean. Even the simplest and most obvious issues are turned into meaningless and endless debates and those guilty of violating both the spirit and intent of the Constitution always get away with it.

So, if you were had to sit down and write a new Constitution for the United States today, how would you do it? Would you make the passage of laws contingent on getting a 2/3rds majority vote? Would you set up unelected men and women with the power to overturn the laws voted on and approved by a 2/3rds legislature?

Would you permit bureaucrats to make any rules without the definitive action by the legislature to enact those specific rules into law?

Would anything like a draft be legal? Would it allow the same state to compel young women to have children if the legislature decided that was important and in the interests of the survival of the state? 

Could states opt out and how would they pay for any infrastructure left behind? Would they? What if they said they didn't want it but charged the Federal government to come in and tear it down?

Could we go back to no income tax as the Founders wished and leave it to the government to raise revenues via tariffs and fees? Would a standing army or national police force be authorized or would it be forbidden?

I think it would be interesting to have a practice convention first before holding a real Constitutional Convention again. It might be interesting to see if it could be done along the lines of the Lunar Republic's from Heinlein's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress". People could propose clauses online and if the majority vote for them, they're in!

Monday, May 13, 2024


 I see that our idiot governor Newsom was challenged by some clown in what passes for the news media who asked him just exactly how the state of California spent $24 billion on fixing the homeless problem only to see it significantly worsen over the last 4 years. He didn't do well on his answer but it made me think that he's damn near feral in his appreciation for human values so I'm waiting for some enterprising newshen to find out that all of a sudden the homeless are disappearing from California's cities.

Democrats are tyrants and evil so I'm not sure if the disappeared are going to be found floating 200 miles out at sea, buried in shallow graves in the desert or put on buses to Texas but anyone as depraved as Newsom and California democrats must surely have 'discovered' that if they shipped the homeless somewhere else that they would be SOEPs* and kicking the can down the road a little is just one way to not do anything about the problem. The best way short of actually fixing the problem? Make it someone else's problem.

I'm trying to work out how stupid they will be about a technique that works damn well for Republicans but can only boomerang faster then #me did when democrats try to use it to their advantage. It's one thing to send illegal aliens to Blue states and towns that have formally declared themselves sanctuaries for illegal aliens but not so clever when you're just dumping the dregs of American humanity on unwilling people. I'll be curious to see where they turn up.

*Someone else's problem.

Sunday, May 12, 2024


You know, when you think about the study of War there was only  really one important aspect of the War Between the States that deserved great study by military planners. How did a virtually unarmed, unindustrialized country actually manage to fight an industrial powerhouse to a virtual standstill for 4 long years of near total war? This would seem to be the focus of every study of that war and it doesn't appear to have been studied at all by recent graduates of our war fighting academies and schools for higher military study. Maybe we all made a terrible mistake sending our future generals and admirals off to get MBAs at Harvard and Penn and should have had them concentrate on how to fight and win wars.

When the world appears to be flying apart it is sometimes difficult to focus on the one real thing, the vital thing. The Civil War went on for so long because the Union failed to concentrate all of its efforts on destroying the Army of Northern Virginia. It nibbled around every single edge, destroyed vast swaths of territory, killed tens of thousands and yet Robert E. Lee maintained the Army of Northern Virginia in the field without much in the way of difficulty for the entire 4 years of the war and it didn't finally surrender until Appomatax. Did you know that only about 164 men were killed in the Battle of Appomattox Court House where Lee surrendered? 

How did the Army of the United States of America lose every war since Korea? 

You might think that at some point the Army would be interested in learning how they reached this sorry state of affairs and put in place some effective measures to counter it but they haven't. On the whole history has shown us that the side most determined to prevail will prevail. The side that does not place any limits on waging war will prevail against the side fighting a limited war. The side infected with innovation and the means to bring about radical and fundamental tactical impacts will prevail over the side that takes 20 to 30 years to fields a 'new' weapon.

On the gripping hand, you can have the most brilliant generals of all time leading your army but if the political hand is set against victory there can be no winning. Politics has been allowed to strangle every army since 1945. It has done the same thing to the Navy, Air Force and Marines. I almost want to see the Army of the 1990s and post 2000 making war. Despite knowing better they will set up Tactical and Strategic Operations Centers and they will provide endless opportunities for rapid promotion through the officer ranks. Unfortunately the tactics may improve but the Washington generals are the ones that will 'run' the war every bit as brilliantly as they staged the defeat and disgrace in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam. 

Nothing exposed the destruction of the Armed Forces like reading about President Johnson and his coterie of advisors spending the years of the Vietnam War sitting around after lunch on Tuesdays and drawing up and refining the targets in Vietnam for the next week and laying down the law on the Rules of Engagement. You can give yourself an ulcer reading about it even today.

It didn't have to be that way.

Saturday, May 11, 2024


 Our local library had a sale this past weekend and I was there. It was OK but they have had way better books sales but I still didn't come away empty handed. Nearly, but not quite. I had a half dozen items and then I had to stop and think about these two which it turns out were probably the most fascinating. One was old and the other was about events even older.

Amalfi in 1916

The Colosseum from Palatine Hill

The Riviera

The Bridge and Castle Sant' Angelo (fomerly Hadrian's Tomb)

Panorama of Rome from Saint Peter's Dome

They gave away the magazine for nothing and it captures life in the country of our ally in World War I. The ads are simply wonderful. I was surprised that there were no ads for wireless but it was still the realm of radio engineers. KDKA didn't hit the air waves until 1920.

The book is one of Catton's best books on the Civil War and it was nearly priceless at $1.00.

Nobody seems to be interested in history anymore but just look at the magnitude of the changes in 100 years.

Friday, May 10, 2024


 We like to imagine ourselves as living in the post-industrial age and like it that way. There is a little tiny drawback to this notion and it defines civilization. A society unable to create and maintain the tools of modern war is quickly displaced by those that do. It is amazing that so many countries that think of themselves as in the First World don't appreciate it to the point that they are truly ignorant of it and if told about it would be violently opposed to any planned action by industry to rearm themselves. OTAN springs to mind

I don't really feel any concern or worry about supplying weapons to other countries. It's an industry and we used to be very good at making high quality weapons that other people wanted to have. We started losing focus after Vietnam and totally lost focus by 1990 when even Congress woke up and started asking both the Defense Department and the Defense Industries, just how much of our weapon systems are made in the United States of America and the answers they did get were not at all reassuring. A vast number of components and sub-assemblies for our weapon systems were coming from the offshored manufacturers we created in China, Vietnam and other prompt 3rd World kind of places that were just starting to industrialize.

When I see Joe Biden boldly (for a soggy Ritz cracker) insubtleate that he is turning off the weapons to Israel if they actually boldly go forth and destroy their enemies (and ours) I'm not consumed with guilt or passion because only morons living on the edge of destruction outsource their arms and ammo production to morons like Joe and the Democratic party lackies. Only an ignorant moron would be ignorant of how the Democrats in Congress voted to terminate all aid to the Republic of South Vietnam after they signed the peace treaty with the communists in the north. Vietnam was gutted by democrats as was most of the rest of world. There is literally nothing so awful that the democrats cannot by either action or inaction make much worse.

I don't worry much about Ukraine both because they had it coming and because there is not and never was anything that we could do about it. Ukraine, a border rethuglic on Russia's border is involved in direct conflict with the x-Soviet Union and to step into a war like that is to invite the immediate repercussions contingent on waging direct war on the Soviet Union. Only a madman would even talk about risking nuclear war by going to bat for Burisma and Joe Biden's criminal enterprises in Ukraine.

But I wonder why Ukraine, home to more than one major nuclear power plant, doesn't have its own manufacturing and factories producing the weapons of war at even so basic a level as ammunition, artillery, artillery ammo and rockets, SAMs and mines? Sure the Russians would/will blow the doors off such factories but there is no sign that Ukraine had any of these things at the outset of a war that anyone could see on the horizon after Russia took back its principal warm water naval base in Crimea and still the thugs in Kiev kept attacking the ethnic Russians living in the industrialized parts of Ukraine facing Russia.

I say this with a bit of hesitation but it looks like even the idiots running things in what's left of Europe have started to awaken and notice that there is nobody left but them. There is no giant shock army of the West to counter even a single Guards Division and they don't operate as single formations unless you count Shock Armies as formations which I suppose old hands who remember the British Army of the Rhine probably do but they're in their 60's and older now and nobody hears them anymore. All of European NATO combined cannot scrape up even one single tank division except Poland and they're probably looking over their shoulders wondering who is standing behind them. I can't even imagine us loading up the 2nd Armored or First Infantry and sending it via strategic sealift to ports on the continent in less than 4 months.

I think that the clowns running things here might have started to notice that they made a terrible mistake about 20 years ago that there is no recovery from. They let in actively encouraged angry, ignorant, anti-American haters to enlist in the U.S. military and even sent them to West Point where the increasingly radical and hate-America professors and instructors have destroyed most of the underpinnings of Service to the State that used to be a calling for men like Eisenhower, Patton, Grant, Lee, Marshall and a hundred thousand others.

Technical means of war are complex but they can be reduced to ruin by a match. We used to trust but verify (see my leadership notes) but I don't really think there is any trust anymore. I remember the no-lone zones and those were ONLY the nuclear weapons spaces on ships. Then, after Walker we got the Two Person Integrity for Cryptographic Communication Materials so another no-lone zone. In the Gulf some of us without girls onboard laughed at our counterparts wearing khaki that would tell use about the roving sex patrols (boy/girl) that roamed the topside spaces after dark and the rest of the ship in pairs trying to keep the human reproduction opportunities as limited as possible. They still haven't quite grasped that the system simply does not work in the cold light of reality.

These days I wonder if Sounding and Security Watches stand watch in pairs and never proceed to open the access to a space like lower sound unless there is another person with them. Who escorts who in the main engineering spaces? Or the Auxiliary engineering spaces with little things like the ship's steering gear, fire pumps, emergency diesels and switchboards.....

The USS Boxer has returned to San Diego shortly before deployment to the Western Pacific because a 'rudder bearing' failed. I never heard of that but at least it wasn't on fire.

Who knows? 致命的時刻

Thursday, May 9, 2024


As awful as USN ships look these days I am reminded of pulling into Mombasa, Kenya for a week long port visit during which the Supply Officer contracted with a local company to hand paint every inch of the ship white. It was interesting. They didn't use brushes to apply the paint and certainly not compressed air. They used rags tied to their hands and the workers just swarmed around dabbing on paint everywhere until all the white bits that were supposed to be white were freshly painted white from the waterline to the bootblack.

I know we could do that to every USN ship now in port anywhere in the world but for some reason we don't. Since I'm familiar with bureaucrats, Greens, Woke, DIE and the rest of the screaming morons (NAVSEA, SUPSHIP, CFFC, SURFLANT) I am sure that there are overwhelming reasons that simply make it impossible to do something so easy and simple.

We used to have a program where ships could go to the "local not quite a brig holding place for troubled sailors who were way more trouble to somebody than they were worth" and sign out a few to do things like paint over the side or clean and paint bilges but the rules governing that grew so onerous and stupid that it stopped being worth the bother long before we ran out of bad sailors. Each pair of ne'er-do-wells needed a personal supervisor who had completed the required mandatory training for employing brig-rats and since the work they did largely sucked it stopped being worth it even on ships devastated by BUPERS and their indifference to manning warships in time of combat.

I remember asking who had done the paint job on the boiler flats on my 3rd ship and was told that the guy I was relieving as CHENG had brought his wife and some of her friends down one night and they all helped paint. They did a pretty good job all things considered.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024


 Israel is accused of over-retaliating for the latest atrocity 7 months ago and they could counter with the view that no, they are countering the next 50 attacks. Outsiders always think there must be some common ground where peace and understanding can bloom and grow if given a chance, however remote. Their common mistake is their naive persistence in seeing both sides as human beings and they fail to comprehend that in this case neither side perceives the other as human. The world refuses to believe it when one side calls aloud for the extermination of the other. 

Give the Israelis credit for eternal optimism though since there is always a handful willing to believe that just this once everyone will see the light and find piece.

You ever notice how hard it is to sell weapons to people who believe so greatly in peace and goodness that they would never arm themselves or allow their friends and families to arm themselves either? I think we may have run out of those people for at least a little while. We are on the other hand well within the limits set by the troop of monkeys that believed that they could outlaw war and took the dramatic step of limiting the procuring of weapons to make sure that happened. You remember them? The Kellog-Briand Pact and the Washington and London Naval Conferences of the 1920s and all those true believers that thought that if we just didn't prepare for war anymore that it wouldn't happen again? Yep, that's about where we are now except I think the Anschluss is a little nearer than people think and the League of Nations had way more credibility than the United Nations right now.


 I found this over at instapundit and for all its deadliness I would have to pass it by since it doesn't appear to be 'tactical' like most of the merchandise over there where everything ranging from knives to pockets sold by amazon appears to have some mystic 'tacticoolness' except this badass bit of assault.

Monday, May 6, 2024


 This isn't funny but it is also much in the tradition of Catch 22 which, other than a little bit of Yossarian I did not find at all worth reading. Here is the news from the alleged news beings of both this world and the lower circles of Hell.

When you read these headlines I'm sure you're like me and muse to yourself, self, when did Egypt and Qatar wage war against Hamas? Why is Hamas willing to share a cease fire with them and not with Israel with whom they are at war? What pimple on the ass of a real news organization breathlessly announces that Biden has accepted Canada and France's offer to throw President Trump out of the coming election as if it has any meaning?

 It's pretty simple really. I'm one of those who would test the sincerity of any cease fire by making it a deal breaker; all the hostages released within 24 hours or no deal and we continue to destroy everything in Gaza that the idiots in the West built over the last 19 years hoping that something, anything would act to civilize you anti-civilization haters from the 7th century into living peacefully or not at all. I was one that would have agreed with Admiral Halsey on December 7th. 

The truly amusing parts for me is that nobody is breathlessly pointing out that Qatar is the sponsor of Hamas much the way Iran is the sponsor of Hezbollah and that Egypt like every single Arab country in the middle east will not permit the gazans entry to Egypt under any circumstances except dire medical need and that they have border crossings very much under their control that nobody ever mentions.

Hamas says it accepts Egyptian-Qatari cease-fire proposal

CAIRO (AP) — The Hamas militant group says it has accepted an Egyptian-Qatari cease-fire proposal to halt seven-month war with Israel.

It issued a statement Monday saying its supreme leader, Ismail Haniyeh, had delivered the news in a phone call with Qatar’s prime minister and Egypt’s intelligence minister. The two Middle Eastern nations have been mediating months of talks between Israel and Hamas. There was no immediate comment from Israel.


Israel’s war on Gaza live: Hamas says it accepts ceasefire proposal

  • Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh says the group has accepted a Gaza ceasefire proposal put forward by Qatari and Egyptian mediators. Israel has yet to officially comment.
  • Thousands of people flee eastern Rafah after Israel orders people to evacuate as fears of a full-blown military assault on the city sheltering more than one million displaced people grow.

Sunday, May 5, 2024


 The USN and its supporters are thrilled to be fighting the enemy (???) so brilliantly in the Red Sea. We are shooting hundreds of missiles and drones down using missiles of our own and this, Huzza!!! is the new form of naval warfare. Nobody gets hurt!!!!! What a war!!!

Seriously, and we should be serious, what are we doing? Most of the world's shipping is diverting around Africa and bypassing the Red Sea and Suez Canal and its not like there are more than a dozen US flagged merchant ships in the entire world so we're not protecting our shipping or our trade and we aren't protecting the vast bulk of international trade.

An analogy from history seems appropriate. It's as if having decided that we don't like what the German U-boats are doing to neutral shipping we come up with a method of shooting at the torpedoes and simply ignore and I mean totally ignore the actual U-boats and the country that is directing them to attack our shipping.

There's nothing to be proud of about shooting at anti-ship missiles, 99% of which are going to harmlessly plunge into the sea and there is nothing so idiotic looking as boasting about shooting at those things unless you also destroy the people shooting them and make them regret it so much that they stop doing it. We no longer even mention those people at all or the ones behind them and no kids, it's not the Russians.

Saturday, May 4, 2024


 The front piece over at Chant du Depart gave me a little flashback to some of the days and nights on my first ship. She was famously known as the Great White Ghost of the Arabian Coast on account of the fact that she was covered from bow to stern and from the upper works down to the waterline in very clean white paint. See here how she closely resembles Sarge's frontpiece.

It was my first ship and I had the privilege to be the great ship's Auxiliary Officer which meant that I was in charge of all the truly important things on that ship. I hear you sniggering. I can live with it. When the Shellbacks hauled my guilty butt in front of King Neptune I was charged with the very thing I used to harp about. 'Violating Air Conditioning Boundaries.' It was an intolerable charge!

When you pissed off the LDO LT who was the Electrical Officer he would send the electricians on a hunt for grounds outside your office or stateroom every single time you turned on your precious Commodore 64 computer. Up and down they would walk ruthlessly flipping circuit breakers causing the power to fail, selectively, until they heard screams of outrage. 

Anger the Auxiliaries Officer beyond human endurance in the hot and humid waters of the Persian Gulf or the Red Sea and suddenly, for no reason at all, your air conditioner would stop working. "Waiting on parts"  we would cleverly say and thus shift all the blame and ire onto the Supply Officer, and he deserved it.

While my nemeses were really just the Electronic Materials Officer (little villain), the real enemies of man and God were the First LT and the Ship's Bosun (Evil villain 1 and 2). Let us just say that when the Bosun received his follow-on orders on his departure from the ship he was off to be the Officer-in-Charge of the Correctional Custody Unit the Navy had in Texas and everyone onboard felt very sorry for those poor bastards. I don't recall what happened to the First LT. He was promoted to LCDR about 3 months after I reported aboard but I persisted in calling him Tim. He didn't like that.

Did I mention what happens when Evil Villains 1 or 2 pissed off the Main Propulsion Assistant? He and I were the only Line Officers in the Engineering Department. The rest of them were Chiefs or Limited Duty Officers. They tried to teach me everything they knew. 

The Chief Engineer when I reported was named Sid and it was 1984 so he was of course referred to by one and all as Sid Vicious. He was a former Machinist and subscribed to half a dozen hotrod magazines and he'd have me come alongside periodically to point out a particularly spectacular chromed engine and ask why none of the 14 boat engines I had ever looked like that. Didn't I have an electroplate rig buried somewhere in the bowels of the Lower Vehicle Deck and couldn't I get the Chief to chrome the valve covers? That'd be a start he'd say. His replacement has been a Chief Boiler Tech before taking a commission.

Back to the MPA and the Boilers Officer. They were infrequent targets of the Deck Apes but something went amiss from time to time and perhaps one of the infinite number of useless Bosun's Mates Chiefs would get into it with the wrong guy and since the ship was white all over except for the Masts above a certain height, it was always being painted but you see there is a thing one has to do with Main Propulsion Boilers. It's mandatory. It's all about Boiler Chemistry and keeping the metal good forever. Every now and then you have to conduct a bottom blow or/and surface blows on the things and we usually did it at night because it makes a mess. I mean all kinds of soot-black sticky crap comes flying up out of the stack and settled affectionately on every single freshly painted white surface on the ship.

As I recall there was some serious rage the second time it happened in 3 days. It goes without saying that nobody in Main Control would undertake to bottom blow a boiler without first obtaining permission from, wait for it, the Officer of the Deck. Sometimes I'd take the deck at midnight and the Engineering Officer of the Watch would call me up on the 21 MC and request permission to blow tubes and of course, not being informed of the Deck Department's painting depredations, I'd cheerfully authorize it. Or the CHENG would. 

We didn't achieve anything like the coal powered ships of the Great White Fleet but sometimes we tried our best.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024


  This one turned up in the little town of Newton Falls last week. You find yourself driving along some little byroad or country lane and there she is.