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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

what army should you have been in?

You scored as Poland. Your army is Poland's army. Your tenacity will form a concept in the history of your nation and you're also ready to continue fighting even if your country is occupied by the enemy. Other nations that are included in this category are Greece, Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands.



France, Free French and the Resistance




British and the Commonwealth




United States


Soviet Union






In which World War 2 army you should have fought?
created with QuizFarm.com

well, that works. i think that the german part of my genetic mix is actually polish. i'll have to ask my mom one of these days.
anyway, this army is the one that a pundit spoke of as the might of the russian army was gathering on the Polish border during the end of the 70's as Solidarity was stirring the pot of freedom in Gdansk. the quote went something like:
the russians are having second thoughts about invading Poland to quell the rebellion. the loyalty of the Polish army to the Politoboro is in serious doubt, while their national pride is not. This is one of the finest trained, and best armed defensive armies in the world. and they have a history, one that includes charging german Panzer tanks with nothing more than swords and pistols on horseback

hat tip for the lead to the 'Phib. he'd be on the lines alongside me.


another in a long line of emails from my buds. thought i'd share this one since this actually sounds like something i'd try, and i know i'm not alone in this.

Pocket Taser Stun Gun, a great gift for the wife. This was submitted by a guy who purchased his lovely wife a "pocket Taser" for their anniversary.

Last weekend I saw something at Larry's Pistol & Pawn Shop that sparked my interest The occasion was our 22nd anniversary and I was looking for a little something extra for my wife Toni. What I came across was a 100,000-volt, pocket/purse-sized taser. The effects of the taser were suppose to be short lived, with no long-term adverse affect on your assailant, allowing her adequate time to retreat to safety.... WAY TOO COOL!

Long story short, I bought the device and brought it home. I loaded two triple-a batteries in the darn thing and pushed the button.

Nothing! I was disappointed. I learned, however, that if I pushed the button AND pressed it against a metal surface at the same time; I'd get the blue arch of electricity darting back and forth between the prongs. Awesome!!! Unfortunately, I have yet to explain to Toni what that burn spot is on the face of her microwave.

Okay, so I was home alone with this new toy, thinking to myself that it couldn't be all that bad with only two triple-a batteries,. right?!!!

There I sat in my recliner, my cat Gracie looking on intently (trusting little soul) while I was reading the directions and thinking that I really needed to try this thing out on a flesh & blood moving target. I must admitI thought about zapping Gracie (for a fraction of a second) and thought better of it. She is such a sweet cat. But, if I was going to give this thing to my wife to protect herself against a mugger, I did want some assurance that it would work as advertised. Am I wrong?

So, there I sat in a pair of shorts and a tank top with my reading glasses perched delicately on the bridge of my nose, directions in one hand, taser in another. The directions said that a one-second burst would shock and disorient your assailant; a two-second burst was supposed to cause muscle spasms and a major loss of bodily control; a three-second burst would purportedly make your assailant flop on the ground like a fish out of water.

Any burst longer than three seconds would be wasting the batteries. All the while I'm looking at this little device measuring about 5" long, less than 3/4 inch in circumference; pretty cute really and loaded with two itsy, bitsy triple-a batteries) thinking to myself, "no possible way!"

What happened next is almost beyond description, but I'll do my best....
I'm sitting there alone, Gracie looking on with her head cocked to one side as to say, "don't do it master," reasoning that a one-second burst from such a tiny little ole thing couldn't hurt all that bad.. I decided to give myself a one-second burst just for the heck of it. I touched the prongs to my naked thigh, pushed the button, and HOLY MOTHER, WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION@!@$$!%!@*!!!

I'm pretty sure Jessie Ventura ran in through the side door, picked me up in the recliner, then body slammed us both on the carpet, over and over and over again. I vaguely recall waking up on my side in the fetal position, with tears in my eyes, body soaking wet, both nipples on fire, testicles nowhere to be found, with my left arm tucked under my body in the oddest position, and tingling in my legs. The cat was standing over me making meowing sounds I had never heard before, licking my face, undoubtedly thinking to herself, "do it again, do it again!"

Note: If you ever feel compelled to "mug" yourself with a taser, one note of caution: there is no such thing as a one-second burst when you zap yourself. You will not let go of that thing until it is dislodged from your hand by a violent thrashing about on the floor. A three second burst would be considered conservative.

SON-OF-A-.. that hurt like hell!!! A minute or so later (I can't be sure, as time was a relative thing at that point), collected my wits (what little I had left), sat up and surveyed the landscape. My bent reading glasses were on the mantel of the fireplace. How did they up get there??? My triceps, right thigh and both nipples were still twitching. My face felt like it had been shot up with Novocain, and my bottom lip weighed 88 lbs.

I'm still looking for my testicles? I'm offering a significant reward for their safe return.

Still in shock,


man, i'm still laughing.

If the M-16 delivers the message, the F-16 delivers it better

man, is my life uncomplicated. for the most part, the decisions i make on a daily basis revolve around buying gas now or on the way back, small, medium, or large coffee, chicken or beef.
imagine having to make decisions that could and would affect the lives of everyone around you. not decisions like raising taxes, but the real deal life or death decisions.
there is an article in sunday's Washinton Post that presents the moral dilemma facing the leaders in isreal. do we bomb a known terrorist, and kill innocents to save our own people, or do we let own citizens suffer in some not too future date?
the article is long, but interesting. to get a little background on the people making these kinds of decisions fleshes them out, makes them human and not some robotic killing entity in a far away land.
the isrealis lost an opportunity to wipe out the whole top ruling group of hamas, and actually blew the operation, strengthening hamas because they faced a moral dilemma and backed down to a half measure.
what is the lesson? the current head of the hamas ruling party in Pali was one of the terrorists targeted. he escaped because the isrealis took a half step. it only made hamas more popular and stronger as in "allah saved them" from the jews.
how do people make these kinds of decisions? how do you weigh the morality of saving 20 people by killing 2 or 15 innocent bystanders to get at the bad actor.
it must make sleeping very difficult.
i'm glad i don't have to make these types of decisions. i would probably shock acquaintances that think i'd say "f*uck em, get the bad guys". i don't know what i would do. any choice i made, unless it was a clear case of no collateral casualties would be more than i would ever want to make. unless my family was directly in danger. in that case "f*uck 'em, drop a big bomb because i want no chance of mistakes letting one of those rat bastards missing his chance at 72 virgins"

hat tip to chap for the lead.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

dieting tips found in email

For those of you interested in prolonging your life....read on.....

Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true?

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it...don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Is beer or wine bad for me?

A: Look, it goes to the earlier point about fruits and vegetables. As we all know, scientists divide everything in the world into three categories: animal, mineral, and vegetable. We all know that beer and wine are not animal, and they are not on the periodic table of elements, so that only leaves one thing, right? My advice: Have a burger and a beer and enjoy your liquid vegetables.

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?

A: Well, if you have a body, and you have body fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating a regular exercise program?

A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good.

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?

A: You're not listening. Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: What's the secret to healthy eating?

A: Thicker gravy.

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?

A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?

A: Are you crazy? HELLO ...... Cocoa beans ... another vegetable!!! It's the best feel good food around!

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets. Have a cookie ...flour is a veggie! One more thing... When life hands you lemons, ask for a bottle of tequila and salt. Or a Corona.

someone sees the 800 pound gorilla

Well, look at that. It seems there might be a clear thought process in action somewhere in the Pali world. A snippet of a quote from this article from the BBC:
The Gaza Strip is in the grip of anarchy and Palestinians must stop blaming Israel for all their problems, a senior Hamas figure has said.

Ghazi Hamad, chief spokesman for the Hamas government, said the hope that followed Israel's pull-out last year had been replaced with "a nightmare".

Refreshing to hear that at least someone in that region can recognize the 800 pound gorilla that has been standing in the middle of the street. Everyone else seems to be walking around it without even seeing its shadow.

And of course, since this is from the BBC, there had to be that snarky insertion of “Isreal Bad, everyone else good” that seems so prevalent in the BBC’s reporting:
...the BBC's Alan Johnston in the West Bank says.
But he adds that the best government in the world would have struggled to cope with Gaza's overwhelming social and economic problems.
Hamas has also been paralysed by the crushing Western and Israeli economic boycott imposed because it has refused to renounce violence and accept Israel's right to exist.

I'd like to repeat this phrase, and I'll continue to do so everytime I hear some bozo whining about what's going on in Ireal and the Pali lands:
Hamas has also been paralysed by the crushing Western and Israeli economic boycott imposed because it has refused to renounce violence and accept Israel's right to exist.

Ayup folks, it’s all our fault. Because we refuse to cater to a government that has its stated intensions to wipe a friend and ally off the face of the earth simply because they do not subscribe to a specific religious creed makes my mind reel.

Monday, August 28, 2006


Originally uploaded by bothenook.
it takes a 3 year old to remind me that even in the excitement of the fast lane to slow down every once in a while and smell the roses.

Friday, August 25, 2006


Originally uploaded by bothenook.
everyone at work has a generic, boring desktop. except me. it's about time to change this one out for something else. i found this about 6 months ago on one of those crazy picture sites like ebaum or strange cosmos. it cracked me up enough i saved it and made it my screen.
note the radio paradise mini in the lower right. if you like a pretty eclectic blend of music, this is the place to tune in. if you have more than a dead minimum of brain cells and get fired up when you read moonbat rantings, stay away from the forums. i used to hang out there for a couple of years, but things just got out of hand. it's all good though, because my frustration and disgust drove me to blogging.
so, what does your work computer desktop look like? or are you stuck with the corporate IT generic?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

a couple of lighten up pictures

first, i think this billboard would sell a lot of bb guns in my neighborhood. we're all a bunch of crunchy curmudgeons

and this just in from my buddy bill. i think the picture says it all. oh, and don't bother emailing me with your righteous indignation at my innate insensitivity. my response: yeah? what do you expect from a dyed in the wool, unapologetic irascible old coot?
picture title: Victoria's Secret top selling non-clothes item: the Victoria's Secret Mirror

here's a novel idea, fighting war with alternative energy

here's something i hadnt' thought of.
what is the most dangerous job in iraq? it's convoy duty, if you listent to the news.
here's a commander that is trying to do something to alleviate some of the pressure on the convoy system.
i find this encouraging on two levels.
first: the commanders on scene are being proactive on reducing the risk to their troops. or at least this one is.
second: if i have a technology that i want developed in a hurry, get the military interested in it. look what Rickover did with the nuclear navy. he turned the entire industry inside out and upside down, and put a nuke boat in the water decades before anyone thought it was possible. on board computers for weapons systems led to faster and more robust computers (NASA had a hand i know, but work with me here folks). advances in trauma care for wounded soldiers has translated to improved processes and products used in ERs across the country. ok, i'll give the opposition the Hummer. great idea for the military, probably not so great on the freeways in the heartland. but this all points back to my original statement: get the military interested, and watch the show.

i haven't been a regular viewer of the winds of change site, or as many of the taglines state "armed liberal", but this is going to change. i visited there a lot when i first discovered blogs, but got sidetracked with all the submariners that now post. i guess i'm just going to have to shoehorn that site into my daily rounds.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

another bubblehead blogger

and he looks like he's going to be a shit stirrer! excellent. debate and the exchange of ideas make the internet not only informative and entertaining, it's also enlightening. we'll see his take soon, i hope. if the title of his first post is any indication, i'm going to like this guy. check him out at Right ascension of Aries.

hat tip to ramblin boy aka reddog. hey wick, you still red on the noodle like the dick of a poodle? or have you gone the way the rest of us ahem, older folks, and either gone bald or grey, or some combination thereof?

edit: and now, another! this is so cool. welcome to a nuke off of the Boston at Is there life after your boat gets scrapped?, or as he posts ex-nuke bubblehead. welcome!

thanks to joel for the tip.

Friday, August 18, 2006

say howdy to another bubblehead blogger

that admits he doesn't write about submarines, but did ride 'em. go over to old gary's tell him howdy, and then pester him to write some "now this is a no sh*tter" stories.
go, read, post, pester.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

warning warning, food porn alert.

Originally uploaded by bothenook.
i'll probably end up getting hauled off to jail for taking pictures of naked fruits and veggies.
hello, my name is bothenook, and i'm a food junkie. i have realized that after 52 years that i need som.. uh, wrong thread.
anyway, this isn't the first, and for you food perverts that may have missed the naked orange, just follow the link

Friday, August 11, 2006

comparing dolphins

i have to agree with CEEB. the brit dolphins look classier than ours.

but i must add that there were no dolphins made anywhere that came even close to how beautiful the set my skipper pinned on my chest looked.

question: which is real, which is photoshopped


actually, i think the photoshopped image is closer to reality. what do you think?

hat tip for the picture to Fark

Thursday, August 10, 2006

okay, i lied. here's another one

Any nuc in the fleet dreads shiftwork, because it is really the pits when the rest of the world operates on a regular schedule. One of our biggest bitches was that we never got a chance to eat if we were on the midshift. One time we were actually pitied by the engineer, and he sniveled to the skipper until he gave in and got us a cook for mid-rats. Well, maybe not a cook, but at least he was a striker for cook. That's good enough isn't it? The young lad, my barracks roomie, was in the galley fixing us soup and grilled cheese and ham sandwiches while we were going through our preshift brief in the crews mess. One of the nucs in my section was called "Big", mainly because he was about 7 feet tall and 7 feet around and over 300 pounds of hairy hungry nuc machinest mate. Joel was cooking his butt off, getting the grub ready so that we could eat as soon as the brief was over, but miscalculated. We finished before he did, prompting our hero Big to roar into the galley, grab a sandwich off of the top of the stack on the platter, and scarf it down in one bite, yelling all the while for Joel to get his butt in gear because there were a bunch of hungry nucs that had to go back and relieve the watch. On his way out of the galley, Big grabs a second sandwich, and is about halfway through it when he gets to the tables. He got a really funny look on his face, like he'd just discovered that that golden brown pair of bread slices with melted cheese oozing out the sides was actually a warmed up dog turd. Back into the galley he went, only this time the entire watch section is following, to find out why our food wasn't ready, or edible. What we saw was my roomie pouring the cooking oil on the grill to keep the bread from sticking like he was supposed to, out of the one gallon metal can......that read "NON IONIC AIRCRAFT SOAP (CONCENTRATE)". It took Big 3 days to get out of the crapper, and Joel never did get out of the shits. His only physical salvation was that he screwed up often enough that they shitcanned him to a skimmer. And I don't think I ever saw Big take a bite of food bigger than a teaspoon ever again, or swallow that bite until it was complety chewed and tasted. Mid rats are now being served in the crews dinette.

note big is the character sitting down holding my shoulder in the first picture of this post

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recycled seastories: two lessons in leadership

the last of the batch

Ah yes, the old messing with the boys. well gents, the nucs (we were a crafty lot) on Seawolf were always looking for a good one. The list is waaaaay too long for one reply, but I'll pass a few on over the next couple of days just to kick this cycle into gear.

Two guys on our boat were laying in wait for one of the goofiest occifers we ever had assigned to the boat. This pup wanted to be one of the guys in the worst way. Academy puke and all, and I'm sure that is enough of a description for you. Well, they see this unsuspecting lad traipsing through the reactor compartment on his way to maneuvering in the engine room. Diesel-dirt stuck his thumbs in the vise, and Greg put the torque wrench and valve handwheel adapter on the vise handle. With the expected historonics,Diesel-dirt told Greg to give him a couple of foot-lbs. Greg kept tweeking (holding the handle so that he really wasn't adding any torque). "What are you guys doing?" "Oh sir, this is just how we're testing to see who is the toughest. It's between me and Mike." "Can I try?" "Oh no sir, we don't want to get into any trouble if we hurt you. This can be pretty dangerous, and the Captain would be pissed if we hurt one of his officers." The fly was drifting down stream, and the fish was rising! "Hey, don't worry about that. I'm pretty tough myself, you know" our fish said with perfect solemnity. So, they cleared the vise, and our hapless ens. put his thumbs in the vise. After a few tweeks until it was juuuuust starting to hurt, he admitted that he couldn't pull his thumbs out. Whoos, down came his trousers and skivies, and on went about 1 1/2 lbs of blue rotentium grease, the nastiest, most horrible, water-proof grease ever invented. The engineer came through about 5 minutes later, looking at me kind of weird, because I was sitting on the discharge filter laughing my ass off. He saw his young pup, and gave him a "Great Navy day, eh ensign?" as he passed on his way to the maneuvering room. Of course the SRO reports that the eng almost laughed out a lung once he got out of range. He called the W.R. and asked the Capt. to come aft. The skipper sees me dying, figures out that something was up, and stepped into the engine room. Seeing the young ens., the skipper gave him a "Great Navy day" and walked back to the maneuvering room, where he and the eng laughed themselves silly. They walked forward, ignoring the by now almost pitiful wimpers, telling me as they passed that it was about time for the roving watch to tour aft, didn't I think? Well, that was just about the last time that young pup even spoke to us nucs. Trying to get Mike and Greg written up for their "dastardly act" got the ensign a lesson in being an officer from the Capt. If he was dumb enough to fall for that, he deserved everything he got, or a close approximation to that direct quote.

1: field day...old story, probably every boat sailor heard of someone doing this, i was there with a clipboard writing down hits....As every sailor in the world has done, young bob, the GREAT RIZOOLIE, was tasked with cleaning the heads for field day. We were having a zone inspection, so it was up all bunks in the after berthing area, and E div. had the area sparkling. Since the Nucleonics lab was in after berthing on the seawolf, i was stuck writing down the zone hits when the skipper did his inspection. Young bob had the stainless steel thrones absolutely stainless. he defended the two crappers with his life until after the inspection was over. understandable, but a bit excessive. the skipper shows up, and we began the inspection tour. first, the wascomatic washing machines. i don't know about other boats, but e div had their work cut out for them when those machines broke down, since the tech manuals were still in the original swedish. next came the heads. the C.O. was pretty pleased with their appearance, until he noticed a brown, fecal type material under the lip of the throne. an obvious gig, and one that he told me to write down. well, young bob was standing by his cleaning area, heard the hit and said "wait a minute, i'll take care of it right now". which he did. by running his finger over the material, wiping it off of the steel, and then promptly popping it in his mouth. The captain was pretty cool about it...i was about ready to throw up. "Young Bob, since you so obviously love peanut butter so much, i want you to repeat this performance after every watch for the next 5 days" was all the captain said. he was a lot smarter than most of us gave him credit for. by the way, that was probably the cleanest those crappers were since the day they were built.

recycled seastories: Caliber D Cannon

this is the story that posting to KisP reminded me of, and got me looking or old posts:

the Caliber D Cannon

Seawolf lived at the south end of the industrial area on Mare Island when not at sea or in the dry docks. This presented many an opportunity to let our idle minds wander into prankish lands. We had an ST1(SS) who was really into black powder weapons. I mean really into black powder weapons. He decided things were entirely too boring at berth 19, so he devised the caliber "D" cannon. This little toy was a CO2 bottle with the horn removed, and a piece of schedule 40 PVC pipe taped over the end of the hose. The inner diameter of the pipe was just a skosh bigger than a d cell battery. We would sit on the forward deck of the living barge, and fire d cell batteries out into the middle of the Mare Island channel. One night, we decided that that wasn't enough fun, so the ammo and oilers pulled into the finger piers south of us presented just too darned inviting of "targets". After a couple of duty nights, bouncing batteries off of the weather deck of the skimmer was by far and beyond the most fun most of us had on duty nights, because they (the skimmers) started calling battle stations every time one of these ended up on their boat. The ship closest to us was of course our number one target, and they were bombarded using the attack scope on the boat and walkie talkies for communication to us on the barge for range and angle. The boys on the skimmers were getting more and more agitated with what was happening (imagine that), and they were blaming the other skimmers tied up next to them (HEHEHEHE). As all good things must eventually get a visit from Mister Murphy, he visited our firing station one night on the midwatch. A battery went zinging over water, and damned if it didn't hit the bridge. Not just the bridge, but a glass window on the bridge. Well, it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the trajectory of that ballistic missile, and the next thing we knew, the entire duty section on the skimmer was manning the rails, heevy gun and grapefruits in hand. By the time they were done shooting grapefruits at us, our barge looked like the salad bar fruit bowl. ahhhhh, in port hi-jinks. sure miss that stuff.

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recycled seastories: Sgt. Mike

another. if i keep this up, i will never be able to post about my navy days ever again, because you will have all read this stuff.

Well, once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away....no wait, that's a movie. Amen....this is a no shitter..... We were hanging out in Bremerton following our refueling overhaul at Mare Island. You know, the typical weapons testing and sound trials and other such nonsense that submarines have to go through after being taken apart and then hopefully put back together (correctly) again. We had a real problem with the Jar-headed security group there. Seems that they would ambush Seawolf sailors coming from the EM club on their stumbling way to the barracks that we were put up in. And of course, there were some unnamed sailors that thought that stalking and beating the bejeezus out of some Marine was itself great sport. It got so bad that the COB and the Gunny from the Marine barracks got together and threatened a loss of liberty and life to the dumb bastards that attempted further mayhem if they got caught. Well, as anybody that has ever had any dealings with bubbleheads must know, there is always at least one other way to screw with people that nobody else thought of. It seems that the Marines had this white bulldog named Sergeant Mike. Sgt. Mike was of course a full member of the tac squad, with uniform and duties, such as standing full dress inspections with his squad. One night, Sgt. Mike just disappeared. As you can well imagine, this caused great consternation amongst the denizens of the Marine barracks. The boys were combing the greater Bangor Sub Base calling for their dog, at all times of the day and night. Meanwhile, the dog was living large. He had 24 hour attention, was looked after and loved and fed steaks from the galley on the boat to belly rubs and head scratches. That dog was indeed living the good dog life.

As all things must, our good times at Bangor were coming to an end. The last truck from the bus to the pier contained an odd assortment of sailors and one highly agitated seabag. What we hadn't anticipated was that the boomer parked next to us at the pier was offloading missiles, which meant Marines EVERYWHERE. And not just Marines, but ARMED AND DANGEROUS/PISSED OFF MARINES. The truck was driven slam bang into the pier, and everyone in the truck cab and bed hauled ass across the brow, with the last one out emptying the seabag. As everyone was dropping down the hatch, with the poor maneuvering watch slobs stuck topside to cast off lines, a grunt discovered Sgt. Mike wandering down the pier painted haze gray, with 575 masked out so that the white numbers were VERY visible. The skipper saw what was happening, and sped up the underway process by at least 4 warp factors. Why we didn't get at least several thousand rounds fired our direction is a testament to the iron disciple that the officers had instilled in their men. ahhhhh, sure was glad to get out of the navy before the boat went back to Bangor.

Recycling seastories: First day on the boat

another recycle project lifted from the golden rivet

When I first reported to the Seawolf as a nub 3rd class nuc, I didn't know what to expect, but I'd heard all of the stories during the two years in schools before hitting the fleet. You know, how the enlisted puke, wardroom division wasn't as pronounced as it was on the skimmers, how the crew stuck together, and those sorts of things. Well, I met the boat as she was coming in from a post overhaul run to San Diego. Meeting the boat involved getting on a bus at Mare Island, and riding down to Alameda N.A.S., where the boat pulled in for a while before heading up the channel to MINS. We get on board, go through the check in process and were then handed off to a couple of nucs who took us aft. My first exposure to the nucs was that it seemed everyone not on watch in the engineering spaces was clumped together in the stern room, wearing poopie suits and playing with yo-yos. One particularly large and hairy gent wearing brown shoes, khaki belt, and Lcdr. oak leaves on the collar of his poopie suit. He had a whistling yoyo, and the guys were really giving him hell, because he wasn't as proficient as most of the others. Many of the comments I heard told me that I wasn't in Kansas anymore, Toto. Most of them ran the gamut of "hey you fat F******, when are you going to get off of your ass and sign my qual card", or "damned horrible show you're putting on for the newbies, engineer". You get the idea. I knew that submariners were different, but for a third class to give the ship's engineer a red ass was too much to handle. Well, everybody that was anybody seemed to get leave as soon as the boat tied up along side the pier, so I didn't get my welcome aboard speeches from the Capt. or the Eng. for about two weeks. I have to admit a little stupidity on my part, because i saw the eng a couple of times on base, and sucking up to him like a good little newbie, I just didn't understand the look of pain (figured out that it was just an attempt to keep from laughing)that I saw on his face when I went up to say "hello, engineer". As you can guess, during my howdy new guy lecture from the wardroom types when they all came back from leave, I realized that some of the best jokes take a long time to mature.

recycling seastories: Communications hijinks

more in the recycling series from the golden rivet

The engineroom had an X-1J sound powered phone. I know you t-hull and LA-la boys probably don't know how that system worked, so I'll give a mini-extra military instruction lecture here: the X-1J had around 16 stations that you could call by selecting the station and then turning a handle (the growler). the station being called would hear the growler, and thus would know to pick up the phone. the circuit was common, so that all stations could talk, and more importantly, listen to communications.

X-1J story #1: the handle on the growler was held on by the shaft being peened over the handle. a file, used most delicately, could file off the extra metal that held the handle on.....now all that is needed is to drill and tap a screw hole in the shaft so that the handle can be used as advertised, and still look like a normal growler. the skipper on the mid-watch would get an occasional growl from the phantom growler, and that was aggravating, because just a simple flick of the wrist yielded an obnoxious and loud whoop. now imagine what would happen if the handle was removed and a 10,000 RPM angle grinder was chucked to the growler shaft...Armageddon on a half shell?

X-1J story #2: For those of you who never served on boats, or worked in an engine room, there is a wonderful little compound called Prussian Blue. It's used for checking metal to metal fits, like valve disks to valve seat, and the like. Prussian Blue is a bitch to get out of your skin. Big time, no bout about it, a bitch. The below decks watch was an IC2 that the nucs had it in for either real or imagined cause. maybe it was just because he was a forward puke. i don't remember. he had the unfortunate luck to end up standing duty with the biggest bunch of jokers on the boat (coners were 5 section, and the nucs were of course in 3 section duty days). after the evening meal, during the flick, every X-1J phone except the skippers was blued in the earpiece and mouthpiece. of course, the shutdown roving watch aft had to get some readings from the below decks watch, with the expected results. After about 3 times, young p.o. jones finally gets a clue, and starts wiping off the earpieces and mouthpiece before putting the phone to his head. of course, he has gone to the weirdroom and sniveled as only a coner in 5 section duty can snivel, and threatened the nucs with dire and dastardly happenings. the OOD got so tired of hearing it, he came back aft, borrowed our tube of Prussian Blue, blued the phone in the weirdroom, and then went into control when the belowdecks watch went into the weirdroom on his rounds....and then he growled the phone next to the skippers seat at the table....it was great, we could hear him all of the way back in the engineroom.

Telephone hoho. a young MM1(SS) A-ganger stood watch a couple of times with us (section interface..3 section/5 section story again). One of the true jokers on the boat was a nuc MM named A____. he'd call the mess decks on the outside line, ask for a guy in the section, they'd growl aft to let that individual know he had a call on the outside line forward, and when he'd answer the phone, A____ would say that since "Joe" or whoever was forward, could he bring back a cup of fresh coffee? well, A____ would call the skippers landline on the midwatch, and ask for the C.O., letting the MM1 know that the caller was Admiral Rickover. Can you see what's coming? One night about 0330, the skippers line rings, Earl picks up the phone, the caller states that he is Admiral Rickover, and that he'd like to speak to the OOD or Captain if he's aboard.....the reply being "F*** YOU" with a prompt hangup. the captain didn't look too happy in his jammies and slippers when he stumbled on board about 5 minutes later to chew Earl a new one. ahhh...the good old days.

recycling seastories: the Beaker

i answered a post over at knowledge is power, and it got me thinking about a couple of "no-shitters" i'd posted over the years at ron martini's submariner bulletin board. those ended up being posted in a collection called the golden rivet. this is a pretty good place to find and read submariner NTINS stories that we posted over a couple of years. anyway, i the interest of posting without having to actually do a lot of typing, i'm going to go and steal a couple of my entries back and post them here.

the first installment: The Beaker

This is a no shitter.... there once was a young electrician on the Seawolf that did everything he could to perpetuate a legend, about himself of course. I have another story about field day that I'll post one of these days. anyway... young bob was finally getting out of the navy, after a couple of years on the boat. by this time, anything that he did was relatively unsurprising, since he would do anything that he thought might, just might, tweak somebody. I was the shutdown rover, and as an elt, i had access to all of the lab equipment. young bob asked me for a 500 ml beaker, and i thought it was to mix chemicals for the dissolved oxygen analyzer (what a piece of technological junk that was). As it so happens, we had the same eng. duty officer that duty day that had accidentally kicked over a piss call coke can in maneuvering the duty day before. as expected, this caused him to prohibit any and all use of same. his orders to our section were to wake up a piss call relief (remember pcr's?) regardless of the time or how tired your shippy might be. Well, our young ltjg was late for his midnight tour, as usual. about 2 hours late. he finally stumble aft and reviews my logs on his way to maneuvering. he enters maneuvering to see the shutdown man. area watch kicked back with his feet up on the reactor control panel, legs spread wide, and this glass beaker between his legs, full of a yellow liquid and a nice foamy head. the jg goes ballistic, and tells young R____ to get rid of the contents, which prompted a hearty aye, aye, and a few rapid, deep swallows. I, of course, didn't know what was going on in maneuvering at the time. all i saw was the edo heading forward, hand over his mouth, with a chunky liquid squirting from between his fingers. last i saw of him that duty day. As you can imagine, this made our sailor an instant hero. of course we were all grossed out by the obviously bizarre act, but still, he did nuke the edo. it wasn't until a couple of months later, when he came out to the bay area to visit that he passed on at a party what had really happened. see, he thought that it would be a reallllly neat idea to crack a cold one, and have a swig on his last midwatch in the navy. of course, the can would be inappropriate, hence the beaker. ahh, midwatch stories. gotta love them.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

the long anticipated revolution has begun

according to many, Gaia or Mother Earth, will sweep mankind from her surface.
it appears that an early shot has been fired in the battle

another example of good ol' ma nature taking a swipe at mankind can be found here

editthis just in from our correspondent RM1(SS), yet another fishy assasination attempt. i'm telling ya, these are but the opening salvos... humanity is toast if we don't go out and take matters in hand. what the hell has nature ever done for us, anyway?

i'd be wary of bee hives and wasp nests, if i were you. ditto penguins that were being transported in a vehicle that "just happened" to overturn.

i'm telling you, it's coming. i'd say dog the hatches, but ...

gee, do you think i could convince the producers of algore's An Inconvenient Truth to fund a movie with ME as the spokesperson?
editor's note: hey ed, the above link was the one i tried to send to you a couple of weeks ago regarding algore's shlockumentary

kind of makes dodging panhandlers pale in comparison

When I try to play back the tape of incidents I recall at least one suicide bombing, several assassinations and kidnappings and many many attacks with mortars and roadside bombs and a few raids by the MNF or Iraqi army.
Overall almost no week passes without a few incidents in this more or less one square kilometer area.

been to Iraq the Model lately? you should.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

a foodless food blog

i was asked by someone at work what kind of knives i used, and if buying a big set was worth the expense.

here's my answer, and i'll start with a picture of all the knives i really need or use, minus one or two. click on the image for other size options

starting at the top, my first knife is an 8" profession series chef's knife by Tramontina, manufactured in Brazil, good as knives 3 or more times expensive, and a damned fine addition to the knife drawer. i tried this and the same knife by wustof, and this is the one i bought.

next down is a cheapo 3 1/2" utility paring knife by hamilton beach, picked up for a couple of bucks at the outlets

next is a 10" slicer by Gerber. I looked all over the net, and can't find this knife. there are plenty of gerber knives out there, but the company must have stopped making/selling this particular model. too bad. this thing does a number on a beef tenderloin roast.

next is my 6 inch Messermeister cleaver from solingen germany. this is an incredibly handy utility knife. i use it for prepping thick skin squashes and stir fry veggies, and countless other tasks. until i got my santoku, this was probably the most used prep knife in the kitchen.

then there are my henckels knives. the 3 1/2 inch parer is indispensible. it doesn't have to be henckels, but this was on sale for about $3.00, so how could i go wrong? the bottom knife is a 7" Santoku, and this has become my favorite go to knife in the arsenal. it's handy, sharp as hell, and can tackle any job i toss its way. there are many manufacturers of this style knife, and they can be bought for relatively little, or a whole hell of a lot. your call.

the butcherblock cutting board was made by my grandfather 30 years ago. there are no metal fastners in this board. everything is glued and pegged. nice, huh?

oh, there are two other knives that i use, but aren't in the picture... the first: it's a cheapo Finnish fillet knife that every fisherman has knocking around. it's in the tackle box, and i have to go out and dig it out when i want to use it. it's sharper than a razor, and very flexible. the second: a cuisinart electric knife my wife got me for christmas a couple of years ago. THIS is indispensable in a kitchen. i won't even begin to try to count the different ways this knife has been used. i will say that i carved 6 thanksgiving turkeys one year in under 45 minutes. with an audience.

so, that is my take on knives. every cook has his/her own favorites, and my selection is no better or worse than many others. i don't believe in buying block sets, because most of the knives will never get used. i'd rather buy something i know i'll use time and again.

my knife drawer is full of knives i've accumulated over the years. yes, i have a bread knife, but i didn't spend more than a couple of bucks for it. yeah, i've got the fancy boning knife by cutco cutlery, but i haven't taken it out in so long, it's probably buried in the bottom of the pile.

any comments? what is your favorite kitchen knife?

Road trip to Austin: any recommendations?

i'm heading to Austin TX to attend a conference in mid september. hopefully, i'll be able to take the wife, because neither of us have ever been there. so, it's a 4 night, 4 day trip, in on a monday night, out friday afternoon.
anybody out there know anything about austin? what's cool to do, see, eat, etc?


i mentioned that a very good friend died last week. that event has had me doing a little introspective musings about life in general, and my own in particular.
some things i know;
  • i've had an almost blessed life.
  • my kids are healthy and as far as i know, don't have the cops out looking for them.
  • i had a really cool childhood. i was an army brat, and got the chance to see a lot of the world before i hit puberty. it was a little dicey living in france during the late 50's and early 60's with the algerians blowing up americans whenever they could. our school bus was armored and carried a couple of soldiers, but to kids, that was not cause for concern. it was exciting. we weren't smart enough, or worldly enough to realize the implications.
  • i had great parents. i never doubted for one minute that my folks loved me. my stepdad was a rock, the anchor for our family. he worked several jobs, just to make sure the 4 of us kids had what we needed. we didn't always get what we wanted, but we lacked for nothing. need new shoes for wrestling? got them. a lot of kids i grew up with didn't have that luxury
  • growing up in podunkville oregon was one of the truly great things that happened to me. i had freedom like very few kids growing up in urban areas experienced. every adult was a surrogate parent, so if i did something stupid, my folks usually knew before i got home. that equates to incredible freedom. seriously. we were allowed to find our boundaries, and they were pretty far out there.
  • i had it good as a kid, and didn't know it. when i joined the navy at 18 (in 19 ermm, uh, 72) i met a kid from somewhere back east, from the ozarks, i think. he actually cried when we were issued our uniforms the first day. it was the first new coat he'd ever had.
  • any and all health issues i've ever had have been so minor as to not be remarkable enough to talk about. mostly just age related. i've used this body, and don't intend to end up a good looking corpse.
  • i met and married the love of my life, after a practice marriage. i learned how to be a mate rather than a roomie with privileges on the first go around, and i'm determined to grow old with the woman that shares my life.
  • there aren't too many "let's wait" issues in our lives. entering into my fifties gave me an appreciation for the tenuous nature of life, and i don't want to miss the chances to experience everything that opportunity lays before me.

there's so much more i can say, but i'll just leave it at: life is good.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

naked as a jaybird

that's my grandkids, not their round balding poppa. i was tinkering with the sprinkler setup last night, and screwed up by setting the back sprinklers to come on at 4PM instead of 4AM. of course, it wouldn't have been a problem if those damned manufacturers used real time (i.e. 0400 and 1600). i wouldn't have screwed up then. anyway, 1730 rolls around, and the third sprinkler on the program kicks on in the middle of the back yard.
you guessed it. the next thing i know, i hear the munchkins laughing and giggling like crazy. i look out the window, and there they are, naked as jaybirds, playing in the sprinkler. i thought about taking pictures, but i'd probably be tossed in jail for child endangerment or worse.
i wish i as 3 again sometimes.

oh, and my 6 ounces of anise oil (the good stuff) finally got here from King Arthur Flour. i love the catalog, and the products are top notch.
anyway, why does anyone care that my anise oil is here? well, it's a primary ingredient for my wife's montecao cookies, and more importantly, my springerle cookies. this year's batch will be made in honor of one of our very best friends who passed away last week. she gave me her mom's springerle roller last year. it's the one on the right in the picture here. every time i make or eat sprinerle from now on, at least one batch will be from Karin's roller, and every time i smell anise, it will remind me of that crazy, fun lady. she loved my springerle cookies. happy trails friend.