Wednesday, January 28, 2015

THERE IS NO FRIGATE LIKE A BOOK


AND THEY LAUGHED

Every Saudi of means has spent decades living out of the Kingdom. They don't like it any more than we do. Thank you so much brave brave Sir Robin. The very first time you tell the female Wing Commander based a little south of the Kingdom that she no longer has to fly in and have a male driver for her next visit with the Saud's, you'll impress me much.

I reserve a special place in my heart for the female squadron commanders that used to fly into Dahran in aircraft they piloted. Humor is shared over a Consul's table.

REG

It was my friend Reg who shared a room with me for 2 months in Seoul who did not share a room in Kuwait when we met each other again a few months later....The arab tailor in Bahrain made him what he asked for and gave him new name strips to sew onto his uniforms in Kuwait. His was a perfectly fine name but when translated in the lobby, it read NEEDPORK.

It was funny. We both specialized in a tiny aspect of war and so, for almost 2 decades we would show up and run into each other and he would wave and give a cheery, "hi Curt" and I would say, "hi Reg."

I've written here about another guy I used to keep bumping into. Every time we collided over the decades he assured me that he secured a gig that made him 'undeployable.' I always made it a point to say hi to him in Bahrain, Korea, San Diego, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and the ships at sea.

RIDING THE RAILS

A few years back my room mate and I used to take the Seoul subway to our offices in Yongsan Main Post. The first couple of times we did it after we arrived we ended up in the damnedest places. We would try to get on pure Korean military installations but never did. What is theirs is theirs. What we share is ours.

I spent a little over two months living in hotels in Seoul that first time and we refused the Army's kind offer of transportation (a bus which appeared at 0530) and decided to test the proof of life by exposing ourselves every single day (we worked @7 days a week) and took the Seoul subways to work.

We had alternate routes. We could amble out, after coffee and breakfast in the Lotte and turn to the left or the right. We mostly went left. I blame that on Reg. He was from Massachusetts and thus a total leftist. We would embark at Seoul Station or City Hall with a transfer or we would sometimes go to the right and take the subway to Itaewon. Either way, we had to walk the last quarter mile or so.

If one got off at Yongsan, the walk took one by Korean Imperial Defense Headquarters (which, soon after, relocated itself out of artillery range of the north Koreans hugging their side of the DMZ with their endless artillery and poison gas shells.) It also let us stroll past the Korean War Museum. If there was ever a museum that had 'one of everything,' it was that museum.

My Coast Guard colleague and I rode the rails underground in a sea of ignorance. The first time, because all the instructions and signs were written only in Korean, we had some trouble but there was an old man to help set us on the proper path. We were wearing our very attractive greenish, black, yellow uniforms of camouflage and he sussed out our desire to go the headquarters of United States Forces in Korea. He got us on the right train despite a very serious language barrier.

I think we took that train for the first month until the young lieutenants convinced us that there was a shorter way to the office. What they hadn't factored was the way that we commuted out of pure ignorance. We had found that if we grabbed a strap on either of the last two undermanned cars of the train that we would not be jammed in like sardines.

Yes, we turned out to be the second worst thing the country team experiences from visitors. We didn't know the last cars on every train are for women only. I know they didn't care at all but maybe it has changed again. We are old reprobates and we would not dream of depriving any lady of a seat on the line. We were just going 4 stops down the line and change. The cars weren't empty but there was absolutely no "inadvertent" brushing, touching, etc. They were mostly empty.

Over the next two decades, the lines got worse. Way. Every train car was packed to maximum capacity. It's a subway. At some point, you cannot add more cars to the train without leaving the rearmost hidden in the tunnel, well away from the platform. The trains took on the aspect of Japanese commuter trains.

It turns out that one can walk for many miles underground in Seoul through the subterranean stores that feature everything from art, belts, sunglasses, bathroom fittings, furniture, clothing... It has to be seen to be believed.

I'll never see it again but it was a really amazing place in the impeccably clean, bright, glistening undergrounds of Seoul. It was like Madrid's in the olden days in terms of clean. Madrid's didn't have any shops and just a handful of buskers.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

ROME

Rome didn't run out of money, it ran out of Romans in Legions. It is the kind of thing that happens to any Imperial Status Quo.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if they resorted to a draft of some kind.

and the darkness took them. Hi Greece! Do you want fries and a Coke with your darkness?

As usual, nobody in Greece is going to notice as they slip into the abyss. They are all utterly reliable.

Monday, January 26, 2015

A GROVEL HERE, A GROVEL THERE

Not content with groveling to the Saudis, Obama and his State Department maintain full prostration in front of the Cuban negotiators who know submission when they see it and negotiate using that basis. Meanwhile, Obama went back to the Kingdom to grovel some more. No pictures of this full prostration yet but here's one from the last grovel.


MOVIE REVIEW, ROMAN HOLIDAY

Watched it again tonight; one of us for the first time. It is a most wonderful movie about a world and time that never were although one catches oneself saying, oh yeah, I remember that. The story and the acting were fun and left you laughing. Ha! No, I wasn't born when this film was made but ever so close. Next up, Breakfast At Tiffany's!

It was, "most unusual." Roman Holiday will always be a classic. It was filmed in black and white, filmed in Rome shortly after the War, and resonates as a timeless love story. Relax and enjoy. There isn't a single picture or screen capture that does justice to the film.

It starts on classic and old lines,

Lord Byron
 
CLXXIII. "She walks in beauty, like the night"
 
SHE walks in beauty, like the night 
Of cloudless climes and starry skies, 
And all that's best of dark and bright 
Meets in her aspect and her eyes; 
Thus mellow'd to that tender light         5
Which Heaven to gaudy day denies. 
  
One shade the more, one ray the less, 
Had half impair'd the nameless grace 
Which waves in every raven tress 
Or softly lightens o'er her face,  10
Where thoughts serenely sweet express 
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place. 
  
And on that cheek and o'er that brow 
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent, 
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,  15
But tell of days in goodness spent,— 
A mind at peace with all below, 
A heart whose love is innocent.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

FASCINATING PICTURES

Many of these pictures are amazing and worth a look.



MINDING REDUNDANCIES

For about 4 years we of the west coast Mine Battle Force had an arrangement with our mine counter measures ships based in the Persian Gulf. The crews of the ships would be rotated over time and what you found when you got there was what was left of critical systems designed to drive the ship through the water or find your actual sea mines.

I remember the first time I showed up on one of those ships. As I recall offhand, the engineering systems had 22 outstanding casualty reports on pieces of the altogether vital ship's propulsion and control systems. Those were just the most hideously blatant ones. There were a whole slew of other things that did not work but were covered by redundant equipment so the effect of failure could be pushed off into some unknown future.

My Chief had preceded my arrival by a month and he was working flat out at making the ship whole but it was an uphill struggle until reinforcements arrived; me and a Chief Electrician off another MSO out of Seattle/Tacoma. We couldn't help but be amazed at the wreck that was now ours. Almost nothing on that ship worked except the SONAR and one or two engines.

One of the equipment failures I remember well. The ship's degaussing system did not work. The massive system designed to minimize our magnetic signature and make us invisible to really scary magnetic influence mines was totally out of commission. The Chief Electrician tore into that one first. He was busy going hand over hand following the various coils trying to find the ground/short when I took him to the fantail for a smoke and an update. He was outlining what he was trying to do with too few hands and coils that wrapped around that ship 3 different times when I nodded to the ship's mast and asked him if he would tell me which one of those stubby looking antennae was the antenna that sensed the earth's magnetic field as the ship moved through it and served as the master reference for the degaussing system.

His eyes turned to the mast in question and saw what I saw. There was one antenna that was visibly and risibly, not vertical straight up and down. It turns out all we had to do was climb up there with a plumb bob and make it vertical and lo and behold, the degaussing system was restored to full operation.

The casualties I really hated were the hidden ones that had not been reported because they were the redundant systems there to backup the primaries. When there is just one fuel oil purifier, you need it to work. Barring that, you would need the fuel oil transfer pump (1) to work so you could move fuel from the main tanks in the bowels of the ship to the service tanks in the engine rooms. Ours did not work. Neither did the attached diesel powered emergency fire pump. Neither did the Salt Water Cooling backup pump.

Some fairly bright architects, engineers, boat wrights and craftsmen built these ships but 4 months in the hands of slackers and underachievers had left them pretty much down to a single catastrophic failure with no chance of recovery.

I remember my brother returning to the condo we shared in San Diego and reporting that his bank had just written off another 2 or 3 % of outstanding loans as non-performing assets. This was at the height of the Savings and Loan disaster and I finally had to point out that he better start looking for a new job because one cannot keep writing off assets with a glib expression and no plan to make the bank work again.

It is looking more and more likely that civilized societies around the world have let all the redundancies of civilization fall apart and atrophy. The disaster at Chernobyl was manmade. I wonder though at people who are supposedly clever who dismantled their entire power network and now rely upon the truthfulness and integrity of Russians who 'promise' to provide all the fuel the new fossil plants require to generate power. Cities like LA totally reliant on a single water source hundreds of miles away.

The barbarians have always been out there and there's a lot of them now. Infrastructure used to be designed and built with redundancy so the entire system was never paralyzed if one source failed or hostile action destroyed a major node.

We don't build civilizations like we used to.

YMS-516 exploded by a magnetic influence mine 18 October 1950, Wonsan, Korea

Friday, January 23, 2015

54

I'm in love with two women. You would not believe how beautiful, smart and creative they are. They are both adorable. With this one though, if you cover her feet....she falls asleep. OK, OK, 54 years into life, I'm beginning to suspect that it works with all girls.


Who knew?  :)

THE OLD RELIABLE

Hillary is awful but just think, what kind of creature would she choose as her running mate?


She is the old reliable. We can count on her to get just the right man for the number 2 job in her administration.


65

65 men and women ensure a life without meaning. Good God. No wonder the SS has gone downhill.


Imagine the HR office where the second deputy under assistant to the vice president for ex first lady affairs runs the damned palace. Hillary has 65 agents full time to look after her. I really enjoyed GUARDING TESS by whossname. I can watch that movie again.

Can you imagine, life in the SS and they send you to the Clinton detail? Either one is bad, each is worse than the other.

SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER

It is so like our president that he had this to say about a Saudi blogger who wrote about the religious police and who was sentenced to 10 years in jail and 1000 lashes by the harsh rulers of Saudi Arabia where, by the way, the knig* died yesterday.
"As a leader, he was always candid and had the courage of his convictions," President Obama said in a statement.
The new king is said to be batshit crazy and suffers from dementia and Alzheimers so he will blend seamlessly into Saudi society and lead them brilliantly into the 31st year of the 8th century.

Can't you see the ringtone with wrinkled brow trying to pen a word or two in tribute to the Saudi king and coming up with, 'courage of his convictions.' That's a seminal moment. Imagine, a total autocrat and ruler somehow scrounging up the courage to support his convictions.

*knig is the term for a Saudi ruler who imprisons bloggers and has them whipped to death.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

ADVICE FOR GOP HOPEFULS

How beautifully was this composed and written?
Republican presidential candidates haven’t had the best luck with young, unmarried women in the past couple of elections. 

Maybe they need to hire more interns?

HOODIE

You know how glabal warming is bad?


Hoodies are worse!

and yes, I know very well how to spell global. I mock.

BYNOMIAL SUPPOSITION AND N FACTORING

The robber came into the chicken palace waving a firearm and demanding cash. The line attendants tried to satisfy his demands while I ate my dinner. At some point, the robber became frustrated and screamed that he was going to shoot hostages at which point, I hurled my salt shaker at his head. It took him down hard. I went over to him and was standing on his now disarmed hand when another customer picked up the gun and decided to rob on. She waved it at me and told me to shed my privilege and get off that boy's hand and then she started shooting. I bobbed and weaved and all 5 rounds from the revolver missed me, mostly, at which point I punched her into next week. She dropped the gun and as I watched in amazement, another man in the next booth pulled a gun and pointed it at me and told me to freeze.

I bent over, picked up the empty gun and threw it very hard at his head.

How many times do you read about anybody using a gun as a missile?

We aim to satisfy.

Now you have. I had fun writing that. Have a very good day.

BEATING THE RECORD FOR LOWEST AIRPLANE FLIGHT

Eric Worrall says it pretty well but without the irony:
In 2013, NASA decided to take time out from creating spectacularly useless climate models, and reactivated their Near-Earth Object Wide-field Survey Explorer programme. The result is moderately terrifying – 8 previously unknown near Earth asteroids with catastrophic impact potential have been discovered, along with a host of smaller bodies which have the potential to wipe out a city.
As with global warming and dogs, one wonders why people bother. With the best telescopes, all the money in the universe and an army of slaves, if you saw a killer planetoid speeding directly towards an earth shattering collision, what the hell would you do about it? Global warming/cooling? We're talking about a whole entire planet. When you think you have an idea how gigantic that is, hop on a plane at SFO and fly to Japan. NIMBYs have no idea how big a planet is.


Ever wonder what a dog is going to do with a car once he chases it down and bites it?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

THE TUBE OF YOU

I went there to find this. Because we think it is funny and captures my driving experiences through LA for almost 20 years. I really did not like driving through LA and tried to do it when most of them were fast asleep or passed out.

Sadly, those rotten bastards are almost always on the freeway....

and then I found this video next up in the cue of the tube of you.

I regret that I lost my lifelong respect for police but this one, he was good. He's the kind of lawman that I dealt with all my life. Good men. Doing their best under trying circumstances that I understand. The will to be stupid is almost overwhelming for some. After emptying a magazine at her, I'd have reloaded and shot her some more because she needs killing.


It amazes me, sadly, that even given every reason to feel the urge to kill, we suppress it.....a lot.

Don't worry. Still don't believe in no-knock raids and don't believe in police drive-by killings and I don't carry. Our freeways are dangerous enough. :)

UPDATE: This is actually a Zen video. Given your color of immunity and your apex predator status, what wouldn't you do that van load. This one never fired a shot.

A VERY SMALL PIECE OF THE LAST

This showed up awhile ago.


I put it back on my key chain. How many people have been to Sintra much less Cabo da Roca?

OTOH, my last key chain fob was from Panmunjom in the Joint Security Area.

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED


From Ars Technica:


You tell little girls things like this and they just don't believe you...

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

THEY HAVE SUFFERED ENOUGH

Honestly, I kept expecting Penn or Teller to jump out of the bushes.


Absolutely no poll tests allowed. Come one, come all, and Vote!

I loved, "haven't women suffered enough?"

LET'S CUT TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER ON GLOBAL TEMP

The hell with all this, what do the tree rings tell us? What@the trees!?!

How odd that we no longer reference our long lived brothers in forest who accurately measured the seasons temperatures for decade after decade, century after century and are now set aside as meaningless data. Screw the satellite data, I want tree rings dammit!

Climate data without tree rings is MEANINGLESS!

Sorry, I just thought I'd throw that out there. :)

SQUARELY ON THE HEAD

Nails it.

I worked with our country teams in the Middle East a long time and think that the article nails the FSO's to the wall with their own pointed barbed words. One has to see to believe how meaningless the State Department has made Ambassadors and our Embassies.

In my lifetime, an Ambassador was his country's voice abroad.

SPEAKING OF ISIS

Interesting report from Jurgen Todenhofer at Breitbart. It seems a journalist took his son into the Caliphate and witnessed the atrocities they practice in preparation for the big plans to kill hundreds of millions of infidels and maybe half a billion muslims. What captured my interest was:
The journalist asserted that the U.S.-led bombing campaign was not going to stop the Islamic State and its continuing jihad. He told Al Jazeera that he believed the terror group would only be stopped if fellow Sunni Iraqis would rise up against them.
I think we have reached the point where we simply have to accept that it is quite futile to rely upon muslims for anything at all; not oil, not common humanity and certainly not killing jihadists fighting in the name of islam. Even when you think you have one pinned down on the humanity grid as being in our court, they up and slaughter their daughter for the honor that's in it. I'm pretty sure they're not on our side in this struggle and they never were and they never will be.

But don't ask me. Look at history itself.

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, GOT THE ISIS TRIM

Yet a new study has been conducted to determine why some fields of endeavor appear to shun women and maybe even blacks. Let's hope they're too smart to sound off on their findings. Read a way into the comments there at mathbabe's place because it takes awhile to become clear that Harvard defended a professor so well that he was never convicted. To quote mathbabe's post and comments, there was a reason or two:
  1. Anon
    March 22, 2012 at 1:10 pm
    So let me get this straight.
    Summers should be in jail because of what his friend did?
    Should not the friend be in jail first?
    The friend who is currently ranked the most influential economist in the world according to IDEAS/RePEc,[2] and is listed #1 in the category “Most-Cited Scientists in Economics & Business”.
  2. Scott Locklin
    April 4, 2012 at 4:58 am
    The truly fucked up thing about this is, Larry Summers actually *did* get shit-canned from Harvard for merely speculating about a “hatefact” and he and Shleifer got off scott-free after ruining a perfectly good country and committing crimes against the US government and the human race. I guess destroying the lives of thousands of Russians and committing fraud isn’t as important as offending upper middle class ideas of political correctness. In a just world, his comments wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow, but Cossacks would have burned down his village for his crimes against Rodina Mat.
    Oh yeah: I know your pal Monica Chinups.
Mathbabe might have some credibility but she went off the usual deep end with those types and instantly vaulted into the ring to accuse two men with high crimes worthy of life-until-death in the Gulag Archipelago for crimes against the Rodina. I think we all know why Larry Summers got fired at Harvard and it had nothing at all to do with some other professor at Harvard and any "crimes" he may have committed in Russia. Nope. He put his mouth around words others found hateful and had to go.

I think the faculty ousted him as President of Harvard because of what he said. So, if you are carrying out a study on gender and science differences never ever breath a word of the results you get. Go back and ask for more funding for further study.

Double that amount if you want to even breath about race and science differences. Or better yet, just slit your lying stupid throat first. OK, I had actually meant to refer to the authors of the BELL CURVE.

There are no real victories in the social sciences these days nor in most of the non-engineering/STEM sciences. Go forth young pioneer and discover new breakthroughs in medicine and immunology based on genetics but rather sacrifice your first child to Baal than try to draw any conclusions from genetic differences about ability from something as transient and specious as genetics.