Thoughts, observations, sea stories and ideas from a former sailor and lifelong rancher
Friday, February 28, 2020
Corpsman Chronicles XXXI Bug, Atlas, Sluggo
A couple of days ago in the comments over at Sarge's place there was a link to a very interesting video. I've watched that video many, many times. There are a couple of postscripts to event depicted in that video which are probably as unknown as the long-ago American drama itself.
Bug and Atlas, the two main "heroes" of the video, are dead. Sluggo, who wasn't present and is not part of the video, is also dead. Bug died in 1991 in an A-4 ejection gone wrong. Atlas and Sluggo died in 1994 when their A-6 crashed in San Francisco Bay while flying out of NAS Alameda.
I think we all agree that when people die before their time it's tragic. It often feels particularly tragic when servicemen are killed while doing their military job of supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States.
The tragedy is real. Bug, Atlas, and Sluggo died young. Parents lost sons, wives lost husbands, children lost fathers. Each of us human beings lost something whether we realized it or not. The tragedy of the thing is deeply painful.
It's easy to let the grief of tragedy have the last word, but I personally think that's an unfortunate thing when it happens. These three men left us too soon, but their lives were anything but tragic. They lived full, round, good lives -- compressed though they were -- and those lives shouldn't be defined by the tragic circumstance of their passing.
When I was a youngster I watched the movie Brian's Song, and for some reason the voice-over at the end of the movie has always stayed with me.
"Brian Piccolo died of cancer at the age of 26. He left a wife and three daughters. He also left a great many loving friends who miss him and think of him often. But when they think of him, it's not how he died that they remember, but rather how he lived. How he did live."
Bug, Atlas, and Sluggo touched a great many individuals and demonstrably improved human civilization. None of those those three Americans are defined solely by the tragedy of their untimely passing. They did live.
I believe it's important for Americans to face up to tragedy and mourn the loss of those who fell in defense of the Constitution. I believe it's every bit as important to not let tragedy have the last word.
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
I believe that -- as hard as it may be -- the proper American thing to do when faced with the sacrifice of our fellows is to redirect our grief toward rededicating our own lives to the great task remaining before us. That task did not end in 1865, and it will never end so long as human beings draw breath.
It is also well to remember that the fallen did not only fall. They did live.
I'm not saying any of this well, but perhaps you get a sense of what I'm trying to say. The drama of the video actually tells it properly, or at least points us in the right direction. I think the video is a national treasure.
A long time ago in a Navy far, far, away....
I worked on the flight decks of several carriers. I flew from carriers as well, mostly in helos, but I also had the opportunity to bag quite a few hops in the right seat of the A-6E Intruder, including day and night cats and traps.
Just for fun, this is what an A-6 night trap looks like and what the coms sound like. The video is surprisingly well done considering the constraints of commonly available camera/recording technology of the time.
So I've come aboard at night in the Intruder, and I've worked the flight deck at night. I've watched an A-7 night barricade go well and an A-3 night barricade go terribly wrong. An obvious question at this point might be, "so where are you going with this?"
To steal a phrase from C.W. McCall, "Beats the heck out of me, Roy."
My memory and experience make it possible for me to very nearly be there as the drama unfolds. It would really be cool if I could directly share what I see and feel with you all as I watch the video. But of course I can't. Perhaps this effort will suffice.
A little bit of (possibly unnecessary) stage setting...
If you watched the videos and chased the links in Sarge's recent naval aviation posts, you have a good idea how all this landing on the boat stuff works. It's quite a neat trick. The pilot has to land the jet on a particular spot at a particular speed and on a particular glideslope. When done correctly the aircraft's tail hook catches one of four cables stretched across the deck in the LA or Landing Area.
In general the third cable or "wire" is targeted. The wires are numbered aft to forward; "one wire," "two wire," "three wire," "four wire." During clear daylight weather much of the approach and landing can be flown visually with instruments and landing aids used mostly as backup to verify that the "look" and "feel" of the evolution is correct.
At night it's different. We'll leave aside the complex dance required to place the aircraft at three-quarters of a mile, on centerline, at the proper altitude and airspeed, and on the proper glideslope. You can get most of that by chasing the links in Sarge's post.
At three-quarters of a mile, if the pilot can see the ship's landing lights, he transitions from using his aircraft instruments alone to using two ship-based landing aids -- the meatball and centerline/drop off lights -- plus the AOA (Angle of Attack) indexer mounted on the glare shield just behind the wind screen. The meatball visually shows where the jet is with regard to proper glideslope. When the ball is centered between the datum lights the jet is on glideslope. A ball above the datum lights means the jet is above the glideslope, and a low ball means the opposite. The centerline lights show the centerline of the LA. Combined with the drop off lights, which extend the centerline lights vertically down the back of the ship, they provide a three-dimensional representation of the otherwise completely invisible landing area, as well as a visual cue as to where the jet is in regards to the center of the landing area. While peering through the windscreen to see the meatball and centerline/drop off lights, the pilot also gets an angle of attack cue from the AOA indexer.
Interestingly, during this final phase of landing aboard, airspeed is controlled by the stick and referenced by the AOA indexer while glideslope is controlled with the throttles. The whole process is worth reading up on and there are much better places to get that info, so I won't try do do it poorly here.
During each arrested landing there is always a Landing Signal Officer (LSO) team on a platform near the landing area. LSO's are rated naval aviators trained to provide assistance to pilots as they land aboard. They also grade landings in the never ending process of mastering the skill. During the day when landing operations are "routine," LSO's only infrequently make calls. At night or in bad weather they provide vital information during each landing. In some cases such as the barricade landing we're looking at today they "talk the pilot down."
When done properly, following "Meatball, lineup, angle of attack" and any corrections transmitted by the LSO will allow the pilot to plant the jet in the proper place to catch the targeted wire with the landing hook and successfully trap aboard.
As for the four wires, which are technically called cross-deck pendents, each is connected to a pair of purchase cables which are in turn connected to the arresting gear engines. These clever devices are individually set to provide resistance depending on the landing weight of the aircraft. When engaged by the tail hook of a landing aircraft the purchase cables pay out against their set resistance and generally bring each aircraft to a halt with similar force and roll out distance.
The challenges of landing aboard at night were considerably different 33 years ago than they are today. While the A-6E TRAM Intruder was incredibly sophisticated for the day, neither it nor the carrier had even a whiff of the technological "landing aboard" assistance that today's carrier aviators employ. The Intruder didn't even have a HUD.
Bringing an Intruder aboard on a clear night with a full moon and a steady deck is challenge enough. But what if you've got a broken landing gear, there's no suitable place to make an emergency landing ashore, and the ship is heaving through swells big enough that all the other jets have to divert?
So now we arrive at the meat of the story. According to a witness comment appended to the video, Ranger was operating in high seas approximately 500 nautical miles from Midway Island, the closest divert location. On Atlas and Tank's first pass the deck excursions were so bad that their initial landing attempt resulted in a touchdown hard enough to break the starboard mainmount. They boltered and were able to keep flying. The rest of the airborne aircraft were diverted to Midway but the decision was made to take Atlas and Tank aboard in the barricade.
The barricade is a long, narrow net which is stretched across the landing area forward of the four-wire and raised vertically by a pair of stanchions. Just like the four cross-deck pendents, the barricade is hooked up to an arresting gear engine via purchase cables. The idea of the barricade is to securely catch the aircraft in an enveloping mesh of heavy straps and bring it safely to a halt on deck.
You might wonder, as I did, if all the other aircraft were heading ashore, why not send the crippled Intruder ashore as well? I believe (but don't know) the most likely reason was a lack of robust C&R (crash and rescue) facilities at Midway. In 1987 I believe the navy presence on the island had gone and the airfield was generally off limits to most traffic and therefore not equipped or manned to deal with emergencies. Midway probably had a runway, fuel, and little else. What about ejection? That was certainly an option, just like trying to land at Midway was an option. On a pitch black night in high seas and 500 miles from the nearest land, the chances of successful rescue from the maw of the ocean beast was a very flimsy reed.
In this situation Atlas and Tank were fortunate to have LCDR John "Bug" Roach on the LSO platform and "waving" the barricade attempt.
At the end of the day a barricade approach is flown the same way as any other arrestment. Things look a little different. There is far less room for error. It's considerably more risky than a regular arrested landing. Everyone knows it, most especially the crew of the aircraft taking the net. It's one of the places where the LSO actually has the ability to speak success or disaster into being.
Now that the stage is set, however incompletely, I invite you to watch the video many times, to watch and listen and think and marvel. The main characters in this drama are not supermen. They are men just like you and I. They have an immediate supporting cast of roughly 5,300 fellow men. They are directly backed by something like 210 million Americans.
There's no doubt that I've shared this tale poorly and incompletely. It seems to me that the most important takeaway message of this story is that while Atlas and Sluggo and Bug are gone, and while their passing has diminished each of us, their lives are not defined by the tragedy of their demise. All of our lives end, as the Bard put it, gravely. We are what we do, rather than the fact that we die. What we do serves a larger purpose than the mere fact of our existence.
Bug said it best at The Hook in 1990.
Lord, we are the nation! We celebrate our birthday on July 4th, 1776, with the Declaration of Independence as our birth certificate. The bloodlines of the world run in our veins because we offer freedom and liberty to all whom are oppressed. We are many things and many people. We are the nation.
We sprawl from the Atlantic to the Pacific, to Alaska and Hawaii. Three million square miles throbbing with industry and with life. We are the forest, field, mountain and desert. We are the wheat fields of Kansas, the granite hills of Vermont, and the snow capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada. We are the Brooklyn Bridge, grain elevators in Nebraska and the Golden Gate. We are the nation.
We are 213 million living souls, and yet we are the ghosts of millions who have lived and died for us. We are Nathan Hale and Paul Revere. We are Washington, Jefferson and Patrick Henry. We are Lee, Grant, Abe Lincoln and George Bush. We are the famous and the unknown. We are presidents. We are paupers. We are the nation.
We stood at Lexington and fired the shot heard around the world. We remember the Alamo, the Maine, Pearl Harbor, Inchon and the Persian Gulf. When freedom calls, we answer. We left our heroic dead at Belleau Wood, on the rock of Corregidor, on the bleak slopes of Korea, in the steaming jungles of Vietnam and under the rubble of Beirut. We are the nation.
We are schools and colleges, churches and synagogues. We are a ballot dropped in a box, the harmonious voice of a choir in a cathedral, the crack of a bat and the roar of a crowd in a stadium. We are craftsmen, teachers, businessmen, and judges. We are laborers and nurses. We are parents and we are children. We are soldiers, sailors and airmen. We are peaceful villages, small towns and cities that never sleep. Yes, we are the nation, and these are the things that we are.
We were conceived in freedom, and dear God, if you are willing, in freedom we will spend the rest of our days. May we always be thankful for the blessings you have bestowed upon us. May we be humble to the less fortunate and assist those in need. May we never forget the continuing cost of freedom. May we always remember that if we are to remain the land of the free, we must continue always to be the home of the brave. May our wishbone never be found where our backbone should be. May we possess always, the integrity, the courage and the strength to keep ourselves unshackled, to remain always a citadel of freedom and a beacon of hope to the world.
We are the nation. And this is our wish...this is our hope and this is our prayer.
Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Yesterday I described the Snow Kids as gen-exers. Well, I'm sure you all saw the problem with that but were too kind to point out my error. They can't be gen-exers, they are far too young, being 21 (almost 22!) and 23 years old, respectively.
Gen-exers, according to the interwebz, are a generational cohort born between 1960 and 1984. That's the widest date spread I could find; the "experts" each have different date ranges of course, but they all seem to fall into that 24 year period.
One of the amusing things about my gaffe is that the older gen-exers are very nearly as old as I, and I are a baby-boomer (though just barely), a member of the most worthless generation of all time. Just repeating what the media says!
I proved fitness for inclusion in a worthless cohort by making a snap assumption -- that I must know what i'm talking about -- and then not checking the pesky facts. Pure baby-boomer knowitallism. To be gen-exers the kids would have to be between 36 and 60. Which they aren't. Not even their parents are that old!
So what are the Snow Kids then? Millennials? Not quite. Millennials, also known as Generation Y, were born between 1981 and 1996. The Snow Kids were born in 1997 and 1998.
They actually belong to Generation Z, in on the ground floor of a generational cohort beginning in 1997 and presumably ending any moment now, to be followed by a new generation possibly called Alpha. So yeah, Generation Zed.
Sorry. I'm old and I couldn't help myself. Although in my defense MIB is a 1997 film. So I'm not completely brane dead. That I'm aware of.
Rather an interesting day today, but interesting stuff not well suited to a blog. And probably not very interesting to to anyone other than myself anyway.
Rub-a-dub-dub, three hens in a tub. Because chickens.
The weather was much more clement today than yesterday. Mostly sunny but still pretty cool and with a pesky and frigid north wind. Pretty much like February is supposed to be around here.
The weather guessers propose that tomorrow will be a repeat (kinda) of today. Friday might be very nice, and Saturday as well. Then another weather front is expected to bring cold and snow on Sunday, which is always the way you want March to begin.
And now it's rapidly approaching past my bedtime, so I'll post this one on up and call it a day.
Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Not a Muse thing
I've been trying to post for several days and it just hasn't been working. Well, to be honest (what a concept) I haven't been doing what I need to do to get a post up.
It's not a muse thing. I've got plenty of ideas.
It's not a time thing. Though I've been unexpectedly busy with some not so fun tasks I've also had plenty of time to blog and publish.
It's not an illness thing. Yes, I've got nerve pain. Yes, I'm dealing with a low-level dose of the winter crud. So what.
I just haven't been doing what's needed to post. I haven't been sucking it up and driving on, at least not when it comes to blogging.
Now that the whining is over, it's time to post.
Today's weather is not very pleasant. It's quite cold, with air temperatures in the teens and low 20's and light snow being whipped along by north winds of the 25 gusting 50 variety. The so-called wind chill -- a largely stupid guesstimate in my book -- is in the 5 degree range.
Despite the unpleasantness of the present meteorological conditions (watch out, meteor showers!) the conditions nature is giving us today are magnificent. Nature's often hidden strength is on display and is awe inspiring. Despite the cold air flowing down from Canada, it's considerably warmer than the cold Canadian air of a month ago. That's because as our planet continues to zip around the big glowy-burny thing, axial tilt and orbital geometry are giving us more direct sunshine and longer daily periods of sunshine. This warms the atmosphere here in the northern hemisphere. A month ago weather similar to today would have yielded air temps in the single digits. Tonight's forecast of single-digit air temps would have been a forecast for sub-zero air temps a month ago. So cold misery aside, spring is rapidly approaching and will be here soon.
None of which keeps me from complaining. The chickens aren't complaining. I think there's a message there that I should be paying attention to.
Two days ago it was very nice out.
A couple of days before I cleaned out the chicken house.
The next day the chickens built a new straw nest and began clutching eggs. That there is a a sign of impending spring, Leroy. Chickens may be bird-brains but they don't believe the baloney pedaled by the weather propagandists!
Fourteen hens, fourteen eggs.
Meanwhile in Herefordshire, spring is pending as well, despite torrential rains and flooding. No, it's not climate-change-end-of-the-world. It's life on planet Earth. The planet will happily continue doing what it does, and go right on happily ignoring the predictions of the self licking turd polishers.
Sometimes I have a hard time believing how stubbornly whiny I can be. As I sit here typing and as the cold wind continues to blow snow outside, the sun -- at the very same time -- is fighting through the swirling mess of solid phase precipitation. The sunshine is casting shadows and melting snow and ice, even as the storm persists.
And speaking of whining, how easily I overlook my blessings.
Three months ago -- a full quarter of a year ago -- I accidentally met the Snow Kids and was able to render a bit of assistance. Since then the two of them, despite facing serious life-stuff ups and downs, have made it a point to be steadfast friends. The blessing of the thing is that they've both been busy proving, with deeds and not words mind you, that the common narrative about Gen-exers being a worthless lot is utterly wrong. Which I knew intellectually to be true, but it's nice to have proof.
Breaky with Snow Girl, which she proudly paid for. And yeah, "breaky." Cool, eh?
Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Thirteen days after suffering a nondisplaced pelvic fracture.
Scale, context, perspective.
There's an old saying in Naval Aviation.
"When life gives you lemons..."
No, that ain't it.
"When life gives you navy nurses..."
Closer, but that ain't it either.
"Look, I understand, but we got a mission here, so suck it up and drive on."
That's the one!
There are days when my cup runneth over with good shit, days when my cup runneth over with bad shit, and days (most of them) when it runneth over with a pretty even mix. Regardless of the mix, there's always the mission.
It's been a tough 10 days or so. I've had a bit of a winter bug, not enough to make me sick, but enough to make me feel blah-shitty most of the time. Every day I've got out of bed and married my flight sked with the air plan. And every single day, while I'm idling in the chocks and ready to go do good work, tasking changes and both the flight sked and air plan need to be reworked right now. By the end of the day those documents bear little resemblance to the clean copy of the morning. They're smudged and crumpled and torn and covered with colorful crayon scrawls.
And always there's the mission. So suck it up and drive on.
Suck it up and drive on takes work and effort and involves no little pain. Those things happen in the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual realms. It's hard and exhausting and draining and painful.
Always, there's the mission.
Working through the hard stuff -- sucking it up and driving on -- with an overarching goal of executing the mission.
That right there is life.
I am immeasurably blessed.
Good thing I know how to fall.
I've been struggling with writing a Corpsman Chronicle. The who-what-when-where-why-how of the thing is easy. It's just information. I can write it all down just fine. What I'm struggling with is the flavor and the feel of the thing. For some reason it's been hard to, I don't know, slip back into the heart and soul of the guy who was there. That's where the tale has to come from. Without that, the story is just words. Might as well be a page out of a dictionary.
But it's coming back. Today was a good day.
Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.
Sunday, February 16, 2020
Goofy rabbit trail
Didn't post yesterday (February 15), though I did finish this one by 9 p.m. so I could have done so. Barely. I think I'll shoot this off to scheduling for publishing in the morning.
After five days with no dedicated workout I was finally able to hit it hard yesterday morning. As a nice bonus, the weather was beautiful. Sunny, temps in the low 40's, and no wind!
Red and I went 4.7 miles in circa a buck-twenty. Up and down a lot of challenging slopes and over a lot of challenging terrain. I moved right along but I didn't push it all that hard. Hard enough for some good cardio and to work the kinks out of my legs, but not hard enough to ignore opportunities to make videos or to simply enjoy the outing on a beautiful day.
I wore my Salomon trail running boots and they weren't quite up to the terrain. They're very nice and very light and very comfortable. They give reasonably good ankle support. But they're just the wrong platform for prairie hiking. My Salomon hiking boots are a bit heavier nut much more betterer on the uneven ground of the prairie. They also have a softer lug compound which provides much, much better grip on the ice. The trail running boots might as well be skates on smooth ice. But that's how you find stuff out -- by trying it.
Salomon, btw, is a French company. Many of their boots and shoes are manufactured in Vietnam. Who saw that coming?
I didn't want to post up a lot of jarring mal de mer video so I eschewed use of the chest rig and pseudo go pro and did all the video with the canon handheld. I think it came out okay.
But I also didn't want to post up only boring hiking videos, so I took a gander across the interwebz, looking for an interesting video to post as well. I quickly found Armed Services Screen Report, Issue Number 114, on the Periscope Films u2b channel. It's hard to make out, but in the opening title screen it looks like the date is MCML, or 1950.
One of the first things to pop up was a brief (very) clip of a P-61 launching what looks very much like a North American Aviation GAM-77/AGM/28 Hound Dog.
It looks like it's got a thin delta wing and maybe but probably not a canard. It's also got no vertical stab. What may or may not be a jet engine appears to be mounted on a centerline pylon well aft on the airframe. While the layout is quite similar to the Hound Dog, it's not that similar. Definitely not an AGM-28. So what is it?
The proposal request for the Hound Dog didn't come out until 1956, the contract wasn't awarded until 1957, and the first flight wasn't until April, 1959. As an interesting aside, the AGM-28 was powered by the Pratt & Whitney J52-P3, a non-afterburning turbojet in the 7,500 lb thrust class. Versions of this motor powered the A-6, EA-6B, and some versions of the A-4, all sub-sonic jets. Yet the Hound Dog could allegedly smoke along at Mach 2.1. Cool, eh? If my guess on the date of the video is correct, the mystery P-61 missile launching took place about a decade before the first Hound Dog ever flew. So what the heck is it?
Thanks to the wonder of the interwebz it was dead easy to find an answer. It even looks like it might be a correct answer. In 1947 and 1948 the U.S. Navy borrowed P-61C's from the USAAF/USAF for testing the Martin PTV-N-2 Gorgon IV ramjet powered air to surface missile. I say again, cool, eh?
Anyway, here's the video that caused me follow a goofy rabbit trail. It's actually kinda neat. and only 20 or so minutes long.
And now back to where we began. Blue grama against a blue February sky and Red doing Red stuff.
Every sparrow. And more Red stuff.
Hiking blather about boots, more Red stuff, scene of the former crime.
The place where I fell on the ice eleven days ago. What happened?
And what happened here?
It was a good hike. Even if I can't tell wind velocity from air temperature.
Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.
Friday, February 14, 2020
Random random stuff
When you randomize randomness, do you get order?
A self-appointed scientist tries colorado weed
Simone et Shitster, New New York, 2020
Don't be afraid to skip right on by the rant down there below the non-rant stuff.
Beautiful day here yesterday. It was still quite chilly but the wind had gone (mostly) down, there'd been an inch of snow overnight, and the sun was fairly blasting through the cloudy remnants of a retreating weather system.
I went to Scottsbluff to arrange for copies of some of my medical records and to collect 300 pounds of chicken feed and a bag of dog food.
It was a quick trip and a pleasant drive. I took a good bit of video but I'm not sure any of it is usable. If it is I'll post it tomorrow. Maybe.
I was a bit on the grumpy side and had to keep reminding myself, in the voice of Oddball, to stop acting like Moriarty.
"Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say somethin' righteous, and hopeful, for a change? Have a little faith, baby, have a little faith!"
When I got back I noticed that one of the righteous, hopeful chickens had been too lazy to lay her egg in a nesting box.
Then I walked up to check the mail
It's supposed to be warm, sunny, and not windy today (tomorrow as I write this. Here's hoping!
This popped up on my u2b feed last evening, marking one of the rare occasions when u2b's algoreythms aren't trying to propagandize me and/or cause me to peruse major mediagandatainment clickbait. The narrator uses a lot of them funny yurpeen words and so does the text description of the video, so I don't have any idea what the moving pictures represent. At a wild guess I think it might have something to do with landing West German, British, and American warplanes on the autobahn back in the glory days.
Well slap my ass and call me spanky! This popped up too! I wonder what a Chant header featuring French Naval Aviation might look like, I ask of myself and no one else at all... ;-)
Not going to say a thing about carrier envy.
Which wouldn't be true of Aviateurs navals français anyway.
The other day Sarge remarked that his head had nearly exploded upon reading a certain article. The article in question had made plain to Sarge the deep insanity attending the present state of American military procurement affairs.
When I read that an image popped into my head; Bull Meechum sitting on the veranda reading the newspaper and howling about chasing Castro down the main drag of Havana in his F-4. Which would have been an F-4B at the time, and that's a useless bit of trivia which adds nothing of value to the post. Anyway, I tried to find a video clip of the scene but a good 30 seconds of searching failed to produce what I wanted, so I quit looking.
Juvat commented that no one should be surprised, given Jerry Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy. Which is a bit of a digression as the point I'm struggling to reach has nothing to do with bureaucracy, But I've long been a fan of Jerry Pournelle and I was excited to see that particular squirrel in juvat's yard so I had to work it into the narrative somehow.
Anyway, the point is...
Yesterday my head nearly exploded when I attempted to enjoy a video of an author's talk before the Dr. Harold C. Deutsch World War II History Round Table. On the off chance that any of you kind readers haven't found the place yet, I'd encourage you to visit. There are some great lectures and interviews there. Some of the lectures are dry and crunchy as career academics do their best to kill any actual viewer interest in history, but you can always stop the video and cross that particular pre-embalmed history-murderer off your list.
Yeah, sorry, it's the weed.
As I was saying before the weedgression...
I clicked on a video, which I've decided not to name or describe. It was a "book talk" given by an author who had just published his tome, and it was about an interesting and uplifting part of America's WWII story.
But this particular author used the story -- in my opinion mind you -- to trumpet his particular brand of SJW wokeness about the Horrible Caucasian Racists Of America Who Continue To Run The Country To This Day And Go Right On Committing Horrible Race Crimes.
His starting position is that all caucasian people of America are, have always been, and will always be, first and foremost, racists. Except for fellow woke travelers who, like himself, are committed to atoning for the racist bastards who look kinda-sorta like him by calling them out at every opportunity.
In other words, hes a racist. But he's a good racist, because it's okay to be a woke racist. Less equality! More genocide!
Yes, racist stuff happened. Yes, it was often government sponsored, and reflected widely held views and beliefs which shit all over the First Principle.
But you don't fight racism with racism. It's been done. It's never worked. It never will work. End of story.
I haven't read the fellows book. I'm sure he gets a lot of the story more or less correct and that he tried to do a Good Thing. I'm sure he thinks of himself as a good guy who does good stuff.
But that's just intellectually lazy and dishonest bullshit. The idea of "good" people and "bad" people and the notion of a world made only in the postmodern/intersectional/marxist mold of oppressors and victims is precisely the poison which leads to catastrophe.
Am I being overly sensitive? It's a fair question, and I won't argue with anyone who draws that conclusion. My point remains, however. If we build our civilization on a crap foundation, how is our societal house supposed to keep standing? People who can't be assed to hew to foundational principles are doing it wrong. In case I didn't make it clear (which I didn't), the point isn't that racist stuff happened, is happening, and will always happen. The point is that not a single fact of history belongs in that garbage postmodern/intersectional/marxist narrative, which is wholly an invention of people who consciously decide it's in their own personal interest to shit on the First Principle. Because while all humans are human, some are more human don't you know. When it's "we good people" against "those evil people," it's a firetrucking cult.
Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.
Thursday, February 13, 2020
The Canadian-Mexican War
The winds have been howling back and forth across this neck of the woods since January 1. First they blow from the north, then they blow from the south. It's like Canada and Mexico are exchanging broadsides. Regardless of which side is shooting, it's always howling.
January 20 and 21 and February 4 have been the only days in 2020 when we've had gusts lower than 25 mph. Toss out those two days in January and the 35 mph daily average jumps to 41 mph. February has been a bit less windy with only a 32 mph average thus far.
I don't know why I'm whining about it so much this year. It's winter. It's the Panhandle of Nebraska.
Busy again today and I've got an early go with an even earlier brief in the morning, so I'll just throw up a couple of brief videos.
Despite the pesky and persistent wind it was also quite pretty today.
The wind didn't harm egg production.
Difference between January, February, and March? Sun position and not much else.
But they're all precious days.
Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.
Wednesday, February 12, 2020
It's been a busy day today but the good news is good news. Mom does have a nondisplaced pelvic fracture but it should heal quickly and without complication. In the meantime she can continue to do her day-to-day stuff including hiking as tolerated. She'll be sore for a bit but it should be getting better every day. If she overdoes things and gets sore she'll just be sore and won't be doing any damage or be in danger of a worse fracture. It's pretty much the report I expected but you never know.
Driving through Pine Bluffs, Wyoming.
Rest Area on I-25 in Wyoming, south of Cheyenne and near the Colorado border.
It was a pretty morning in Fort Collins. Cold air but very warm sunshine. And the wind hadn't yet begun to blow.
Here's a model of the pelvis.
Motorcycle chain appears to be the internal fixative of choice in repairing busted pelvises.
Approximate location of the fracture lines.
Video inside the exam room.
With a clean-ish bill of health we drove north to Cheyenne and had lunch at Olive Garden, Mom had Gnocchi Soup and salad and a cappuccino.
I had "Tour of Italy" which featured chicken parmigiana, fettuccine Alfredo, and lasagna. It was very good despite being very blurry. I had a strawberry-passionfruit limoneta to drink and it was also quite good. Sweet and tart and very refreshing.
The last meal I had at Olive Garden was awful. Thirty years later I'm glad I tried it again. Good food, good service.
When we got home I installed the new microwave.
It's a replacement for the one that went out of warranty and merda il letto the next day.
And that's the report. Exceptionally fine day.
Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
life is dynamic
It's been a bit busy around here today.
Mom started having some right hip pain a month ago. The pain was very similar to the pain she had from her degenerated hips before she had them replaced. The pain is on the right side, which was the first hip to be replaced back in 2014.
The question is where is the pain coming from? The most likely source is bone; either femur or acetabulum where the prosthesis is fitted.
The next question is whether there is an incipient fracture in one or both locations, whether there are micro fractures developing, or whether one or both parts of the prosthesis have shifted.
The pain she is having is quite severe when she moves in certain ways, like lifting her right leg, getting up and down, going up and down steps.
She had a fall on Thursday in the chicken yard, and that banged her up a bit but she's recovering from those contusions and the hip pain was present before the fall. She's also got some longstanding right shoulder pain from a combination of arthritis and bursitis.
This morning we went to the clinic and the Doctor had it x-rayed. None of the images showed gross abnormalities or any sign of fracture near bone/prosthesis interface.
The radiologist saw "Findings which could represent a nondisplaced fracture involving the midportion of the right inferior pubic ramus." That's essentially the bottom of the pelvis.
The radiologist and Doctor recommended Mom see an ortho specialist as soon as possible, so tomorrow she'll see the fracture specialist at Fort Collins, about two hours away. He's part of the ortho/spine group that did her hips. So we'll see what's what tomorrow and figure out if there is in fact a fracture and if not what's causing the pain and also figure out a course of treatment for recovery.
So not the best thing to have to go through for Mom, but there are worse things. While we were at the hospital they were treating someone I know for a brain bleed. They were pretty grim about that. I don't suppose folks who haven't worked the ER would pick up on the grimness but I sure did.
That's all I've got for the moment and I'm running late for a thing. I'm gonna send this off to scheduling now. I may or may not update before it goes out.
Hope this doesn't come across as a crisis. It's not. It's just part of living life in a dynamic universe.
Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.
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