Sunday, February 26, 2017

Rhino Ball 2016

U.S.Navy Photo
U.S.Navy Photo
Some old friends in this video, the Bullets and the Hawks.

I absolutely love these, cheesy music and all.

The kids are alright...


The trees are still bare but the air is warm, the cardinals are calling, and more bird species are making their presence known with their songs.

To think it looked like this a couple of weeks ago -

That picture was taken on the 12th of February. When The WSO and her babies arrived, a week ago, a lot of that snow was still on the ground. Enough so that on two separate days Little Bit and I were able to exchange snowball "fire" in the back yard. L'il Sweetie had the chance to play in the snow and while at first the coldness was something she didn't care for, after a while she was picking up the snow and attempting to fling it at grandpa, just like her big sister.

Being outnumbered didn't bother me until Little Bit decided that a close assault was in order. I took snow to the ear and staggered off to lick my wounds. So to speak.

Each day saw less and less snow until Friday it was all gone except for a few spots in parking lots where the local snow removal types had piled it, and piled it high. (True story, Worcester, up in the Bay State, tends to get a crap-ton of snow in the winter. After a while it gets piled very high. One May when we went to pick up The Naviguessor at the end of the school year, the snow pile in the parking lot near his frat house was still a good six feet high. Though by that point you'd be somewhat wrong to call it snow. More like a pile of ice and dirt. Not attractive at all!)

Other signs of spring are the cowbirds combing the grass for the insects who are starting to hatch. I tried to catch this flock on the ground, but they got airborne pretty quickly as the cell phone camera was brought to bear -

Friday was a grand day spent over at Colt State Park. Fast by the Bay.

L'il Sweetie enjoyed making piles of wood chips.
Whereas her big sister, Little Bit, was being all photogenic and stuff. (The girl loves the camera, it seems to return the affection.)
While we went to the beach, it wasn't quite warm enough to go in. Tide was out, exposing our rather rocky beach.
Fishermen were hard at work. Lobstermen? Quahoggers. (Thanks Tuffy and Patsy!)
A lot of folks were out. More than I expected. Well, it was a gorgeous day.
All too soon the week was over, up early on Saturday to get the tribe to the airport. Flight out of Providence left on time, big weather system kept The WSO and her babies on the ground in Philly for nearly two hours. But Little Bit had her iPad and a very nice lady moved to another seat so that the girls had the whole row to themselves.

No doubt the flight from LAX to Fresno will be missed due to the storm keeping them grounded in Philly. So hotel in L.A. and on to Fresno on Sunday. So much for having a day to recuperate from the long trip. (And yes, they spent that two hours on the plane, not in the airport. Which was apparently a good thing. The airport was sweltering and the air on the plane was much cooler.)

Still and all, a good visit. The kids had fun. I had fun. Hopefully we'll do it all again real soon. Either here in Little Rhody or out in California. Makes no never mind to me, as long as you're with family, you're home.

No Grandpa, I didn't pick this off the floor. Grandma gave it to me.
Stop eyeballing my cookie Grandpa!
Breakfast of champions. Doughnuts, apple slices, and juice. Also chocolate chip cookies. Apparently.
That smile would make Helen of Troy jealous!
While the robins don't leave the area during the winter, they tend to stay in the woods. Unless spring is close. Yup, robin in the front yard. Probably twenty of 'em Friday, but I neglected to snap a photo.

I circled him as he was hard to spot. Blends right in unless you can see his chest.
Monday is coming. Back to work.

But I won't complain, we're going to go see The Nuke next weekend. After that, it's back to "normal." (Whatever that means...)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Day Off

Taking folks to the airport.

It's  been a great week.

But far too short.


Read the folks on the sidebar, I'll be back tomorrow.

I reckon.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Out and About

Pondering the eternal question, "What's for dinner?"

The Missus Herself has already decided to have one of the specials listed on the chalkboard so has no need of a menu. For the kids, their mom, The WSO, will help them decide. Little Bit went with the kid's cheeseburger with fries, whereas L'il Sweetie selected the mac and cheese. (Which she devoured with great relish.)

While the food was being prepared...

So was I. Guinness for me, thank you very much.

The fish and chips sounded like a good idea.

And it was!

I assisted the artist, who found great pleasure in "dropping" the crayons and making Grandpa pick them up again. (Well, okay sometimes she tossed the crayons. But fortunately, there was no hurling involved.)

L'il Sweetie
Little Bit

They head home on Saturday, the place is going to be sadly quiet after they leave.

Not that the cats won't mind...

Yeah, that's what a thousand-yard stare looks like on a cat.

Thursday, February 23, 2017


"OAFS Two-Five, you are cleared for take-off."

"Roger tower, Two-Five, rolling."

Easing back on the control yoke, the pilot, callsign Fatman, had the bird off the runway and turning slightly to get the aircraft on a north bound heading. Getting the bird airborne with a full load of ordnance used a lot of gas, so the co-pilot, callsign LUSH, was on the radios with the tanker.

"Booger, you up?" The pilot called over the intercom to the bombardier (callsign Booger, obviously).

"Roger Fatman, all systems are in the green, but I'm getting an intermittent fault light on the weapons computer."

"Copy, keep an eye on it. Mom, you have a course for us?"

The navigator, callsign Mom, checked in, "Hold this course, you should see the tanker in a couple of minutes. Hey, quit jinking would you, Booger looks a little queasy."

"Copy. Hey, let me fly the aircraft, you just keep me pointing in the right direction. Toejam, how you looking?"

The Electronic Warfare Officer, or EWO, callsign Toejam, checked her systems and reported back that everything was in the green.

Refueling went smoothly, even with the intermittent turbulence the aircraft was experiencing. The crew accused the pilot of being heavy-handed on the controls, the pilot told them to suck it up as pretty soon they'd be down in the weeds and doing some "real flying."

Just as the pilot began his descent, he heard retching noises over the intercom. Looking back quickly, he regretted that decision immediately. All he could see was the bombardier retching all over the navigator. For some odd reason, the EWO thought that was hysterical. The smell threatened to overwhelm the entire crew.

"Talk to me people, what the hell is going on back there!"

No response.

"LUSH, get back there and check it out."

Moments later, LUSH came back to the cockpit.

"Jesus Fatman, it's a mess back there. Booger blew chunks all over Mom, everything is covered in vomit and damn near every caution light on the nav board is lit. Freaking Toejam didn't get any on her but she's laughing like a crazy person."

"Mom, Fatman. Can you continue?"

"Ah, negative Fatman. Everything back here is covered with Booger's breakfast."

Before Mom clicked off, the pilot heard, "Jesus Booger, what the hell did you eat this morning?"

So yeah, the plan yesterday was to get up early, hit the road and head north to visit my mother. She hasn't seen the youngest grandchild since she was about two months old. Now she's 17 months old, motoring around on her own two feet and chattering like a magpie. As the naval branch of the California tribe doesn't make it back East all that often, it seemed appropriate to make a visit. Though three hours up and three hours back (can't stay overnight for various and sundry reasons) makes for a long day, we've done it before.

I was up at 0600 and ready to roll at 0700. Of course, no one else was ready as they were still in the process of waking up and, as The Missus Herself (callsign Mom) often reminds me (callsign Fatman), getting the young 'uns up, fed, and ready to roll is time consuming, even when the young 'uns are feeling cooperative. Which they were.

At any rate The Missus Herself and The WSO (callsign LUSH), eventually got the kids, Little Bit (callsign Booger) and L'il Sweetie (callsign Toejam) ready and we loaded up the car. A few stops later (to buy fuel, then flowers, then coffee) we were on the road. About an hour and a half later than I wanted, but, as most of you know, I seldom get a vote when the females of the clan are gathered en masse. Which they were.

An hour into the trip, Little Bit, with no warning, hurled all over her grandmother (sitting in the back seat between the bairns in their car seats), aka The Missus Herself. As we were on the highway with no place to stop, we spent about 15 minutes in that toxic atmosphere before pulling over into what turned out to be an out-of-business gas station. (Which I discovered when The WSO directed me to go inside and buy some kind of cleaner. When we pulled in I had parked to the side and hadn't noticed the conspicuous absence of humans and merchandise inside. In my defense, my focus was on the conditions prevailing in the backseat.)

As we still had about 2 hours and change to go to my mother's place, we weren't at the "point of no return" and as The Missus Herself and Little Bit were pretty much covered from the waist down with...

Nah, not gonna go there. The memory (and the smell) are still too fresh.

Needless to say, we didn't go visit my mom. But I did get a blog post out of it. So the day wasn't a total loss. Then again, I wasn't covered in, well, you know what. The GIBs (gals in the back) might have a different take on the day. But it's my blog and I get to tell the story. No doubt their version, provided they wished to relive those moments, would be rather different.

Wasn't that humorous at the time, at least not to the GIBs, but, as I'm a loon, I saw the humor in it almost immediately. As for Little Bit, once she'd, shall we say, cleared the target, she said she felt much better. Just a passing queasiness. When we arrived back at Chez Sarge, she announced that she was hungry and "can we go to McDonald's?"

I tell ya, the kid's a trooper. Iron stomach and all that.

Speaking of stomachs, after we had returned home, the bairns were tossed into the bath (L'il Sweetie didn't really need it but she loves bath time). The WSO stepped away briefly to grab a towel and upon her return noticed a foreign object afloat in the bath water.

"Oh Dear God", I heard my daughter exclaim. Seems that L'il Sweetie had decided to contribute to the day's all around disgusting-ness in her own little way. Um no, that wasn't a Baby Ruth. Though it kinda looked like one. Kinda reminded me of a few admins LUSH and her squadron mates have told me about. Even The Skipper had a couple of tales but...

Let's just call it a day, shall we?

Quelle affaire! (As Blücher might have said...)

Or, as Colonel Kurtz might have said...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

News? Caveat Emptor

Before I head off with the tribe in tow to visit the matriarch, my Mom, I just wanted to share a couple of thoughts regarding "news." Well, actually, not "news" but more accurately, information.

Those fellows in the opening painting (Frederic Remington's The Smoke Signal) are passing along information. While it might be new information to the folks receiving it, that is "news," it might also be expected information, not necessarily "news."

There are all sorts of information out there in the world. There is useful information, irrelevant information, interesting information, useless information, and perhaps, misleading information.

We get all of that in an average newscast, newspaper article, or web page dedicated to informing you about something. Now of course, that's just my opinion.

All of the information presented by folks looking to get some of your hard earned money has a slant. It's only natural. Everything a human hears, sees, tastes, touches, or experiences is unique to that individual. You might not like chocolate the same way I do (dark is my preference, white isn't so let's not go there, milk is better than no chocolate), in fact you may not like it at all.

I was a witness to a plane crash when I was young. I saw the aircraft roll onto its back then watched its shallow dive to the ground, where it seemed to explode twice. That puzzled me until the next day I talked to the girl up the street who saw the exact same event as I, but from a slightly different perspective. She saw an explosion in the air, then another down on the ground. I saw what I saw, that was my truth. Another observer saw something slightly different, that was her truth.

As reasonable individuals with no agenda to pursue, other than truth, we compared observations. Her report made perfect sense when combined with mine and I realized that she indeed had had a better view of events. We reached consensus on what we had seen. It also matched reports from other observers.

I have often wondered why, during the holiday season from Halloween to Christmas, newscasts always seemed to report on fires destroying homes and apartment buildings. The fires in which children die always seem to make more headlines than, let's say, an unoccupied business burning down during the night.

When I was a kid I reasoned that the fires were caused by faulty heaters, maybe even Christmas trees catching on fire due to faulty wiring. But I also knew that homes and other buildings burn down at other times of the year as well. Why weren't those reported in such great detail? While I assumed back then that the reporters were trying to elicit an emotional response, for whatever reason, I never had a satisfactory answer for that.

And just how was that news useful to me? If it was followed by safety tips or with the exact details of how the fire started and how it could be prevented that's one thing. But I don't recall hearing those follow up reports. Ever.

So I began to view "news" as just stuff that happened but had no bearing or relevance to my daily life.

When I was in the military, news of unrest overseas and possible hostilities were of interest. But then again, what purpose did that news serve? Did I need to do anything beyond those things my service already required of me? Did I have to pack differently depending on the circumstances? No. Not really. Uncle Sam always told us what we'd need and most times would provide that without me doing anything out of the ordinary. I just had to be ready.

So what use is the news? For one thing, it's slanted to push an agenda. As far as I can see there is no truly neutral news outlet. What does it benefit to know certain things unless there is something I can do about it?

Leading up to the election of last November I paid more attention to the news than I normally do. I found the coverage appalling. Out and out lies from nearly all outlets, misleading information, irrelevant information, useless information, and (no really) from time to time useful information. But perhaps useful only to me. For instance, discovering that a particular candidate supported something I was vehemently against would obviate the need for me to ever consider that candidate as one I could support.

But I had to be careful. Sometimes I would hear (or read) something from one source, then something quite different from another source. Not everything was (or is ever) cut and dried.

Information which is important to you should never come from just one source. It's like intelligence gathering. One source is usually insufficient for what is called "actionable intelligence," what the mainstream media likes to call "news you can use." In short, single source intelligence is usually not all that trustworthy. If that intelligence has been filtered, synopsised, summarized, or otherwise "boiled down," it may not be useful at all.

Which is pretty much what nearly all news outlets do. Not to mention the infernal tendency these days (in my opinion) to editorialize the news. Back in the day we were taught the following in doing reports for school:
  1. What happened?
  2. Who is involved?
  3. Where did it take place?
  4. When did it take place?
  5. Why did that happen?
  6. How did it happen?
The five Ws and one H as it's sometimes called (with a hat tip to reader Valory).

I feel that the "Why" of things is overly represented in today's so-called "reporting." Sometimes we just don't know, even perhaps can't ever know, why something happened. Many of us saw the space shuttle Challenger explode on live television. We could see with our own eyes what happened, we knew who was onboard, we knew where it was happening, and we knew the when. The how and the why, that took a long investigation. The how became crystal clear but the why may never truly be known. Greed? Incompetence? Sloth? All of the above?

Most news stories are like that. But the modern media would have us believe they know it all. More's the pity, far too many of us still trust them and believe them. I don't, not fully.

By all means, watch/read the news, but don't believe everything you read, hear, or see in the media, any media. They're selling us a product, someone has to pay for all that effort and the people putting the reports together. As consumers we must always remember - caveat emptor, let the buyer beware.

Anyhoo, that's my two cents.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


A gorgeous weekend. The WSO has come for a visit from California, bringing two of my adorable grandchildren. We picked them up Saturday at the airport and had a chance to play outside that very day in our rapidly dwindling snow. No snow at all where they live so we needed to, ya know, carpe diem.

Sunday dawned and it was nearly a perfect day. Temperatures in the high 50s, maybe even creeping into the low 60s. Which for Little Rhody in February feels an awful lot like spring, summer even.

I was out on the deck enjoying the warmth when the senior granddaughter Little Bit came out and announced that we should once again play in the snow. While we still had some. So we did. Snowballs were thrown, hits were registered and a good time was had by all. Even Little Bit's sister enjoyed herself, though she ain't too keen on touching the muddy ground with her bare hands, sitting in the mud, even if accidentally was rather amusing to herself and to the rest of the tribe.

I'm off all week, away from the grind, getting to spend time with my youngest child and her sweet brood. I was going to talk about politics a little, but that can wait.

For now life is just too precious to waste even a moment of and as I have my wee bairns with me, some of 'em at any rate, I mean to make the most of it. So I am going to enjoy this week and not worry too much about the blog. Sorry, but some things come first, other things must necessarily wait. The grandchildren will win that contest every time.

Blogging might be sparse, but who knows, I might squeeze in a post or two between naps. Mine and the grandkids.

Have a great week!