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July 29, 2006

H&I* Fires 29 July 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

Frequent Castle guest Homefront Six waved goodbye to her husband this week as he left on his first wartime deployment.

Powerline has a round-up of discussion and background on the shooting in Seattle.

Andi of Andi's World is soliciting discussion and expert analysis of the two bills aimed at preventing unauthorized commercial use of names and images of military personnel currently working their way through Congress. - FbL

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It's the Armorer's Natal Day today! Looks like his present is getting to go to Mexico and crawl around on the Rodgers. But at least he left a Choklit Gun for the Castle in the post below - Thanks, John!

Here's a little something for you that Bad Cat Robot found...

Happy Birthday, John!!

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Jul 29, 2006 | General Commentary
» MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy links with: Australian Age op-ed writer spreading Jesse MacBeth lie

This being the day it is...

... here's something for the Denizennes.

I'll see if we can't talk the Mexicans into letting us have one of these (hey, they've got *several* of them...) I think it would make a good Choklit Cannon for the Inner Bailey.

Today will be spent with Ward and a Navy diver diving the ship to get a visual of her hull, rudder, and screws.

The rest of us will be crawling through tight spaces making sure nothing heavy is loose, or valuable and fragile (like light fixtures) are laying around loose and breakable.

Ward Brewer inspecting the aft boiler of the Rodgers

Most of my day will be taking apart (and photographing same) the Fire Control computer on the Gearing - identical to the one on the Rodgers. I don't think we'll get it out (much less reassemble it) in a usable fashion - but there's no reason to send the computer to the bottom with the Quetzalcoatl when she assumes her final duty as a reef in November.

July 28, 2006

Bringing Home the Rodgers

USS John Rodgers and Crew, 1945.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

BAM Cúitlahuac and crew, 2006

BAM Cúitlahuac, the former USS John Rodgers, retired from Mexican service, with Mexican sailors and her American contingent from Beauchamp Tower Corporation, pose to recreate the WWII crew picture.  The BT Corporation is there to rig the Cuitlahuac for tow back to the United States where she will become a museum that will chronicle her WWII service with the United States Navy and her 30 years of subsequent service with the Mexican Navy.

by John on Jul 28, 2006 | DD 574 USS John Rodgers/BAM Cúitlahuac
» Confederate Yankee links with: Turtle Eggs and Cannons

Walk on a romantic beach... while bringing home the Rodgers

Last night I got to walk a romantic Pacific beach looking for sea turtles coming in to lay eggs.

With a Mexican Admiral, Rear Admiral Uribe.

The Mexican Navy have been wonderful hosts. They host us for lunch, which is excellent, and has little in common, except in generalities, with what passes for Mexican food back home. Some nice *hot* stuff. And guacamole to die for. And, as Ward found out... some verra nice ladies. (No, SWWBO, I didn't win anything at the raffle, so I am still chaste)

Anyway, Captain Jimenez is eager to show us the good side of the Navy and the city of Lazaro Cardenas, the state of Michoacan, and, of course, Mexico. It's been fun to see something other than Ciudad Juarez, and someplace that isn't built to accommodate gringo touristas.

This includes the proper way to drink *good* tequila.

Captain Jimenez schools Rob Harshbarger

Last night, Captain Jimenez arranged a trip to the beach, to see the sea turtles coming in to lay eggs.

I've never done anything like that. Captain Jimenez, who is our host down here was there with his wife, Violeta, and son, Abraham. Admiral Uribe's wife also joined us.

Add in Brewer's Bandits.

And a detail of 8 Mexican Marines. In full battle rattle. Weapons, night vision, helmets, fully loaded vests, black uniforms, which was cool with former Marine John Nowakowski - who hung with his bros.

John Nowakowski with Mexican Marine Corps Patrol Leader

They were there to provide security. Mebbe we were also bait...?

Naw - when Captain Jimenez went to check out the beaches earlier that day, the local police told him that there had been poachers looking for both turtle eggs *and* tourists to rob. The good Captain didn't reach those lofty heights by not appreciating that getting the Admiral and his American guests involved with poachers would be a Bad Thing.

The Marines routinely patrol the beaches at night during spawing and tourist (there's a difference?) seasons, so we didn't have to feel too guilty about ruining these guy's Thursday night plans. All we did was change the location of their Thursday night plans. Which was to patrol the beaches. Well, they did get to nursemaid 8 Americans, two senior Naval officers and their families.

That Admiral and his wife completely kicked my butt. We went about a mile and a half, along the wet, sandy beaches, and Your Correspondent, while managing to *mostly* keep up with a killer pace, did lag behind as age, decrepitude and Good Living demanded their due.

If, when we reached the end of that walk, they had turned around and headed back (rather than having the vehicles meet us) I would simply have sat down and said, "So, this is where I die. Nice place. Smells funny though."

That didn't happen. My legs ached, my back ached, and I sweat gallons, but the heart didn't explode, so SWWBO isn't small-time comfortable from the insurance.

We didn't see any turtles, but we did see a clutch of eggs being gathered by Mexican officials who move them from the public beach to locations where they are more likely to survive.

We got done and back to the hotel at 2345. And today started at 0700. And today was a looooooooooooong day.

More on *that* later.

But rest assured - even though I'm grinning here in one of my 5" gun mounts (this being mount 5, all the way aft)...

The Armorer in his element

We're still working! Here I am with Ken Guiles disassembling a Mk4 20mm (made by GM, by the way - and the photo is by Rob Harshbarger).

Even a *cold* boiler room in Mexico in July is a *hot* place.

Ward Brewer in the aft boiler room of the Rodgers

Trust me. I didn't hit heat exhaustion - but I drank 5 liters of fluid and only, um, er, ah, "voided" about a coffee cup's worth of, well, y'know.

by John on Jul 28, 2006 | DD 574 USS John Rodgers/BAM Cúitlahuac
» Confederate Yankee links with: Turtle Eggs and Cannons

H&I* Fires 28 July 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...
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This story just breaks my heart. A Texas family has now lost both of their sons to the GWOT. The father, Roy Velez, said "I can't be angry. I feel like my heart's been pulled out. We've done what the Lord allowed us to do for our country." Their older son was killed in Iraq in 2004, and was awarded two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star posthumously. The medals were stolen in a home burglary in June- and were replaced on Monday, the day before news of the death of their younger son. H/T: ALa, of Blonde Sagacity
I am just so sad about this. ~AFSister
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John Bolton. All right!
"John Kerry: Why not engage in a bilateral one and get the job done? That's what the Clinton Administration did."
"John Bolton: And, very poorly since the North Koreans violated the agreed framework almost from the time it was signed."

You have to love a mustachioed curmudgeon like Bolton who tells it like it is instead of playing pattycake just to get confirmed.
Read the rest and watch the video over at Gateway pundit.
ry
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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Tagged. Gollum Style.

Dang it. Why did Trias tag me with this ‘what do you’ thing? You’se a cruel man Trias. Posting it here because Kat’s Place (middleground) is so serious, unlike Argghhh!

1) What scares me:
a) Losing my physical faculties, which I’m already starting to do.
b) Losing my mental faculties (I know what you’re thinking, but no, not yet.).
c) The idea that the inmates are running the asylum the world over.
2) People who make me laugh:
a) Pro-comedians(Bill Cosby, Billy Connley, Gabriel Iglesias)
b) People who do the same crap over and over with the expectation of a different result.
c) Myself. When you do as much stupid chit as I have you have to laugh.
d) My wife, Jess. How anyone so smart and so sophisticated can be so into silly stuff like Pokemon and the anime Fushigi Yugi just astounds the heck outta me.
3) Things I hate the most:
a) Elitism. This is the fastest way to piss me off in the world. That means much of the political left (since they seem to be so smug in believing that they are morally superior in just about every instance while those of us who disagree just aren’t capable of understanding their ideas.) and many comedians have lost me from the word go.
b) That I wasted 15 years of my life studying the wrong subject. Your vocation and avocation should be matched horses. Mine ain’t.
c) When my uber-liberal in-laws meddle or get ‘that look’ when I take a stand contrary to theirs. You aren’t my parents and life would be so much simpler if you understood that and acted that way.
4) Things I don’t understand:
(I don’t think there are enough slots to list that which I don’t understand, so I’ll just go with the top four.)
a) Willful ignorance.
b) Braniacs who have nothing but contempt physical activity and jocks.
c) Elitism.
d) The Church of Oprah.
5) Things I’m doing right now:
a) Thinking about whether the fuel budget can handle me driving up to Fowler to visit the VFW they have there.
b) Thinking about how to turn something The Armorer sent me last night into a meaningful blog post (impossible mission).
c) How I’m going to get my professional life re-tracked and how I’m going to get my grubby little hands on the materials (books, lectures, and ultimately some kind of certification) and the money to do so.
6) Things I want to do before I die.
a) Make Jess really happy for a really long time.
b) Be the son my Mom and Grandmother and Mrs. E raised me to be. Not there yet.
c) I should want to be more than a good husband, a good man, and a good son?
7) Things I can do:
a) Drive really long distances in a single sitting.
b) Distil hexane like there’s no tomorrow.
c) Know the direction of the four points of the compass even at night. Decent skill to have.
8) Ways to describe my personality:
a) Vitreous.
b) Immature.
c) Misanthropic.
9) Things I can’t do.
a) Convince my Wife to learn to drive.
b) Convince my Wife that firearms are not themselves inherently evil.
c) Convince my In-Laws that I really do know what I’m doing more than a quarter of the time, and that they should leave Jess and I the hell alone.
10) Things I think people should listen to:
a) Bill Cosby’s comedy album ‘Bill Cosby: Himself’
b) “Amazing Grace” played on the bag pipes at least once in their lifetime.
c) Yourself. You usually know what’s best for you.
d) Detractors. Sometimes they’ve got a point.
11) Things you should never listen to:
a) Grievance Mongers. They don’t want justice. They’re just narcissistic jerks who only want power for the sake of power.
b) Communists/revolutionaries. See above.
c) Guidance councilors. They may mean well, but these people usually haven’t a clue.
12) Favorite foods:
a) Pizza with chicken, Alfredo sauce, green onions, garlic, and a mix of mozzarella and other soft, white cheeses.
b) Coke-a-Cola.
c) Apple Fritters with milk. Easiest way to pacify me is to plop that down.
13) Things I’d like to learn:
a) Chinese, Korean, and get my Japanese back up to par.
b) How to do literature searches well. Seems more like an art than a science, and I’m not that artistic (with apologies to JTG. Autistic? Yes. Artistic? No.)
c) The true meaning of Grace.
14) Things I normally drink:
a) Filtered water.
b) Milk (2%, can’t stand 1% and non-fat. Blech.).
c) Coke, sometimes with lemons or cherry flavoring, and typically straight, right out of the refrigerator out of the can. Ice waters it down and drives off the carbonation. Ick.
15) Shows I watched as a kid (I watched a lot of tv, are we only allowed three?).
a) Popeye the Sailor, right before and right after Mass on KTLA channel 5 with Chris van Patton as the host.
b) KTLA channel 5’s weekend movies, hosted by Chris van Patton. Typically was either a war movie (like Tora! Tora! Tora!, Midway, or Battle of the Bulge) or the Godzilla movies of the 60’s and 70’s (Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster, Destroy All Mosters, stuff like that). Did sit thru Dr. Zhivago, once. Not easy for an 8 year old.
c) Robotech and Voltron on channel 13(3:30 and 4:00. Right before Mom would get home from working at Target in the inventory department(the docks)).
16) People I’m tagging with this?
Nobody. We’ve emberassed enough people for the week with this, doncha think?

Bringing the Rodgers Home

Today, we'll be documenting her condition in detail to start generating the shipyard work orders to restore her to her WWII configuration.

My piece of all this, the armament, is in great shape, so today we'll be dismounting and disassembling her 20mm guns. She has four, one mostly complete, and three in varying stages of cannibalization.

So, mostly today what I'll be doing is stripping stuff from the Gearing-class that sits next to her - the one destined to be a reef in November - for stuff we can use on the Rodgers (we need four watertight doors, for example) and stuff we can bring home for trading material.

And mebbe something that will fit in my luggage...

Say hello to our Pretty Woman from a different perspective than yesterday:
\Hosting provided by FotoTime

And for you Destroyer aficionadoes out there - hi-res (right click and save as, please)

More to come. I'll have to tell you about my romantic walk along the beach with a Mexican Admiral...

News from the various fronts in the GWOT.

A group of Marines from 1st Battalion, 25 Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, move an insurgent rocket found while conducting Operation Spotlight. The operation took place in the Fuhaylat, south of Fallujah, Iraq where three hostages were rescued and several weapons caches were located and destroyed by Marines.

A group of Marines from 1st Battalion, 25 Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, move an insurgent rocket found while conducting Operation Spotlight. The operation took place in the Fuhaylat, south of Fallujah, Iraq where three hostages were rescued and several weapons caches were located and destroyed by Marines.

The same kind of rockets raining on Israel, I would note, among other types, I believe this is the most common.

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq – Marines from Regimental Combat Team 5’s, 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, and soldiers from 2nd and 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division, rescued three Iraqi hostages in an intelligence-driven operation July 23.

The three were personal assistants and bodyguards to Dr. Rafa Hayid Chiad Al-Isaw, an Iraqi government official in Baghdad.

“We are extremely pleased we were able to recover these three Iraqi citizens,” said Col. Larry D. Nicholson, commanding officer for RCT-5. “The safety of Iraqi citizens to move freely about their own country without fear is a priority for U.S and Iraqi forces and we will continue to assist the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police in ensuring their citizens have a future that is free of terrorism.”

The three were held captive by al-Qaeda insurgents in a spiderhole complex for 27 days. The hostages were beaten with electrical cords, bitten and threatened with their lives at gunpoint by their captors. They were treated by Coalition Forces medical personnel.

The three were taken hostage by al-Qaeda insurgents west of Zaidon, a rural area south of Fallujah. They were rescued near Fuhaylat, southwest of Fallujah.

Also recovered nearby was a significant weapons cache, including a fully-assembled suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. Marines also recovered IEDs and IED-making material, mortar tubes and round, artillery rounds, machine guns, bulk explosives, anti-tank mines, rocket-propelled grenades and launchers, AK-47 assault rifles, small-arms ammunition and video cameras.

Regimental Combat Team 5, partnered with Iraqi Security Force units, is currently conducting counter-insurgency and security operations in the greater Fallujah area.

Meanwhile, over in Afghanistan...

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – A Coalition patrol killed seven extremists on July 25 after they attacked Coalition forces in the Garmser District of Helmand Province.

There were no Coalition casualties in the fight. The Coalition unit received small arms, rocket-propelled grenade, machine gun and sniper fire from a group of extremists. The Coalition force returned fire, killing five insurgents

Later in the same area, insurgents fired small arms at an Afghan National Army mortar team, with a Coalition embedded tactical training team attached. The combined unit responded with machine gun fire and killed the remaining two insurgents.

“If enemy extremists fire upon Coalition forces, we will respond with deadly accuracy,” said Lt. Col. Paul Fitzpatrick, Combined Joint Task Force -76 spokesman. “If they attack Afghan civilians, we will respond just as forcefully. We remain committed to engaging any threats to the peaceful future of the Afghan people.”

Afghan National Security forces continue to maintain a strong presence in the area of Garmser and provide security that will enable reconstruction and humanitarian aid projects to be delivered that will improve the lives of the Afghan people.

I may be in Mexico, sneaking a destroyer out from under the other groups who would like to have her, but I'm not completely isolated... and I get to watch german movies with spanish subtitles. What's not to like?

July 27, 2006

Um, sweetheart? Honeybunch? Sweetiekins?

Can I put this in the living room?

Hosting provided by FotoTime

A fine product from Ford.

The Fire Control Computer.

Pretty please?

Bringing the Rodgers Home

She's a Pretty Woman.

1st view.jpg


'Nuff said.

by John on Jul 27, 2006 | DD 574 USS John Rodgers/BAM Cúitlahuac
» Confederate Yankee links with: Bringing the Rogers Home-Day 1
» MilBlogs links with: USS John Rodgers/BAM Cúitlahuac
» The Bow Ramp links with: Ohhh, Pictures !

Bringing home the Rodgers.

We're in Lázaro Cardenes. We were met by a Captain and Lieutenant from the Mexican Navy, and we're off to lay eyes on the Rodgers, and have a "Welcome to Lazaro Cardenes" lunch with the Mexican Navy.

And, importantly, I have access... which means tonight... PICS!

Meet our motley crew...

Brewer's Banditos.

Ward Brewer -Captain
Ken Guiles - Number 1
John Donovan - Gunnery Officer
John Nowakowski- Chief Engineer
Sean Quigley- Able Seaman
Jeremy Byers - Able Seaman
Jim Nowak - Chief Photographer's Mate
Rob Harshbarger - Intel Officer

We're a patchwork crew, come to take a look at the Cuithuiloc/John Rodgers for the first time. All *any* of us have seen of her are old photos and the relatively current satellite shots. Not a sailor among us, either. What's up with you swab-jockeys, anyway? We've got a retired Army guy, retired Air Force guy, OIF veteran, a former Marine, a firefighter, two camera guys...

We're hoping she's a Pretty Woman... a down-on-her-luck, long-in-the-tooth chick who will clean up nicely.

We're prepared for a pretty bad initial impression. Rust peeking out from faded, peeling paint. Water in some of her compartments, the depredations of rodents.

But she was very well cared for by the Mexicans for the 30 years she was in service with them, so we're confident that her basic structure is sound. Oh, she's had some cosmetic surgery here and there, trying to keep up with all the young chicks, what with their missiles, slick radar suites and stuff.

She's had her 20's removed, had her stern cleaned up by losing the depth charge racks and the splinter tubs the 20's used to sit in. Her balcony gun mounts on the funnels are gone, and she's had her torpedo tubes tied removed.

But she's got her 5 inch/38s, all five of 'em. And she has something all these new chicks don't.

A war record. Where she went close inshore for shore bombardments and stuck her neck out to defend the big girls from the Kamikazes.

Those new chicks? Of sure, some of them have launched missiles at targets they can't see... but how many of them have just steamed back and forth, pounding away, emptying their magazines against something that shoots back?

*That's* why we want to bring the Rodgers home.

We want to take better care of her in her dotage than the VA does with her flesh and blood crew.

We can't fix, nor fund, the VA.

But we can fund and fix a home for DD-574, the USS John Rodgers.

This is gonna be kewl.


by John on Jul 27, 2006 | DD 574 USS John Rodgers/BAM Cúitlahuac
» Confederate Yankee links with: Bringing the Rogers Home-Day 1
» MilBlogs links with: USS John Rodgers/BAM Cúitlahuac
» The Bow Ramp links with: More Travelogue From The Armorer

H&I* Fires 27 July 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

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Fuzzilicious Thinking passed the one year mark yesterday, and we're very proud of our FbL. Today is just as important, though ... being her Natal Day!
Leave your gifts in the comments, and try to stay under the PG17C's radar, okay?
- Adjutant

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For all Pyros out there: Chemistry is FUN - BOQ

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Jul 27, 2006 | General Commentary
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: Hillary Clinton's Bust Unveiled

Screwed Tagged!?!

AFSis must’ve been nipped by a critter again—she tagged me--which proves she's not quite herself, whichever self it is she happens to be at the moment...

Durnburned *chick* questions. Anyway, here are Three--

1. --things that scare me:
a. Having only one round left. Ummm—waitaminnit—I don’t have to worry about that anymore.
b. Flashbacks. Ummm—waitanotherminnit—now they’ve gone to just being Annoying.
c. Those sudden, gaping holes in the fabric of space on the bridge to Arkham...

2. --people who make me laugh:
a. AFSis in Were-Kitty mode.
b. Cricket in Cricket mode.
c. Cassandra in Flounce mode.
d. Neffi in Normal mode. Yeah, that’s four. Sue me.

3. --things I hate the most:
a. Walking three excited dogs along the towpath at night and startling a skunk.
b. Walking three excited dogs along the towpath during the day and startling a copperhead.
c. People whose idea of a meaningful dialogue consists of a lecture interspersed with, “You. Just. Don’t. Get. It.” Heh—there’s a *lot* of things I don’t get, Buttercup; you’re lucky that “pugnacious” isn’t one of them…

4. --things I don't understand:
a. Psychopaths.
b. Sociopaths.
c. People who think that a. and b. are “victims of a dysfunctional childhood” rather than “imbued with the souls of weasels.”

5. --things I'm doing right now:
a. Writing this answer.
b. Racking my brain for another answer.
c. Telling Jake to knock off barking at the wild turkey on the porch.

6. --things I want to do before I die:
a. Get *reeeal tight* with Sky Boss.
b. Figure out how to keep that %$#@! turkey off the porch.
c. Finish writing the book I started fifteen years ago (when the flashbacks went from Holy %$#@! to being merely Scary).

7. --things I can do:
a. Landscaping and waterscaping. Luckily, I heal fast--usually.
b. Build a house to code. Solo. Takes a while, though...
c. Write SOPs that look like they came straight from the Schoolhouse.

8. --ways to describe my personality:
a. Odd.
b. Really odd.
c. See a. and b.

9. --things I can't do:
a. Keep my 12-string guitar in tune for more than 12 minutes.
b. Get KtLW to stop giving me directions five seconds late; e.g., “According to the map that I’ve consistently refused to let you so much as glance at, you should have turned left at that road we're passing now.”
c. Wear a T-shirt outdoors.

10. --things I think you should listen to (because they’re what I hear the twenty-odd hours that I’m awake and, besides, I’m feeling ornery):
a. Love-struck cicadas.
b. Love-struck crickets.
c. A 15-decibel trench whistle backed up by an atonal 35Hz warble. And that probably provides some explaination for number 8.

11. --things you should never listen to:
a. Michael Bolton songs.
b. Barry Manilow songs.
c. The Voices underneath the basement stairs.

12. --absolute favorite foods (soooooo chickish!):
a. Coffee. *Good* coffee. Not that megachain-overpriced-dishwater.
b. Turkey, stuffed with a sausage, mushroom and pepperoni pizza—with extra cheese.
b. Mint chocolate chip ice cream.

13. --things I'd like to learn:
a. Why fluency in Spanish is suddenly a sine qua non for getting a job in the state of New Jersey.
b. How the Dems in North Jersey manage to get over five thousand dead people to the polls every election day without leaving crud trails all over.
c. Why DoD even bothers to go through the motions of BRAC.

14. --beverages I drink regularly:
a. Coffee. Black, no sugar. It’s the only thing I drink with any semblance of regularity.
b. Coffee. Black, with sugar. When I need the jolt.
c. River Horse Tripel Ale. When my normal stress management techniques go off visiting.

15. --shows I watched as a kid:
a. Death Valley Days.
b. Crusader Rabbit.
c. The Ernie Kovacs Show.

16. --people chicks I'm tagging (hey, it's a chick quiz, I got tagged by a chick and I don't get out much, okay?):
a. Brab (who needs the practice--yup, uh-huh, sure thing).
b. FbL (who needs the break).
c. BadCatRobot (who needs to finally admit she can't tolerate lima beans).

by CW4BillT on Jul 27, 2006 | I think it's funny!
» Righty in a Lefty State links with: Three Things
» Fuzzilicious Thinking links with: Threes
» planck's constant links with: Threes

July 26, 2006

Bringing the Rodgers Home, Day 1

No pics with this post, sadly. I'm having some technical issues with the wireless, and don't want to have my little hard drive touch this network, since who knows who else is touching it?

We all made it, though some of the baggage didn't (mine did). We move on tomorrow to Lázaro Cardenas and will get our first look at the Rodgers, after puddle-jumping our way there in the morning.

The Mexican Navy is picking us up and taking us straight to her. Pics tomorrow, one way or another, I promise!

This is a nice airport - though you can see why some locals the world over aren't fond of American commerce... McDonalds, Burger King, Dunkin' Donuts, Cinnabon, etc, all filled with people.

The most startling thing to this midwesterner is how few Mexicans at the airport look like the Mexicans we see at home. These guys look very European-US, with a sprinkling of the kinds of faces I'm used to seeing at home or I saw when I was stationed in San Antonio and California. Says something about the structure of the immigration problem.

I find I'm doing okay with spanish commerical signage as far as reading it. Get into details and I'm reaching for a Babelfish. But nothing is helping understand spoken Spanish. These deaf english-german trained ears haven't been up to it.

The documentary film crew we brought down are doing some initial interviews (I'll get roped in later).

I gotta go, there's a line for this computer (I already spent a half-hour wading through the day's mail).

I'll check in again tomorrow. Stay tuned.

by John on Jul 26, 2006 | DD 574 USS John Rodgers/BAM Cúitlahuac
» Confederate Yankee links with: Bringing the Rogers Home-Day 1
» Confederate Yankee links with: Bringing the Rogers Home-Day 1
» The Bow Ramp links with: USS John Rodgers (DD-574) - The Journey Home

H&I Fires July 26, 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

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Break out the 'ritamatic.... the boss and his lady are away! WOOT!

Since he's on a ship salvage mission, let's start off with the US Coast Guard gittin' sum up in Alaska. Way to go, Coasties! ~AFSis

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As if we needed any more encouragement to run amok 'round here (see comments in the post below): It's the blog birthday of Fuzzilicious Thinking! Be warned, link includes lots of navel gazing and self-aggrandizement. ;) - FbL

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This is REALLY good news! The Ohio Supreme Court voted UNANIMOUSLY to reverse an eminent domain case, siding with the homeowners. The court ruled that economic factors may be considered in such cases, but should not be considered the ONLY factor. Look for more states to follow suit, I hope! ~AFSis

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Jul 26, 2006
» Don Surber links with: The oil bubble

All my bags are packed...

...actually, they aren't. So I better do that.

You guys are in charge of keeping visitors entertained for the day. I'll check in when we hit Mexico City for the night.

We were going straight through to Lázaro Cardenas, but... change one, that flight got cancelled, and we're headed there on Thursday.

I suspect this will be a week of "No plan survives contact with reality" - in other words, improvise improvise improvise!

USS John Rodgers during sea trials

On a related nautical note, Carl Brashear, (subject of the movie Men of Honor) has passed.

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance: In Memoriam.

July 25, 2006

H&I* Fires 25 July 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

Here ya go, open post. I gotta pack and do some stuff before I gallivant. -the Armorer

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Can anyone make heads or tails of this column supposedly connecting Joe Wilson and Rep. William Jefferson? - FbL

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Jul 25, 2006 | General Commentary

The War of the Tribes...

...1938 edition.

The War of the Tribes [John Derbyshire]

Thought for the day (after reading JPod's fine bellwether column in this morning's newspaper.

"You cannot be objective about an aerial torpedo. And the horror we feel of these things has led to this conclusion: if someone drops a bomb on your mother, go and drop two bombs on his mother. The only apparent alternatives are to smash dwelling houses to powder, blow out human entrails and burn holes in children with thermite, or to be enslaved by people who are more ready to do these things than you are yourself; as yet no one has suggested a practicable way out."

—George Orwell, reviewing Arthur Koestler's Spanish Testament for the magazine Time and Tide, Feb. 5, 1938.

Note the date. WW2 hadn't even officially started.

Of course, then, there, the target was an identifiable nation-state and its allies.

The problem being faced here is what would France and Britain have done had, say, the Nazis *lost* the 1933 elections, revived the Freikorps, and gone reiving, in cahoots with, oh, Mussolini's Blackshirts?

That is the dilemma we're facing now - Weimar with the Brownshirts a state-within-a-state. Yet, not a state so easily targetable in itself, without trampling upon others.

Will we learn the lesson? Sadly, there's nothing in the history of the region or the players (in and out of the region) to suggest so.

Because *before* the event, it's never so clear as *after* the event, when historians have sifted through the rubble and made it all seem so clear.

As John Podhoretz notes:

July 25, 2006 -- WHAT if liberal democracies have now evolved to a point where they can no longer wage war effectively because they have achieved a level of humanitarian concern for others that dwarfs any really cold-eyed pursuit of their own national interests? What if the universalist idea of liberal democracy - the idea that all people are created equal - has sunk in so deeply that we no longer assign special value to the lives and interests of our own people as opposed to those in other countries?

What if this triumph of universalism is demonstrated by the Left's insistence that American and Israeli military actions marked by an extraordinary concern for preventing civilian casualties are in fact unacceptably brutal? And is also apparent in the Right's claim that a war against a country has nothing to do with the people but only with that country's leaders?

Can any war be won when this is the nature of the discussion in the countries fighting the war? Can any war be won when one of the combatants voluntarily limits itself in this manner?

Read the rest here.

Alan? Trias? Jack? What's the sane liberal response?

Today is the Tomorrow--

--that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. And, since John's going all boat-y these days trying to prove that there's no anti-Navy bias around here (or he's got a bet going with Lex), here's some more about punt guns.

Note to trenchcoated googlers who were *not* looking for flat-bottomed skiffs: your lysdexia is worsening.

Here's what the Whatziss looks like In Context.

Dang the torpedoes--we'll blow 'em out of the water...

How's *that* for a Littoral Combat Ship?

Percussion caps made life a bit simpler for the market gunner, since he no longer had to worry about a black powder train going off in his kisser when he lit it.

I have an idea, Leonardo...

Here's the origin of the "Less Is More But Bigger Is Better" school of thought.

John--ever considered using pack howitzers as a wall decoration?

The Top Gun (to continue the Navy theme) is a ten-footer--you can pack a *lot* of bird shot into a barrel six-feet long. And, In Context...

You not only get 30 ducks at a shot, but you're propelled back to the dock without overexerting yourself.

Looks like some of the "artist's conceptions" of DD(X) I've seen (the Princess will get that one if she's been keeping up with Things Naval)...

Me? I'm not wild about solo gunning--I prefer hunting with several convivial companions...

July 24, 2006

H&I* Fires 24 July 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

Bad Cat Robot reports out on the Pacific Northwest Blogger Shoot - displaying her newest hand-cannon and a target that suffered at her hands. Heh. Leave it to gurls to bring "pretty" targets...

That Carnival which SWWBO invented, the Carnival of the Recipes, enters it's second century! Edition 101 is now available.

The ACLU hasn't *quite* gotten there, but they are creeping up to it. Just as the tendency in things military is to have a lawyer at lower and lower levels... the ACLU is inching toward a day to where there is one in every squad car.

Bagpipers told to... er, um, "Pipe down, you lot!" I dunno, did anyone consider... earplugs? And get rid of that plastic chanter, Sergeant B! Of course, as someone who gets paid a little each month for my hearing loss, I understand why the beancounters and nannies are nervous. H/t, Gwedd -the Armorer

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Stupid Flag Officer Tricks? Or the victim of bad captioning by a newspaper? The 'Phibian wants to know. For that matter, so do I. If it's bad captioning, the paper owes the Admiral an apology and correction in the same place they put the picture... not on D28, below the fold. If the Admiral did what the caption implies... where's Gibbs when ya need him?

The blogs of Canadians Militant hoist the Red Ensign! -the Armorer

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The bagpipe story John links above really is a piece of work. Get a load of the closing paragraphs:

It emerged soon afterwards that experts were monitoring how noisily sergeant-majors were shouting at new recruits amid risks that soldiers were being shouted at so loudly that their hearing might be damaged.

It was also reported in 2000 that a number of changes had been made to assault courses, such as lower climbing walls and mats under some obstacles to reduce the chance of injury. The changes were ridiculed as the first stage in developing a "cotton-wool army". [snip]

And earlier this year it emerged that the Royal Artillery was testing quieter cannon rounds for their 21-gun salutes. The new shells were a more ear-friendly 135 decibels, compared with the regular 140dB.

I'm mostly speechless. - FbL

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Okay, I admit it: I spent last Friday teasing and torturing assorted military personnel.

Oh, and I got to meet some San Diego bloggers, too. - FbL

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Let the Phred Phelps Circus begin! Who doubts they'll win? Ah well, more chances to mock Phelps and his horrid brood. -the Armorer

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Heh. The Snarks are loose. H/t, SWWBO. Oh, you're going to click this link to SWWBO. I know you are. Boobies are discussed in it. What was that breeze?

Der Adjutant Barb has her Blogshoot AAR up, too (I meant to put that up this morning, but got distracted....) -the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Jul 24, 2006 | General Commentary
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: Demand Justice for the Pendleton 8

Breaking News!

Literally hot off the wires.

House fire in Leavenworth, Kansas.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Two doors north of Castle Argghhh!

No worries - Aunt was passing by, saw the smoke, got the two small children out, called 911 and the boys in Blue and Red showed up STAT.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Fire in a gas dryer, mostly smoke damage, no one hurt.

And the firefighters are really glad it was today, not last week. It's warm enough today - but last week this would have been hell.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Move along, don't block traffic!

by John on Jul 24, 2006 | General Commentary
» She Who Will Be Obeyed! links with: Neighborhood news

A series of fortuitous events.

Or how a retired artilleryman found himself traveling to Mexico to help repatriate a US WWII Fletcher-class destroyer back to the United States.

"In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth."

No, that's going a bit *too* far back I think. This is a blog post, not a Bill Whittle essay. Hmmmm.

So, what do Jonah Goldberg, torpedoes, Destroyers, Mexico, and I have in common?

During the March Upcountry, the campaign was being followed on the National Review Online blog, "The Corner," a blog started by Jonah. I was emailing Jonah comments and observations on what was going on, and Jonah started posting some of them. And he called me his "Military Guy," just as Dusty was doing at the same time, earning the sobriquet of "Airpower Guy." (Now the tagline for the blog makes more sense, eh? Well, except for the Sugarbuttons part, but that's a different story). SWWBO was impressed, blogs were new, and suddenly "Argghhh!" appeared on Blogspot. Okay. What's that got to do with me, Mexico, and a destroyer?


Robert Whitehead, inventor of the locomotion torpedo

Well, first, I have to thank Robert Whitehead. Why? He invented the locomotive torpedo in 1868. When Admiral Farragut said "Damn the torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead!" on August 5, 1864 at the Battle of Mobile Bay, what he was referring to was, to modern sensibilities, a type of floating mine made out of beer and wine casks.

Now they are a tad more complex.

Navies jumped on this idea - lots of small, fast boats, carrying weapons capable of sinking the big warships. What's not to like? Especially if you can't *afford* those big capital ships yourself? (Lest anyone think that was a quaint, outmoded idea... can you say Boghammer, or talk to the crew of the USS Cole?)

HMS Lightning, the Royal Navy's first torpedo boat.

*That* offended the Battleship Admirals of the Royal Navy, who didn't like the thought of little boats commanded by Ensigns sinking the floating fortresses commanded by Captains and carrying Admirals. Ships commanded by Lieutenant Commanders, perhaps, but not Ensigns! Field Grade, at least!

So in 1886 they developed a new class of ship. Fast, lightly armored, carrying lots of fast-firing weapons and, *koff*, torpedoes. They were intended to deal with the deadly little mosquitoes. And these they grandiosely titled "Torpedo Boat Catchers."

But wait! That was waaaay too passive sounding, so it quickly changed to "Torpedo Boat Destroyers." This was later shortened to "Destroyers." Staff Officers in the halls of power aren't much different now, wanting to change "Happy" to "Glad" and score that medal (see Norman Polmar's article "Perverting the System" in the July 2006 issue of Proceedings)!

Now you know how Destroyers got their designation.

I'll spare you the horrible details of Destroyer Development, despite how much fun I've had reading about it.

Fast forward to 1941, and the next event. December 7. Pearl Harbor. WWII. And now the US is going to go on a shipbuilding binge without parallel in modern history And we're going to need modern destroyers to escort and scout and sub-hunt and bombard shores, etc. Lot's of them.

While we went into the war with several classes of Destroyer, the workhorses of the war were the Fletchers. And this story will revolve around the last of the "High Bridge" Fletchers, DD-574, the USS John Rodgers. The Rodgers received more battle stars from her service in World War II than any other surviving destroyer from that war. Which is one of the reasons we want to keep her out of the hands of the breakers.

After the war, she found herself at loose ends and in storage, when she got a new lease on life - in the Mexican Navy. The ship was transferred to Mexico 1 May 1968. She served in the Mexican Navy as BAM Cuitláhuac, named after Cuitláhuac (?–1520), the second-to-last Aztec emperor of the Mexica.

<i>BAM Cuitláhuac</i>, the ex-<i>USS John Rodgers</i>, DD-574

The Cuitláhuac was retired by the Mexican Navy 16 July 2002—bringing to an end the 60-year history of the Fletchers.

Enter Bob Owens of Confederate Yankee, and Ward Brewer of Beauchamp Tower Corporation (BTC). More details on BTC and Ward's plans for coastal disaster response ships and how all *that* ties to this in a later post.... Ward collects warships like I collect rifles. Obviously, Ward isn't an employee of the government... Ward is also not a fan of the MSM. He wanted the story of the repatriation of the Rodgers to be told by milbloggers, and asked Bob for a recommendation. Bob recommended me.

The Cuitláhuac was transferred to the ownership of U.S.-based nonprofit Beauchamp Tower Corporation on December 7, 2005. She will be moved back to the United States in 2006 and restored, with it ultimately becoming a World War II Pacific Theater Museum.

She starts her tow back the US 1 August, with an expected arrival at Mobile around 15 August.

And I'm going to cover it. We leave Wednesday for the Mexican Navy base at Lázaro Cardenas del Rio to do the final inspection and rig her for tow.

I'm the Project Scribe. And, since I'm the Armorer, I'm also the guy who's going to secure her guns so that the State Department will rest comfortably that we aren't going to be engaging in any piracy while we schlep her back to Mobile, Alabama, not all that far from where she was launched, the Consolidated Steel Corporation shipyards of Orange, Texas.

She'll be met at the International Limit by a Coast Guard cutter and escorted to her temporary home while Customs and the ATFE do their jobs. Several of her former crew will meet her there, going out on the cutter to greet their old ship upon her return.

Now, ain't this just cool? I don't make any money blogging - but this is a nice perk!

Follow the story day by day as it unfolds. I'm also shilling for links to the posts documenting the return of the Rodgers. Mr. Ward Brewer, the leader of our merry band, wants this story to be spread by the blogosphere, and is eschewing the MSM (we are bringing a documentary film crew).

If you'd like to be on the distro list for the posts related to this project, drop me a line at johnbethd*at*yahoo.com and I'll add you to the distro. That's anyone, not just milbloggers!

i'm also looking for bloggers near Mobile, Alabama who would be able to be there 15-18 August when the Rodgers is expected to arrive. You could score a trip out on the Coast Guard cutter with her former crew members who are going out to meet her when she arrives.

by John on Jul 24, 2006 | Historical Stuff
» MilBlogs links with: Repatriating the USS John Rodgers (DD-574) to the US.
» BLACKFIVE links with: Bloggers Save Destroyer!
» Confederate Yankee links with: Yo ho, yo ho...
» The Indepundit links with: Saving a Piece of History
» CDR Salamander links with: Green Salamander, defined
» Not Exactly Rocket Science links with: What an awesome trip....
» The Wood Shed links with: Reclaiming a Piece of History: DD-574
» EagleSpeak links with: An Army guy goes messing about in boats
» TechnoChitlins links with: History comes to my back yard
» TechnoChitlins links with: History comes to my back yard
» Confederate Yankee links with: The Longest Trip Home
» Murdoc Online links with: Linkzookery
» The Coalition of the Swilling links with: An Adventure at Sea
» Varifrank links with: A Fletcher Comes Home
» MilBlogs links with: USS John Rodgers/BAM Cúitlahuac
» The Gantry Launchpad links with: When Johnny comes sailing home again, hurrah!
» The Gantry Launchpad links with: When Johnny comes sailing home again, hurrah!

The Field Gun Competition.

V29 forwarded this link.

I've seen this event live. In addition to what the gentleman at the end of the piece talks about - it commemorates an actual event during the Boer War.

I'll spare you the *snark* about aritllerymen that V29 sent with it!

Assignment, writing, one each.

I checked this with Dusty, who is a grad of the Colorado School for Wayward Children and he confirmed the legitimacy through other sources.

We'll leave aside Winter Break vice Christmas Break, I'd hate to be un-PC and an insensitive lout or anything... 8^)

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"Why return to the Air Force Academy after Winter Break?

So after our sunburns have faded and the memories of our winter break have been reduced to pictures we've pinned on our desk boards, and once again we've exchanged t-shirts and swim suits for flight suits and camouflage, there still remains the question that every cadet at U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs has asked themselves at some point: Why did we come back? Why, after spending two weeks with our family would we return to one of the most demanding lifestyles in the country? After listening to our 'friends' who are home from State or Ivy League schools chock full of wisdom about how our war in Iraq is unjust and unworldly, why would we return? And after watching the news and reading the papers which only seem to condemn the military's every mistake and shadow every victory, why would we continue to think it is worth the sacrifice of a normal college life?

Is it because the institution to which we belong is tuition- free? Anyone who claims this has forgotten that we will, by the time we graduate, repay the US. taxpayer many times over in blood, sweat, and tears. Is it because the schooling we are receiving is one of the best undergraduate educations in the country? While the quality of the education is second to none, anyone who provides this as a main reason has lost sight of the awesome responsibility that awaits those who are tough enough to graduate and become commissioned officers in the U.S. Air Force.

I come back to the Academy because I want to have the training necessary so that one day I'll have the incredible responsibility of leading the sons and daughters of America in combat. These men and women will never ask about my Academy grade point average, their only concern will be that I have the ability to lead them expertly; I will be humbled to earn their respect.

I come back to the Academy because I want to be the commander who saves lives by negotiating with Arab leaders... in their own language. I come back to the Academy because, if called upon, I want to be the pilot who flies half way around the world with three mid-air refuelings to send a bomb from 30,000 feet into a basement housing the enemy... through a ventilation shaft two feet wide. For becoming an officer in today's modern Air Force is so much more than just command; it is being a diplomat, a strategist, a communicator, a moral compass, but always a warrior first.

I come back to the Air Force Academy because, right now, the United States is fighting a global war that is an 'away game' in Iraq - taking the fight to the terrorists. And whether or not we think the terrorists were in Iraq before our invasion, they are unquestionably there now. And if there is any doubt as to whether this is a global war, just ask the people in Amman, in London, in Madrid, in Casablanca, in Riyadh, and in Bali. This war must remain an away game because we have seen what happens when it becomes a home game... I come back to the Academy because I want to be a part of that fight. I come back to the Academy because I don't want my vacationing family to board a bus in Paris that gets blown away by someone who thinks that it would be a good idea to convert the Western world to Islam. I come back to the Academy because I don't want the woman I love to be the one who dials her last frantic cell phone call while huddled in the back of an airliner with a hundred other people seconds away from slamming into the Capitol building. I come back to the Academy because during my freshman year of high school I sat in a geometry class and watched nineteen terrorists change the course of history live on television. For the first time, every class currently at a U.S Service Academy made the decision to join after the 2001 terror attacks. Some have said that the U.S. invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan only created more terrorists... I say that the attacks of September 11th, 2001 created an untold more number of American soldiers; I go to school with 4,000 of them. And that's worth more than missing more than a few frat parties.

Joseph R. Tomczak
Cadet, Fourth Class
United States Air Force Academy "

If One Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words--

--then these two oughta generate War and Peace in the comment blocks.

Okay, between job-hunting, dialup timeouts, KtLW's honeydew list (written on two rolls of TP--in 2-point Arial Narrow, shorthand, single spaced), the hourly electrical storms for the past week and training a puppy for someone who's clueless about dogs, I don't get out much anymore.

And now I get snarked because the comment parties are getting too blah-zay. Ohhhh-kayy, let's see if I can get something rolling, here...

While poking around Maryland after we got chased out by the flood a couple weeks back, KtLW spotted one of those roadside "Kitsch ‘Я’ Us" establishments and insisted on taking a shopping break. About thirty seconds after bailout from the car, she spotted a four-foot bronze of a frog using a lilypad (or a toad using a toadstool) as an umbrella. Yeah--a batrachian doesn't do *wet*, right?

KtLW: "It'll be *perfect* for the pond!"

Me: "It'll scare the daylights out of the fish and attract egrets the size of condors."

KtLW: "Besides, it's on sale. Look at the price--that's *cheap* for a bronze!"

Me: "Yeah, it's cheap for a one-half scale model of the USS Missouri, too, and *that* won't work in the pond, either."

I was adamant. I expounded on the fifty irrefutable reasons why buying the thing was a Bad Idea. Halfway through number fifty-one, she said, "I need a bathroom. Wait here."

Twenty minutes later, she was back.

"It'll be delivered in two weeks. We can go, now."

*sigh* They dropped it off last Friday. I spent an hour wading in the shallow end of the pond (27 inches deep, naturally) building a sunken pedestal and hooking the blamed thing up.

Okay--so it ain't a Botticelli.

I plugged in the pump, and after a couple of minutes of No Fountain, I figured the road trip disconnected the tubing somewhere inside and Frogzilla's interior was filling with water.

Right on cue, came the leak.

Got that kinda European thang going for it, huh?

KtLW looked at it for about a minute and said, "That is *NOT* the effect I was looking for."

Heh. Have at it, commenters!

July 23, 2006

Cotillion Humor.

SWWBO is a member of The Cotillion, as is Cassandra.

Since she has joined, the group email list has sucked her in. Which is okay, because it makes her laugh.

This is one of the things those oh-so-prim-and-proper Cotillionites send to each other.

This married couple was on holiday in Jamaica. They were touring around the marketplace looking at the goods and such, when they passed this small sandal shop. From inside they heard the shopkeeper with a Jamaican accent say, "You foreigners! Come in. Come into my humble shop." So the married couple walked in.

The Jamaican said to them, "I have some special sandals I think you would be interested in. Dey make you wild at sex."

Well, the wife was really interested in buying the sandals after what the man claimed, but her husband felt he really didn't need them, being the sex god he was.

The husband asked the man, "How could sandals make you into a sex freak?"

The Jamaican replied, "Just try dem on, Man. "

Well, the husband, after some badgering from his wife, finally gave in, and tried them on. As soon as he slipped them onto his feet, he got this wild look in his eyes, something his wife hadn't seen in many years!

In the blink of an eye, the husband grabbed the Jamaican, bent him violently over a table, yanked down his pants, ripped down his own pants, and grabbed a firm hold of the Jamaican's hips.

The Jamaican then began screaming, YOU GOT DEM ON DE WRONG FEET!!!

Oh, the homophobic humanity!

H/t, Cotillionite LindaSOG.

While this one *isn't* a Cotillion submission, I'm betting they'd like it.

A lady from California purchased a piece of timber land in Oregon. There was a large tree on one of the highest points in the tract. She wanted to get a good view of her land so she started to climb the big tree. As she neared the top, she encountered a spotted owl that attacked her.

In her haste to escape, the lady slid down the tree to the ground and got many splinters in her private parts. In considerable pain, she hurried to the nearest doctor.

He listened to her story then told her to go into the examining room and he would see if he could help her. She sat and waited for three hours before the doctor reappeared.

The angry lady demanded, "What took you so long?"

The unperturbed doctor replied, "Well, I had to get permits from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management before I could remove old-growth timber from a recreational area."

by John on Jul 23, 2006 | I think it's funny!
» Stop The ACLU links with: Sunday Funnies

Top Ten Reasons I Became A Planner

All you old 53's 54's out there will identify with this. As will any military planner.

Hell, *any* planner.

Rule #1 of Planning: While nobody will go to their barber for brain surgery, *everybody* is an expert at whatever it is you do, and they think you're too stupid to rate a "sapiens" behind your homo.

Snerk. I bet some people spun somewhere else completely. I know I got a grumpy beep from the PG-17c...

Top Ten Reasons Why I Became a Planner:

10. Everyone needs a new concept of Hell.
9. I figured a gun to the head was too painless.
8. Economics graduates need to work for someone.
7. I could easily justify getting fired.
6. I volunteered for a sleep deprivation experiment.
5. I don't need a social/family life anyway.
4. I wanted to leave the world more complicated than I found it.
3. I couldn't get into the plumber's union.
2. I always had a burning desire to be "doctrinally correct."

And the Number 1 reason I became a planner?

1. Masochism, masochism, masochism...

H/t Carl F. via Jim C.

Heh. I became a planner because my math background was too weak to be an ORSA (my original secondary/functional area). Which is ironic, considering what I do now is... ORSA. Planning sucked so bad (if you are really good at it, you can't escape it and do fun things) you read Dante's Inferno as a vacation guide. Most GO-level commanders are people who weren't good planners themselves but knew how to shackle in the dungeon the good planners they ran into. Heh. They fed us logisticians.

I was lucky - because I understood computers, they let me out to run the computer models and I snuck out while they were all oooohing and aaaaaahing at the pretty pictures on the screen and got myself designated as a Simulations Operations geek. I fooled my boss by telling him, "Hey, operations is operations, no worries!" Then he found out that sim geeks had their own assignments guys!

Mua-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Castle Rules.

In a general sense, you can get a taste of what this place is like by clicking here and reading this.

But if you want to be a *real* Denizen of Argghhh!, ya gotta know the lingo that has developed over the years as Regulars have come and gone and in some cases returned. (You *can* come home- and if there was stuff ya liked that you don't see any more, you can always *ask*).

Even though the comment parties have been pretty slack (I blame Bill) lately, there are certain elements of knowledge all Designated Denizens should be aware of.

That way, when you read Denizens talking in a seemingly baffling argot, you'll be warm and secure that you're a part of the "In" crowd, because it's only baffling to the Normals.

- Chandeliers:

1) Powered chandeliers must yield the right-of-way to non-powered (swinging) chandeliers.
2) All offensive armaments must have safety interlocks to prevent their use by scrup'ls, bedoodlewhoopies, and Neffi. This includes choklit guns.
3) Articles of clothing may be dropped from chandeliers. Visitors should plan accordingly.

-RitaMatic

1) It is considered uncouth to drink from the hose.
2) Primary 'Rita flavor is "dealer's choice".
3) Please ask before hooking up the RitaMatic to the Castle water system.

-Scrup'ls

1) Please do not give the scrup'ls any of the following: Jolt cola, sugary snacks, tax forms 1023-2032 inclusive, backhoes, lockpicks, ideas, excuses, alibis, Parmesan cheese, crayons, My Little Spymaster disguise kit with the invisible ink pens and exploding moustaches, red licorice (black is ok), computer access, kimchee, live ammo, nuclear reactors, scissors, Jacques Cousteau documentary DVDs, or dimensional portals. Violators will be put on the next cleanup detail.

-Catapult

1) Trolls, moonbats, and telemarketers are launched from the Castle Catapult on the ramparts between the hours of 2-4pm, weather permitting.
2) The Catapult is available for private parties on a space-available basis.

-The Moat

1) Moat Monster Chow can be purchased at the kiosk near the entrance.
2) Swimming is not advised. (see #1).

-Parties

1) One dancer per pole, for safety.
2) The Jungle Room is for Consenting Adults Only.
3) Alternate locations may be added by Dimensional Door. Firebase Rockford has a very nice hot tub, for example. See the party host for a map. It is advisable to write your home coordinates somewhere on your body in permanent marker for the cleanup crew.

-Denizennes

1) Should you encounter one of these goddesses, the correct protocol is to immediately offer chocolate.
2) Other services may also be pleasing to the Denizenne. Ask for a complete list.

-Chocolate (var. choklit)

1) Food of the Gods (see Denizennes) without which life would be a dull emptiness. Can be utilized in molten form in weaponry.
2) The Choklit gun range in the dungeon offers instruction to novice users. Volunteer targets are also welcome, but the Castle cannot guarantee a tongue bath afterwards.

I suppose the next thing to do is publish a Glossary.

Hey, it's Sunday. Why be all serious?