Saturday, February 23, 2013

Too many Chiefs, not enough Indians (not politically correct)

  We have a real problem, it's one that you or I can't solve.  The number of people on active military duty is decreasing, all the while wars are fought on a number of fronts - with more threatened.
  But wait, while the numbers of troops are less than in any recent history, the number of Flag Officers, Admirals and Generals, has not decreased at all.  I'm going to write about the Navy because that's where I was, but the numbers for other services are included.
I joined the Navy in 1958 when there were about 640,000 people in service.
Now the Navy has about 325,000 people.  Remember the world hasn't shrunk, just our armed forces.
So, in 1958 there were about 890 ships and quite a number of land bases too.
...and now there are about 285 ships and a huge reduction in land bases, every base I served at except two are gone, kaput.
  And now the Flags:
click to enlarge
As you can see, if you enlarge this, there are 230 Admirals in the Navy, almost one for every ship!  That number is in excess of requirements.
See how the number of Flags per troop have changed.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Losing some wonderful people

Logo for the All American Girls Professional Baseball League
  In the last couple of weeks two more "girls" have died.  The players from this league are all in their eighties or nineties now, and the ranks are thinning.
  The league started during World War Two and lasted about 10-14 years.  Many fans followed the league with great interest, but not enough of them, until the league disbanded.
  When I visited the Baseball Hall of Fame some years ago there was a whole section dedicated to the "girls", what a wonderful display of great ball players.
  The season will soon start again for professional baseball, but one league will be missing, again.
Dorothy Kamenshek, Star
  Dorothy was a star player and is one of the people depicted in the movie "A League of Their Own".  She died a couple of weeks ago.
Sophie Kurys
  Sophie stole more bases in a year, 201, than any other ball player in any league including the MLB.  That stat is almost indicative of the women who played the game.  Sophie died earlier this week.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Beauty from the air

I found a number of photos by Gabe Souza a Staff Photographer for the Portland Press Herald.  The photos look at Maine from a different angle.
Trails left by worm diggers at low tide. - click to enlarge
Photo: Gabe Souza, PPH
In Maine one way to make a living is by digging and selling worms that are used as bait.  These are large worms, blood worms is, I think, one of the types.  Interest trails left by very hard work.
Pieces of ice float on the Kennebec River - click to enlarge
Photo: Gabe Souza, PPH
Ice, broken into pieces by tides or the U S Coast Guard, line the banks of the Kennebec near Bath.  Not a place to be.
A steel yard in South Bath. - click to enlarge
Photo: Gabe Souza, PPH
Steel held for sale or use in South Bath.  I'm thinking a lot of this will end up in U S Navy ships built by Bath Iron Works.  Looks like a lot of heavy lifting.
Smelting on the Androscoggin River - click to enlarge
Photo: Gabe Souza, PPH
Smelts are small fish that have species found in both salt and fresh waters.  In the late winter smelt from the ocean enter rivers for breeding.  Smelts are caught by "dipping" with nets, and other means.
Eaten fried and whole, some people love 'em.  Our oldest grandson Nick loved them when he was a little boy and he also loved ice fishing - he now lives in Florida and is the daddy of our first great-grandchild, Ellie.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Is being a few minutes late worth your life

  In my opinion if people left home on time to be where they're going it would save lives, money and misery.  I don't have photos to show the outcomes of most peoples hurrying but how they park might give us a peek.

I'll be right back, so what's the problem?
Photo: via
  Feeling self-important doesn't give anyone the right to just do as they please.  Some people just think traffic laws are for "the little people".  It ticks me off! Really!  Five or six minutes more on the phone, which is glued to your hand, or sleep isn't worth it.
I'm always in a hurry.  What's the problem?
Photo: Mike Cogh,
  As long as this person backs out carefully it'll be okay.  But they won't be careful, they will "bump" the other car and it will be the other persons fault.  Won't it?  This person will do as they please and the hell with the rest of us.
In too much of a hurry to do it right. On the run!
Photo: via
  In the habit of being late.  That "protects" some people, it's an excuse that's become a way of life.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Presidents Day was yesterday

  Presidents Day was yesterday, we celebrated all Presidents past and present.  The Holiday, on a Monday since 1961 is important in our family.  Hollie thinks it's more important than Christmas (that's her opinion as an autistic individual).  Here are some Presidential fun facts:
The Berry and Lincoln Saloon (replica) in Springfield, Illinois
Photo: Getty Images
 President Lincoln was a licensed bar tender, and the only President that had been a bar tender.  Who knew?  Lincoln was a man of many talents, and a man who made a living any way he could. Cheers!
Theodore Roosevelt
 President Roosevelt and his family, first lady too, all owned and used stilts.  Roosevelt was a fun loving and adventuresome man and enjoyed the time he spent with his family.
President Warren G. Harding and Laddie Boy his Airedale Terrier
  President Harding loved his dog.  A lot.  Laddie Boy attended meetings with the President and his Cabinet; Laddie Boy even had his own chair in the Cabinet Room.

  President Grant was the first President to see the Pacific Ocean.  Also the first to view the Great Wall of China and the Pyramids of Egypt.

Monday, February 18, 2013

A plague of pigs. It's true.

A family of feral pigs on the run
Photo: Jerry Lara San Antonio Express-News
  Down in Texas there is a plague of pigs, along with 39 other US States and 4 Canadian Provinces they have a huge problem.
  Feral pigs have no natural predator, there are no legal poisons and there are not enough hunting and trapping programs to keep up with the growing population.  The pigs start to mate at 5 or 6 months of age and produce a litter every 12 to 15 months - it's like having large rabbits.
  Texas has hunters with two airplanes and two helicopters that try to keep up with the problem but they are too little, too late.  Farm fields, golf courses and cemeteries are destroyed nearly every day.  Airports with some extra land are often given the extra problem........of pigs!
Pig in a puddle
Photo: Shannon Tompkins Houston Chronicle
Up against a fence, they'll dig under
Photo: Shannon Tompkins Houston Chronicle

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A couple of opinions

The nib of a fountain pen
  A couple of nights ago my night in bed was a bit worse than others, it got so bad my wife came in to see what the matter was.  I was dreaming, of course, but the subject matter is what I was upset about.  In my dream I was giving art lessons, as if I'm qualified, and one student wanted to paint and draw with applesauce.  That is strange but I was going along with it until....she was trying to use chunky applesauce in a fountain pen.
  Now, if you're familiar with fountain pens you know that anything with even minute lumps would clog it up.  You probably also know that applesauce, even the smooth kind, doesn't belong in a pen.  And how in hell could you possible write or draw with applesauce.  I was really worked up over this problem, no wonder it was a difficult night.  I really need to keep my imagination in check.
Chunky applesauce.
  I need to watch what I see on television.  I was watching golf, The Northern Trust Open, yesterday and my mind started in. Again. Yes, again!
  I started with the announcers.  At this point I need to tell you that the TV was on mute.  I watch most sports things without the sound because it's really hard to hear what is said.
  Golf show use an announcer, or sports caster, and a "color man".  A color man is usually a former golfer who no longer plays.  The color man is also usually an English speaking person either Irish, English or Australian.  In others words they don't talk like me, and that's okay.  What the trouble is that because of my hearing loss it's nearly impossible to understand what they say - thus the mute.  But I complain about it anyway.  Why?  Because that's the way I am.
  Then the commercials bothered me. Mercedes Benz, Northern Trust - those two in particular, and here's why.  Gold used to be a "rich mans" sport.  Those days are long gone, all sorts of men, women and children play golf.  But, golf broadcasters would like us to believe that golf is still for the upper class.  That in itself is enoungh to piss me off, top that off with advertising aimed at folks that are wealthy and I'm boiling!  They're advertising things for people to buy or use by people who get rich selling guys like me stuff made in China or Honduras cheaply and sold at a high price.  By the time I've written all the "letters to the editor" my energy is gone and I'm angry.
    I have to stop watching golf, maybe I'll take up NASCAR.