Sunday, March 18, 2018

Mo' Jets and Sunsets

Sarge is otherwise occupied so I figured I'd put something together for you all.  The Blue Angels opened their 2018 season last weekend with a "home" show in El Centro California.  Pensacola is their regular home, but in the winter, they act like snowbirds, coming down south to warmer climes.  Ok, they actually come out west, but you get the point.   Speaking of snowbirds, I had a business trip to Destin Florida back in January and almost didn't get into the hotel there I like due to all the retirees visiting for the winter.  I thought that staying in a hotel for a few months would be prohibitively expensive, until I chatted up one of the hotel clerks.  The long term rate at the hotel is about $70 a night, which includes breakfast and a few nights of well stocked happy hours.  Two large is not a cheap month for housing, but it's not all that unreasonable.  What was unreasonable was the line of seniors forming up 30 minutes before happy hour making it a challenge to get my share!

Speaking of snowbirds, Phoenix is the Blues' next stop, where they are this weekend.  The Phoenix area is pretty popular for both seniors migrating south, and for elderly folks as a retirement destination.  My aunt snarkly calls Arizona "God's waiting room."

Hat tip to AWC Dan Peabody for that video.  Dan used to work for me when we were both younger.  Now retired, he lives in Litchfield Park AZ, which is where Luke AFB is.  That affords him some great shots of their show right from his back yard.

While not near Phoenix, my better half will be joining me on a trip to Arizona next weekend for a visit to the Grand Canyon.  I'm almost embarrassed that we have never visited being that it's just the next state over, but at least we're finally getting that National Park crossed off my bucket list.  Bryce Canyon and Arches are probably the next to fall.

Chris "Woody" Buhlman

Just after we leave for the Grand Canyon State, the teenangster will be making her way to the airport for her trip back to college.  We picked her up Friday night, and apparently everyone else was flying into San Diego at the same time.  I've never seen Lindbergh Field*, or at least the approaches to the terminals so busy.   Timing was perfect though as her bag arrived just as we did.

She's home for Spring Break right now which is nice.  She's doing what teenagers do- sleep mostly, although we plan to see a movie or two, have dinner with the whole family, walk the beasts, etc.

Seeing how sparsely I post here, I doubt I mentioned them to anyone here, our Corgi sisters.  We got the one in the background last May or so as a pet for my daughter.   She takes "Miss Bea" or Beatrice back and forth to Savannah and even has her in the dorm.  The one up front is Cici, which was a reluctant acquisition.  "C" went to another home, but was returned a few months later when the new owner who already had a Corgi moved to a new apartment.  The landlord said she couldn't have two pets so back on the shelf she went.  The mom and aunt, both of which were mated with her dad "Jet" continuously attacked her though, usually after playing with dad, who doted on her.  She was the runt of the litter, and being small and outnumbered, was having a hard time- hiding under beds, behind couches, etc. to avoid the others.  As we later found out, that's typical behavior in a pack.  They can't have a related and un-spade female in the house with her father, so they drive her out.  We took her in to help re-home her, but she became the house guest that wouldn't leave.  Mainly because my wife had grown too attached.  So what I thought would be a pet-free house for many many years after our Jack Russell died in 2016, now has two, B and C.   Most Corgis are too short and stocky to be very physical, but these two are "flyers" as  my wife calls them, able to jump up onto the couch and our fairly hi-rise bed.

Speaking of flying...


I used to travel quite a bit for work.  There were fairly regular trips to Norfolk, Panama City, the Washington Navy Yard, Japan and Bahrain. For one glorious year I was busy enough to hit Platinum status on United, and all the perks that came with it.  I sleep horribly on planes, probably something to do with my previous occupation, but up in the front of the plane, the part with the lay flat seats, where nobody beats you up, I'm Rip Van Winkle.  

I've come in for a landing for the most part, flying domestic only a few times a year if I'm lucky, residing in "cubicle hell" as Lex so aptly described it.

Although, I'm doing that in this fine city, "America's Finest City " if you are wont to believe in the chamber of commerce slogans.




I can't believe it's been 20 years since these birds left San Diego, when Fightertown USA at Miramar, letting the Marines move in.  Now, being on an Airwing Staff sucks since you have to live in Hanford California.  Sorry Lush.


I've probably used this one before, but it's one of my favorite sunset pictures.  I like it a lot, even if it's not even a sunset  picture of San Diego but a sunrise.

Now's the time when I want to thank our esteemed host for having us all here.  Let's all give a big hand to Old Air Force Sarge, our phormer Phantom phixer.  (Insert patronizing F-4 photo here).




Another gratuitous shot of my hometown.


I have a similar shot of me and my wife on this bridge, but at night.  This is the Sydney Harbor Bridge which will happily take your $150 to let you climb it.

This one reminds me of bird feathers.

One for Juvat.

One for Lush.

And two on final for Sarge.

Anyway, enough for today.  If you're watching basketball, I hope your bracket is somewhat intact.  I'm rooting for Villanova.  

*Now called San Diego International due to Lindy's anti-Semitism.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Might Be a Busy Weekend

Blogging might be sparse this weekend.

The Nuke is coming into town for the commissioning of USS Colorado (SSN 788) and she's bringing The Missus Herself home with her. (Who has been down Virginia way helping The Nuke move into her new place.)

So as I write this, Friday evening, I'm about to head over to the local air patch to pick them up. Then we'll probably have a nice meal, perhaps watch a film, then off to bed as we need to be over at Naval Submarine Base New London NLT 1130 Saturday. Which should be today as you read this, unless you're at some indeterminate time in the future.

So, I expect to have a nice post from the commissioning but not right away, you might have to talk amongst yourselves and read those folks on the sidebar. I find them most entertaining and educational.

Here's hoping the weather isn't like this -

U.S. Navy photo by John Narewski 
That's the lead ship in the class, USS Virginia (SSN 774) over in New London a few years back. No, the boats are not normally covered in snow.

See you soon...

Friday, March 16, 2018

Audentes Fortuna Juvat

After hitting the sack last night, my text alert went off, I was too tired to look at it, I figured it would wait until the morrow.

Awakening shortly before 0600, I checked my phone...
Wednesday, March 14, 2018 
VFA 213 jet crashed...both pilot and wso died. 22:25
It was from my youngest, The WSO, former Rhino backseater in both VFA-32 and VFA-2, tours at both NAS Oceana and NAS Lemoore. She and her husband know a lot of folks in Naval Aviation.

It's not the sort of thing you want to wake up to. One's first thought is always, "Is it someone I know. God I hope not."

The guilt follows immediately. Someone knew those two aircrew. Somewhere, two families are receiving the life crushing news. Things will never be the same again.

I've lost friends in aircraft mishaps. Everyone in aviation knows someone who lifted into the sky one day, and never returned. But it always hurts to hear that dreaded news...

A jet is down.

I may not have known them personally, but I know men and women just like them. Heck, I raised one, who married one.

The word travels fast, most know to stay quiet until the families have been notified. But the community knows when a brother, or sister, is lost.

It's hard.

My heart goes out to the men and women of VFA-213, the Fighting Black Lions. Especially to the families of those two fine young men lost in Key West.

Fortune does indeed favor the bold.

But sometimes there is a price.

A terrible price...

Lt. Cmdr. James Brice Johnson, Lt. Caleb Nathaniel King. US Navy Photos

Through many countries and over many seas
I have come, Brother, to these melancholy rites,
to show this final honour to the dead,
and speak (to what purpose?) to your silent ashes,
since now fate takes you, even you, from me.
Oh, Brother, ripped away from me so cruelly,
now at least take these last offerings, blessed
by the tradition of our parents, gifts to the dead.
Accept, by custom, what a brother’s tears drown,
and, for eternity, Brother, ‘Hail and Farewell’.

Gaius Valerius Catullus

Rest In Peace brothers. We have the watch...

Thursday, March 15, 2018

On Liberty and Parenting

John Ruskin
(8 February 1819 – 20 January 1900)
The other day whilst traveling through the blogosphere, I came upon an interesting quote over at Rev Paul's place -
One evening, when I was yet in my nurse's arms, I wanted to touch the tea urn, which was boiling merrily … My nurse would have taken me away from the urn, but my mother said "Let him touch it." So I touched it – and that was my first lesson in the meaning of liberty.

~ John Ruskin (1819-1900), The Story of Arachne, 1870
This, as these things often do, made me think. I liked the quote and thought that it says quite a bit about human nature and the right/wrong way to raise a child.

Then I watched a movie, Wind River, a most excellent movie in mine own humble opinion, a friend recommended it to me, I saw that Netflix had it, so I stayed up past my own self-dictated bedtime to watch it. Am I glad I did? Yes, I like movies which make me think, this one did.

The movie* is about a rather unconventional murder investigation and deals with the unthinkable (for any parent, or rational member of our species) subject matter, the death of a child. The film takes place on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, hence the title of the film. An 18 year old Arapaho woman is found dead, in the snow, miles from the nearest dwelling. She is found by Jeremy Renner's character, Cory Lambert, a hunter for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (You can read Variety's review of the film at the source of that photo above.)

He recognizes the dead woman immediately, only later do we discover that Lambert's half-Arapaho daughter was murdered two years earlier, the latest victim was his daughter's best friend.

When Lambert goes to talk to the murder victim's family, as he's talking to the father of the latest victim, one of the things he says is...
"You cannot blink. Not once, not ever."
Which immediately brought that John Ruskin quote to mind.

On the one hand, it's important to let your kids make mistakes (like touching the boiling-hot teakettle), on the other hand, you have to pay attention, always. If you don't...

Things could go horribly wrong.

The Missus Herself and I have three kids. All three are now successful adults. I'd like to think that I had some influence on the raising of the progeny, though I know that the day-to-day grind of feeding, cleaning, nursing, and nurturing was the bailiwick of my (much) better half.

In military terms, I was the logistical tail, she was on the front line. Yes, logistics are important, but that day-to-day stuff is the leading edge, the tip of the spear if you will. While the progeny love me, and think I'm a fun guy, they love and deeply respect their mother. I mean, in the garden and around the manse, I do the heavy lifting. When it came to making sure the homework and chores were done, the love of my life did the heavy work.

While I'm not sure if it's true that you can't blink, not once, not ever, I do know that you have to keep your eye on things. You can't be everywhere at once, and every now and again the kids will get into trouble all on their own, no matter what Mom and Dad do. Something that's missing in some parts of the world right there: Mom and Dad. One of each sex, preferably, as it's how we're designed to function. But maybe that's just me.

Sometimes, no matter what you do, bad things happen. Even if you never blink.

Kids, you've got to give them the freedom to learn from their mistakes, but you need to be there for them when life gets overwhelming. Which can happen even when they're "all growed up." No matter what, no matter how old they get, they're still your kids.

Another quote from Mr. Ruskin that spoke to me, and rings of pure truth -
"Give a little love to a child, and you get a great deal back."
They will most likely never forget it.

As to the movie, I highly recommend it. Judge for yourself...

* Which also stars one of my favorite actors, Graham Greene, that's him on the right.

Sarge Note: Apparently I wrote this post while half asleep. I have corrected a number of grammatical errors since I published it this morning. Argh...

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

In Six Days...

...will be the first day of spring.

The opening photo was taken yesterday, one week prior to the Vernal Equinox. Hard to believe.

I have had quite enough of winter, thank you very much.

Remember the old saying about March? "In like a lion, out like a lamb..."

I seem to remember that March came roaring in like a freaking tyrannosaurus rex, as it found The Missus Herself and I sans electricity and sitting in a Mexican restaurant watching the rain come down, the lights flicker, and the wind howling like a demented thing.

Then another storm, then another...

I swear, March, "you got some 'splainin' to do!"

Stayed home on Tuesday, as planned. Though upon awakening to the call of nature at 0400, when I looked outside it was raining.

"Alrighty then, looks like a false alarm, I guess I'll be going to work today."


"No, it's not time to eat, papa's going back to bed for a couple of hours."

Time passes. Quickly...


"Alright girls, breakfast time it is!"

Looking out the window I see a sea of whiteness. The ground, the trees and bushes, the neighbors' houses, the cars, the air, everything is white. With a certain amount of glee I returned to my bedchamber and slept the sleep of the lazy. Not to arise until nine-ish. Had some coffee, had a bagel, and I watched it snow.

The stuff was fairly wet, I could see it caked to the power lines, I half expected to lose power at some point in the day. As I write this (2015 local) we still have electricity. The roads are mostly plowed, my driveway has been shoveled by the nice young man next door and all seems to be well.

Alas, tomorrow it's back to work.


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Nor'easter 3.0

Jetty meet sea, sea meet jetty
Point Judith, Little Rhody
Nope, that's not a picture of the basement at Chez Sarge, though if this crap continues, who knows?

We've got our third nor'easter bearing down upon us as I write this. The third in less than two weeks mind you. The first took a few shingles off the roof (which will be replaced once the warmer weather arrives, the roof that is, not just the missing shingles). The second brought water into the basement.

I shudder to think what the third has up its sleeve. There's talk of snow in mass quantities. (Snow, not waffles.)


So, what is a nor'easter anyway?

Book definition:
What a nor'easter looks like from Remulak, er, I mean space:

I think I can just spot the houses of Joe and Finicky Fat Guy in that picture. New Jersey for the former, NYC for the latter. As Little Rhody is off the top of the picture, you can't see my house. And no, the scary sounding music is not what a nor'easter sounds like. They sound more like this -


That's enough of that!

(They don't sound like anything in space. 'Tis a vacuum, therefore no sound.)

Now that video made it look like the wind was out of the south. While the storm is moving up from the south, all the nastiness is coming down from the northeast. Here's a picture of the low pressure system from the nor'easter we had back in 2011 -

The winds around a low pressure system move counter-clockwise (unless you're in Britain, then they move anti-clockwise 😁) the top of that storm brought winds out of the northeast. Hence the term, nor'easter. Wicked pissah it ain't. (Chez Sarge is just a wee bit west of the eye of that monster. If you know the geography of Little Rhody, you can just see Bristol Neck, north of Aquidneck Island. I'd mark it clearly but I don't want the storm to know where I live!)

Here's what it might look (and sound) like in my AO tomorrow.

I have already planned on taking the day off from work. So I figure if I stay up really, really late (thinking that I won't go in because of the blizzard) then I can fool the storm into giving us this -

But this is most likely according to the National Weather Service -

I think I've had enough winter.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Buried Treasure

As many of the readers here know, Rancho Juvat is an animal friendly location. Unless you're a member of the mephiditae family, anyways.  We have 2 horses, 4 dogs, 3 indoor cats and 3 or 4 outdoor cats depending on who shows for dinner.

So, this just about sums it up.

But not always.

Cooper and Mushka settling in for a nap

However, a few weeks ago, on the gentle "suggestion" of my wife, I added a row of shelves above the existing shelves in our closet with a ramp too steep for the dogs to climb but very suited to the feline climbers in the family.  This serves two purposes, first and foremost, it's a place for the felines to get away from it all and chill whilst pondering the world outside through the window.  Second, it keeps them from climbing the clothes hanging from the clothes rods.

As Sarge might say "T'was getting a wee bit expensive."

To improve the airflow throughout the house, the closet has open spaces on the opposite wall from the cat perch.  The cats have discovered that, if they leap very hard, they can land on the opposite shelf, then climb out onto the headboard of the bed and then....

Mrs J have come to learn to listen for that tiny whistle the air makes as they leap onto the bed from on high.  Achieving the fetal position within 1 microsecond is essential to being able to return to sleep without considerable crush damage and/or puncture wounds.

However, this ability is not without its unexpected rewards.

A week or so ago, Schmedly attempted the first leap, but failed to achieve launch velocity.  I believe the naval aviators in the readership call it a cold cat launch.  Seems applicable, so we'll use it here.
Schmedly seen here in the Alert 5 position (requires Cat Launch within 5 microseconds)

In any case, Schmedly's cold cat launch failed to provide enough lift to reach the opposite top shelf, and as she began to claw for altitude, rear drive motors in full grunt, tried to find purchase on a box on the second shelf.

Said box had been assigned there for the también!

No, I don't mean "Also", I mean "Tam Bein", you know when you put something in place for a short while expecting to do something with it shortly, then forget about it.  Usually, that is how priceless artifacts are found by archeologists millenia later.  "Honey, what should I do with this bag of coins Caesar Agustus gave us?"  "Put it in the closet for the Tam Bein."

In any case, Schmedly must be studying to be an archaeologist, for, as she clawed for purchase on the box, it fell to the earth (followed shortly by the cat) and burst opened.

Relieved, in a strange way, that the cat had not made it across and thus necessitating my remaining vigilant for the expected Kamikaze attack on the bed, I fell back asleep.

The following morning, failing to be able to open the closet door, I walked around to Mrs J's side and entered.

What to my wondering eyes should appear, but a box of old photos and a couple of VHS tapes.

I think the Naval Aviators would call them "Cruise Tapes".

However, this was back in the day, when Men were Men and VHS cameras weighed 20Lbs (at 1 G, effective weight is 20 * X where X is number of G's pulled).  No GoPro camera's here.
Guys, who had children in the '80's spent most of the decade viewing life like this.  You can figure out whether they are left or right handed by which shoulder slumps.

So, not a lot of dogfighting, a nice burner formation takeoff, some formation flying and a very nice demonstration why Air Superiority Gray isn't all that spiffy when penetrating weather on recovery back at Kadena.

Enjoy. Yes, I'm in it, anytime you see the back of a helmet, that's me, and I might be briefing the mission out on the veranda.