Tuesday, August 22, 2017

How Rhino's Fly

In an exciting sequel to yesterday's post on Fighter Pilot Cuisine, entitled "When Pigs Fly" which details how to save your career, prepare a meal for millions, thousands, hundreds, Ok a bunch and raise money for charity, today we will discuss "How a Rhino Flies".

No, it has nothing to do with Musca domestica . And with apologies to LUSH, no, this is not about her chariot, the FA-18, or as the Aussies like to call it "The FAY-Aye-Dean".  That aircraft, dear reader(s) (one hopes) is a pretender to the throne.  Johnny come lately.

No, the real Rhino, is this aircraft!


I flew this aircraft, yes, this model, yes this tail number, at Kunsan, which means, Sarge almost certainly worked on this aircraft.

This was the original Rhino.

Since Mrs Juvat is out this evening exploring women's organizations she might wish to join, I got a bit of time to play some airplane videos and as they say in the movies....
Just Play it LOUD, OK!

In any case...I ran across this video explaining the McDonnell Douglas Theory of Aeronautical Engineering.

Specifically stated.

Given enough thrust, even a brick will fly.

Made in 1967, it's a little cheesy by current standards.  I found it hilarious.

It also explains how I "class 26'd" an F-4. The "how" is "Mach Tuck".  The "why" is "I didn't want to see my pink butt impact the Yellow Sea at ~700K Knots at night".  

Those of you who have flown old "Double Ugly", on watching the video, will spend a lot of time saying "Oh, yeah, I forgot about that."

But I'll bet the recording of the Aural tone played at High AOA will cause your knees to come together and your feet to start working the rudder pedals, regardless of how long it's been since you last flew it.  It did for me.

Yes, Dave and VX, I'm talking 'bout you.


Monday, August 21, 2017

When Pigs Fly

So...There I was*........


Basking in the glory of successfully defending the honor of the US Air Force in a gladiatorial contest on the field of Softball at Ft Leavenworth, Ks.  The vanquished had paid their tribute in liquid refreshment and both sides had a mutually hosted feast of ground bovine and, what a person of Hispanic ancestry might call Perritos calientes.  

Along with a few more adult beverages containing hops.  A good time was had by all (except the Marine O-6 who left the field of battle in a funk).

The following Monday, the AF Colonel calls me into his office, congratulates me and says he's got another project for me.

Poy...Fect!   I think.  I'm trying to get my head around ARRRRRMMMMMMEEEE Training sir.  (Click here if you need yet one more reminder of what I'm talking about.) and he wants me to take on a "project".

"Yes, sir, what can I do for you?"

"I'd like to put on a Kentucky Derby party, the first Saturday in May  as a graduation/assignment type party."

"Yes, Sir?"

"I'd like it to have food, adult recreational beverages, Derby Attire and Betting on the horses."


"Yeah, we've got no money in the budget for things like this, so we'll have to self fund.  We'll have betting with the cost of the party coming out of the pot, then the winner(s) get paid and the  rest we'll donate to Charity." (I think it was the Armed Forces Retirement Home, but it's been a while.)

"Yes, Sir. Do we have a program that does that?"

"Juvat, I've reviewed your personnel file, says you've got a Masters in Management Information Systems.  This should be easy for a man of your talents."


Fortunately, the key words in that Degree are Master and Management.  Masters of Management know people that are experts in a lot of different things, and I knew a guy from Holloman who could write this code in his sleep.  

Which I think he did.

But I've at least got almost a year to get everything ready.

My, but doesn't time fly when you're busy.

Pretty soon, it's April.  My wife has been promoted below the zone to Major and so is automatically selected for Field Grade Professional Education and Magically (She WAS a personnel officer) has been assigned to CGSC at Ft Leavenworth where I, also Magically, have been selected for the second year school known as Jedi Training Academy School for Advanced Military Studies.

I'm in the midst of finding adequate quarters for Mrs Juvat and the Most Beautiful Daughter and the rest of us to live in as the 500 sq ft 2 bdrm apartment that Little Juvat and I had been living in during our" bachelor" days  was deemed inadequate by the boss.

I end up finding and renting a split level on the edge of town with a large back yard for kids to play in.

But I've been busy.  

One Monday, I get called into the Colonel's office.  He hasn't forgotten.

"Juvat, how are the plans for the Kentucky Derby party going?"

"Swimmingly, Sir."

"Well, good.  What have we got set up so far?"

"Beer, Kentucky Bourbon for mint juleps."

"Good, Good. What about food?"

"Chips, Dips, stuff like that."

"I was expecting something more substantial."

"Yes, sir.  Anything specific?"

"How about a roast pig?"

 "You're kidding, Sir, right?"

 Later on in my Joint Career, I would learn that the proper answer here would have been "Aye, Aye, Sir." 

 After a brief interlude of the Colonel speaking words which are not fit for repeating in a family blog, I responded "Yes, sir!" 

Called the commissary.  No, they don't sell whole hogs.

Nor does Safeway.

Happened to be driving by a BBQ Joint a few days later.  HMMMMM.

They couldn't support a party for a very large group, but.....They did have the name of a pig farmer who might be able to help.

Gave the man a call.  Turns out he was Retired Air Force Enlisted and a Maintainer.  He'd be happy to help.  I don't recall what his selling price was, but since it was significantly less than my career, I thanked him.

He'd deliver the fully cooked pig to my place the morning of Derby day.

Which he did.

So,  I've got food, Adult recreational beverages, my computer friend has built his program which subtracted the party costs from the pot (there was a minimal door charge) then calculated our own odds based on who was betting what on which horse and figured the payout.

Saturday rolls around.  Guests start arriving all decked out in Derby Attire.  

Evidently, Hats are a BIG thing at the Derby, Source

Mint Juleps start flowing.  The guys are talking with their hands, the ladies are rolling their eyes.

The pig is delivered.  I'm expecting something like this

That's me on the right.  Source

What the farmer delivers is something more like this.  

Fully Cooked of course Source

It takes several of us to get it off the truck and carried around back to the party.  

We've opened betting, and it is going pretty fast and furious.  (The AF contingent was almost completely composed of Pilots with a few logisticians thrown in, Pilots LIKE games of chance.)

The program worked as expected, expenses were covered  and since nobody bet on the long shot that actually won, payouts were minimal and the Charity made out like a bandit.

The pig was delivered fully cooked and delicious........

For the first several helpings....

Mrs. Juvat ran to Wal Mart and bought several boxes of Gallon Sized zip locks and take home bags were distributed.

"No, really,  I don't need three of them!"

"Take them, distribute them to your neighbors."

"No, really."


We put the, still large quantity, remnants of the Pig Carcass in two 65 gallon garbage bags, end to end and carry it out to the street for pick up on Monday.


Sunday was hot.

Monday, the Garbage Collectors just kept on driving.

That afternoon, Little Juvat and I came home from school and Mrs Juvat is standing out there waiting for me. She's not smiling.

We, I mostly, but Little Juvat did his best in between gagging fits,  load the carcass onto the top of the minivan and drive around looking for a mostly empty dumpster.  Finding one behind WalMart we carefully place the fragrant remains in it, and peel rubber in our escape.

Yes, that can be done in a minivan, if you're desperate enough.

Took quite a few years before roast pork was offered again on our menu at Casa Juvat!


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Just a little something for the home team.

Sitting at my desk working on tomorrow's post, the Tube of You is cycling through what Google (Hiss!!!) thinks I'd be interested in, and came across this one.  I hadn't seen it, but what's not to like.

Flying -Check

The right fighter- Check

Firing Missiles - Check

Air Refueling - Check (See, I toldja the KC-10 is a BIG aricraft)

Air to Air Dogfighting - Check

Formation Landing - Check (followed immediately after with a single ship landing, as #2 bounces it and gets airborne.  Doofus)


Unfortunately, he used copyrighted music in his video, so you'll have to click here to view it.

Probably posted by # 2 (Doofus can't even land the jet.)

So, I found another


Saturday, August 19, 2017


I've had enough of the world for one week.

John in Philly has sent me some lovely photos of his from the Air Force Museum. I plan to spend a couple of days going through those and work them into a post. Or two.

I'm tired of the insanity. I'm ready for whatever the world sends my way, but I'm tired of fretting and writing about it.

So I may go sinker for a day or more. I am weary and don't feel much like writing at the present.

This isn't goodbye, it's see you later.

Hell, it might be see you tomorrow, I really don't know.

I need to breathe...


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; 
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise; 

If you can dream- -and not make dreams your master; 
If you can think- -and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools; 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on! '

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings- -nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And- -which is more- -you'll be a Man, my son! 

- Rudyard Kipling

Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Night Music

Man, this song really resonates with me right now.



General Sherman Memorial, Washington D.C. (Source)
I suppose I had to chime in on this issue eventually. Now seems as good a time as any.
Statues have been produced in many cultures from prehistory to the present; the oldest known statue dating to about 30,000 years ago. The world's tallest statue, Spring Temple Buddha, is 420 ft, and is located in Lushan County, Henan, China.

Many statues are built on commission to commemorate a historical event, or the life of an influential person. Many statues are intended as public art, exhibited outdoors or in public buildings. Some statues gain fame in their own right, separate from the person or concept they represent, as with the Statue of Liberty. (Source)
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year or so, you're probably aware of the controversy surrounding the removal of statues commemorating heroes of the Confederacy in certain towns and cities in the South. Apparently some people find those statues "offensive." I saw a quote from one person indicating that the mere sight of those statues made her physically ill.

Oddly enough, to me at any rate, the person to whom that quote was attributed was a female of Vietnamese ancestry. Not exactly someone whose ancestors were subjected to the Peculiar Institution in the old South. (Had I been the journalist, I would have asked her how she felt about the new name for the city of Saigon.)

You may be wondering why I chose the statue of William Tecumseh Sherman which tops the Sherman Memorial in our nation's capital. Well, let's just say that there are certain folks in this country that would find that statue extremely offensive were it erected in certain American cities.

Like Atlanta, and no doubt Savannah, probably a big chunk of South Carolina as well. I'm pretty sure there are a number of folks in certain areas of the South who would not be happy if a statue of the late General was present where they live.

I almost understand the why of the statues coming down, it's the why now question that has me concerned. In this writer's opinion, it's all about resisting the legal and Constitutional result of the 2016 election.

Were statues taken down during WPE's time in office? I don't recall, but I don't think so. (Statues, not flags, that's an older issue.)

So really, it's all about Trump. The Left lost, they can't let it go.

I wasn't sure until I read this article. Here's the money quote:
And a relative of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee says he would be fine with removing statues to his storied ancestor if it helps the country heal.
Heal from what? Oh right, Shrillary the Inevitable lost. Fair and square but hey, that's not how the Left does things. So we have to "heal." I'm sorry, fire truck that. You lost, get over it.

How do I feel about the statues of the Confederates? Well, I'm a bit ambivalent about that, as an historian I have a definite view on what the war was about, like most wars it was about power. But as an esteemed friend of mine put it -
Shelby Foote, who wrote the best comprehensive history of the War, spoke of the real settlement of the War, one that we can live with: "The Civil War, there's a great compromise, as it's called. It consists of Southerners admitting freely that it's probably best that the Union wasn't divided, and the North admits rather freely that the South fought bravely for a cause in which it believed. That is a great compromise and we live with that and that works for us."
I fear that settlement is under attack and if it fails..... may God help us. - Gil G.*
The insurrection continues. Like Gil said, God help us.

* Gil is a retired Navy chaplain. A man of God, a true son of the South, and the epitome of a gentleman, in the finest meaning of that word.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Yup, Tired of This Crap...

A couple of weeks ago, The Missus Herself and I are motoring on home from Sunday services. As we motor along I spy a Toyota Prius dead ahead. Mind you, I have nothing against the Prius, very economical to operate, has a number of nice features. But I digress...

First thing I notice is that the vehicle is being operated by what can only be described as an old hippie. And there on the left side of the bumper is the classic (for Rhode Island) tree hugger/environmentally conscious, de rigueur bumper sticker proclaiming SAVE THE BAY. Narragansett Bay, of course, as this is Little Rhody.

That bumper sticker didn't phase me. I've seen it, I get it, though I always want to ask those displaying it, "And what are you personally doing to save the bay?" I wonder, I really do. But again, I digress.

What set me off was the other bumper sticker, a facsimile of which (modified for my purposes) I provide in the opening graphic.

Truly, I became enraged enough that The Missus Herself became quite concerned.

"Just shut up and drive. They're entitled to their opinion."

But are they? Are they really?

Way back in 2005, maybe 2006, is when I first heard of the previous President. The media painted him as this up and coming star in the Senate. On the surface I was impressed with what they said about the man.

Then I did a little research. He wasn't much of a Senator, and he came out of the political sewer which is Chicago. So some of that initial impression soured.

Then came the Presidential elections in 2008. The WPE was opposed by a colorless functionary, whom I voted for, nervous of the slant of WPE's platform (and having a nearly life long aversion to Democrats, which now pretty much encompasses Republicans as well).

Well, we know the outcome of that affair. Oh well, I thought, might be good to have a black man in the White House. Maybe we can finally get past all of this racial crap.


WPE and his minions made it worse. Much worse. In (of course) my honest opinion.

But hey, the man won fair and square and I soldiered on. There's always next time.

We know how that turned out. I did express an opinion in these spaces regarding that. But again, I soldiered on. Did my job, grumbled, paid my taxes, grumbled some more, but had push come to shove, the man was still my Commander-in-Chief. Says so in the Constitution and everything. I would've obeyed my oath. (Which for we enlisted is a bit different from what the officers swear. See here and here. Read down a little in that last link, the Guard officer's oath is different still!)

Another election, just this last year, turned Shrillary away from the highest office in the land. I do believe we dodged a bullet on that one. WPE was bad, had she been elected, poor Jimmy would have dropped down to TWPE, if'n you catch my meaning. (Though, to be fair, who knows, Shrillary might have made an excellent President. It's also possible to eat chicken which is undercooked and not get sick. Maybe.)

Now we have folks running around urging each other to RESIST. Trump Derangement Syndrome is a real thing. I know liberals who were convinced that it was Hitler all over again. Prayers offered up for the sanity of the Nation. Blah, blah, blah.

Seems to me that advocating resistance to the duly elected and duly constituted government of these United States is sedition, not treason, the law is pretty clear on that. (But if these "resisters" behavior encourages potential enemies to act badly, well then hello, we can revisit that whole treason thing.)

This latest affair in Charlottesville, despicable. I despise Nazis (where did all those assholes come from I ask you) and I despise socialists of all stripes and colors. (They think it's about sharing, it's always that way when they want YOUR stuff. If you want THEIR stuff, well, that's different.)

So really, are there  a lot of "antifa" (I hate that fire trucking name, they're not anti-fascists, they're leftist assholes, the lot of 'em), Nazis, and KKK in Charlottesville? I doubt it.

So where did they come from? How did they get there? How did they know what was about to go down? I'll talk about those statues some other day, those are just an excuse for the idiots who want to "make a statement." (Hhmm, why wasn't that statement made under the WPE? Hhmm. I truly wonder. In a rhetorical sort of way...)

Most of all, who organized this and paid for it? (Both groups, both of which are about as anti-American as one can be.)

Follow the money.

Yeah, I'm sick of this crap.


On the way home I saw this -

As the blood pressure went up, the jackwagon whose automotive conveyance bore that bumper sticker ran right through the red light.

Wonder what he was thinking?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

This Is How We Do It

Yup, after a long day in the computer lab I like to dash back to Chez Sarge, throw off my workaday clothing, pull out my best linen shirt with ruff, my very best (and puffiest) doublet and if I'm feeling particularly festive, I'll throw on a jerkin. Then I pull out the old ink pot, grab a slab of parchment, sharpen my quill and sit down to write a blog post.

While I like to educate, entertain, and enlighten you Dear Readers, it's tough to maintain the same high standards day after day. So some days you get posts about current event stuff (like yesterday) and some days you get a video. Though, yea verily, it is not all that rare in these latter times for me to give you a rerun. Not all of you have been here since the beginning...

Like when God created the Heavens and the Earth and...

No Tuna, not that long ago, but five odd years ago when I counted myself fortunate to get 30 readers a day. Why I still remember that wondrous day when ye olde hit counter soared above the half century mark. Giddy times I tell you.

So yeah, reruns for the latecomers who did not get to bask in the glow of some of my early offerings and...

Glow!?!? Have I been exposed to radiation? Is that why we've all lost our hair?

No Juvat, those old posts are not radioactive. I can't say why you and I and young Tuna are rather follically challenged. I like to think it's because of all the deep pondering we do...

This just in...

I mean it must be true, I read it in The Daily Mail!

(Yes, yes, I know it says "appear." Be quiet LUSH.)

So Sarge, come on, what's today's post topic? Socialism? Warfare in olden times? The apparent failure of education in this country?



Today you get The Swearing Robot.

Well, I thought it was funny.

For those who want to know, yes, the robot likes fire trucks.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Fascist? Left? Right? What?

So meine Damen und Herren, do you see the symbol on the wall up and to the right of President Kennedy?

Yes Sarge, we see it.

Now I'm sure some of you know what that is and some of you don't. So let me enlighten those who don't, after I give you a little historical background. Of course. 'Tis my nature. Shaun gives you flowers and grass, I give you boring history lessons.

The fasces is an ancient Etruscan* symbol, usually composed of a bundle of wooden rods, bound together with an axe head protruding from the bundle. In ancient Rome, the fasces symbolized the power and authority of a Roman magistrate. When a magistrate was proceeding about the city of Rome upon his duties, he would be accompanied by his lictors, in essence his bodyguards. Provided of course that said magistrate held imperium, the power to command. (No, I'm not going to attempt to explain ancient Rome here. As fun as that might be...)
The symbolism of the fasces suggested strength through unity (see Unity makes strength); a single rod is easily broken, while the bundle is very difficult to break. This symbolism occurs in Aesop's fable "The Old Man and his Sons". A similar story is told about the Bulgar Khan Kubrat, giving rise to the Bulgarian national motto "Union gives strength" (Съединението прави силата). The axe represented the power over life and death through the death penalty, although no Roman magistrate could summarily execute a Roman citizen after passage of the laws of the twelve tables. Bundled birch twigs symbolise corporal punishment (see birching). (Source)
Oh yeah, a lictor carried a fasces. So the symbol is very Italian and very Roman (don't you mean Etruscan? Silence!) which is probably why Mussolini chose it as the symbol for his political party.
Italian Fascism is based upon Italian nationalism, and in particular seeks to complete what it considers as the incomplete project of Risorgimento by incorporating Italia Irredenta ("unredeemed Italy") into the state of Italy. The National Fascist Party (PNF) founded in 1921, declared that the party was to serve as "a revolutionary militia placed at the service of the nation. It follows a policy based on three principles: order, discipline, hierarchy". (Source)
So that's where the term "fascist" came from, though they were buddy-buddy with Hitler's Nazis, they weren't the same. Though the Nazis were very much into the whole "order, discipline, hierarchy" thing. Both were all about nationalism, the Nation, embodied by the State, was far more important than the individual. You play by the rules. Or else.

Both the Fascists and the Nazis were also big into having a dictator, the Führerprinzip as the Germans called it, a hierarchy of organizations, each with a leader, which answers to the next leader above them in the chain. All answering to the HMFIC, Hitler or Mussolini.

Worthy of note, Hitler's title, der Führer, and Mussolini's title Il Duce, both translate to "The Leader." There are many bosses but only one capo di tutti capi, boss of all the bosses.

Under both Fascism and Nazism the individual is meaningless outside of what he/she can do for the State (and that is always capitalized). Unless you're the Leader, then you can truthfully state l'état, c'est moi! (I am the State! - Louis XIV)

In reality, Fascism is a very post-Depression Italian thing. In Mussolini's mind it was the return to the glories of the ancient Roman Empire. If someone claims to be a "fascist" and they're not living in the Italy of the '20s, '30s, and '40s, odds are, they don't have a clue about Fascism. (Same goes for someone calling someone else a fascist. It's name-calling without any historical veracity, at least in my book.)

As to being a Nazi? Okay, if you're all for making Germany great again (not America) and you feel screwed by the Versailles Treaty, and you seek Lebensraum to the east (think Russia), then you might be a Nazi. Oh yeah, it's all the fault of the Jews, at least according to Schicklgruber, only one in a long line of anti-Semites. He was also (most probably) clinically insane.

So you're not an Italian in the early part of the mid-20th Century? You're not German and don't even know what the Versailles Treaty is and you have no desire to be a gentleman farmer on the Russian steppes? Then perhaps you're a Communist...
In political and social sciences, communism (from Latin communis, "common, universal") is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state. (Source)
This, along with the metric system, was something conjured up by the French during their first revolution back in 1789. (They had two, some say three, more later. In 1830, 1848, and 1968. Some scholars don't count the last as a "true" revolution. Mais je divague.)

Okay Communism is one of those ideologies which could work "if only the right people were in charge." Nope, it has to start as a dictatorship. Those who've studied the thing have to monitor and instruct and...

Hey, this being in charge stuff is pretty great. Hey, I think the proles aren't ready yet, I need to stay in charge until things "settle down." Even the eventual goal is a sort of dictatorship of the proletariat. Not exactly "everybody gets a trophy" but all the right sort will.

All those "isms" are an affront to human dignity and nearly always result in the deaths of millions. So yeah, let's try it again. And again. And again.

Oh, yeah. That whole left versus right thing as it pertains to politics? Another invention of those French dudes back in 1789.
The terms "left" and "right" appeared during the French Revolution of 1789 when members of the National Assembly divided into supporters of the king to the president's right and supporters of the revolution to his left. One deputy, the Baron de Gauville, explained, "We began to recognize each other: those who were loyal to religion and the king took up positions to the right of the chair so as to avoid the shouts, oaths, and indecencies that enjoyed free rein in the opposing camp." However, the Right opposed the seating arrangement because they believed that deputies should support private or general interests but should not form factions or political parties. The contemporary press occasionally used the terms "left" and "right" to refer to the opposing sides.

When the National Assembly was replaced in 1791 by a Legislative Assembly comprising entirely new members, the divisions continued. "Innovators" sat on the left, "moderates" gathered in the centre, while the "conscientious defenders of the constitution" found themselves sitting on the right, where the defenders of the Ancien Régime had previously gathered. When the succeeding National Convention met in 1792, the seating arrangement continued, but following the coup d'état of 2 June 1793, and the arrest of the Girondins, the right side of the assembly was deserted, and any remaining members who had sat there moved to the centre. However, following the Thermidorian Reaction of 1794, the members of the far left were excluded, and the method of seating was abolished. The new constitution included rules for the assembly that would "break up the party groups." (Source)
Note that, surprise, surprise, the press was involved in popularizing and screwing up those terms. Also note that the conservatives ("hey, let's not be too hasty in getting rid of the king" crowd which became, over time, the "hey, that constitution is pretty awesome isn't it?" crowd) were also hesitant to divide up into factions, parties, and political groups. Felt it would hurt more than help.

Man, they got that part right.

Le Serment du Jeu de paume - Jacques-Louis David
(The Tennis Court Oath, as envisioned by moi)
History, lots of moving parts, easy to get it wrong.

No problem. I got this.

Oops, almost forgot, why is that fasces in the House of Representatives? (Actually there are two, there's one on the other side as well.) Here's the gouge on that -
The wall behind the rostrum still includes decorative Roman fasces—a classical symbol of civic authority and unity—but stylized and in bronze rather than gilded iron. The Founding Fathers consciously cultivated an association with Republican Rome during the early years of the United States, and fasces used in the Chamber are an enduring symbol of that association. Fasces also reference the new philosophy of democracy that they envisioned for America. Like the thin rods bound together in fasces, the individual states achieve their strength and stability through their union under the federal government. (Source)
Like I intimated, history is hard.

* Uh, what's an Etruscan? Why I'm glad you asked, they were an ancient group of people whose civilization predated Rome on the Italian peninsula. Yes, Rome basically wiped their civilization off the map. They owned Tuscany and other places. Man, I would love to own Tuscany. See, now you've got me digressing in the footnotes!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Once more.......With Feeling!

So, this morning is Opening Convocation.  All the employees will be in the HS Auditorium, the band will play, the choir will sing, the NJROTC cadets will present Colors, the Ath-A-Letes will stand around looking cool.  All the teachers will ooh and aah about all the pagentry.  This year, instead of paying somebody 5 Grand to give a boring keynote speech, one of the HS teachers was dragooned into giving a boring keynote speech.  The President of the school board will say how glad she is that everyone is well rested and ready to be back at work after a well earned vacation.

All happy, happy, glad, glad.

The five members of my team will be installing computers, rearranging furniture and connecting up projectors, printers, document cameras thankfully missing all that folderol with permission from the Superintendent, because "why aren't you ready yet?"  "Those sure are pretty waxed floors aren't they?"

In any case.....

This reminds me (of course) of events at the start of another school year.  That school year took place late in the term of Reagan's VP.  I'd just completed my tour at Kadena and been selected to attend ARRRMEEE Training Sir! at Ft Leavenworth KS.

 Once more with Feeling!

We were supposed to report to the Air Force Det at 0800 Monday morning in June (about 6 weeks before Uncle Saddam decided to take a vacay in Kuwait).  Coming from Kadena, and not having time to find housing or such, I arrived the Friday before.
Besides the Prison, Ft Leavenworth also houses Field Grade Officer Professional Education.  There were times I think I'd have preferred to be in prison. Source

Walked into the Det and presented my paperwork to the Sergeant and noticed one of my upperclassmen from ROTC there.  Walked over and said hello, chatted with him about the school and what to expect, where to look for housing, what to do or not do over the weekend (stay away from the bars downtown, with 5 prisons in town, let's just say the opportunity for bad things to occur was high).  The usual stuff.  He then introduced me to the Colonel in charge of the Air Force Cadre who took me into his office and chatted with me about flying the Eagle (he had also) and who I knew, the usual stuff.

He then said, "juvat, I've got something I want you to do for me."

.....Oh, no!....

"You see, we've had a bit of a tradition here at CGSC between the three "guest" services here.  Since we all have our students arrive in June for Army Kindergarten, we've traditionally organized a picnic and softball tournament towards the end of July to celebrate the completion thereof."

"So, the Air Force, Navy and Marines organize a team and we play a tournament for bragging rights.  The Navy doesn't send many folks here, so they're not really contenders.  The Marines.......They've won virtually every time.  There's some behind the scenes betting between the Detachment Commanders and I don't want to buy the Marines any more beer."

"So....I want you to field a team and beat the Marines this year.  You can have all the practice time you want, after duty hours.  Any questions?"

No pressure there.

"No sir."

Monday arrives, me having spent the weekend reading "Coaching Softball to save your career....For Dummies".  I get up in front of the class of, I think, 50 Air Force people, primarily guys, but a few women.  After introducing my self and explaining that the Honor of the USAF was at stake, I passed around a sign up sheet asking them if they were interested in playing, any experience they had at playing and which position they liked to play.

The meeting continues as the paper circulates around the room arriving back at my seat after a bit.

I scan through the list fearing the worst.  I mean we're playing softball, not golf! (I wanted to get that in, before any of you hecklers started.)

Every once in a while, and just once in a while, you can fall into a bucket of you know what and come out smelling like a rose.

I had one guy who'd played semi-pro ball between College and joining the AF,  3 guys who'd played college ball.  One guy who was played HS softball as a pitcher, and a few others that had played on organizational teams.  

I also had a bunch of folks who just wanted to play, for the fun of it.

Feeling very relieved, I realized that with Honor at stake, there would be some devilry afoot.  

Sure enough, as I went to reserve practice time on the softball field, I noticed the Marines had reserved the first available time every day.  

So, they'd be there as we showed up and could watch us. Finding our strengths and weaknesses.

I scheduled  the field right after them and showed up with the guys who "just wanted to play".  Organized them into two teams and we had a "Practice".  Had some beers, cooked some burgers and dogs, played a little softball and had some fun.  After a short while, the Marines left laughing and High Fiving.

Shortly thereafter the "team" arrived, the "just players" settled into the bleachers and watched.  I, being the astute Coach that I am, asked the semipro what he thought we needed to practice today.  


"Ok Guys, today we're going to take batting practice."

This went on for a couple of weeks.

Finally it's the big day.  

The Navy couldn't field a team (I think they only had 5 or 6 students.), so the "tournament" consists of a single, "winner take all" game between the Marines and the flyboys.

The Colonel reminds me what's at stake as we arrive at the field and the Marines are out in their gold t-shirts with red gym shorts, doing PT to warm up.

I bring out the "just want to play" squad and do a little fielding practice and such.

It's time.

The Marines are up first.

We send in the "team".  Puzzlement appears on the faces of the folks in Red and Gold, but the catcalling is still going on.

First pitch.

Line drive to second base, snagged, thrown to first.  Not even close. 1 down.

Second pitch, swing and a miss. Third, same. Fourth, two down.

Fifth pitch, a long fly ball to center field. Diving catch, and we're at bat.

7 runs later,  we're back in the field

3 up, 3 down.

The Marine Colonel looks like he's going to blow a gasket. His face is as red as his shorts.

It's now 15-0 at the bottom of the 4th and the Marines have put only one person on base and he was caught in a double play.

At the end of the 7th, it's 21-0 and I ask my Colonel if he wants to put in the "just players"

"Heck no, juvat!  He's run up the score both times we've played.  I'm loving this!"

The game ends 28-0.  The Marine Colonel pays the AF Colonel the case of beer that was the bet and stomps off the field.

Best Miller Light I've ever tasted!

Many of my best brain cells were spent in this building.  Sometimes, I hear them in the night calling too me! Source
Off Topic, Sarge had asked me (well... my wife) for a little help for a friend.  In so doing, we ran across this video.

Laughed til I cried.