Sunday, November 29, 2009
This combination of after-the-fact interviews; CCTV footage; cell phone camera clips; news footage and intercepted phone calls between the 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists and their handlers back in Pakistan is unique.
But the one thing that really struck Jen & I was how woefully unprepared the city's police force was. The police at the train station who weren't armed or were armed with old useless guns. They kept talking about "special forces" and Jen says "More like special needs forces!" Which seems cruel, but I completely agreed. It took forever for their commandos to show up and even then, they waited.
India has experienced terrorist attacks in the past. I will concede that this was brought on a huge scale, that any police force anywhere in the world would have been hardpressed to have dealt with it. But they seemed so thoroughly inept, it was shocking. This attack went on for DAYS!
Defintely worth watching though.
The Mario Bedescu rep that was doing the facials was laughing at my sisters and I. She said "You guys have a good time, huh?" I told her we did and we were very lucky. We are.
Ok, first off, people should text from their own phones so I don't get confused.
A few weeks ago, I got an email from Lily's in Plymouth. Lily's is this great little shop in Plymouth where they pride themselves in not just selling you something, but selling you the right something. It's in the old post office in downtown Plymouth and the counter is in front of all the old post office boxes. It's charming, it's unique and Lily...the owner proprietor is just such a nice person.
I started going in there for little things back in 2003. My weight was up, I wasn't working out, I was at a place in my life that was dull. I woke up and went on Atkins, joined a gym and started getting out more. Lily is part of my post-2003 life. Since the cancer DX though, I haven't been in much. In 2008 my income dropped $13,000. In 2009 it has dropped another $17,000. So, of course even *I* can't justify perfumed soaps and lipstick when my house is going to be foreclosed. I do have one foot in the real world....ok, maybe it's a few toes.
But I am still on her email list. Two weeks ago she announced a Mario Badescu event. This is a line of very reasonably priced skin care products that is good with my skin. The offer was 30 minute facial for $10 each.
My family cancelled the Christmas grab last year because of my financial woes. So I thought this would be great to make up for no cool Christmas presents from me for my nieces.
Kelly couldn't make it, she is working. So I made appointments for Gen, Deb, Jen and I. Grace and my mother weren't interested, but were going to join us for lunch.
Well, my mother backed out first. It's a long way to drive and hang without a soft seat nearby.
This morning I got a couple of texts from Jennifer and Deb. But one text wasn't from Deb, it was Gen using Deb's phone. So I thought, Debbie was sick and Gen (who sleeps in Deb's room when she is home from college) wasn't coming either to keep from spreading germs.
But no, Gen went back to school early and Jen wasn't feeling well.
So I just hung up from my second phone call to Lily's to say I am only cancelling one appointment, not two. Good thing they don't expect too much from me!
I called Rachael to see if she wanted the fourth appointment, but I just missed her.
So I am off to dress for our slightly abbreviated Girl's Afternoon.
If you are ever in Plymouth.....stop in Lily's. Especially if you are a guy looking for a unique gift. Lily always takes care of Frankie.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Pluses of Plimoth Plantation Cinema? Fresh popcorn and real butter! Minus? No M&Ms Plus? Clean empty restroom. Minus? Not the most comfortable seats (I've been spoiled by the Randolph Luxe) Overall, I'll go back. I am a real cinephile and it's great to have a place close by with arthouse films.****I have been meaning to go there for a while. they play arthouse type stuff. The local cinema at the mall expanded about ten years ago by promising that some of the new theaters would play unusual stuff. Never happened. They've got the new Twilight movie in half their theaters tonight.
But the Plimoth Plantation Cinema always has unusual stuff listed that I want to see. The only problem is that they have limited showings. Generally by the time I decide I want to see something, I've missed it.
Tonight they are showing "Coco Before Chanel".
I'll let you know how it goes. If you are there, don't look for me, I am in my sweats and my hair isn't brushed.
However, this Thanksgiving some of my wires got crossed.
Jen, Grace, Deb & Gen all watch "Supernatural". It's not that I don't like it, I just never got into it. They all swear if I watched it from the beginning, I would be hooked.
So Thanksgiving night when people are really lethargic and not up for much activity, "Supernatural" comes on. The main characters are brothers Sam and Dean. I tell them that I think that was a singing duo.
After the show, Jen & I head out. In the car we hear Pearl Jam singing "Last Kiss". I say "Hey, I think this is a cover for a Sam & Dean song."
Ok - no.
There are Sam & Dave.
There was Jan & Dean.
There was no Sam & Dean.
And "Last Kiss" was J Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers.
I blame all that turkey.
Is there any pie left?
Friday, November 27, 2009
He is very excited because I am showing interest in things gun related. He is convinced if he can only get me out on the gun range he can A) teach me to be proficient and B) I will love it. I have patiently explained over and over that I am not interested. He won't give up.
There is an exchange and I ask for clarification on a certain point. And that jackass comes back with "....bullets. (The pointy thingies that come out and make holes in people)" I write back and say he is a jackass. He says that's my answer to everything. I reply "I may not shoot for recreation. I may not know much about ammunition....but I am still one of the smartest non-gun people you have ever met."
He comes back and agees that I am. So of course, I am pleased. But it's followed by a second email "But is that like being the best hockey player in Panama?"
See? He is a jackass.
Sometimes I think I should never have succumbed to the peer pressure in Seattle and shot those guns.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
And I am out here. LOL
I have been to visit the Castle where they are discussing this week's hot button, the Navy SEALs. The Armorer counsels patience.
I have been to the USNI blog where my Marine is presiding over a lively forum.
I am grateful for my family who will be sitting around that table with me. Especially my Dad, after our scare this summer.
I am grateful to be an American. So I am deeply grateful for those who aren't with their families today so that I can safely be with mine.
I am grateful to have this Thanksgiving since last year, I didn't know how this would end up. Cross your fingers I make it to the next one.
I am grateful for this blog and the people it has brought into my life. I could never imagined the opportunities that would come my way back when I first stepped up on this soapbox.
Enjoy your day wherever you are and know that I appreciate you!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I'm sure if you are here, you've read this story.
Navy SEALs Face Assault Charges for Capturing Most-Wanted Terrorist
If you're like me, you got mad. WTF? A split lip? Cry me a river Ahmed Hashim Abed!
But now I have calmed down. While I completely support these SEALs, I understand the process. We need to do this. An allegation was made. It needs to be investigated. There needs to be due process.
But what I want is to make sure that this investigation is conducted in a way that is scrupulously fair to the SEALs. I want them afforded every benefit our justice system has to offer.
Support Support SO2 Matthew McCabe, SO2 Jonathan Keefe, SO1 Julio Huertas.
Some good reading -
From CDR Salamander
Next time, give the job to the sniper ...
From URR at USNI Blog
SEALs Charged with Assault for Capturing Terror Mastermind
From Uncle Jimbo at BlackFive
SEALs face charges for WTF?
Monday, November 23, 2009
USNI has my Marine writing about Tarawa
20 November 1943; Keep Moving
At the Castle Argghhh!!!
USNI has My Pirate Guy in his blogosphere debut
RPG’s vs fire hoses: place your bets
Also from today, the Solomon's Blog Project continues at USNI & Steeljaw Scribe
The Solomons Campaign: The Bougainville Invasion, November – December 1943(Part I)
Once you finish reading the Solomon's Campaign post, if you are hooked there is a lot more where that came from. This particular post is the 16th entry. Go here, scroll to the bottom and there are links to the previous 15 parts.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
The USNI was founded in 1873 to create forum for the exchange of ideas. If you are into history and the Navy (and the Marines, lol) what's inside is absolutely wondrous!
Every issue of Proceedings magazine......books, you can't imagine how many books.....photographs being preserved......and.....it's the home of the USNI blog! In this pic you see Capt. Edward L. Beach, Jr., USN, who wrote "Run Silent, Run Deep" (which I think I still owe an overdue fine for at the Charlestown Public Library). In 1999 when the Naval Institute dedicated its new headquarters it was named Beach Hall to honor the contributions of Captain Beach and his father Captain Edward L. Beach, USN, who served as the Institute's secretary-treasurer.
The public can visit, by appointment.....I snuck in the back.
I was awestruck walking through the stacks. Taking in everything in the glass front cases. Originals of Tom Clancy's "The Hunt for Red October" Multiple editions of "The Bluejacket's Manual". Copies of "Warrior's Rage"; "Japanese Destroyer Captain". A treasure trove of artifacts from the storied history of the United States Navy.
We entered a room with nothing but photographs and looked at pics of baseball players visiting the Navy just before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
At one point we walked out onto the second floor balcony you see here. The view is lovely and I am told it is the place to see the Blue Angels when they are in town. So much stuff that it was just beyond my ability to take it all in. And ships. Destroyers, carriers, frigates, PT boats. Everywhere pictures of ships. Photographs, prints, paintings of ships.
Along the way, books started piling up in my arms -
Something from the Marines. Admiral Nimitz - Shrink wrapped for freshness?
I got up and started pulling out clothes and sending text messages. I was hoping that my "Pirate Guy" could join us for breakfast. He was moving slow and expressed that he would rather have breakfast in bed. I sent a text suggesting he check under his bed for Cheetos because that sometimes works for my sons. Oh well.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
We picked the bar in the hotel that Molly & Katy & Laughing Wolf were staying in - different rooms! Minds out of the gutter!
That was where I got the scoop on the plans for phase III of Cooking with the Wounded. Go read the details and you will be as excited as I am. This is going to be great!
Then I hopped in the rental car and followed Mary to Annapolis. Mary was very generously putting me up for the night. When we got close and started up and down some of the narrow, one-way street, I felt right at home.
Once I was parked in what I am sure was a coveted private parking space right in the historic downtown area - I called out "Hey! I'm back in Charlestown!" The area very strongly resembled the neighborhood around the Training Field or parts of downtown Newport. Very charming.
I was given a bedroom with lovely antique furniture and a waist high bed that had I had a few more drinks.....I wouldn't have been able to climb into, lol!
But I was able to climb on in....probably moments before I fell asleep on my feet!
You can donate to "Cooking with the Wounded" by following the link and donating online. Or you can mail a donation to -
Cooking with the Wounded
1792 E. Washington Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91104
You can also join their group on FaceBook and help spread the word.
Saturday evening after we finished up with the cook-out and packed up ConcreteBob's truck....it was time for dessert. All afternoon Molly and Katy of Yellow Bowl Bakery had been tormenting us with descriptions of what they brought. Now let me be specific. When I say "brought", I mean what they pulled the extra seats out of their minivan, loaded it up and drove TEN hours to offer dessert to the wounded warriors of Malogne House and their families and the staff. It was quite the undertaking.
So we went inside and watched these two dynamos start churning out treats. Cakes and cupcakes were frosted on site. I mentioned to Mary it was like our own episode of "Cake Boss" but without the turmoil. Everyone was so happy and upbeat. Molly and Katy made it look easy and laughed and joked with people as they worked.
After a few moments of stunned silence Mary, Olga, Lisa and I shook ourselves and jumped in to help. We unwrapped blueberry oatmeal, pumpkin and Kentucky Bourbon pies - nearly twenty of them. We started cutting carrot cake and coconut sheet cake. There were chocolate chip cookies, brownies, little red velvet cupcakes with real butter cream frosting. Some people wandered in, overwhelmed by the sight. When anyone tried to take just one thing, I would admonish them to "Take a plate, we're going to load you up!". Mary was beside me cutting the "Texas sheet cake". We were curious, so Mary tried it....and she was hooked! I only needed to look at her face to know I wanted some too. After that we were pushing Texas sheet cake hard! You know it had to be awesome for someone from Boston to praise something named "Texas" anything!
Some people hesitated at the door and I would just yell over "Come on over here!" Believe me, it would have been a crime for anyone to miss this! There were little kids whose faces lit up when they saw the cookies and tiny cupcakes.
I tried to tell people I made it all, but Mary, Lisa and Olga kept correcting me and pointing out Katy & Molly.
Once the lines thinned out, we went and sat with some very happy people. In particular, I liked talking with Sam, a young man who has family in Massachusetts that he will be visiting for Thanksgiving.
ConcreteBob was filming and if you are his friend on Facebook, you can see a four minute video of the setup. In the video you see one of the carts that hotel bellmen use to move luggage.....it was full of empty bakery boxes. That's how much stuff these generous and thoughtful young ladies hauled in from Indiana.
Again I would refer you to LaughingWolf's great write-up at BlackFive.
I had such a good time hanging with my peeps, meeting people from blogs that I have known online, and meeting people at Malogne house. The wounded warriors, their families and caregivers were all so welcoming. It was embarrassing to be thanked. Seriously, it was our pleasure.
This was phase II of "Cooking With the Wounded" follow the link and read about phase I. Then you will want to help raise funds for phase III!!! I want to go!
Real Chiefs think Ensigns should be seen and not heard and never ever be allowed to read books on leadership.
Real Chiefs don't own civilian clothes.
Real Chiefs have CPO Association Cards from their last five commands.
Real Chiefs don't remember life before they were a Chief.
Real Chiefs Wedding Proposal: "There will be a wedding at 1000 hours on 29 October, be there in whites with your gear packed because you will be a prime participant. "
Real Chiefs favorite national holiday is CPO Initiation.
Real Chiefs believe that in the Navy every day is a holiday, every meal is a feast, every payday is a lottery and every muster is a family reunion.
Real Chiefs favorite breakfast is shipboard SOS.
Real Chiefs don't know how to tell civilian time.
Real Chiefs call each other "Chief."
Real Chiefs greatest fear is signing for property book items.
Real Chiefs dream in Navy Blue, White, Haze Gray and occasionally khaki.
Real Chiefs have served on ships that are now war memorials or tourist attractions.
Real Chiefs get tears in their eyes when the "Chief" dies in the movie "Operation Pacific."
Real Chiefs don't like "Certified Navy Twill" (CNT's). "Wash khaki" is the ONLY thing out of which to make a uniform.
Real Chiefs can find their way to the CPO Club while blindfolded on fifteen different Navy bases.
Real Chiefs have pictures of past ships in their wallets.
Real Chiefs only own ink pens that have "Property U.S. Government" printed on them.
Real Chiefs never volunteer to get mandatory flu shots.
Real Chiefs have a permanent curl in their forefinger.
Real Chiefs don't order supplies, they swap for them.
Real Chiefs favorite quote is from the movie Ben Hur, "We keep you alive to serve this ship."
Real Chiefs think excessive modesty is their only fault.
Real Chiefs hate to write evaluations, except for their own.
Real Chiefs turn in a four page brag sheet for their evaluation.
Real Chiefs always say their last ship was their best ship.
Real Chiefs know that the black tar in their coffee cup makes the coffee taste better.
Real Chiefs are proudest when one of their former strikers makes Chief.
Real Chiefs idea of heaven: Three good PO1's and a Division Officer who does what he is told.
Real Chiefs think John Wayne would have made a good Chief if he had not gone soft and made Marine movies.
Real Chiefs use the term "Good Training" to describe any unpleasant task. Scraping the sides of the ship is "Good Training." Having to sleep on your sea bag in the parking lot because there was no room in the barracks is "Good Training."
Real Chiefs teach their children that the highest attainment in life should be in becoming a Chief.
Real Chiefs can never fathom why a Chief would even consider accepting a commission.
Real Chiefs think "Crepes and Quiche" are a gay Hollywood couple.
Real Chiefs rather hitchhike than own an imported automobile, truck or motorcycle.
Real Chiefs keep four sets of dress khaki uniforms in the closet in hopes they will come back.
Real Chiefs love their mothers mainly because she has a son or daughter in the Navy.
Real Chiefs believe that the only thing to make life more complete is if he/she had been born in a naval hospital.
Real Chiefs are always right and they know it. In the impossible hypothesis that a subordinate may be right, the former still applies.
Real Chiefs do not regard an officer's rank and title as the measure of his or her competence.
Real Chiefs are the only people who can make the title "Ensign" sound like a four letter word.
Real Chiefs are always "The Chief" - even in shower shoes and a towel.
Real Chiefs will tell you that they are always a part of the answer, never the problem.
Real Chiefs will always say, "Let me do it for you, Sir," and then promptly assign someone to do it.
Real Chiefs don't sleep; they rest.
Real Chiefs are never late; they are detained elsewhere.
Real Chiefs never leave work; their presence is required elsewhere.
Real Chiefs never eat sliders at mid rats.
Real Chiefs don't eat quiche, and they can't pronounce it or spell it.
Real Chiefs never read the newspaper in the mess; they study current events.
Real Chiefs play cut-throat Hearts, not Poker; and never, ever Bridge.
Real Chiefs never play a sport where the ball doesn't come back by itself (bowling - yes, golf - no, tennis - never).
Real Chiefs call their spouses WIFELANT or WIFEPAC, or CINCHOUSE or CINCFAM.
Real Chiefs are at sea when their kids are born. ["You have to be there to lay the keel but not to launch them."]
Real Chiefs always say, "Morning," never "Good morning," except when they are getting ready to get underway.
Real Chiefs never eat off of the ship. They know the best food is in the Chiefs' Mess.
Real Chiefs are hated by Supply Officers who take inventory after the Real Chief pays a social call.
Real Chiefs don't write in cursive, except for their paycheck signatures.
Real Chiefs think that the easiest day at sea is tougher than the worst day on shore duty.
Real Chiefs don't make coffee.
Real Chiefs know that you can never, ever, at any time, at any location, sea or shore, or under any circumstances, be allowed to run out of coffee.
Real Chiefs never wash out their coffee cups, rinse maybe, but never wash unless they know that it has been pissed in.
Real Chiefs have a coffee pot next to their desks with an intravenous tube running into their arms.
Real Chiefs have a Goat Locker.
Real Chiefs never vacation; every day on the ship is a vacation.
Real Chiefs think that "sensitivity" is a control knob on a radar or sonar console and that's all it is.
Real Chiefs have the heart of a little boy ... kept in a jar on the desk.
Real Chiefs' think that remote control is a PO1 on the other end of a walkie-talkie.
Real Chiefs know that you don't need a computer to sail a ship, especially when the power is out.
Real Chiefs think that a seven-course meal on liberty is a baked potato and a six-pack of beer.
Real Chiefs never go on liberty with their juniors; they conduct training sessions.
Real Chiefs never have wine on liberty; it better be brewed and it better be cold.
Real Chiefs can name at least fifteen bars in Hong Kong, but know that the best bars are across the bay in Kowloon.
Real Chiefs have tattoos; otherwise, how would they remember what a great time they had on liberty?
Real Chiefs have a "Zippo" that has been everywhere and still works.
Real Chiefs have tattoos on their forearms that would force them to keep their cuffs buttoned at a church picnic.
Real Chiefs take eighteen year-old idiots and hammer them into Sailors.
Real Chiefs know that the term "All hands" means "All hands."
Real Chiefs don't have to command respect; they get it because there is nothing else that you can give them.
Real Chiefs are expert at choosing descriptive adjectives and nouns, none of which their mothers would endorse.
Real Chiefs have rows of hard-earned, worn, and faded ribbons, but know that ribbons don't make you a Sailor.
Real Chiefs are matured like good whisky in steel hulls over many years.
Real Chiefs aren't the kind of guys you thank; monkeys in zoos don't spend a lot of time thanking the guy who makes them do tricks for peanuts.
Real Chiefs are the standard by which you measure all others.
Real Chiefs were educated at the other end of an anchor chain from Copenhagen to Singapore.
Real Chiefs never excuse being late, not helping a shipmate, or running out of coffee.
Real Chiefs never spill a drink.
Real Chiefs never drink and drive because you might hit a bump and spill a drink.
Real Chiefs never go to sick call.
Real Chiefs have to go out and bring everyone back.
Real Chiefs know that you never wrestle with a pig because you both get dirty, and the pig likes it.
Real Chiefs never argue with an idiot because people watching may not be able to tell the difference.
Real Chiefs observe everything, but admire nothing.
Real Chiefs know that they will always get what they in-spect, not what they ex-pect.
Real Chiefs agreed with John Wayne when he said, "Life is tough! But it's tougher when you're stupid!"
Real Chiefs know that no sailor is completely worthless, because worst case, they serve as a good bad example.
Real Chiefs know that there's no help program like a self-help program.
Real Chiefs will tell you that, "If you are going to do something stupid, at least be smart about it."
Real Chiefs can write up anyone they want.
Real Chiefs are the ultimate paradox. On the one hand they don't give a crap, but on the other hand, Real Chiefs are very careful and precise.
Real Chiefs can find the best bar in any port by dead reckoning.
Real Chiefs paint their houses Navy Grey with their addresses taken from their favorite hull number.
Real Chiefs have a red and green buoy at the end of their driveways.
Real Chiefs eat lightning and crap thunder.
Real Chiefs consider a hurricane to be good sea trials.
Real Chiefs are the Navy.
Real Chiefs think that Ensigns, like diapers, should be changed often and for the same reason.
Real Chiefs know that once a job is fouled up, anything done to improve it only makes it worse.
Real Chiefs assume nothing is so simple that it cannot be misunderstood and they act accordingly.
Real Chiefs view land as a mere hazard to navigation.
Real Chiefs never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
Real Chiefs never take the advice of someone who has not had their kind of trouble.
Real Chiefs know that if it is stupid but works, it is not stupid.
Real chiefs will tell you that you can survive on charm for about 5 minutes, after that, you'd better know something.
Real Chiefs know that assumption is the mother of all screw-ups.
Real Chiefs never assume, they get the facts.
Real Chiefs do not confuse efforts with results.
Real Chiefs will give you three choices in any situation; change, accept, or leave the Navy.
Real Chiefs think multi-tasking is done in the shipyard head reading a newspaper.
Real Chiefs know that prior proper planning prevents piss poor performance.
Real Chiefs know that every part of the Chief's initiation is an important part of becoming a Chief and don't need to question it.
Real Chiefs know bull when listening to it, and are able to sell bull when spreading it
Monday, November 16, 2009
Seriously, it was a fabulous weekend. Just another reason to say I love flying by the seat of my pants. The whole thing was decided pretty much Friday afternoon.
Friday night I left home and drove to the hotel Priceline found for me in Wilmington Delaware. I had looked at the map and figured I had about 5 hours or so worth of driving time in me. I cut it closer than I thought because I was driving in and out of rain squalls. I got there at 4 am totally exhausted. When I got into the room, there was a moldy smell, but it wasn't the bed, so I didn't care! I had set the alarm for 9 am, but really couldn't move until 10 lol. the moldy smell turned out to be the shower curtain, so I left it closed and put a towel on the floor. Even though I was running late, I still strayed to the business center to check email and send out invitations to various people to "FIND ME" in DC/Annapolis.
Back on the road and headed for Walter Reed. ConcreteBob, Laughing Wolf and others were having a cookout at Malogne House and I was going to make an appearance......Princess Crabby-Scullery Wench. The DC area is like Boston, something is always under construction, so I was right at home! I made it by 1 pm.
Malogne House seems like a small hotel plunked down on the grounds of the enormous hospital complex that is Walter Reed. I walked through to the patio out back. there were several seating areas with large gas grills built into brick walls. They were furnished with nice heavy patio furniture and protected from the weather by sturdy tents. I saw LW & Bob talking with two young ladies in chef's whites. It was my pleasure to meet Katy & Molly of Baker's Without Borders - their part in the day will come later.
I got to meet Gunn Nutt who was ably manning (wo-manning?) the grills and churning out burgers and hot dogs. Bob had finished making chicken on the other grill with his famous BBQ sauce (that is never made with any Heinz products, lol) and was working on cooking yellow squash and onions.
At first the number of volunteers overwhelmed the guests they hoped to serve. But over the course of time, we got to feed quite a few people. Carter, Dayna and Lisa dished up burgers, dogs, chicken, beans, the aforementioned squash and onions, potato salad and other snacks.
Shortly after my arrival, Mary Ripley showed up and we were joined at the hip for the rest of my stay! More fun than I can tell you.
We got to meet Olga, whose comments at the Castle Argghhh!!! I have been reading for a while.
It was a dreary day, but the volunteers working the line and the cheerful people who came through the line made up for the less than stellar weather.
I guess they usually get a bigger crowd, but it turns out that quite a few people had hopped a charter to Vegas for the weekend. So we just made people eat more food and pack some to take with them!
Laughing Wolf has a great write-up at BlackFive.
Ok, next post - Bakers Without Borders!
Friday, November 13, 2009
Heading to DC
I'll be in DC on Saturday.
I'll be in Annapolis Sunday.
Why Annapolis? Oh, I don't know................what could the attraction be?
Update 1030 14 NOV - I beat most of the rain coming up the East Coast by driving down to Wilmington Delaware last night. I got a last minute deal on Priceline for a DoubleTree in the downtown area. I called it perfectly, when I got off the exit I realized that I had hit my limit for driving. When I got into the room I smelled something moldy. It was 0400 so frankly when I realized it wasn't the bed....I didn't care, lol. It was the shower curtain, so I just left it pulled to the side and put the extra towel on the floor.
When the alarm went off I called ConcreteBob and said "I'm in Wilmington, Delaware...if I don't get up and shower I won't make it. Tell me to get out of bed."
Frankly, who knows what he said in that southern drawl, but I got up.
Showered, ready......heading out for the last leg to DC for my adventure with Bob and some others.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
You see, they bought a condo smack dab in the middle of a historical site, in close proximity to a United States Navy commissioned warship. Not just any warship, mind you, but America's Ship of State - USS Constitution.
Like any commissioned ship in the United States Navy, the officers and crew carry out "Morning and Evening Colors" every day. Except that the Sailors of Old Ironsides do it better than any other crew (no offense to other ships I have been aboard, I love you all....but someone has to come first).
There have been several articles in the local newspapers and on the websites of local TV and radio stations. Comments in most places have been largely supportive of the ship and her crew. This is very gratifying. What has also been nice, is the fact that this support comes from both "Townies", Charlestown natives and "Toonies" people who have moved into our very insular neighborhood since gentrification began in the 70s.
One of the comments left in the article "Officers cool to softer Ironsides" was particularly funny for it's ribbing of the "Toonie" attitude.
A Townie response to the USS Constitution Cannon reverberation
After reading the recent article in the Boston Herald (Nov 7, 2009), concerning the sonorous cannon volleys of “Old Ironsides”, I have come to the conclusion that is time for the “Townies” (indigenous natives) to cut some slack toward the “TOONIES” (Newbies).
We must try to assuage the anguish of our Navy Yard gentry. The very thought of the magnificent U.S.S. Constitution disrupting a wine and cheese soiree by shattering their crystal goblets and Merlot bottles, unnerves me, as it should you.
The “TOONIES”, (we need these people), are richer, smarter and more sociable –just ask them--.
Yup, they’re the ones writing out a check in the express line at our local supermarkets or using their debit card to purchase a cup of coffee in a crowded donut shop.
They love to have their dogs do their business at town parks especially the parks with “No Dogs Allowed” signs displayed everywhere. These people are not selfish or elitists, “TOONIES” just have a different set of rules.
In light of recent complaints about cannon fire and halyards clanging against flagpoles at our “Fireman’s Park” on Bunker Hill Street, I would like to propose five suggestions to bring the “Townie” and “TOONIE” together.
1. We should dismantle the Bunker Hill Monument coarse by coarse and place it on the deck of Old Ironsides. This would be a “two-fer”, there would be about a 17’ foot overhang, but we could just push the extra granite blocks into Boston Harbor. This would allow for more sunshine and open space. We could use this area to start our own vineyard or perhaps an upscale soccer stadium – NO scoreboards Please ! A special “TOONIE Vote” would decide on the new location of the Constitution and Bunker Hill Monument.
2. Remove all the deceased in the ancient Phipps and Bunker Hill St. burial grounds. This space can welcome pet cemeteries, were love ones could gather on Sunday with a “Bloody Mary” and a Croissant.
3. Level the historic “Training Field” and start construction of a ten story “Starbucks” complex with the first floor dedicated as a day care center for future “Thurston Howells”.
4. Marshmallow Fluff should be smeared on all flag poles over five feet. The flag poles should also be surrounded by twenty feet of mulch to allay the clanging and soften the blow should these “staffs of honor” topple in bad weather.
5. Finally, all ball fields should be removed from the “Neck” and the “Oiley”. This land is much too valuable for athletics alone. We must develop these waterfronts for future ““TOONIES”” even as the Townie young are forced to head north up Rte 93 to search for affordable housing. “TOONIES”” and “Townies” can live together. History and tradition do not have to be adhered to.
I have to go now, there is a BMW car alarm screeching through my apartment. Oh God! It just cracked my domestic beer bottle.
A concerned Townie,
This is just some gentle teasing. As I said many of the complaining couple's neighbors have expressed scorn for the whiners. Townies and Toonies alike have laughed at this ridiculous complaint. But as a Townie.....I had to laugh when the link came to my email with a note to my cousin Chrissie to "Make sure Diane sees this!" Thanks for the smile Zeke!
Remember - you can go here and sign a petition to show support for USS Constitution's officers and Sailors as they carry out this and other fine Navy traditions.
Veteran tells ‘their stories’
by Kevin Cullen
Please click the link and read the story.
This is well deserved recognition for Bill Durette's tireless work. Charlestown owes Bill a debt of gratitude for preserving this history.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
The video in the post above goes with this post. But when I try to put them together, you can't view the video. So click on both, it won't kill you!
From today's Boston Globe - "One Square Mile”
This is a short video highlighting Charlestown's contribution to the war effort during WWII.
Bill Durette of the Charlestown Historical Society does a great job pulling together stories, people and artifacts to keep this important history available. This is also a good time to direct you to Bill's essay on Veteran's Day/Armistice Day from last year.
When George Kenneally is speaking at 1:45 to 1:49 in the vid you can see a pic of my Uncle Danny over his right shoulder.
Tomorrow the Globe will run a companion piece.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Mr. Fulkerson has an agenda. That's fine, but he is dishonoring a hero's memory to achieve his goal.
And his timing is pretty poor, too.
Mr. Fulkerson's views are aired at the website "Tradition, Family and Property". I won't be linking. He is free to have these views and I am pleased to live in a country where he can exercise his right to free speech at that website.
However, Mr. Fulkerson has written a book about Col. John Ripley, USMC where he takes certain facts and twists them to forward his agenda. Now we are on the other side of a line.
This article outlines the family's concerns regarding Mr. Fulkerson subverting the memory of their father to his own end.
War hero's family calls book a 'dishonor'
Please read the article and consider spreading the word in email and blogs that this is one book that should not be on any bestsellers list.
Not the birthday gift appropriate for this day, is it?
Not mentioned in the article are the many odd things about Mr. Fulkerson's interactions with the family. These include his request to spend time in Col. & Mrs. Ripley's bedroom following the death of Mrs. Ripley this past September. He had additionally requested to view Mrs. Ripley, alone, in the funeral home after her passing. (Mr. Fulkerson & Mrs. Ripley never met.) He also asked the family that he be given Col. Ripley's Navy Cross that had been awarded for his actions at Dong Ha.
Mr. Fulkerson ignored the family when they pointed out an inaccuracy involving Col. Ripley's son's (John Michael Ripley) name. In my opinion, that was because accuracy is not a concern.
I feel we should do what we can to keep this man from capitalizing on the honored memory of Col. Ripley.
There are certainly better ways to remember this Marine, today on the birthday of the US Marince Corp.
"Happy Birthday, Marines!" by UltimaRatioRegis ('The king's final argument')
And from a new Navy blog, "The Pressures of Time..." there is this -
"234th Marine Corps Birthday"
I was teasing one of my Sailors and I said "Did you kiss any Marines today? It's their birthday." He said he'd leave that to me. Then the conversation turned to the Fort Hood incident and I pointed out an excellent post, also by URR "Cowardice, Not Blindness"
"Dang! Who wrote that shit?" says the BMC. I explain that it is my Marine. "Give that Marine a little MORE than a kiss then."
USS Constitution Designated America's Ship of State
CHARLESTOWN NAVY YARD, Mass. -- On October 28, USS Constitution became America's Ship of State.
"USS Constitution's primary mission will remain education and public outreach, and any Ship of State functions will be an adjunct to the ship's primary mission," noted the National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2010 in section 1022. "It is the sense of Congress that the President, Vice President, executive branch officials, and members of Congress should use the USS Constitution for the conducting of pertinent matters of state, such as hosting visiting heads of state, signing legislation relating to the armed forces, and signing maritime related treaties."
USS Constitution's 71st and current commanding officer, Cmdr. Timothy Cooper, could not be more excited about this law signed by President Barrack Obama, after the House of Representatives and the Senate passed the bill earlier in October.
"I am really proud - and humbled - to a part of this honor," Cooper said. "USS Constitution has always been the most visible reminder of the beginnings of our Navy. Now, USS Constitution is a visible reminder of America, and all that we stand for."
USS Constitution was launched into the Boston Harbor on October 21, 1797. In her years of active service, from 1798 - 1855, the three-masted wooden frigate fought in the Quasi-War with France, the Barbary Wars and the War of 1812. Today, Old Ironsides' is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world, has a permanent crew of 73 active duty U.S. Navy Sailors, and is visited by nearly half a million people every year.
The origins of Old Ironsides' status as America's Ship of State were in July of 1997, when then-Cmdr. Chris Melhuish, USS Constitution's 65th commanding officer had a vision for the future of the ship, shortly before he took command.
"The idea struck me after Cmdr. Michael Beck [USS Constitution's 64th commanding officer] challenged me to create my vision for the ship, following his vision, which was to sail the ship for the first time in 116 years, for USS Constitution's bicentennial."
The status of the ship had inherently changed after that historic sail, and USS Constitution should no longer be thought of as a pierside museum exhibit, recalled Melhuish, who retired at the rank of captain, in 2006.
"The best description of the ship was 'Ship of State,'" he said. "That was the vision, and then began the long process of translating that vision into a concept."
In October of 2006, he laid out that concept on paper, which was endorsed by the Congress of the Naval Order of the United States, and by Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England.
Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy sponsored the bill in 2008, but it did not make final passage into the National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2009, which would take another year.
"The people of this country, through Congress, have done the right thing, which should have been done in 1815," said Melhuish, referring to a National Intelligencer article that appeared then.
"Let us keep 'Old Iron Sides' at home," the newspaper author opined, shortly after USS Constitution won a string of victories against her British adversaries in the War of 1812. "She has, literally, become a Nation's Ship, and should be preserved. Not as a 'sheer hulk in ordinary' (for she is no ordinary vessel); but, in honorable pomp as a glorious Monument of her own, and other Naval Victories."
"One hundred and ninety-four years later, we have recognized our greatest ship," Melhuish said. "I'm very, very happy about that."
To learn more about USS Constitution, visit www.history.navy.mil/ussconstitution.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
I want to take these people and shake them and say "Really? You really think anyone should listen to you?"
Perhaps this is why I was not on the short list of people suggested to the CNO to handle this matter?
It seems there are a few very selfish people living in the condos near USS Constitution.
‘More disruptive ... than you might have imagined’
From the article -
“We offer a few ideas for consideration:
A reduction in the size of the battery charge would help.
In the morning, a reduction in the National Anthem volume would help.
On Sat and Sun, would you be open to eliminating or delaying the morning salute to say 9am?
As a final note, we had guests . . . and let them know to expect the morning salute. Nonetheless, they were very startled by the volume and concussion of the salute ceremony.”
Fortunately, it appears that this couple is among a teeny-tiny minority
"Charlestown residents make noise over cannon protests"
My friend and fellow Townie, CDR Gillen, former commanding officer of USS Constitution puts it in perspective and shrugs them off with a laugh. He also raises my point in this -
“It’s stirring up a hornet’s nest. Just think of the uproar there will be if they stop, and all the people who are patriotic and concerned will be fuming,” he said.
You know it Bob!!
Honestly the Navy knew what they were doing when they sent the unflappable CDR Cooper to handle this instead of me. Bravo Zulu Tim and as they say "God love ya!!"
Tone down the National Anthem??? All I can do it shake my head and take solace in the fact that most commenters to the articles in the Herald & the Globe laugh at these people.
Saturday, November 07, 2009
Every adventure has a lesson(s) learned. Today's was -
NEVER LET GO OF THE OGRE ONCE YOU HAVE YOUR HANDS ON HIM!!!!!
The Ogre - an uber SWO and SailorBob fav - built LPD21 down there in Avondale. I was thrilled that I would get to see him. I called when I was at the ship and left voice mail - "I'm here! Find me!"
We exchanged a few texts prior to the ceremony while he tried to figure out where I was. Afterwards as we filed out of the building he called "Where are you at?" I need an interpreter for these calls! I looked around and said "Baby, I don't know where I am!" Then people in the line explained which building and where we would be on the pier when we turned the corner.
Well....he found me. He looked so handsome all dressed up! So we stood there hugging each other, I was so excited. He told me he had to find one of his bosses - Sugarman? LOL, I don't know. I said I'd be in line and on the ship....
Then he was gone!
I wasn't thinking, I should have said I'd go with him. He ended up leading some super tour. I asked around and everyone I talked to knew just who he was - but I was always one step behind. It was like a scavenger hunt.
Then the damn NG people whisked him off to some impromptu meeting. I was tempted to demand his room key and go to his hotel for a nap and try to meet for dinner. But I was too tired.
Now there will be a list of demands for the next christening/commissioning he is involved in.
So that was my lesson learned....once he grabs my hand, I should never let go!
Friday, November 06, 2009
As we say here in Boston "It's no word of a lie that I am wicked excited."
Despite telling me several times that he was not going, I found out today that the Ogre is already in New York. So I will try to hook up with him once I get there.
I'm not completely sure where I am going or where I am going to park....so I really, really want to find the Ogre and make myself his responsibility.
You can watch the festivites on FoxNews. For more info on the commissioning go here.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
"Now Hear This..."
Posted by SWJ Editors on November 5, 2009 11:00 AM
We really, really, try to avoid inter-service rivalries but will make an exception in this one case – because it is for a really good and noble cause, we were asked to help out Team Navy and we like underdogs. Via e-mail from Project Valour-IT shipmate Maggie......
Thank you, I appreciate this very much!
OK....you're reading this....what are you going to do??
Go here and donate to Team Navy for this great cause. Then email this to all your family and friends!
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Well....actually, he was going to write about Project Valour-IT and encourage all his readers to join with Team Navy and support this great cause.
But Stephan of "Pearls Before Swine" has distracted him with this post.