Friday, July 30, 2010

USS Missouri SSN 780 Commissioning

Tomorrow morning the USS Missouri SSN 780 will be commissioned in Groton, Connecticut.

Guess who will be there?

You can watch streaming video of the ceremony tomorrow, I will try to wave to the camera.

You can read about the details here.

You can follow the Commissioning Committee's Facebook page here.

Here is more ship info.

I will be attending courtesy of my friend Wendy - My Military Life. You can read here website here . Follow her on Twitter.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

An Unexpected Delay

So I ended up in Virginia for an extra day. My clothes are being washed. I didn't pack enough clothes. I am about to pop in the shower and head back to Boston. I have to plan another trip down and make sure I let my sisters-in-law, Kathleen & Maureen know enough in advance.

There will be Tweets from the road.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Beta Testing For Future Road Trips

First rule - take the laptop anyway, even though I don't think I'll need it. After all, there's plenty of room in the WindStar. Today I was in a Starbucks and could have hopped on their free Wi-Fi

Next - always pack the stupid bathing suit!!!! Better to have it and not need it.

I have to make a bag just for the car.....pillow, light blanket, towel. You know, just in case.

So, I often say my life is a Fellini O'Henry novel....full of irony.

Jennifer gave me a Tom-Tom navigational device for my birthday in March. then the Saturn died. The new car? Yeah, no cigarette lighter to keep it charged. Of course!

I've been cleaning out the house paring down my possessions. Being heartless. I came across a box of cassettes. When would I ever use those? Really? Guess what's in the Windstar? Yeah, a cassette player.

Ok, I am going to check my email and then go to bed. I am wiped out. It took at least an hour longer than expected. Every time there was a choice to make...I made the wrong move. Every. Single. Time. My ex hasn't stopped laughing at me yet.

Tomorrow I am driving back, but I am stopping in Shanksville to meet a fellow traveler on the Internet, Bigg Bill. We are going to have lunch and go to the Flight 93 Memorial. We have corresponded for a few years and now we get to meet. Reason #2,658 I love the Internet. How else would I have met someone so interesting?

Oh, and I drove out of range for an NPR station that was talking about an episode of Here & Now they were going to air about John Ford's "The Searchers". I have to go back into the archive and find that, I LOVE that movie.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Another Adventure!

Leaving early tomorrow for Virginia. My ex lives in the western part of the state. Just an overnight. I can't wait to see his duaghter Keira. She was a big part of my life when they lived in Massachusetts and I miss her.

On the bright side Jen gets the house to herself and it's all clean. Not that her house is ever dirty, she is much fussier than me.

I went up to the cottage and had dinner with my parents and Grace.....meatloaf!

Then we watched Wheel of Fortune, my mothers favorite show....that has to be worth brownie points!

This is a pic of my spot on the porch.
So until Thursday there will only be tweets!

I'm Stuck

***UPDATE*** Seeing it in print was the motivation I needed. I vacuumed and swept and washed dishes and wiped counters. I did laundry and even dragged the big blue bucket out back and scrubbed the inside with a stiff brush. I rewarded my self with a quick swim. I am headed up to the cottage now.

I have things to do.

I have stuff on my desk at work. Even though I am no longer working, there is still stuff to clear up.

My sister is visiting my parents at the cottage. I should be up there.

I have laundry and cleaning to do.

I have blogging to do.

I should be at the gym.

I have to make some phone calls to my oncologist about medication & my upcoming treatment.

It's a beautiful day. I am not even playing hookey on the beach.

I'm just stuck. I need someone to kick my ass and get me moving.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Cordoba House

Today during #MIDRATs, CDR Salamander & Eagle1 played host to U.S. Naval War College Professor Marc Genest for the first half hour. It was a very interesting conversation on COIN - you know I am a COINdinista. But toward the end of the Professor's time, the Ground Zero mosque came up. That's when the good professor lost me - big time. It's not unimportant. It is not "much ado about nothing". It is not a tribute to American tolerances.
What follows is a statement from Newt Gingrich. If you don't like Newt's politics, or his history, or his looks or whatever....check that at the door and read this. This is absolutely spot on. He is eloquent and he is correct.

There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over.

The proposed "Cordoba House" overlooking the World Trade Center site – where a group of jihadists killed over 3000 Americans and destroyed one of our most famous landmarks - is a test of the timidity, passivity and historic ignorance of American elites. For example, most of them don’t understand that “Cordoba House” is a deliberately insulting term. It refers to Cordoba, Spain – the capital of Muslim conquerors who symbolized their victory over the Christian Spaniards by transforming a church there into the world’s third-largest mosque complex.

Today, some of the Mosque’s backers insist this term is being used to "symbolize interfaith cooperation" when, in fact, every Islamist in the world recognizes Cordoba as a symbol of Islamic conquest. It is a sign of their contempt for Americans and their confidence in our historic ignorance that they would deliberately insult us this way.

Those Islamists and their apologists who argue for "religious toleration" are arrogantly dishonest. They ignore the fact that more than 100 mosques already exist in New York City. Meanwhile, there are no churches or synagogues in all of Saudi Arabia. In fact no Christian or Jew can even enter Mecca.

And they lecture us about tolerance.
If the people behind the Cordoba House were serious about religious toleration, they would be imploring the Saudis, as fellow Muslims, to immediately open up Mecca to all and immediately announce their intention to allow non-Muslim houses of worship in the Kingdom. They should be asked by the news media if they would be willing to lead such a campaign.

We have not been able to rebuild the World Trade Center in nine years. Now we are being told a 13 story, $100 million megamosque will be built within a year overlooking the site of the most devastating surprise attack in American history.

Finally where is the money coming from? The people behind the Cordoba House refuse to reveal all their funding sources.

America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization. Sadly, too many of our elites are the willing apologists for those who would destroy them if they could.

No mosque.

No self deception.

No surrender.

The time to take a stand is now - at this site on this issue

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Crowne Plaza LAX

What. A. Disappointment!

My recent trip to LA grew out of a plan to get my niece Gen on a plane to Australia. At first it was just going to be a simple handoff. Fly Boston to LA, put her on the plane, turn around and come back. Then we decided that flying out one day, sleeping over and then flying again would be easier on both of us. Finally, because Gen's flight was so late at night, I had better stay the second night. Once it was going to be a two night stay, I set off searching for hotels.

We knew we wanted to be convenient to the airport, since it was the travel itself that was central to the plan. I ended up with the Crowne Plaza LAX. It's nearly in the airport itself. My sister said she had stayed there, albeit years ago, and liked it.

We arrived on Wednesday around noon after collecting our bags and taking the free, three minute shuttle ride. Right away, I was irritated, no help with bags. Fine. We go inside and up to the registration desk. There were two lines, regular and VIP for "Priority Gold & Silver Members". I am just a regular "Priority" member, so I got in the regular line. However, the other young lady wasn't busy and called me over. Nice, right? No, she had an attitude and didn't look right at me. She talked to the counter. Gave me a chance to look around though and things need a little maintenance there. A door was open to a shabby office. A ceiling tile was popped out of place. The decor was dated and dull. The room they had a us in was a king size bed/non-smoking. I told her it was supposed to be double beds. With a shrug, she gave me a room on a smoking floor. I was caught off guard. I picture California as more progressive on smoking and hadn't even considered the possibility. Gen and I were hungry and wanted to wash up and get going, so I said fine. After all, I have stayed in smoking rooms before and not had a problem.

We got off on the sixth floor and immediately, it was stale and smelly. We held out hope for the room, but that was fruitless. Size wise, the room was fine, but it was stale and musty. Now let me interject one thing here. My mother smokes.....a lot.....all my life. their house doesn't smell. So I know if you have proper ventilation and you clean, the smell isn't a problem. I know if there is a smell, it reflects a lack of effort on the part of the cleaning staff.

So, I turned on the AC in hopes of clearing the air a little. We took turns washing up and headed out.

I had looked online to see what restaurants the area had to offer outside of the hotel. That's how I knew about the In & Out burger on Sepulveda. I had checked the distance from the hotel on Google maps and Gen was up for the .7 mile walk. In the lobby we checked in with the Concierge to double check directions. I mostly wanted to orient myself to the map in my head. I have a good sense of direction once I have my bearings. I asked him to direct me from the main entrance to Sepulveda. "Well, that's a big area! Where do you want to go?" I was slightly irritated to what I perceived as a condescending tone, but I smiled and said "In & Out Burger". He pulled out a map and said that was good and specific and drew some lines and arrows. then I asked about the neighborhood. He seemed affronted "I wouldn't let you go if it wasn't safe!" I really had to bite my tongue. I wanted to tell him that it was his job to answer my questions without such attitude. But I was more hungry than irritated and we set off.

When we returned from our successful and enjoyable lunch, the room still smelled. We changed into bathing suits, planning to head up to the pool. That was when I noticed something blue ground into the rug between the beds. It looked like gum. I looked around the room more critically. The carpet was dingy, clearly in need of a steam cleaning.

After a pitstop in the lobby gift shop for magazines, bottled water & chocolate, we headed up to the second floor outdoor pool. It was a cool day, but sunny and we are New Englanders, so it was very comfortable. The pool is advertised on their website as heated.....ummm, no. The water was ice cold. Not only was the water not heated, but I think because of the surrounding office buildings, it didn't see much sun, which compounded the problem. But that was refreshing once you got in. The website also boasts a jacuzzi.....cordoned off with caution tape.....a sauna......broken......a steam room with a towel under it's door to keep it from swinging freely and scraps of paper on the floor.

After swimming and sunning, we headed back to our room to shower for dinner at RockSugar. Now the room was freezing cold and still smelly.

Now I reach one of the two satisfactory aspects of the hotel. The bathroom. It was clean, the towels were clean and there was good water pressure.

After we showered and we were waiting to hear from our cousin Mark, I decided to call the front desk to see if we could be moved to a non-smoking room. The front desk was completely indifferent and unhelpful. I explained that we were in a smoking room and would like to switch. She said she had nothing available until Friday (hello, I am checking out Friday) and as to the smell, we were on a smoking floor (hello, I started my conversation with "we're in a smoking room"). I let it go at this because Gen and I had sniffed our pillows and bedding and they didn't smell. If they had, I would have really pushed. I asked if someone could come up to spray the room because the smell was more than smoke. I was thinking Febreze. She agreed and we hung up. I was telling Gen about the conversation when it occurred to me to kill two birds so to speak. I called housekeeping and explained that since they were coming to spray, could they bring clean towels at the same time. The voice on the other end said "Towels? The towels are dirty?" Please feel free to applaud my restraint, since all I said was "Yes, they are dirty"

The housekeeper shows up with what looks like a small can of WD-40 and sprays the ventilation unit and the rugs. She takes five minutes to fold the towels just so and then asks if I want the dirty towels taken away. She points to the pile of dirty wet towels in the bathroom. I say "Yes, please". Gen is sitting reading in the easy chair, trying to muffle giggles.

Seriously? Who keeps the dirty wet towels. I know that no hotel is going to equal the Taj Palace and my five Filipino cleaning guys....but come on! If you are willing to take five minutes to fold the towels in some particular way....why not give that level of attention to the cleaning aspect of the room?

Gen states the obvious. Whatever the housekeeper sprayed actually smells worse. We leave to wait for Mark in the lobby. On our way, I point out the chipped, scuffed switchplates in the hall and the litter on the floor in front of the elevator. Now, I can't help but notice that the place is just, in a word, grubby.

On the way home from RockSugar, Mark stops at CVS and I buy my own damn Febreeze ...extra strength! I started spraying as soon as we got off of the elevator, much to Gen's amusement. then after a thorough spraying off our room, we brushed our teeth and fell into bed. Next morning...viola! The room smelled great. Please don't tell me that this hotel can't obtain gallons of cheap generic Febreze. Probably better and cheaper than the crazy can of perfume the housekeeper sprayed.

By and large the rest of my interactions with the hotel staff were unremarkable. The only exception as the second They were friendly and quick and I watched them picking up litter in the front entrance area.

There is absolutely no way that this hotel deserved the 3.5 stars that it had on Priceline.

Last point, yet another backwards hotel that charges for Wi-Fi, $10.95 per day.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mission Accomplished!

After Stella and I ran Gen ragged all through Hollywood, I took her to LAX. She got her window seat and I left her at security.

Gen, enjoy your adventure of a lifetime! A semester studying abroad in Perth, Australia is a fabulous opportunity.

Thanks for letting me be a part of "lift-off"!

I am home to Boston tomorrow on a noon flight.

Stella, you were completely right, Chado's Tea Room was not to be missed. Thank you for playing tour guide.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

23 Hours!

Except for napping on the plane and by the pool, which was not much....we were up for 23 hours.

Now we've slept for 8 & showered.

Off again!

Next stop, Hollywood & Vine!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

LA With Gen!

Flight was great - we love Virgin America!

The Crowne Plaza is grubby and not worthy of as many stars as Priceline had listed.

In & Out Burger was fun, but we should have gotten regular cheeseburgers and not double cheeseburgers.

Our cousin Mark is coming to get us and take us to his restaurant, Rock Sugar on Santa Monica Boulevard!

Tomorrow is all tourist-all day with Stella from Swift Speech! I haven't seen her in a year and I am looking forward to it.

special thanks to my cousin Jessica who was following my Facebook updates and put two and two together. Mark & Jessica live in Vegas, but he is here on business. So if it weren't for her working behind the scenes.....we wouldn't be looking forward to this outing.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Flying To LA Wednesday

I am taking my niece Gen to LA Wednesday morning. We leave Logan at 7 am. Whose idea was that? Oh, I made the reservation? Umm, well still Jen & Grace didn't stop me....makes them somewhat responsible.

Gen is going to Perth, Australia to study a semester abroad. When this first came up, Grace told me to arrange her flights. But Grace was worried about the whole switching of airplanes and carriers in LA. So I said I'd go. Sounded like fun.

So we arrive in LA at 10:30 am local time. We are staying at the Crowne Plaza LAX. We have the rest of Wednesday and nearly all of Thursday to hang, see, do.

At 10 pm Thursday night I put Gen on a Quantas flight and send her away until Thanksgiving. It's a great opportunity and we are all very happy for her....but geez! That's a long time, lol.

Then Friday morning I fly back to Boston.

While we are there we will take the standard LA/Hollywood bus tour. I want pics on Hollywood BLVD. I want to find John Wayne's star, lol!

Meanwhile, remember I am poor and unemployed....oh, did I not mention that? Yeah, I got yelled at by My Marine. I told everyone that when the cancer slowed me to the point where I was no longer a productive employee, I would get laid off (which is not nearly as much fun as other phrases containing that word...). So it's here. And I am broke, so anyone who wants to take me to lunch....feel free!

Which leads me to why I am posting at 0245.....before she went to bed, Jen said "Are you going to be ok on this trip?"

I don't know. It's a lot of stress to travel, even when it's fun.

BTW, if you are in LA....find me!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Congratulations to Senior Chiefs Staples & Costa!

You know a great way to start off a Monday morning? Get promoted!

You know what makes it even better? Having the ceremony aboard USS Constitution on a picture perfect July Day.

Kidding aside, these two pics document the United States Navy recognizing two dedicated military personnel for their hard work in the service to their country.

In addition to congratulating these men for their achievements, we should remember to throw out a great big "Thanks for your service!"Look at that smile!

Although, for location, it's hard to beat this re-enlistment atop the mizzen mast fighting top!

I couldn't be happier for you both. I am toasting you with my USS Constitution glass (full of's 0900 kids)! Huzzah!!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday Morning!

I opened my eyes at 0745 and this is my view. There are some kind of white flowers just outside the window, beyond that are the flowering shrubs of Jen's neighbor. The sky is blue. I got up, washed my face, brushed my teeth and made my bed. I went out and made my breakfast and cleaned the kitchen.

I am ready for FoxNewsSunday! Eggs, scrambled with mozzarella cheese and topped with bruchetta. The remote control, the cell phone and the laptop all handy. My parents are in the cottage, so I get to hang there. I will try to spend some time in the sun and enjoy some vitamin D - that's really important for cancer patients.

If it's Sunday, that means you should be listening to MIDRATs, navy blog talk radio. Today, My Marine is the special guest.....I will miss it live. I won't be in the chatroom. It's not my fault. No one let me know and I made plans. Doesn't matter, I will have to take a ton of shit. Help me out - listen to MIDRATs and comment in the chatroom. You can't make up for the absence of the great and powerful Goddess of the Naval Blogging Strike Force.....but a big audience might be a little balm on the wound. It will be very interesting and I will listen to the podcast as soon as I can. The topic is "COIN and the USMC's next decade" and you can pass questions through the moderator of the chatroom or call in yourself.
Then, immediately go to and listen live to Pundit Review Radio. That's where I'll be. I'll be hanging Kevin and....the most interesting radio producer in Boston.....Rob. I'll be there as my friend Bruce his great weekly segment, "Someone You Should Know". It's always worth tuning in.
I have to go make cookies now, because I never visit Pundit Review Radio without an offering for Rob! Today will be milk chocolate chip/coconut/pecan cookies.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Peter Pan Peanut butter Frustration....

It shouldn't be this difficult to get some regular, old fashioned peanut butter! Ok, well let's be honest....I was frustrated before I had to hunt for the stupid peanut butter.

Last night I got in from work and found I had the house to myself. I ran and started laundry. I cooked my dinner as fast as I could. I washed, dried and put away the dishes. I pulled the laptop out of my room and set it up on the coffee table.

There I was...settled with dinner, laptop, cell phone, drink & dessert. The night was mine and I wanted to watch a good movie. I perused my choices and settled "Volver" with Penelope Cruz. then an hour in....the DVR kicks me out! Jen was recording two things, so I am out of OnDemand. Ok, well, there is always the DVR. I scroll through and find the season premiere of "Rescue Me".

Then SouthieBoy called.....I didn't finish anything.

This morning I went to pack a lunch for work.....peanut butter & jelly? No peanut butter. Pizza? They got green peppers....ick! Never mind!

Today Jen sent me a text "Get Saltines on the way home from work" I was in Walmart and remember there was no peanut butter in the house. My parents always bought Skippy. Jen buys Skippy. But Mama Kelley liked Peter Pan and we had to leave her little jar alone.

So I decide that's what I want. But there is honey roast & crunchy & crunchy honey roast & plus & reduced fat....argghhh!!! I had to squat and stick my arm to the back of the shelf to get regular creamy.


Ok, well I was going to post some other stuff....but my mother just called, they are at the cottage! Yay! Two weeks to hang out!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Stepping The Main Topmast

As my readers know, USS Constitution is currently undergoing extensive renovations. Today, we are this far along.

Isn't she beautiful?

You can see more pics of the renovation here.

No Mosque At Ground Zero

First off, I can't even wrap my mind around the balls it took for some imam to propose this.

Are all Muslims terrorists? Of course not. But you don't put a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero.

You wouldn't propose a museum to Japanese culture across the water from USS Arizona.

You wouldn't propose a statue of Andrew Jackson at the Cherokee Heritage Center.

An Islamic cultural center anywhere near Ground Zero is ludicrous.

And it's not hate speech to say so. The people who show up at zoning meetings in New York to defend the idea are idiots. It's not Islamaphobia to oppose this idea. Charging mosque opponents with bigotry is a deflection. The proponents of this idea are hoping they can cow a public that fears such labels. Well, you can't intimidate me. I am comfortable with myself and I know I am not a bigot.

Learn more by reading this opinion piece "A mosque at Ground Zero?"

Pat Condell, while a militant atheist who loathes all organized religion, is particularly articulate on this subject.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Frosted Glasses....Not Just For Beer!

See how tempting my ice cold Coca-Cola looks in a frosted glass! That's my East Bay dinner from last night standing in for today's lunch. Sole Oscar with basmati rice and asparagus. Nearly my whole meal went home in a take-out box because when it was served....I was in the parking lot on the phone with a Sailor........... While I enjoy my late lunch (it is delish!) I am reading about .... a SeaBee! This link will take you to a blog post from IS2 Class Wes Ferguson "Reflections From a SeaBee".

Wanna know who is in your Navy, America?

3rd Naval Construction Regiment leadership describe IS2 Ferguson as the hardest working Sailor assigned to the command with an unparalleled work ethic. They fondly describe the times where they have had to literally stop him from working and his response – “Easy day Ma’am/Sir”.

BZ IS2 Ferguson!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

NMCB Two One on Navy Daily News Update

My SeaBees were a top story on the Navy's Daily News Update!

Yay, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Two One!

There I was on Twitter....screwing around....*cough*.....I mean engaging in important social media interaction when I saw a Tweet from my BFF @NavyNews -

"SeaBees building to support forces in Afghanistan. Building foundation 4 the foundation, if U will..."

So I clicked on the link to see whatever story, pic or vid he was directing me to, they are always interesting.

And there are my peeps from Anacostia with a Daily News Update, this time it was Petty Officer Patrick Gearhiser giving an intro to Cpl Bradley Hanson, USMC who was in Afghanistan doing a story on........MY SEABEES!!!! NMCB 21

So click on this link and watch as PO1 Anthony Amato, PO James Milam & PO1 Dave Eddy explain about what they are doing to improve the quality of life for service members deployed in Afghanistan.

Learn about SWA-huts!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"We're Not Amoral.....

....more like B-moral.....just a little off......I'm just saying....."

Jen is sitting on the couch next to me watching an episode of "Bones". Jen's a big fan. I don't watch much, but I catch it when I'm with her.

In this episode, Ryan O'Neal is making an appearance as Max, father of the main character, Bones. He wants a chance to be alone with the bad guy...who in this episode is a woman. The woman has hurt Bones and Max wants to just kill her. Nevermind the trial.

I say to Jen that they should just let him.

The trial take a bad turn and Jen says "Yeah, Ryan O'Neal should just kill her. I don't have a problem with that."

"That's cause we're amoral."

Jen says "We're not A-moral....more like B-moral.....just a little off....." I laugh out loud. She shrugs. "...I'm just saying..."

She slays me!

I'm Living An Old Joke

"Hey, is your face hurting you? 'Cause it's KILLING me!"

Yeah, I am wiped out today already. I woke up and my jaw, cheekbones and shoulders just ached like you read about. I don't get it. Is is stress? Is it the myeloma?

Well at least it's taking my mind off of how much my ankles and hip have been bothering me.

Wonder what my stomach's ibuprofen threshold is....

I know, I am whining. Tough shit, lol.

I could call and probably get something from Dr. Miller.....but that would really bum my mother out. You know how she frets that I will end up an addict, lol. So, we'll just grit our teeth for a bit. Maybe it's stress and that should pass, my life is becoming more orderly thanks to Jennifer.

I am taking myself to the movies later. Plimoth Plantation is showing "Please Give". I love the unusual and/or foreign films offered at the Plimoth Cinema......and the popcorn. I saw the previews when I was there to see "The Secret in their Eyes" (which I loved!!!!).

Metal Shark Boats

Metal Shark's 30 Resolute is specially-designed for oil spill clean-up operations in as little as eight inches of water.

As my friends down South would say "Dang! That's cool!"

From the company's press release -

Safe, Stable Platform for Clean-Up Operations
Jeanerette, La., July 13, 2010 - Metal Shark Boats this week delivered the third of twenty boats specially-designed to assist with oil spill clean-up efforts in near shore applications. The 30-foot, barge-style 30 Resolute is already in use off the coast of Louisiana, and the company plans to continue construction and delivery at a rate of two boats per week.

The Resolute's large, flat deck and low freeboard afford workers a close proximity to the water's surface while also making the boat capable of operation in depths as little as eight inches. Worker comfort is further enhanced by the 30 Resolute's integrated sun shade. The boat's 6,000-pound capacity provides ample space for additional storage tanks, booms, skimmers, and other oil removal accessories. With an overall beam (width) of ten feet, the 30 Resolute may also be easily transported by trailer to spill-affected areas.

"A swift resolution to this crisis is essential, as the health of our wetlands and coastal areas are vital to millions of Gulf Coast residents," said Chris Allard, President, Metal Shark Boats. "With the 30 Resolute, we're better equipped to support the massive and ongoing clean-up effort."

You can read the rest here.

So Let Me Post About What All The Dolphins Heard Today

I got an email that contained a slide from a powerpoint presentation on Boston's Navy Week. You know, that is the time when the US Navy pays special attention to me. They have all these events for my enjoyment at the beginning of summer and culminating on the 4th of July.

So this year's Navy Week was completely awesome and the best yet. I really couldn't have asked for more.

But there was one last gift.

An email with a powerpoint slide.

I open it and I think "Isn't this nice!" there are pictures of the CNO at various functions for Navy Week and in the lower right hand corner there is a little blurb about attendence and events and .......... a quote from....eeeiiiyyyyyeeeee....ME!!!!!
There was foot stomping and excited screaming! I LOVE YOU GUYS!

Monday, July 12, 2010

What the 1st Amendment Doesn't Protect You From

First - the actual text -

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Do you see anything that says after you exercise your 1st amendment, free of government are also free from criticism from you fellow citizens?


That's because it isn't there.

If you want to publish a crass political cartoon mocking the physical appearance of a military veteran who sacrificed the sight in his right eye in service to our country.....then standby for heavy rolls, my friend!

If you publish such a cartoon, you are an assclown. And I am going to call you an assclown. That's MY 1st Amendment right.

If you don't like what I have to say, what your fellow citizens have to say......well cry me a river baby! Or defend your position, but don't hide behind the 1st Amendment.

Go read this story at BlackFive.

This is what democracy looks like. Thanks to men and women like Nick Popaditch.

A Public Service Announcement

Maybe you already knew this...but I didn't. It's illegal, in Massachusetts at least, to store propane "inside or on balconies above the first floor of any building or structure used for habitation".

Why did this come up? Well last week on that crazy hot day, there was a fire in Charlestown. A gas grill on a roof deck exploded. I was talking to Mike and he said that home owners insurance wouldn't cover it because the propane was illegally stored.

Here's the official statement from Mumbles.

So now you propane on the roof.


From today's Patriot Post -

"I want an American character, that the powers of Europe may be convinced we act for ourselves and not for others; this, in my judgment, is the only way to be respected abroad and happy at home." --George Washington

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Like A Good Mystery?

Me too.

Like stuff about USS Constitution?

Me too!

So that must mean you will be watching "History Detectives" on PBS tomorrow. All my fav stuff; history, Navy, Old Ironsides, politics, hooliganism.... I wouldn't miss it.

In USS Constitution's long and storied history there are many interesting stories, but really none so odd as the beheading of her figurehead in 1834. Constitution was just coming back from a low ebb. Her popularity was surging in the wake of Oliver Wendell Holmes's famous poem. Many credited President Jackson with aiding in the effort to save her. Jackson was after all, a hero of the War of 1812 himself.

Some thought there should be a gesture toward President Jackson....but not everyone. In a port city full of mariners, some considered it sacrilege to put the figure of an Army hero on the historic naval vessel. And Jackson wasn't all that popular with the Boston Brahmin and one of their rank, Captain Sweeney allegedly hacked off the head just around this time of year in 1834.
The head made the rounds through various clubs and maritime families and even museums here and in other countries. Some parts here and some parts there.

Recently someone came upon the mouth and checking it's provenance is the focus of this week's "History Detectives" episode. I will be watching tomorrow night at 9 pm on WGBH. Since Boston is the know center of the universe....all times here on this blog are EST, lol.

Friday, July 09, 2010

C J Grisham

My friend CJ has a post up about a twist on an online dating scam....

"The Hunter Becomes the Hunted (A Nigerian Scam)"

It's good, you should go read it.

But I am mostly linking because of this line

"I have a Google alert any time my name is mentioned on a Website"

Well, you know Miss Mature just had to go and mention his name.......

I Have A Car!!!

After what seems like eons of cadging rides and renting/borrowing cars, I finally have one. It's a 1998 Ford Windstar. A minivan. How's that for irony? My kids are grown, it's just me. I was looking at tiny cars. I end up with a giant minivan. LOL

But Rachael pointed out, this may work out for some of my adventures. Just drive places and sleep in the car. I don't actually know about that, but it's something to consider.

I got to Boston to pick it up at 11:15 am after several days of nonsense. I really appreciate the guy who arranged this for me, but it was clear that he was trying to draw this out so I would spend time with him.

After several errands and some things that "popped up", I finally got on the Tobin at 1:57 pm.

The drive from Boston was hell. My life has been so hectic lately that I didn't's Friday! Everyone in the free world was on route 3 south headed for the Cape.

Two solid hours to make a drive that I can do in 35 minutes most times.

I've just wiped down the dashboard and cleaned out the glove box etc.

I am beat. But this is a huge load off of my mind.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

What *Is* Your Problem?

So Mary Ripley and I are discussing driving up to Maine for the Cold River adventure. She wants to fly. I keep protesting that I will pick her up and drive her. She says we won't be friends by the end of the drive.

"I have an excellent driving record!"

"You can't speed."

"I can do that. I will drive like my mother's in the car."

"You can't go over 7 miles above the speed limit."

"I can do that."

"You can't tailgate."

"That's fine. That's not my problem."

"What is your problem?"

LOL! Jen and I have discussed it. We will put Mary in the car with Grace. Grace is a very careful driver. Jen said it doesn't matter if I don't mean to speed, as soon as I am distracted.....


So the other night Jen and I contemplated grilling, but the grill was dirty. I figured I would just take care of that today after work. But last night while I was at dinner, she just when out and bought a new one.

That is an extreme solution to a dirty grill.

Speaking of dinner, it was about social media. Or at least it was supposed to be. I was ready to fashion a noose out of my napkin.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Spent The Night In My New Room

All I can say is that I am happy there were afghans in the room....the crocheted kind, not the people. The AC is so powerful that I actaully pulled out the cream colored afghan that my mother made for me out of it's storage bag.

Yesterday, on High Street in Charlestown a rooftop grill burst into flame because Boston is living the Twilight Zone episode where the sun is moving closer to the Earth. But I needed an afhgan, lol. I am telling you, Jen would be happy at the North Pole.

So I got up this morning and went across the street to swim. Jen's neighbor installed rustic stairs and a hand rail.....good thing for shaky Maggie as she makes her way down. I try not to remember scrambing down at top speed as a child and even a young mother.

Then I cleaned the kitchen while I waited for Jen to return from her errand.

Now it's off to run errands, car insurance my paycheck - it's already spent - and return the rental car.

I promise I'll post soon about my visit to USS Whidbey Island. fav BMCS is receiving packages from strangers.....thank you everyone!!! The response has been amazing.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Pics From USS Constitution's Underway Demonstration

Sunday, July 4th was the annual turn around cruise for Old Ironsides, also known as the Underway Demonstration. This was my first time being on board for it. I have been aboard a million times. I have been aboard when she was underway (last October for her birthday celebration). I have been there to watch her sail, but it was from the pier near USS Cassin Young.

It was more fun than words can express....but maybe a few pictures will help! This is USS Whidbey Island LSD-41 as we were gliding past. She was docked in South Boston on the North Jetty.
Most of these pics were taken by my friend Mercedes, her husband is USS Constitution's XO, LCDR Savage.
Who had the best view? Well it would be these Sailors, wouldn't it? Constitution Sailors are in red, it's part of their period uniform, on the far left is Command Master Chief Twiford. I believe those who are not in red are from the USS Hawes FFG-53 and Anthony Costa is in red on the right.
This is our view of Fort Independence on Castle Island in Southie. After the 21 gun salute there was all this noise from the spectators and the surrounding vessels.
Fleet Master Chief Howard, Airman Michael Fleck & Command Master Chief Twiford on the Fighting Top! This pic is from Airman Fleck's FB profile...Thanks Mike!
Zoom in....a little more...see me? I am aft on the port side!
Thank you CDR Cooper......Command Master Chief Twiford....and the entire crew of USS Constitution!

I Am Beat!

I had such a great time this past weekend, but you know I didn't pace myself or anything. Today is reflecting that. Nothing I am doing is going my way.

I wanted to drive to the New York State Museum in Albany today, to catch the local showing of "Restrepo". But the fates conspired against me. Then I thought, at least I can get all this RMV/insurance stuff done for the Windstar....but that hasn't happened yet. I ran into work to grab the title, but work questions kept me there for an hour. Now I am waiting for Jen.

So far I am showered and I have done some laundry. That's as productive as I have been.

So, we are going to switch gears and work on my living situation. 6 weeks ago I moved a few things to my friend Trish's house. As soon as I finished clearing the house, I was going to move there. It still hasn't happened. Since then, I have been presented with the option of moving in with Jen. There were pluses and minuses to each situation. There was some campaigning by certain individuals. I'm not going to say that I caved to pressure....because that is not how Princess Crabby rolls.

But tonight I am taking one of the company trucks and getting stuff from Trish's house and moving it to Jen's house.

So I am off to salvage what I can from today. Meanwhile I will post some cool pics from the USS Constitution's Underway Demonstration on Sunday.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

How I Spent My Fourth of July

That's a theme today in some parts of the Milblogosphere. So here's my Navy Groupie take.

For me here in Boston, the 4th has always been as much about history as it is anything else. The focus for me was never the cook-outs and fireworks. Is that because Boston is America's cradle of liberty? Is it because a great many of my fellow Bostonians took pains to preserve the artifacts of the Revolutionary War? Is it because I ran the decks of Old Ironsides and climbed the 294 steps of the Bunker Hill Monument as a child?

Or perhaps I am just a geek who was lucky enough to have a Sailor as a father.

Whatever the answer, I have always been drawn to USS Constitution as the country turns it's attention to celebrating our birth. In recent years, the US Navy has made this even more enjoyable for me with having Navy Week run right into this very special time.

Tomorrow the festivities draw to a close and I attend my final #NavyWeek thing - an early morning tour of USS Whidbey Island LSD-41.

But today was spent aboard old Ironsides as she made her way out into the harbor for her annual turn around. There were 500 or so guests roaming the ship, watching the Boston skyline as we glided past, taking tours and just enjoying a hot sunny day on the water.

We were surrounded by Coast Guard vessels, State Police, Enviromental Police, Boston Police, Boston Fire Department vessels and many pleasure craft. the ship made it's way out to Castle Island and there was a 21 gun salute before we headed back.

USS Constitution's commanding officer CDR Cooper & her exec LCDR Savage gave welcoming addresses. The crew gave tours and assisted with hoisting, flying, saluting and folding flags for guests. At the end of the cruise each departing guest received a shell from a round that had been fired on the ship.

I couldn't help but admire USS Whidbey Island as USS Constitution passed on our way in and out. Smartly decked out in full dress for the holiday, her Sailors manning the rails, saluting Old Ironsides.

You know, it would be so easy to just stop thinking let myself get carried off on this celebratory wave. But the Sailors of the USS Whidbey Island and USS Hawes, they are here on liberty. Sure, they are happy to march and lay wreaths and visit kids in the hospital. But this is just a diversion.

Their real purpose is to defend our nation, their real job is something dangerous and difficult.

For every Sailor I saw today, there are a hundred doing something far from home that most of us would never want to do for ourselves. They are standing in harms way between you and tyrants and pirates and terrorists.

As a Nation we need to pay more attention to that. For all that it is good to remember our roots, after all, I am a John Adams's just as important to remember whose sacrifice allows you to contemplate the history of our Nation.

JFK Reciting the Declaration of Independence

Lady Gaga Sings Happy Birthday To My Niece!

My beautiful niece Kelly celebrated her 19th birthday in the Boston Garden with 30,000 or so of her closest friends.
Kelly and her friends were at the Garden last night for the Lady Gaga concert. Kelly won a contest and Gaga called her on her cell phone. Kelly appears on the big screen as LG asks her how she's doing.....Kelly says that she loves her and this is the best birthday present ever.

Then Lady Gaga leads the audience in singing Happy Birthday to Kelly. You can hear Kelly shrieking. I think this birthday is going to stick with her a while.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

No Matter What You Did Tonight.....

...I had a better time, baby!!

One of my three invitations was for a reception aboard USS Constitution from 6 pm to 8:45 pm.

Yeah...I was late. I wasn't reading closely enough and I thought it was 6:45 pm and that my 6:37 arrival was perfect. I was pretty pleased with myself until I got there and saw it in full swing, lol. Then I looked at the invitation more closely.....well, come on, what did you expect?

I worked today, then squeezed in a manicure and pedicure with Jen...she asked so nicely, I couldn't say no!

Then it was off to Charlestown. I made great time into the city...everyone is headed out, lol. Then as I drove down Chelsea Street, there was this huge spot really close to the last of the public parking. How lucky was that? I banged a U-ey and pulled right in. A regular Steve McQueen move.

I brushed my hair, touched up my lipstick, put on the perfect shoes and I was off!
What's the worst that could happen? The ship is full of people, laughing, eating and drinking. I will just sneak aboard.....right? The Master Chief was at the top of the brow. Bagged. It was slightly reminiscent of trying to sneak in past curfew.

The weather, the ship, the absolutely couldn't have asked for anything more.

I met a friend of CDR Cooper's who is friends with the Ogre. He mentioned drinking with him and I said "I have and it damn near killed me!". But, better than that.... now I know secrets. Sshhhh!

I got to say hi to CAPT Kelley and meet his wife. Hey, Phib, I talked to him about guys are going to love him as a guest.

It's always fun to see my fellow Townie, CDR Gillen, USN (ret), 59th in command and I found out something new about him...he was a Mustang! You know how I love the Mustangs!

I always enjoy talking to the Sailors, the guys that have been aboard a while, the new girl from Ohio; the Sailors headed off to school or new billets; the ones who have just arrived from "A" school. All so proud of the ship and their service. I love hearing what Boston looks like through their eyes. Now I have to go visit Stanza and smoke a cigar...the young Sailor who likes it there encouraged me to start out with an "Illusion88". She said it was mild and a good for a beginner. She's headed for Great Lakes and mentioned it was a short train ride to Chicago.....look out Matt!

Another aspect that I get to enjoy at functions such as tonight's is the spouses. You know many times, what someone achieves in the Navy is due to the love and support of their family....particularly spouses. The spouses of Old Ironsides Sailors are no less proud of the ship, the crew in general and their Sailor in particular......than the I am...and that's a lot of pride.

I got to congratulate LCDR Brawley on his interview earlier in the day on WRKO. I teased that I had to call in and rescue him, but you know that wasn't the case at all. He was handling all the questions very well. I just called in to make sure he got a friendly call. Paul is one of my essential connections for finding out what is going on with the Navy in Boston. He's very good to me....when he isn't threatening to have me flogged. He's from Somerville....I'm a Townie....but we make it work.

So, now, what are the two ways to shut me up?

One, tell me that you read me. It's a total conversation stopper, cause it's just too ridiculous! Anyway, I am really glad I didn't just walk away red-faced, because it was a very interesting conversation.

Two, do something nice for me when I am not ready. CDR Cooper and his crew couldn't be nicer to me....or so I thought. But tonight, he caught me off guard and "coined" me. He.....was thanking me.

Where else can you be doing something you absolutely love....and have someone come up and thank you for it and tell you they appreciate you? I just blows me away. I didn't let go of it all night. It's right beside me as I type.

So, what's the best part, you ask? The best part's not over! Tomorrow I will be on Boston's City Hall Plaza at 0900! If you have the chance join me. #NavyWeek continues!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

9:00 a.m.
Flag Raising Ceremony at City Hall Plaza
Rear Adm. Mark Boensel, Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic leads the Pledge of Allegiance.

9:30 a.m.
Boston July 4th parade
Featuring Sailors from USS Hawes (FFG 53) and USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41).

9:45 a.m.
Sailors of the Year from USS Hawes (FFG 53), USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) &
USS Constitution lead Pledge of Allegiance from balcony of Old State House.

10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
(Free Public Tours)
USS Hawes (FFG 53) Pier 4 Charlestown Navy Yard
USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) North Jetty, South Boston Industrial Park

10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Navy Chevy Suburban display
City Hall Plaza

11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
USS Constitution turnaround cruise with 21-gun salute off Castle Island (Noon),
South Boston, 19-gun salute at U.S. Coast Guard Base (12:30 p.m. approximately)

2:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
(Free Public Tours)
USS Constitution, Charlestown Navy Yard

2:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
USS Constitution Sailors perform boarding pike and gun drills demonstrating how America’s Navy protected its ships from enemy boarding parties.
Location: Charleston Navy Yard

4:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
USS Constitution Sailors perform boarding pike and gun drills demonstrating how America’s Navy protected its ships from enemy boarding parties.
Location: Charleston Navy Yard

8:00 p.m.
Color guards from USS Constitution and USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) present colors at Hatch Shell during Boston Pops concert and fireworks.

Presents On The Drive Home From The Sunset Parade!

Thanks Hank Morse of WTKK!

Last night on the drive home from the Sunset Parade, I was listening to Hank Morse on WTKK. He was sitting in for Michele McPhee. The topic people were calling about was "What are you doing to celebrate the 4th?"

I got on the Expressway as some guy was explaining White Horse Beach, which I have heard is a raucously good time. Then I lost the signal as I passed under South Station. When I came out, I dialed in with my suggestion.

Can you guess?

Come on, try.

Something to do with.......NAVY WEEK! LOL

When it was my turn Hank very graciously let me prattle on about Boston's Navy Week events (there are still plenty left, check them out!) and the Sunset Parade that I had just attended.

Hank asked how I knew all this and I explained that I was the Goddess of the Naval Blogging Strike Force (GODNAVBLOGSTRIFOR). He even gave the blog a plug.

But then, the best part was.......

"Ok, Maggie, I'm going to set a six Sailor limit for you tomorrow, then four on Sunday, two on Monday and back to work on Tuesday."

A dozen Sailors???? For me???? Thanks Hank!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Sunset Parade

I have not been keeping up with #NavyWeek events.
But here is a bulletin.....6:45 pm tonight head on over to the Charlestown Navy Yard for the Sunset Parade with the crew of USS Constitution.
This was my view, I was sitting directly behind the Liberty Belles.
But you know what stirred my heart!
The Boston Police Gaelic Column. They performed a fabulous "Amazing Grace" and brought all the Sailors to their feet with "Anchors Aweigh"
Afterwards, I met one of my commenters "Iwo Jima SeaBee". I also got to chat with LCDR Brawley, public affairs officer extraodinaire!
LCDR Brawley will be on Avi Nelson's radio program tomorrow between 2 and 3 pm on WRKO...listen in. I bet he mentions #NavyWeek!

USS Constitution Sailor FN Quintero

USS Constitution Sailor FN Quintero is featured in a Boston Globe video.

It's Navy Week here in Boston....get down to the Charlestown Navy Yard and get your own tour!! As a bonus, the USS Hawes FFG-53 is berthed next door at Pier 4....and USS Whidbey Island LSD-41 is over in Southie.