Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year, and all that.

The passing of the old into a new begins tonight, just like it always does… around midnight.

I have glad rags in the closet with ultra shiny corfam shoes (Just like the big boys in the Service wear!) and a funny looking fluffy shirt that goes with my tux. In fact, I have two tuxedo suits but one of them has shrunk in the closet. I blame the regimen of hoppy barley pops for my clothing shrinkage, really.

Many people feel exhilaration and excitement when celebrating the New Year. I feel more of acceleration towards an ominous end. I'm a glass half empty sort of guy, (sorry!) it's just how it goes. In fact, I don't really feel anything about this day other than having to remember to write 2014 on my checks instead of say, 2012.

One thing I have been catching up on this past month has been reading. First, I read the latest Jack London Bio written by a Professor Earle Labor. Very appropriate author name considering London's strong socialist lean, in those days.

I received this great biography as a birthday present. I could not put this one down and I enjoyed every page. Earle Labor clearly knows his subject from many years of study and friendship with surviving London relatives.

Next, I re-read a Heinlein classic, "Door into Summer". The story is about a jilted man and his cat as they travel through time. The first time I read this great story was while living in Coronado in a small house with a siamese kitty named DC. The story reminded me of how much I still miss the DC Cat.

DC feared nothing. This is her in 1995 meeting our Akita, Kuma.

On a roll with book reading, I went to the local used book shop and grabbed up a pile to keep me going. The next (and current) book is James Hornfischer's tome on the campaign for Guadalcanal in 1942, "Neptunes Inferno". 

Usually, the story of Guadalcanal is mostly told from the standpoint of the Marine Corps and the tough struggle to beat down the Japanese defenses of that bit of island. The real story of the Campaign is much larger than one island in the Solomon's and the fighting that took place in the waters off of those islands was quite bloody, indeed. Three Sailors lost their lives to every Infantry Marine killed on Guadalcanal. I am still in the middle of the 514 pages. James Hornfischer does not disappoint, his deep research and care about the subject matter really shows us all the pain and sacrifice that we all should remember even today. Another book related to Neptune's Inferno would be the classic Hornfischer story, "Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors".

Next up will be a science fiction novel by Philip K. Dick, I don't remember the title but I'm sure it will be a fun read.

My Christmas present this year is the second edition of the newest Mark Twain Autobiography, published (as required by the Clemons Will) a century after Samuel Clemons' passing. It's a large book so I will read it in the next couple of weeks.

Tonight's Wine Dinner is at the Club, dressed in our finest, we will dine like Romans. I doubt I will be able to stay up for the Midnight celebrations, we will probably be ensconced on the Barco, snug like cats in our bunks.

I hope all of you out there have the best New Year. Good luck and better health for you all!

Friday, December 20, 2013

A nothing to note week.

Sorry for hiding out, again. Have been lying low and out of sight for the most part, not really participating with society. I cannot seem to connect with the outside world and would rather hang out with the kittehs and read old books. I have been looking at boat pron, especially sailboats.

The last thing I need is a sailboat. Maybe I should take the Barco out tomorrow and anchor somewhere, hmm?

Winter Solstice is upon us and afterwards Christmas. The traditional Christmas Peking Duck is cooling it's heels in the fridge. Xmas Eve we soak the duck in a ginger soy bath and then hang it for half a day to dry, just like the Fa-Ra-Rah-Ra, Ruh-Ra-Ra Chop Suey restaurants do. (Oh, dooo click on the link!)

The weekend is supposed to be warm with a high of eighties, but we'll take anything warmer than fifty… Beats what the north is enjoying today! Most of the holiday shopping is completed and maybe a few cards need to go out, especially to overseas recipients. Unfortunately for us, our card list serving the 'over there' is growing shorter every year. I hope we can get back out to Europe sooner than later before everyone has transitioned to something/somewhere else. Not that I'm eager to actually socialize anywhere, perhaps it's some manifestation of withdrawal guilt I am feeling.

Or not.

Please everyone; Go buy some onesie pajamas (with footies), find a metrosexual hipster and dress him up and give him hot chocolate. The President has spoken…

Protected Species. Like a Persontee (PC speak for MANatee) or Bald Eagle.

At the very least there would be a "talk" about President Obama if that plaid dude was in my house!

Have a Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Central Scrutinizer

Hello Sports-fans and other interested hep-cats!

It's time for the friday wrap up for the week. Nothing really notable going on at the Serenghetti Spa and Veldt Lounge, just keepin' on and faking it like we always do.

The Central Scrutinizer. I steal this character from Frank Zappa's 1979 album, "Joe's Garage". The Central Scrutinizer is a narrator of the story of Joe, a guy who wants to play music but gets wrapped up in a life of drugs, sex and "sleazery". The narrator is a moralizing hypocrite who seems to get his jollies out of watching Joe get dealt with in shocking ways which suits the narrator just fine.

Reminds me of our Gubmint.

Anyway, I have been shopping at the Commissary this past few weeks and there is a new experience going on. Oh, it's still the normal overcrowded hassle but there is a new twist: When you pay for your groceries the expectation is that the clerk will ask to see your military I.D. to ensure that you are eligible to use the facilities.

That's all good. Used to be that you showed an I.D. to get in the door, which slowed down things to a crawl when entering the store. And showing I.D. at checkout speeds up the process, for those of us who shop alone. (And allows three generations of people to shop while Granny shows her I.D.  and pays for the food for her daughter and granddaughter's families. "We gotta use Grandpa's benefit, cuz he served".) Sorry for digressing. The point I am making is that now the clerk holds your I.D. and scans it into the machine… Hmmm. Why would the Government be interested in my name and info at the Commissary?

The Government now knows exactly my buying habits, whether it's healthy food or not. Or whether I just purchased enough turkeys or hams to stock my restaurant which I own outside. (Btw, that does happen. I have watched certain people buy large quantities of meats which I know are for an extended family or commercial operation.) I do not care for this newest intrusion in my privacy. After all, the Internal Revenue Service has been used as a sledge hammer on law abiding citizens who dare to speak out about government abuses, in violation of First Amendment Constitutional rights.

What could go wrong?

Imagine some Central Scrutinizer scrutinizing on you. (As they eagerly eyeball the various unguents/salves and over the counter remedies you consume!) Will they think I'm weird for buying Cosmo and Marie Claire? Or is it just the zucchini and astro-glide…?

The takeaway quote at 1:58 of the video is… "The Constitution is being modified in order to accommodate… the future."


Big weekend of baking is upon us. The Spousal Unit has mass quantities of butter, margarine and flour with the obligatory sugar to make us all happy this Christmas season. We will stay home tonight in preparation of the big mix tomorrow.

But then the Gubmint already knows this by way of my I.D. card and this blog…

Have a safe and warm weekend, everybody!

P.S. (Radio announcer voice) "This is a message for our friends and neighbors in the occupied lands; The Chair is by the wall; The Grinch Who Stole Christmas is showing tonight at eight o'clock…TBS".

Friday, December 6, 2013

End of the week, again!

Preparations for getting underway will be performed today and we are going back to the dreaded Six Mile Creek by tomorrow afternoon. (Load up with beer, wine, snacks and anything else…)

Not really dreaded. This is an opportunity to visit the Crab Shack on Pearl Harbor day while enjoying all the natural beauty of the St Johns River while boating is an excuse in itself! Besides, the temperatures are in the low eighties(!) by early afternoon, so why not get underway and live the Florida lifestyle properly?

Living well is still the best revenge. Your unHumble writer thinks most Pearl Harbor veterans might perhaps agree, for the most part. I wish we knew of any living close by and would love to invite them for the trip up river. For that matter, I would be happy to take any of you readers on the planned journey, too.

The breaks of Naval Air...

"Ah, that's the 'Breaks of Naval Air'",  as most would observe to me back in the day.  The 'Breaks of Naval Air' comment would usually be intoned to me in a pseudo-apologetic manner when I was being directed to do something unpleasant, like wiping loose grease from a wet landing gear well during a wash job. Or taking fuel samples from underneath a Sea King helicopter while onboard a rolly-poly Oiler in the very North Pacific.

"Make sure there is no grease left… No water in the fuel sample!"


Nothing else to report, otherwise. We are enjoying fabulous weather while the northern part of our nation languishes in a winter-wonderland. This is why I will not live north of I-10.

Have a great weekend. Anyone who stops by the Crab Shack on Six Mile Creek will be encouraged to enjoy some cheap wine and beer onboard Barco Sin Vela II!

A nice memory of boating on the St Johns River.

Buzzards Cove, Palatka FL.

This is a scene of what may happen at the house while we are out:

Mao and Jellicle Cat napping during winter in Fort Lauderdale

P.S. Sailing Vessel, "My Mojo", mentioned the other day… Safely anchored at Lake Worth after two days underway, West Palm Beach. (Having fun, no doubt!)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Carrying on

Spent Monday afternoon assisting some friends on their departure from NAS Jax to some not so distant islands. Like anything we ever plan to do, there were annoying delays that popped up and kept the boat tied to the marina docks. For fifteen days… Finally, everything came together yesterday evening and they motored out into the evening chill on to their big family adventure. They got as far as the Jacksonville Landing! Today they will actually get to the ocean and head south. 

Good luck and fair winds to the crew of Mojo!

I wish I were going, too.

Have a nice Tuesday!

There was a phone call at ten, this morning. Mojo wanted to know if I could come by and pick one of the crew up and go to the storage locker to pick up some line. No problem, I was there in 20 minutes and off to the storage place. After getting a proper length of line we boltered back to the Landing and they were able to continue on.

It's always something! Glad to have been there to help.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Set the normal watch!

Back to the regular routine. We have watch batteries to acquire, toilet feed pipes to unleak and general maintenance to continue.

The four day weekend was an endless food fest in which we snacked pretty much every hour. The fridge is still packed with leftovers that we will need to deal with very sternly. Funny enough, we did not gain any extra tonnage over our already chubby selves! Another thing, I have never noticed so many football games on tv at literally each minute of the day. Is this symptomatic of the Roman Bread and Circuses thing?

This week I will plow through the minor repairs and keep as cheery as can be during a season of crowded stores, surly customers and falling temperatures. Harrumph!

Have a fruitful week!

Barco Out.

Happier times

There were eight people on a 27 foot sailboat carrying on! Winter 1993, NAS Jax Marina.