Monday, March 29, 2010

The English

British army forum. Some parts rated NFC (Not For Civilians).

University of London OTC circa 1990 .........

RA officer: “What language are you talking to each other?"

OP Crew: "Russian, Sir."

RA Officer: "This stick is called the translator, and after I have hit you with it I will understand every word you say."

I've been to this meeting

I think we need to hit the ground running, keep our eye on the ball, and make sure that we are singing off the same song-sheet. At the end of the day it is not a level playing field and the goalposts may move; if they do, someone may have to pick it up and run with it. We therefore must have a golf bag of options hot-to-trot from the word "go". It is your train set but we cannot afford to leave it on the back burner; we've got a lot of irons in the fire right now.

We will need to un-stick a few potential poo traps but it all depends on the flash-to-bang time and fudge factor allowed. Things may end up slipping to the left and, if they do, we will need to run a tight ship. I don't want to reinvent the wheel but we must get right into the weeds on this one. If push comes to shove, we may have to up-stumps and then we'll be in a whole new ball game.

I suggest we test the water with a few warmers in the bank. If we can produce the goods then we are cooking with gas. If not, then we are in a world of hurt. I don't want to die in a ditch over it but we could easily end up in a flat spin if people start getting twitchy.

To that end, I want to get around the bazaars and make sure the movers and shakers are on-side from day one. If you can hit me with your shopping list I can take it to the head honchos and start the ball rolling. I know you're not the sharpest tool in the box and may be a few sandwiches short of a picnic, but together we'll be the best thing since sliced bread.

There is light at the end of the tunnel and I think we have backed a winner here. If it gets blown out of the water, however, I will be throwing a track. So get your feet into my in-tray and give me chapter and verse as to how you see things panning out. As long as our ducks are in a row I think the ball will stay in play and we can come up smelling of roses.

Before you bomb-burst and throw smoke it is imperative we nail our colours to the mast and look at the big picture. We've got to march to the beat of the drum. We are on a sticky wicket, we'll need to play with a straight bat and watch out for fastballs.

I've been on permanent send for long enough and I've had my ten pence worth. I don't want to rock the boat or teach anyone to suck eggs. We must keep this firmly in our sight picture and not under our hats or it will fall between the cracks. If the cap fits, wear it, but it may seem like pushing fog uphill with a sharp stick.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I go for the stupidity

Obama's advisors and the president really believe that if we make nice with murderers, they will see the error of their ways.

Is this a real emergency?

Apparently there are web sites one might access to determine if an injury is sufficiently serious to cause a 9-1-1 call. mentions this, and gives examples, to wit:

- ‘dislocation of the knee’, which may be identified by a crazy floating kneecap and possible freezing of the nerves.

- bleeding ‘that does not stop after 15 minutes of constant pressure’. AND

- any situation in which your leg has been ‘partially OR completely amputated’.

As well as a scenario for the utterly stupid:

“I mean, it is not that losing a limb is funny at all… It is just the thought that the lovely people behind this site believe they’re providing a service by catering to the kind of people who, faced with the fact that one of their own perambulators had been whacked wholly (or mostly) off, would google it before phoning an ambulance."


“Dude, that looks kind of hurty. Do you want me to call an ambulance?”

“Should we?! I mean, I don’t know, I don’t want to bother them if it’s not crucial.”

“Well, it’s lying on the floor.”

“Yeah, but it’s not ALL the way through, look, if I lift my thigh, I can dangle the lower half of the leg by at lest half a tendon and a couple of stringy veins.”


“I could probably just take an aspirin”

“You know - maybe best not, you’re already spraying blood all over the entire room from that exposed artery.”

“Good point. Well, I supposed if that counts as MAINLY amputated, I should probably phone an ambulance.”

“I guess. I’ve got 511 on speed dial if you’d rather know the nearest bus route?”

“No, best not, I think that….”
“I love the internet.”

(One of these days I'll figure out how to do a hyperlink.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Some questions, some answers

“Memo to the Republican party: whether you realize it or not, you've got exactly two elections to get it right with the majority of the American electorate. If your political platform does not center around the undoing the socialist, command-and-control federalism that Democrats insist on, one of two things will happen: you will be out-gunned by Democrat expansion of their socialist constituencies who get ‘something for nothing,’ or you will be abandoned for a third party by Americans who conclude that you are spineless, ineffective wimps who will stand by while our country is hijacked by socialist thugs.”

“If the media want to characterize you as the ‘Party of No,’ wear that label like a Red Badge of Courage. And by all means, start treating them like the shills for the Democrat party they truly are. Americans are as fed up with media corruption as they are with a Democrat party that treats them like mindless cattle.”

“While the odds on favorite is that the Republicans will do well in the fall elections, Americans who want constitutional government should not see Republican control as a solution to what our founders would have called ‘a long train of abuses and usurpations.’ Solutions to our nation's problems require correct diagnostics and answers to questions like: Why did 2008 presidential and congressional candidates spend over $5 billion campaigning for office? Why did special interests pay Washington lobbyists over $3 billion that same year? What are reasons why corporations, unions and other interest groups fork over these billions of dollars to lobbyists and into the campaign coffers of politicians?”

Saturday, March 20, 2010


All kinds of World War II stuff. Picture quality not all that great, but some weapons, aircraft, etc. I had not seen before.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The loser gives up stuff

Abandoned bases, northwest Russia.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Third World War

“Christianity, which a century ago was overwhelmingly the religion of Europe and the Americas, has undertaken a historic advance into Africa and Asia. In 1900, Africa had just 10 million Christians, representing around 10 percent of the continental population. By 2000, that figure had swollen to over 360 million, or 46 percent of the population. Over the course of the 20th century, millions of Africans transferred their allegiance from traditional primal faiths to one of the two great world religions, Christianity or Islam—but they demonstrated an overwhelming preference for the former. Around 40 percent of Africa’s population became Christian, compared to just 10 percent who chose Islam. As Muslims had earlier far outnumbered Christians, the result was to transform a massive Muslim majority into a reasonably equal confessional balance. Africa today is about 47 percent Christian, 45 percent Muslim, and some 8 percent followers of primal religions.”

The West won't count

“(T)he Christian response to Islam will increasingly be independent of the West because the West has dealt itself out of the game.”

A couple of years ago I read a piece saying that the new struggle against Islamism or Islam would be led by those living in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ten Rules

I first wrote this 20-something years ago, as a letter to Infantry Magazine, later as a column for Soldiers for the Truth. A few days ago I found the column at another former soldier’s web site. This is a revised version, updated a little

Ten Rules

By Bob Merriman

In squad-level training at Advanced Individual Training at Fort Polk, La., many years ago, a staff sergeant instructor said: "What we teach you here is not guaranteed to keep you alive. But, what we teach might keep you alive long enough for you to figure out what to do."

Addressed to slick-sleeve privates, the sergeant's words contain what every soldier knows: There are no guarantees.

Here are a few rules learned as an 11 Bravo rifleman, team leader, squad leader and platoon sergeant. (Remember, these are rules to follow, not laws of occurrence. A law of occurrence is: Your radio will fail when you need it most. A law of occurrence is: The artillery fire you need now is going somewhere else.)

1. Never ask for volunteers. Asking for volunteers is a waste of precious time. Soldiers will debate with and among themselves about whether to volunteer, and the moment for action will have passed.

2. Never volunteer. However, “I’ll do it” must be in every soldier’s mind. “I’ll do it” is not the same as raising a hand when a sergeant says, “I need a volunteer.” “I’ll do it” is part of the mind when a thing needs doing in order to survive.

3. Always conduct reconnaissance. Always, always, always. Even if you don't think reconnaissance is necessary, do it anyway. Especially if you don't think it is necessary.

4. Camouflage everything. That's everything. Dirt, rocks, trees if necessary -anything that might cause the enemy to spot your position.

5. Always know how many rounds are in your magazine. Few things are more frustrating than having a bolt unexpectedly lock back when you thought you knew how many rounds you had remaining.

6. Never miss an opportunity to eat or sleep. You don't know when the next chance will occur.

7. Sleep with your rifle. Before you go to sleep, touch your rifle. When you wake up in the morning or in the middle of the night, touch your rifle. Before you shake possible scorpions out of your boots, before you even think about that first cup of coffee, touch your rifle. It's there; you can see it, but touch it anyway.

8. Always carry spare batteries. In the increasingly technological, battery-driven Army, even a grunt needs batteries. And more batteries.

9. There is no such thing as overkill. If you have a valid target, fire on it, call for fire, and then call for more fire.

10. Pull the trigger. This is the most important thing an infantry soldier can do. You needn’t have a specific target. If bad guys are firing at you from that direction, fire there. Sometimes, your side of the perimeter or vehicle is not taking fire, but you need to shoot something. That’s okay, as long as firing won’t give away your position. Go ahead and pull the trigger, fire a burst. Just make sure no civilians are downrange.

Good NCOs know all these rules, and more. If you have a question, ask your sergeant. If your sergeant does not know, he or she will find the answer. If your sergeant fails to find out, the Army is paying the wrong person.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I know we're all stupid and don't know what's best, but ...

"No owner or operator of a restaurant in this state shall use salt in any form in the preparation of any food for consumption by customers of such restaurant, including food prepared to be consumed on the premises of such restaurant or off of such premises." From A 10129, introduced by NY Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, D-Brooklyn.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

What wind will do

BUFF lost stabilizer; pilot landed 6 hours later

Flying dogs with exploding shoes?

“And last week the stupidity made yet another lunge into the fabric of society with the news that government ministers were considering new laws that would force everyone to take a test before they were allowed to keep a dog.”

If I had the money...

... and a passport ...

Monino aircraft museum near Moscow.

Friday, March 5, 2010

It’s the government’s year, and you can’t have it

Just one of those things from the Olde Country, where games of international nature are scheduled for 2012.

London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006

1 (1) There shall be a right, to be known as the London Olympics association right, which shall confer exclusive rights in relation to the use of any representation (of any kind)...
For the purpose of considering whether a person has infringed the London Olympics association right a court may, in particular, take account of his use of a combination of expressions of a kind specified in sub-paragraph (2).
(2) The combinations referred to in sub-paragraph (1) are combinations of-
(a) any of the expressions in the first group, with
(b) any of the expressions in the second group or any of the other expressions in the first group.
(3) The following expressions form the first group for the purposes of sub-paragraph (2)-
(a) "games",
(b) "Two Thousand and Twelve",
(c) "2012", and
(d) "twenty twelve".
(1) A constable or enforcement officer may-
(a) enter land or premises on which they reasonably believe a contravention of regulations under section 19 is occurring (whether by reason of advertising on that land or premises or by the use of that land or premises to cause an advertisement to appear elsewhere);
(b) remove, destroy, conceal or erase any infringing article;
(c) when entering land under paragraph (a), be accompanied by one or more persons for the purpose of taking action under paragraph (b);
(d) use, or authorise the use of, reasonable force for the purpose of taking action under this subsection.....

Sooo ... no advertising may use 2012 or games or twenty-twelve, and law enforcement types may enter premises or land if seeing such and destroy the words, letters, etc.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Genetics and burned toast

I burned breakfast toast on Monday. My lack of concentration was the fault of my hunter-gatherer waybacks.

Here’s how it happened:

I put the oven on “Broil” and two pieces of (not real) buttered whole wheat bread on the top rack. (Cylla used to say my method of making toast got the oven messy, what with the crumbs dropping down and all. She makes toast by setting oven temperature at 350 and then putting bread on a cookie sheet and the sheet in the oven. I figure my method is quicker and uses less electricity, even after using the “Clean Oven” setting once a month … When I remember.)

I went to the laundry room to see if the washer still contained (not my) clothes. It did not. So, I put in soap and started the water running. Just about the time I would have begun adding clothes, I remembered: Toast.

Well, shucks, I said. I went back to the kitchen just as the first smoke began seeping from the oven door and just as the smoke alarm went off. “Weeeeeeeee” at a pitch high enough the dogs came to see what the man had done this time.

The toast was black. Like a tire black. After taking the burnt offering from the oven, I turned on the stove ventilator and then opened two windows. Air began coming in from the outside, so I upped the thermostat to get air blowing in the opposite direction. All this time, the smoke alarm continued “Weeeeeeeeee!”

I went back to the laundry room and put clothes in the washer and then returned to the kitchen and (not real) buttered two more pieces of bread and stood beside the stove and turned the toast at the proper time.

I mentioned all that to Cylla. She said, “I took my clothes out of the laundry last night.”

I said, “I didn’t know.”

She said, “I walked right past you. I guess you were ignoring me.”

“No,” I said, “I wasn’t ignoring you. I was probably watching TV, and my single-focus male mind did not hear or see anything else.”

“Uh-huh,” she said.

“Really,” I said. “A man has a single-focus mind. Leave cave, kill caribou. Or buffalo.”

The difference between men and women is not the Mars-Venus thing, but hunter vs. cave keeper. Buying vs. shopping.

Think about it. A group of men leaves the cave to shoot some food. The men go to a place where they’ve found food animals before. The group uses strategy and tactics and kills a food animal. The group does all the butchering and cutting up and takes the food back to the cave.

If women had been the primary hunters, we might not be here. Someone in the women’s group would have said, “We went to the north valley last time. Let’s see what’s in the south valley.” And the other women would have said, “Cool,” or something similar.
In the south valley, maybe the women spotted a food animal. But before the launching of the spears, one woman would have said, “That’s a food animal, but maybe we can find a bigger one farther on. Besides, that hide doesn’t go with the d├ęcor of the cave.” And the other women would say, “Cool.”

It’s single focus vs. multi-tasking. Man hunts. Woman keeps the cave clean, makes sure no little cave people fall in the fire, keeps the water skins full, sweeps out the place now and then, maybe picks some yellow flowers for certain niches in the rock.


Maybe I should buy a toaster.


Somebody said the superintendent’s house was on fire, so the five of us walked down the hill from school to watch it burn.

Larry, James, Jimmy and I were juniors that spring. Charley was the fifth member of our group. He was a sophomore, and we let him run around with us as long as he didn't do anything stupid.

The day was chilly. Larry, James, Jimmy and I had on coats; Charley wore a short-sleeved shirt. His family didn't have much. None of us did, but Charley's family had even less than the rest of us.

Charley's father was a pulp wood cutter. Charley's family lived back in the woods, the deep woods, down a dirt road somewhere.

Charley was a bright kid, quick and intelligent. Everybody has known a kid like Charley, known that somewhere behind those quick remarks and comic attitude was an ability to do more than he did. Charley could have made excellent grades, but he chose not to. Teachers wouldn't have known what to do with him if he had. Besides, in Charley's life there was reality, then everything else. And the reality was that Charley was the son of a pulp wood cutter. Barring some great miracle, he would always be the son of a pulp wood cutter.

The superintendent's house was really burning by the time we got to the bottom of the hill. The fire had burned through the roof. The five of us just stood around for a minute or so, watching the house burn. Then Charley said, "Maybe we can save some of their stuff," and before we could stop him, Charley opened a window and crawled inside the burning house.

Larry and I stood beside the window. Jimmy yelled, “Charley, get out of there!” Jimmy’s comment was more of a social order than a concern for Charley’s safety. Jimmy’s mother was a teacher, and if she was somewhere lower than the superintendent in societal pecking order, Charley wasn’t in the same town, let alone in the same neighborhood.

James didn’t say anything, nor did he join Larry and me at the window; he just hung back, waiting to see how things developed.

Charley appeared from the smoke and handed a coffee table through the window. He went back into the smoke. Pretty soon we had a pile of chairs, small tables and books stacked beside a pecan tree.

Charley had just started on a closet when the fireman arrived. The school was between two towns, each four miles away, and it took the volunteer fireman a little while to get there. Charley was handing out a pile of clothes when one of the firemen ran up to us yelling. "What do you boys think your doing? You're giving the fire more oxygen! Shut that window!" Grownups knew more than us kids, so we got Charley out of the house, shut the window and watched the fireman spray water on the house.

After the fire was out, we went inside the house. Everything was burned; nothing usable was left. We went back outside.

The basketball coach came up and said, "I hear you boys saved a lot of stuff from the house." One of us said, "Yes sir, but it was Charley's idea. He went inside. All we did was take what he handed out the window."

The coach turned to Charley, who stood there with his hands in his pockets. The day had turned colder. Charley was shivering. The coach said, "You look cold. Where's your coat?" Charley replied, "I don't have it with me." The coach just nodded. He said, "You did a good job. I think you've done enough for today. Why don't I drive you home." Charley said, "It's only one o'clock." The coach laughed. "I know. But I don't think the superintendent will mind."

No one at school ever said anything about what Charley did that day.

Larry, James, Jimmy and I graduated the next year. Larry went to work for a telephone company. In September, James and Jimmy went off to college. I joined the Army.

In August 1967 I met up with Larry at Camp Martin Cox in Bear Cat, base camp of the 9th Infantry Division. Larry had been drafted in 1966. We sat around in his hooch for a while, drank beer, talked about people back home.

After I got back home, I learned that James had graduated from college and had a job with NASA in Houston. I ran into Jimmy at a high school football game in 1970. He had put on a few pounds, didn't look like the all-district tackle from high school. Jimmy was married, had a kid, taught at a junior high. Jimmy said, “You were in Vietnam.” I wore my field jacket, with the CIB and Blackhorse patch. I said I was. Jimmy said, “Were doing the right thing in Vietnam. We’ve got to stop the Communists somewhere. But I've got a wife and kid, Bob. I can't become involved in a war thousands of miles from home." I left the stadium.

That takes care of everybody but Charley.

See, the thing is, Charley didn't have to go in that burning house. He could have been just like the rest of us, stayed outside and watched it burn. But Charley wasn't like that. Peoples' things would be lost if somebody didn't do something. And although Charley had absolutely nothing in common with the superintendent, he went inside the burning house. Charley knew what had to be done, what he had to do. “Maybe we can save some of their stuff.”

In 1965, Charley enlisted in the Army. He went to Vietnam and he died there.
In April 1988, I was in Dallas on Army business. I went to Fair Park. There's a monument there, lists the names of Texans who died in Vietnam. There were a few names I wanted to see; one in particular. I found him.

9 MARCH 1947-15 NOVEMBER 1965

I never knew Charley's middle name.