When my friend Ben had to sell his house and move into assisted living, he sold some of his stuff to me, which included, among other things, a case of MRE entrees and a few full meal MREs. These have been great for camping and for Rocketboy to keep as an emergency lunch in his locker (no cafeteria at his school). But as time passed, I wondered just how long do MREs keep? There’s no expiration date on them.
This code is usually stamped on the MRE box and pouch. The location of the code can vary. The first digit represents the year, and the last three digits represent the day. So, for example, the code 7304 would mean it was manufactured on the 304th day of 2007. Sometimes other letters representing batch numbers will be appended to the date code (i.e. 7304C).
You can see on the example… that code 1172 would mean that it was manufactured in 2011 on June 20th (the 172 day of the year).
The second MRE has a manufacture code of 1348. This would translate to Dec. 13, 2011.
The third MRE would have been manufactured on Nov. 1, 2011.
Since the official longevity of an MRE is no longer than 10 years, and the modified date code makes it impossible to determine the decade of manufacture, this calculator assumes that your MREs are not 10 years old or more.
That official longevity also assumes a decent storage temperature. Stored in a cool place, MREs should last that long. But as I discovered from the Defense Logistics Agency report on “Evaluation of Temperature Stressed MREs”, things get gross quick at higher temperatures.
For example, the applesauce:
or the cheese sauce:
so I wouldn’t recommend storing them in your garage or your attic. Mine, however, have been kept at room temperature or lower, and I would assume if it looks good and smells good (well, as good as an MRE can look or smell), it should be fine. DLA posted more comparison photos here. Looks like anything with fruit won’t keep very long.
I’ve been eating the entrees on occasion for lunch at work and at home. I’m the child of two parents who grew up during the Depression, so I hate to waste food, but at the same time, I looked at that Julian date and figured they have served their purpose of being emergency food. So far, the beef roast with vegetables has been the best in taste and appearance. The meatloaf with onion gravy looked great until that last lump of fat slid out of the pouch. Mr. RFH stated that he should have kept the chicken and salsa in the pouch because it didn’t look good, but it tasted fine. Sloppy Joe, grilled beef patty, and chili with macaroni have been fine. Mr. RFH said the spaghetti was really good. The only one I’ve tossed so far was an enchilada that was packed with no sauce and just didn’t look right. I figured if they forgot the sauce, they might have forgotten something else.
Amid outcry over revelations that Internal Revenue Service specialists specifically targeted conservative groups for scrutiny before the 2012 elections, President Barack Obama said Monday that the tax agency employees’ reported conduct was “outrageous” and “contrary to our traditions.”
I spose it is a matter of which traditions. Socialist-communist regimes have a long history of such things. Sounding Buck Turgidson-esque, the President goes on to say:
…he does not want to judge the findings of an Inspector General investigation “prematurely” but said that if the reports of political targeting are found to be correct, those responsible must be held “fully accountable.”
Like in Fast and Furious, and Benghazi, and with ACORN, and….? You get the idea. Marco Rubio has weighed in, and his commentary could be extended to a great deal of this Administration:
“[I]t is clear the IRS cannot operate with even a shred of the American people’s confidence under the current leadership,” Rubio wrote. “I strongly urge that you and President Obama demand the IRS Commissioner’s resignation, effectively immediately. No government agency that has behaved in such a manner can possibly instill any faith and respect from the American public.”
“Baghdad Bob” Carney gets into the act, too:
In a statement earlier Monday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president is “concerned” about the reported conduct of “a small number of Internal Revenue Service employees.”
Yeah? Like the ones at the top? Anyway, here is the President, expressing his outrage:
Oh yeah, I am still waiting for my Federal Income Tax refund.
Fuddruckers was a Sunday afternoon ritual, if you were lucky to have it off, when I was at Parris Island working recruit series twenty-odd years ago. Chocolate shakes, and incredible burgers with everything imaginable on them. And artery-clogging fries. Three years in Recruit Training Regiment meant lots of 100+ hour six- and seven-day work weeks with recruits on deck, which was always. A little air conditioning and good chow were a damned welcome break for a few hours.
I will make a last trip to Parris Island before I retire, but I was looking forward to sitting down at Fuddruckers and topping off my cholesterol. Rumor has it that the one in Alexandria VA is also closed.
Dammit, I feel old.
But that’s all shove be’ind me — long ago an’ fur away,
An interesting post over at Op-For by the redoubtable LtCol P commemorating the 150th anniversary of the famous Stonewall Jackson flank attack in the middle of the week-long battle.
While the Battle of Chancellorsville was a stunning Southern victory, and the end of General Joe Hooker’s time at the head of the Army of the Potomac, the battle was not all disaster for the Federals, nor did their soldiers fail to fight. Some fought extraordinarily well. The 240-odd Officers and men of the 115th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, fighting under Dan Sickles’ Third Corps, held the western wall of the Federal position just west of Wilderness Church, in and around Hazel Grove. The Regimental History for the 115th PA Vol. Inf. tells the story:
At daylight on the 3rd, the first line was attacked. After holding its position for an hour, it fell back on its supports. The Second line was then ordered to advance. With alacrity it sprang forward, driving the enemy, when Colonel Lancaster fell, pierced through the temple with a minie-ball, [sic] the command devolving on Major Dunne. Without faltering, the line pressed forward, recapturing the breastworks, taking four hundred prisoners and two stands of colors… The position was held against the desperate efforts to carry it…
The price, including the desperate fighting withdrawal on the 6th, was high.
The Regiment entered the battle with fourteen Officers and two-hundred thirty men; of these, Colonel Lancaster, and Captains John J. Donnelly and George Cromley were killed, and Captains Richard Dillon and Wm. A. Reilly, and Lieutenants William J. Ashe, James Malloy, and Evan Davis were wounded, the two latter mortally. Captain Dillon lost his left arm. Eight men were killed, seventy-three wounded, and twenty-two missing; an aggregate loss of one-hundred eleven.
One of those seventy-three wounded was Private C. A. Warner of D Co., who was struck in the chest by a Rebel musket ball.
Wounded at Chancellorsville, Va., May 3, 1863 (Pa. Archives); Tr. to Co. D, 110th Regiment, P.V., June 22, 1864
Surgeons could not remove it, so it remained in his chest for the remainder of his life, which was all too short. Just weeks before his son, my grandfather, was born in 1885, Christopher A. Warner died of complications from his wound. He was 43.
One of the most incredibly moving experiences I ever had was walking through the Chancellorsville Battlefield in 1986 while at the Basic School. Our 25-mile MCCRES hike was conducted there, and while 25 miles in 8 hours with a full march order is no leisure stroll, the venue was inspired. On our breaks, Park Rangers would conduct impromptu lecture on the course of the battle. I asked a Ranger at one point where the 115th PA Volunteers had fought, and he informed me that we were standing on the spot.
Knowing that I was within yards of where one of my ancestors had been wounded in the Civil War was both a thrill and a strongly compelling experience. Even after the nearly thirty years, I remember every detail of the spot, and of the few minutes spent in thought, before shouldering MY pack again and falling into the long column of men being trained for war. It is something I shall never forget.
[Update-XBrad]- Of course, for ALL your American Civil War blogging needs, be sure to check out Craig’s blog To The Sound Of The Guns. He’s devoted considerable space to Chancellorsville.
Where can you go for a shopping trip and get everything on this shopping list without leaving the building?
Loaf of oat bread
Oscillating lawn sprinkler
$150 bottle of rare wine
11/16ths combination wrench
Dress pattern for a prom gown
An apple-maple muffin
A box of .35 Whelen in 250 grain FMJ
Spread satin latex paint
A fill-up of premium gas
A post card of wintertime Norwich VT
The classic electric game “Operation”
Yep. Dan and Whits. The leading image in the post shows the building when it was Merrill’s Hardware, around 1890. The building to the immediate right is the Norwich Inn, which inspired the setting on which the 1980s sitcom Newhart was based.
So, if you ever find yourself in eastern Vermont, and there is something you really need, head to Norwich and stop in. You might find you need some deer urine, and remember suddenly that you have been meaning to pick up a crochet hook for the missus. You might even see Larry, Darryl, and Darryl. The real-life version, of which there are surprisingly many.
University of Michigan guard Nik Stauskas made a home video of himself shooting threes, in the rain, in his back yard in Canada. The 6-7 freshman averaged about eleven a game for the Blue last season. Note that the 3-point stripe is 19′ 9″ from the bucket, essentially a 20-foot jump shot. Five minutes, 76 shots. 70 makes, including 46 IN A ROW. Worth the five minutes.
My Sunday night pickup ball excursions are against guys mostly in their 30s and 40s, with the occasional 20-somethings, and a sprinkling of former college players. If I hit half of my threes in the course of the night, I am pretty happy with that. But 92%? In the rain? Damned remarkable.
The Chinese Government is officially merely “suspicious” about the possibility of transmission by human contact of what has so far proven a deadly new strain of flu, according to China’s own CDC and state-run news media. The H7N9 strain of flu has reportedly killed 17 of 87 persons infected, a mortality rate of 20%. (H1N1 in 2009, by comparison, had a mortality rate in the neighborhood of 1.7 persons per 10,000 cases, or 0.0017% using CDC estimates, while the great Spanish Flu of 1918 was mortal to just under 1.8% of those infected.) It is also likely many of the people infected in China have a lower baseline health than Americans, and in the remote villages especially, lack of access to immediate and effective care, clean water, and antiviral medications, which leads to an artificially high initial mortality. Just the same, the news got decidedly worse today, despite the optimistic tone of the previous few days.
“Further investigations are still under way to figure out whether the family cluster involved human-to-human transmission,” Feng Zijian, of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told the newspaper.
Glenn Thomas, a spokesperson for WHO, tells U.S. News that “it’s still too early to say” whether there have been human-to-human transmission, but that the team they’ve sent there will be investigating the possibility.
“There’s no evidence yet of sustained human-to-human transmission, but the team will be looking into this,” he says.
What is not reassuring at all about the situation is memories of China’s massive cover-up of the SARS epidemic in 2002-3, during which Chinese officials denied the very existence of SARS, and of outbreak clusters for months. Chinese officials also transferred infected patients, and sometimes entire hospital populations, to keep them from World Health Organization physicians. Chinese government officials prevaricated, misled, and stonewalled, until the evidence could no longer be hidden.
Despite the embarrassment of the SARS incident, including the deadly results (most of which remained in China and virtually unreported in the world press), and the promise for more transparency, once again on this occasion the Chinese government waited close to a month to report the outbreak in Shanghai, and only on 29 March confirmed the virus as H7N9.
There are rumors of positive tests for H7N9 in asymptomatic people, suggesting a long incubation period during which a victim may be a contagious “carrier”, and there is now reports of confirmed cases among people who have not had any contact with birds or fowl. Reassurances by Chinese health officials ring increasingly hollow, as their pattern of reporting and non-reporting take on familiar and delusory tones.
I don’t know for sure, but I suspect strongly that human-to-human transmission has been all but confirmed in China for quite some time, perhaps weeks. Now, there are cases reported in Nanjing and Beijing, in addition to those around Shanghai. In the age of rapid and easy global travel, containing a deadly pathogen is all but impossible. Having to rely on Chinese transparency and honesty to have a head start is not at all good.
Comedic genius and Marine Veteran Jonathan Winters has passed away at 87. Steve Martin called him one of the “great greats”, and so he was. A master of improv, and THE master of innuendo, Winters’ physical and intellectual comedy never failed to bring laughter.
Winters served in the Marine Corps during World War II, and was a regular on the Tonight Show, with Jack Paar and Johnny Carson, Dean Martin, and a host of others. He was in a million things, but my favorite of all time was as Pike, the driver of the furniture van, in Stanley Kramer’s 1963 comedy epic It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. ”D’ya know how many loads of furniture I’d have to take from Modesto to Yuma to earn that kind of money?” I’ve seen the movie close to forty times, and he makes me laugh, still, even when I know the lines are coming. To this day, when I have been trying to figure something out and it finally comes to me, I will say “That’s it! Sure! The Big W!!!”
Semper Fidelis, Marine. And thanks for the laughs.
I maintain that a great deal of the “music” of today’s youth is really crappy. Single-chord, over and over, with angst-filled lyrics sung by filthy rich twenty-somethings in a tone so whiny that they make Bob Dylan sound like the Righteous Brothers. Lyrics like “I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care…” You get the idea. Rap music seems to be usually obscene lyrics yelled to music that sounds like one sneaker going around in the dryer.
That said, I was in the gym today, and for some unexplained reason, the Dartmouth gym plays overhead music from a 70s rock station. And on comes “Free Bird”. And it occurred to me that our parents said the very same about OUR music. “That isn’t music! It’s just NOISE!” And I must admit, with the screeching strains of Lynyrd Skynyrd raining down from the speakers, Mom and Dad often had a point. Some of it was really was God-awful. ”Free Bird” was followed by “Le Freak”. Yep. They had a point.
One has to wonder how long this has been playing out. Did the Ragtime generation tell their kids that Artie Shaw was “noise”?
I was out this evening, washing the old girl, when a couple drove by in a black 2012 Corvette. The car slowed down, and I see Doctor Combover and Tammi Botox both snap their heads around to see my ’64 LeSabre in the driveway sparkling in the setting sun. It was clear instantly what they were both thinking, it was written all over their faces. ”Boy! I wish I had one of THOSE!”
It is understandable, because the LeSabre has a ton of features theirs doesn’t. Lap belts. Drum brakes, front and back. A trunk you could rent out to a college fraternity. Bench seats, front AND back. No pesky side mirror on the passenger side door. Or headrests to get in the way. A dimmer switch on the floor. A 4-barrel Rochester carburetor. Spark plugs. Voltage regulator. 2″ white sidewalls. A locking gas cap. Gigantic bake-lite steering wheel. A Delco AM Sonomatic radio. And sex appeal. Lots and lots of sex appeal.
See, there are hundreds and hundreds of 2012 Corvettes registered in Vermont, quite a number in this immediate area. Jaguars, too. Mercedes Benz? Dime a dozen. But, to my knowledge and that of a number of people in the know, mine is the ONLY 1964 Buick LeSabre on the road in the entire State of Vermont!
Don’t despair, I am sure your Corvette is nice enough, and I do hope you enjoy it. But it isn’t a ’64 LeSabre. It just isn’t. But please don’t be envious. Be happy with what you have. Even if you never know the joy of setting ignition timing or installing a water pump.
Those of us in this somewhat focused community of MilBlog writers and readers are often asked by people who haven’t any exposure to MilBlogs, “Why do you do it? You put in a lot of time and work. What’s the point?”
It’s a fair question. Thinking of ideas, and putting together a cogent discussion starter, or historical summary, takes more time than people think. Knowing that, and being somewhat of an analysis geek (which may turn out to be a very good thing soon), I have my list of half a dozen daily reads, at least. This’n here. Salamander’s Front Porch. Ray’s Information Dissemination. OP-FOR, The Castle, and a number of other places make the list, blended with traditional news sources domestic and foreign, plus policy and analysis outfits.
Why? Well, my gracious host here gives me an outlet for expression. Like anyone with a fair-sized ego, I believe just a little bit that everyone is entitled to my opinion. But there is also the great opportunity for feedback. To hear from a mostly very educated crowd, their opinions and takes on events and occurrences domestically and in foreign affairs. But it extends into culture, literary works, certainly history, and other aspects that spark discussion.
But one of the most valuable reasons to read and write in the Military Blogosphere is to hear from people who are truly experts in their fields, who possess great wisdom, are extensively experienced, and are considered and well-spoken people. I do miss terribly reading the thoughts and musings of Lex, which was a morning staple and often provided several day-long trains of thought. And this is true of not just Bloggers, but commenters. Byron, the ugly old shipfitter, could wax authoritative about steel, and aluminum, and hull flex, and do it in a way that, perhaps over beer, I am sure I could listen intently to for hours. Grandpa Bluewater’s urbane sophistication and eloquent dissertation always is worth the consideration, whether one agrees or not. And there are others who add insight and humor, and are enjoyable to read.
The bridge of a CVN is a unique environment that brings together two communities that normally opt to keep their distances from one another – SWOs and Aviators. That the three senior officers that regularly spend time up there (CO, XO and Navigator) are also aviators can at times, exacerbate that standoffish environment. This clash of cultures evolves from one group that is brought up in a dynamic environment and is used to rapidly changing events, making intuitive decisions and being cognizant that their butt and that of the x-number of NFOs or aircrew with them will suffer the consequences of those decisions. SWOs that typically (and note I said *typically* – there are always exceptions) come to the carrier do not come from the CRUDES environment, but from amphibs and auxiliaries and tend to be methodical if somewhat conservative and deliberative in their decision-making and watchstanding. At least that was my experience as a CVN nav. My challenge was working across that divide – to show the aviators (from watchstanders up to the XO who would go on to his first deep draft after this tour) on the one hand, how a series of events can unfold where little things not readily apparent to the eyeball can bite you (case history of the Eisenhower hitting the Spanish freighter at anchor in Hampton Roads being one of my teaching points). The flip side of that was getting the SWOs to be more anticipatory (e.g., looking to the next 2x cycles for managing sea space for downwind repositioning) as well as coming to grips with the immediacy of fixed wing operations at sea.
I know of no other vehicle by which an audience can learn, and share the insights of men and women with such experience. It is the gaining of understanding, at the end of the day, that makes all this effort worthwhile. Brad’s rules here do not include “write only what I agree with” or “water it down so it couldn’t possibly offend”. He trusts us to understand and abide by propriety, and we seem to, as do the commenters, on the whole. And that is appreciated.
So in the end, despite the trolls, and my own alarming tendency to follow links and wind up pissing away two hours looking at cool stuff, reading and writing is worth the effort. Even if the pay isn’t great.
Okay, so I’m gullible. Not to the point of looking up “gullible” in the dictionary to see if my picture is there, but enough that when I was a wee lass, my dad convinced me on one April 1st that the telephone company was going to clean out the lines. Yes, I held the phone over the garbage can at 4:00 so the dust wouldn’t go all over the place. He had me convinced that it would help because our lines were staticky. Duh.
The one I fell for today was at work. There is a services group that runs the gift shop, the vending machines, and the gym. They usually send out notices for gift shop sales, group buys of Honey Baked Ham at Easter, turkey at Thanksgiving, and nuts at Christmas, so it’s not uncommon to get an email from them every week or two. Today they sent out a notice for a new dating service called “Every Couple Has Its Moment”, with full geek explanation of coupling forces and moments of inertia for non-nerds, set up like eHarmony but with questions like:
Do you consider “repairing it” a victory and “replacing it” a failure?” (Yes.)
Did you name your pet after a scientist? (I know co-workers who have. Calling a cat Schrodinger is funny, I don’t care who you are.)
Does all your stationery have grid lines? (Yes.)
Have you ever assumed a “horse” is a “sphere” to make the math easier? (Seriously, in one college class, I did assume a spherical chicken.)
Yeah, I fell for it. Apparently someone at work did not find it as clever as I did, because there was soon a followup email apologizing for the joke. I then clicked the link for the dating service, which said, “April Fool’s!”
So what’s the best April Fool’s joke you’ve fallen for or pulled on someone?
Dad would have been 88 today. He passed away in 2008, having lived an astonishing life that he naturally didn’t see as such. Nor, should one have had the honor of meeting him, would one have guessed at all Dad had accomplished or the disadvantages he overcame to do so.
Born of first-generation immigrant parents into an extremely modest situation, he lost his mother from complications from the birth of his youngest brother when he was ten, leaving him with five siblings and a father struggling to feed them in the grip of the Great Depression. Dad was very untypical in that he never, ever let on about the true extent of the extreme poverty and difficulty of his upbringing. It is only as an adult, and through piecing together stories of my uncles and aunts, and a handful of people who’d grown up with Dad, that I came to understand just how dreadful his childhood had been. (There was an old gentleman who lived near the high school I attended, whom Dad directed that we give utmost respect to and do anything he or his wife might ask. I found out later that Mr. Gorman was the bread delivery man, and had ensured Dad’s family got a loaf of day-old bread every day whether they could pay or not. At my dad’s funeral, I related the story, and Uncle Frank informed me that the bread Mr. Gorman delivered kept them from starving more than a few times.)
Like so many of his generation, Dad quit school at 14 to work to earn money to help feed his brothers and sisters. He became a qualified mechanic by age 16, and found steady employment at a local service station. When war came, Dad enlisted in the US Navy on his 17th birthday, March 21st, 1942. He would serve aboard a landing craft, LCT-172, in the South Pacific in Admiral Barbey’s 7th Amphibious Force, in New Guinea, New Britain, and the Admiralties. He was a MM2 at age 20 when the war ended, training for landings on Kyushu.
Dad met Mom and they were married in 1952, producing an older sister, two older brothers, saving the best for last with the youngest. He was a strict but loving father, a natural at it, despite having no example of his own to draw from. He and Mom instilled the values of honesty, hard work, and an appreciation of the value of education in us that has made their kids all happy and successful adults. (Despite the more than occasional indicators that made him ask “What am I raising for kids, idiots?”)
Dad went on to work as a pattern maker and machinist (I found his Machinists’ Union card when we were cleaning out the house), but my Mom encouraged him to go back to school. So, working a full time job AND while raising a young family, Dad went back to night school and obtained his High School Diploma, and amazingly, a Mechanical Engineering degree. An indifferent student in his youth, he was by all accounts an excellent one in his second go-around. Indeed, his innate understanding of mathematics and his passion for mechanical engineering problems helped me and my brother countless times, and remain some of the most amazing discussions I can recall.
Despite a serious heart attack in 1967, Dad went on to a long and productive working career. He invented a machine to shred old tires, a design that is still in use. He adapted that design to the machines in your grocery store that accept and shred plastic bottles, an invention that made his company millions. He retired in 1995, and as he aged, the usual health problems began to take their toll. He lost his wife of 49 years in 2002. (Their last anniversary together was September 12th, 2001, which makes me hate the jihadis even more. )
Dad never talked in detail about his experiences in the war, not until I came back from Iraq. Then, I think, he needed to. The places he’d been, and the things he saw in his almost 3 years in the Pacific are enough to make any combat veteran swallow hard. I didn’t know until later in my Mother’s life that Dad had nightmares every night for 60 years from the war. When she passed, one of the things I most worried about was him awakening alone from those nightmares, with nobody to tell him things were okay.
When Dad’s time came in June of 2008, cancer had ravaged him in a shockingly brief time. But he had already faced death many times. He had been given absolution FOUR TIMES, which has to be some sort of record. An appendicitis in the Pacific in 1944 which almost killed him, his 1967 heart attack, a cardiac arrest on the last day of 2004 (CPR works, folks), and again, on his final day.
Dad was a survivor, and a role model for me whose example still shines. I find myself having problems when I fail to follow the words his voice speaks in my head, and I find success when I heed them. Funny, that. I told him often that I am not sure I ever could have done the things he did, and I meant it. We were so incredibly fortunate to have the parents we did, and that includes a Father whom a man nearing fifty can still look at and apply the word “hero”.
Thanks, Dad. And Happy Birthday. You and Mom enjoy it up there, okay?
In a previous post, I mentioned that my son gets extra credit in U.S. History class for watching a movie about their current subject and writing a report about it. For 4th quarter, it’s World War II. Needless to say, there are plenty of WW2 movies. Shall I dig out the John Wayne movies on VHS? Twelve O’Clock High or Tora! Tora! Tora! off Netflix? Rocketboy chose Downfall to practice his German at the same time.
Downfall, of course, is the source of numerous parodies on Youtube.
It took me a bit to change mind-gears, away from the jokes and onto the seriousness of war, a charismatic but deteriorating leader, and the followers who either accept the end and try to survive or can’t fathom any other way of life and check themselves out. I did not know until I saw this movie that Goebbels and his wife killed their six children. (How do you get an actor to look that evil?) I think Rocketboy learned a lot, considering the number of real people portrayed in the movie. Peter, the young soldier, represents all of the Hitler Youth but is modeled after Alfred Czech. Czech received the Iron Cross from Hitler in the last newsreel film before the end. There may have been other inconsistencies but nothing glaring for me.
After all the suicides and shootings, we cheered ourselves up with Blue Collar Comedy Whirled Tour.
Not bad for a Wednesday during spring break. How was your day?
She is beautiful, no doubt. Lovely curves, sweet voice, exotic-looking but in a classical sense. Eye-catching, really. So much so that people were surprised I was with her. But it is over. I ended it today. And I don’t feel as bad as I thought I would. It was a lot of fun while it lasted, but really should have been a May to September romance. She loves the sunshine, and looks fabulous in it. But she doesn’t do well in the cold and she hates the snow. And she is needy. With her it is always something, and I always wind up spending more than I know I should. Not that she wasn’t well cared-for, because she was. And she was beautiful to be with, a hell of a ride. But I had to know she would be there for me, when I most needed her. And that, she never seemed to be.
So it’s over.
I went out today and met a nice American with girl-next-door beauty that felt wonderful in my hands. She has an impeccable reputation for loyalty and for being there when the chips are down. And if she is anything like others in her family that I knew, she doesn’t mind the snow one bit. I am not her first, but she isn’t mine either. So I said yes. We are seeing each other again on Monday, and it’s pretty serious.
So I will trade in the 2002 BMW 325i for the 2007 Buick Lucerne, and not look back. I will be in a Buick sedan, like I have been for 20+ years, present flirtation notwithstanding. And that, it seems, is where I should be.
One of the great things about being able to write for this or any other blog is the ability to ask questions with the purpose of drawing out opinions and generating discussion amongst knowledgeable readers.
The question I pose today is the following:
In your opinion, what was the most beautiful warship ever built?
Defining “beauty” in an instrument of war may seem a contradiction, but to the denizens here and elsewhere who are either Naval enthusiasts or have been to sea on a warship, there is an instinctive reaction to the sight of a graceful and well-balanced vessel that exudes power and strength.
Beauty, also being in the eye of the beholder, still has some qualifiers on this first offering:
The ship (for this round, at least) must be a capital ship, a fleet carrier, battleship, battle cruiser, armored cruiser, guided missile cruiser, or heavy cruiser.
The ship must be primarily steam-powered and of steel/iron construction.
Note that neither design success nor combat record is a part of any consideration. This is not about the most effective fighting vessel, but rather the most aesthetically pleasing.
My offerings below are not at all exhaustive, and I encourage any additional input for which class or one-off ship strikes your sense of beauty. That said, one can likely easily spot some of my biases in my selections. The “clipper” or “Atlantic” bow. Funnel caps. I could think of no pre-Dreadnoughts that were beautiful ships. Amphibs, either. I offer only a single aircraft carrier class, as well. I heavily favored guns, but not exclusively. And there are a few selections that either precede or follow major rebuilds which make the vessels all but unrecognizable from their original design. Which is good in one case, bad in another.
And I selected no French battleships. They tend to be ugly affairs, with tumble-home sides and oddly-spaced machinery and funnels. Even the Dunkerques and Richeleius, while significant improvements, suffer from the truncated appearance that plagued Nelson and Rodney, which are also not on my list.
Without further ado, grouped by country, below are my considerations for the most beautiful warships ever built. Select from them, if you like, or offer your own choices.
Helgoland-class Second Generation Dreadnoughts
Hipper-class Heavy Cruisers**
Queen Elizabeth-class Super Dreadnoughts (As built)
Mikuma-class Heavy Cruisers
Maya-class Heavy Cruisers
Andrea Doria-class Battleships (post-rebuild)
Vittorio Veneto-class Battleships
Zara-class Heavy Cruisers
The United States
Lexington-class Fleet Aircraft Carriers
South Dakota-class Battleships
Des Moines-class Heavy Cruisers
California-class Nuclear Guided Missile Cruisers
Duquesne-class Heavy Cruisers
Suffern-class Heavy Cruisers
Project-68 (Sverdlov)-class Heavy Cruisers
So there you are, some suggestions for the most beautiful warships ever built. Fire away, either with the ones I provided, or offer your own ideas.
(Next round will be Light Cruisers and Destroyers.)
** Both Gneisenaus and cruiser Hipper were completed with straight stem and no funnel cap. The addition of the “clipper bow” and capped funnel was not considered a significant rebuild in either class/unit.
UPDATE and BUMPED: Now with a poll added. I’ll have to teach URR how to make one before the next round. Vote!
As a civil servant, I am conscious of the “servant” part. I cringe when people talk about goof-off, make-work, what-the-hell-are-we-paying-THEM-for government workers. They are there, I’m not arguing about that. I am fortunate to have a job that (in my opinion) does provide some benefit to America. I can point to satellites that last longer, cost savings through some of the tests that I have done, things that worked properly because I made damn sure my part of it was made or processed correctly, data for a go/no-go launch decision, etc.
I think my bosses prepared pretty well for the sequestration. There were a lot of cuts in the last year, small programs that were easy to cancel, cutting back on janitorial services, getting rid of the nice-to-haves. Because of that, I’m not worried about being furloughed. Maybe there’s more cuts in the future, and I’ll deal with it when the time comes. I could point out some things I’d like to see cut that would surely save some $$$$, but they probably won’t ask me. In the meantime, I’ll worry about Mr. RFH and my Army friends getting furloughed and try to help out where I can.
So when I followed the link from Ace of Spades to a story at Hotair, I should have taken a blood pressure pill first.
While President Barack Obama has spent weeks warning of the dark consequences of across-the-board budget cuts, there’s one area of government where his staff has failed to calculate their impact: the White House itself.
Obama administration spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Thursday that “detailed decisions” have yet to be made about how the administration would meet a projected $24 million reduction to the executive office budget, which may include furloughs of presidential aides and other employees.
A leader leads by example. Here, Obama makes ONE cut on the most visible part of the White House to the public and sends volunteers home. That’s it?!? Make it hurt, then walk away? He’s supposed to be a public servant, but it seems like the cuts are for everyone else, especially the least paid. He’ll still get his golf games, his beach vacations, his Wagyu beef, while soldiers in Afghanistan get MREs instead of a hot breakfast and the garbage can in my office is strictly for show. I’m not asking him to go in sackcloth and ashes, but fer cryin’ out loud, make SOME kind of personal effort, man!
Furthermore, the cuts that took place at my work were mostly invisible to the public. Obama has been threatening cuts to police, firemen, and teachers, whatever will be the most visible and have the most effect. When the payroll tax holiday expired in January of this year, everyone working took a 2% paycut. You and I adjusted to that, made our cuts in our household budgets, tried to make things stretch a little further. You can’t tell me there’s not plenty of fat to cut in the federal budget. Again, I could point out some things that I’d like to see cut, but they aren’t asking me.
ORPO1 shot me a message warning that an F-21 was down. I immediately said the infantry prayer:
Alas, it was true. Carroll “Lex” LeFon, Captain, US Navy, Retired, had been killed providing adversary services to his beloved TOPGUN at Naval Air Station Fallon. The next morning, I wrote this post.
The loss of any man is a tragedy to someone. His family and friends, of course. And God knows, Lex’s family has felt pain and loss.
But Carroll LeFon had started a little blog a while back. Just a few sea stories, and tales of the naval service. And that little blog grew. More and more sea stories, to be sure. And occasionally, a glimpse into his life. We followed as he was promoted from Commander to Captain, as his son graduated from college, was commissioned in the Navy, and earned his own Wings of Gold.
We followed Lex into retirement, and from thence into the cube farm. We watched him yearn to fly again, and seek solace by signing up with a local flying club, relearning the art of light planes, after a career in heavy metal.
Eventually, the opportunity arose to fly the F-21 Kfir to support the Navy, via a private contractor. Oh, the joy we shared with him! A pretty plane, an important mission, and few aviators better suited to it.
And we were with him every step of the way, loyal readers of his blog. Most of us visited Neptunus Lex daily before even checking our email, and checked in again at days end, in case something interesting had been posted. And unlike virtually every other blog out there, the comment section could be spirited, and yet still civil.
In the days after his death, hundreds of blogs and websites made note of his passing. I’d run out of pixels trying to list them all. Suffice to say, the Secretary of the Navy does not note the passing of most retired Captains.
The insight into the Navy, Naval Aviation, and America’s warriors that Lex gave so many Americans was a service that the Navy’s PR shop has tried, at great expense, to do, and yet never done as well as a simple blogger. His service to his Navy and nation in blogging was great.
I feel an emptiness every day with him gone. He’s still at the top of my bookmarks. And I know that I wrote better after reading him. His writing, when he first started blogging, was good. But as time went on, it became better and better. After a few years, his prose, his pacing, his vocabulary, and his singular ability to draw a complete mental picture for the reader were unsurpassed anywhere on the internet. Only a man of great compassion and empathy could write that well.
I’ve several “favorite” Lex posts. Some funny, others tragic.Almost all insightful.
I should have posted this sooner, but I received a nice coffee mug with the blog logo on it, too, from XBrad for Christmas. I got the travel mug for the morning drive. Why did it take me so long to post? I don’t have a cat for scale, so I was waiting for a good hair day.
Also pictured – my redneck wine glass from my Hostage Secret Santa and fellow BTHBTS lady, Aggie. A Vulcan salute oven mitt rounds out my quirky Christmas quite nicely. There was a chunk of feldspar that unfortunately was cropped out of the photo. (Dimple or feldspar, which would you pick?)
I know this is not really a place for sports posts, but there is sad news from Baltimore. Legendary Orioles manager Earl Weaver has died at 82. For those of us who grew up in the late 60s and 70s watching and playing baseball (on the East Coast anyway), Earl Weaver was synonymous with “manager”.
Even as a Red Sox fan, I had to admire Earl and his chess-match style of managing. He seemed to care more about winning and losing than his team did. And he didn’t coddle his players. Baltimore would come north from Spring Training at times with only eight pitchers, because of the early season days off. He expected pitchers to be in shape to throw nine innings every time out. And they did. Jim Palmer, Mike Cuellar, Mike Flanagan, Dennis Martinez, and a bunch of others had their greatest success in Baltimore on Weaver teams. His position roster was pretty good, too. Brooks Robinson, Eddie Murray, Al Bumbry, Cal Ripken. Not too shabby a line-up. No wonder his management philosophy was “pitching, defense, and the three-run homer”.
A good-field, no-hit infielder who never played higher than mid-minor leagues, the 5 foot 7 inch Weaver bled baseball. Fiery and demanding, he naturally had a love-hate relationship with his players. He once told the Sun that he was removing Jim Palmer from the rotation, after he’d “given him more chances than my ex-wife”.
Here is Weaver’s epic argument with umpire Bill Haller, who had been wearing a microphone for a documentary about umpiring. (Warning: As you might expect, NOT SAFE FOR WORK OR KIDS)
Earl Weaver led the Baltimore Orioles to the 1970 World Series Championship, defeating Sparky Anderson’s Cincinnati Reds. He was right about his argument with Haller. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1996.
We shall not see the likes of him in a Major League dugout again.
I can cook. I just can’t cook very well. I mean, it’s certainly edible, as long as we’re talking about making pork chops, or grilling a chicken breast. My primary concerns when cooking are ease of prep, speed, and ease of cleanup. I mean, I’m usually just cooking for one. And as a smoker, my taste buds went AWOL years ago. And my cookbook may not be the best.
And then there is Army chow. I’ve written several times about MREs and T-rats and other elements of the Army’s Field Feeding System. Most of the emphasis on the research being these field rations has been on food preservation technologies. But there’s also a surprising amount of research on the nutritional side of the equation as well, extending back to the days of the Revolution, and ongoing even today.
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