Tuesday, June 30, 2015
With the right to gay marriage in the bank the next frontier is polygamy. It only makes sense. Recognized major world religions have forms of polygamy. A reasonable argument for having more than one wife can be found in Islam and Mormonism.
But the larger argument is that if marriage is not just one man and one woman, joining in a partnership for the purpose of forming a family and child rearing, then who decides what it is? The likely answer is that the participants do.
Groups of various sizes and genders/proclivities are going to challenge the court system and will win. Why not? They say they want to be left alone to live their lives as they see fit.
This is exactly what I want, also. Don't infringe my rights, especially the clearly enumerated rights like the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, the right to be secure in my person and my papers, and the others that the Founders enshrined in clear words, and I won't infringe yours. It's like a social contract.
And good luck sorting out communal property when y'all decide to get divorced. It's messy enough with two people.
The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.
Monday, June 29, 2015
Friday, June 26, 2015
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Walmart, Amazon, Sears, eBay are all pledging to stop selling the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. Their first mistake is calling it the Confederate Flag, but lets not quibble.
They want to stop selling the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia because of it's history, the people that were oppressed under it, the memories and feelings it still evokes, right?
Well, here's an eBay search for Nazi flag. That's not so good. How about Nazi Swastika? Even worse. Doesn't eBay know that the history of Nazis was the history of killing millions of Jews, homosexuals, mentally handicapped, gypsies, etc.? Not to mention the millions killed in the war the Nazis started?
Let's pull all that stuff. Make it impossible to even search for it.
Let's try the Pacific. How about the flag of Imperial Japan? But what about the Rape of Nanking? The treatment of POWs? The Bataan Death March?
Let's pull all that stuff. Make it impossible to even search for it.
What about the flag of North VietNam? North Korea? The old Soviet Union? Millions of people killed, many millions of them the citizens of the countries who killed them.
And since we have come this far, what about the flag of the United States? A country that had legal slavery for 80 years. A country that slaughtered the native inhabitants of the land they stole under the idea that it was "manifest destiny" that they take the continent from coast to coast. A country that went to war within it's own borders and killed hundreds of thousands of it's own citizens just to prevent them from quitting that which they had freely joined. A country that spent 50,000 of it's citizens lives and killed several million more of the enemy over a decade to try to force a third world country to accept a government they didn't want.
But no, let's just ban the selling of anything that includes an image of the flag of one army fielded by a country that failed to successfully rebel and so only existed for 4 years. If we can do that, we'll pick the next thing tomorrow.
Maybe all the Confederate monuments that stand on the lawns of courthouses across the south.
Then we can purge the libraries.
Apple has announced that they are pulling all the games that have the Battle Flag of Northern Virginia in them. That's correct. Want to play Ultimate General: Gettysburg? Tough. It's gone. Swept away down the memory hole. A tiny digital representation of a historical battle flag makes it unacceptable.
But the dollar bills with the picture of a slave owner on them?
Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.
It's hard to miss. It in the middle of the city that was named for the same guy.
But let's just take down the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia and pretend that fixes history.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
I used to put my glove over the handlebars and ride across town to my ballgames. A few times my parents came to see me play, but it was nothing to eat an early supper and take off. There would be a row of bikes behind the backstop, so I wasn't the only one. Often, the only adults were the coaches and the umpire. When the game ended, we rode home in the dusk. No lights, no helmets, no adults.
When we visited my grandparents, my grandfather would tire of me underfoot and he would hand me a single shot .22 and a peanut butter jar full of ammo and shoo me out the door. I shot a bird in a tree once. Just once. I learned a lot about life and death and responsibility. I went back to shooting old cans and pine cones and never again shot anything I didn't plan to eat. I didn't need a lecture.
We swam in a creek, built a big dam to make it deeper, worked on that dam off and on for a couple of summers. I would come home so muddy and wet I had to strip off my clothes on the porch before I was allowed inside.
We climbed trees. I used to climb this one pine tree high enough to see out across a small valley. I would take a knapsack with a canteen and a book and climb up high enough the tree would sway in the breeze and read in the lazy hot summer afternoon.
We built fires, carried pocketknives, played war with BB guns, threw snowballs, and came home when we were expected to, usually for supper, but sometimes by dark.
I joined the Cub Scouts, which wasn't much, and then the Boy Scouts, which was camping every month and some real skills like cooking, hiking, canoeing, and pioneering. I still remember my friends from the Troop.
I was free in ways that kids today cannot imagine.
I was free in ways that I am not today.
- Greece looks like it will finally leave the Euro. This may participate a financial crisis as Greek government bonds are repudiated; almost all of these bonds are held by European banks.
- The Middle East is even more messed up than normal, with ISIS fighting pretty much everyone, Iran going nuclear, and Saudi Arabia likely already in possession of one or more nuclear weapons. Non-Proliferation has collapsed, and in the most unstable part of the globe.
- Vladimir Putin is threatening Ukraine, Poland, and the Baltic states. The "Reset" has been shown to be a joke.
- China has achieved something not seen for 70 years - the re-armament of Japan in response to aggressive Chinese moves in the South China Sea.
- The economy is stalling out (again, if indeed it has ever recovered from the Great Recession). Record numbers of Americans simply do not work.
Some people don't like a flag. And Bruce Jenner says that he's a woman.
A cynic would say that the frivolity is nothing but the Media trying to protect the Obama Administration from the results of their terrible policy choices. In which case, of what use is the Media? The truly terrifying alternative is that this merely reflects the decadence of this age of the Republic.
But all is well, Citizen. The Circuses are entertaining, and the Bread is free. And the Chocolate Ration has been increased from 3 ounces to 2.5 ounces ...
Sunday, June 21, 2015
In the meantime, I found this website a few years ago. It's called Trail Journals. It's a site for people to post their trail diary entries for families and friends to follow. There are journals from hikers on many different trails, the Appalachian, the Pacific Crest, the Long Trail, and more.
Every year I pick a hiker on the Appalachian, deliberately reading the opening entries in a number of journals, and I follow one of them. I look for someone with the ability to write, to tell their story, and for someone who looks like they are in it for the long haul. This year I am following a hiker with the trail name Dirt Time.
He's past the Delaware Water Gap and into New Jersey. He is 1300 miles into a hike that he started on the last day of February. I'm rooting for him to make it to Maine.
Saturday, June 20, 2015
Look at it the other way. If the guy in the red jacket had a gun and was trying to shoot everyone in the room, how far would he get against committed defenders with pocket knives? Fists? Knees and elbows?
Thursday, June 18, 2015
How many of you remember that the rifle the hero uses is an M-1 Garand? That's right, the venerable semi-automatic, gas operated, air cooled, clip fed 30.06 is what Roy Schneider finally uses to dispatch the shark
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
The CCC built two full summer camps at Cheraw, including the cabins, dining halls, meeting halls, trails, roads, and waterfronts. They also built the dam that created the lake, the bridges, and the access road to the park.
Here's a link to a detailed history of the building of the parks.
Forty years later, Suenaka Sensei started bringing his students to Cheraw State Park for an annual Aikido summer camp. The buildings are 80 years old. They are in need of major renovations. The facilities are rustic. The camp has the feeling that time has passed it by.
I love it there.
Thursday, June 11, 2015
It's been a long run, but two weeks before my seventh blogiversary I'm hanging it up. I actually don't expect this will be a big surprise for most of you - I havent been posting much lately and it certainly hasn't been high quality.
Quite frankly, it's been a chore. The Muse doesn't hang out at Camp Borepatch anymore, and that makes it work. There's been too much turmoil in my life over the last few years, and that's taken it's toll. I don't have the mental energy to post anymore.
And so it's time to sign off.
I've made some very close friends from this, and that means more than I can say. I'll still be around, but just not posting much. Unless the Muse comes back.
Thanks to everyone who comes here regularly. You've left almost 40,000 comments here (!!!!!) which is nothing short of mind blowing. I feel a bit like I'm letting you down, but I'm just out of gas.
So it's time to get back on the motorcycle and put some miles under the tires. Screw it - let's ride.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
But this is no ordinary church. It's St. Clement's Danes, the central church of the Royal Air Force.
The church's history goes way, way back into the dark ages. The "Danes" in the name refers to the Vikings who conquered England in the tenth and eleventh centuries. The church is so old that it was repaired by William the Conqueror. The Great Fire of 1666 burned the church, giving Wren the opportunity to build the current structure, which stood until the Blitz. The Luftwaffe pretty well flattened it.
After the War, the RAF led a fund raiser to restore the church, which was restored to much the same as in Wren's day. With some embellishments:
The lighting sconces have the arms of various RAF commands (here is the one for Strike Command). The floors have 800 badges for the commands, groups, squadrons, and other units.
As you'd expect, there are small memorials all around the church to the men and units who served and often died in the air. It was quite a pleasant, unexpected surprise to wander into.
Monday, June 8, 2015
World War I British tank in a very unusual mounting configuration (driving over a trench):
If you're in London, this is a great, free museum. It's walking distance from Waterloo Station.
Sunday, June 7, 2015
Saturday, June 6, 2015
I went to the Imperial War Museum. It seemed an appropriate day to do it, and judging from the crowds i wasn't the only one who thought that.
On the tube there was an elderly gent in black suit and bowler hat who sported a fistful of medals on his chest. He looked a decade or two young to be at D-Day, but there was action aplenty during the later days of the British Empire.
Friday, June 5, 2015
Really. The home button is right next to toe space bar and the Blogger app doesn't autosave when you go to the home page.
Boarding soon and no time to reconstruct the global warming post. If you're interested in how the latest report is bollox, go here.
It's 1700. The long afternoon was over. The guys working nights had been dropped off. The sun was no longer directly overhead and the breeze off the bay was picking up. Liberty call, time to hit the ville.
The bus that brought nights down took us back up the mountain to the barracks. Long, oversized, Quonset huts with windows added the full length of the sides. No interior walls, no air conditioning. It wasn't too bad, the trees gave some shade and the breeze blew through the buildings at night.
Dump the uniform, grab your kit and hit the shower. The showers were outside, a framework of valves and metal pipes drilled with series of holes, designed for a squad of Marines to shower simultaneously, no walls, no roof. A couple minutes and you were back getting dressed.
"Who's headed to town? Now? Going to chow first? No? Let's catch the next jeepney, we'll eat in town."
Six or seven guys ready and waiting when the next base jeepney rolls up. Pile in and head down the mountain. Another stop at the BOQ and three of our officers cram in with us. Now we are headed for the gate. The rest of the way down out of Cubi Pt. and along the water headed into the main part of Subic Bay and then out to the parking lot at the gate. We won't be spending any time with the officers, they will go to their haunts and we to ours, but sharing a jeepney is commonplace enough.
We're all dressed in shorts, flip-flops(station ditos) and t-shirts, mostly. Clean, relatively neat. Except the Major.
The Major is dressed to kill. A dirty, really dirty like he'd been wrestling in the dust, white t-shirt with a big Superman logo on it and a tear on one shoulder. Red, white and blue striped bermuda shorts, pulled up a little too high and cinched with a web belt. Knee socks. Ankle high tennis shoes. And to top off the ensemble, a rainbow colored umbrella hat.
Impressive, really. A statement. Of something.
We pile out of the jeepney and walk along the cattle chutes to the gate. One by one we show our military I.D. to the Marine at the gate and then pass on toward the bridge. The guard stops the Major and says, "You're not going out in town dressed like that, Marine."
We all stop and turn to watch. The Major reaches in his pocket and fishes out his I.D. He holds it up at eye level in front of the Marine and waits. There is a subtle change in the guard's posture, not that he was slouching before, but a small adjustment toward the position of attention.
He draws up a crisp salute and says, "Have a nice night, Sir."
Out over the bridge we went.
Thursday, June 4, 2015
Launches are a ballet of activity. Tuggers pulling the turbine generators from plane to plane. The turbines are loud, the F4s are louder still. It was a four bird launch, so that's two turbine/air generators and eight engines turning, with people moving around the planes.
It also meant that eight airplanes weren't launching. Those planes were sitting and available for maintenance. One of those planes had a gripe and the subject of our story had been dispatched to check on it. Rather than walk down the middle of the flightline where things were busy, he decided to walk behind the planes, walking behind the turkey feathers on planes that were not running and ducking under the engines on the ones that were
He missed one. The F4 Phantom he stepped behind was running. He walked into the jet exhaust about a foot and a half behind the turkey feathers. Worse, he did so at the precise moment that the pilot increased thrust to begin taxiing. An F-4 at military power generates almost 11,000 pounds of thrust. I don't know (do any of you?) how much thrust a pilot had to give it to get rolling and start taxiing.
I do know what it did.
I was sitting in the shade of Maintenance Control on the steps with the AMO, watching the launches. I was likely thinking of liberty, but anyway I didn't see him step into the jet blast. The first indication I had was hearing the AMO yell, "Jesus Christ!".
I looked up and saw him in the air. We were running by the time he stopped tumbling. He was 45 or 50 feet away from where he stepped into the blast. He flew part of it, which was good. Then he landed, bounced and skidded, which not good.
He looked a lot like someone who had taken a spill on a motorcycle. His skivvy shirt and utility trousers were shredded. He had patches of skin missing from head to foot. He was just starting to really bleed and go into shock when the ambulance arrived. He got a ride, an overnight stay, and returned the next day.
He recovered, he was young, and lucky, and in a few days he had big scabs and a story to tell. Beware of jet blast indeed. Especially 18 inches behind the engines.
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
I hear that the Imperial War Museum is free admission. I should be downtown London by 0900 or so British Summer Time.
Leave a comment if you're in the neighborhood.
Just the thing to start an evening after working the flightline in the tropical sun all day. The rest of the place, there's no explaining it. Ask a sailor or Marine about Olongapo and if they were there, you'll get a wry smile. It wasn't right and it wasn't moral, but there it was. There were lots of young ladies, and a system to make sure there were lots of young ladies, available in Olongapo.
Some of it was business and some of it was love. A lot of guys jumped through a lot of hoops to bring home a girl they met in the P.I. and marry her. That was love. The business part of it was a bar fine that you paid to the bar. After that, you had essentially rented her companionship for the time frame, be it an evening or a month. Then it was up to you to provide food, shelter, and entertainment. All of which could be easy done on the pay of a PFC.
It was between the two of you as to what sorts of things you did together. Ya' know, like going dancing or going on base to go to the beach at Grande Island...or whatever.
Things that would have got you written up anywhere else in the world now only had one punishment. The 1st Shirt would take your ID. He had a stack of blue cards and he would get your name typed right on one, for a day or three days, or a week. It worked as ID, got you in the chowhall, the PX and anything else on base. It just would not get you past the Marines at the gate in front of the bridge that took you over the Olongapo River.
And now the stage is set for our tale. For the hero of our story, a young Marine, had fallen in love. Met the girl of his dreams. Her charms were like no other girl, in Olongapo, or indeed, the whole wide world. And he, like so many, stayed up too late too many times and one morning awoke to find the sun high in the sky and the far away morning muster long past. A base taxi deposited him at the barracks where he threw on a uniform and raced down the hill to the flightline.
A smiling 1st Sgt. gave him his blue card and set his punishment to one week. Which would not do, no, would not do at all. A love like this would not be denied. And so he did what love demanded. He went upriver on the base, far from the bridge and the Marines at the gate, and into the jungle. There he whistled across the river to a young boy with a boat and paid him a Piso or two to ferry him across. A neat solution and no one the wiser as long as he stayed far from the bars where the NCOs might see him.
And this worked for 3 or 4 days, long enough for all of us to know, and to shake our heads in wonder, beginning to lay odds on how long this would go on. Because getting off the base was only half the problem. You needed that ID to get back on the base as well. Each morning, early, as the sky started to get light, he would leave the girl and go down to the river, pay the ferryman, and return to the base in time to make muster.
Until that morning when there were no boats. He paced and waited, I suppose, as the sky got brighter. Finally in a panic he swam across the river. When he scrambled up the bank on the other side he was stopped by a Filipino security guard armed with a pump shotgun. The real reason, most likely, that there were no boats that day.
They took him up the hill in the back of a pickup truck, as he smelled much like the river, and took him straight to sick bay. He was given a brush and a disinfectant and put at an outside shower to take the first pass, and the second pass, at scrubbing himself. Everything he was wearing was put in a dumpster. Then, a series of antibiotics, a whole new series of inoculations, and irrigation of all his orifices, eyes, ears, mouth, nose, urethra, etc. to remove the river's gifts.
Much subdued, he was returned to the Squadron after a few days. As further punishment, he was restricted to the base for the rest of the deployment. To the best of my knowledge, he and the young lady never spoke again.
A lot of Marines went over that bridge and every one of us has stories to tell, but he was the only American I ever heard of that swam the Olongopo River.