Kabuki theater… again…

Welp, the dems running the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold the AG in contempt yesterday for following the law!

I’ve been curious how far they would go, especially since not a single democrat is recorded as actually going to the SCIF and reviewing the less redacted Mueller report. Frankly I was amazed at the rhetoric I heard spouted yesterday, both against the AG and the president, along with the Chairman, Nadler saying there is now a constitutional crisis… Really? How about you’re throwing a hissy fit because you didn’t get your way?

The House Judiciary Committee voted on Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over special counsel Robert Mueller’s unredacted report — the most significant escalation yet in the ongoing oversight battle between Democrats and the Trump administration.

Full article, HERE.

Courtesy of Rev Paul, these words would be something that the dems should think about deeply…

Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
If there IS a constitutional crisis, it’s because the dems are doing their damnest to overturn, yet again, the 2016 election, and in the process destroy this country because they don’t want to actually obey the laws they were sworn to uphold…

Old people…

I’m passing this on, because I did not want to be the only old person receiving it.
Actually, it’s not a bad thing to be called, as you will see.
1.      Old People are easy to spot at sporting events; during the playing of the National Anthem.  Old People remove their caps and stand at attention and, sing without embarrassment.  They know the words, and believe in them.
2.      Old People remember World War II, Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, Normandy and Hitler.
3.      They remember the Atomic Age, the Korean War, The Cold War, the Jet Age and the Moon Landing.  They remember the 50 plus Peace-keeping Missions from 1945 to 2005, not to mention Vietnam.
4.      If you bump into an Old Person on the sidewalk, they will apologize.  If you pass an Old Person on the street, he will nod or tip his cap to a lady. Old People trust strangers and are courteous to women.
5.      Old People hold the door for the next person, and always, when walking, make certain the lady is on the inside for protection.
6.      Old People get embarrassed if someone curses in front of women and children, and they don’t like the filth or dirty language on TV or in movies today.
7.      Old People have moral courage, and personal integrity. They seldom brag, unless it’s about their children or grandchildren.
8.      It’s Old People who remove their hats, while eating in a restaurant in respect for the ladies and guests.
9.      It’s the Old People who know our great country is protected, not by politicians, but by the young men and women in the military serving their country.
10.  This country needs Old People, with their work ethic, sense of responsibility, pride in their country and decent values.
And old people carry revolvers with all the bluing worn off. They know how to use them, and aren’t afraid TO use them…
We need them now more than ever.

12 years…

I stuck my oar into the blogging world 12 years ago, never thinking I’d still be doing it today…

This was the first post I ever did.

I’m new to this whole arena, but thought I’d give it a try. I guess I fall in the “silent majority” as we have been deemed, I’ve never sought publicity, sued anyone for spilling my coffee, sure as hell ain’t a movie star; well, you get the drift…

I’m mid-50’s have a decent job, two decent kids trying hard to make their own way in the world today, and a lot of frustration with what is happening to the US of A. Being from the South, I hunt, fish, and shoot guns; so that immediately makes me one of those “rabid rednecks” to quote some out there. I did have a pickup, but it’s hard to park it where I work, so I drive a Pontiac… sure do miss the truck though… sigh…

As a retired military type, it really hurts to see the crap we are putting the folks in service through today. I lived through that in Vietnam, and I take the time to thank every Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine for their service when I get the chance. Most of the kids (I’m Southern so I can say that) are doing the best they can with what they have. They believe in the job they and others are doing in the Sandbox, and are pretty upset by the media coverage they get.

Anyway, I’m going to try this for a while and see what happens… thanks for reading and commenting…


Sadly, things really haven’t gotten all that much better over the years. No question we’ve seen ups and downs, but the hate and discontent today is scary.

Since I started, 4,350 posts, over 60,000 comments, over 6,000,000 views so far… Honestly I’m amazed that y’all have put up with my brain drippings that long! 😀

Thank you to my loyal readers, and thank you for your support and comments!


Random musings…

This weekend once again proved that our ‘tribe’ is a bit different… LOL

From education, or lack thereof, to water law, to irrigation, to cattle, to writing, to Germany and pictures of 13th century houses/hotels, to pay scales, to ‘values’ of paramedics and LEOs compared to trash contractors (who are usually better paid than either of the other groups), to cooking steaks, varieties of cast iron, to writing short stories on spec, or when requested, and on and on…

And those were just a FEW of the conversations I caught bits and pieces of, while another group was clustered between the kitchen and the den, and I know they were talking construction, old vs. new, and refurbishing a home into a B&B, cars, car repairs, plus who knows what else.

The other interesting thing is that we can agree to disagree and NOT get angry at others for different beliefs/ideas because we actually LISTEN to what others say. I don’t think I saw a single person on their cell phone other than taking or making a call the entire weekend! Of course most of us grew up without those ‘conveniences’, so that doesn’t really bother most of us. The young lady that came with her parents was included in the ‘adult’ conversations, and we came away thinking she is one SMART young lady, who can hold her own, and has a good head on her shoulders (credit her and her parents for that).

People drifted from group to group of conversations, munching on the food and, most importantly, cleaning up after themselves! THANK YOU THANK YOU…

I think we were all recharged by the weekend, or at least I will be when I get some sleep, and I think Peter enjoyed it, all things considered, so we’re calling it a win.

Now if will just stop raining long enough for me to get the @#$(%*# yard mowed… sigh…


We did a little party for Peter Grant (Bayou Renaissance Man) to celebrate his FINALLY becoming an American citizen after nine long years of slogging through the system!

There was food, there were drinks, and about 20 folks showed up from various places. As usual with the usual suspects, the conversations veered widely across the spectrum of military, government, writing, and many other topics as various people dropped in and out of the conversations…

And we gave him a little something to remember the day! 🙂

Thanks to those who came from out of town, and who helped put this together!



For want of a nail…

It’s an electronic one, but still…

A key tool in the U.S. Navy’s fight against Russian and Chinese submarines weighs eight pounds, is three feet long and it doesn’t even explode.

The sonobuoy is an expendable, waterborne sensor that has been air-dropped by the hundreds to detect enemy subs, a go-to capability for America and its allies for decades. The Pentagon wants to buy 204,000 sonobuoys in its fiscal 2020 budget request, a 50 percent spending increase over 2018.

While this might seem to be pretty trivial, it’s not! The joint company that currently makes sonobuoys is in deep trouble, and probably will not be able to deliver on the order.

Full article, HERE.

I can honestly say we’ve dropped millions of sonobuoys over the years, and they were and are the primary means to locate submarines. Without them, we’ll be pissing in the wind… This is yet another fallout of the military sequestration under Obama. They cut the orders back to minimums, which didn’t allow the companies to upgrade and keep top employees.


Grey Man snippet…

It’s been a while, so another snippet. The usual caveats apply.

Comments/recommendations appreciated, as always!

Instructing again

SAC Coleman led Bucky and the old man into the instructor’s lounge saying, “You can hang out here. We’ve got another hour before you’re on. There’s coffee, and there might be a Danish or two left. The bathroom is down the hall on the left.”

Coleman left and Bucky said, “I need to hit the bathroom. Be back in a minute,” as he followed him out. The old man made a bee line for the coffee, and poked through the remaining Danishes, What happened to the donuts? How hard is that… Crème cheese, crème cheese, dunno what the hell that one is…

He took the cup of coffee and wandered around the room, looking at the pictures and plaques on the wall, chuckling to himself at the pats on the back some of the plaques displayed. As he walked back to the coffee pot, he heard, “Hey, what are you doing in here? This area isn’t for visitors, it’s only for instructors.”

He turned and look at a youngish, dark haired, slightly pudgy man standing belligerently in the doorway. “Who said I wasn’t an instructor?”

“You’re wearing a visitor badge, that doesn’t allow access back here. You need to leave!”

The old man grinned. “You gonna make me, boy?” Noting a different badge hanging from the man’s jacket, he switched the coffee cup to his left hand and dropped his right hand to the hem of his jacket, as he bladed up on the man.

Something in the old man’s eyes stopped the young man, and he took off without another word as Bucky came strolling back in. “What the hell was that all about?”

The old man shrugged. “Beats the hell outta me. Some punk didn’t like me being in here with a visitor’s badge on. I invited him to throw me out.”

Bucky shook his head and laughed. “Dammit John, you’re getting grouchy in your old age.” Reaching for his belt, he pulled his badge off, and slipped it into the front pocket of his jacket, “The shit I gotta do to keep you out of trouble. You could have just shown him your badge.”

“Why spoil his fun? If he’d asked politely…”

Coleman came in shaking his head, “Fucking students. One just came up and said that there was an old man… Ah crap, Captain, what did you do?”

Bucky laughed as the old man said, “Didn’t like his asshole attitude, so I invited him to throw me out.”

Coleman burst out laughing. “Oh lovely. You bruised that poor baby agent’s ego and his sense of invulnerability. He’ll probably have to have a timeout in his safe space now.”

The old man shook his head. “Has it gotten that bad?”

“Damn near. We’re having to teach more touchy feely crap now than ever before. And we can no longer post grades. That’s demeaning to the lower scoring agents. Speaking of which, I talked to the baby agent’s instructor, and he’s going to have them sit in on your lecture to the NA class.”

“I ain’t going to sugarcoat things. And some of the pictures are pretty nasty. Maybe your babies don’t want to see it, but the cops on the streets need to.”

“Show it, they need a dose of reality.”


SAC Coleman finished introducing the old man. “Having said that, Captain Cronin has over forty years in the field as a deputy sheriff in South Texas, in addition to his tour with DEA. He graduated from National Academy twenty-eight years ago. He and Supervisor Grant will give the presentation as a tag team. Now for you agents in training, this is outside your normal curriculum, but we felt it was worth your time to get a brief from people on the front lines of the drug and human smuggling battle.”

Bucky ran through the recent operations the DEA had conducted, and gave an overview of the Laredo border crossing, noting that all of the southern border crossings used similar procedures. He turned to the old man. “And now for the meat, so to speak, I’ll turn it over to Captain Cronin. He’s old, he’s grumpy, and he personally has been responsible for twenty-two tons, yes tons of product taken off the street, and untold lives saved. John?”

The old man walked to the lectern, advanced the slide, and looked out over the auditorium. He nodded to Aaron, and was surprised to see Matt sitting next to him. How did, ah not going to bother. Guess the girls and kids are shopping. “Contrary to what you see in the media and in the reports, we’re pretty much losing the battle with the smugglers. We get one, two, maybe three of ten shipments. And it’s not just coke and marijuana, it’s now heroin, meth, and Fentanyl. They are creative, they are ruthless, and they will use any tactic at their disposal to get whatever they are smuggling across the border.” He advanced through a number of vehicle slides, showing the hidden compartments, and more slides with the cocaine, heroin, and Fentanyl hidden in various things, from furniture to watermelons.

“Now I want to talk about human trafficking. It’s not just Hispanics coming across the border, nor is it adults. It’s all nationalities. And some truly bad people, including terrorists.” He clicked the money slide. “Five thousand dollars is the basic fee charged per person. Now you might get a discount if you agree to be a mule and carry a twenty kilo pack of cocaine across when you come, but you might not. And if you die in route, too bad, so sad. Hundreds of bodies are found each year in the desert in the southwest. Many of them are female or young, including a week old baby.”

He advanced to the line of bodies after the incident at Monahans, and there were groans from the audience. “This was a seventy-five thousand dollar haul for the coyotes. The truck driver did not know what was in the trailer, it’s called no touch freight. It was a sealed trailer pickup in El Paso, with a drop at a yard in Oklahoma City. It was over one hundred degrees in the trailer, and the illegals had been stuffed in the trailer for at least two days. Seven of them died either in the trailer or at the hospital later, including another baby. And the FBI didn’t know a single thing about this group.”

He turned to the agents in training. “Y’all don’t really do a lot with human trafficking on this scale, or the day to day drug runners. You like to run two or three year investigations, then swoop in and arrest as many as you can.” He shrugged. “Granted it gets you good press, but it doesn’t endear you to the folks on the street.”

The same youngish man stood up. “But you’re supposed to cooperate with federal law enforcement. That’s the law!”

Laughter from the NA students gave him time to frame his answer, and he asked, “Where did you go to law school, son?”

“Harvard Law, if you must know. And I’m not your son!”

The old man grimaced. “Thankfully.” Which prompted a laugh from the NA students again. “Son, lemme give you a little real world advice. You may know the law inside and out, but if you go out on the street with that attitude, you’re never going to get cooperation from the locals on the ground. You try to tell a career officer what to do, he or she is going to ignore you. And the whole department will ostracize you and the local office. Don’t believe me?” He pointed to the NA students. “Ask any of them. Hell, ask any of them what their current level of cooperation with the FBI is.”

That prompted another round of laughter, and Bucky got up to stand beside him. “Any questions on smuggling or human trafficking? We’ve got ten minutes left.” After a few more questions, Coleman dismissed the group, and the old man said. “Sorry about that. But that little asshole needs to get an education before he hits the street. You’ve got enough problems out there today without people like him adding to it.”

Coleman grinned. “Hell, I thought it was great! Personally I doubt that he will survive the basic course. He’s got an attitude problem, not just with the other students, but also with some of the staff instructors that aren’t lawyers. You guys did a great job, and I’d appreciate copies of your presentation, if I could get it.”

Bucky pulled a thumb drive out of the computer and handed it to him, “Voila! With all the background material, including John’s papers that were done for the DEA, FBI, and the Academy here.”


Aaron and Matt came out of the dorm, saw the old man leaning on his rental and walked quickly over. Aaron said, “I was showing Matt the dorm. I figured you didn’t need to see them again, since they’re the same ones you lived in, apparently.

“Yep, same brown building, same entry. We were on the second and third floors, with the baby agents on the fourth. Don’t miss that a bit!”

Matt looked around. “Any idea where the girls are?”

“Jesse said something about the exchange, bathrooms, and lunch.” Pulling his sleeve back, he glanced at his watch, “They said they’d be back by two. And it’s now two-thirty.”

Aaron shook his head. “I swear, she’ll be late to her own funeral. I guess we wait, since you can’t use phones on base.”

Matt chimed in, “Do we want to go to the museum today, or go by the Batt today and museum tomorrow? And Felicia said we’re taking the kids tonight so you and Jesse can have a little private time.”

The old man coughed to cover a laugh. “The bat?”

Aaron laughed. “Weapons battalion. That’s where we worked out of for range training. Some pretty neat things over there, and that’s also where the rifle and pistol teams are out of.”

Jesse, Felicia, and the kids pulled up in the van, and Jesse called out, “Sorry. Took a little longer than we thought. Where are we going?”

The men looked at each other and Aaron said, “Let’s go to Weapons Battalion. That’ll be fairly quick.”

The old man flipped him the keys. “You drive. You know the base better than I do.” He climbed in the back seat, laughing as he continued, “Bout damn time I had a driver!”

Aaron mumbled something that Matt laughed at as they got in the car, and Aaron drove through the base to the battalion. Parking in the lot, they piled out and Aaron led the way, holding hands with Jace, as Jesse carried Kaya. Matt had Esmerelda by the hand and Felecia carried Matt, junior, with the old man bringing up the rear and shaking his head.

Aaron stopped at the desk, and the sergeant on duty asked, “Can I help you?”

Aaron said, “Just wanted to look around, Sarge. We,” pointing to Matt, “used to be instructors here. Doesn’t look like much has changed up front.”

The sergeant laughed. “It’s the Corps, sir. Nothing changes.”

They all laughed, and a voice came out of the back of the building, “I know that gahdamn voice!”

The sergeant popped to attention and whispered, “Master Guns.”

Aaron and Matt looked at each other, until Master Gunnery Sergeant ‘Snake’ Venman strode into the front office. A grin split his face, and he came around the counter, grabbed Aaron in a bear hug and laughed. “You sumbitch! Where have you been hiding?”

Aaron pounded him on the back, “Snake! Master Guns? Is the Corps in that bad a shape that they promoted you?”

Snake laughed. “Desperation makes strange things happen. Mizz Miller, it’s nice to see you.” He knelt and looked at Jace, “And you must be Jace! Last time I saw you, you were a baby!”

Jace piped up, “I not a baby.”

Everyone laughed and Snake replied, “Not anymore,” as he got up.

Aaron said, “Snake, this is Matt Carter, his wife Felicia, Esmerelda, and Matt, junior.”

Jesse added, shifting Kaya. “And this is Kaya. Good to see you, too.”

Snake shook hands with Matt. “I remember you. You ran the range at Pendleton, with Moretti.” He nodded to Felicia, “You and Matt weren’t married when you were at Pendleton, were you?”

Felicia smiled. “Not originally, we got married in Texas, then came back to Pendleton.”

He turned to the old man. “And you must be John Cronin. Aaron talked about you a lot.”

They shook hands and the old man said, “I’m pretty sure they were lies.”

Snake laughed. “I doubt that. So what the hell are y’all doing up here?”

Aaron replied, “I’m going through the FBI’s National Academy for law enforcement, and John came up to give a presentation on smuggling. Matt and Felicia just came along for the ride, since Felicia has never seen this place. Wish I’d known you were here.”

“Well, now you know. I’ll tell the old lady. She’ll be happy to see you, and cook something you and me can maybe eat. Or I’ll do a BBQ. Y’all want to look around?”

Aaron glanced at everyone and saw heads nodding, and Snake told the sergeant, “If the colonel starts looking for me, I’m giving some old farts a tour. Be back in a while.”

Snake grabbed his cover, and led them through the facilities, including the armory, classrooms, and the marksmanship unit’s spaces, where a copy of the National Team and National Infantry Team trophies were centered in the display case. Snake said, “We won both this year. The kids are damn good.”

Felicia asked, pointing to the targets on the walls. “What are those?”

Snake looked around, and said, “Those are match winning or perfect targets. They go back years.”

“But they are so big.”

All the men laughed, and Matt said, “Not at a thousand yards,” as he hugged her.

Felicia smiled ruefully. “I didn’t think about that.”

They piled back into the cars and Snake directed them over to the 1000 yard range, where a class was shooting. Felicia elected to stay in the car with the kids, but everyone else got out and Snake passed out earplugs. “This is the sniper class that’s about to graduate. They’re shooting the different weaps to see which ones they are best on, and famming on the M82s.”

The old man asked, “What calibers?”

“Three-oh-eight, three-thirty-eight, and fifty.”

The range officer called, “Cold range. Cold range. Safe your weapons, open bolts. Standby until released by the instructor.”

Jesse asked curiously, “Break time?”

“That and switching shooter and spotter. Both need to get experience on the guns and spotting.”

The old man commented, “Very nice range. And some interesting winds.” Snake looked at him and he continued, “Different wind at what, six hundred, than at the pits.”

Snake grinned. “Yeah, it is a challenge. Think you could hit the target?”

The old man laughed. “Ain’t that much of a challenge. But you got kids to teach.”

“Oh we can spare a few minutes. Three-oh-eight or three-thirty-eight?”

“Either one.”

“Want me to spot?”

“Nah, my spotter is here.” He turned and got Jesse’s attention. “Spot for me?”

“Papa what the hell are you doing?”

Shoving a thumb at Snake he said, “The master guns here doesn’t think I can hit the target from here.” He took his jacket off, handing it to Aaron with a wink, “Hold this. Looks like I got some more instructing to do.

Jesse rolled her eyes. “Oh my God. Yes, I’ll spot for you.  Men!”

Snake called out, “Gunny Suarez, what target were you on with your students?”

A squat lean Gunny stood up, “Nine, Master Guns.”

“Gonna have a little demonstration. Mr. Cronin is going to show these kids how an old man shoots. Meet him at the gun, please.”

The gunny met the old man and Jesse at the rifle, and the old man asked, “Where is it zeroed?”

Gunny Suarez said, “It was zeroed at three hundred. Corporal Hines was on with it as set at a thousand. He was center punching the silhouette. You familiar with an MRAD, sir?”

The old man chuckled. “A little bit. Thanks Gunny.” Turning to Snake, he said, “One sighter, then I’m good.”

“Only one?”


Jesse grumbled, “Glad I’m not in a skirt. What got you spun up?”

The old man grinned. “I’ve always heard about this place, never got to shoot here. Now I can say I did shoot here.”

Jesse sighed. “Papa, you are crazy. Just… Gah…”

“Let’s do this.”

The range officer called, “Eyes and ears, hot range. Hot range. Target nine, you are clear to fire.”

He snuggled down behind the gun, got his position and said, “Target nine, correct?”

Jesse swung the spotting scope slightly, “Nine.”

He ran the bolt, dry fired, and ran the bolt again, dry firing a second time, “Nice trigger. I like mine better, but I can shoot this. One round, sighter.”

“Wait, let me see where the other impacts are. Okay, got them. If you shoot high center, it’s clean.”

The old man wiggled again, then said, “Target.”

“Send it.”

BOOM. Ting. Jesse said, “One half MOA down from the shoulder, half MOA right.”

“Got it.” He reached over and grabbed a magazine, checking to make sure it was fully loaded and slammed it home. “Here we go.”


“Send it.”

BOOM. Ting. BOOM, ting four more times, and he said, “Okay, head shots.”

Jesse sighed. “You sure?”

“Yep, target.”

“Send it.”

BOOM. Ting. “Center of the head. Hold what you’ve got.”

Four more rounds went down range, each one a hit. He dropped the mag, opened the bolt and rolled off the gun grinning, and Jesse said, “You’re safe. Papa, I… you… are nuts.”

“Hon, I’m an old man. Lemme have my fun. You want to try it, there’s another full mag sitting here.”

Jesse looked back at Aaron, who was standing with Snake and Matt, and she saw him roll his eyes. The old man said, “She should get to shoot it, since that’s the way y’all train, right?”

Snake shook his head and smiled. “Go ahead Mizz Miller.”

Jesse switched positions with the old man, grumbling, “I must be as crazy as you are. Dammit Papa, I’m not… Oh to hell with it. Where were you holding?”

“Center, one dot right for wind. Same wind. Load and go.” He turned, “Going hot.”

Snake echoed, “Going hot, aye!”

One of the gunnies standing behind the line snarked, “Bet she gets less than two hits. She’s shooting wrong handed, she’ll never get that bolt…”

Matt leaned over, “I’ve got a hundred says she goes ten for ten.”

The gunny snapped around, looked at Matt and grinned. “You’re on.”

Another gunny laughed and said, “Damn, I should’a thought of that.”

Aaron chuckled. “I’ve got another hundred for you, Gunny.”

The gunny looked at Aaron and back to the Jesse, “Hell, why not. She ain’t got any graveyards I’ve seen.”

Aaron smiled. “I’ve seen ‘em. They’re real. He turned to Snake, you want in?”

“Nah, I’ll pass. I heard about her shooting a Pendleton. And she taught my wife, remember?”

“Smart man.”

Jesse wiggled down, unaware of what was going on behind her, and said, “Target on nine.”

“Send it.”

BOOM. Ting. “Center. Hold what you’ve got.”

Nine more times Jesse sent rounds down range, with nine more hits. She dropped the mag, opened the bolt and said, “Safe.”

The old man said, “Safe.”

She rolled off the gun and got up, brushing off her blouse and pants. “Oh well, I can change when I get back to the hotel. She looked up to see Matt and Aaron collecting money, with Snake laughing and she shook her head. “Men. They bet on me, didn’t they?”

The old man laughed. “Probably.”

As they walked back up to Snake, the young troops gathered round, and they heard the susurration of multiple comments, “Damn, I can’t shoot that good the first time on a gun! Did you see her shoot…”

Snake held up a hand, “Marines, let this be a lesson. Mr. Cronin here has been a sniper for how long?”

The old man cocked his head, “Oh, about forty-five years, give or take.”

“And Mizz Miller?”

Jesse said, “I’m not, not really. I’ve been Papa’s spotter for… twelve years.”

“Marines, this is why you never underestimate anyone in the field. If you get in combat. The sniper you may be facing might be just like either one of these folks. Do not, I repeat, do not underestimate your opponents. Break is over, back on your guns.”

The old man looked at him. “Teaching point, eh?”

Snake grinned. “And to knock some of the smart ass out of them. They’re good, but they need to be humbled on occasion. And I was pretty damn sure you’d do that.”

The old man laughed. “You used us, and I used you. Fair trade.”

Jesse smiled. “And I need to go to the bathroom. Are we through with the dick beating now? Aaron, since you won that money on me, you are buying everybody dinner.”

Everyone laughed as she headed for the van, and Snake wrapped his arms around Aaron saying, “Y’all have fun. Aaron, give me a call when you get time off. Same number.”

Aaron pounded him on the back, “Will do, thanks for the tour, Snake.”


Hard to believe this was nine years ago…

Some pics from a ‘business’ trip to Sicily.

The obligatory shot of Mt. Etna… and it wasn’t trying to erupt! Yay!

The castle town of Motta… NARROW streets, as in ONE chariot wide…

The Greek theater at Sircusa, still used on occasion.

And about a hundred yards away, a Roman amphitheater, built using the marble from the Greek theater above. Bonus points if you know who died in Sircusa in 212 BC, and when the amphitheater was built.

This Greek theater is in Taromina, and you can see Mt. Etna in the background. It too is still used, they had done a Greek play the week before we were there. You can also see the coastline to the left of the picture.

And another view from Taromina, looking out over the Mediterranean.

Hard to believe the first time I was there was 1978… Lots of changes on the base over the years, out in ‘town’, not so much… 🙂 Most of the towns have ‘only’ been there a thousand years or longer…

One ‘interesting’ tidbit, there was an actual archeological dig going on at a trash dump outside Catania, as people have been dumping stuff there for almost 2000 years!!!

Answers to the earlier questions below the fold. Continue reading

Book Promo…

Living on the dry line is SUCH fun… Thunder and lightning, and rain, oh my!

So you get next week’s book promo early, since I already had it done.

Click on the covers to go to the books.

NASA Mission AS-506 Apollo 11 Owners’ Workshop Manual

The blurb-

On 20 July 1969, US astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon. NASA Mission AS-506 Apollo 11 Owners’ Workshop Manual is the story of the Apollo 11 mission and the ‘space hardware’ that made it all possible. This manual looks at the evolution and design of the mighty Saturn V rocket, the Command and Service Modules, and the Lunar Module. It describes the space suits worn by the crew and their special life support and communications systems. We learn about how the Apollo 11 mission was flown – from launch procedures to ‘flying’ the Saturn V and the ‘LEM’, and from moon walking to the earth re-entry procedure. This new edition of the book celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

This book has a lot of background/technical info on both NASA and the Apollo missions. Highly recommended if you’re old enough to remember them!

And second, A Dance with Death: Soviet Airwomen in WWII by Anne Noggle.

The blurb-

In their own vivid words, the women members of the Soviet air force recount their dramatic efforts against the German forces in World War II. These brave women, the first ever to fly in combat, proved that women could be among the best of warriors, withstanding the rigors of combat and downing the enemy. 

The women who tell their stories here began the war mostly as inexperienced girls—many of them teenagers. In support of their homeland, they volunteered to serve as bomber and fighter pilots, navigator-bombardiers, gunners, and support crews. Flying against the Luftwaffe, they saw many of their friends—as well as many of their foes—fall to earth in flames. Their three combat Air Force regiments fought as many as one thousand missions during the war.

For their heroism and success against the enemy, two of the women’s regiments were honored by designation as “Guard” regiments. At least thirty women were decorated with the gold star of Hero of the Soviet Union, their nation’s highest award.

But equally courageous were the women’s efforts to show the Red Army that they were entirely adequate to the great role they sought. For even though Stalin had decreed equality for both sexes, the women had to grapple initially with deep distrust from male pilots and Red Army officers, against whom they eventually prevailed.

War, Stalin-era politics, and human emotion mix in these gripping, first-person accounts. Supported by photographs of the women at war, the stories are unforgettable. Portraits of the women as they are now, taken by award-winning photographer Anne Noggle, add the perspective of time to the experiences of the survivors of this great dance with death.

Both fascinating and horrifying at the same time, it truly shows that women CAN do anything they set their minds to.

h/t to Guy and Stretch for the recommendations!

Book Promo…

Brigid Johnson has a new book out- True Course: Lessons from a life aloft.

I was honored to be a beta reader for it, and I will tell you it’s damn good! The kindle version should be available shortly.

As always, click on the cover to go to the book!

The blurb-

From award-winning, best-selling author Brigid Johnson comes the tale of how one woman’s life in the sky forged an unforgettable destiny. Raised in a small factory town in the 1960s, when aviation was predominantly a male profession, with parents who didn’t support her ambitions, Brigid nevertheless learned to fly. Hers was a busy life of setting limits and learning philosophies of growth and risk well beyond her years, even as she juggled two jobs, college, and a rescue Siberian husky whose wandering spirit put her own to shame. From first solo to an airline career, and finally a decision to hang up her wings for another profession when her elderly father needed her care, Brigid captures with understanding, humor, and grace the moments that change the path of our lives. With lyrical expression of her love for flight, she writes old and new stories of family, adventure, and the thrill of taking to the sky. True Course is more than a memoir or a story of the lure of aviation-it’s a story of learning to let the spirit soar and unfurling the wings of personal freedom, an inspiration to adventurers everywhere.

Next up, Peter Nealen’s first in the new series, Escalation- Maelstrom Rising.

The blurb-

A Storm is About to Break…

The mission was straightforward enough. Infiltrate civil-war-torn Slovakia, rescue the hostage, then get out undetected.

Except that it’s not Matt Bowen’s first rodeo. He and his teammates know well just how badly things can go once the metal meets the meat.

But even these hardened combat veterans aren’t ready for what’s about to go down…

A coordinated surprise attack. Massacres in the countryside. The next world war might have just kicked off, in a storm of blood, fire, and betrayal.

Read the visceral, hard-hitting action thriller that will leave your ears ringing!

Peter writes from the grunt’s eye view, and has the background to make it work! He also does his research, and his running and gunning are on the money.

You won’t go wrong with either of these!