sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Promotion Party

Promotion Party

a fictional short, Sunday sermonette/going to church saga and sea shanty

The debate started with one innocent comment and turned into a full blown war, two-on-two. Simply stated, it began with this postulate: Taco Bell bean burritos with fire sauce are the ultimate cure for too much alcohol ingestion. Both of us in the front of the car agreed and we tipped a magnum of Grey Goose, toasting our agreement as I drove the old white Honda Accord with the freshly dented right front fender down the Interstate, flaunting both the law and common sense (which departed fourteen swallows and forty minutes previously). The men in the back of the car disagreed, suggesting that pancakes with extra butter and syrup worked better. Privately, I tend to agree with the guys in the back, but having staked my ground, I couldn't pull back. 

Before I go on, introducing the guys may be useful. We'd all been in the Navy over ten years. Lizard just made Senior Chief, which prompted the trip and party. It also assured him of the shotgun position in the car. The rest of us were chief petty officers. We worked at Naval Air Station Oceana, assigned to Blue Team. Enough said of those things.

The celebrated promotee self-identified as "Lizard" Boudreaux. Real name, Clovis Beauregard Boudreaux, of the Atchafalaya River Boudreaux K/Clan. He claimed that his mother water-birthed him in the bayou rather than doing it on a conventional bed, thus to baptize him at the moment of his birth. His mother, who I met once, claimed that a gator ate the after birth. It's a claim that has never been disputed to my knowledge. I clearly didn't have the guts to. His mother is bigger than he is, and much meaner. She runs the family still and her shine recipe is legendary in those parts.

I've never met a man more saved and washed in the blood of the Lamb than Lizard, or one who would be more willing do descend into the depths of depravity after one sip of demon rum. The moniker, "lizard", came from his two week training session at Centre d'entraînement à la forêt équatoriale, the French Foreign Legion's jungle training school near Regina (which he called Vagina), French Guyana. While attending the very challenging course, he discovered a serious appreciation for lizard meat to the extent that he would still prefer lizard to something wholesome like a Taco Bell bean burrito. However, he would be the first to acknowledge that the burritos cut the effect of alcohol better than lizard meat. And if you don't believe me, ask him yourself.

Quentin Lauritzen, who you'll think should have been named lizard because his last name sounds more like it than Clovis Beauregard's does, received the nickname "Gash". If Quentin was sitting here next to me, he'd remind me, as he reminds everyone that Gash does not refer to the opening of a woman's reproductive organs. It refers to a large shrapnel wound that winds itself around his left arm and down his side to a point about four inches below the termination of his ribcage. When he received the injury in Kunduz Province, Afghanistan, nobody though that he'd survive as they packed the gray coiled intestines back into him, but live he did. He rehab'd, dried off the pain killers and remained on active duty. Upon his return to the Teams his name had been officially changed from "Q" to "Gash". Gash sat behind me in the car and when I pulled into Taco Bell to order bean burritos, he choked me nearly unconscious from behind while I conned the car down the narrow roadway to the order screen. I ordered twenty bean burritos, extra cheese and onions defying his preference for pancakes.

Gash came from some hick town in nowhere Utah, born of Mormon stock. There had been a running exchange between he and Boudreaux since Basic Underwater Demolition School about which of them would/would not end up in heaven. The fact that he could out-drink Lizard proved that he had become a fallen Mormon and that had also became a source of secret shame for Clovis Beauregard Boudreaux, who believed himself to have a near godlike capacity to drink. We pointed out that Gash simply had better drinking genes long enough that Lizard believed our speculations. Firm though his belief had been anchored, he could never discuss those concerns back home in the family's floating trailer/houseboat compound on the Atchafalaya.

Andrew (Petals) Wasilewski sat next to Gash in the back seat, well into his second bottle of Jack Daniels. Petals was said to have as much body hair as a wooly mammoth. Those of who knew him, would all testify that he had more body hair than the scruffiest mastodon. With the hair came an animal odor that he had difficulty controlling. As he sat in the back of the car, the scent of wet dog overpowered me to the point where I had to roll the window down and keep it down even though the temperature had dropped to well below freezing. He had tattoos, but nobody could see them, so he shaved his arms and portions of his chest that were tattooed so that we could. Since he hailed from Minnesota, we claimed that he was related to former Minnesota Governor Jessie Ventura, a former SEAL who had fallen into disgrace over his lawsuit against Chris Kyle's widow, Taya. Naturally, he denied kinship, as anyone would. It's not unlike denying kinship to Barack Obama. Petals had only been on Blue Team for a couple months, having come to the Development Group from Bremerton, Washington and SDVT-One.

I bumped into the back of a really nice Ford pick-up with a Confederate Flag sticker on the back window, two cars from paying and picking up the pogie bait. The error in judgement, while understandable to all in the car, had not been to the driver with the cowboy hat who emerged holding a baseball bat.

I started to get out but both Lizard and Gash reminded me that I looked like a surfer/Boy Scout and wouldn't strike fear into anyone's heart despite the fact that I was a trained killer who at that very moment was reaching for a tomahawk to counter the baseball bat. Gash got out of the back seat, and threw one partially full and one empty bottle of Jack at the driver with the bat in hand. One bottle ten-ringed the Confederate Flag sticker and the window of the late model Ford that it adhered to. The next one arced farther and smashed into the large plate glass window of the Taco Bell.

"Get in the car!" I screamed. Then I punched the car into reverse and went back down the narrow ordering driveway, over the curb, through the shrubs and onto the black top parking lot that belonged to the strip mall where the Taco Bell was sited. Both of them managed to get partially into the car before I hit the parking lot. Petals Wasilewski opened our last bottle of Jack by the time that I ramped back up onto the Interstate. He downed at least a quarter of it in one long chug.

"Technically I'm in charge now," Lizard said with as much command presence as he could muster. "It's my party and I outrank all the rest of you."

"Does that mean that we need to find another Taco Bell or a Pancake House?"

"Neither, I'm in the mood for a titty bar, and a better type of company."

I must point out to you that though we considered ourselves supermen in our own right, and more so while we were in our cups; strippers -- any beautiful women really, were kryptonite. (trust your buddies with your life but never with your money or your wife) Lizard, the recently promoted, once showed up at a dining-out when he was at Team 2 Bravo with two strippers as his 'escorts' for the evening. The XO took him aside and counseled him, and he had to send one of the two back to wherever she came from with a couple hundred in her clutch purse for her trouble. Notwithstanding the polygamous decorum violation, one, the busty one, remained through the evening with him and beyond. I know this because we shared an off-base apartment when we were both based at Little Creek (VA). She crawled in my rack before dawn, bringing me breakfast in bed, because she wanted company and Lizard was too hung-over to handle her itch. Back to the events of that evening of evenings.

Going to a strip-bar was usually referred to as attending church.

"Aye-aye, Senior Chief, I replied, southbound at an indicated ground speed of between 80 and 85 mph. "I'm ready for church! Where can we find a suitable location to worship in this part of the State?"

"You're a mood-killer," Gash said to me.

"Drillers make killers," Petal slurred.

"What?" I asked.

"Something from training (mumbles)," Petal said. Then through his blurred, alcoholic haze, he spotted  purple neon style lighting on a building to one side of the road. "Look that has to be a kitty  and titty bar. They always have purple lights on them."

I took the off-ramp and sure enough, it turned out to be the "Lumberyard". The sign out front gave notice to prospective patrons that nude Jello wrestling began at 11 pm. The time on the dashboard announced that it was 10:25. Lizard howled. Gash hooted and Petal just smirked. Karma shined on us.

We all knew a timeless truth, but were too far gone to recall it. Locals often felt that establishments such as the Lumberyard were their own personal turf, as were the girls who were employed there to entertain them. Strangers in places such as those are often not wanted. Strangers are not ever wanted when they're four exceptionally fit, prime-of-life/late twenties custodians of the nation's defense, who had been banking cash on a six-month deployment and weren't averse to spending the slush fund in a single evening.

We closed the place with flying Jello, fists, feet, curses broken chairs and a stripper pole, which Lizard used effectively as a quarter-staff. A beautiful young lady of about twenty years with the prettiest green eyes I'd ever seen slipped me out the back door before the sheriff's department carted everyone else away. I could share more details of that interaction but decorum and a fear of retribution too horrible to contemplate holds my tongue.  Suffice to say, son, that is how I met your mother.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Anchor Babies

No European country grants birthright citizenship to any person born on its soil. Mexico doesn't grant birthright citizenship to the offspring of foreigners born on its soil. I realize that America has a long and generous past history of extending this privilege -- but perhaps it's time to revisit the practice. It's not only about Mexicans, Central Americans,  but it applies to other immigrant peoples who show up in the US, unbidden - like Jorge Ramos at a Donald Trump press conference.

No matter how things end up, going forward there has to be a national discussion that leads to action on the matter of anchor babies.

There is a big move to bring persecuted people from the Middle East to the USA. While I am sensitive to their plight, you know that if they birth a child while they're on US soil, they will be on welfare for life. Think of Obama's shiftless African relatives that we've been saddled with, and whose bills the public will be paying so long as they - their children and their children's children live.  We can't separate the aliens from their American passport holding offspring.

(aunt) Zeituni Obama, shiftless welfare recipient

Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday - Last Word.

A Product of Norway

I'm trying to swing a trip to Norway before the winter sets in but I'm burning daylight (literally). There are a lot of things that I like about Norway and I even have work to do there. However once it gets cold and dark, it's cold and dark for six months.

Next week, I have to block out an entire week for jury duty, even though I think that it will be over day-one. It depends whether I get to the voir dire phase on Monday or not.
Voir dire is a legal phrase that refers to a variety of procedures connected with jury trials. It originally referred to an oath taken by jurors to tell the truth (Latin: verum dicere), i.e., to say what is true, what is objectively accurate or subjectively honest, or both. In practice in the present day, it's a Q and A session with prosecutor and defense attorney with a judge overseeing it to determine the suitability for someone to serve as a juror. With my background, they'd never put me on a jury panel. 
The second or third week of September will likely be spent in Texas. LSP, you might want to think about going shopping for one of those American made AK's. Is there anyplace in town where we can shoot them to see if they're as cool as I think that they're going to be?

By October, the weather in Norway is cold. It usually stays above freezing, but barely. Which means that sailing on Oslo Fjord is done with very warm clothing, or maybe just Helga (picture above) clinging to you?

I've made definite plans for a busman's holiday to Norway with some ocean sailing and fjord cruising next summer. We will discuss work while sailing.  Ok, we might get around to it.

Fishwrap (Vast Left Wing Conspiracy Edition)

It's time to put this week away and begin another one on that remorseless march to eternity. I wanted to react to a few things that are going on. 

The first one has to do with Donald Trump, who may not be the perfect candidate, but he's telling people what he thinks without apology and it's resonating with that vast right wing conspiracy.

I don't know what sort of president that Donald Trump would be, but you'd know where he stood. There is a reason why Trump, Carson and Fiorina are on their way up in the polls and the rest of the field is sinking. Will the Republican Party listen? Not likely at this point because a lot of rice bowls are in danger. Trump fires people who screw up...and that never happens in Washington DC.

I don't know that the anchor baby problem will be solved anytime soon since the 14th Amendment is a very large rock to move.

But I can say this. If the border is secure, the anchor baby problem will not be the daunting issue that we are facing at present. The political class has NO interest in securing the US/Mexico Border. They never have. That applies to both Republicans and Democrats. If it would have, they would have fixed the problem.


Am I the only one who thinks that the Democrats in the know feel that Hillary Clinton may not make it to the Democratic Party's National Convention? They've got Joe Biden warming up in the bull pen because they don't think that openly communist Bernie Sanders would ever be elected in a national contest -- and the Hillary coronation may have been a bit premature.

Old Uncle (Slow) Joe Biden? Really? I'm not saying that Biden isn't an accomplished politician. He's been at it for his entire life and he's into his 70's. But that's the best that the Democratic apparatchiks can come up with to counter Bernie Sanders (presuming that they feel that Clinton stands a better than even chance of being indicted).

THIS IS WHY I think that Hillary Clinton will be indicted in the e-mail scandal. Indulge my vast left wing conspiracy theory for a moment:
  • If Hillary Clinton becomes President, she will won't give two squirts for Barack Obama. Possibly not even one.
  • If Joe Biden becomes President, Obama remains in power with Slow Joe as his cat's paw.
Eliminating the Clintonian threat keeps the people who want to stay in power - in power. Even if it means rolling the dice with a Biden/Warren ticket and a promise to Warren that she can run for President next time as the sitting vice president.

All that President Obama has to do is what he's doing. Allow the investigation to go forward and instruct his attorney general to let the chips fall where they may. Hillary is clearly guilty of a misdemeanor and if she had her hard drive professionally wiped to cover-up her crime, she is guilty of a felony. An indictment will finish her candidacy. She need not be convicted. And the wolves in the White House who want to stay there will see to it that she is cut off at the kankles.


h/t Woodsterman

Partisan news anchor Jorge Ramos and his daughter,
Payola, a Clintonista operative.
Univision Anchor and grievance advocate Jorge Ramos' daughter Paola (Payola) Ramos works for the Hillary Clinton Campaign. I wonder if she'll switch to the Biden Campaign when Hillary is indicted?

The credibility and impartiality of Univision’s coverage of U.S. electoral politics has been undermined by the network’s executive chairman, Haim Saban, pledging his “full might” to the mission of putting Hillary Clinton in the White House. That credibility has been further eroded by the network’s partnership with the Clinton Foundation.

I only have one nagging question. What is the Hillary for President campaign paying Jorge Ramos and his daughter, Paola (Payola) to attack opposition candidates in the name of "journalism"?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Crash Investigation (part two)

Crash Investigation

a fictional short - concluded


They had me tap dancing for tips for over a decade, on retainer and on call for when something happened and they wanted answers discretely. Dance Bojangles, dance! When you take the king's shilling, you must expect to be called on to earn your keep. I took four Advil and hauled the paperwork out of the wardroom to the flag cabin, currently unoccupied, that Captain Mason, the Navy's killer, handed to me. 

Before I did anything else, I shaved off my signature mustache. Nobody suggested that I do it, but the thought that a spacecraft from another world had been encased in coral over the past three hundred twenty years made me feel uneasy. That's why I shaved it off in the flag cabin, using toiletries set aside there for a visiting admiral. I didn't know whether to shit or go blind.

The telemetry that the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Pasadena picked up and tracked to the reef had been broadcast acoustically and looked to me as if it had been composed of musical notes. You could have heard it a long way away because the signal had been broadcast at an extremely low frequency, on the bandwidth that our submarines use to receive encrypted messages. 

USS Pasadena (SSN 752)
CDR Mark Hazenberg commanding officer of Undersea Rescue Command showed up first since he was part of COMSUBPAC and at their beck and call. CDR Hazenberg shot off a FLASH-CRITICAL-NAVY BLUE message that went directly to the Chief of Naval Operations and from there to every black compartment in the US Government excepting NASA, now considered too unreliable to keep a secret, and relying on the Russians for rides to and from the Space Station.

I scrutinized the images of the fuselage embedded in coral, about forty-five meters long, tapering to a sharp nose looked as intact as one can surmise, given that the aircraft or space ship itself resisted efforts mounted to probe its interior. They drilled down and sampled the fuselage skin. The alloy they found consisted of an exotic titanium alloy. The drill bit wouldn't dig deeper than to scratch the skin. At that, they'd gone through half a dozen just to get the three gram sample that the Navy rushed off to be tested.

The fuselage landed flat, which indicated a controlled landing to me. Even though the images were not absolutely crisp, the lines of craft remained remarkably even and sharp after three centuries.

The wall-mounted telephone rang. I picked it up.

"Dr. Wallace, I need you back in the wardroom now."

"Did something happen?"

"It's not the only ship. There are at least a dozen more here on the reef, and they've all gone active."



US Navy Mk 4 MMS
As soon as the big gate on the stern of Anchorage dropped and Shredder plunged from his large transport vessel into the Pacific, I could tell that something bothered him.

Dolphins have good days and bad days just like anyone else does. They're mammals, breathe air, give birth to their young live and are said to use 20% of their brain power whereas humans only use 10% (at best). Most of a dolphin's processing power goes into his advanced echolocation system. They see with sonar and they see very well with it.

Shredder and I have been working as partners together for four years now and we know each other's moods. That notwithstanding, I was shocked when both Shredder and the other three dolphins in our work group took off and didn't come back. Naturally we have locators on them. They swam directly to the point in the reef where all of the buoy markers are. I have no idea what's down there, but the fact that Shredder, Notch and Punch swam there together right out of the Anchorage, is spooky.

Knifefish UUV
Captain Mason ordered us to leave the dolphins alone for now and deployed the Knifefish, which are a type of electronic dolphin, used for mine hunting. The Knifefish is an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) and Shredder has been trained to work around them.

Orders notwithstanding I did go out with the Knifefish team and ended up in the water out there on the reef next to the buoys where Shredder and the boys were mixing it up. Shredder wanted me to go down with him so I signaled to the Chief and he gave the OK.

At about thirty feet, I could see that something had happened to the coral. Something had dissolved a lot of it into dust and water jets or a current were cleaning out the passageway. It was a radical new thing in a day of radical new things. I went closer and found that the cleared opening, nearly four feet around, went back into the Coral almost twenty meters. I shined my light back there, and Shredder swam in, with his camera on his flipper. I watched my monitor, mounted to my arm, and oh, my God.

The interior looked like a space ship with couches that appeared to be designed for dolphins.

STEPHEN BALLARD (not his real name)

Captain Rizzo, skipper of the Landing Ship Dock had been following me ever since the revelation that there were seventeen apparently identical ships in the reef. Even more disturbingly the US Geospatial Intelligence Agency had reported many thousands of similar data transmissions from across the planet's oceans and even in the Amazon River.

"How many?" Rizzo pushed me.

"They don't know, Captain Rizzo, maybe ten thousand. It's as much a surprise to me as it is to you. They've apparently been here for a very long time, dormant, looking like nothing but large rocks on our instrumentation."

"And your instruments are wrong."


I pulled on headphones to listen to a voice communication from the National Security Agency. The Captain wasn't cleared to hear it. Apparently they had cracked the code and could translate the data that each alien spacecraft transmitted in a continuing loop. "So long and thanks for all the fish. So sad that it should come to this. The world's about to be destroyed. There's no point getting all annoyed. Lie back and let the planet dissolve around you."  Life imitates art: So long, etc.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Crash Investigation (part one)

Crash Investigation

a (sci-) fictional short


The outbound trip consisted of several legs. The first one began at the university in Rusty's cramped office, with its pillars of stacked books and line of students waiting to talk to him about this or that problem--out the door, and in line, as he puffed on his Meerschaum pipe. He knew there was an issue when he heard complaints of cutting in line. 

Rusty Wallace’s face gave the impression of a chubby, confused walrus more because of his large curving red mustache than anything else. He set the pipe aside in a holder on his desk and demanded, "Who the hell are you?" Credentials discretely flashed, "Oh, ok. When?"

"Now. Right now." We sent a woman to fetch him because Russell (Rusty) Wallace responded better to women. He had a fetish kink that was totally heterosexual. The file on him contained a lot of details of his personal life.  He's one of those assets that need to be watched out for, and occasionally cleaned up after. He had enough value to be kept on the shelf for when we needed to break the glass, pull him off and ship him somewhere nobody ever heard of.

The lady from the US State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, pretty, black, knew how to dress, pointed to a suitcase on the third row of seats during the ride to the airport, "I packed for you, Dr. Wallace." He didn't seem to be with the program. "Your clothes and things, we fetched them from your house. Your housekeeper packed for you." He put a pen in his mouth--pure Freudian, to try and replace the pipe that he left in his office.

She took his hand and Rusty began to focus on her, but a focus on something had an advantage over focusing on nothing. At least that's what the handler thought at the time. I don't think that it mattered at all. I'm not for codling anyone, particularly academics.

The transportation team picked Dr. Wallace up at the airport and babysat him in the back seat of a C-21. Wallace asked if it was the same thing as a Lear 35. It's a C-21 when the government is flying it and a Lear 35 when anyone else is. The cabin didn't look clean. There were empty gray equipment racks and four seats in the back. The Lear had been re-purposed to haul semi-VIP cargo, like Rusty Wallace. We tasked the first available executive jet and it just happened to be a C-21 that had recently been partially decommissioned.

P-3C - the old workhorse of the Navy.
At Whidbey Island, Washington, he transferred to a US Navy P-3C Orion that was ready on the apron, engines turning, when the C-21 dropped him off. The P-3’s crew had been instructed not to speak with him. The crew chief who seemed to young for his job, told Dr. Wallace that the flight crew couldn’t speak with him and pointed him to the coffee pot and a bottom, gray frame bunk, with a thin mattress, set in a rack of crew bunks.

I had been in the same general setting as Rusty Wallace before. The bedding, uncomfortably damp, smelled like a combination of Navy Distillate, mothballs and old socks. You forgot the smell after you were airborne for a few hours, you'd downed an entire pot of coffee, eaten a stale cheese (not grilled) sandwich on Wonder Bread and the air sickness set in. One of the flight crew, maybe the crew chief, gave him the locked, black Pelican case that he was to open. We didn’t supply the combination.  He's a PhD, he's supposed to be smart enough to do this sort of thing. He tried his birthday and it worked. I know this because the case was still open when he handed it back to one of my people in Guam, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

USS Anchorage LPD-23
Dr. Rusty Wallace, PhD, the world’s leading expert on recovering 'special', underwater airplane wrecks, had been through this sort of drill more than once. It was definitely not his first rodeo. There had been a crashed Russian Mystic B, known in Russia as the Myasishchev M-55 spy plane. It augured down hard in shallow water in Canadian territory. There was the Ka-137 that somehow fell off the stern of a Russian warship in a storm that the US Navy located using God knows what, and there were also a few American aircraft. The most involved was an F-117 stealth fighter in a lake in the Pamir mountains. The pilot met his maker in a Martin-Baker (1), but the jet somehow came down in one piece. We needed a look before we destroyed the aircraft. The crashes and the recovery efforts that Dr. Wallace examined were all top secret and fit in a special compartment of top secret that most people didn't know existed because it was both esoteric and obscure.

In Guam, he had a shower and an overnight at the bachelors officers quarters at Anderson Air Force Base. Our man on site took the briefcase back and accounted for the contents. Rusty clearly had an idea that something crashed, he'd seen pictures of it, but not the details. You had to see it to grasp its significance and we didn't want the civilian Dr. Wallace freaking out in the BOQ and hanging himself in the shower or going on a drinking binge at the officer's club. Just in case, we put two armed marines outside of his door at night. An SH-60 spirited him on a helicopter ride, mid-air refueled to the, USS Anchorage, haze gray at anchor near a ring of coral in the mid Pacific. 

The USS Independence, a Littoral Combat Ship creeped around the area, maintaining headway, alert, weapons manned.

USS Independence LCS-2
"It's a sea mount, the base is about 8,000 feet under the surface and the peak is thirty, give or take depending on the tide." Lieutenant Commander Travis Holloway briefed him in the Anchorage’s wardroom. Holloway, an aviator, had the dubious job of handling the hands-on portion of crash investigations for COMAIRPAC. Holloway was wrapped too tight for the responsibility in Rusty Wallace’s opinion but nobody asked Rusty what he thought. So he kept his mouth shut and listened to LCDR Holloway’s line of bullshit. I always liked that about Wallace. He sucked up the long trip and the droning briefing.

Wallace looked at me. We'd had a contentious relationship over the years. "Captain Mason, why is there a SEAL of high rank here? And if you are here, there must be many more of you. Using the Anchorage and Independence as mother ships for your sleuthing around?"

The well deck of the Anchorage could carry an amazing amount of floating equipment. It flooded and we just conned the rigid inflatables and SEAL Delivery Vehicles out the back of the ship and into the open ocean. That's why the SEALs love Landing Ship Docks like the Anchorage.

Wallace continued, "What sort of crash is it? Russian, Chinese, Iranian?" The trip wore him out. His eyes were rimmed with red and his hair was lop-sided from the four hour trip on the helicopter.

"You've seen the photos, Dr. Wallace. What does it look like to you?"

"It looked to me like a variation on a space shuttle-style flying wing re-entry vehicle. But since it's in international waters, you wouldn't have me here unless it was other-than-American."

"The other non-crash experts think that it's a flying wing re-entry vehicle too."

"So what's special about it?"

Fuselage form of a flying wing atmospheric entry vehicle.
"As best we can estimate, it landed three hundred twenty years ago--the Year of Our Lord 1695. We're not sure that it came down uncontrolled or that it actually crashed."

Rusty rolled his eyes, and looked at Captain Rizzo, commanding the Anchorage and present in the wardroom, listening to the briefing. Captain Rizzo demanded to be present since his ship had been ordered to assist in the investigation and salvage effort if it came to that. 

"The Wright Brothers weren’t a gleam on anyone's eye three hundred and twenty years ago—the year of our Lord, 1695." Rusty’s comment had an edge to it. "You're kidding, right?" he looked at Captain Rizzo for confirmation of my bad taste in jokes. The skipper shrugged, his weird-o-meter had pegged in the red zone and he didn't know what to believe.

I tossed a few large sheets onto the wardroom table showing a grid depicting an image of the craft and a small layer of coral around it. "See this?  Coral.  Oceanographers measured the coral growth on top of the craft to be a shade under five meters thick. Coral grows at a rate of two and a  half centimeters a year."

Rusty protested and he sounded a lot like I did when confronted with the evidence when they threw it at me. "There's got to be some mistake here -- a three hundred year old spacecraft?  Our space program isn't even  sixty years old.

"Pretty cool if you ask me, Dr. Wallace," I said. It went electronically active about a month ago. We sent a submarine. They knew that there was something in the coral but it took a team with ground penetrating radar to get the composite image that you see here. We need you to come out to the crash site and evaluate it."

"Evaluate it?"

"You're the expert."

Rusty Wallace didn't look tired anymore.

(concluded tomorrow)

Monday, August 24, 2015

China Syndrome

As a non-professional China watcher, the current situation there, which ran down the the NY Stock Exchange by 1000 points last week is not surprising. What should surprise anyone is that anyone is surprised.

Despite the general public sense in the US that China has no problems, one must but look at the situation there and the nature of the PRC (and the Chinese people over the past 3,000 years or more) to understand what is going on. The Chinese generally consider themselves to be 'celestials' and therefore incapable of making a blunder. Internally, the natural response to this sort of melt-down must be blamed on foreigners. However, the fault is not in the stars but in themselves. 

A widespread demand for more material goods has fueled rising wages in China. Thus it's not  the attractive place to do business that it was ten or even five years ago. And it's getting worse. The housing bubble (widely reported) is very near to bursting and the government is not sure what to do about it. 

The RMB (Chinese national currency) should be around 7 to $US 1. It's currently 6.2:1, and thus both the Chinese government and everyone else understands that the 2% devaluation of the RMB by the Chinese Central Bank a week ago will be followed by more devaluation. That anticipation is causing real concern by anyone who is holding RMB. This is exacerbated by the US Federal Reserve's anticipated raise in interest rates later this month.

The Chinese people have hardly felt the effects of their slowdown so far. The pain has been exported to Brazil, South Africa, Australia, and other countries that live off China’s commodity demand. However that it like a snake eating its tail and can't go on forever. 

Despite the general public perception in the USA, the Chinese man-on-the-street is frustrated if he's not a billionaire. Remember that all Chinese people rely on a cultural formula for success:
  • Get Married
  • Make a lot of money
  • Build a monument to yourself
The male:female ratio in China because of aborted females in the one-child policy means that there are over 3 male babies born for each female baby. Thus the female supply makes cultural success difficult for most Chinese men. Females can be more picky when choosing a mate (largely based on financial success). Making a lot of money is becoming more difficult for the man on the street too, as this article points out. Without the first two, you can never build a monument to yourself, thus you are a failure as a celestial and as a Chinese person. Even though it may look a bit absurd to Westerners, it creates almost imaginable pressure on the society.

The stability of the jobs market is the “ultimate bottom line for the Chinese leadership”. Employment is so far holding up well. A net 7.2m jobs were created in first half of the year, enough to meet the annual target of 10m...but are the numbers faked? Yes. Naturally, it's China. And you can only fake this sort of thing for so long. (The US fakes unemployment numbers too in order to make the administration appear successful even when they're not.)

The Chinese authorities painted themselves into a corner. The US recession is not over. Thus the demand for goods from China has dropped. The Federal Reserve tightening the US money supply means that their current drop in manufacturing will drop further as America will buy less from China. They have now to contend with accelerating capital outflows that they themselves provoked, and that make it even harder to manage the downturn. 

More here: Financial Times (UK)

From a military perspective, China is in a huge expansion mode as it builds to be able to threaten its neighbors (for real this time). The neighbors watch its industrial and cultural bungling with great interest. The drop of oil prices to the US$30+/barrel range make its vastly expensive and politically dangerous land grabs in the Spratley Islands and elsewhere hardly worth the trouble. They won't pull back, because they're Chinese. But the return on investment as their neighbors (most notably the Japanese) are arming themselves to the teeth in anticipation of a fight may not be worth the cost.

MANY companies that used to manufacture in China are relocating to Mexico, widely touted as "the new China". That and a reduced Mexican birth rate may help solve the immigration issue that the US faces along its southern border even without a high wall. While it's good for Mexico and ultimately for the US, it's not good for China.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Swallowing Cancer Cells

Cancer cells outnumber, and then occupy the health
host cell - then they kill you.
It's like swallowing cancer cells, if you ask me.

Germany is doing the same thing that many other European counties are inviting refugees of the Islamic holocausts that are going on in the Middle East and Africa.

For the record here, I'm not really discriminating between allowing Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc. in because they are all trouble. It's a lot like the 300,000 anchor babies born in America each year that then require the taxpayers to cover maternity costs, ongoing healthcare, education, and naturally the parents go on welfare, food stamps, and when dad runs off, AFDC, etc.

Germany is doing this at the same time that Norway has just thrown them out. The Norwegians invited a number of refugees into the country, and then found that the bulk of them ended up plotting to blow things up and create havoc as they created their own caliphate. The vetting process for allowing refugees into a country permanently is painfully complicated. Of course, liberal nations just let them in, put them on welfare and feed them forever. Uber liberal Norway learned its hard lesson but it's more difficult in Germany, which is something like 30% Turkish after years of liberal immigration policies. The locals don't seem to want to tolerate it anymore.

I wonder why?
(The Independent) Up to 1,000 protesters have clashed with police in eastern Germany in riots reportedly sparked by the arrival of 250 migrants.

Police said protesters shouting "foreigners out" and carrying banners against the "asylum flood" threw bottles and stones at busloads of asylum seekers arriving in Heidenau, near Dresden. 
At least 31 officers were hurt in violent scuffles as police used tear gas to disperse crowds. 
Peaceful demonstrations began after news spread that the town was welcoming a large number of refugees who are set to be housed in an empty building.

Who's the Better Killer?

I watched the Chronicles of Roddick on Cable TV. In the film, they play a game called, "Who's the better killer?" The purpose of the game, as the name suggests, is to kill in more effective and more creative ways.

Who is the better killer?

The entries for the purposes of this blog and your Sunday Sermonette are as follows:

(The Mirror) The terrorists proudly torch people alive, behead them, stone them to death, rape women they have abducted and a host of other atrocities. Now they may have added to their sickening list of crimes. 
The killer thugs of ISIS may be selling the organs of enslaved Yazidi women to fund their murderous campaign in the Middle East. 
The terrorists proudly torch people alive, behead them, stone them to death, rape women they have abducted and a host of other atrocities. 
Now they may have added to their sickening list of crimes by selling human body parts to fund their twisted caliphate. 
A report by the Middle East Media Research Institute, which monitors ISIS supporters online, says militants openly discuss the topic of slavery on social media. The reports states: “These social media conversations also reveal information on where and under what conditions the women are being held, on the going prices for them, and even on other issues relating to them – such as possible trafficking in human organs.”

Hitler's SD (Einsatzgrupen)
On 7 December 1941, the same day that the American naval station at Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese, the first extermination camp was opened at Chelmno near Lodz by the SD and SiPo commander in occupied Poznań (Posen), then SS-Standartenführer  Ernst Damzog. Damzog had personally selected the staff for the killing center and later supervised the daily operation of the camp which was under the command of SS-Haupsturmfurher, Herbert Lange. Over a span of approximately 15 months, 150,000 Jews (men, women and children) were killed there.
While it is true that the Nazis picked the gold out of people's teeth and formed hair cut from mainly Jewish heads into bales for industrial purposes, they didn't cut apart the bodies and sell the organs. Technology just wasn't there yet.  

Planned Parenthood

Fueled with funding from the US Taxpayers, and citing the bulk of their offices in minority neighborhoods, they've been able to rack up a body count of 125,000 per year (average), which is slightly more than Hauptsturmfurher Lange was able to accomplish. And while ISIS boast marketing organs from sex slaves (presumably once they've been burned out as useful slaves), there's no way that they are harvesting the number of organs that Planned Parenthood is.

Planned Parenthood designed a better mousetrap, thus they win. They are clearly the better killers. They can keep their client women coming back time and time again, offering up their babies for dissection  and sale. Even though what they are doing is illegal, they've bought political top cover from the American government. PP is even considered trendy and avant garde. Hollywood stars endorse them and both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton condemn anyone who is against murdering babies and harvesting their organs for profit as "engaging in a war on women".

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Situation on the Korean Peninsula

I think that in order to understand what's going on between North and South Korea, and I mean REALLY understand it, you must have spent time in Korea. There is a national flavor to the situation that I haven't found anywhere else on the planet. Much of it has to do with emotion and pride that runs to the very core of the culture -- going back thousands of years. The only way I have found to explain it to make it meaningful to people in "the West" is to explain it this way: When Gene Roddenberry (created of the popular media series, Star Trek) wrote about Klingons, he used Koreans as the model.

That is not to say that I don't like Korean people. Quite the opposite. It's just that trying to explain a Confucian warrior culture to somebody who hasn't been exposed to it is difficult.

On 20 August, North and South Korea carried out their respective threats. North Korea threatened to destroy South Korean propaganda broadcast stations. At 15:53 local, it fired a single round at a broadcast station in Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi Province. At 16:12 it fired a greater number of shells across the Demilitarized Zone. South Korean authorities said the attack caused no casualties or serious property damage.

Senior South Korean authorities threatened strong retaliation for any North Korean provocations and authorized forward forces to retaliate. In response to the North Korean fire, South Korean 155-mm howitzers returned fire. North Korean media said they fired 36 shells, but inflicted no casualties.

The South Korean national defense ministry said that about 17:00 local time, it received a message from North Korea via a communications link at Panmunjom that contained an ultimatum from the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army. The ultimatum said that if the South did not stop the propaganda broadcasts within 48 hours from 17:00, then the North would begin strong military action.

A South Korean military source said Wednesday that North Korea’s military was ratcheting up its combat readiness posture. Front-line fortifications have opened their weapons portholes and units had intensified artillery firing drills. “The North Korean army is performing its exercises more frequently, including one that aims to speed up artillery operations.”

Later on the 20th, North Korean media reported that Dear Leader Kim Jong Un ordered the Korean People’s Army to move to “semi- war” combat readiness as of 17:00 Korea time (0430 ET) on 21 August.

South Korean forces are at their highest alert level. South Korea has implemented a partial evacuation of civilians from the western part of the Demilitarized zone.

The semi-war combat readiness condition is the second highest combat readiness condition. A semi-war state brings the combat forces to a condition from which they can launch attacks without warning, although all readiness measures are not completed. It always means there is a crisis, but not that a general war is imminent or likely.

The North appears ready to order increased readiness to the civilian sector, but the report does not indicate that Kim gave such an order. The changes to civilian normality under an order to increase civil readiness are so disruptive and destructive of national life that they would mean the end of Kim’s building and development programs for a considerable time. Such an order to the civil sector also would significantly increase the probability of an armed confrontation across the Demilitarized Zone.

Conditions are in place for a potentially serious escalation. The North Korean ultimatum requires some form of military action against the South Korean broadcast stations to prevent a loss of face. The North Koreans might have misjudged South Korea’s readiness and willingness to take them on. The chances of a miscalculation of intentions feeding escalation of the crisis are high. It's likely that North Korea will test a ballistic missile by shooting it in the general direction of South Korea.


Welcome to the weekly axe grinding session.

The Iranian Nuke Deal makes sense now that I know that the plan is for Iran to do their own inspections and to report their compliance rather than having Americans and other spies nosing around their bombs and nuclear program. It's obvious why the side deal was kept secret. I mean, it would damage the possibility of getting Congress to sign off on it if the public knew that we wouldn't be allowed to check compliance - - and had to trust the nation that repeatedly calls for our destruction and that of the State of Israel.

Will we end up in a war with Iran in the next twenty years? Likely. Who will start it? That's a more difficult question and begs questions like, 'why did we fake the Gulf of Tonkin Incident', a pretext for the Vietnam war. Why did we invade Iraq when the evidence all pointed to an absence of weapons of mass destruction? You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist because most of them aren't theories really...except for alien abductions. But then I worked on cases where illegal alien drug dealers were kidnapped and I found out that alien abductions are real.  See, I can't be that serious about the Iranian Nuke Deal because if I was to be, my invective toward the president, and the political class in America would violate my rule of general civility on this blog.

Shaun King (h/t LSP), a member of the racial pressure group #black lives matter, is apparently not a negro. He's been outed. Would a DNA test be conclusive? Not so fast.

We all know that if a man cuts parts off and adds implants, he's still genetically a man, even though he's legally a woman. It's the same for a woman who wants to be a man. It's called progressive behavior. 

Race, it seems is not a matter of genetics either. What does it take to be a negro? Rachael Dolezal (you all remember her) rose to high standing in the NAACP with a spray-on tan and a perm. She even taught college classes on how she (as a negro) had been kept down by white oppression. Now there is Shaun King, a white guy who has pretended to be black to cash in on big scholarship money and advantages only available to black people (such as the United Negro College Fund). When you think long and hard about it, you're going to get a lot more free phones and cheese as a member of the grievance culture than you'd ever get by being white. 

We've had a two-term mixed race man in the White House, two black attorneys general, lesbian and black Director of Homeland Security - and on and on. The #2 candidate for president on the other  (Republican Party) is Dr. Ben Carson, a black man. 

Last time the Republican, Herman Cain was a front runner and there is still the rant that the white man is trying to keep the black man down.  Yeah, I know, only black lives matter.

Hillary Clinton is angry at the vast right wing conspiracy that wants to hold her accountable for improperly handling classified material, which we know now was also literally stored in a restroom in Colorado. If the Russians and Chinese don't have it now, they're even more incompetent than SecState Clinton - and that's difficult to believe.

President Obama can always pardon her if she's indicted to keep her out of federal prison. Once pardoned, she can still run for office and there is no doubt in my mind that she'd remain a Democratic Party front-runner.

Jeb Bush is peeved at Donald Trump, who had to rent a stadium with a capacity of 55,000 for a rally this weekend.  Trump packs them in. Hillary has to pay people to show up and plump black women take the podium over from Bernie Sanders, who just sulks off and...who should have been a colonel - think of the campaign slogans one could come up with.

The California Highway Patrol has recommended that famous transexual Bruce/Cait Jenner be charged with manslaughter for his/her role in an automobile accident where he/she drove recklessly and it lead to another motorists death last year. If sentenced, would he/she serve his/her time in a woman's custodial facility? And if he/she impregnated his roommate while in custody, what are the legal implications if any? Most men, if asked, would prefer to spend hard time in a women's prison (pun intended).

Coming to the blog next week: Another short - this one with a science fiction theme.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Planned Parenthood - More and More Obscene.


This is the 7th CMP Video showing the practices of Planned Parenthood killing babies so that they can profit from the sale of their organs and other body parts. It disturbed me. And I'm not disturbed easily. Then again as the father of four and grandfather of seven, I am instinctively prone to protect babies.

I don't know how you can separate what they are doing from murder. I understand the pleas of some that what they are doing is "progressive". Look at the video and decide for yourself.

You can move forward to minute 4:00 and pay attention at 5:39 One of the examples given by Holly O’Donnell a former Planned Parenthood technician is how they "harvested" an intact brain from a late-term male fetus whose heart was still beating after the abortion.
O’Donnell describes the harvesting, or “procurement,” of organs from a nearly intact late-term fetus aborted at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte’s Alameda clinic in San Jose, CA. “‘I want to see something kind of cool,’” O’Donnell says her supervisor asked her. “And she just taps the heart, and it starts beating. And I’m sitting here and I’m looking at this fetus, and its heart is beating, and I don’t know what to think.” 
The San Jose Planned Parenthood does abortions up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. Referring to the beating heart of the aborted fetus, O’Donnell remarks, “I don’t know if that constitutes it’s technically dead, or it’s alive.”

Storing Information

Scientists have developed a way of storing vast quantities of information for up to a million years in a single molecule of DNA. They've also found a way to apply a mathematical algorithm normally used in long-distance radio transmissions to eliminate any errors when deciphering the data written in the digital genetic code of DNA.
(The Independent) Robert Grass and colleagues of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich said they have pioneered a process of encapsulated DNA in glass that is equivalent to creating a fossilised form of data storage.
 “If you go back to medieval times in Europe, we had monks writing in books to transmit information for the future, and some of those books still exist. Now, we save information on hard drives, which we wear out in a few decades,” Dr Grass said. 
DNA has the advantage over hard drives in that it is an extremely dense form of data storage with the potential to survive for long periods of time. An external hard drive for instance is about the size of a paperback book, can store about five terabytes of data and might last 50 years. 
In contrast, an ounce (28 grams) of DNA could fit on a penny, store 300,000 terabytes of memory and palaeontologists have shown the information stored in DNA recovered from fossils can survive for up to a million years.
It's worth reading the entire article in The Independent (cited above) if you have more interest in the

Not long after the discovery of the double helix architecture of DNA, people figured out that the coding language of nature is very similar to the binary language we use in computers. On a hard drive, we use zeros and ones to represent data, and in DNA there are four nucleotides, A, C, T and G. Scientists are still discovering information that was encoded in our shared DNA (example), and the capacity to store common computer data is a leap forward in the march toward a more rational form of data storage than we now use.

There are still some bugs that need to be worked out of the system and it's prohibitively expensive for every day use at the moment, but it clearly offers a pathway that has already been taken successfully as can be witnessed by the fact that you're reading this.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015



a fictional short

His pasty prison complexion, the result of being inside too long, a face scarred and prematurely wrinkled told a tale that would fill volumes, but John Gallo didn’t speak much about himself or anyone else. As he processed out of the California State Prison, Corcoran, in Kings County, he had to endure meetings with the prison staff including social workers. 

The first one, a homely Mexican social worker with a plastic nametag that read, “Mrs. Gonzales” pinned to her blouse looked him up and down and then invited him to sit in one of those curved, uncomfortable plastic chairs. He sat when bidden, holding small bundle of books. She looked at his file, suitably thick for a man who’d spent the past twenty years in the same facility. A few years before that, he did a year at Holman Correctional Facility in Escambia County, Alabama.

“How was your time here at Corcoran, Mr. Gallo?”

John shot her a you-have-to-be-shitting me look, “Officers killed more inmates here than any other prison in America. I’m glad that I wasn’t one of ‘em.”

She gave him a disturbed stare and then went on with her processing. “It’s a different world out there, Mr. Gallo.”

John Gallo stood five-foot nine, remained lean and hard through strenuous exercise and had no prison tattoos. He had not affiliated directly, though friends of his rewarded his continued silence with heroin smuggled to the Black Guerilla Family, Public Enemy Number One (PNI) and the Mexican Mafia in prison in his name. As a result of that pipeline, inmates left the silent and alert Joe Gallo alone. So did the guards. 

“You did your whole sentence, never requesting parole.”

Gallo resisted a sarcastic retort.

“We have some clothes for you.”

They were Salvation Army style, from the 1980’s or maybe earlier and smelled of mothballs. Gallo went behind a screen and exchanged his prison clothes for the street clothes, such as they were. They didn’t fit well, but he cinched the belt to the last notch and – good enough.

Lieutenant Gus Kirk handled intelligence for the prison and had been in that position for the past decade. He found Gallo interesting, thus he bumped the usual out-processing guard and handled the business himself. 

“You and I never spoke much, did we John?”

“I don’t think we ever passed a word until now, Lieutenant Kirk.”

“You’re not Italian, are you?”

“No, I’m Scots-Irish.”

Gallo tore open an envelope with his property in it. The Mont Blanc pen wasn't in it. Neither was his Rolex. No surprise there. He didn't beef the theft. Just signed for the contents.

“I did a lot of research on you.” He wanted to wait for Gallo to respond but knew that he would have waited a long time, so he continued. “Your family name is Gallows, and your grandfather and great grandfather were in the business of going from town to town building scaffolds.”

“A man has to make a living.”

“And they changed their name from McGillycuddy to Gallows. Your great uncle was Valentine McGillycuddy, an Indian agent and attending surgeon to the Indian war chief Crazy Horse when he died.”

Gallo didn’t respond.

“Your father, a brick mason, shortened your surname from Gallows to Gallo.”

“You’re quite a genealogist, lieutenant.” Gallo handed him one of the books he had been carrying with him. One Hundred Ways to Disappear and Live Free by Jim Curtis. Even though Gallo had no plans to disappear in the classic sense, he thought that passing him the book, popular with most inmates, would be a good way to mind-fuck the lieutenant. 

“You’re reputed to be part of the Italian Mafia, John, but you’re not, are you?” John shook his head, ‘no’, and smiled faintly. “Stay out of trouble, John. It would be nice not to see you back here. There won’t be a parole officer dogging you to stay straight.”

When John walked out of the door and them through the gate, he looked up at the blue, cloudless sky. Freedom. Nobody showed up to meet him. The State of California gave him a Greyhound Bus ticket to anywhere in America, one hundred dollars in US currency and a voucher for the local bus. It roared up the street, trailed by a cloud of blue-black diesel soot and stopped on King Avenue, at the curb outside of the prison to take him to Fresno. He left the worn out clothes that they gave him to wear in his entry back into society next to the bus bench and boarded. A woman across the aisle from him adjusted her baby so that it could breast feed discreetly. Gallo watched her. She caught him. He winked. Disgusted, she covered herself and the baby with a blanket. It made him laugh. He hadn't laughed much during his life on the inside of the wire.

Fresno, much like San Francisco, felt and looked like an east coast city that was uprooted and dropped in California. It had that sour, run-down Phili-Baltimore-style depressing vibe downtown by the bus station. Everyone Gallo saw was black, and was either peddling their ass, a narcotic or both. It hadn’t changed in the twenty years that he’d been inside. Fresno is Fresno. He avoided the place like the plague in the old days and hadn't planned to be there for long.

It didn't take long for him to walk to the flophouse. He counted the wooden steps up to the second floor, stopping at 11, leaned down and pulled up a stair board. Reaching inside he felt, grabbed and withdrew a steel box. He opened it and pulled out a Kimber Colt 1911 semi automatic handgun with four loaded magazines and a box of ammunition. There was nothing old about any of it. His people dead dropped it as soon as they heard of his release. The name on the driver's license was Robert  M. Heidt, with an address in Anaheim. A safe house. He wondered how they got a recent photo of him to put on the license. It wasn't from any potential source that he could identify. There were credit cards in the same name, a nice wallet and two thousand in twenties. The cards and the license would pass muster. They always did.

He'd asked for a sedan, but the keys in the box were to a new gray GMC Yukon, parked in front of the flop house. He hadn't driven in twenty years, but he would make do. At least the seats were leather. As Gallo pulled away from the curb, it felt as if somebody hit the Yukon from the rear and the jolt sent him into the steering wheel and an expanding air bag. Except there was no air bag, and no steering wheel. No Fresno street scene. Only a gray ceiling. "Get down off that top bunk and give big papa some love, sugar britches."