Monday, December 28, 2009

Hasta La Vista Baby!

When I realized my 'puter was fried (yea, verily!) I wasn't as bummed out as I would expect. Could be the Vista program on the dead 'puter has been a major pain in the asshola, or perhaps I have matured to the point where this kinda thing is like water off a ducks back.
I'm leanin' towards the major pain in the asshola.

I found myself smiling. A genuine smile. Hmm.

"Hasta la Vista you pice of s**t! And good riddance," I muttered, calmly.
So what now? I wondered.

"We can probably afford another one in February", Patti said.

"Not before we get your toothache taken care of. Luxury takes a back seat to your teeth," I replied.

I was serious. I mean, sure a new 'puter (IF it works better than Vista) would be nice, but like a cell phone it ain't a necessity.
Health is. Especially Patti's health. It's a priority! My wife comes first!

Besides...If.She.Hurts...I.Hurt. If you catch my drift. So yeah, maybe there is some self interest at work here, but I really don't like to see her in pain, even if I'm spared the, um, side effects (collateral damage) of that pain, which is most unpleasant.

"I have an idea but it might not work," Patti said. "Why not try the old Windows XP computer?"

"We still got that?" I asked.

Yeah, we do. Patti sets stuff on it, like a table for other electronic stuff.

"Yeah, we do," Patti said.

"Okay, I'll give it a whirl," I said.

"It will probably take a long time to update...if it works", Patti said, tepidly.

"Hey I'm not gettin' my hopes up. If it works, then great. If not, I'm not gonna get my panties in a bunch over it," I said. "If I had panties, that is," I quickly added.

"You're a loon," Patti replied.

A Coon loon, I would've said had I thought about it at the time.

So I hooked up the older 'puter, and replaced Patti's little "table thingy" with the Vista piece.

"Damn!" I grunted.

"What?" Patti asked.

"This XP hard drive is a lot heavier than the Vista one. Not that that's a problem. Just sayin'," I said.

Why in the hell don't they put handles on these things? I wondered. Would I get rich if I patented handles for hard drives and other stuff that don't have handles but should?
Nah! Too much paperwork, I concluded.

But this thought has caused an all out debate between my self and the rest of me.
Visions of endless rivers of grog dance through my head. That's hard to argue with. Anyone wanna help me get a patent on this idea? I'll cut you in on a piece of the action. This could be bigger than the handles on can openers idea (say, why did that take so long?)!

Where was I? Oh, right. As you can see, the XP relic actually far. Don't mind me, I ain't really bein' cynical...much. Jest realistic. Main thing is it works now. I like it a helluva lot better than Vista, too.

See ya in the funny papers, my friends. :^)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

In Your Face

This post is dedicated to Kath (Ximeze), who passed away last week at 53, to be with the Lord.

What to write? Well, despite contemplating what to write for days, it only feels right to go with improvisation...from my heart...with one boundary: in your face Truth, which Kath is well gnown for.
But not just that. In your heart.

Ximeze (her pen name) is authentic. She never put on airs or some front full of politically correct platitudes. She isn't an actor striving desperately to be liked.
As an off-road seeker of Truth and a Raccoon in Good standing she

Ximeze loves Liberty, which is a requirement, if one is seriously slackfull in their pursuit of Truth. Afterall, without Liberty you can't even begin your journey to gno Truth, Beaty, Goodness and Love.
Without Liberty you can't begin to gno God. You need a lot more than just Love to sail that course.

Ximeze knew that well, as her comments at One Cosmos Under God...
One Cosmos
Clearly showed. As did her e-mails, to those of us blessed enough to have called her friend.

Ximeze is generous and never hesitated to help my wife and me after we went through a flood and other trials. She helped us materially, sent some of the best coffee I ever drank (Costa Rican) and gave me some Good advice, which I'll always cherish, during some very trying times. Thanks, Kath!

Ximeze showed us all how best to handle trolls, with some of the very best insultainment you can find. She also knew which trolls were really seeking Truth (even when they didn't know they were seeking), and was happy to pass on what she had learned and Realized.
And she knew when to ignore some of the more insidious trolls.

When I spoke with Kath I knew...Gnu! she understood me. For she knows what pain is and how it can transform one to become a seeker of Truth; a True believer, that welcomes the Holy fire that developes our character.

She gnu that the alternative to becoming a joyfull seeker of Truth is bitterness rather than joy, and what bitterness leads to which is slavery, not liberty.
Indeed, bitterness is a cancer that leads to envy, and Ximeze despised envy in all it's prideful rebellion, which leads to thievery and murder for those who embrace those evil desires.
Envy is the enemy of Good as bitterness is the enemy of Joy. It's clear what it leads to for anyone paying attention to the results of bitterness and envy, on the personal level as well as the political, cultural and religious levels.

That's why Ximeze loved One Cosmos, Dr. Sanity, and American Thinker, to name just a few blogs that cherish the Truth above petty bitterness n' envy.
If you peruse her comments at One Cosmos you'll also find good book recommendations as well as many outstanding articles by Thomas Sowell, Victor Davis Hansen and Mark Steyn, again, to name just a few.

It is among the greatest honor to have gotten the opportunity to know Kath a bit, and I look forward to seeing her when my time comes. I love you Kath. Thanks again for giving me a hand up and not a handout. :^)

Please pray for Kath, her beloved family and her pets...for the Peace of God to ease their grief and temporary loss. Thanks. God bless you all.

I'll miss her love, wisdom, wit, knowledge and humor. And much more. And yet, she is still with me in my heart which is comforting...until we meet again. :^)

Here you'll find some outstanding tributes honoring Kath (please let me know if anyone else wrote a tribute honoring Kath so I can add them):




In memoriam

Thanks to Todd for the beautiful photos of Kath.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hostel Hostility

My wife says I spend too much time on the internet. She says "it's the internet highway, not the internet hotel (hostel if yer european).

"What about Motel Zero?" I retorted. "That ain't no hostel."

"What are you talking about?" Patti replied.

Sigh. Therein lies the crux of the problem methinks.
The thing is, she's serious. So she recommends (ie suggests, ie lays down the law) a few changes.

Firstly, no more stayin' up late at night (ie we gotta be on the same schedule).
Now, I find it extemely difficult if not impossible to blog during the daytime. There's just too many distractions (IYKWIMAITYD).

Also, we are droppin' MSN dial-up services to save a few bucks which means we hafta use Wildblue, and I wrote about how fascist they are concerning the time they allow one to use the internet without imposing draconian penalties (re: mo' money). I hope they go outta business or at least get some competition out here. Freakin' internet nazi's!

Which leads to secondly, I can only be on the internet highway Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for a few hours (say what?!). Aye, that makes bloggin' nigh impossible, so is this the end of One Cosmos At Sea? Kinda looks that way, I'm sorry to say.
I mean, it's virtually impossible for me to read One Cosmos in just a few hours, let alone comment or read all the other blogs I love, many of them yours, dear friends.

This has led to a honeydo list on scareroids. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's not that scary, really, just not preferable, but there'sots of things in reality that ain't preferable.

Change indeed. This following a virus I contracted on my e-mail which caused Patti to change it to usnr_ben at (@) That sucked. Put me offline for awhile, such as it is.

Personally, I'm not partial to these changes, but I do admit I oughtta spend more time with my wench, and that's partially why my wench decided to (ahem!) recommend these (cough cough!) changes.

I will do my best to read faster n' type faster in the event I actually have time to comment. Please excuse me while I sing the blues. It has been said the blues can be helpful during times like this. Or at least some songs to commiserate with, while I count my blessings. Man, that's hard to type right now. Okay, I'm thankful I can read n' write again, but I wish I could do it at the speed I used to.

I know, I know. As Skully keeps remindin' me, "you can wish in one hand and sh*t in the other and see which one fills up first."
Actually, I think he's quoting the late, great Burgess Meredith with that quote but it still holds true.
I'll be seeing you guys. More in my dreams than online lately, so it seems my unconcious part of my mind (such as it is) is feelin' the love. :^)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Where's My BIB?

Hey, it's not like I gotta lotta stuff, but...I do have enough stuff so that when I go lookin' for somethin', like oh, let's say my e-mail address book, it's virtually impossible to find.

Okay, let's jump into my nifty time machine and go backwards in time to the past, circa: a few days ago.
Here I was (or there I was) doin' computer stuff when voila! I noticed all my e-mail addresses had vanished into...thin err!
WTH? How did...? Patti?! (Patti is my personal computer tech., who techses my 'puter when this sort of thing happens).

After 'splainin' to patti what the deal was, she shrugged her shoulders and said "What did you do?"

As if it was MY fault. I retained my composure and the last shred of dignity I put away for a rainy day and said, "Nothin'...REALLY!"

Blink. Blink. Actually we both blinked. It was a Mexican blink off. I was prepared to blink for hours if necessary, 'cause I know I didn't do nothin' to erase no
e-mail addresses. Purty sure, anyway.

"Well, you'll just have to re-enter them," Patti said, goin' back to doin' whatever it was she was doin' before I interupted her.

Ha! I won! I thought. She broke the Mexican blink off! Somehow, the victory seemed hollow though.

But not to worry, 'cause I wrote them down in my trusty BIB (Black Internet-Address Book) (BIAB sounds really moronic, so I shortened it to BIB). I woulda gotten a green one but GIB don't make no sense as an acronym. Sounds stupid, so black it was.

I was purty sure I put it somewhere close by, for situations just like this. But the more I searched, the more I questioneed the state of mind I was in (or lack thereof) when I prepared for this emergency.

How can I be so stupid? I wondered, feverishly searchin' all the logical places I would put the BIB. Maybe Patti moved it, I thought. Yeah, that must've been what happened.

"Patti, have you seen my BIB?" I asked.

"Your WHAT?" She replied, puzzled.

"You know, my BIB, the Black Internet-Address Book," I answered.

"Shouldn't it be be BIAB?" She asked, grinning.

"I...I...shortened it, so it wouldn't sound like I'm an idiot," I replied, testily.
Too late, the voice in the back of my mind said.

As I throttled the voice in the back of my mind it occured to me that it might possibly be right...maybe. But it felt good to throttle the voice in the back of my mind, because it's always right, dammit!

"Are you okay?" Patti asked, with an amused puzzled look.

"Yes, I'm fine!" I said a bit too loudly.
Stupid voice! I thought.

"Where did you put your...BIB?" Patti asked, tryin' not to laugh.

"I don't know," I answered, feelin' my face turn red.

"Then how would I know if I moved it?" Patti asked, doin' a remarkable job keeping some semblance of her composure.

How would she know? I wondered.

"Because it's black, and about this big," I gestured with my hands, gettin' frustrated.

"Well, there is lots of black books that big around the house," Patti replied.

You're enjoying this, ain't you? I thought, losing my patience.

"Did you move ANY BIB's in the room?" I asked.

"Hmm, I'm not sure. When are we talking about?" Patti asked.

"When? WHEN? I don't know!" I replied, exasperated.

"When did you make your...BIB?" Patti asked, beginning to lose it.

"I dunno, a few years ago? What difference does that make?" I countered.

"When did you last see your BIB?" Patti asked.

"How would I know?" I replied. "Look, have you seen it or not?"

"No, I don't think I have seen your BIB," Patti replied, now openly laughing.

Maybe I shoulda got the gray one, I thought, hastily retreating as dignified as I could...which is to say without any dignity whatsoever.

Yeah, GIB woulda sounded MUCH better, the voice quipped.

Shut up! I thought, as I resumed my search.

So anyways, I'm still lookin'. When I find my BIB, I'll definitely put it in a logical place this time, you can be assured of that. However, in the meantime, may I impose on your good will my friends?
Would you please send me an e-mail. ANY e-mail will do. It don't hafta be fancy or nothin'. In fact, you can just type one letter and send it. It'll be quick, easy, and painless that way.

I thank you all in advance for your boundless charity.
Heh. It dawned on me I didn't supply my e-mail address, and what if? I thought, what if some of youse guys also lost yer e-mail addresses? So here it is:
ussben AT (meanin' @)
No spaces or parentheses. I learnt to write it that way to trick all the spammers spammin' my blog. 'Cause I don't like spam. I like REAL ham. So if ya wanna ham me, that's okay (I prefer spiral ham, but any ham will do...and bacon is also more than acceptable, if yer a baconer). Just keep the spam away. It's bad enough my 'puter tech likes that stuff.
Actually, I think my e-mail address is on my sidebar but I'm too lazy to look.

BTW, since the spam people are called spammers why ain't the ham people called hammers?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

One Cʘsmos: Mapping the 4-Dimensional Soul Space of Politics

Now this, by far:

One Cʘsmos: Mapping the 4-Dimensional Soul Space of Politics

Is the best explanation and graph I have ever seen, regarding not only politics but moral and spiritual progress.

Some excerpts from Gagdad Bob:

"I wanted to establish this notion that there are two general types of men, the worldly and the spiritual. However, this is not strictly an either-or proposition; rather, this duality exists on a vertical continuum. Let's call this the y-axis.

With this in mind, we need to immediately amend our definition, since there exist "infrahuman" states that are spiritual in the negative sense. As such, the saint would be situated at the top of the y-axis, whereas the common man would be at the zero point. The real evildoers are situated in the minus space below the horizontal axis. More on which later.

Now, later in the day I was reading The Road to Serfdom, which is all about... well, about the left-wing collectivist road to serfdom. I don't think there's any need to rehearse all of his arguments here, because if you don't already understand them, you probably never will.

At the time Road to Serdom was published, it was still thought that fascism and socialism were somehow opposites rather than two forms of the same underlying assumptions. To place these on the horizontal continuum is pure nonsense -- as if fascism is somehow an extension of the classical liberalism of the free market!

No. The only logical way to understand the horizontal continuum -- and to chart "progress" -- is to place "collectivism" and "individualism" on the x-axis; conveniently, collectivism (and serfdom) is to the left, while individualism (and liberty) is to the right."

Please check out the link to see the graph, I couldn't copy it for some resason.

The graph represents three dimensions, incorporating the horizontal (secular) and vertical (spiritual). Indeed, all of Bob's posts revolve around the horizontal and vertical, and can get quite esoteric, but I can find few examples of folks that can write about esoterism in such a way as to make it more
understandable. Not that I understand everything Bob writes about, but I can say every post is worth reading. Often, I'll understand and realize something Bob wrote a few years ago, when I'm "ready" to know it. When I see it. So, if you are ready, you will see the graph not as it appears on Bob's blog, but as it really is, beyond two dimensions and within your self.

What I like most about Gagdad Bob's excellent post (and virtually every post he writes) is the clarity in which he writes. In this post he clarifies and explains how fascism is a leftist creation. When you think about it, it must be because leftists are collectivists (slavery) while those on the right are individualists (liberty), to paraphrase Bob. Therefore, a conservative, or classic liberal would never be attracted to collectivism (fascism, Communism, Socialism).

I know that really pisses off those on the left, but it's true. They can't see it, or if they do they won't admit it. That's why it's useless to "debate" leftists. It's like trying to describe colors to a blind man. So better to simply clarify, rather than argue with them, as Dennis Prager suggests.
When you clarify a leftist position, more often than not it's looks silly. Besides, when a leftist of any degree see's clearly what they really believe it can be far more compelling than debating them.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

One Cʘsmos: About Those Right Wing Fascists

Gagdad Bob has an outstanding post up about the left's conniption fits over some of the signs at the Tea Party's at:

One Cʘsmos: About Those Right Wing Fascists

Here's some excerpts:

"There are not too many things that really bother me about politics, politics being what it is. But one thing that does is when people condemn one side for doing exactly what the other side does. This is why you will never see me get excited by a commonplace political scandal. Of course politicians are corrupt. That's why I am a conservative. I want fewer of them, with less power over me."

"I've read any number of mainstream analyses of the tea party movement, and not one of them dispassionately discusses the substance of the arguments, i.e., out of control government spending, socialized medicine, legislation to forbid the climate from changing, etc.

Now, back to those "crazies" who think that Obama is a fascist. First of all, you have to understand that genocide is not intrinsic to fascism. In a way, Hitler spoiled a perfectly useful word by forever associating it with the Holocaust. So now we have no name for a certain enduring political phenomenon, just because the name for it has been tainted."

Good analysis. How often do people misinterpret what you are sayin' because they don't know what you mean? It happens a lot. A word like "fascist" is loaded, and most folks will associate the word with the Holocaust if you use it, ignoring the true meaning of the word.

Of course there are plenty of other words that are also loaded with all sorts of "nuance," no thanks to the left. Which is ironic, because when you look at the true meanings of words, the left is basically the oposite of some of their favorite self-descriptions.

The left ain't liberal, they are illiberal. They certainly ain't progressive they are regressive. And does anyone really believe, besides leftists that is, that they are the "reality community?"
I mean, these are people that believe they can bring about a manmade utopia by killing the golden goose (and geese) that produce the golden eggs that can only hatch in a free market.
So not only do they wanna kill the golden geese, they wanna fry up and scramble all the eggs until it's extinct.

We all have seen the results of that ideology, at l;east those of us that have even a basic knowledge of history.
Hell, you can see the results of socialism right now. Who wants to move to Cuba, North Korea or Venezuela?

No one does, not even the leftists that don't realize their utopian plans will destroy our economy and freedoms. And they call themselves the reality community?
More like batsh*t insane. But leftists wanna change reality without understanding what the reality actually is, to paraphrase Gagdad Bob.

And when it won't work they'll just keep askin' for more money until the golden geese are extinct. Then what? Blame President Bush again? Yeah, that'll work. Better to blame a scapegoat rather than admit your fascist ideology destroys everything it touches. Reality can be so annoying, huh? Idiots.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dad Is Proud!!!

I recently talked to our youngest daughter, A., and have some good news to report: she has been accepted to med school with a full scholarship, and the university of Ohio pursued her, based on her previous high grades (straight A's) as she worked damn hard to become a psychologist!

A. left home to join the Army and requested to go to Iraq or Afghanistan, but instead the Army kept her at Fort Bragg during the duration of her service.
While serving her country in the 81st Airborne, she took night classes to become a psychologist, and after her tour of duty she continued to pay her own way to get her degree. Then she worked at Fort Bragg after becoming a psychologist and entered grad. Awhile later she got the offer from the university of Ohio and decided to take it.

She still has to pay for her tuition the first year and books, and has quickly found herself poor again, but she's okay with that.
She was gonna get a job to help cover the costs which are still considerable, even
with a full scholarship, but the school advised against getting a job, but said if she must to only work twenty hours a week, which she is seeking to do.
Even workin' part time she will be extremely busy.
She never asked, but we're gonna send what we can so she can at least eat after payin' rent, car payment, etc..

She told me about all the folks tryin' to talk her outta goin' to med school because it is so difficult and demanding. She got suggestions to become a physicians assistant or something equivalent instead.
She was even told she couldn't do it. Heh. Wrong thing to say to A!

You see, A. never quits, and she never surrenders, no matter what the circumstances, no matter what the obstacle! Becoming a psychologist, goin' to school and workin' to serve our country was no easy task.
Heck, the Army was no easy task. Workin' and goin' to junior college immediately following high school graduation and gettin' straight A's was no easy task and wth very little help from mom n' dad as far as money goes.

No, A. is a fighter, and fighters never. Ever. Give up. She simply works and fights that much harder when the goin' gets tough.

"I will accept nothing less than an M.D. after my name, Dad," she said. "I want to be a trauma surgeon."

She said something else to me on the phone and it really struck my heart, and Patti's too:

"Dad, I always remember what you and mom taught me. That I can be whatever I want if I work hard enough and truly want it. That nothing can stop me when I set a goal. To get right back up if reality knocks me down and keep on fighting no matter how many times it takes or how long I must endure. I think I got your fighting genes, Dad," she said. was very hard to talk after that 'cause i got all choked up and tears of pride in my daughter welled up in my eyes. In fact, they are again, just writin' about it. Excuse me...

Ahem. Yeah. You know, it ain't just pride but love, and knowin' I did at least one thing right by A. all those times I talked to her about fightin' through tough times and refusin' to be a victim.
Hey, it's damn hard to explain this to anyone let alone a child, a teenager, and a young woman, but Patti and I did our best, often until our daughters eyes would glaze over.

As Gagdad Bob often tells us at his blog, One Cosmos a person can know stuff but until they actually realize it, experience it, and actualize the wisdom (nous) until it lierally becomes a part of them that is REAL, they really don't gno it.
And when we go from knowing to gnoing we transcend our self and get closer to our true Self, or the self we are destined to be, and every time we transcend we fullfill our Purpose.
Thanks Bob! :^)
A. gnos it. She gets it, and as a result she is far more mature than most folks several decades older than her.

I'm as proud as I can be, with A. and with C., our oldest daughter who also get it!
I'm beaming, if you know what I mean (no, not Jim Beaming)!
C. has also worked hard raising our grandaughter, G, and was recently promoted at Geek Squad where she works! She's doin' a fine job as a mom, which is as hard to do as any job out there, much harder than most and as hard as the hardest!
C. had a good role model in her Mom, Patti, and I'm happy as an unsteamed clam she picked up on what Patti taught her about Momhood!

Thank you, C. and A. for listenin' to Mom n' Dad and never giving up when times get rough and the whole world seems to be crashin' down upon you!

PS- Our pup, Little Miss loves blackberries and she likes to jump around like a rabbit or a roo. She also like to try n' catch moths (or anything that flies) and eat 'em, like a cat.
I keep tellin' her she's a dog. Sometimes she gets it. Like the great dane in that movie The Ugly Daschund, she has little moments when she'll proudly stand as good as any dachsi dog show champion, her head up, eyes forward, back straight, tail up at full mast, radiatin' dachsi pride!
Then she'll go back to hoppin' around, eating blackberries and catchin' moth's.
Oh. And she likes to sit on Skully's shoulder when he's sittin' down. I kid you not! Skully just goes with it and says "Arrhhh!" As if he's sportin' a parrot.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Military Commissaries: Et Tu?

I signed up to receive the Commissary newsletters a few months ago, in order to see the latest news and to see which products I could save the most on with promotionals and the like.

So anyway I saw this in the september issue and it made my blood boil!

DeCA (defense Commisary Association) renews efforts to hire employees
with targeted disabilities.
The Defense Commissary Agency recently announced its goal to hire at least 189 people with targeted disabilities in the next two to three years.

Targeted disabilities include severe hearing or vision impairments, missing extremities, and partial or complete paralysis. They also include serious medical conditions such as convulsions, mental retardation, mental or emotional illness, and severe distortion of the limbs or spine.

This hiring effort is part of an overall goal, mandated by the Department of Defense, to have 2 percent of the entire DoD workforce consist of people with targeted disabilities. DeCA presently employs 126 such individuals, so an additional 189 would bring the agency's total to 315; that is 2 percent of the agency's 15,714 civilian employees who are not contract workers or local nationals working at overseas stores.

(The link won't go in for some reason, so you hafta cut n' paste it).

Oh great. Now the commissary is employing affirmative action irt folks with disabilities.

Okay, I'm all for hiring people with disabilities, IF they can do the jobs they apply for. And most can. As a disabled vet, I have no problem with that.

But doing it by affirmative action does a great injustice to the disabled.
This is just as bad as affirmative action for any targetted group, be it blacks, hispanics, Tongans, or any other group.

It's divisive folks, plain and simple! DeCA should hire folks based on their ability to do the job they applied for. Period. Hire the most qualified. Get rid of this "we must cater to people who have a victim mentality" mentality to show how morally superior we are.

I call Bullshit! If I could work I would never want special treatment, and I wouldn't want someone else more qualified to lose out on a job they applied for simply because I'm disabled.
Hire people on their merits (look it up in the dictionary, 'cause apparently, you DeCA people who came up with this piece of crap policy don't know the meaning of the word).

Now, if they hire a disabled person that ain't as fast or strong as a person that don't have a disablity, but has a can do attitude and a super work ethic to do their best at all times, then I won't argue with that.
There's certainly more to an employee than speed and strength, but that must be balanced out on a case by case basis. Thee's many factors to consider, say for instance: a disabled person applies for the job of cashier and they are full of joy with a good work ethic.
Yeah, they might be slower but they spread their joy to others while doin' their best. I'd hire that person based on those merits.

If I'm competing for a job with someone not disabled and who has the same work ethics I do, I would expect that person to be hired over me, if the manager doin' the hiring has any brains.

And guess what DeCA? I won't be envious or bitter if you pick the most qualified person for the job. I want our vets to get the BEST SERVICE POSSIBLE!
Only an idiot steeped in Leftist PC groupthink wouldn't understand that. What's right is right. Get with the program and stop bein' so damn condenscending! Because that IS offensive you bureaurat pukes!

The vast majority of veterans, active duty and retired are Conservative/Classic Liberals (for obvious reasons).
Unfortunately, the burearats are mostly made up of Leftist morons or at least are tilting in that direction. These are the idiots that make life much harder for our veterans.
They deserve our scorn and should leave our vets alone! Go find yer victim groups someplace else, 'cause we don't want you...punks!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Psych Out

We the people, who treasure and try our best to preserve the concepts of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, can never rest because there are those people among us who will try their best to tear down everything we love.

The Left does indeed try to destroy everything we hold dear, and in the end it really don't matter whether it's with the best intentions or not. It's a given they can't see the results of their good intentions, despite the fact that there is more than ample evidence throughout history and presently that Leftist ideas don't work, and, in fact destroy all that is Good, True and beautiful.

The Left has taken over, for the most part, education and turned it into indoctrination.
They have taken over the news organizations, not to report information objectively but to spew Leftist propaganda subjectively.
They have taken over, again, for the most part, the entertainment industry, which also puts out a steady stream of Leftist propaganda. Which is why movies and art tend to suck and be ugly.

The Left even has a foothold in religion of nearly all denominations, producing lukewarm churches that hardly no one likes to go to, and for good reason, because even many Leftists don't like to hear the latest religous-political-social experimentation indoctrination crap.
And of course the Left is very visible in politics. They are a major force in all parts of our government, and easy to spot. For whatever cities, counties, states or federal agencies they are a majority in, you will see massive debt, higher crime, more unemployment, higher taxes, loss of liberties, and a slew of other symptoms of the disease that is Leftism.

This is all a given. We all know this. But there is another area that Leftists have a major foothold, and that is mental health. The majority of psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists are Leftists.

What kind of damage do they cause? Well, for one, they often cater to the victim mentality, which makes it worse, encouraging envy and bitterness.
They push idiotic ideas that Leftists love, such as higher than high self esteem(pride: the bad kind), and the ridiculous idea that all emotions are valid, or justified in every circumstance.
For instance, there is such a thing as unjustified anger, and envy is never a good thing. Neither is all the derangemewnt syndromes out there that the Leftist psyche docs participate in.

In short, Leftist mental health "academics", like their Leftist comrades in other fields, are at war with reality. They are a big part of the problem, not the solution (except perhaps the final solution) in regards to mental healthcare.

For how can a Leftist psychologist treat the root causes of a patient mental illness if they have the same disease?
Oh sure, they can be of some help in the short term, and perhaps with some mental illnesses, but when it gets down to the nitty gritty they just increase the medication or punt.

In the long term, Leftist mental health types hurt not only individual patients but our collective mental health as well, even when most of their own studies (if done with at least an iota of honesty) repeatedly prove their own theories wrong.

So what can we the people, the patriots do about it?
Well, there has been an effort by many patriots to get back into all these jobs that Leftists have infiltrated and taken over, be it education, entertainment, journalism, politics, etc.. This is good news, and I hope we see more.

I hope as well we see more conservatives/classical liberals getting into the mental health field. We really need more Gagdad Bob's, Dr. Sanity's, Bob Newharts, Shrinkwrappeds, Dr. Fraser's, Dennis Pragers, and others out there.
Doctors who care so much they are willing to take considerable heat to do what's right for their patients and for the ideals of Life and Liberty.
They seek Truth and they try to help as many of us that will listen to also seek Truth in our lives, both individually and collectively.

I'm not sure why there ain't more patriots willing to become psychologists , psychiatrists and therapists, but it's crucial to the health of our nation we get more.
Having said that, I'm extremely thankful for the ones we have. Thanks Doc's! You are on the cutting edge in our efforts to open eyes n' ears to Reality.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dignity Is A Fickle Mistress

For you guys that have reader this post (and subsequent older posts I'm putting back in the blog after they were wiped out) will appear as if new, but they are just oldies.
I did Benitorialize and add to this one though, in case you wanna read it again. I also found a much easier way to locate my lost posts, so this process of replacing my old posts back onto OCAS should proceed at a much faster pace.

Okay, due to high demand and to be fair to any of you guys who don't use reader, I'll combine some of the old stories (with new material!)
and post them for all to see (meaning: if you don't use reader you don't hafta go searchin' through the archives for the refurbished posts).

Securing for sea isn’t difficult, but it’s time consuming.
The law of gravity is complicated out at sea. Not only can stuff fall down, but the sea can make stuff go sideways…and indeed, every which way it can possibly go. Even up!

“Cut me about three feet of that line,” said the Chief, pointing to the roll of white, quarter inch wide line.

I took the new buck knife I bought the day before from its brand new leather sheath and unfolded the blade until it locked open with a metallic snap.
I sliced cleanly through the line, in one easy motion.

“Damn! Think you got that buck sharp enough?” The Chief said, obviously impressed.

“My Grandpa taught me years ago how to use a whetstone,” I said.

“Hell! Most newbies don’t even know what a whetstone is for, let alone how to use one,” said Chief, tying off some Navy pubs (publications) so they wouldn't fall out (or fly) from their shelves which were bolted to the bulkhead in the wardroom.

It was a busy day for everyone, with Reservists checking in all morning for the training mission, and the crew getting the ship ready for sea.

“Alright, you got the idea,” Chief said. “I have to check on things in the main galley and mess decks, so yer on yer own,” he added.

“Aye aye, Chief!” I said, cutting another length of line.
At 1330 the ’sea and anchor detail’ was called over the ship’s 1MC (loudspeaker).

1400- “Underway. Shift colors,” was announced. The Ensign was simultaneously lowered on the stern, and hoisted on the mast.

The line handlers on the pier freed the mooring lines, and the Bos'n Mates hauled them in as fast as they could, to avoid getting them wet.
Wet mooring lines weighed alot more than dry ones.

I was on the 01 weather deck, watching the show.
I wanted to go to the bridge but it was too crowded, and only essential personnel were allowed.

In Combat, short for Combat Information Center (CIC) where I would normally be working, they were keeping an electronic eye on surface vessels with RADAR, performing RADAR Navigation, manning radios, logs and status boards, and making shipping and navigational recommendations to the bridge.

I stopped by CIC earlier, but it was crowded too, so I opted for the scenic view from the uncrowded weatherdeck.
Soon we entered the shipping lane, and proceeded at 5 knots (nautical miles per hour). A nautical mile is 2,000 yards or 6,000 feet, so it's a bit longer than a standard mile.

A few minutes later I noticed a small, green boat heading towards the Henderson from our starboard beam, about 300 yards out.
As they got closer, I could hear some guy on a megaphone yelling something about nuclear power and whales.

There were 8 people aboard the small craft, holding cardboard signs that said “Give Peace a chance”, “Save the Planut”, “Whales have rights!”, “Nucler power kils!” and “USN=Sea nazis.”

Must be protesters, I was thinking. Bad spellers, too.
When they got within 20 feet or so, they dropped their signs and picked up…
Water balloons? What the hey? I watched them intently as the Captain warned them to give way over the ship's loudspeakers after honking the loud horn. We had the right of way, but it was apparent the Captain didn't wanna sink the small boat if he could help it.

The hippy pukes were chanting “no more nukes!”

Thing is, the Henderson wasn't a nuke. Even a newbie like me could see the two boiler stacks the Henderson sported. Either these idiots didn't know we were a conventional ship, or they couldn't find a nuclear ship to harass. At any rate, it wasn't as if the officers and crew of the henderson were gonna suddenly start singin' kumbaya with these greenpeace morons.

I wondered also why they thought we were killin' whales. I sure hadn't heard about it, and could see no reason why we would ever kill whales, even if we wanted to.
We were kinda busy doin' other stuff, like keeping the sea lanes open, fightin' a cold war, training, and...well, you get the picture.

All the greenpeacers stood up and hurled the water balloons at our ship.
Splat! Sploosh! Splat! Only 3 managed to throw far enough to hit the Henderson’s hull.

That ain't water! That’s paint! I thought. Yellow, red, and green paint! These scumbags were vandalizing our ship!
The driver of their dingy turned and paralleled our course and speed.
The protesters picked up more paint balloons, with hate etched on their faces. They ought to change their name to greenhate, I thought. Or greenimbeciles.
They threw the balloons at our ship. Assholes! Fortunately they threw like little girls with lazy eyes.

I heard a ruckus on the main deck, and looked down. Someone was seriously pissed!

“No, Kilwaski! You’ll end up in the brig!” Yelled BM2 Sanchez, with his arms around a big guy waving a spanner wrench.
Must be Kilwaski, I deducted.

“I won’t hurt them, dammit! I just put hole in their boat!” Yelled Kilwaski.

“Then they’ll sue your ass, ‘Ski,” said Sanchez, struggling to hold the big man back.
"And you will get into trouble."

“We spent hours painting hull! They pay!” Kilwaski shouted, dragging Sanchez behind him as he moved towards the rail.

“Those scumbags aint worth it ‘Ski! Now give me that wrench!” Ordered Sanchez, breathing hard.

“Okay,” said ‘Ski, looking down and giving up the wrench. 'Ski glared down at the greenpeace bozos, who were pointing up and laughing at him as he shook his fist at them.

“Alright, big man. Don’t let them get to you buddy,” said Sanchez, leading Kilwaski away from the rail and into the ship. “C’mon, I’ll buy you some coffee.”

“But coffee free,” I heard Kilwaski say as the hatch closed.

I could feel the Henderson speeding up. According to the charts I saw earlier, we should be going 10 knots now, or perhaps 15 since visibility was good.
Now the wake our ship was making was bigger, and the small protest boat was skipping up and down, trying to stay close.
As one protester began to throw her paint balloon, their boat jumped and she fell in the water.

I heard loud applause and laughing from the fantail and foc’sle, where many sailors had gathered, to practice hand signals on the protester scumbags.
I joined in the festivities. The look on her face as she realized she was gonna be swimmin' in Long Beach harbor was priceless.

And it only got better. The small boat turned around and went to pick up their angry comrade.
The applause and laughter picked up as we could see port security closing in to make their bust. Bye bye scumbags! I thought, grinning. It felt good to see a bit of karmic justice administered to those vile hippies.

Later, I could feel the ship hitting the breakers as we left the harbor and entered the Pacific ocean.
The weather was fair, with only a few clouds in the sky, and the winds were nearly non-existent.
I could feel a new sensation as the ship rose up and came down in rythm with the swells.
I later learned this is called pitch, while the side to side rocking movement was called roll.

I could’ve spent hours watching the sea, but it was time to get back to work. So, reluctantly, I returned to the galley.
Chief was there talking with a reservist.

“If you have any problems, just ask Conrad,” Chief said. “I gotta run. Duty calls,” he said.

I heard a “brraaaappp!” sound and Chief laughing as he left the galley.
Gas attack!
Unfortunately there were no mark V gas masks immediately available.

“Chief! You really should get that checked out!” I called after him.

“What died?!,” said the reservist, with his arm over his nose and eyes watering.

I saw no stripes on his left arm sleeve, so I knew he was a Seaman or lower.

“Must’ve been the corned beef and cabbage,” I said, trying to wave the smell out of the galley with a towel.
“Whatever you do, don’t light a match,” I warned, chuckling.

“Good advice. He reminds me of my uncle Lenny,” said the reservist. “Uncle Lenny lived to ask us kids to pull his finger. It was a good way to get us to play outside. He wasn’t popular at Thanksgiving,” he said, grinning.

"I can see why," I replied, laughing. “I’m Ben,” I said holding out my hand.

“Mac,” the reservist said shaking my hand. “I’m actually an MS3, but I couldn’t find my old uniforms,” Mac said. “My wife…ex-wife, probably burned them. She’s so vindictive,” he continued, shrugging.
“I would appreciate it if you kept this on the QT,” he said. “The Chief already knows."

“No problemo,” I said. "My lips are sealed."

“Cool,” said Mac. “Do you mind if I start the dinner?” Mac asked.

“By all means,” I replied, glad to get some help since the last cook decided to go UA (unauthorized absence). After 30 days he would be AWOL, which was a much more serious offense.

After the meal, we went to the fantail to have a smoke break.

“How long have you been in, Mac?” I asked.

“About five years. Two of those in the active reserves after three years regular Navy,” he said. “You?”

“Going on an entire eight months now,” I said, laughing.
It seemed like longer somehow.

“We all got to start somewhere,” Mac said.
“You must be a good cook, to be promoted to the Captains cook so soon."

“I’m not a cook!” I laughed. “I’m an OS. The cook went UA,” I said. “You see, the Captain liked my coffee, and the Chief is short of cooks, so I got elected,” I said.

“That’s weird,” said Mac grinning. “You aren’t BSing me are you?”, he asked, suspiciously.

“No, I can hardly believe myself,” I said, shaking my head. "Believe me, I would rather be doing the job I was trained for."

“Welcome to the Navy!” Mac said, laughing.
“Hey, the Chief said tomorrow, at 0900, they are having small arms quals.. Are you going?” Mac asked.

“Sure! Sounds like fun,” I said, wondering how they did that at sea.

Later, as I was lying in my rack, I listened to all the ambient noise. The humming of the ships engines, pipes shaking and sometimes making the oddest sounds, the water slamming against the hull, and the steady, low roar of the sea, with an occasional crash on the bottom or sides of the ship!
The sea made me feel small and humble. I hoped the hull would stand up to the pressure. The Henderson was commisioned in 1945.

There were straps on the rack, and I asked about them on my first day. I was told they were to hold you in during heavy seas and storms.
I looked around and nobody else was using them. So I decided not to. Not the wisest choice I ever made.

I woke up with a strange sensation of weightlessness.
Then I realized I was falling, and it wasn’t a dream!
I was wrapped in my blanket and sheet, and I couldn’t get my arms or legs free!
Boom! I hit the cold, hard deck, landing on my back!

"Oof!" Was the sound of the air leaving my lungs.

I struggled to breathe, because the landing knocked the air out of me.
Short breaths, oww! That hurts! But I couldn't even say "ow" until I could catch my breath.

“You alright man?,” I heard someone say, from far away.

I struggled to free myself from the tangled blanket, hurting everywhere it seemed. Nothing appeared to be broken though. I still couldn't talk so I kept on focusing on taking short breaths.
When I was a kid we spent a few years in Hollywood, Florida. Some of the bullies there liked to punch me in the gut, so I learned even at that age how best to breath again. Tryin' to breath deep at this point would hurt a lot worse, hence the short breaths.

“I said, are you Ok?” The voice was closer this time.

“Yeah, I think,” I croaked, as I slowly got up.

“You really should wear the safety straps,” said the voice.
Haze Gray And Underway

That’s good advice, I thought. A bit late, and now I know, but thanks anyway.

“Yeah,” I said feeling something wet on the back of my head.

What? Did I fall in a puddle? Puddles of water are constantly forming on ship decks, from leaky pipes. Especially in older ships. It felt warm.

“Oh man! You’re bleeding...really bad! Don't move, I’ll get the Doc!” The voice said.

"Don't hold nothin' back," I muttered, amused at the panic I had heard in his voice.

I still couldn't see who the voice belonged to but I heard it run away. I felt somewhat giddy now, like I was drunk, or well on my way to getting that way.
For some reason I thought it was hilarious to hear a voice run!


Obviously, whoever belonged to the voice, didn’t pay attention during first aid training, I thought.

Apply direct pressure to the wound, as I recalled.
I got up unsteadily and grabbed a towel that had been drying at the foot of my rack, and pressed it on the back of my head.

The compartment was spinning, so I sat back down on the deck, where it continued to spin, only slower.

My head felt numb, but began pulsing with pain. My vision was blurry.
I felt… detached… like I was watching myself in a surreal setting. Maybe this is a dream, I mused.

The lights turned from a dim red to a bright white.
Too bright! I thought, squinting my eyes. It actually hurt! Do not go into the light, I warned myself, as I covered my eyes with my hand.

“What the hell?!” I heard a voice say.

“It’s f#ckin’ 0315! Turn the mother#8%$^@ lights off!” Yelled another voice.

Apparently no one else likes the bright light either, I thought.

“Shut your yaps and go back to sleep!” Said a closer voice.
“Conrad? Conrad! Look at me! How many fingers am I holding up?” Said a very close voice.

“What? I can't even see you," I said. “Turn the light off, I wanna sleep,” I continued, suddenly very tired.

“Sorry pal, no can do! You have to stay awake, do you hear me?” Said the voice as it grabbed my arm.
“Give me a hand and help me get him to the infirmary,” said the annoying voice.

Someone grabbed my other arm and I resisted. I had heard the annoying voice but I couldn't make sense of what it said.

“Leave me alone!” I warned.

“Conrad!” Shouted someone close.

"Geez, will you hold it down?" I asked, well past annoyed and irritated. "I gotta headache."

I saw a blurry face appear, but I couldn’t make it out. It hurt to try so I stopped trying. It was difficult, keeping my eyes open, and it was impossible to focus my vision and my thoughts.

“I’m petty officer Mendoza. I’m a Hospital Corpsman, and you will follow orders! Is that clear?” Said the blurry face with authority.

"No, it's not clear," I muttered. Why would a Corpsman order me around? I wondered.

“Anderson and Smitty will help you get to the infirmary, and you will cooperate!” blurry Doc said.

“Ok, but I’m not sure if I can help you, Doc,” I said, feeling groggy. I was certain he could find someone in better shape to cooperate with him.

“I’m counting on you Conrad, so stay awake!” He said.

Well, if you put it that way, I thought, curious as to exactly what the Corpsman was counting on me for.

“You can count on me, Doc!” I slurred, straightening up. Ugh. I felt a wave of nausea.

“Good! Now follow me,” he said.

I started to walk towards the blur, and lost my balance. Fortunately Smitty and Anderson were there to catch me, and lift me back to my feet.

The damn deck won't stop moving! I thought. What in tarnation is going on around here?
Several bruises later I finally made it to the infirmary.

“Thanks guys, I can handle it from here,” said the Doc.
“Conrad, what day is it?,” he asked.

“Saturday?” I ventured.

“Who is the President?” Doc asked.

“You don’t know?” I countered. This guy is dense, I thought.

“Just answer my questions,” he said, sounding annoyed.

“President Reagan,” I said. “He used to be an actor,” I added.

“Good. Can you see how many fingers I’m holding up now?” Doc asked.

“Two…no, three?” I guessed, trying to squint through the haze. Truth be told I couldn't even see any fingers.

Just then, I recoiled in pain as the doc flicked on a searing bright light...right into my eyes!
I tried to cover my eyes with my arm, but Doc yelled at me again. It would've been helpful if he had given a warning, I thought.
I endured the searing light torture without talking, and then my interrogater moved on to plan b.

“Alright, lower the towel so I can see the wound,” Doc said.
“Damn, you gashed it good. That’ll take six or seven stitches at least,” he said.

I didn’t gash it! I thought. The deck did.

“I’m going to clean the wound so it may hurt, a little,” said Doc.

I felt something cold and wet, and a burning sensation, as the Doc cleaned the wound.
At that moment, I started feeling cold, then I realized that all I had on was underwear. Needless to say I didnt exactly feel dignified.
This is embarassing, I thought.

“This may sting a bit,” said Doc, holding a long-ass blurry needle and moving it towards my head!

“Where are you poking that thing?” I asked, apprehensibly.

“I have to numb your wound, so I can stitch it up,” Doc explained.

Now, I was never afraid of shots but I couldn't help noticing, blurry as it was that the needle was huge! It looked like a marlin spike!

Small ships don’t have doctors, most of the time, but they do have Navy Corpsmen.

“Ow!” I said. “A little sting my ass!" I winced as he poked the marlin spike into my head in several places.

“Sorry, but it should be numb soon,” Doc said.

Indeed, it was. A strange experience, to say the least.

“Now I need you to hold still, and not move,” the Doc instructed.

“Um, may I get my pants?” I asked, feeling self concious in my skivvies...and cold.

“Sure. Right after I finish stitching you up,” the Doc said.

Seven stitches later, the Doc handed me a light blue hospital gown with ties on the back.

“I’d really rather wear my pants,” I said, indignantly.

“Sorry, but I can’t take the chance you might fall down again,” said Doc.

He didn’t look sorry, I noted.

“You will have to stay here until you can see clearly, and maintain your balance,” he said.

Is this guy serious? I wondered, trying to get the stupid gown to cover my butt, so I could somehow tie it behind my back.

“Here, let me get that,” said Doc, tying my gown too tight.

I laid back on the cold, stainless steel examination table. Brrr.

“No! I told you Conrad, you can’t go to sleep!” Doc firmly said.

“Who can sleep on this thing?” I asked. “I’m just resting.”

“Sit up anyway,” the Doc ordered, folding his arms.

“Can I at least have a cup of coffee?” I asked, with the best pitiful look I could muster.

“We’ll see. Maybe in awhile,” Doc said.

We’ll see? Of course we will! I thought. I just wanted a yes or no answer.

“I got work to do, so I’ll be right over here at my desk, if you need anything,” the Doc said, sitting down.

He turned on what looked like a stereo.
Oh great! Music! I thought, feeling more upbeat.
My jaw dropped. What is that? Polka? No way!
Yep, it was polka alright. Was this a joke? A cruel twisted joke?

An hour later, I concluded it wasn’t a joke. This was torture!

“Uhh…excuse me,” I said, trying to get Doc’s attention.
No response.
“Excuse me, Doc?!” I shouted, over the mind-destroying, never-ending polka.

“Eh? What?” he said, turning the ‘music’ down.

“How about that coffee?” I asked, hopefully.

“Yeah, ok. You wait here and I’ll be right back. Don’t move!” He stressed.
“Sugar? Cream?” He asked.

“No thanks. No frills,” I said.

“Gotcha! Now remember, don’t move,” Doc said, pointing his finger at me.

I was able to see more clearly now. My eyes settled on the boom box.
It crossed my mind more than once, to damage Doc’s stereo, or smash the polka tapes to smithereens. Was it possible to make it look like an accident?
Somehow, I resisted the temptation, but it wasn't easy.
Doc returned a few minutes later, and handed me my coffee.

“Thanks Doc,” I said, gratefully.

“Your welcome. How do you feel now?” Doc asked, grabbing the bright light thingy to fry my retina’s with.

"I see better, but I have a pounding headache,” I said, not adding that it was the polka that started it.

“Here, take this aspirin,” he said.

Somehow, I didn’t think that aspirin would be enough as Doc put in another polka tape. I looked on in horror. The second torture session had begun.

“This band is my favorite!” Doc shouted.

Sounds the same as the last band, I thought. How could anyone tell the difference?
Dear Lord, I prayed in desperation. Please smite Doc’s stereo!
I’m begging you Lord God!

Finally, at 0600, Doc turned the evil polka music off.
My mind was oatmeal. Or perhaps more like fried grits. I had undergone a polkabotomy.
I felt like drooling.

Doc checked me out again, making me walk a straight line, while touching my nose…basically a sobriety test.
I almost cried when he said I could go, giving directions to see him tomorrow, and if my vision got blurry, or dizziness returned, to see him ASAP.
Fat chance of that! I thought.
Free at last, free at last! Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last!

But my freedom was fleeting.
I was just about to hit my rack when Eltee showed up, looking for me.
Gee, I wonder why? I panned, to myself.
Too late to hide, I thought. He already saw me.

“Conrad! Are you Ok?” Asked Eltee.
“You fell out of your rack? That must have hurt!”
“Look, I know the Doc excused you from work, today, but that reservist guy is sick as a dog! Can you tough out breakfast?” Eltee asked, followed by a “Please?”

Oh hell, I thought. Better grab some more java.

“Aye aye, Sir, but do I have to shave?” I asked.

“No time! We have to move!” Said the Supply Officer, looking distressed.

“Then let’s move Sir!” I said, with more gusto than I felt, which was -5 on a scale of 1-10.

Assault At Sea

Have you ever cooked omelettes on a flat grill, when the ship you’re on is rockin’ and rollin’ really good?
It’s like playing Pong(TM), and Food Fight(TM), with runny eggs.
Some of the omelettes were really weird looking.

Pancakes were also rather bizarre.
Eggs easy?
Not really.

Somehow, I made it through breakfast, but it felt like the entire Marine Corps was making an amphibious landing, on my brain.
I felt light-headed again, but that could’ve been the sea. It was getting rougher, too.
At least I wasn’t getting seasick, I thought.

After a cursory cleaning of the galley (i.e. the basics only), I hurried down to the berthing compartment to catch a few z’s.
I had just gotten undressed, and was about to collapse, when an alarm went off.
It didn't brighten my sunny disposition.

“General quarters, general quarters! All hands man your battle stations,” said the ship’s 1MC.

“Damn it!” I said, jumping down from my rack and getting dressed as fast as I could.
“Ow! Dammit!”

Note to self: do not attempt to put pants on while ship is rolling withoutfirst bracing yourself or sitting down!
The exclamation of the note to self warning was the cold, hard deck.
The recipient was my ass.

I decided to stay down, so I could get my pants on without falling again.
I had just gotten said pants on, when I heard somethig sliding towards me, from behind. What the?
I turned around… just in time to see an unsecured chair sliding...into my face!

“Ow! #@^%&*!” I said, as my nose started bleeding.

I grabbed a towel, dripping blood all over, then I tried to get my boots on while holding the towel, which wasn't easy.
The chair, unfazed, went sliding off somewhere. I got a good look at it, though, so I could identify it later in a line-up.
I finally managed to get my boots on, and I made a dash for the ladder.

Meanwhile, out of a dark alley between bunks, the homicidal chair struck again, targetting my legs! This was definitely a hit job.
What are the odds? I wondered.

I tried to jump, but it was too late. The killer chair seemed to laugh maniacally as it entangled between my legs. I noticed the deck was rushing up to meet me as I fell.
I hit hard…and slid...into a steel pole (they use them for wiring).
Good thing my shoulder took the brunt, I thought, trying to get up. My shoulder protested loudly. It didn't think it was a good thing.
That chair is toast...later, after general quarters! I thought. I'm gonna deepsix it.

I tried to find my bloody towel, dripping blood all over.
I slowly got up, hurting too much to curse this time, and, making sure that chair wasn’t close by, I limped toward the ladder, all traces of dignity I thought I had was now in shambles.
Dignity is a fickle mistress.

During General Quarters, you have to move fast, before they dog (close) all the hatches and scuttles (to prevent any possible flooding or fires from spreading).
Watertight integrity only works if the hatches and scuttles are dogged.

If you're too slow you get dogged in. Then you hafta call the bridge and explain why you got dogged in and ask for permission to break the dogs temporarily so you can get your sorry ass to your battle station.
It doesn't make a good impression on the Captain or XO, or anyone for that matter.
Besides, who would believe I was assaulted by a commie chair...twice?

I made it up the first ladder before it was dogged down, but I had to get to CIC, where my assigned battle station was located.
I limped quickly down the passage taking the next ladder I saw up another level, barely getting through it before it was closed off.

I finally made it to the door of Combat, pressed the combo keys in the right order, and limped inside.

Combat was dark, as usual, and I made my way slowly across the room, to the Surface Summary status board. I picked up the headphones and put them on, quickly putting the towel back over my nose.

“Sh*t! What happened to you?” Asked OSSN Brown, stationed next to me, at the Air Summary status board.

“Long story,” I said, my voice muffled through the bloody towel.

“Surface summary, phone check,” said the voice in my sound-powered phone headset.

“This is Surf., loud and clear,” I said.

“Finally! Ok, are you ready? I have 8 contacts,” said the surface RADAR operator.

I grabbed the white grease pencil saying, “Ready.”

“Standby to mark at 0804,” said the DRT operator.

“Mark!” He said, at 0804.

“Skunk Alpha, bearing 165, 22,300 yards. Skunk Bravo, bearing 329, 16,100.
Skunk Charlie, bearing 034, 9,700. USS Ranger, bearing 198, 5,200.
Skunk Delta, …”

I wrote them down as fast as possible, backwards, so it could be read from the other side.

“CPA for Skunk Charlie is 133, 1,200 yards. Time of CPA is 0823,” said the Maneuvering Board operator, OS3 Montoya.

“I concur,” said OS3 Harrington, on the SPS-10 surface RADAR.

“Looks good to me,” said OSSN Humphrey, on the DRT.
And so it went, every 3 minutes.

“How close do you want Charlie to pass, Chief?”, asked OS3 Montoya.

“Compute a course at this speed, 18 knots, to avoid Charlie by 2,000 and keep an eye on the Ranger”, the OSC said.

“Recommend turning port to 331 at 18 to avoid Charlie by 2,000 on our starboard quarter,” said Montoya, 15 seconds later.

“Roger, mark the Ranger every minute, they’re at flight ops,” said the Chief.

“Roger, standby to mark at 0806,” said Harrington.

And so it went, for 2 and a half hours, with a Man Overboard drill, and a simulated gas attack (where we wear MK V gas masks) thrown in for good measure. Fortunately, my nose had stopped bleeding by then.

After GQ I went down to the compartment to wash up, avoiding all the questions everyone was asking as to why my nose was swollen and what the bloody towel was for.
As it was I would never live this down once word got out, and it always does on a small ship.

“Conrad! Are you down here?!” I heard Eltee shouting.

“In here Sir!” I called, from the sink.

“Good God, man! What happened to you?” Eltee asked.

I had a good shiner going as well as the swollen nose.

“Killer chair sir. I think it’s a commie spy,” I said, wryly.

“Damn,” said Eltee, with a puzzled look.

“My sentiments exactly, sir,” I said, sounding like Rocky Balboa.
“Adrian!” I shouted.

The Lieutenant laughed.
“At least you still got your sense of humor,” he said.

Yeah. That and a quarter will get me a cup of coffee, I thought.

“Mac is still sick, so uh…can you do lunch?” Eltee asked.

“I don’t know, sir,” I said, not having to act pathetic.

“C’mon Rock! You can do it!” Said Eltee, trying to imitate Burgess Merideth as Mickey.

“Aye sir,” I said, wearily.

“That’s the spirit, Rock!” Said Eltee, punching my shoulder…the same shoulder I damn near seperated on a steel pole earlier, when I was attacked by the commie ninja chair.

“AAhhh!” I yelled, in white hot pain.

“I’m sorry! Are you Ok?” Eltee asked, backing up.

“Hurt…shoulder…earlier,” I managed to get out, through clenched teeth..

“Uhh, maybe you should get that checked out…after lunch,” Eltee said.

“Not…a chance!” I said, too loud.

“Right. Um. Ok, then. See you soon,” the Eltee said, leaving abruptly.

I slowly made my way up to the wardroom galley, checking the menu again.

“We need some more coffee,” said LTJG Spaz, sticking his head into the galley.

“Aye sir,” I said, leaving the galley and entering the wardroom.

I picked up the pot, and pain shot through my shoulder again.

“What happened to you?” Asked LTJG Spaz.

“Long story, sir,” I replied, in no mood to think about my losing battles with gravity, moving seas and the commie chair.

“You didn’t get into a fight did you?” Asked LTJG Spaz, suspiciously.

“No…sir,” I said leaving the wardroom and entering the galley.

I filled the pot with water, and put the filter and coffee in.
As I lifted the Coffee pot, my shoulder rebelled, and I dropped it on the galley deck.


“Sh*t!” I yelled in pain and frustration.

LTJG Spaz opened the galley door. “What happened?” He asked, looking at the mess.

“Bum shoulder…sir,” I said, holding it gingerly.

“Well, hurry up and get this cleaned up,” he ordered.

If looks could kill…
LTJG Spaz noted my look, and decided to take issue.

“You have something else to say?” Asked Spaz, crossing arms the color of a fishes belly.

“Yes! Sir! Please get out of my galley!” I shouted. “I have work to do,” I finished.

“Are you trying to tell me what to do?!” Spaz shouted back.

“What’s going on here?” Said Eltee, walking up beside Spaz and surveying the mess.

“He’s trying to…,” began Spaz.

“Shut up, I didn’t ask you!” Said Eltee firmly, cutting Spaz off in mid-sentence.
Spaz turned beet red, which was quite a feat for someone so pale.

“But he…fine!” Said Spaz, stomping off.

“Shoulder,” I said. “Couldn’t carry… the coffee pot,” I managed to get out.

“No worries, I’ll get it,” Eltee said, picking up the pot and rinsing it off.

Eltee made the coffee and even swabbed up the mess, while I prepared lunch.
After Eltee finished he said, “I want you to go see Doc as soon as lunch is finished. That’s an order,” he said leaving.

“Aye Aye, Captain Blythe,” I said, hoping Doc wasn’t open.

“Good thing I didn’t hear that,” said Eltee, closing the door. "Why are you so reticent to go to sickbay?" He asked.

"Polka," I rasped. "Doc likes...polka."

"Seriously?" Eltee asked, smiling.

"It's horrible, sir," I said.

"Well, I don't particularly like polka myself, but you need to get seen," Eltee said, stifling a laugh.

"I suffered through hours of that devil music," I replied. "I deserve a purple heart for that, Eltee."

"I'll be sure to put you in for one," Eltee replied, about to pat me on the shoulder and stopping himself.

After lunch, I made my way to the infirmary.
Unfortunately, it was open.

There was 5 sailors waiting outside, in a line.
All of them had plastic bags, and one was filling his, as I approached.

I slowly sat down on the deck, at the end of the line, with my back aganst the bulkhead.

“What happened to you, man?” Asked the Sailor ahead of me.

“Chief Cook lost his cool,” I replied.

“Really? He kicked your ass? Why?” He asked.

“I said something bad about his cooking, and he heard me,” I said, wincing.

“Dammnnn. That’s messed up homes,” said the good samaritan.

“Yeah, and get this,” I said, whispering, “the last sailor to piss him off disappeared out at sea. Without a trace.”

“No sh*t?” He said, eyes widening.

“I sh*t you not,” I said, seriously. “He’s crazy, man,” I said, looking scared.
“Watch what you say on the mess decks,” I said, looking around.

“Thanks for the warning, homey,” he said, looking at my face.

“Don’t tell anyone,” I said, knowing he would.

After about 30 minutes, Doc had seen all the patients.

“Next,” he said.

I slowly got to my feet, and walked in.

“Conrad? Is it true that the Chief Cook beat the crap out of you?” Asked the Doc, looking at my face.

“No, of course not,” I said, “who told you that?”

“My last patient. He said you told him,” Doc said.

“He’s probably messing with you Doc,” I said, smiling.

“Yeah. So what really happened to you?” Doc asked.

I explained about the chair.

Doc laughed for a long while. Then he stopped, looked at me, and broke out laughing again.

“Sorry…ha ha…really that’s…ha ha…alright, lets take a look at you,” he said, grabbing his favorite torture device and shining it in my eyes.
“Does your head hurt?” He asked.

“It does now,” I replied, feeling snarky.

“Oh! The light! Hurts eh?” Doc asked.

“Only when you click it on,” I said.

“How many fingers am I holding up,” he asked.

Not again! I thought.

“Four!” I said, immediately.

“Right!” He said, too cheerfully.
“Now let’s check out this shoulder. Does ths hu…,” he began to say, before my scream cut him off.

“I’ll take that as a yes. How about when I move it th…,” he didn’t finish, before I yelled again.

“Hmmm,” he said.

“What?” I asked, trying not to pass out.

“It’s dislocated, I think,” Doc continued.

“Are you sure?” I asked, skeptically.

“Well, probably…I’m not 100% positive, but it looks like it,” he said, obviously unsure.

“So what now?” I asked.

“Hmm? Uh, sit tight for a minute,” he said walking into his adjacent office and grabbing a thick book.

He leafed through the front pages, and opened it up to the page he wanted, and began to read.

He better not start another polkafest, I thought.
Ten minutes later he slapped the book closed, and came back over.
He must have found out what to do, I thought.

“You better lie down for this,” he said, frowning.

“Why?” I asked, suspiciously.

“Because I need to…,” he began, “just do as I say,” Doc ordered, looking nervous.

I laid back on the table, resting my head on the pillow.

“Now…turn your head away from me, and close your eyes,” said Doc, grabbing my arm.
"Your'e going to feel some...pressure."

“But Doc,” I began, before he cut me off.

“That’s an order!” He said.

“That’s the wrong arm!” I said, quickly.

“Oh. Heh heh. I knew that,” Doc said, turning red, and moving over to my other arm.
“Now turn your head…,”

“I know, I know,” I said, before he could finish.

I closed my eyes as he grabbed my arm.
I was so tired, I started to doze off.

“I’m going to place my foot on your chest wall for countertraction, so don’t move,” Doc said.

Right, I thought, drifting off, countertraction.
It was at that point that Doc pulled my arm and…

For those familiar with dislocated shoulders, I don’t need to explain the intense, bone-wrenching pain that came next.
For those that aren’t, let me say that you will survive if this happens to you.
Oh! And ask for morphine! A lot of morphine!

It was soon over, and I wished I could’ve passed out, but I didn’t.
My eyes filled with tears of pain.

“Here is some pain medication,” Doc said, handing me a packet of pills.
“They are strong, so take no more than 1 every 4-6 hours,” he said.
“Continue to use that arm, but don’t do anything really strenous. When we return to port I’ll send you over to Balboa Naval Hospital for some X-rays, and to see an orthapedic doctor,” said Doc.
“Come back to see me if you need more pain meds,” Doc continued.

“Okay,” I whispered in a hoarse voice. "Thanks."

I took a pill as soon as I left, chewing the bitter tablet to get it to work faster.

“Ugh!” I said, hating the taste. "That was dumb."

It was around 1330 when I got to my bunk.
How was I going to get up there? I wondered.
Better go get some coffee until this pain med kicks in, I decided.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Fishcist Dicktaters

Seems like everyday this White House administration looks for new ways to stifle n' destroy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Lately, Obamuh and his minions have asked all of their fellow narkissists to "report" any "fishy" e-mails, videos, letters, etc., that have "disinformation" (translation: the truth) about Obamascare in all it's 1,000 plus page infamy (and in several bills).

As you all know, Obama doesn't take dissent in any form lightly. Indeed, what he once considered patriotic he now considers nearly treasonous, because he is calling us (and anyone who disagrees with his attempted government takeover of healthcare) "mobs" (the only mob I see is the Congress and the White House administration led by the godlessfather hisself, Barack "the Weasel" Obama)(and those angry mobs we saw during the Bush administration who actually behaved like mobs), "faux angry plants," "angry mobs" (waitaminnit, I thought we were faux angry?) and other insulting and demonizing words and phrases (not that I mind demonizing phrases, but they must be true).

According to him and his commie pals we are sent by the BIG Insurance companies and the GOP to "disrupt" townhalls held by demorats, and to spread scary lies about the wonderful guvmint healthscare he wants control of.
BTW, where's my BIG Insurance, BIG Oil and GOP paychecks, anyone see them? Oh wait, BIG Oil is only for me to disrupt meetings about global warming...or climate change...or global cooling...or somethin' like that. It's hard to keep up since they keep changing the name of the current faux climate crisis.

Somehow, although no one can explain how (and never will, since it's impossible), Obamascare will work BETTER than guvmint run Medicare, Military and VA healthcare AND help the economy! Pardon me for wanting to verify the how (not to mention everything else) BEFORE they pass this monstrous attack on our lives, liberties and pursuit of happinesses. Also, pardon me for laughin' my ass off!

Now, the VA and Military healthcare (I'm talking primarily for retirees and disabled vets and their dependents) is supposed to be the very best healthcare available for those who served their country. Purty good intentions, right? And the vets certainly deserve it. No arguement here. However...

Is it the best? Hell no! There's all sorts of problems: long waits, depending on increasingly scarce resources and availability of doctors and other healthcare professionals (hey, they make much more in the private sector), red tape out the wazoo (you gotta jump through so many hoops you feel like you're in a circus of double jointed acrobatic freaks, not that there's anything wrong with double jointed acrobatic freaks), standards and procedures decided by bureaucrats (taking more authority from the docs and giving it to some schmuck who can care less about you, having never met you), a referral for each and every malady you might have REGARDLESS whether your doc can do it himself or not, increasingly higher co-pays for meds and for the Military health insurance run by Tricare, little to no reimbursement for emergency care at a private health facility or hospital (depends on some schmuck bureaurats mood when the hospital sends off the paperwork), you can't pick your own primary care doctor, and I could go on and on. (Note: not that there ain't good schmuck bureaucrats out there, 'cause there are, but they are few n' far between in my experience.

You probably all heard from relatives on Medicare or Medicaid, or read some of the headlines lately concerning a VA not sterilizing colonoscopy equipment properly...for years. These are features of socialized health "care," not rare occurances. This ain't to say there aren't well run VA's because there are, and I consider the one I go to for care to be one of the best, but it still don't compare to a well run private hospital because of the bureaucracy, low pay, perpetual funding problems, etc..
In fact, it would be far better if the government simply paid for veterans to receive private care, and probably cheaper if done right, but that's neither here nor there.

So, we're supposed to believe the guvmint can now do healthcare better than they have been...for many tens of millions MORE people (not counting all the illegal aliens)? What have they been smokin', snortin' eatin' and/or injectin'? Those must be some powerful hallucinogens of some kind that are out of this world (literally), man, if they expect us to believe that.
Okay, not ALL the illegal aliens. I'm sure the cartel bigwigs and bigtime drug dealers and hitmen (and hitwomen) that work for them can afford private healthcare.

Anyways, I read this interesting article about snitch central and their narkissist program here:

I thought I would send the link to the dimwit idiots who thought I would be intimidated by their Chicago style scare tactics. Thing is, those dirty tactics don't work so well in most of America. In fact, I bet it's prompting massive "reporting" of fishy tales of all varieties.
There's a helluva lot of disinformation (and outright lies) out there, mostly from the democrats themselves, led by Don Barack "Superlie" Obama. You know, this could be fun.

Here's my letter:

Dear Minister of Propaganda Czar (or Chairman Obama, or whoever reads these snitch reports),

Can you believe that even democrats are spreading disinformation?

Look, I know you're just doing your job in your efforts to stifle free speech, so I get where you're coming from.

Unfortunately for you, most Americans still love their liberties and freedoms. Yeah, I know, the carefully crafted research groups and special polls you put together and studiously worked on told you different, but apparently they were wrong.

Perhaps if you ban films such as "John Adams" and put Rush Limbaugh in prison (to start with) you will have a better chance of meeting your goals. Oh, and arrest all of these conservative/classical liberal/libertarian/independent community organizers...I mean agitators, that are trying to, well, agitate people into actually asking hard questions of our representatives, who, like the President, don't know much about any of the proposed "health" (wink wink) "plan" (snicker) bills numbering over a thousand pages, but are rip roaring to get it passed ASAP.

And if I may, it looks bad when democrats refuse to see their constituents and/or refuse to conduct townhall meetings in order to avoid the tough questions they don't know the answers to (or rather, they do know but realize it would be most unhelpful to tell the truth at this point). So you might want to give them a bone (such as giving them permission to say "we are going to carefully read and debate all the healthcare proposals and then get you, our constituents to provide input, before we pass anything, because we are here to serve and represent you") if you want them to have a snoballs chance in h.e.doublehockeysticks of getting reelected, however, I do hear the President does have some major contacts there, if you know what I mean and I think you do (wink wink).

But even they and (dare I say it?) B. E. Ezlebub can't work miracles (hey, I reckon I do dare!).

Here's some more free advice (if I may be so bold?):

The next time the Messia...I mean, the President says he will run a transparent and accountable administration then run a transparent and accountable administration (that means "to tell the truth and be responsible and accountable" and stuff). Better yet, don't say it anymore, because clearly the President is incapable of telling the truth most the time (Well lookee here, I suppose am bold. Sorry, I know you aren't used to that in your circles).

You know, this would all run much more smoothly if the President actually honored his oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America (I included US of A because it seems quite obvious that the One, I mean the President, made his oath to some other country's Constitution. That, or he doesn't know what our Constitution says). What? What's that? You say he is a Constitutional law professor? Oops, my bad. So the President does know what our Constitution says (I take it that Harvard at least required Mr. Obama to read it before making him a professor, right? Or is that optional now?). Hmmm...then that means he doesn't care what it says, so he will try to change it, or circumvent it, or ignore it.

Oh. I get it. The President never intended to honor his oath. Well, that clears that up. I can see why you're having problems with that transparency thing.

Wow. Looks like your boss painted himself in a corner on the whole truth thing. But, to be fair (I know you leftists love that word), it is virtually impossible to tell the truth while wresting more government control over American lives and businesses in your quest to institute socialism, so I can at least see why you would think it's okay to lie, omit the truth, deceive, misdirect, indoctrinate and to use all those (shall we say) despicable tactics (yes we shall!) to obtain your socialistic goals and more power, or is it verse vice-a?

In light of the truth none of the advice I gave you will help you in your quest to destroy our liberties and our freedoms. I do hope (get it? Hope!) it does change (Change!) you enough to realize that liberty is too precious to take away, for Liberty is what makes America so special, and Liberty is what a multitude of heroes sacrificed life and limb to protect (yes they did! And still are). Even your liberty.

Think about that before you attempt to destroy it in some misguided attempt to make life fair (and miserable) for all Americans.

And really! You ought to be ashamed of yourself for asking anyone who will do your bidding to report fellow Americans for anything they say that disagrees with President Obama or his fellow narkissists. This is unAmerican to say the least. Is that your point? If it is (and even if it's not) it's just plain wrong and fishcist. Don't go down that road of fishcism.

If you read this far there just might be hope for you yet.

Ben Conrad, USN (Ret)

P.S. I don't owe any back taxes. Just sayin'.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Some Like It Hot

Some like it hot, but not me. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good challenge, I just don't enjoy the bad ones. Of course, after prevailing through a bad challenge, there is much to enjoy and be thankful for, not to mention a gigantic relief.

I reckon the most difficult part of bad challenges is bein' thankful DURING the bad part(s). I'm a work in progress in that department, but I am aware of it, so I give it the old college try (not to be confused with the new college try; I'm talkin' effort here, folks) (also, not meant to denigrate those that actually do get a real education, rather than indoctrination at most liberal, or to be more accurate, leftist colleges, natch).

Anyhow, to make a long story a bit shorter (too late!) there was a confluence of bad challenges to deal with this past week or so.

The first one was a bunch of bad headaches, everyday (of course they are bad, there are no good headaches-Ed).
You see, I rarely get headaches, and if I do they are usually mild and quickly dealt with afeter a few aspirin. But these headaches didn't go away, and they weren't mild. I tried drinking more (iced tea, not grog, although Skully insisted that more grog might be preferrable when they didn't stop, but alas, we are currently out of that medicinal wonder product until payday).

Needless to say, reading was practically out of the question, as was excessive noise. Headaches suck, but I tried to be thankful my head didn't explode.

Secondly, we had a helluva heat wave type of weather system that came crashin' through from California (thanks guys!), and we reached triple digits for three days, topping out at 106.
Yeah, I hear QP, Sal, Julie and Joan laughin', 'cause that's almost normal for them in the summer, but up here in Washington that's torture. Hard to believe I used to work in weather like that. I guess I have grown soft, 'cause that heat almost sucked my will to do much of anything. It was mighty hard to be thankful, but I actually was because we cordoned off the living room with plastic tarp stuff and it got no hotter that 85 in there. Walkin' the dogs was no fun, and stayin' in the same room with Patti for several days 24/7 was, um...interesting, but we didn't kill each other so I'm thankful for that.

Thirdly, we lost Cammilu, our terrier mix dog. She was only 9 years old, and it was unexpected and, well, sad. But I'm thankful she is runnin' around in Heaven now with Oscar eatin' Heavenly pork chops n' steaks and bacon! Hopefully, she ain't barkin' at the Angels. Cammilu barked at purty much everything. We miss you girl.

Forthly, I made the grave error of downloading IE 8 (internet explorer 8). I know most of you guys use Macs, but for those of you that do use pc's, DO NOT download
IE 8. It sucks. Bigtime.
So Patti, my tech support wench, takes off her clothes...ha ha. Just kiddin' (unfortunately). She takes off IE 8 and puts IE 7 back on. Hurray! Sort of. Everything is workin' fine again, except my mail...all my mail disappeared! WTH?
And nothin' is comin' in. Say what? Okay, not really say what, unless you want. So Patti says she will get to that today, maybe.
At any rate, I didn't find anything to be thankful for with IE 8, other than I'm thankful we could get rid of it and may it die a thousand deaths and experience all of the Chinese hells (the Chinese got a lotta hells).

Which brings me to today. It'll be relatively cool, I got a lovely wench, the dogs are as fun n' cute as ever, I got plenty of good friends on the innernet (thanks guys), my health is still good, and I could list a brazillion things I'm thankful for! It's a great day to be alive, but even if it wasn't, I hope I can always manage to be thankful, 'cause it can always be worse, and we got a bunch of good stuff to look forward to as we continue on our journey towards Truth.
Bein' thankful is just one of those truth's that might be kinda hard to fully realize sometimes, but we know it works.

Besides, we know precisely what bitterness n' envy does to a person. Ain't never goin' there. I might be cynical at times, but I ain't sinical, if you catch my drift, and I know you guys ain't. :^)
Now to catch up on my readin'. See you guys in the funny pages.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

In the Wilderness

It's difficult to say exactly why I went down the road of self destruction. It seems, lookin' back, it was a plethora of things that I used at the time to "justify" my behavior and cynical attitude.

Certainly the Navy wasn't what I expected it to be. It appeared as if all of my hard work was noticed no more than the work (or lack thereof) of those who did everything they could to get out of work.
I mean, what was the use in puttin' out 100%?
I wasn't advancing any faster than anyone else. There was no meritorious advancement in my future, no special medals for service above and beyond.
Where in the hell was the glory?

Hey, don't get me wrong, I was no braggert, even at that young age of 18, but if this was a movie I would've been standin' out, maybe gettin' more respect and an opportunity to lead.
Afterall, I had been in the Navy an entire year already!

At any rate it didn't happen overnight, and the short answer as to why? 'Cause I wanted to. Besides, the girls like the bad boys, right? Right? At least, that was my observation at the the dives I frequented.
Yeah. Same as high school.

Why am I so depressed, so pissed off and so...sad? Was it because dad divorced mom and left when I was five, never to visit, call, write or even provide child support again? What had gone wrong? We had such a great time before that, fishing, goin' to the races, playing football. Everything a dad and son did. I only hd fond memories of dad up to that point...the point when I told him about what his friend had done to me.
Soon after that, everything fell apart. Actually, I learned later that everything was falling apart before that happened, but that was several years later.
But damn! Why didn't dad do sdad or mom do something about that guy? I still don't know the answer to that question.

Who could know that a friend had raped their child and do...nothing? I expected dad to beat the crap outta the scumbag, like Popeye puttin' a serious beatin' on Bluto (which is what the pervert looked like. Bluto, that is).
But neither my dad nor my mom bothered to even call the police.

Ugh. Yeah, I have daddy issues, I thought, disgusted with myself. well, f*ck that! I'm over it now. Who needs this sh*t? I had been usin' my altered military ID, compliments of a pal in Personnel. Okay, not really a pal because he charged me fifty bucks. Highway robbery, but where else was I gonna get one at?

I was riding the bus to Long Beach, down to the "Pike" which used to be a hoppin' place, kinda like a small Coney Island I had heard, but was now run down. Only some scattered dives remained among the abandoned businesses that used to light up the place like a gigantic carnival.
Dives with a unique mix of customers such as longshoremen, bikers, shipyard workers, rednecks, and sailors.

It felt good to get off the ship, especially after a long day of grinding, chipping and sanding rust and paint off the weather deck. That wasn't my "normal" job, but when a ship is in the yards for an overhaul no one except maybe the Bos'n mates do their "normal" jobs.
Besides that, virtually everyone had several other jobs to do, such as security alerts (real or drills), fightin' fires (which happened quite a few times in the yards), fire drills, flooding drills, sweepin' and swabbin' the decks, cleanin' the heads, taking out the garbage, cleaning the spaces, maintenance on the WTD's (watertight doors and hatches), maintenance on the electronic equipment we used, updating charts and a gaggle of publications, working parties to resupply the ship's stores and galley, standing watches, duty days, inspections, mooring detail for other ships coming or going, mess detail, general training, and many other duties.

Not to mention the ship was dusty and smelled of paint, paint thinner, turpentine, oil, fuel, sweat, BO, wax, various cleaning agents, grease, the acrid smell of welding and cutting torches, and a long list of other smells depending on where you were at on the ship.
Despite all the cleaning that was done the ship was never really clean in the yards.

Then there was the noise. Sanders, grinders, pneumatic tools, chipping hammers, petty officers and chief's shouting orders, sailors cussin', an occasional junior officer asking questions or tryin' to pretend they knew what to do, slowing work down in the process, sailors arguing, sailors askin' to borrow the tools you were using (there never was enough tools to go around, and if you weren't fast enough to snag the best tools you ended up having to use sand paper and elbow grease), and more sailors swearin'.

The first day I reported to the USS Duluth (LPD-6) I saw, heard and smelled all of this. My first thought at the time? WTF? Oh sh*t! I'm screwed!
Not really what you would call a cheery environment. This only added to the bad attitude I had developed since reporting onboard.

I walked into my favorite dive and ordered a beer. I had onlty been here a few times, but I liked the place. It had a jukebox with classic rock and country on it. There were a few pool tables and I liked to play, although I was inconsistent. Sometimes I made evry shot I wanted, and other imes I couldn't sink anything. There was also a very small dance floor but it was seldom used.
The bar was a horseshoe shape, and there was ten tables or so with chairs. I preferred the barstools.

I looked around and surveyed the bar. It was close to 1900 so the bar was beginning to fill up. I sat down where I could see the two entrances and still keep my eye on the rest on the area. The last time I was here there was a fight between two bikers. I don't know why, but one biker simply walked up and clobbered another biker who proceeded to clobber back. The fight didn't last long before one of them was out cold. A biker chick had smashed a beer bottle over the back of his head. The remaining biker beat feet, bloody nose and all, his drunk girlfriend staggering behind him and cussin' at the unconcious biker.
Needless to say I wanted no one behind me.

"Here ya go," Mitch said, sliding me a frosty mug of budweiser.

"Thanks Mitch," I said.

Mitch owned the place and he had three or four bar maids workin' for him at any one time. I was faily certain Mitch knew I wasn't twentyone by the way he looked at me after checkin' my ID, but he just grinned. He wasn't gonna turn me in.

Three beers later Luca walked in and sat down next to me. I didn't know him very well since he was a Bos'n Mate, but everyone respected him. I had heard he had been in twelve years. Currently he was a petty officer third class, having been busted in rank for fightin' and being UA (unauthorized absence) from the ship due to bein' jailed. Scuttlebutt had it that Luca would've been a chief by now, but he loved to drink and fight, so he got busted a lot.

I only met Luca once when he was in charge of the tool locker, but I saw his hulking form frequently, shoutin' orders at the other bos'n mates and sometimes laughing loudly. He asked me where I was from and I told him California, florida and Oregon, but mostly Oregon. He laughed at that.

"I'm from the Bronx," he had said.

And he sounded like it. He asked for my name and shook my hand, welcoming me aboard the ship.

"Work hard and you'll be okay," Luca said, shaking my hand.

I winced from the vise-like grip of his massive, heavily calloused hand, but I didn't show it. I squeezed back as hard as I could. Luca looked me in the eyes and laughed again.

"You're alright for a RADAR guy," he said, chuckling, finally releasing his grip. "Hey, if you ever have problems with any of my guys when you're gettin' tools just tell 'em Luca sent ya," he concluded, slapping me on the back and almost knocking me down.

Geez, that guy is strong! I had thought, rubbing my right hand. I could tell, just lookin' at him he was a badass, and someone I never wanted to piss off. I could also tell he knew his job well.

"Hey Luca!" I said, raising my mug.

"Ben, right?" Luca replied, holding up two fingers to Mitch.

"Aye," I said, surprised he remembered my name.

Mitch brought a mug of beer and a shot glass of what looked like whiskey. Luca downed the whiskey in one gulp and drained half his mug.

"Ahh! That hits the spot!" He exclaimed. "Nothin' like a good boilermaker, eh? Have you tried one yet?" He asked.

"Not yet," I replied.

"Whattya waitin' for? Mitch, two more shots," Luca said.

Mitch brought another shgot glass and filled both Luca's and mine with whiskey, an amused look on his face.

"To the Duluth!" Luca bellowed, raising his shot glass.

I raised my glass and repeated the toast. I didn't really want any whiskey with my beer but I wasn't gonna tell Luca that. I downed the whiskey and did my best not to cough. I had drank whiskey before with my Grandpa, but only small amounts, and small sips. I never got drunk and neither did Grandpa, but I enjoyed those times, even though I never liked whiskey all that much. At least not as a teenager.

"Now you drink some beer," Luca said, grinning.

"Right," I managed to rasp, drinking a few big gulps of beer.

The beer helped ease the harshness of the whiskey. This whiskey tastes a lot worse than Grandpa's Canadian Mist, I thought.

We had a few more boilermakers and Luca told me some sea stories. After the third one I was getting pretty wasted. Not bad, I thought, but my stomach wasn't too happy with me. At this point I didn't much care.

"Damn it!" Luca exclaimed opening up his wallet. I only gotta fiver left. Would you spot me a twenty?" Luca asked.

I didn't have much money, bein' a seaman and all, but I did have forty bucks left. I gave Luca a twenty, wondering if he would remember borrowing it.

"Thanks Ben," Luca said. "You're a lifesaver, pal!"

"Glad to help," I said, lighting up a smoke.

"What are you looking at, assh*le?!" A guy on the other side of the bar shouted.

It seemed like he was looking at me, but I wasn't sure. I took another drink of beer and continued listening to Luca. None of my business, I thought.

"Hey! I'm talking to you, f*ckface!" The guy shouted.

"Knock it off," Mitch said.

"That guy is eyeballing me!" They guy said, standing up and walking around the bar in my direction.

Another man who had been sitting beside him followed. I watched them both and they were definitely looking at me. Oh sh*t! I thought. When they got close I stood up.

"Hey I don't want any trouble," I said.

"Nobody eyeballs me, boy!" The man in the lead said.

"What are you talking about?" I asked.

The other man was beside him now and both looked dead set on kicking my ass. They appeared to be longshoremen or yard workers. They also both appeared wasted and mean as hell. They wre both bigger than me as well. I knew I should run, but I refused to do so. I quit runnin' from bullies in junior high school, and I wasn't about to start now. I got ready to strike, tryin' to formulate a plan.

When you're outnumbered the best thing to do is look for equalizers. The only equalizer nearby was my mug, so I grabbed it.
That's when I noticed the guy who had been yellin' at me had a knife.

Crap. This just keeps gettin' better and better, I thought.

The guy with the knife lunged and I took a step back as he slashed at me, missing.
Then I saw a chair from one of the tables smash him on the side of the head. He went down like a brick, and I saw it was Luca swinging the chair.
Next he kicked the other guy in the knee and I heard a crack as that guy fell to the floor holding his knee and screamin' in pain. The Luca hit his in the jaw with a haymaker and he was out like a light.

It all happened so fast that neither one of those guys could react. I could barely keep up with what Luca had done. Damn! I thought. Luca is more than a badass!

"Thanks Luca! Man, you really kicked the sh*t outta those guys!" I exclaimed.

"Holy sh*t, Luca! Way to go!" Mitch said, putting his baseball bat away.

"No sweat," Luca said. "F*ckin' pr*cks!" Luca said, kickin' the guy who had the knife in the ribs.

Luca picked up the knife and examined it. It looked like a switchblade. He gave it to Mitch, and sat back down as if nothin' happened. A lot of guys shouted praise or gave a thumbs up, but Luca was nonchalant about it.

"They were p*ssies," Luca said, lighting a smoke and taking a drag.

"That deserves a couple of free drinks," Mitch said, refilling Luca's shot glass and bringing another beer.

"Refill Ben's too," Luca said.

"Sure thing," Mitch replied.

"Listen Ben, don't ever hesitate. Guys like that you gotta take 'em down fast n' hard, y'know?" Luca instructed.

"Thanks Luca. I could use some pointers," I replied, nodding my head.

Luca gave me fighting tips the rest of the night and more sea stories, of course.

On the jukebox I heard one of my favorite songs playing.

Man In The Wilderness, by Styx

Another year has passed me by
Still I look a myself and cry
What kind of man have I become?
All of the years I've spent in search of myself
And I'm still in the dark
'Cause I can't seem to find the light alone

Sometimes I feel like a man in the wilderness
I'm a lonely sailor off to war
Sent away to die - never quite knowing why
Sometimes it makes no sense at all

Ten Thousand people look my way
But they can't see the way that I feel
Nobody even cares to try
I spend my life and sell my soul on the road
And I'm still in the dark
'Cause I can't seem to find the light alone

Sometimes I feel like a man in the wilderness
I'm a lonely sailor lost at sea
Drifting with the tide
Never quite knowing why
Sometimes it makes no sense at all

(I'm alive)
Looking for love I'm a man with emotion
(And my heart's on fire)
I'm dying of thirst in the middle of the ocean
I'm alive

Sometimes I feel like a man in the wilderness
I'm a lonely sailor off to war
Sent away to die - never quite knowing why
Sometimes it makes no sense at all

The song seemed appropiate for my own life at the time. Would I see the light? I thought I did years before but now it didn't seem real.
Would anything ever make sense? I felt a loss I couldn't explain and a sorrow beneath the armor of my humor, riding a wave of cynicism that was growing stronger by the day.

It was glad to have a new friend, but loneliness was always creeping at the edge of my thoughts, often intruding when I allowed myself to think.
I tried to pray but I was beginning to think that God might not exist or...I didn't deserve His attention. Nonetheless, I needed answers, or a few more beers.