The Terrible Two’ds.

They are called the Terrible Twos for a reason. Somewhere around 24 months, children learn the power of “No!” After that it can become a battle of wills–it’s very hard to negotiate with a toddler.

Fast forward to the second decade of life and this battle resumes with teenagers. If you are lucky, your teenager will gain the wisdom displayed in the Mark Twain quote:

When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.

In the 1990’s, I worked with a librarian in her late 20’s. “That’s not fair,” she would often complain. I learned that adolescence can last at least a decade longer than I expected.

In second half of the third decade of the 21st century, we see a septuagenarian who likes to embrace his inner toddler–right up to the pouts, the love of the word No!, the exalted sense of it’s all about me. This person not in his twos but he is in his ‘tudes.

Would someone please tell him to pull up his Depends or his big boy briefs, and deal with it. He may not need a Time-Out, but the rest of us do.

Live in the Time of Coronavirus: Pt 19: Reblog-Lockdown Lingo

Sheree lives in the South of France and periodically blogs about how she and her Beloved Husband are navigating what is now France’s Second Lockdown.

This blog focuses on French lock down terms

Attestation – This word (certificate) – already crucial to France’s true religion of bureaucracy – became central to life during Lockdown I. Une attestation de déplacement dérogatoire was required for every trip out. The word is commonly used in many other situations for example: une attestation du travail proves that you are in work while une attestation de domicile is proof of where you live.

Veteran’s History Project

Although Veteran’s Day has past and our older veterans are passing, there is time to capture the memories of those still around. One of the best ways to do this is to participate in the Library of Congress’s Veterans History Project.

The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.

When I lived in San Diego, I did a few Veteran’s History Project interviews while volunteering at the San Diego Public Library, University City Branch. I interviewed Korean War, Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, and Cold War veterans. It was a fascinating experience.

I’m hoping to get back into–maybe through Zoom since that seems to be the most common platform nowadays.

Once you meet a veterans basic needs like housing and medical care, can you imagine a more heartfelt gift than capturing his or her story for the future?

You can look a veteran’s name up to see if he or she is already in there.

Suspended in a Golden Chrysalis

Summer heat, humidity, and haze have vanished. Winter cold, chilblains, and crystal clear nights have not yet arrived. November has suspended some of us in a golden chrysalis of limpid sunshine, languid temperatures, late summer flowers, and lingering fall color. Hope shimmers through the air like the beating of angel wings. Its the magical time between that which has already happened and that which has yet come to be.

The stress of the holidays are here but are not yet the tsunami they will become.

The elections are mostly over. More Americans voted than ever before. People do care, passionately and wholeheartedly–no matter what their point of view is. The new administration has not yet been put to the test–so we can rest and dream for a few days where anything is possible.

Despite the massive world wide surge in COVID, we know how to manage the disease a bit better and two companies announced that their vaccine is over 90% effective.

I wish we will disagree on policies and not personality cults.

I hope we argue the merits of a plan and not make it DOA based upon the messenger.

I pray that we will look harder for our better angels and not our WIIFMS (What’s in it for me).

20-20 may be perfect eyesight but not as a year. Frankly, it has mostly been a year of disillusion, denial, disease, distrust, and disturbances, trumped by egos, entitlement, and excess choler.

Reblog: Reconstruction of Ypres

Denzil Walton lives in Belgium and documents many of the wonders of this lovely country.  World War I plays a major part in many of his posts since so much of the fighting was done in Belgium.

Ypres 1914-1915

During the First World War the old medieval town of Ypres was the centre of one of the most notorious battlefields the world has ever experienced: the Ypres Salient. In the four years of the war, the entire town centre was virtually totally destroyed. By the time the war ended, a person on horseback could look right across the town. Not surprisingly, it was deserted: the whole population had fled or had been forcibly evacuated.

To read more click here.

Rebuilt Gothic Cloth Hall of Ypres

11th Day of The 11th Month

This is a powerful story about how we pay lip service to our Veterans, who deserve so much more. It’s very eloquent.

Don Ostertag: Off Stage


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

First part of the poem written one hundred years ago by Dr. John McCrea after he presided over the death of a friend killed at the Second Battle of Ypes, site of the first use of gas in the war history calls The First World War.

The seeds of this conflict, one of the deadliest ever, went back centuries; but gained speed in a series of events and alliances begun in 1882, with the trigger, killing of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria occurring in June of 1914. When it finally ended it had caused the deaths of nine million combatants and seven million civilians and restructured boundaries in both Europe and the Middle East and dragged warfare…

View original post 1,230 more words

Discounts for Veterans

Some are just for Veteran’s Day and some are for longer.

Veterans Day 2020 is on Wednesday, Nov. 11th, 2020. This Veterans Day discounts list will continue to be updated as we learn of more nationally available Veterans Day discounts, meals or other ways businesses and organizations want to give back to Veterans. These Veterans Day discounts, free meals and other programs are being shared so that Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors are aware of all resources available to them. 

Due to COVID-19, some organizations are now offering discounts to Veterans all the time instead of their regular Veterans Day discounts. These adjustments help Veterans take advantage of the discounts offered while avoiding the usual Veterans Day crowds. A new section at the bottom of this story will list all the year-round Veterans discounts. 

Chaos Never Dies Day–November 9

Light Chaos

Election Day was a long ordeal

Biden won–the answer’s real

But Trump says it’s not confusing

“Election’s stolen!” he’s accusing.

And Alex Trebeck who knew the answer

Lost his life to Pancreatic Cancer

Pfizer announces it has a vaccine

But the where and when, still to be seen

Some of the chaos in the news today

At least here in the USA

What is happening out your way?

Chaos Never Dies Day

How to Celebrate?

  • Take the day for yourself and do things that de-stress you. Pack your lunch and go for a picnic in the park with your loved ones.
  • Watch a feel good movie or read a book.
  • Take a nap in the middle of the day and remember chaos never dies, so it can wait to hassle you for one more day.

Once Upon a Time

In Neverhappenedhere, Fearless Leader woke up from a horrible nightmare. He had lost an election that his henchmice had told him was impossible to lose.

He arose with a bad case of bed hair and stated walking around without donning his normal workday attire. He didn’t even pause to slap his Keep Alt Reality Mine Again (KARMA) ballcap on.

Fearless Leader immediately called for his Assistant Leader, Fearless. He knew he could always rely on his ALF to support whatever brilliant idea his ( FL’s) famous gut had fomented.

“ALF, I had this terrible, very bad, horrible dream. I LOST the election to remain Fearless Leader, just when I was about to become FL squared, Fearless Leader for Life. How could this happen?”

ALF blanched, his skin turning whiter than his hair. “SSSSir,” he stammered. “It’s not a dream.”

FL turned KARMA red with rage. “What do you mean, it’s not a dream? I have spent years preparing people for this election. I began when I won the last time, by explaining the Fake News Media tried to diminish my full accomplishments. How many times to I have to tell my athletic(ally inclined) supporters that any bad news is a lie or an alt fact? The Enemies of the People shall not prevail in this blatant case of voter manipulation. That’s my job.”

ALF almost puddled his correct business attire. “SSSir, shall I call in your doctors to give you feed back on how marvelous you are and that you immediately recalled all five words on your last test?”

” NO!” roared FL. “Bring me my lawyers. Only they and my faithful judges can restore that which is rightfully and legally mine.”

Shortly after the Honorable Rudy of Julie, the Honorable Justin the Clark, and the Honorable William, Cons o’ Voy entered the room, bowing so far forward that their lips kissed the toes of their handmade caged kid-hide shoes.

“How may we serve you, Your Impotentate?” they chorused in well-rehearsed unison.

FL’s choler receded as his ego felt the balm of sincere appreciation. “How can I ensure that the vote correctly reflects the reality as foretold by my All-knowing and Encompassing Gut?”

The three lawyers looked at each other. “We”ll use a page from the famous Fearless Leader Playbook–we’ll sue any who dare to oppose your infallible vision and foresight.”

Fearless Leader paused for a moment, uncrossing his arms and rearranging the pout on his face into a camera ready grin. “Just the thing.” He gestured with his index finger pointed and thumb in the cocked position. “Money is no object. It may not buy happiness but it might buy justice. Be gone and come back with an election victory.”

The lawyers backed out from the Fearless Leader’s presence with their lips once again within kissing distance of their caged kidhide shoes.

How does this improbable tale end?

  1. Fearless Leader wins the election and continues his rule.
  2. Fearless Leader resigns and ALF as temporary Fearless Leader pardons him before January 20.
  3. Fearless Leader does not win but refuses to vacate the premises, insisting that the election was rigged.
  4. Fearless Leader makes one final trip on Fearless Leader One to his private domain or some other undisclosed location where his fellow autocrats await him with open palms.
  5. Fearless Leader retires to start his own television network and plan a return to the international political stage, if his children do not interfere and believe it is their turn for the spotlight..

Which scenario do you select?

The ‘Stralilan Cruiser Squadron by Phil Eakin

Phil Eakin, CDR, (USN Ret) was stationed and has lived in Australia. He also married Carol, a Sheila, from there. He has been the source and/or inspiration for much of the Australian related blog posts.

In early 1938 the U.S. sent a group of ships to Sydney, Australia on a goodwill visit.  The occasion was the 150th/Sesquicentennial anniversary of Australia and Sydney’s founding.  The group of ships consisted of at least U.S.S. Memphis (CL-13), two other cruisers, Trenton and Milwaukee, and probably a number of support ships.  I learned this from a cruisebook, or cruise booklet (paperback, 49-pages), produced by the Memphis that was recently donated to the USS Midway Museum.  All the illustrations used here are from that cruisebook.

Memphis departed San Diego on 3 January 1938 and stopped briefly in Hawaii before heading for Sydney.

What had or would become known as the ‘Stralian Cruiser Squadron crossed the equator on 15 January.  ‘Stralian is, of course, a contraction of ‘Australian’ commonly used Down Under.  In my limited experience with the peoples of that country, they are known to speak “Strine” which is, I believe, slang for ‘Strain, another contraction.
Although I’ve only recently become acquainted with my first pre-WW II Navy cruisebooks, it appears the main event covered in each such commemorative is Crossing the Line, where King Neptune and his court come aboard to assist in initiating slimy Pollywogs, a termed used to refer to those sailors who have never crossed the equator and, thus, entered into King Neptune’s realm before.  King Neptune is ably assisted in the initiation festivities by a ship’s trusty Shellbacks, those crewmembers who have crossed the equator before, have been duly initiated into the rites of the realm, and can prove it.

A focal point for the application of pain and suffering accompanying the rites of passage is sometimes called The Works – pictured above on the Memphis.
After Crossing the Line, the squadron visited Pago Pago, Samoa for two days before entering Sydney on 25 January.  The Sydney port visit ended on 2 February, and the ships headed south, then west across the Australian Bight and up the west coast of Australia to Singapore, and thence for a visit in Manila before rejoining the Fleet in Hawaii on 1 April.
A most interesting aspect of the Memphis cruisebook is the appearance on the last two pages of the Theme Song of the Australian Cruiser Squadron.  A fascinating piece, as I read it over and over, it became apparent it was written before the squadron had reached Singapore and most probably after the Memphis had departed Sydney.   While the cruise through departure from Sydney is covered,  only one stanza is devoted to Samoa, two stanzas to Crossing the Line, while the final five stanzas are devoted to the Australia visit.  One can tell Australia made a great impression on the boys.

I would point out some pronunciation hints in the 2nd-to-last stanza.  ‘Quay’ is pronounced ‘key’ for the non-salts here.  Lingerie is probably the French version, lawn-jerr-y’ to make it rhyme with sea.
And as I read it repeatedly a certain meter kept pumping through my head that was very familiar.  Then I realized it was the same or very similar to an old sea shanty which has become an Australian folk song under a couple of names, but most readily identified by the title, Bound for South Australia (i.e. The ‘Stralian Cruiser Squadron).  
Maybe composed around 1870, in the Clipper Ship days, it is about a young sailor from Australia with a girlfriend in South Australia.  Cape Horn and Liverpool are mentioned, and wheat and wool were frequently moved from South Australia to England in the clipper ship days.  This young man is looking forward to getting back to South Australia at the end of the voyage.  Is it just a coincidence that the seafaring vessel depicted at the top of the nautical chart above, and balancing the Memphis drawing at the bottom of the chart, is a clipper ship?  Here is one version of Bound for South Australia.  I warn you that if you listen to it all the way through it will be in your head for the rest of the day. 
After listening once, play it again and try to put the words of the Theme Song to the music.  According to Wikipedia, Bound for South Australia became a popular camp song in the U.S. in the early 1940s.  So, was the song known to the Memphis crew in 1938 before they left the U.S., or did the sailors pick up the tune in the pubs in Sydney and put their own words to it on the way to Singapore?  and then spread it around campfires in the U.S. over succeeding years?  I suppose we’ll never know.
Oh, and the cruisebook editor was the chaplain.

To All You Stable Geniuses Out There

I was told by multiple stable geniuses that COVID would disappear on November 3, after the election.

COVID doesn’t care and many of you don’t seem too either.

World wide (except in Australia, New Zealand, and a few other locations)

  • COVID rates are rising
  • Hospital rates are rising
  • Death rates are rising
  • Not just in the United States.

So for you stable geniuses that think this is just a Democratic hoax that will evaporate after election day and take the stupid mask wearing, social-distancing, and other personal attacks on your rights and freedoms with it—you were WRONG. You do have the right to think almost anything you want, right or wrong, left or right.

Even if COVID and many of you don’t care, thankfully for those of you out there scratching your heads in confusion, medical staff and scientists still care, your pets still care, and hopefully your loved ones still care.

COVID is more equal opportunity than most things in life.

November 5 is Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Day

They celebrate the foiling of (Catholic) Guy Fawkes’s attempt to blow up (Protestant controlled) England’s House of Parliament on November 5th, 1605. Known variously as Guy Fawkes Day, Gunpowder Treason Day, and Fireworks Night, the November 5th celebrations in some time periods included the burning of the Pope or Guy Fawkes in effigy.

From an English Folk Verse

Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes and his companions
Did the scheme contrive,
To blow the King and Parliament
All up alive.
Threescore barrels, laid below,
To prove old England’s overthrow.
But, by God’s providence, him they catch,
With a dark lantern, lighting a match!
A stick and a stake
For King James’s sake!
If you won’t give me one,
I’ll take two,
The better for me,
And the worse for you.
A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
A penn’orth of cheese to choke him,
A pint of beer to wash it down,
And a jolly good fire to burn him.
Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!
Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!
Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!

Suffrage or Presidential Amendments to the Constitution

This seems an auspicious time to remember the Constitutional Amendments that have affected suffrage or how the President is picked.

From USA Gov:

U.S. election laws date back to Article 1 of the Constitution. This gave states the responsibility of overseeing federal elections. Many Constitutional amendments and federal laws to protect voting rights have been passed since then.

Constitutional Amendments Affecting Voting Rights

  • The 15th Amendment gave African American men the right to vote in 1870. But many weren’t able to exercise this right. Some states used literacy tests and other barriers to make it harder to vote.
  • The 19th Amendment, ratified in 1920, gave American women the right to vote.
  • The 24th Amendment, ratified in 1964, eliminated poll taxes. The tax had been used in some states to keep African Americans from voting in federal elections.
  • The 26th Amendment, ratified in 1971, lowered the voting age for all elections to 18.

Constitutional Amendments Affecting the Election of the President and Vice President

The Twelfth Amendment (Amendment XII) to the United States Constitution provides the procedure for electing the president and vice president. It replaced the procedure provided in Article II, Section 1, Clause 3, by which the Electoral College originally functioned.

The Twentieth Amendment (Amendment XX) to the United States Constitution moved the beginning and ending of the terms of the president and vice president from March 4 to January 20, and of members of Congress from March 4 to January 3. It also has provisions that determine what is to be done when there is no president-elect. The Twentieth Amendment was adopted on January 23, 1933]

The amendment reduced the presidential transition and the “lame duck” period, by which members of Congress and the president serve the remainder of their terms after an election. The amendment established congressional terms to begin before presidential terms and that the incoming Congress, rather than the outgoing one, would hold a contingent election in the event that the Electoral College deadlocked regarding either the presidential or vice presidential elections. The amendment also established procedures in the case that a president-elect dies, is not chosen, or otherwise fails to qualify prior to the start of a new presidential term.

Did you vote today?