Reblog: Are You a Hobby Writer?

Audrey Driscoll  takes a droll look at what  a hobby writer might be and  synonyms for hobby writer that produce a clever take of what different types of non-serious writers might  be like.

Do you take your writing seriously or is it just a hobby?writer with typewriter

Anyone who writes with serious intention may call themselves a writer. And those of us who publish our own works may even call themselves publishers.

Virtual Library Provides a Voice for Censured Journalists

This virtual library is not in Second Life, but rather in Minecraft.

As governments around the globe crack down on journalistic freedom and censor their national press, Reporters Without Borders is working to deliver uncensored news to the public through an unlikely channel: an enormous library housed inside the popular block-building video game Minecraft.


The stories are contained within books housed within the virtual library.  (An added bonus is that this library is not closed by the Coronavirus.)

.For more information, click here

In Times of Crisis, They are a Mercy and a Comfort — Reblog of Hospital Ships in the US Navy

Yesterday, President Trump announced he was sending one hospital ship to New York City and the Navy’s second hospital ship to somewhere on the West Coast.  Many of you may wonder what’s taking so long.  Click here to find out more.

USNS Mercy gliding out of San Diego Harbor
USNS (United States Naval Ship) Mercy (T-AH-10) leaving San Diego Bay October 2019

April is Science Citizen Month

In 2016, the first year of Citizen Science Day celebrations and activities kicked off with a major celebration at the USA National Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, DC. A series of citizen science “open houses” and activities followed, organized locally by science centers, museums, libraries, universities and schools, and federal agencies around the US and beyond. The celebrations culminated with the U.S. National Parks Bioblitz, May 20-21, 2016. Citizen Science Day continued in 2017, 2018, and 2019 to encourage celebrations of public engagement in research.

science experiment

For 2020, we’re building on Citizen Science Day in 2019 and taking it up a notch with a whole month to support libraries, institutions, community groups, museums, galleries, archives, and individuals all around the world. Let’s introduce millions to citizen science: real scientific research.

  • The National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM), a program of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), has expanded its partnership with SciStarter to support Citizen Science Month (April 2020).
  • In 2019, the two organizations worked collaboratively to promote Citizen Science Day in libraries, to increase awareness of citizen science in communities across the nation, and help individuals explore the impact of their environment on health.
  • Through citizen science and crowdsourcing, NNLM can engage communities in addressing societal needs and accelerating biomedical science, technology, and innovation.
  • Community participation in the research process also builds trust between NNLM and the communities that we serve.
  • The featured projects address environmental and health issues through citizen science.
  • SciStarter and the NLM put together a curated and publicly accessible page of activities ( to support Citizen Science month and other Citizen Science activities in your region.

During the month of April, NNLM and SciStarter seek to host citizen science activities in select cities.

Weekly webinars for the library community will be available leading up to the month of April for programming support and Citizen Science questions. Here’s how your library can host an event:

Sign up with this form.
Receive a program kit with instructions on facilitating an event
Set a date
Have fun with Citizen Science!

Reblog: 20 Slang Terms from World War I

Are you a Downton Abbey Fan?  If so, do you remember Thomas Barrow, the conniving under butler, who went to the Western Front as a medic?  He held a match up in his hand so that it would be shot at by a German sharpshooter.   The subsequent wound proved to be a ‘blighty”  that earned him a return to Downton Abbey after it became a convalescent hospital.

For the meaning of blighty and 19 other slang terms from WWI, click here.


Taking Books to the People, Part XII: In Afghanistan, Use Bikes

In Afghanistan, a college student has founded a small organization called Read Books (in Pashto: Ketab Lwast), a mobile effort to improve youth literacy rates in Afghanistan by providing books and reading instruction to children in rural areas.  Idris Siyawash at Jahan University in Kabul founded Ketab Lwast in 2018.

To learn more click here.


February 25 – Honoring Katherine Johnson — from Celebrate Picture Books

Katherine Johnson, a mathematician extraordinaire and savior of Apollo 13, passed away yesterday. This is a wonderful book review of a children’s picture book written about it.

Platform Number 4

If you’ve read the book, “Hidden Figures,” by Margot Lee Shetterly, or have seen the movie, Katherine Johnson was one of the featured “human computers!” In addition to the children’s book below, a picture book of “Hidden Figures” is also available. Such amazing women!       ~Becky

Katherine Johnson passed away yesterday at the age of 101. Recognized from an early age for her brilliance, Katherine went on to become a pivotal mathematician for NASA as the space race led to the first manned missions and lunar landings. She continued working for NASA on the space shuttle and other […]

via February 25 – Honoring Katherine Johnson —

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JeanMarie offers several good examples of why an author’s bio is important and helpful tips on what it should contain.

Words from JeanMarie

At the beginning of the month, I led a workshop for members of Living Poetry on how to submit poetry to journals. I felt that as a poet who submits my work, and as a poetry reviewer/editor on the other side of the desk for the Heron Clan anthologies, I had something to offer.

It was a very small group, but it’s been years since I’ve done this, so it was good practice. According to my friend, associate and provisional sidekick, Bartholomew Barker, L.P. Head Wrangler, I probably talked too much, so if we do this again next year, I’ll change it up a bit. But even with all that talking, I never got to the subject of Author/Poet bios, so let’s talk about it here.

Author bios serves several purposes. The first is to connect with readers and share a little of your personality. It’s also a marketing…

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The Hundred Little Things

I came across this helpful and heartfelt blogpost that aptly illustrates that it is the hundred little things that add up to real love and change. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy sharing it with you.

A Teacher's Reflections

I have a handwritten list of posts I want to write, things that are important.  There is one that has been screaming at me for a long time, with yellow highlighter and a post-it note: “The Hundred Little Things.”  It is the source of all that’s important, why everything we do is meaningful, whether we know it or not.  It is the most important thing I learned in teaching.  Oh boy, did I learn this.

A past parent visited me at school this week.  Her boys are beyond college and doing well.  She wanted to stop by, give me a Peter Rabbit cookie jar, and say thank you.  Like the student alumni who stop by and cannot pinpoint what it is they remember, she was the same way.  And I know why.  It’s the hundred little things.

Do I remember everything I did with Adam?  No.  Does his Mom?  No. …

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Family of 99 Year Old WWII Vet Wants him to Receive Birthday cards

Arthur HanaganThe family of Arthur Hashagen is asking that interested people to send birthday cards to him for his 99th birthday on March 23.  He served in the Army during World War II and returned home to raise a family.   Click here to read more about Arthur.

His address is:

Arthur Hashagen
211 Persimmon Circle West
Dover DE 19901


Thanks to GP Cox of Pacific Paratrooper for the info.

Rare Historical Photos WWII Japanese Pre-Surrender

From a forwarded email.

The Japanese planes did not have armor and did not have self sealing gas tanks.  U.S. planes had a rubber bladder liner in the gas tanks.  If a bullet penetrated the gas tank, the rubber would seal the hole.  The bladder collapsed as the gas was drained so there were no fumes to ignite.  The U.S. called these bombers, “Bettys.”  The Japanese called them, “Flying Cigarette Lighters.”

Rare photos of a fascinating piece of history.  This was overshadowed by the Tokyo Bay surrender ceremony a few weeks later.  But what rare photos (and some personal descriptions of that event).

Interesting photos of the preparation of Surrender of Japan in August 1945.  (Officially signed on the USS Missouri in the Tokyo Bay, September 2, 1945).

A delegation of Japanese Representatives flew to an American Base close to Okinawa.  The Japanese planes were requested to be painted in white and have the”Meatballs” replaced by a Green Cross.

Here are photographs of some of those Green Cross flights and Green Cross aircraft, starting with the most photographed of them all “The Green Cross Bettys of Iejima.”

Let the surrender begin.  B-25J Mitchell bombers of the 345th Bomb Group (The Apaches) lead two Green Cross Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” medium bombers into the island of Iejima (called Ie Shima by the Americans).  The 345th Bomb Group (the 498th, 499th, 500th and 501st Squadrons) was based on Iejima and was given the task and the very special honour of escorting the Bettys from Tokyo to the rendezvous with United States Army Air Force C-54s, which would take the Japanese officers and envoys on to Manila to meet with no less than Douglas MacArthur himself.  Photo: USAF

The two Bettys (ironically and deliberately given the call signs Bataan 1 and Bataan 2 by the Americans) fly low over the East China Sea, inbound for Iejima wearing their hastily painted white surrender scheme and green crosses.  One can only imagine what is going on in the conflicted minds of the Japanese airmen as they fly over their own territory in the company of the hated enemy, headed for an event of profound humiliation in front of thousands of enemy soldiers. 

These two Bettys would become the most photographed Green Cross surrender aircraft of the end of the war.  Photo: US Navy

A photograph taken from the same 345th Bomb Group Mitchell that is depicted in the first photograph, looking back at another B-25 Mitchell and a B-17.  Above, P-38 Lightnings provide top cover.  The top cover was needed, because some Japanese officials had ordered the remnants of the Japanese Army Air Force to attack and bring down their own bombers rather than surrender.  Instead of flying directly to Iejima, the two Japanese planes flew northeast, toward the open ocean, to avoid their own fighters.
Photo via

The Betty was officially known as the “Type-1 land-based attack aircraft;” but to its Japanese Navy crews, it was lovingly known as the Hamaki ( Cigar), the reason for which is obvious in this photograph (also because one could light it up fairly easily).  The Betty was a good performer, but it was often employed in low level, slow-speed operations such as torpedo attacks, and it had a tendency to explode into flames when hit by even light enemy fire, leading some unhappy pilots to call them the “Type One Lighter” or “The Flying Lighter.”  We can clearly see that the Betty’s traditional armament: nose, tail, waist and dorsal guns, have been removed as demanded by the Americans.
The B-17 in the distance is from 5th Air Force, 6th Emergency Rescue Squadron carrying a type A-1 lifeboat.  The A-1 was dropped by parachute and was motorized.  It seems that American authorities did not want to lose these men in the event of a ditching.
Photo via

As thousands of American soldiers, airmen, sailors, dignitaries and press photographers on the island of Iejima look to the sky, the two 345th Bomb Group B-25J Mitchells escort the two white Green Cross Bettys over the airfield before setting up for a landing.  Photo: James Chastain, 36 Photo Recon Squadron

As thousands of suspicious, curious and anxious young men look on, the Japanese pilot brings his Mitsubishi Betty down on to the bleached coral airfield of Iejima.  Note the all-metal Douglas C-54 waiting for their arrival.  Photo via Pinterest

It is plainly obvious that in August of 1945, on the island if Iejima, it was brutally hot the day the Green Cross Bettys landed.  Here, one of the two aircraft drops on to the runway as soldiers, the formal welcoming committee and pressmen wait, finding shade where they could.  Photo: U.S. Naval Historical Center The second of the two Green Cross Bettys makes its final approach while press photographers and reporters capture the long-awaited moment.  Photo: James Chastain, 36 Photo Recon Squadron

As the second Betty alights on the coral airstrip, every eye on the island is trained on them.  One cannot even imagine what this scene looked like to these Japanese as they looked out from the aircraft windows at a sea of mistrust and a new, grim reality.  Photo: James Chastain, 36 Photo Recon Squadron

Another view taken farther back at Iejima shows the two massive and beautifully kept Douglas C-54 aircraft waiting for the passengers of the landing Betty.  Image via

With its clamshell canopy open and her Captain standing up to direct his co-pilot through the crowd, the first Green Cross Betty to land at Iejima taxis past a seemingly endless line of enemy soldiers.  The scene is one of abject humiliation and intimidation.  That pilot must surely have felt the mistrust of the thousands of pairs of eyes burning as he rolled by.  Photo: USAAF

A close-up of the Betty taxiing along in front of the thousands of suspicious American servicemen.  This had to be intimidating to the Japanese, especially to the lone pilot standing up and accepting the glares of all.  Photo: USAAF

I found the personal family memoirs of Army combat engineer Leigh Robertson on the web.  Leigh was an eyewitness to the arrival on leshima of the Green Cross surrender aircraft.  The following link to his memory of that day is perfect as he immediately wrote it down in a letter back home to his parents:

Sunday, August 19th 1945
Dear Folks,

I don’t know how long it will be until I can mail this letter.  I am writing it now, while things are fresh in my mind.  I have just seen what is probably the most important event in the world today.  It was the arrival of the Japanese envoys on their way to Manila to sign the preliminary peace agreement with Gen. MacArthur.

We had known for the last three days that they were going to land here.  We expected them yesterday, but they were delayed for some reason.  We went to work this morning as usual and worked until about ten.  Then the word went around that the Japs were coming.  We piled into trucks and drove up to the airstrip.  We waited expectantly for over an hour.  Finally, word went out once more that they would not arrive until 1:30 P.M, so we decided to come on back to camp and eat lunch (we had baked ham, by the way).

Just before we left, we watched two giant four engine transports (C-54s) circle the field and land.  These were the planes that would take the Japs on to Manila.

Just as I was leaving the mess hall, the news came over the radio that the Jap planes were circling the island, and sure enough, they were!  I ran to my tent, put away my mess gear, grabbed my cap and climbed on a truck.  It is about two miles to the airstrip, but we made pretty good time, because all the traffic was going the same way.  As we came closer to the field, we became part of a strange procession.  Directly in front and to the rear of us were two P-38s (twin engine fighter aircraft).  Further on down the line there were tractors, motor graders, and in fact, most every kind of vehicle you can imagine–all loaded with G.I.s.

We parked the truck about a quarter mile from the strip and ran the rest of the way.  I got separated from the rest of the men and stopped on a high spot about 75 yards from the strip.  I had scarcely gotten settled when the planes started in for a landing.  The planes themselves were Japanese “Betty” bombers, with two engines, bearing some resemblance to our B-26.  They were painted white, with green crosses.  It had been a hasty paint job — you could still see the red of the rising sun showing through the white.

Naturally, the planes had been stripped of all armament.  They were escorted by two B-25s, and I don’t know how many P-38s, probably a hundred or more.  The latter continued to circle the field for an hour or more, until all the excitement was over.

Both planes made perfect landings, rolled to the far end of the strip, turned and taxied back to our end.  They parked right alongside the two large transports that had arrived earlier.  They were dwarfed by comparison to our transports.

We were not permitted within a hundred yards or so of the four airplanes.  There were several hundred people gathered around the planes, most likely photographers and Air Corps officers.  They pretty well hid from view the events of the next few minutes.  I could see various people boarding the transport but couldn’t tell much about them.

Presently they towed one of the Jap planes up a taxiway to a parking area close to where I was sitting.  One of our boys pulled his truck right up to the fence and raised the dump bed.  This gave us a grandstand seat about 15 feet off the ground.  When the plane came to rest, the crew started climbing out.  There were five in all, dressed in heavy flying clothes.  There were two jeeps waiting to take them away.  Evidently, they didn’t speak English, for there was much waving of hands and shrugging of shoulders.

About this time, two or three thousand soldiers broke through the ring of guards and started for the Japs.  They didn’t have any bad intentions, just curiosity, and wanting to take pictures.  I know that if I had been in the place of those Japs, I would have been just a wee bit scared!  At any rate, they lost no time in getting into the Jeeps and away from the mob!

Finally, they managed to get the crowd back far enough to bring the other”Betty” over to the parking area.  After a few minutes, one of the C-47s (edit C-54s?) warmed up its engines and taxied onto the strip.  With a mighty roar, she started down the runway.  Before she got halfway down the runway, she was in the air, on her way to Manila.

It was a great show, and one I don’t think I shall ever forget, for it is part of the last chapter of this war that has caused so many hardships and so many heartbreaks.  Thank God it is all over.

I wish that you would save this letter for me, or make a copy of it.  What I saw today is one of the few things that I have seen, or will see, while I’m in this army that will be worth remembering.

Just as soon as I find out from the censor that it is O.K., I’ll mail this.  You will probably have read about it in the newspapers and seen it in the newsreel, but this may give you a little different slant on it.

I sure do think of you folks a lot.  Maybe it won’t be too long now till I can be back with all of you again.  I want to write to Barbara tonight, so I’ll end this now.

Love, Leigh

The captain of the second Mitsubishi Betty also stands up to direct his co-pilot through the crowds waiting and watching.  We can tell this is a different Betty as the previous one has a window panel just behind the nose glazing under the chin of the aircraft.  This one does not have that particular window pane.  Photo: Fred Hill, 17th Photo Recon Squadron

With his twin Kasei 14-cylinder engines thundering, the Japanese pilot guides the Betty through the crowded taxi strip.  Photo: Fred Hill, 17th Photo Recon Squadron

Guiding his co-pilot from his perch above the Betty, the commander of the second Green Cross Betty commands him to swing round into position near the awaiting C-54 transports of the Americans.  In doing so, he blasts the crowd of American sailors and airmen.  We can see in this photo that all of the men in the background have their backs turned against the dust storm.  Perhaps this was the one satisfying moment for the Japanese crews in this most humiliating of days.  Photo: Fred Hill, 17th Photo Recon Squadron

One of the two Bettys comes to a stop across from the waiting Douglas C-54 aircraft that will take the envoys to Manila.  Photo: U.S. Naval Historical Center

The second Green Cross Betty to land at Iejima begins to unload its passengers and crew, while American soldiers crowd around.  The distinguishing features that help us tell this Betty from the other are the different glazing panels on the nose and the fact that this does not have the Radio Direction Finding (RDF) loop antenna on the top of the fuselage.  Photo

The two Green Cross aircraft are stared at by thousands of American soldiers, who watch from the gullies surrounding the airstrip, hoping to get a close look at the once hated, now defeated, Japanese airmen.  Note the RDF loop antenna at the top of the fuselage. Photo: U.S. Naval Historical Center

American soldiers and airmen, in daily working gear, gawk at the once-hated Mitsubishi G4M Betty painted white like a flag of surrender and no longer wearing her proud red rising sun roundels known as the Hinomaru.  Instead they are required to wear green crosses — Christian symbols if there ever were any.  With her RDF loop, this is clearly the first of the two Bettys.  Photo: U.S. Naval Historical Center

Moments after the second all-white Betty shuts down on the leshima ramp in the blistering sun, she is surrounded by airmen and plenty of Military Police (MPs).  While some of the Japanese stand on the ground, a young airman steps out of the doorway carrying two large bouquets of flowers as a peace offering to the American delegation.  The offer of the flowers was rejected by the Americans who felt that it was too soon to make nice with the once haughty Japanese who had treated Allied POWs so roughly.  It would be like Auschwitz survivors accepting flowers from the SS, but you have to feel sorry for the young man bearing the gift.  Photo

Looking more than a little worried and even terrified, the young Japanese soldiers look about them to see only angry, disdainful faces.  The soldier on the left is the one who has just had his gift of flowers rejected and is no doubt looking for a place to hide.  Photo: U.S. Naval Historical Center

Japanese officers and leaders, with a mandate to negotiate their surrender, cross from their Mitsubishi Betty to awaiting C-54 aircraft which will take them to Manila.  The truth is there were no negotiations. Surrender was unconditional.  But they were there to accept the orders of surrender.  The formal signing of the surrender would take place aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945 (two weeks later).  Photo: U.S. Naval Historical Center

Formalities on the ground were quickly performed; and within 20 minutes, the eight official commissioners were guided up a ladder into a massive Douglas C-54 transport aircraft, a luxurious accommodation when compared to the Japanese Bettys.  They were then flown to Manila in the Philippines to meet with MacArthur.  Photo: U.S. Naval Historical Center

After the Japanese delegates boarded the American C-54 Skymaster at Iejima, they were flown 1,500 kilometres over the South China Sea to Manila, the capital of the Philippines.  Here, we see General Douglas MacArthur watching the arrival of the Japanese entourage from the balcony of the ruined Manila City Hall.  Most of the city’s fine old Spanish-style buildings were destroyed in the battle to retake the city from the Japanese in February and March of that year.  Americans and Filipino citizens look on warily.  More than 100,000 Manilans and 1,000 Americans were killed battling the Japanese, so this crowd would not be considered to be welcoming.  Photo: U.S. Naval Historical Center

Coat and Tie Rebellion–February 16, 1969

Only at UVA would you have a  1960’s protest in Coat and Tie.

From President Ryan’s tweet announcing new historic markers on UVA’s ground.

Another marker near the Rotunda will commemorate the “Coat and Tie Rebellion” on Feb. 16, 1969, when students staged an anti-war and pro-civil rights demonstration intended to show widespread support from the student body. Hundreds rallied in coats and ties, a nod to traditional dress code, and presented 11 demands to then-President Edgar Shannon, calling for an increase in black student enrollment, an African American dean of admissions, a black studies program, and union efforts for University workers. The demonstration helped to build momentum around efforts to make UVA a more welcoming place for students of all backgrounds.

From the Virginia magazine Antiwar Stories:  May Days, 1970:  The Week that  Would Change UVA Forever” by  Ernie Gates

Protesting on the Lawn outside the Board of Visitors meeting on Feb. 15, about 150 students called for the board to be remade to reflect the makeup of Virginia by race, gender and income level. Pointedly, they demanded the ouster of board member C. Stuart Wheatley (Law ’30), who as a state legislator had supported the state’s racist policy of Massive Resistance to school integration. In his Virginia Commonwealth University master’s thesis on the growth of the New Left at UVA, Thomas M. Hanna (Col ’34) notes that some moderates reacted immediately to support the radicals’ demands but not their style. A consensus was forming.

The next day, a meeting in Rosen’s room on the Lawn produced the Student Coalition, which encompassed establishment liberals, antiwar radicals and fraternity leaders. In his recent UVA memoir, From Rebel Yell to Revolution, Joel Gardner (Col ’70, Law ’74) cites this meeting as a turning point. “The key,” writes Gardner, who is not related to the activist Tom Gardner, “was to forcefully demonstrate that the forthcoming actions of the coalition did not represent the ideas of wide-eyed radicals and agitators, and that support for stronger actions to address the racial issues at the University was widespread.”

In the next two days, hundreds of students responded to the coalition’s call to rally at the Rotunda, in what became known as the “Coat and Tie Rebellion” because its dress code matched the traditional Old U standard. Rosen, who now practices law in his native Charleston, South Carolina, says, “I was the good liberal. We’re going to wear coats and ties. The whole idea of the coalition was to get the majority of students on our side.” Half-joking, he recalls the purpose as, “Let’s get all the real people, not just the scrungy communists.”

Reblog: Mission 41: 4th Annual Medal of Honor Mail Call!

Medal of honorStar-Spangled Girl, Janine Stange, is once again asking us to write to the 71 living Medal of Honor winners.

National Medal of Honor Day is March 25th. For the 4th year in a row, letters, post-cards, drawings, and paintings are being collected from grateful Americans all across the country and given to our Recipients. This is a great way for students, businesses, groups, and individuals to learn about – and thank our nation’s heroes.

This year, I have partnered with the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation to further the reach of this program! If you participated in past MOH Mail Calls, the only notable difference for you is that you will be sending your packages to the museum office in Arlington, Texas (all info below). Mail for each Recipient will be sorted and delivered to each of their homes.

Deadline for mail to be received in Arlington, TX is March 18, 2020.

NEW ADDRESS THIS YEAR! Mailing Your Letters/Items to:

National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation
1905 East Randol Mill Road
Arlington, TX 76011

For particulars go to Janine’s webpage for information about the individual recipients, how individuals and/or groups may participate and FAQs.

Medal of Honor Factoid:

Established U.S. Navy: December 21, 1861
U.S. Army: July 12, 1862
U.S. Air Force: April 14, 1965

Reblog: Card Tricks–Decline and Fall of the Old Card Catalog

In the last century (which was in the previous millennium) when I attended Library School (before they all became iSchools),  I spent hours trying to figure out the correct Library of Congress Subject heading for women in the military.  That was not subject heading,  neither was females in the military (or any of the separate services).  I can not remember how I stumbled across the magic subject heading of United States–Department of Defense–Women. Once I learned that magic combination, I could then find information about the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines.

Today it’s much easier to type the keywords in women and the military.

For those of you who feel nostalgic or are old enough to remember the card catalog, read

about the not-so good old days.


Reblog: NYPL Top 10 Checkouts of All Time

Libraries are more than just  a collection of books.  They are also places, buildings, meeting spots, and makerspaces.

In honor of February is Love Your Library (the physical library building) month:

The New York Public Library is celebrating 125 years by unveiling its top 10 checkouts of all time.

Reblog: California Brown Pelicans

Bown pelican in flightYou can see a squadron of them flying in a line parallel to the top of an oceanside cliff or gliding along the crest of a breaking wave.  They fly dawn, midday and dusk patrols in their unceasing search for food.  At night, the squadrons land on cliffside rocks and outcrops.


“Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican! His bill holds more than his belican. He can take in his beak Enough food for a week. But I’m darned if I know how the helican.”

Brown pelicans amongst the kep


To read more about these fascinating birds click here.

Air Force or Navy: Which Service is Right for You? Part 1

Bob Norris is a former Naval aviator who also did a 3-year exchange tour with the Air Force flying the F-15 Eagle. He is now an accomplished author of entertaining books about US Naval Aviation including “Check Six” and “Fly-Off”. In response to a letter from an aspiring fighter pilot on which military academy to attend, Bob replied with the following.
Young Man,
Congratulations on your selection to both the Naval and Air Force Academies. Your goal of becoming a fighter pilot is impressive and a fine way to serve your country. As you requested, I’d be happy to share some insight into which service would be the best choice. Each service has a distinctly different culture. You need to ask yourself “Which one am I more likely to thrive in?”
USAF Snapshot: The USAF is exceptionally well organized and well run. Their training programs are terrific. All pilots are groomed to meet high standards for knowledge and professionalism. Their aircraft are top-notch and extremely well maintained. Their facilities are excellent. Their enlisted personnel are the brightest and the best trained. The USAF is homogeneous and macro. No matter where you go, you’ll know what to expect, what is expected of you, and you’ll be given the training & tools you need to meet those expectations. You will never be put in a situation over your head. Over a 20-year career, you will be home for most important family events. Your Mom would want you to be an Air Force pilot…so would your wife. Your Dad would want your sister to marry one.
Navy Snapshot: Aviators are part of the Navy, but so are Black shoes (surface warfare) and bubble heads (submariners). Furthermore, the Navy is split into two distinctly different Fleets (West and East Coast). The Navy is heterogeneous and micro. Your squadron is your home; it may be great, average, or awful. A squadron can go from one extreme to the other before you know it. You will spend months preparing for cruise and months on cruise. The quality of the aircraft varies directly with the availability of parts. Senior Navy enlisted are salt of the earth; you’ll be proud if you earn their respect. Junior enlisted vary from terrific to the troubled kid the judge made join the service. You will be given the opportunity to lead these people during your career; you will be humbled and get your hands dirty. The quality of your training will vary and sometimes you will be over your head. You will miss many important family events. There will be long stretches of tedious duty aboard ship. You will fly in very bad weather and/or at night and you will be scared many times. You will fly with legends in the Navy and they will kick your ass until you become a lethal force. And some days – when the scheduling Gods have smiled upon you – your jet will catapult into a glorious morning over a far-away sea and you will be drop-jawed that someone would pay you to do it. The hottest girl in the bar wants to meet the Naval Aviator. That bar is in Singapore.
Bottom line, son, if you gotta ask………….pack warm & good luck in Colorado.
snoopy flying a plane
PS Air Force pilots wear scarves and iron their flight suits.