To Paxxito

From the Barboursville webpage:

Moscato Ottonel and Vidal grapes are harvested young, to capture the fruit’s acidity, and in a traditional Passito method, allowed to air dry and raisinize on racks open to outdoor ventilation for months, concentrating flavors and sugars. A lengthy fermentation is induced naturally in older barriques, where aging continues for another year, in protracted lees contact, continuously stirred. Incomparably vigorous and luscious, every vintage is destined for lengthy cellaring.


Liquid sunshine warms
The heart and eyes with beauty
And the body when sipped

Golden Autumn held
In a goblet  promising
A joyful harvest.

October 15 is National Grouch Day

Channel your inner curmudgeon and enjoy being a Grouch for a day.

National Grouch Day on October 15th sends out notices to all the grouches of the world to be their truest grouch. If you are a grouch, today is your special day. According to Sesame Street Magazine, the day celebrates all grouches and their way of life. 

Sometimes grumps give backhanded compliments. “Your house looked horrible until you painted it.” Other times they don’t give them at all. Noise, silence, general activity makes a grouch generally unpleasant.  As per the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a grouch is described as:

  • a person who complains frequently or constantly
  • a habitually irritable or complaining person

It seems that a grouch may be happy (although they would never admit it) only when others are unhappy and grouchy.  It is then that they feel most comfortable with having others share in their grumpy, cantankerous, surly world with them.

Are you grumpy in your chair?
Are you grumpy on your couch?
Are you grumpy everywhere?
The today's your day, you are a Grouch

October 13 is International Skeptics Day

Whether you are skeptical of when the holiday is celebrated or not, we can all agree that the day encourages people to be skeptical and to never accept anything without questioning its veracity.

Which of the following makes you the weariest
the know-it-all or conspiracy theorist?
They've found it somewhere on the Internet
or in social media, I would certainly bet.

You can argue the facts 'til your blue in the face
but their alt reality strengthens their base,
They know the truth and doubt your voracity
Don't argue with them, it overloads their capacity.

We each have our faith about what we believe
Those who dare differ are there to deceive
Is there still such a thing as someone's open mind
or did that all die with just being kind?


Playing cards made history

Did you know the ‘other’ reason why cards were included in Red Cross packages? It wasn’t all poker and solitaire.

Pacific Paratrooper

Playing cards to pass the time

War can be hell… and war can be absolute boredom.  There are few better ways to pass the time than by playing cards.  They’re easy to carry: small and lightweight, they fit into a rucksack, duffel bag or Alice pack without having to sacrifice any piece of essential gear.

Plus – they’re cheap!

Wartime decks have been used to help soldiers in the field learn about their enemies and allies, to identify aircraft and even teach American history.  In the 2003 invasion of Iraq, American forces used playing cards to identify the most wanted members of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

The U.S. Army and the United States Playing Card Company cooperation goes way back.  But it was their brand Bicycle that took it to a whole new level.

During WWII, Allied Intelligence officers contacted the card company to produce the most clandestine deck of cards…

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Janine’s Mission 60: 2 WWII Vets Celebrating BIG Birthdays!

Veteran 1:  Wilferd McCallister’s 96th Birthday
96th Birthday Cards for WWII Veteran Wilferd McCallister was drafted from Normady High School (St. Louis, MO) in 1943 and served in the Army until 1946. He worked in the Message Center in Europe. While in Europe, he was able to visit Vatican City, where he met Pope Pius XII and received a blessed cross.
Wilferd’s birthday is October 31st his family will be throwing a birthday party for him on that day. His daughter is collecting the cards so they can surprise him with the cards. To ensure they get there in time, please put your cards in the mail on or before October 24th.  Here’s the address:
Patty Kellett 6121 Cedar Springs Rd.  Cedar Hill, MO 63016 attn: Wilferd McCallister
…and here’s info on Bernie, our second veteran of Mission 60….
Veteran 2:  Bernie Regan’s 102nd Birthday
102nd Birthday Cards for WWII Veteran Bernie Regan joined the “Enlisted Reserve” in 1942, awaiting orders to report for active duty. He graduated from college, then took a job at General Motors machine gun plant. In May, he reported for military duty, graduating as a pilot in April 1943. It was June 6, 1943, D-Day and Lt. Regan was now a member of the 391st. He and his flight crew flew a B26 bomber just minutes before 6:00 am to the target of Omaha Beach, northern France. The next mission was to bomb the submarine pens in Brest, France. Then a gasoline storage area at the edge of Paris, all in the effort to defeat Hitler’s war machine. He flew 65 missions in France and Germany. Lt. Regan was married to Kathleen Rohde in 1944, a marriage that lasted over 77 years. His amazing wife Kay, worked in a factory during the war. They lived many places, Laredo, Tx., California, Japan, Massachusetts, Michigan, Florida, and Washington, DC. They raised two sons. Kay passed in 2021. Regan earned a Law degree in 1954 from McGeorge College of Law. When he returned to Michigan (his home state) he taught college at Michigan State University. In 1962, he was stationed at Otis AFB, Air Defense Command at Cape Cod Mass., then Eglin AFB in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla. In 1966, Lt. Col. Regan also was in Saigon, Viet Nam as US military Assistance Command. Finally, he served at the Pentagon as a Staff Officer in Deputy Chief of Staff, Chief of Legislative Matters for Personnel. Lt. Col Bernard Regan retired in 1973 and moved back to Ft. Walton Beach, Fl. Bernie’s 102nd birthday is November 8th. His son is collecting the cards. To ensure they get there in time, please put your cards in the mail on or before November 1.  Here’s the address: Mike Regan 318 Snapper Dr. Destin, Fl. 32541 attn: Bernie Regan

Cacophony at the Coffee Shop

Shrill shrieks of the high school girls
Bass thrum of the blower
Clanging crash of coffee cups on table tops
Relentless waves of conversation ebbing and flowing
Repetitive hacking and hiccuping from the old man behind me
Clinking silverware slapped down on tables
Banging of pots from the kitchen
Snatches of songs from cell-phone rings
Clip clops of the waitress's sensible shoes as she moves from table to table
The peaceful roar of traffic as I exit the coffee shop

Ding Ding, LTJG Winky Arriving–His Planned Return to the USS Midway (CV-41)

Written by his publicist, JR Reddig, CAPT, USN Ret.

LTJG Winky joined the USS Midway (CVA-41) team from the Philippines in 1979. He was on specialized covert operations as a Special Agent for the Navy Resale System in Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines. There, through a unique and dangerous cover as “merchandise,” he quickly identified areas for improvement in the unique sales environment for overseas fleet operations.  

The Navy Resale System responded favorably to a “by name” request to support the Midway Battle Group as the instrument of naval power in the Far East. His assistance was required during operations in remote waters, far from designated training areas and land support. In order to keep the attention of CVW-5 aircrew, Winky developed a unique presentation style from the forward end of the carrier intelligence center, normally mounted on either the right or left arm of his support officers where he would gesture dramatically to demonstrate Return to Force procedures in the featureless pale blue of the Indian Ocean.   

It has been rumored that due to his experience in Subic, he became convinced that all deployed USN forces should share a unique place of service on the world ocean. At coffee in Mission Planning one morning on a westerly transit en route the Strat of Malacca, he prompted LTJGs Whetstine and Reddig to apply a unique name to the legendary GONZO Station, previously known only as an anonymous Modified Location (“MODLOC”). He later said he was inspired by the stories his father told him of the Vietnam War and “Yankee” and “Dixie” stations for carrier operations in the war zone.   
There was a plaque in the NAS Cubi Point officers lounge honoring his specific service for adroit, focused contingency operations. Midway’s departure from the Indian Ocean prior to the DESERT ONE hostage rescue attempt is considered to be one of the factors in the operation. An arcade devoted to LTJG Winky’s service in Foreign Denied Areas was destroyed with many other historic artifacts in the great eruption of Mr. Pinatubo.  

After his embarked service, he returned to Office of Naval Intelligence for special liaison duties between Washington and ONI’s anonymous but very useful contacts on the Manhattan waterfront. Since his retirement from active Naval Service, he has been active in outreach activities from his home in Culpeper horse country, where his many grandchildren romp in useful ways, herding and jumping.    While retired, his contributions in public life have continued. His proximity to Washington DC enabled him to conduct behind-the-scenes efforts in the selection of the magnificent city of San Diego as the permanent home for the Midway Museum.   

Despite his numerous triumphs in Naval and National security, LTJG Winky retains his active duty rank as a Lieutenant Junior Grade, worn proudly until most of it wore off on the sweaty arms of his support personnel, 1979-80. His quarters throughout were in a plush remodeled cruise box, custom crafted in red velvet upholstery fitted with polished brass keepers and pearl-enhanced graceful traditional furnishings done by Sangley Point Rattan works (1978) on special contract to Fleet Air Yokosuka. It was located behind the Green Door for swift access to highly classified materials. 

His departure from Midway was at pier side in Yokosuka, Japan in May of 1980. He used LTJG Reddig as a prop at the quarterdeck, being held just above eye level on the OOD and rendering his crisp (starched) right hand salute while reporting his detachment in June of 1980.   

In an estate review of his papers, he expressed the desire to be united with what he termed “the best damn ship in the NAVY.” It is his clearly stated desire to continue his educational mission, interpreting the remarkable MIDWAY experience to the newest generations of seagoing people
JR and LTJG Winky in Culpeper, VA

Mexican Independence Day is NOT Cinco de Mayo

Instead it is September 16 when

a proclamation by Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla on September 16th 1810, in the village of Dolores, near Guanajuato called for an end to Spanish rule in Mexico, encouraging rebellion and insurrection against the Spanish.

The Spanish Empire had been broken by Napoleon’s invasion of Spain, and imperial rule had been replaced by “juntas” in both Spain and the American colonies, while King Fernando VII was being held hostage by Napoleon.

The Proclamation of Dolores

Hidalgo ordered that the church bell be rung to gather his congregation, then called for insurrection and ended by calling out, Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe! Viva Fernando VII! Abajo el mal gobierno! [Long live Our Lady of Guadalupe! Long live Fernando VII! Down with the bad government!].

There are various accounts of what Hidalgo was reputed to have actually said. While the proclamation has gained national status, in reality, it is unlikely that Hidalgo disowned the King as he is supposedly said to have done.

Following his speech, Father Hidalgo raised an army and attempted to overthrow the Junta government, but he was eventually defeated. As his struggle against the establishment continued, he began to demand the full independence of all the Spanish American colonies, and the exile or arrest of all Spaniards within Mexico.

It was only after a ten year long War of Independence that Mexico’s independence was finally acknowledged by the Spanish viceroy on September 27th 1821.

Cinco de Mayo is an annual celebration held on May 5, which commemorates the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Led by General Ignacio Zaragoza, the victory of a smaller, poorly equipped Mexican force against the larger and better-armed French army was a morale boost for the Mexicans. Zaragoza died months after the battle from an illness, and a larger French force ultimately defeated the Mexican army at the Second Battle of Puebla and occupied Mexico City.

International Chocolate Day–September 13

There were several choices on what to celebrate on September 13 including Uncle Sam Day, Hug Your Hounds Day, Bald is Beautiful Day, and Grandparents Day, but once I saw it was International Chocolate Day, I knew which one I wanted to honor.

Dark chocolate has many proven health benefits. It is a powerhouse of antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals produced by metabolism of fat. This has an array of positive effects on your body, ranging from improving cardio-vascular health to preventing chronic diseases. It has been shown to reduce blood pressure, as well as, interestingly enough, help regulate blood sugar. Finally, it has also been linked to the release of endorphins – the feel-good hormone, which might explain why it is so widely known and loved as a mood-lifter. It is often mixed with other foods and flavors which enhance the taste and may improve your health as well, such as mint, orange, peanuts, almonds, coconuts etc.

Chocolate is good any time of the day from your morning hot chocolate until your bedtime snack of a a chocolate cookie or candy.

Click here to read the history of chocolate from

I didn’t take up smoking in college (when cigarettes were $.25/pack) because I was already a chocoholic (when candy bars were still $.10/bar). According to Google, The average cost for a pack of cigarettes across all states is $6.96 per pack or an average of $. 35 per cigarette. The price for chocolate candy outpaced non-chocolate in 2019, averaging 2.27 U.S. dollars per unit compared to 1.88 for non-chocolate. (I can find candy bars for about $1.25 at my local Krogers.)

In a cookie or candy bar
Eaten at home or in a car
In the north or in the south
My favorite place is in my mouth

Luscious chocolate coats my tongue
taking me back to when I was young
I haven't outgrown that  treat from youth
100% Geezerette truth.

In Honor of Labor Day

Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers and is traditionally observed on the first Monday in September. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894. Labor Day weekend also symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans, and is celebrated with parties, street parades and athletic events.

Labor Facts from the Department of Labor

1. We’re younger than Labor Day.

Americans first celebrated Labor Day in 1882, and it became a federal holiday in 1894 – nearly 20 years before the creation of the Labor Department.

2. We put our own spin on the idea of “ladies first.”

The Labor Department was the first Cabinet agency led by a woman: Frances Perkins. Six women have held the title since then, giving us the record not just for the first, but for the most women secretaries as well. Many of the women who followed in Perkins’ footsteps have blazed their own trails. Elaine Chao and Hilda Solis were the first Asian American and Hispanic women in the Cabinet, respectively. Alexis Herman was the first African American to serve as secretary of labor. And Elizabeth Dole was the first woman to lead two different departments for two different presidents (Labor and Transportation).

3. Clam chowder could be a contentious dish at a Labor Secretary reunion.

Our 29 secretaries come from over a dozen states and three countries, but about one-fifth of them have called New York or Massachusetts home. Current Secretary Marty Walsh isn’t the first to hail from Boston. In fact, he’s not even the first Mayor of Boston to serve as Secretary of Labor. It’s an honor he shares with Maurice J. Tobin.

4. We didn’t always wear pants.

The women, at least. In fact, when the department’s female employees started wearing pants to work, it was notable enough to merit a mention in the newsletter. “Fashion forward” isn’t a phrase typically used to describe the department, but in the 1970s, we were ahead of other federal agencies in officially allowing women to work in pants, thanks to Elizabeth Duncan Koontz, the director of the Women’s Bureau and an advocate for women’s rights. Pants proved to be very practical, and the rest is history.

5. Our secretaries’ side hustles are next level.

Being a Cabinet member would be a pretty impressive accomplishment for most people, but for the 29 men and women who have served as secretary of labor, it’s just the beginning. Our first secretary, William Wilson, wrote poetry. Arthur Goldberg served as both a Supreme Court justice and ambassador to the United Nations. George Shultz also served as the director of the Office of Management and Budget, Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of State. And Frances Perkins is a saint in the Episcopal church.

J. Ernest Wilkins

Letter XIII Latrines

And you think you have to work with some pissy details,, read Smitty’s letter on latrines.

Pacific Paratrooper

Back in the states, people were still dancing to the tunes of The Dorsey Brothers, Count Basie and Artie Shaw.  They listened to the songs of Doris Day, the Andrew Sisters, Lena Horne and Rosemary Clooney.  But, some others weren’t so lucky, in the army there was always latrine duty, as depicted in the following letter from Smitty.


Letter XIII                               Latrines                        Wednesday 9/5/44

Dear Mom,

Many are the times you have heard me refer to the latrines.  Never before had I any conception or realized the amount of genius and mathematical figuring that was necessary for the building of one of these casual looking comfort stations.

Yesterday I had the dubious honor of being selected, with four other disgruntled G.I.s, to labor on a detail whose sole aim and mission was the digging and building of a latrine.  It seems that in order to get a latrine built correctly there…

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August 27 is Just Because Day

National Just Because Day is on August 27. Why this date? Well, you know … just, because.

We don't  need no stinking reason
Just  Because is not  a season
Just Because is more than enough
It's really quite easy; don't make it so tough

I may do something or maybe not
Just because is the reason I've got
And I don't have to seek permission
Just because it's my own decision.

Reblog of Symbols of Navy Medicine

USNS Comfort departing San Diego Harbor

From uniforms and branding to wall decorations and command seals, Navy Medicine is steeped in symbolism. Oak leaves, acorns and caducei adorn the collars and sleeves of Navy medical personnel. Red Crosses emblazon our white-hulled hospital ships. Images of triumphant eagles and fouled anchors and the colors “blue and gold” abound throughout the Enterprise connecting us to big Navy. Throughout its history, Navy Medicine has continually leveraged these powerful communication tools to create a service and mission identity. But where did these symbols come from? And why were they adopted? To read more, click here.