Base Names–Changing is not New

As a military librarian, I was in libraries at Ft Eustis, Ft Story, Ft  Ord, Ft  Myer, and Ft McNair.  All of them have changed names.

Army Library

Ft Eustis-Fort Eustis, located in Newport News, Virginia, was established in 1918, and has served a number of purposes, including an Army training facility for artillery and artillery observation, a prison, and a work camp. Beginning in the World War II era, the primary mission of Fort Eustis has been Army transportation training, research and development, engineering, and operations, including aviation and marine shipping activities.The 2005 Base Realignment, Allocation and Closure (BRAC) Act resulted in the greatest change in the look of Fort Eustis by relocating the Army Transportation School headquarters to Fort Lee in 2010.  The Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Headquarters replaced it in 2011.  The BRAC decision consolidated adjoining bases of different services, referred to as joint basing. Resultantly Fort Eustis and Langley Air Force Base were consolidated under the responsibility of the Air Force 633d Air Base Wing as Joint Base Langley-Eustis in 2010.

Ft Story- Joint Expeditionary Base-Fort Story, commonly called simply Fort Story is a sub-installation of Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, which is operated by the United States Navy. Located in the independent city of Virginia Beach, Virginia at Cape Henry at the entrance of the Chesapeake Bay,[1] it offers a unique combination of features including dunes, beaches, sand, surf, deep-water anchorage, variable tide conditions, maritime forest, and open land. The base is the prime location and training environment for both Army amphibious operations and Joint Logistics-Over-the-Shore (LOTS) training events.

Ft OrdFort Ord is a former United States Army post on Monterey Bay of the Pacific Ocean coast in California, which closed in 1994 due to Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) action. Most of the fort’s land now makes up the Fort Ord National Monument, managed by the United States Bureau of Land Management as part of the National Conservation Lands, while a small portion remains an active military installation under Army control designated as the Ord Military Community.

Ft MyerJoint Base Myer–Henderson Hall is a Joint Base of the United States military that is located around Arlington, Virginia which is made up of Fort Myer (Arl), Fort McNair (SW DC), and Henderson Hall. It is the local residue of the Base Realignment and Closure, 2005 process. It is commanded by the United States Army but has resident commands of Army, Navy, & Marines. Most conspicuous is the Arlington National Cemetery Honor Guard.   As an Army base, Ft Myer was first called Ft Cass, then Ft. Whipple and finally Ft. Myer.  It was formed from the Arlington estate owned by Martha Washington’s great-granddaughter, Mary Custis Lee, wife of Robert E. Lee, who was the custodian of the estate until it passed to his son Custis Parke Lee.

Ft McNair-Fort Lesley J. McNair, on the point of land where the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers join in Washington, D.C., has been an Army post for more than 200 years, third only to West Point and Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, in the length of service. The military reservation was established in 1791 on about 28 acres of what then was called Greenleaf Point. Maj. Pierre C. L’Enfant included it in his plans for “Washington, the Federal City,” as a major site for the defense of the capital. An arsenal first occupied the site in 1801; earthen defenses had been there since 1791.

Land was purchased north of the arsenal in 1826 for the first federal penitentiary where the conspirators accused of assassinating President Abraham Lincoln were imprisoned in 1865; after a trial found them guilty, four were executed there by hanging. Among them was Mary Surratt, the first woman to be executed under federal orders.

The post was renamed in 1948 to honor Lt. Gen. Lesley J. McNair, commander of Army Ground Forces during World War II. McNair, who had been headquartered at the post, was killed in Normandy, France, July 25, 1944.

10 Tips for Reading Picture Books with Children through a Race-Conscious Lens – from embracerace

How do you discuss the current racial tensions with small children? Children aren’t born knowing these things They often to no notice differences unless they are pointed out. For 10 helpful tips check this out.

Platform Number 4

~by Megan Dowd Lambert

“How can caregivers and educators best guide children to and through picture books with positive racial representations? How can we also support kids in resisting or reading against racist content? These tips draw on the Whole Book Approach (WBA, which I created in association with The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art) and other resources to highlight how picture books can provoke meaningful, transformative conversations between children and adults that embrace race.”

Great ideas and additional links here! I hope you find something helpful or ideas to pass on to others.     Take care!   Becky

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Attitude is Not a Platitude

attitude is everything.

On June 12, when I looked at my statistics, I realized I had published my 1,000th blog post.   I started on February 12, 2017 so it only took me three years and four months.

Quip–a witty remark. E-Quips (think e-book or email) is hopefully a witty blog.  Is it?

Since then, I’ve expanded what I write about and feel more comfortable taking a stand on some issues.  As a Libra, I try to look at both sides of an issue before making a final decision.

Blogging (almost) every day is a personal decision.  I am retired and usually have the time to write.  I don’t feel the need to be long-winded in order to get a point across.  I also feel that many people cover a topic with more eloquence or authority than I do and the librarian in me wants to share those writings with you.

So I’d like to share my gratitude
For those who like my attitude
This is real, not platitude
Though it might just be a pat-itude.

Punintendedly yours,


Happy Flag Day–June 14

Flag Day (United States) … In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress.

Some flag trivia from the National Archives.

50-Star Flag Designs

Two of the proposed designs from the Archives article

In 1958 two U.S. territories, Alaska and Hawaii, were poised to become America’s 49th and 50th states. A federal law dating from 1818 required that a star be added to the U.S. flag on the Fourth of July following a new state’s admission. However, the law failed to describe how a new pattern for the stars should be configured. As the probability of Alaska’s and Hawaii’s admission to the Union increased, thousands of citizens, especially school children, sent their suggestions for a new flag design to the White House. In response to this interest, President Dwight Eisenhower appointed a committee to advise on the new design. After examining many creative and fanciful submissions, the committee recommended a design similar to the existing 48-star flag. It would contain seven rows of seven stars in a slightly staggered arrangement. On January 3, 1959, President Eisenhower issued an Executive order changing the design of the flag. When, a few months later, Hawaii became a state, the committee recommended a similar layout, and President Eisenhower issued another order describing that design. This exhibit contains two flag designs selected from the many designs submitted for consideration.

Other Names for the Flag

  • the American Flag;
  • the Stars and Stripes;
  • Old Glory;
  • the Red, White, and Blue;
  • the Stars and Bars;
  • the Star Spangled Banner.

Flag Facts from the Smithsonian Institute

Until the Executive Order of June 24, 1912, neither the order of the stars nor the proportions of the flag was prescribed. Consequently, flags dating before this period sometimes show unusual arrangements of the stars and odd proportions, these features being left to the discretion of the flag maker. In general, however, straight rows of stars and proportions similar to those later adopted officially were used. The principal acts affecting the flag of the United States are the following:

  • Flag Resolution of June 14, 1777 – stated: “Resolved: that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.”
  • Act of January 13, 1794 – provided for 15 stripes and 15 stars after May 1795.
  • Act of April 4, 1818 – provided for 13 stripes and one star for each state, to be added to the flag on the 4th of July following the admission of each new state.
  • Executive Order of President Taft dated June 24, 1912 – established proportions of the flag and provided for arrangement of the stars in six horizontal rows of eight each, a single point of each star to be upward.
  • Executive Order of President Eisenhower dated January 3, 1959 – provided for the arrangement of the stars in seven rows of seven stars each, staggered horizontally and vertically.
  • Executive Order of President Eisenhower dated August 21, 1959 – provided for the arrangement of the stars in nine rows of stars staggered horizontally and eleven rows of stars staggered vertically.


Personal Note:  This is my 1,000 Blog Post.

Reblog: USS Barb – SS-220

Have you ever heard of a submarine blowing up a railroad train?  If you are a literalist like me, you may be wondering how a sub got its torpedo out of the water and upon a track.

Youtube re-enactment of the Barb blowing up the train

GP Cox of Pacific Paratrooper describes the last war mission of the USS Barb and how the captain figured out how to use a submarine’s weapons in the only landbased battle on Japanese home soil.

via USS Barb – SS-220

Fun with 404 Errors

Have you ever had the dreaded 404 error:  Page can not be found.

The HTTP 404, 404 Not Found, 404, Page Not Found, or Server Not Found error message is a Hypertext Transfer Protocol standard response code, in computer network communications, to indicate that the browser was able to communicate with a given server, but the server could not find what was requested–from Wikipedia

Merriam Webster, the dictionary people, have put their wordsmithing talents to create one of the more delightful 404 errors.

Fun with 404 errors


Have you ever found a fun 404 page?

June 10 is National Iced Tea Day

Our air conditioner is dying a slow and painful death.  The company can not replace it until Tuesday, June 16.  Meanwhile, we are going old school

  • fans
  • iced tea

It does make me wonder how people managed in the days before electricity when they also wore a lot more clothes than we do today.

From National Today.Com  Tea has been around forever, but iced tea didn’t burst onto the scene and win over America’s hearts and minds until 1904. In that year, visitors to the St. Louis World’s Fair were greeted by exceedingly hot weather. Tea plantation owner and merchant Richard Blechynden, who was present at the fair, took advantage of the situation by selling chilled tea drinks (instead of hot tea) as a cold refreshment. The rest is history. On June 10, we fill our glasses with iced tea (sweetened or unsweetened—that’s your call) and celebrate National Iced Tea Day.

On hot days, one of my favorite things to make is sun tea.

According to  Simple Recipes

Put 4 to 8 tea bags into a clean 2 quart or gallon glass container (4 teabags for a 2 quart container, 8 tea bags for a gallon container). Fill with water and cap. Place outside where the sunlight can strike the container for about 3 to 5 hours. Move the container if necessary to keep it in the sun. When the tea has reached its desired strength, remove from sun and put it in the refrigerator. You may or may not want to remove the tea bags at this point. I usually don’t.

I’ve found that the tea can brew in the shade if the temperature is warm enough. Although I like to make Tazo’s Green Ginger Tea, any type of tea bags will work.


The Ballast Has Shifted


storm at sea

Ballast in the hold

shifted as  waves

beat against the sides,

the vessel listed.

Winds rose

waves pummeling

ever harder.

The vessel groaned

as the ballast shifted further

up the starboard side.

Ceaseless storms broadsided

the vessel which

floundered in the maelstrom.

Without a firm hand

on the wheel,

swirling winds and currents

decided her track.

Sickness stalked the vessel.

Equipment failed.

The crew mutinied.

Winds of change

blew against the sides


the ballast in the hold.

The vessel groaned

righting itself.

Mr. Christian smiled.

The ship of state sailed on.

5 Things I Learned from Watching My PowerPoint in Zoom

A week ago Friday, I  prepared a 20-minute Powerpoint for the weekly Zoomzoom logo meeting of USS Midway (CV-41) Library volunteers.  The group established the weekly Zoom meetings as a way to remain in touch while the Midway is closed because of the Coronavirus.

My topic was copying deck logs for the USS Midway from the National Archives in College Park MD.  In a ‘normal’ year I usually go up once a month and copy one or more months of deck logs to a thumb drive.  When I get home I upload the deck logs to an external hard drive.

USS Midway September 1945 deck log

Other volunteers on the Midway transcribe the deck logs.  It is a good source of what happened on the ship each day and the names of the crew assigned to the Midway.

By looking at the recording of that presentation, I learned:

Deck Log presentation first page

  1. I talk way too fast.  In an effort to get through the presentation, I talked too fast  and stumbled over my own thoughts and words.
  2. I use um too often.   This was something I never suspected until I heard myself repeatedly use it.
  3. Zoom messes up how PowerPoint advances.  I saw two previous Zoom lectures where PowerPoint functioned normally.  I’m still uncertain why the presentation advanced when I was not touching the keyboard or the mouse.
  4. Quirks are magnified.  Whether you are the presenter or in the audience, the viewers can see you twitch, smirk, glance around, eat or drink, nod off, etc.
  5. Directions are reversed on Zoom. When you are looking for something, if you use Zoom as your point of reference, it’s not on the side you think it is.

What are your Zoom experiences?

Reblog: Walking from Harvesting Hecate

Andrea Stephenson, a librarian in the UK, has written the blog I wished I had had the eloquence to write.  She loves walking in nature; it grounds her.  She expresses how it might feel if she were not white.

English Woods

From her post (not the beginning)

I take it for granted that I can walk where I want to walk without needing to have an explanation. I take it for granted that I belong in this space, that I belong in nature and should have a relationship with it. When I walk, I draw on memory, history, past and present to find my place in the world. Very occasionally I’ve felt vulnerable, as a woman alone, but in general I don’t think twice about my safety. Somehow I feel no harm will come to me among nature.

To read more click here.

Eye Witness Account of What Happened at St. John’s Episocopal Church in DC by the Church Rector

This is not hearsay nor is it a chain email.

Rev Gerbasi


From Rev. Gini Gerbasi:
“Friends, I am ok, but I am, frankly shaken. I was at St. John’s, Lafayette Square most of the afternoon, with fellow clergy and laypeople – and clergy from some other denominations too. We were passing out water and snacks, and helping the patio area at St. John’s, Lafayette square to be a place of respite and peace. All was well – with a few little tense moments – until about 6:15 or so. By then, I had connected with the Black Lives Matter medic team, which was headed by an EMT. Those people were AMAZING. They had been on the patio all day, and thankfully had not had to use much of the eyewash they had made. Around 6:15 or 6:30, the police started really pushing protestors off of H Street (the street between the church and Lafayette Park, and ultimately, the White House. They started using tear gas and folks were running at us for eyewashes or water or wet paper towels. At this point, Julia, one of our seminarians for next year (who is a trauma nurse) and I looked at each other in disbelief. I was coughing, her eyes were watering, and we were trying to help people as the police – in full riot gear – drove people toward us. Julia and her classmates left and I stayed with the BLM folks trying to help people. Suddenly, around 6:30, there was more tear gas, more concussion grenades, and I think I saw someone hit by a rubber bullet – he was grasping his stomach and there was a mark on his shirt. The police in their riot gear were literally walking onto the St. John’s, Lafayette Square patio with these metal shields, pushing people off the patio and driving them back. People were running at us as the police advanced toward us from the other side of the patio. We had to try to pick up what we could. The BLM medic folks were obviously well practiced. They picked up boxes and ran. I was so stunned I only got a few water bottles and my spray bottle of eyewash. We were literally DRIVEN OFF of the St. John’s, Lafayette Square patio with tear gas and concussion grenades and police in full riot gear. We were pushed back 20 feet, and then eventually – with SO MANY concussion grenades – back to K street. By the time I got back to my car, around 7, I was getting texts from people saying that Trump was outside of St. John’s, Lafayette Square. I literally COULD NOT believe it. WE WERE DRIVEN OFF OF THE PATIO AT ST. JOHN’S – a place of peace and respite and medical care throughout the day – SO THAT MAN COULD HAVE A PHOTO OPPORTUNITY IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH!!! PEOPLE WERE HURT SO THAT HE COULD POSE IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH WITH A BIBLE! HE WOULD HAVE HAD TO STEP OVER THE MEDICAL SUPPLIES WE LEFT BEHIND BECAUSE WE WERE BEING TEAR GASSED!!!!
I am deeply shaken. I did not see any protestors throw anything until the tear gas and concussion grenades started, and then it was mostly water bottles. I am shaken, not so much by the taste of tear gas and the bit of a cough I still have, but by the fact that that show of force was for a PHOTO OPPORTUNITY. The patio of St. John’s, Lafayette square had been HOLY GROUND today. A place of respite and laughter and water and granola bars and fruit snacks. But that man turned it into a BATTLE GROUND first, and a cheap political stunt second. I am DEEPLY OFFENDED on behalf of every protestor, every Christian, the people of St. John’s, Lafayette square, every decent person there, and the BLM medics who stayed with just a single box of supplies and a backpack, even when I got too scared and had to leave. I am ok. But I am now a force to be reckoned with.”

D-Day–76 Year Ago Today

D-Day Statistics from the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA.
Statistics from the D-Day Memorial Webpage in Bedford, Virginia

D-Day, or Operation Overlord, was the Allied invasion of Europe.  By the end of the day,  the Allied troops had secured the beach heads in Normandy and had began their slow slog inland.

GEN Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Commander of the Allied forces, was not sure if the operation was going to succeed or fail.  Weather was dicey at best.  Ike projected a confident  face.

 “This operation is planned as a victory, and that’s the way it’s going to be. We’re going down there, and we’re throwing everything we have into it, and we’re going to make it a success,” he said.

However, if it had failed, he had written a letter accepting full responsibility.
One day before the invasion, he prepared a brief statement—just in case:

“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”

D-Day failure note

To read more about D-Day, click here.

To learn more about the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia, see this Memorial Day 2020 video.


Shipping Them Home at the End of WWII

Like to dream, yes, yes
Right between the sound machine
On a cloud of sound, I drift in the night
Any place it goes is right
Goes far, flies near
To the stars away from here
Well, you don’t know what
We can find
Why don’t you come with me little girl
On a magic carpet ride
Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf

From a forwarded email:

Can you imagine the logistical and administrative challenges involved in this operation?!! And, all before any computers! Staggering! AND, once they were in the US, getting them to out-processing stations and eventually home!

Remember what Eisenhower said at the end of the war, “Take pictures of the dead Holocaust Jewish people, a generation or two will never believe it happened”!!!

 Returning the troops home after WWII was a daunting task….

The Magic Carpet that brought everyone home.

  In 1939, there were 334,000 servicemen, not counting the Coast Guard.

  In 1945, there were over 12 million, including the Coast Guard.

At the end of the war, over 8 million of these men and women were scattered overseas in Europe, the Pacific and Asia.

   Shipping them out wasn’t a particular problem but getting them home was a massive logistical headache.

  Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall had already established committees to address the issue in 1943.

Soldier returning home on the USS General Harry Taylpor in August 1945


Soldiers returning home on the USS General Harry Taylor in August 1945.

  When Germany fell in May 1945, the US. Navy was still busy fighting in the Pacific and couldn’t assist.

  The job of transporting 3 million men home from Europe fell to the Army and the Merchant Marine.

  300 Victory and Liberty cargo ships were converted to troop transports for the task.

  During the war, 148,000 troops crossed the Atlantic west to east each month; the rush home (east to west) ramped this up to 435,000 a month over 14 months.

Hammocks crammed into available spaces aboard t he USS Intrepid

 Hammocks crammed into available spaces aboard the USS Intrepid

 In October 1945, with the war in Asia also over, the Navy started chipping in, converting all available vessels to transport duty.

 On smaller ships like destroyers, capable of carrying perhaps 300 men, soldiers were told to hang their hammocks in whatever nook and cranny they could find.

 Carriers were particularly useful, as their large open hangar decks could house 3,000 or more troops in relative comfort, with bunks, sometimes in stacks of five welded or bolted in place.

Bunks aboard the Army transport SS Pennant

Bunks aboard the Army transport SS Pennant

 The Navy wasn’t picky, though: cruisers, battleships, hospital ships, even LSTs (Landing Ship, Tank) were packed full of men yearning for home.

 Two British ocean liners under American control, the RMS Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, had already served as troop transports before and continued to do so during the operation, each capable of carrying up to 15,000 people at a time, though their normal, peacetime capacity was less than 2,200.

 Twenty-nine ships were dedicated to transporting war brides: women married to American soldiers during the war.

Troops performing a lifeboat drill on board the Queen Mary in December 1944 before Magic Carpet Ride.

Troops performing a lifeboat drill on board the Queen Mary in December 1944, before Operation Magic Carpet

  The Japanese surrender in August 1945 came none too soon, but it put an extra burden on Operation Magic Carpet.

The war in Asia had been expected to go well into 1946 and the Navy and the War Shipping Administration were hard-pressed to bring home all the soldiers who now had to get home earlier than anticipated.

  The transports carrying them also had to collect numerous POWs from recently liberated Japanese camps, many of whom suffered from malnutrition and illness.

 US soldiers recently liberated from Japanese POW camps

U.S. soldiers recently liberated from Japanese POW camps

 The time to get home depended a lot on the circumstances. USS Lake Champlain, a brand new Essex-class carrier that arrived too late for the war, could cross the Atlantic and take 3,300 troops home a little under 4 days and 8 hours.

  Meanwhile, troops going home from Australia or India would sometimes spend weeks on slower vessels.

Hangar of the USS Wasp during the operation
Hangar of the USS Wasp during the operation

 There was enormous pressure on the operation to bring home as many men as possible by Christmas 1945.

Therefore, a sub-operation, Operation Santa Claus, was dedicated to the purpose.

Due to storms at sea and an overabundance of soldiers eligible for return home, however, Santa Claus could only return a fraction in time and still not quite home but at least to American soil.

 The nation’s transportation network was overloaded, trains heading west from the East Coast were on average 6 hours behind schedule and trains heading east from the West Coast were twice that late.

Crowded flight deck of the USS Saratoga

The crowded flight deck of the USS Saratoga.

The USS Saratoga transported home a total of 29,204 servicemen during Operation Magic Carpet, more than any other ship. Many freshly discharged men found themselves stuck in separation centers but faced an outpouring of love and friendliness from the locals. Many townsfolk took in freshly arrived troops and invited them to Christmas dinner in their homes.

 Still others gave their train tickets to soldiers and still others organized quick parties at local train stations for men on layover.

A Los Angeles taxi driver took six soldiers all the way to Chicago; another took another carload of men to Manhattan, the Bronx, Pittsburgh, Long Island, Buffalo and New Hampshire.  Neither of the drivers accepted a fare beyond the cost of gas.

Overjoyed troops returning home on the USS Texas

Overjoyed troops returning home on the battleship USS Texas

All in all, though, the Christmas deadline proved untenable. The last 29 troop transports, carrying some 200,000 men from the China-India-Burma theater, arrived to America in April 1946, bringing Operation Magic Carpet to an end, though an additional 127,000 soldiers still took until September to return home and finally lay down the burden of war.

  Father GOD, BLESS THE GREATEST GENERATION (Above) and the Generations that have served this Great Nation since WW II !

  A Veteran-whether active duty, retired, served one hitch, or reservist is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to “The Government of the United States of America”, for an amount of “up to and including their life.” That is honor, and there are too many people in this country who no longer understand it -Author unknown.



I just learned a new word which seems quite applicable today.

  1. government by the least suitable or competent citizens of a state.
    “the danger is that this will reduce us to kakistocracy”
    • a state or society governed by its least suitable or competent citizens.
      plural noun: kakistocracies
      “the modern regime is at once a plutocracy and a kakistocracy”

Reblog: Battle of Midway Torpedo Eight Survivors

Today marks the 78th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, which was fought 4-6 June 1942.  It was the turning point in WWII in the Pacific.  In April, the United States and Japan had fought an inclusive battle in the Coral Sea.  The Japanese hoped that the Battle of Midway would serve as the knockout punch for the American Navy.

One of the many factors that helped the  American Navy win the Battle of Midway was the attack of Devastator torpedo bombers

Meanwhile, a wave of U.S. Devastator torpedo bombers from the U.S. carriers Hornet and Enterprise arrived to attack the Japanese ships. Unescorted by fighter planes, nearly all of them were shot down by Japanese Zero fighters. But about an hour later, as the Japanese refueled and rearmed their planes, another wave of U.S. carrier-launched bombers struck, hitting three Japanese carriers—Akagi, Kaga and Soryu—and setting them ablaze.

Popular culture has ENS George Gay Jr. as the sole survivor of that attack, but two other naval personnel also survived.


Reblog: An OverWhelming Week

A fellow blogger from Australia, Celia of  Fig Jam and Lime Cordial,  eloquently articulates how difficult and complex a year 2020 has been so far.  None of us could have had 20/20 vision on New Year’s Day to see how wretched this year has become.

Desmond Tutu

Click here to read her powerful message.

Some of the crises we’ve faced so far are:

  1. Coronavirus
  2. Severe racial inequality
  3. Climate catastrophes
  4. Economic collapse
  5. Political extremism
  6. Lots of finger-pointing.


Days of Outrage and Sorrow



angel kneeling in a borrowed tombIt’s  been a week
Since they took a knee
and closed their ears
to his dying plea,
“I can’t  breathe.”

It’s been a week
of protests and prayers
and arsonist looters
whose disregard scares
“I can’t breathe.”

It’s been a week
of virus spread
increasing the total
of those lying dead
“They can’t breathe.”

It’s been a week
Of political spin
as headlines aim
for a November win
“We can’t breathe.”

It’s been a week
let’s take two knees
heads bowed in prayer
with heartfelt pleas
“Please help us breathe.”

Sea Stories with Carl Snow

Carl Snow is my shipmate, friend, and editor of the ever-popular  Scuttlebutt .

Carl’s bio:

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Carl Snow graduated from the University of Maryland and had a long career in the United States Navy. Carl started out as a Radarman (RD) and advanced to first-class petty officer. He was involved in “ECM” as the Navy called it then, when a new rating was created, Electronic Warfare Technician (EW) and Carl was folded into that, advancing to chief petty officer. Then he applied for a commission as a Warrant Officer and was selected, becoming an Operations Technical Officer. After retirement as a CWO4, he worked as Assistant Editor for The Hook magazine and then as Production Editor for the Topgun Journal at the Navy Fighter Weapons School. When Topgun moved to Fallon, Nevada, Carl remained in San Diego, working as a Technical Writer, researching and writing manufacturing process documents for hi-tech electronics manufacturers.

Carl retired for good in March 2011 and volunteers in the Midway Museum Research Library in San Diego, California.

Carl Snow, Scuttlebutt Editor
Carl Snow in his Midway Uniform.

Carl Snow–How to tell a sea story from a fairy tale

If sea stories are true, they are still sea stories (although not all sea stories have to do with the sea or even ships, e.g., “You won’t believe this, but a bunch of us were sitting in the main bar of the Raffles Hotel in Singapore when….”)

I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but to differentiate between fairy tales and sea stories, fairy tales usually start, “Once upon a time…,” while sea stories often start, “This is no sh**….” Either way, it’s a tip-off that what follows may very well not be true.

On Missing a Meeting.

I once missed a meeting of the Chief Petty Officer’s mess aboard a destroyer. The nomination and election of a Mess Treasurer was one order of business for the meeting. Guess who was nominated, seconded, and unanimously elected to a three-month stint as the Treasurer. I never again missed a mess meeting in my Navy career…

On Eating a Balut:  A balut is a fertilized bird egg (usually a duck) which is incubated for a period of 14 to 21 days depending on the local culture and then boiled or steamed. The contents are eaten directly from the shell.

When I was LPO (lead petty officer) in USS Bainbridge’s (CGN-25) CIC  (combat information center), one of my petty officers bought a balut in Olongapo, brought it back to the ship, and put it into his locker. When the ship was underway a few days later, while the petty officer was on watch, the ship rolled and so did his balut. The stench was overpowering and five people volunteered to relieve the RD2 in CIC so he could come down and clean it up. The smell was there for days.

Drunk or sober, I was never tempted to try a balut.

On Strange Shipboard Smells.

Midway has its share of smells, but nothing like what is described here. Most guests remark at the smell of fuel oil when they come aboard. I was walking up the hangar deck once when a diesel-powered generator started up on the pier. The strong smell of diesel exhaust was exactly like a jet engine running up and I had to stop and look around to reassure myself that it was not 1982. Probably the worst, to me, was the strong rotten-fish smell that came up from the second deck engineering and education offices when the hangar bay flooded due to heavy rain. No idea where the smell came from, but after the spaces were de-watered it went away.

On Chops.

“Chop” is a person’s initials or mark with which they indicate that they have seen the missive and are in accord with it. Otherwise, you’ll get a “see me.”

The tradition of red and green…”:

“On all ships everywhere, the CO writes in red, usually referred to as a “red rocket” or distress signal; the XO writes in green, called a “green flare.” In fleet exercises involving  submarines, the submarine launches a green flare to signal that he has simulated firing a torpedo at one of the ships. Everybody holds their breath until the submarine contacts the ship that was his target.

The worst thing is to get a note or message with the phrase, “see me” written in red or green ink. Either way, it’s NEVER good news.”

The tradition of red and green ink is so ingrained that the person doesn’t need to further identify himself and it serves as a chop.

When I was at Topgun our Program Director was Kay Heatley and she always used a pinkish-purple pen. One day I got a manuscript for an article in the Journal that was marked up with a purple pen. Some of the edits didn’t make sense to me and, knowing that purple ink was Kay, I asked her about the marks. She took one look and said, “Disregard those proof marks, I’ll take care of it.” Later that afternoon, every drawer in the office was opened and every purple pen that was found was confiscated and delivered to Kay’s desk. She ceremoniously dumped them in her trash can and announced that “No one in this office uses a purple pen but me!”


Days to Celebrate in June

The Latin name for June is Junius. Ovid offers multiple etymologies for the name in the Fasti, a poem about the Roman calendar. The first is that the month is named after the Roman goddess Juno, the goddess of marriage and the wife of the supreme deity Jupiter; the second is that the name comes from the Latin word iuniores, meaning “younger ones”, as opposed to maiores (“elders”) for which the preceding month May (Maius) may be named.[5] Another source claims June is named after Lucius Junius Brutus, founder of the Roman Republic and ancestor of the Roman gens Junia.

June is the beginning of meteorological Summer .

Rainbow Book MonthIt is also Rainbow Book Month,  a nationwide celebration of the authors and writings that reflect the lives and experiences of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, pansexual, genderqueer, queer, intersex, agender, and asexual community. Formerly known as GLBT Book Month and originally established in the early 1990s as National Lesbian and Gay Book Month, Rainbow Book Month provides an opportunity for book lovers and libraries to highlight the best in LGBTQIA+ literature.  From ALA

National Egg Day is celebrated on June 3.  It’s a day dedicated to egg puns, eggcellent or otherwise.  However you prefer your eggs:  scrambled, hard or soft boiled, fried, some form of Benedict, don’t be shellfish–celebrate or the yolk’s on you.

Flag Day is June 14. It’s part of Flag Week which is celebrated June 14-20 in 2020. It commemorates the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States. Many Americans celebrate Flag Day by displaying the Red, White, and Blue in front of homes and businesses. Some communities, schools, and veterans’ organizations hold Flag Day parades, essay contests, ceremonies, and picnics. Presidents have also issued proclamations for National Flag Week.

Emancipation Day celebrationsJuneteenth is celebrated on June 19th.  In 1865, on June 19th, Union soldiers under Major General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, TX with the news that the war had ended and slaves were now free.

General Order Number 3

One of General Granger’s first orders of business was to read to the people of Texas, General Order Number 3 which began most significantly with:

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”

June 21 is the Father’s Day and the first day of Summer.  

 According to, back in 1909, a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, “tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for male parents.” She went around to local businesses to gather support for her idea, and on June 19, 1910, the state of Washington celebrated the first-ever Father’s Day.

fathers day quote

In 2020, the June solstice is Saturday, June 20, at 5:44 P.M. EDT. This date marks the official beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, occurring when Earth arrives at the point in its orbit where the North Pole is at its maximum tilt (about 23.5 degrees) toward the Sun, resulting in the longest day and shortest night of the calendar year. (By longest “day,” we mean the longest period of sunlight.) At the June solstice, the Northern Hemisphere receives sunlight at the most direct angle of the year.

June 30 is Social Media Day. Which social media do you like or follow?
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