Reblog of the Doolittle Raiders

2018-Doolittle-Raid-Anniversary-Banner.jpgThis is a wonderful posting about the famous  Doolittle Raiders.  They were a remarkable group of young men who were the first to take the war to the Japanese homeland.

For more click here.


How to Speak ‘Hoo: Final Exercises

At most colleges or universities, you graduate on campus.  At the University of Virginia, you attend Final Exercises on the Grounds.  Last weekend UVA had a 3 day graduation weekend.  On Friday, Virginia native Pharell Williams gave an address to the graduating class of 2019.  On Saturday and Sunday, the various colleges and schools held commencement exercises.

The North Grounds Recreation Center (home of  the Law School, the Darden Graduate Business School, and the Army JAG school, plus the John Paul Jones arena home of the NCAA 2019 Basketball  Champions)  had a cute whiteboard cartoon to celebrate Final Exercises.

Final Exercises

Reaction to Redaction

Erasure poets are known to find

Poetry in words still left  behind

Where blackened words have taken flight

The remaining words shine extra bright.

What censors block with zeal and zest

Thinking that only they know best

The remaining words have extra meaning

Because they have escaped the censors’ screening.

An erasure poem may look like a redacted document, but it has the opposite aim: to elucidate a hidden truth, not hide an obvious one; to create something new, not just remove what’s there. Still, redacted documents can be a hoot to read for poets who make the same decisions about which words to keep or cut.

From the Erasure Poets are Turning Heavily Redacted Mueller Report into  Art

Reblog of 14 of the World’s Most Charming Libraries

Maching house Little Free LibraryIt will probably not surprise most of you that I love libraries:  from the Little Free Libraries that have been popping up almost everywhere through the Library of  Congress.  I graduated from Library School (before they were iSchools) 40 years ago.  (How did I get so old?)    I  was fortunate to attend the University of Washington, where the Library School was still in Suzallo Library (which just happens to be on this list.)
Suzallo Library at night

My Father’s Deck Logs

USS Midway September 1945 deck logFor the past two years, I have been making a monthly trip to the Archives II in College Park, MD to copy deck logs for the USS Midway (CV-41).  I copy the deck logs to a thumbdrive and when I get back home, I upload them on to a virtual drive for the Midway.  Volunteers transcribe the deck logs and add the names to the Master Crew List.

A few months ago, it occured to me (not being the brightest puppy in the kennel) that I could also copy the deck logs from a  destroyer that my father was CO (Commanding Officer) of in the mid 1960s.  It is fascinating to read the handwritten logs.

So far I have learned that they were one of the possible rescue ships for two Gemini missions, and that Dad seemed even handed when handing out punishments during Captain’s Mast.  I had to chuckle at one of the Officer’s of the Deck (OOD’s) who consistently charged two sailors for failing to appear at Muster when the ship was at sea.  The  names would be written down and then crossed out.

I have not yet gotten to the logs that cover the ship’s round the world cruise, including on station time off Vietnam.

Once I get all of the decklogs copied, I plan to copy them to thumbdrives and give them to my siblings for Christmas.  Since none of them know about this blog, much less read it, I think the gift will be a secret.

In Praise of Weekday Mornings

I’ve always been an early bird.  Even in retirement, my husband and I still get up around 6 am.

Weekday mornings are a pleasure for  the retired.  While the rest of the world hurries off to work or school, retirees often have the luxury of waiting until rush hour passes.  Then we often have the road, the stores, and the restaurants to ourselves.

If you go to a popular restaurant for lunch on a Monday through  Thursday,  you often see gray haired couples, or ladies who lunch.  Sometimes a bridge club will be holding its meeting and playing bridge at the same time.   Imagine going into a Barnes and Noble cafeteria where you don’t have to wait in line for your Starbucks beverage and there is table available where you can read your book or get on your computer.

The gym is also less crowded.  It’s easier to take a class, find an open piece of cardio equipment, or an open lane in the pool.  There are fewer people competing for the benches of the weight lifting equipment so they can read their emails or texts. The locker room is not crowded with ten of your brand new BFFs.

While students and 9-to-5 ers countdown to the weekend, retirees countdown the hours until Monday morning–when the rest of you go back to your classroom, your office, or your factory.

Once or twice a month I drive to DC or Northern Virginia.  If I time my drive right, I can get to Fairfax County from Charlottesville in about 2 hours.  Otherwise, it can take 3 hours (if there are no traffic accidents or road construction).  Along the way, there is seldom a line for gas or the McDonald’s drive-through if I need a break.

Summer can mean more teens and children around, but what you gain in kids, you lose in school bus traffic.

In addition to less people and less traffic, early mornngs have fresher air. In the summer,  temperatures are cooler and  plants are more refreshed. Birds sing and animals may be out and about. In the winter, retirees often have the luxury of waiting for the sun to melt the frost on their windshields so they don’t have to scrape.

Don’t pity us.  It does suck to get old, but we have weekday mornings to enjoy.

Happy Armed Forces Day, 2019

Seals-Military-Branch-Seals-signHave you ever been part of something bigger than youself?  You may have been a cog in the machine or a face in the crowd, but you knew deep down inside of yourself that your being there was making a difference.

Although I have never served in the military,  at least once I was part of such an effort.  In 1997, as a Morale Welfare and Recreation Specialist I deployed to Taszar, Hungary as part of Operation Joint Guard.  Each day I awoke in my barracks room, trooped down two flights of stairs to the women’s bathroom and then moved over to the adjoining shower room.  While I was waiting my turn to use the shower, usually still dressed in my bathrobe, someone would ask me what the night’s movie would be or what the plans were for the next concert in  Budapest.  And so my day would begin about 0600.  After my shower, I would put on my uniform (green/brown BDU’s –battle dress uniform for the uninitiated), lace up my combat boots, and walk over to the mess hall, where the food was surprisingly good.

After breakfast, I would go over to the office in the headquarters building.  Taszar was an old Hungairan airbase with two MiGs still out front.  The only room in the building that had AC was the one where the computers were located.  The Hungarian staff did a miraculous job keeping the worn tile floors clean.  (In  many places the tile had been scrubbed away, leaving the rubber subfloor peeking through.)

In early July, we were busy preparing to celebrate the 4th of July.  It was a chance to show our allies an American good time.  What I affectionately called the Hungarian mafia, were busy telling why we needed all of their entertainment acts even though we had just seen these same acts for the Memorial Day celebration.   The fireworks contractor assured me his fireworks would completely burn up and not have cinders floating down to possibly start a fire in some farmer’s field.

Hungarians often used an elaborate style when writing or speaking in English.  The public affairs officer laboriously tried to emulate that style when creating the invitations for our Hungarian VIP guests.  Unfortunately, I did not retain an example of the invitation.

The staff from the MASH  unit was planning the 5K run for the American and Hungarian troops/civilians.  The MWR staff was planning a variety of sports competitions including Golf, basketball, horseshoes, beach volleyball, pinball.  I used the Internet to lookup how much sand was need for beach volleyball since our Root and Brown, the local Army maintenance contactor, wanted to provide as little sand as possible. (This was relatively early days for the Internet so they were surprised to find that we could prove how much sand was needed.)

Although, July 4th began about 0500 when we got the Mess Hall as soon as it opened so we could start setting up for all of the events (the 5K began at 0800) and ended just before midnight with a relatively safe and succesful fireworks display, it was a wonderful opportunity to share our Independence Day with the troops so far from home.  We also got to share it with our Hungarian friends and allies.  (One person did complain the next day about catching a cinder in his eye while watching the fire works.

For those of you who have been in the military  thank you for your service. I’d also like to acknowledge the people who support the military (as a friend, family member, volunteer, contractor, appropriated fund or nonappropriated fund employee).  We all support those who serve.


Taszar C130 Jul 97
Me in front of a C-130 at Taszar Airbase, July 1997