Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hey, Popov! Here ya go.

The doc that fixed my foot was a real character. This was maybe 12 years ago.

I told you about pissing off his assistant in an earlier post.

Anyway, the doc that came in I got along with. He was a former GI doc and had pulled a tour at Benning which, of course, means that he learned a lot about busted feet thanks to the proximity of the jump school there. I got along good with him.

"Too bad this wasn't still the army," he said to me.
'How's that?" I questioned.

"Hell, I'd just put you in a cast for 6 weeks and then remove it and get you to buy a new pair of jump boots and hobble around in them. When you'd have the boots broken it, you'd be good to go," he said.

"We can do that," I said. "I'll just get an old Corpsman I know to pull the cast off in six weeks."

"Yeah, but when your company sends you to their doctor near your home, he's going to put you in a camwalker, but I suppose we can try it." he said.

So he put me in a cast and as he was he told me about how he became an MD.

The doctor in question that fixed my busted foor had dropped out of high school and spent about a year fixing and reselling cars in his backyard. He was facing the draft and decided to get it out of the way so he went to his draft board and signed a voluntary indiction slip or something along these lines.

Vietnam was running hot then and because he tested well and there was a shortage, he got sent to Fort Sam, trained as a medic and shipped out to Vietnam.

From what I gathered he did something to save some poor bastard and when the guy got to the rear some clown wihth a stick up his ass wanted him court-martialed, but someone else intervened and pointed out that even though it wasn't by the book it saved the poor guy. A couple of months later he was assigned there and was picked up by the same surgeon that had put the kibosh on his court martial. He worked for the doctor as a surgical assistant.

Anyway, the MD recommended him for some such program or another and he agreed to re-up for it and I guess somewhere along the line he wheeled and dealed with the army exchanging time in service in return for education.

He retired as an orthopedic surgeon!

The funny part about it is that somehow nobody ever checked to see if he had finished high school and he seemed to take great pride in telling me that after he became a doctor he started getting invitations to his high school reunion but keeps sending them back because he never graduated.

You have to love a guy like that.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Well, I am off to spin the wheels onf industry today.

Gotta clean this pig sty up and pack up and saddle up.

I might post tonight if I get time, but it looks like I am getting a late leaving time this morning.

Pic, out.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Monday, May 30, 2011

Today is Memoriall Day.

It is not a day to run around thanking veterans. That's Veterans day, 11 November. Thank us then. We'll be at Dave's Diner because he give veterans half off on SOS on Veteran's Day. If you offer to buy my breakfast I will treat you to a thrilling war story about how I heroically saved my squad leader at the Battle of New Joe's bar in downtown Colorado Springs.

Today is a day to take a little time away from the family barbecue at the in-laws and think for a few minutes about the poor bastards that didn't make it home.

The picture that probably comes to mind is some guy heroically charging down into the mouths of cannons armed with his trusty rifle. I suppose there are a lot of guys that did that and died in the process, but that's not anywhere near all of it. Sometimes it's not that dramatic.

Take Lanny Baldwin, the guy up the street from me that got drafted when I was a kid. He was in a Jeep that rolled in Korea and he never made it home.

How about the simple fellow that was taking chow up to the guys and managed to get blown up by some sort of booby trap. Or the guy that just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and got killed in the process.

Depending on what my instincts tell me, later on this evening I may put a bayonet on my Garand and stick it into the lawn and put an old steel pot on top of it. I'll sit there and watch the passing traffic of pet walkers and watch their reactions and body language. Most of them actually appreciate it, some of them shy away from it and I have received a number of comments, mostly favorable but some stupid. As we all know, there is no shortage of stupidity on the planet.

One year a passing man asked me it it was a real rifle. I told him it was and that it was locked, loaded, a round in the chamber and the safety was off and that he should tread lightly whille passing it so that it would not jump out of the ground and start shooting people indiscriminately.

I got an expected visit from the police for that one. He rolled up and asked me what the rifle and steel pot was doing there.

I told him that it was there to give a few people something to think about and that it was always in sight and that it was going to go back inside when I decided to go in or just before I popped my first beer. He nodded, told me he'd take care of things and drove off.

A lot of people out there just don't seem to get it. Our freedoms are not free. They are damned costly. They cost us heavily in both money and lives. It is only right to stop and think about it once in a while and while the troops are always on MY mind, there are a lot of stupid people out there that do not have a clue.

It is only fitting that we take a little time out to think about the poor bastard that went out and paid for our way of life with his own life.

I am not going to dedicate today to the guy that went out there and tried to be a hero and stupidly traded his life in a foolish attempt to win a piece of colored cloth  to wear on his uniform.

Today I am going to give thanks to the people that simply lost their lives simply doing their jobs, either by enemy action, accident or disease. I'm going to dedicate today to the citizen-soldier that, knowing he was taking a chance, went off to war, didn't look back and for whatever reason didn't make it back home.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A hue and cry for another National Holiday. This one we NEED!

This country needs another holiday and I have a damned good reason to demand one.

Every neighborhood has someone that is a royal pain in the ass that makes life hell for everyone else. They do stupid little things like call the cops on you for on-street parking when you are simply trying to quickly unload your pickup.

They ruin things for everyone else by their misbehavior. Like when your employer puts you up in a nice hotel and some jerk gets drunk and destroys the room so the company changes policy and puts you up in a place that is a whole lot less comfortable.

Or the jerk that raises cain over the annual neighborhood block party and makes it go away.

Or the preacher that raised so much hell over the annual raft race because people were drinking in the rafts and he crusaded until the charity that sponsered it had to stop it. No matter that it provided a wonderful release for pent up cabin fever and did a whole lot more good than harm. Nor did it seem to matter that the entire town would be in a good mood for weeks after the race. No. People were drinking beer in the rafts and therefore the race had to go.

Or the crybabies that get all upset that the terrorist captives are still in Gitmo and how big a shame it is that they get treated so poorly.

The holiday I propose is to be named National Beat Down Day and on that day anyone that has ruined something fun for everybody else or someone who has been a big crybaby can be dragged out of their homes and administered a nice shampoo with a hickory sledge hammer handle.

Maybe that would smarten a few people up.

It could be on April 16th and serve as a way to release pent up anger over having to cough up a third of you income to the Feds on the previous day.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The ham radio station I am looking for. MilSpec. Got just the guy to try get it.

A few days ago I mentioned that I was looking for a MilSpec HF rig and I am.

I think I have figured out where I want to go with this ham ticket.

I want to put together a small, portable HF station that I can cart around with me if I so desire.

I have decided that I do NOT waant to set up some sort of radio shack in the back bedroom as I know how easy it is for such a thing to get completely out of hand. I've seen it before and I've done it before with my shooting some years back. The entire basement became a mess of things and has never really recovered.

I have gotten word out to Tim at 'The Old Grouch's Surplus' to keep his eyes peeled. He's a pretty heads up guy and probably a pretty good wheeler and dealer.

WHile I don't know much about the surplus business I can just imagine that there is a lot of trading off that goes on between the various surplus dealers.

Most of us are pretty familiar with the basic Army/Navy store of which there seems to be one within basic driving radius of most of us, but that's just a part of it, the part we see as part of the landscape.

There are all sorts of specialty surplus places that cater to people with a special interest. Want a Duece 'n half truck? They're out there. Want a RTTY rig? They are out there. There are specialty shops out there that cater to all sorts of needs.

From what I see on Tim's shop they cater not only to the 'I need a new pistol belt for my nail bags' people, but he ventures into trailers and maybe even vehicles, too.

I'm surmising that there is considerable trading going on out there among dealers, too. An oversimplification would be the guy that buys a boatload of canteen covers and trades 1/3 of them for canteens and another 1/3 for canteen cups so as to put together a complete canteen set to sell to the public as a unit.

Anyway, I've sent the project of getting my little ham station out to Tim to see what he can drum up and it may prove to be interesting. He may be able to help me, he may not be able to help me. Like everything else in life nothing is 100%.

Still, over the past few years Tim has been pretty good to me and we've done business a couple of times. I like doing business with guys like him because he seems pretty easygoing and does not sweat the small stuff. He's not one of those guys that tries to put his kids through college and medical school by making a single sale to you. He seems to know that the path to good business is to build up a successful clientle and to do that he has to serve one's needs. That's fair enough.

Although Tim isn't the only guy I do business with, of course, he's the first person I think of when I get some kind of idea involving surplus stuff.

I do not use this blog to peddle anything as a general rule. The only other thing I have done in over 700 posts is to speak highly of the Armor Lid people a while back.

Still, I'm going to give Tim a shameless plug here.


This link is hot. Click on it.
Check him out and see if he has what you need. If not, maybe he knows where to get it.

Feel free to get in touch with him if he doesn't have what you need on his website.

Pic, out

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Friday, May 27, 2011

Post 700.

of a series of six jillion and four.

Be the first kid on your block to collect them all.

Today I am going to spend a little time looking into what route I want to go with in ham radio. I do want to go somewhere with it, but I do not want to set up a huge radio shack and have antennas strung out all over hell.

I think I want to stay in the HF range of about 80 to 10 meters. I also want to have a fairly compact portable unit that I can throw in the pickup and go somewhere with it and set it up.

CW, AM and SSB sound about right as I have no desire to get into either RTTY or bouncing signals off of repeaters and sattelites.

Things are beginning to look a little MilSpec to me as there are quite a number of military sets out there that seem to fit the bill. They look interesting for a number of reasons.

First of all for the most part they are simple to operate as they have to be operated by GIs with minimal training. They do not have all of the bells and whistles that most hams like to twink with.

If the package hasn't been broken up and all the acccessories are there and complete, they provide a very nice little radio station in a small package that can be set up and disassembled rather quickly.

Since early Vietnam most of them have pretty normal power needs and can be adapted without having to create off the wall power supplies for AC power use, a basic 12 volt DC power supply can be hooked right up in many cases.The days of dynamotors and such are long gone.

I am actually not particularly partial to MilSpec in this case, but I do not see too many civvie units out there that seem to fit this bill.

While a lot of clubs have vans or trailers, that is fine for them. I just want a simple, portable HF unit that I can use when I want to use it.

We'll see where this leads me.

If any readers have any ideas, please feel free too post them in the comments section.

Pic, out.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Thursday, May 26, 2011

We'll see how today goes.

Woke up feeling a little more optimistic and because I ignored yesterday's urge to say the hell with it and bury myself in Jameson's, I feel pretty good.

I just ambled out and looked around and the driveway I redid yesterday and it looks pretty good and so do my flowers that are not blooming yet, but will be soon. There sure are a lot of them. I've planted them by the hundreds and the whole yard will soon explode into colors.

I don't KNOW what colors, but it is pretty exciting because this is the first time I have planted flowers from seeds. Generally I buy a boatload of flats and simply transplant the little bastards.

Combat laptop 3 is giving me a morning headache. I'm wondering about it as this morning when I woke it wouldn't permit me to log into this blog. It makes no sense to me and I am going to have to spend a little time getting it up and running again.

I guess there is a new guy on the block with a new wireless router because I found Laptop 3 was trying to sign in on another router on its own.

I reset it to mine and deleted the other one.

I think I am going to have to move Laptop 3 away from the window or something. I'll figure it out.

One of the things I hate about all of the computer systems is that every program thinks it is the Holy Grail of programs and wants to become the Big Computer Boss and download all sorts of crap like toolbars. You have to be VERY careful lest you wind up with so many toolbars etc that you have no area on the screen to work with.

I've had to delete many things that I didn't want because things get sneaky and as soon as you blink the little box you have unchecked rechecks itself and BAM! Another toolbar or something.

One thing I have learned to stay away from is 'clickpotato'. Getting that is easy. I picked it up from a blog I visited. I played hell getting rid of it. It is a truly bogus deal. It is supposed to be some kind of movie player.

I just wish that these programs would do what I want them to and not what they damned well decide they are going to do for me.

I don't use many of them anymore since I reformatted. They are more trouble than they are worth. My combat laptops have only 3 main purposes, this blog, a website I visit and email and that's pretty much it unless I decide I want to google something.

That's enough for today, I may add to this later on today.

I just ran an errand and met another Old School guy like myself. We had a very nice chat about stupid people getting worked up over a 12 hour power outage. Interesting conversation. He simply put his battery powered radio on a local talk staation and lusghed all night over panicky people scared to death over a brief power outage.

I finally got into the Blog on the other machine. I decided NOT to dig through IE all afternoon so I pulled a fast one andd simply downloaded Google Chrome which you can make a safe bet that it will work on Blogspot because Blogspot is a part of the Google Empire. Logic dictates this.

I think I am going to figure out a way to get that other router network to stay away from me as I do not like to be intruded in on.

I might snag the Webley and try out the 380/200 ammo in it. We'll see. If it works I'll reload my own. I bet that the pistol will shoot POI with this good ammo in it. It shoots a bit low now.

I got the ammo and bullets from a guy in Wisconsin and here it is Memorial Day and I ordered the stuff around Christmas time and it got here about a week or 2 ago. It took several calls to get him off of his dead ass and onto his dying feet to go and get it together.

This must be one of those part time businesses where he waits until he gets a bunch of orders to fill because I can't see running a serious business that way.

Oh, yeah. I gotta get gas before my benefits run out. I'll do that as soon as I finish here. I can get 30 gallons at a buck sixty a gallon off with my supermarket savings, 30 gallons max. That's a $48 savings which ain't to be sneezed at.

Last year about this time I got thirty gallons for one cent because I let the benefits run until they got high enough. Now you have to use them or lose them, which sorta sucks.

Oh, well. I am off and running for gas and maybe later to shoot the Webley.

I just got back in from getting gas and checked my milage. A little over 27 which means we are now using the so-called Summer Gas. On the turnpike I can generally break 30 in the summer, and in the winter I MIGHT be able to get 25-26 mph.

It would be interesting to see the pollution logistics when you take the milage difference into consideration.

My fuel perks permit me 30 gallons at the discount and I generally fill my tank and snag a couple of gallons for the lawn mower and string trimmer. I suppose you are not supposed to, but the guy in the store says it is OK just so long as it doesn't get out of hand, meaning you don't cart off more than a couple of gallons in a can. Five tops.

Of course, there is always somebody that starts in with this "Hey, that's not fair" crap and someone did. I offered him my cell phone and suggested he call someone that cared. He walked off in a huff.

I went out again for some Memorial Day grub and some beer.

I might have a single beer Memorial Day afternoon, but you can bet I won't have another one until after I shut down shop.

The neighbors walk their pets past the house every evening and on Memorial Day if I am home I put a bayonet on a Garand and stick it in the yard and put an old steel pot helmet on top of it.

The soldier's grave.

A lot of people stop and think when I do that as a general rule and that is a good thing. I've had a few comments over the years about my doing that. There are a few people that see it and cross the street to pass by.

Like with most things, there are people that think and people that don't think.

Of course, if I am not there to keep an eye on it, I pull it inside. No use tempting a thief with a perfectly good Garand.

It irks me when people do not understand Memorial Day.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

This was an odd day for me.

I wanted to start in on hard liquor shortly after I woke up, which I do maybe once every other decade or so, if then.

I didn't, of course, but it is not a good sign that I wanted to.

I took my frustration outside and redid the driveway and it looks pretty good. I still feel frustrated, but the driveway looks OK and I am not going to wake up all brain blistered tomorrow.

Maybe I'll wake up in a better mood tomorrow.


It's started.

As soon as a guy gets something like a ham radio license there seems to be a deluge of people that are either trying to sell you or give you things you neither want nor can use.

I have been offered either for free or to buy a bunch of worthless CB radios and a bunch of things out of garages and barns that even the person offering it has no clue as to what is is or does.

Years ago when I got my captain's license some clown that was the friend of a friend of a friend knocked on my door and offered me an old Navy yard tug to fix up. Of course, he acted like all it needed was a coat of paint and I'd be in the tugboat business.

I suppose that if I got a license to fly an ultralight someone would drop by and offer me a good deal on a slightly used B-52 bomber.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Last night. Power outage

Last night as I was booting up this machine to crank out yesterday evenings post the power died.

At 0645 it came back on again and so far I do not know the reason.

I guess that while everyone and their cousin was running around looking for batteries and flashlights and portable radios I just continued my business until it started getting dark and simply went to bed early. Why not?

There is nothing I can do to put the power back on and I saw no need to get all worked up and break out a bunch of stuff to stay up all night worrying about the power.

I woke for a bit a little after midnight and looked around and saw a couple of homes lit by either kerosene or candles and wondered why they simply just didn't go to bed.

I admit I was curious enough to listen to the radio for a couple of minutes and they said nothing about it during the two minutes or so that I listened. The radio was not battery powered.

It is an Old School WW2 style foxhole radio that needs neither AC or batteries and works off of the radio waves in the air. It generally runs at the Piccolo house 24/7 unless someone unhooks the antenna or ground.

Anyway, I woke up a little before six which is to be expected and found the lights still out and shortly after I make something to eat they came back on again.

It is odd as to what my priorities have become. I missed not the lights nor the television nor radio or the usual crap that people gripe about. I missed being able to go to this blog and spout off a little.

I briefly considered grabbing the combat laptop and going to a WiFi hotspot in another area, but decided not to.

Anyway, that is the tale of last night's power outage.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Monday, May 23, 2011

I am at one of life's little decisions.

I have been pretty good about keeping myself on some semblance of a diet, yet tonight I think I ought to say the hell with it and get a pizza and a six pack.

I think that is what I am going to do.

Most of a diet is not having off days but keeping on things on a regular basis.

Pizza and beer it is.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Sunday, May 22, 2011

WHy are kids needing knee replacements? Got a ham radio ticket.

I am beginning to see a lot of knee replacements on very young people these days and it's all attributed to weight as far as I can see. The kids are getting too heavy and as a direct result they overload their skeletal structure and something gives.

The whole thing is really quite simple. It's like overloading a truck all the time and having the suspension give out. A half-ton truck is designed to haul a half of a ton of cargo around and that is about it. I suppose that from time to time for short hauls you can get away with overloading it a bit, but not for any real length of time.

It is pretty much the same with people. The skeletal system is nothing more than a mechanical system designed to give stability to what would otherwise be pretty shapeless and unmanuverable. It has a load limit.

A good doctor will agree with this unless he is some kid fresh out of school with a big ego.

Several years ago I busted a foot bone and got sent to a sports clinic. The doc they sent in was, of course, a sports fanatic and wanted to talk sports which is one thing I hate. I told him so a couple of times and he ignored me asking me about the Steelers. I asked him if there was an EENT clinic in the building and when he asked me why, I told him that he could get his ears fixed there.

He got upset and uppity with me and started in on how he was some kind of big shot orthopedic surgeon.

I shot back that my neighbor is a mechanic and the only difference between the two of them is that the machanic washes his hands before using the john and he washes them afterwards. He blew a fuse and stormed out.

Lady Luck was with me that day because a few minutes later an older guy came in and surpressing a pretty big smirk, told me that I was right. He said he was little more than a mechanic. He had wound up in the medical field by getting drafted. Prior to being drafted he was self-employed fixing cars and reselling them. It was an interesting story and I won't post it here.

Still, we spoke as he wrapped my foot in a cast and we chatted and he said that he was seeing a lot more young people these days with skeletal problems and that the majority of them are attributed to weight problems.

It was interesting that this doctor told me that things were a lot simpler than the AMA would like you to believe. He chided that as far as the orthopedic department went he felt he learned a lot that he took with him into medicine by simply fixing cars.

I can see that.

All of this hoople about how the body works is little more than a bunch of crap perpetrated by the AMA.

The truth is that the body is little more than an organic machine.

Like any machine, it has limits and when you put too much weight on the body the suspension system lets go.


In other news, yesterday I got my General class Ham radio operators license.

I'm going to think things out a bit before I decide which way I am going to go with this.

I am torn between either getting a small, primitive little underpowered surplus rig or maybe an Old School Hallicrafters boatanchor type with a roomful of glowing tubes and real radio pops, whines, squeals and whistles.

I really don't think it would be as much fun to buy a new and improved super-duper high tech set and DX with, say Italy as it would be to take a lower powered Old School 1950s type piece of technology and connect with someone a state or two away.

We'll see where it goes.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Recently the guys of SEAL Team Six whacked Usama Bin Laden.

Good deal. They deserve a tip of the hat. It was a damned risky mission and it went off pretty well as far as I have heard. Of course, everyone is looking at the guys of Seal Team Six like they are heroes which of course, they are.

Still, let's take a look at the rest of the people that made this mission take place because without them the guys in outfits like our SEAL teams are pretty ineffective.

There were intelligence types, many of them that never left their offices that contributed to their success. There were sneak and peek and CIA types that managed to locate the bastard. The logisticians that figured out how to get the SEALs in and out, the guys on the flattop that gave the guys safe haven and a place to land when they got him.

In short, there was a huge support network that was involved in the mission.

Most people don't take a minute or two out to think about things like this and they ought to.

They seem to think that guys in the SEAL teams just sit around after training sessions thinking up things to do and then they go out and do them.

"Hey, I hear Bin Laden is hanging around in Pakistan. Let's go whack him."

"Nah. Let's save that one for next week after we blow the ammo dump outside of Tora Bora. It's been a couple of weeks since we've blown anything worthwhile up. I could use hearing a loud pop."

"Cool. That was I can make it to my kid's Little League playoffs."

Of course, it's not like that at all.

The SEALs, although they are the visible ones that actually get the job done really have little to say as to where they go and what they do. They are dependent on other people for that, and not just people in the Navy. Getting to Bin Laden took an awful lot of time and effort by an awful lot of non-Naval types and this should be recognized.

Back in the 60s my dad and I wangled a flight line pass to see the Blue Angels and we got to meet a couple of the crews that flew and took care of the airplanes. When my dad was introduced to one of the crew chiefs, he shook hands with him, turned and said to me, "Hotshot pilots are all over the place. This is the guy that keeps things running."

I was mortified at hearing my dad say that until the grinning pilot looked at me and said, "Listen to your dad. All I do is fly it. For every hour I spend fllying this airplane this guy spends a hundred making sure it's ready to go."

There was and still is a lot of truth to that.

While I am not selling the actual operatives short by any means,we ought to remember that for every mission the SEAL operatives go on there are countless hours of work needed to insure that everything goes well.

We owe an awful lot to people we neither see nor hear of.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Friday, May 20, 2011

lLmost booted out of the cardiologist's office today.

Almost got kicked out of the cardiologist's office today by some stupid Big Nurse type.

There was the usual paperwork and where they wanted my family medical history I put down that my father died of a heart attack at 57. I then wrote in that my mother died at 83 and left the cause blank.

At 57 it's an entirely different thing. Fifty-seven is too early to die and something is wrong there so the doc ought to be aware of it. At 83 you have a right to die and you do not have to explain anything to anybody

I went toward the examination room and the doctor was following me in and the Big Nurse came running up and told me that I had not put the cause of my mother's death down and handed me the form.

I wrote in 'knife fight'.

She took about three steps and froze when she read it and got all worked up and demanded an explaination.

"Ah, it was wet T-shirt night at the Kit Kat club and she was up there drivin' the guys wild with thos big naturals of hers and some littly hussy with a lousy silicon job got all jealous and started a cat fight with her when she got off stage. Ma wasn't as quick as she used to be and couldn't get a beer botle busted fast enough so she wound up taking a shank. She still tore the hussy's face up with the bottle, though but she bled out on the way to the hospital." I explained.

"That sounds like a lie to me," said the Big Nurse.

"Prove me wrong," I shot back. "That's my story and I'm stickin' to It!"

Meanwhile the doctor was trying not to wet his pants laughing and he told the nurse that he would handle it. When we got inside the examining room I simply told the doctor that I didn't think it was pertinent as she had lived a long time, and just leave the poor woman with her dignity.

He agreed and we looked at each other and laughed.

"Knife fight, huh?" he said. "That's a good one. I'll leave that on the form."

For the life of me, I fail to see what good the cause of death of an 83 year old mother is going to do to give the doctor anything to go on. The woman lived 83 years and raised 5 kids so she must have been doing something right.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tonight is a night of misery as I had to reformat the other combat laptop.

This means that I will have to download about 15 drivers and the anti-virus software and IE8 and God knows what else along with the fact that I lost a few blog posts I had written up in case I needed a quick post.

One good thing is that I have Laptop 2 and it is what I am using now.

Of course I had to dig out the WEP codes to get it on line, which was a snap as I had them written down in big letters hidden away. The damned router has them written on the back in micro-small letters and I have to use a magnifying glass to see them.

Tomorrow I have a doctor's appointment and I have to get up early for that.
We'll see how that works out.

On a happy note, I was looking for an old radio to decorate the room with and at the suggestion of someone I know from another internet forum I got an old Hallicrafters SX-99 as it looks about right for what i want it for, a simple representation of a mid-40s short wave set of the type you might find on a ship of the era. Ten bucks, Craigslist and I think I can get it working with a minimum of fuss. It cleaned up pretty good, too.

I have been chipping away at my General ham ticket and I figure I'm probably good to go on that. There's a couple places nearby that give the test on Saturday and Sunday so I figure that if I bolo on Saturday I can try again on Sunday.

One of the things that brought me joy when I came home is that another 3 flats of mairgolds are up and ready for transplanting. I should have started this a month or two earlier but I imagine everything will catch up.

The Zinnias I planted outdoors as seeds seem to be coming along OK so that leaves me smiling. I never grew zinnias before so we'll see. All I have ever planred was marigolds and petunias. I might buy a flat of petunias for the planter box out back as they are prety hardy and the Marigolds didn't take there too well last summer.

One more thing, the job that would have taken me out of internet range is not going to happen to me so unless something else comes along I ought to be able to keep this blog up at work.

Interruption: Some kid came to the door with some sort of petition and I politely explained that before I sign it I want to research it a little more. It's about clean water and the gas drilling that is starting up here.

While I certainly do not want the ground water polluted, I do not want to see an economic step up lost because of something dopey like an over zealous inforcement of pollution policy. Laugh all you want, but these days the petro-chem people generally do a pretty good job of either not making messes or cleaning up after themselves simply because it is good for business. They have come a long way.

I threw away my old deck shoes this morning because the damned things make my feet stink llike a cargo of rotten fish. I got a new pair.

This morning Bob and I went north of here because I heard there was a guy that sells used radio gear including ham transceivers. I saw something and asked the price. It was too high. I saw somethign else and asked the price. Again, too high. Then he asked me if was going to make a counter-offer and I replied, "No habla Espanol." and walked out.

It was in a small town and across the streeet was a hair cutting place. Bigger'n the day is long, it was $5 for men's haircuts day and the line was short, a guy on the chair just finishing up as I wandered in and I got a snip for five bucks. A pretty good job so I gave her a ten and still feel I came out ahead as it's about fifteen scoots a snip in my area.

The shop was a nice, clean airy and colorful place that was made into a nice shop using cheap amteriels and paint which confirms a lot of what I believe in; it doesn't take much. I like places like that.

I still ahven't figured out what I want to do with ham radio yet, if anything. I might just try and find a small entire station someone with big bucks outgrew. The 102e Chinese set or maybe an AN/GRC9 are not yet out of the running but if I go that route I am going to have to figure out how to build a power supply as I do not want th hand crank a generator every time I want to go on the air. It would be fun trying my hand with a dinky little primitive set. We'll see.

That's my first day back and in as I look over the screen I see that there is a pile of chips to be spread out that's left over from the tree top I cut up last time home.

That's all for today.

Pic, out.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I am home and putting a dent into a six pack

that is all.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tomorrow mawnin' I is offa dis pig boat

and headed off into the sunset wif a big smile on my face.

What is neat about it is that when I go home I quite often do get to ride into the sunset because the direction I head to go home is west. Of course, I often get home in the summer before it gets dark but you can pretty much figure that during the winter months I get to ride off into the sunset.

Ta da dump to da dump ta da dump, dump, dump. Hi-Ho, Silver, away!

As Piccolo goes gallopping home.


Next trip posts will be spotty.

I have just gotten orders from above transferring myself and my unit to an area of known darkness in reference to internet and cell service.

The blog will be spotty at best, but I will write a post a day as usual, but I will only be able to post them when we arrive in an area where we have internet service.

This will last for a scheduled period of about two months.

That is all.


my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Monday, May 16, 2011

I almost went and coughed up the

money for an intrinsically safe cell phone a while ago and then changed my mind.

It is both illegal and unsafe to use a cell phone on the deck of any tank vessel unless it is intrinsically safe. If I had one that was intrinsically safe I could use it outside on deck and have better reception because the house is made of steel and it makes reception spotty. It would make calling home a little nicer.

What changed my mind is that first of all, someone a bit up the food chain would see me using it and jump to conclusions that I was doing something unsafe and I'd have to explain that the phone is safe to use on deck.

He'd still forbid me to use it with very good reason.

Some jerk would see me using it and figure that if it was OK for me to use mine on deck than it was OK for him to use the cell phone he bought at K-Mart for ten bucks and that WOULD create an unsafe situation.

I swear I have to keep my eyes open at all times for stupid people every time I use an intrinsically safe flashlight on deck because some buffoon might see it and decide that it was OK for him to look in tanks full of gasoline using a Tiki torch.

It is for that reason that on sunny days I use a mirror to look into tanks when the sun is out. I have to set an example.

Well we're at it, there seems to be a group out there that are sadly misinformed over the legality of not answering a cell phone when it rings. They seem to think that it is a major Federal offense not to answer the damned thing when it goes off.

"Hey Joe, don't expect to see Tom for a while."

"Why's that?"

"He's in Joliet pulling two to five for failure to answer his cell phone."

No, this is not going to happen. You are not going to go to jail of you don't answer the damned thing. If you have half a brain you will know that YOU bought that damned thing for YOUR convenience.

On the other hand, there are a number of mostly younger men out here that are married to women that consider it a major emergency when the cap on the milk bottle gets stuck and if hubby doesn't answer the damned phone when she calls she will consider that as proof positive that hubby is in a whorehouse somewhere because he no longer loves her.

These poor bastards are screwed, or at least they are until they sit their wife down and explain that they have no intention of leaving everything they have worked to and earned to some guy that is too cheap to buy a watch so that he can spend it all on hookers and blow.

What's that? Leave everything to some guy that can't afford a watch?

Yup. Here's the way that one plays down. Joe sailorman gets killed and the wife collects the insurance money and cries a few tears. A few months later she goes to the mall and some guy asks her what time it is. They start a conversation which leads to a cup of coffee at the kiosk which leads to dating and a remarriage.

They grow old together and she dies and he inherits everything and in his grief consoles himself with a prostitute who brings cocaine with her which she shares. He then buys cocaine and her services again and goes through all of the money he inherited. The bottom line shows up.

The bottom line is that you have done something stupid and lost your life and as a direct result you have given everything you have accumulated in life to some guy that can't even afford a watch so that he can piddle it away on hookers and blow.

That's when you tell the little woman that she had better get used to having a phone go unanswered.

Of course, explaining that to some guys can get difficult and as usual it means we are back to dumbing down things which I hate but simply have to live with. This is simply because the do-gooders in this world won't permit true Darwinism to reign.

Then again, the anti-Darwinists DO have a point. Often when someone does something stupid he takes good people with him. If it were not for the fact that an idiot with a cell phone on deck can destroy an entire integrated unit and kill the entire crew I would be SCREAMING to let Darwinism take it's course.

Several years ago when cell phones got inexpensive and every seagoing janitor, myself included, went out and bought one. Shortly thereafter I had to go to a class on sensitivity training and lo and behold part of the classes were on getting guys not not use cell phones on deck.

I got chosen to be one of the role players and when the person supposidly walking up the gangway while yakking on his phone approached me I humorlessly reached up and snatched it and mimed throwing it over the side.

"Splash!" I said, ending it then and there.

The instructor was aghast. He started in on me and I interrupted.

"You are facing an entire roomful of men, all of whom have lost responsibilities, privliges and nicities because of the irresponsible conduct of others. Now you are adding to this by asking us to risk out lives and millions of dollars worth off machinery in order not to offend someone that should simply be shot," I said. "Shot, as in dead."

Cheers erupted from the guys

"Don't you think that's a little harsh?" he asked.

"Let's put it this way," I answered. "Some dumbass does something stupid and kills your wife and kids. Not someone else's, but yours. When you find out that the guy was out on parole at the time after his 6th offense are you going to run out and defend the guy? I sort of doubt it. It's easy to defend someone that hasn't harmed you personally. Let's face it, most of us are just plain sick and tired of having to pay someone else's bills by having things dumbed down or having people make poor excuses for worse behavior."

One of the people in the class said, "You tell 'em, Pic!"

I turned to the man, "Another Darwin candidate heard from," I said. "The man that got drunk and tore up a hotel room and ruined it for the rest of us. The only reason you are alive today is because it is illegal to shoot you."

A lot of people started looking at the guy in a new light. It wasn't too pretty. After class he found he didn't have too many friends. As for me, I'm surprised I didn't get booted out.

I guess I had better get used to it, though. I'm not going to be able to use an intrinsically safe cell phone on deck, so I guess I'm just glad I didn't buy one. It wouldn't have made my ife any easier. It just would have started trouble.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Sunday, May 15, 2011

There is an old saying someone keeps saying to me.

You made your bed, now lie in it.

OK, Wise Guy, let's see the bed you have made for yourself.

Here is the bed I made for myself and it is quite comfortable. Would you either show me the bed you have made for yourself or just shut the hell up.


Left click on either of the pictures to see them full size

Incidentally, this is an old picture. It was taken just after I slid the bed into position. The floor has been refinished and there is a carpet on it.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I get tired of people overseas talking with their mouths full...

especially after American tax dollars filled their mouths.

They want the United States to go away and leave them with their culture and stay out of their affairs.

That's fine by me. Let's just take our marbles and go home.

We'll seal up the borders and stop sending huge amounts of money overseas to those that complain about us. The Pakistanis who have complained when we whacked Bib Laden?

Screw 'em. Let's just stop sending them a damned dime and make it clear to them that if they start any crap about it they are going towind up as a glass parking lot. They knew the bastard was there. If they didn't they are pretty stupid.

Yet the will cheerfully take the foreign aid we send them.

These people moan and bellyache about things American and when you think about it they are being pretty damned two-faced. They are sure willing to drive American cars, smoke American cigarettes, use American health technology and hire American outfits to wrestle their oil out of the ground so they can buy more American products that sure make their lives a whole lot more comfortable.

The other thing I hate is listening to those elite, impudent snobs that brag about how wonderful Europe is.

When I hear someone bragging about living in Europe at one time or another I ask them, "Which part? The part whose ass we kicked or the part we saved?"

It generally shuts them up.

I generally meet these people in Starbucks, which has been the scene of a few scenes I have created.

My favorite was the snooty woman that criticized then president Bush for sending several aircraft carriers to the Pacific rim to do relief work after a tsunami. The woman was infinitely stupid. She pointed out that the French sent out a team of twenty or thirty doctors. And what was President Bush thinking? Were they going to blow these poor people up?

I pointed out that each carrier contains 5500 people, all of which are trained in search, rescue, damage control, first aid and various other skills and that they could provide shoreside power, utilize their aircraft to evacuate casualties to one of the three hospitals every carrier has. Any single member of the crew could be utilized on shore parties to help dig people out and aid in rescue work.

The carrier, which regularly made over 16,500 meals a day could easily shift gears and triple the output to feed people. That's a lot of chow.

Being nuclear, the carrier could stay on task for years,

Then I said that her beloved French had somehow in their infinite generosity had scoured the whorehouses of Paris for thirty washed up gynocologists and shipped them out.

Then I told her that President Bush cared. He sent the best we have. He gave the job to the United States Navy.

I was treated to a pretty good round of applause from the other customers, which was nice.

What was a whole lot nicer was when a woman approached me and thanked me for making her finally feel proud of her son. She had been pretty dubious when he decided to enter navel service instead of attending college. She said it wasn't until I spoke out that she then realized that her son was a part of something a whole lot bigger than a jerkwater college somewhere.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Friday, May 13, 2011

Tonight I have been busy both at work and on another project.

Work is work. I have maintainence to take care of.

When i was done with my chores I started studying again.

I'm studying for a ham rado operators license.

I'll keep you posted on how that comes out.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

The day I signed an army paycheck with an X.

Back in the day government paychecks came on punch cards.

They had 'Do not fold, spindle or mutilate' printed on them.

There was also an old carryover from the days when the army had people in it that couldn't read or write, which is to say that with the way our present educational system works today they may very well have to go back to this.

Anyway, there was this little blurb on the back of every check that said something like "If this check is endorsed with an X there must be at least two reliable witnesses". (Or words to that effect)

That little blurb stuck in my mind.

Now being in the dark ages back when men lived in caves and watched black and white television by torch light, there was no such thing as direct deposit. One took their check to the bank and either turned it into a primitive medium of exchange called cash or deposited it into either a savings or checking account.

One payday I picked up my paycheck at the battery and as I was looking at it, I looked at one of the guys and said, "I wonder what the bank would do if you tried to cash this with an X as it says here."

A voice answered from behind me. "I've wondered that for years. If you ever decide to do that, let me know what happens. Now remember, I'm not telling you to do that, but if you do, please let me know."

The guy I had muttered my comment to, Sp/4 Denton, turned to one of the medics. "Hey, Rosario! Pic's gonna cash his check at the bank with an X. We need another witness. Want to come along?"

Rosario looked perplexed until Denton held up his check and pointed to the blurb.

"You gotta be kidding me, Pic knows how to read and write." He turned to me, "Don't cha, Pic?"

"Remember? I got hit on the head last night," I said, giving him an evil grin.

Then I noticed the Battery Commander standing off several feet away admiring his handiwork and grinning like an imp.

Off we went, straight to the bank.

When I explained to the teller she looked at me with an incredulous look. It was obvious that they were not ready for that. She said, "You're kidding!"

"No, Ma'am," I said.

Rosario interrupted and introduced him as my unit medic, which he was, and explained that I had been knocked senseless the night before and had forgotten quite a few things and that the people in the hospital were getting ready to start some kind of therapy to get my mind back in shape.

She grew sympathetic and called the head cashier, who in turn called the branch manager who in turn called the home office who prompty put him on hold.

After a while the branch manager came out and decided that the thing to do was to be thoughtfull, daring, innovative and creative by following the directions printed on the back of the paycheck.

I made an X on the back and one of the guys wrote 'his' on the top space of the X and 'mark' on the bottom. On the laft he put my first name and on the right of the X he put my last name.

Then the pair of them signed beneath my mark as witnesses.

We were good to go. I took my cash and off we went.

I took the money straight home and quietly had my wife deposit it after telling her what I had done and like a lot of women she didn't know whether to crucify me or laugh like holy hell. She did both. She laughed like hell as she chewed me out.

The Battery Commander told me to see him after work that day. He handed me a beer and I told him the story.(there were beer machines in the day room back then.) He was greatly amused.

The next month we tried it again and because they had already been through that the check cashing took just a minute or two. It was no longer any fun.

The following month I came in and signed it and deposited it. The teller commented that the therapy must have worked as I seemed to have remembered how to read and write again.

"Therapy?" I asked. "What therapy? Rosario just whacked me on the head with a piece of pipe one night and when I woke up I remembered everything."

The look on her face made me think that she was getting ready to close one eye and fart because I don't think she knew whether to $hit or go blind.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Yesterdays post got me thinking and remiscing.

I was looking at a radio set to use as an accent piece in my bedroom and it is a Chinese set leftover from the cold war. A shipmate looked at it and commented that it looked like something you'd see a stray Japanese soldier out in a little straw hut in the middle of some Pacific use to try notify headquarters that he was standing by awaiting orders. I chuckled.

The radio set does look like something along those lines.

Back around '60 a couple of Japanese stragglers emerged and there was a book written about them and stragglers in general.

A Google search says that I could re-read it by getting it in a local library which seems interesting, but I think I'll pass as a lot of other things have happened since the book came out.

Still, that book fueled an interest that has stayed in the back of my head all of these years. Every time I see the subject come up, I tune right in.

The term 'stragglers' has seemed to have changed over the years. These days I hear them often referred to as 'holdouts'.

These are, of course, Japanese servicemen that refused to surrender because they either didn't know the war was over or they refused to acknowledge the Japanese surrender. During the 40s and 50s and even to the 60s these people were quite often a problem, especially in the Phillipines where a number of people were killed.

The last one I am aware of was Captain Fumio Nakahira, who was taken into custody sometime in 1980 on the Phillipine island on Mindoro. This was several years after I had gotten out of the service, so I suppose that technically, although pretty unlikely, I could have become a casualty of WW2 during the Vietnam era.

You have to wonder about the ethic that would make a man live like that for 35 years.

Many would easily write off a person like that as simply being nuts, but I am not so sure. When you look at the ethos of the average Japanese soldier in the Pacific, you can understand the mentality of no surrender.

Here's a pretty interesting link about Japanese holdouts:


link is hot


I was a straggler once. I held out for about a day after the war was over.

There was this war we fought against the Circle Trigon Army (read: field problem). I was given three guys to set up a radio relay station for the battalion. I was told that the field problem might last a couple of days longer than planned, so I was not to just fold up and leave until I was told to.

The deal was that there was a phone line on this hilltop where I could get radio reception from all over the Fort Carson down range area. The firing batteries that needed something brought out from garrison would radio me and I would relay the information back into garrison via phone.

Although radio chatter informed me that the field problem was over, nobody had specifically told me to pack up and go home so I didn't.

The following morning after everyone was in garrison the phone rang and the First Sergeant asked where the hell I was and I told him I was still on top of the hill, 'where I was supposed to be', awaiting orders.

"What the hell are you, some kind of Japanese soldier that doesn't know the war is over?" he asked. While his voice did not sound too pleased, he didn't sound all that miffed. He actually sounded mildly amused.

I was told to stay put, and about an hour or so later my very sheepish looking platoon leader showed up in a Jeep and asked me how long I intended to stay on that hill. I think I told him that I would remain there until my enlistment expired. He grinned and shook his head. He had already been chided for not telling us that the imaginary war against the Circle Trigon Army was over.

When I asked if I was in any trouble, he blushed a bit and told me that if there was any trouble it would be pretty short lived as he was the one that had ordered me to the hill and told me to stay until I was specifically relieved. He said that he would see to it that nothing happened to us.

Nothing did happen to me. The story got as high as battalion where I think it was stonewalled. It was one of those stories that the higher it went, the funnier it got. My platoon leader would blush when the incident was mentioned, my battery commander would grin broadly and the BnXO howled gleefully when he heard the tale. The BnCO had no sense of humor. He suggested an Article 15, but was told he'd never get it to stick. I could use both my platoon leader and my First General Order as my defense. I was not to quit my post until properly relieved. If I checked the box demanding my right to trial by courts-martial he would look like a fool.

A couple days later when I passed the battalion XO and saluted him he returned the salute and with a smirk said to me, "Sergeant, you were born at the wrong time. You shoulda been in the Japanese army back in 1945!"

Then he complimented me for obeying orders.

Thirty-five years later we can tell the rest of the story.

At the end of any field problem as soon as we got back into garrison there would be a complete zoo scene in the motor pool as the vehicles would be washed and maintained. There would be fights and arguements over the wash down hoses and buckets and brushes. It would take hours to get the vehicles back to the condition where they would simply tell already overtired GIs to hit the rack. Often this would go on until the wee hours of the morning. It was simply a big, giant suck pill.

I simply told the guys that we had two choices; we could call in and get the OK to return and face the motor pool zoo or try and evade it by overnighting. We'd get a good night's sleep and avoid the mob scene.

Now, I knew that my absence would be noticed instantly. I was the Battery Armorer and I would have to be there to take charge of the weapons turn-in. Of course, in my absence, the supply sergeant could take responsibility for that.

Secondly, I knew the entire battalion woud not be dismissed until every single weapon was accounted for.

I figured that there was no way in hell I was going to get away with this.

Little did I know that my Battery Commander was one of my admirers. He knew instantly what was going on and told my platoon leader to just see how this would play out. He was a person that truly enjoyed his job as Battery Commander and was a serious student of human nature. Later I found out he had a bet with my platoon leader that my brave little band would not be heard from at least until we ordered supplies from garrison. He opined that it would be several days until we ran out of food and we would call garrison for a resupply.

He simply ordered the supply sergeant to take the weapons in and when all the weapons were turned in except for the M-60 we had along with our personal M-16s he simply declared the weapons accounted for.

When we reached garrison we simply rolled into the motor pool. I took all of the weapons and turned them in. The supply sergeant saw me and at once started giving me hell and gloated that I was in deep trouble. I played along with him to get him off of my back until I grew tired of his bellyaching. Then I told him I was in compliance with my orders and there wasn't a damned thing he could do about it. He was an idiot, anyway.

The guys took care of the two Jeeps. It didn't take them very long to get them squared away. When we were done I was surprised to find that the guys were given the rest of the day off. I was sent for to see the Battery Commander. He was curious. He asked me how long I had planned on staying out there. I told him I would have stayed out there either until I was ordered in or my enlistment expired.

He just shook his head in amusement and then asked me how I planned on staying fed. I told him that there were enough units training out there so that late night raiding forays should be able to keep us going. If that didn't work, I would simply call garrison for resupply.

When the next field problem came up two things happened. First there were several volunteers to be detailed to me as I was reassigned to the same detail. Second, they made damned good and sure they notified me when the next war with the Circle Trigon Army was over.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

This is just a bunch of stuff that was on my blog worksheet that I started but

Did not complete. I just decided to post it here to clean up my work sheet.

I have a general nature about me to try and make things a little better than they are.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ =========================================
Most of my friends are dead.

I'm a fugitive from the law of averages.

My mid twenties and thirties were pretty hard on me friend wise. One night when I was about thirty-five I laid in the rack of my sailboat and started thinking. It wasn't pretty. I had a mild meltdown of sorts the following day, a nice long crying jag.

I was thirty-five and had been to well over fifty funerals and memorial services and only about a half-dozen weddings. Life was completely backwards for me.

Now, having a backwards life was something I was used to because it was tumultous in general to say the least, but this part of it was not funny at all. It was just damned sad.


I am trying to find out what happened to my old Boy Scout troop and I'll be damned if I can't even find references to it on Google. How can a Boy Scout troop in an old , well established New England neighborhood fall off the face of the earth?


One of the things you have to do is to try and be fair and honest when you write a blog like this.

OK, you don't have to. You can be as biased as you want, but your credibility goes to hell in a hand basket rather quickly. Then again I suppose you can develop a readership of total bigots and do well.


I found something that I could get into real mischief with on eBay.

For $200 plus $100 shipping I could have bought a pretty good Chinese military radio set that is New in Box.

It wouldn't take me much to get it on the air and the frequency range covers a few ham bands.

Too bad it wasn't a Japanese radio set.

I can picture myself sending Morse code to the Japanese Self-Defense Forces telling them I was still standing by awaiting orders out on some remote Pacific Island somewhere.

I'd bet you could drive them nuts.

There's Piccolo sitting on top of some hill in the unexplored part of New Guinea eating rice out of a helmet sending out morse code asking when they are coming.

In a way it's funny, in a way it isn't. Some Japanese held out for years and from what I gather the last one appeared in the 80s.

Still, it's sure make the authorities wonder.


my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Monday, May 9, 2011

on hotel maids and cops.

A couple of weeks ago I posted about the time the maid walked in on me while I was cleaning a service rifle. The pair of cops that showed up went into a panic and hilarity coupled with a serious puckering ensued.

When I wrote the story down it made me think a bit about the police and their relationship with people in the shooting sports. I'm not here to bash cops, but to look at policemen in general and their relationship with the shooting sports.

Now some of the people I shoot with are members of the law enforcement community. Most are pretty good stand up guys. I have had to deal with one jerk and the people that ran him off the range were his felow officers. Had any of these officers I have shot with responded to the incident in the hotel things would have been a lot different. They would have had a few words with me, checked a couple of things and then we'd probably wound up talking about the match I was supposed to shoot and how well/poorly I was doing.

Of course, the pair of officers that showed up in the hotel were obviously not shooters.

To the non-shooting citizen, they look at a police officer and his pistol and they are absolutely positive that the officer is a master of every firearm put in front of him and can shoot the eye off of the gnat at 1000 yards with his off hand.

There are an awful lot of people in the shooting community that think this is true, too.

Most cops that are shooters will tell you something a whole lot different.

First of all there really isn't any national standard out there to be a police officer. Education of the individual officers can probably range between PhD and grade school dropout with the norm being somewhere in between. A High school education seems to generally be the lower end of the educational requiremment.

The pay ranges are pretty wide, too. Police officers range in pay probably between well over $100k/ annum all the way down to absolute zero in the case of volunteers. The norm in this case is probably somewhere between two.

Pay and educational standards vary widely from place to place. Department standards vary.

Backgrounds vary.

There are policemen on the beat in places that are very capable outdoor types that hunt, fish, hike, camp, kayak and just about everything else you can imagine. There are also policemen out there who consider a tree to be a wild animal and look at the outdoors as something between a building and their car.

Politically, they range from uber liberal to uber conservative, but are probably on the average somewhat conservative. In short, policemen are nothing more than a cutaway of the society that hires them. To say otherwise really isn't fair to the officers. They are not supermen; they are pretty much normal people that have simply chosen a career in law enforcement.

What happened to me in the hotel room was nothing more than the luck of the draw. I guesss the two officers that took the call were neither outdoorsman and

After the incident when I was back at my local club range I mentioned the incident to a couple of the officers I routinely shoot with and I'll have to admit that they were probably just as amused as many of the readers of the story I posted were. They howled.

Then a few of their stories came out. Some were funny, a few sad. One pointed out that in his department the person I had to fear was the sergeant, as he had a tendency to make a mountain out of a molehill. What I noticed about their stories is that many of them involved ignorance on the part of their brother officers.

All of the officers I have spoken with over the years since the incident, for the most part shooters, agree that in their department most officers are not 'gun people'. They simply consider their duty pistol as just another tool, and for that matter, a tool they pray they do not have to use.

These guys, the shooters, explained to me that there were quite a number of officers they served with that only shot for qualification.

Now, like a whole lot of other things that go along with the police as an entity, the marksmanship requirements vary widely. In some departments you have to be a pretty good marksman, while in others you have to simply be able to throw your service pistol at the ground and hit it. In some departments if it bounces off your foot but eventually hits the ground, you are good to go.

If you are talking with, for example, a Texas Ranger, you are probably talking to a pretty good marksman. If you are talking to a member of New York's Finest, it's hit or miss. You very well may be talking to a police officer that can't hit a bull in the ass wiith a canoe paddle.

Another factor that has to be brought into the equation of dealing with the police is that in urban areas the average officer is not around armed citizens. Not a whole lot of city people hunt and firearms there have a bad reputation. The mere presence of a firearm in, say downtown Philadelphia is probably certain to draw a lot of police attention and quite possibly an over reaction on the part of the responding officer, while the same firearm out in the Poconos probably would not draw more than a passing glance.

You also have to remember that the incident I wrote about earlier took place several years ago shortly after the Oklahoma City bombing. The media was having a field day beating the right up and if any of you recall, the media was having a feeding frenzy like a school of hammerhead sharks that did a pretty good job of convincing a lot of people that there was an armed militiaman behind every tree.

A year earlier the Federal assault weapons ban had been signed into law by Bill Clinton and because it was federal legislation,(as opposed to local) most state and local police officers were unfamiliar with it even though virtually all were well aware that it had been passed. Many probably thought it was a machine gun ban even though machine guns have been strictly controlled since the 30s.

When you add these two things to the equation it is really not surprising that a couple of semi-informed local cops jumped to conclusions.

The fact that the sergeant seemed to be a sage old lion cop with a bit of common sense was another case of the luck of the draw, too. I can say that in my own home town we had a sergeant with a reputation of creating a mountain out of a molehill. He was so bad that the individual officers, normally very tight lipped, would bad-mouth him to citizens. Had I drawn a sergeant like that, there is no telling of what the outcome might have been.

A lot of people have commented that I probably should have used the 'Do Not Disturb' sign. Mine was up and the deadbolt was locked.

Neither of these mean a damned thing to a hotel maid that is in a hurry to get her job done with so she can go home or get to her other job. The deadbolt means nothing either. Every maid has a pass key.

I know. I worked as one for a while in my off time a couple of decades ago when I was an ordinary seaman to supplement my scant pay. I took a job as a temp and the agency sent me there for a couple of weeks. The job sucked, but I learned a few things.

The hotel people gave me a list of which rooms were empty and which ones were not. I supposidly could just barge into the empty rooms and get to work cleaning them up. (After a couple clerical errors by the front desk I learned to knock on ALL doors before entering) If the DND sign was up, I would quietly knock and politely make arrangements to come back at a later time.

Incidentally, in both of the two week periods I worked as a maid, I only saw only one firearm, a revolver, in a room. I left it where it was and dusted around it.

When you consider the event took place in the early afternoon, a period of time when most hotel guests are gone, it is not too surprising she walked in. She probably assumed the room was empty.

The mistake I made was in not using the 'maid keeper-outer', the flimsy little hook attachment screwed onto the door and the door jamb. I had noticed it and discounted it as a security device because I say I could jerk the damned thing of the jamb with my bare hands.

It was later explained to me by a sarcastic shipmate that the little device was designed to keep the maid from walking in while you were screwing her kid sister, the one you picked up on the street corner about a block away from the hotel. When you heard it click, you would put your hand over the woman's mouth and shout "Go away!" and the maid would leave, none the wiser and you could then return to taking care of business.

Had I realized that the little hook attachment was only to keep the maid out, I surly would have used it and saved myself a lot of grief.

Back to the cops.

When you are dealing with the police as a shooter it should be carefully noted that some will, in fact understand what you are doing. Some will not have a clue and will be suspicious. There will be no real rhyme or reason and I'd say it will be mostly luck of the draw.

My advice is that if you have to stay in a motel somewhere it is best to disguise your goods. Leave nothing behind in the room. Not only is this a good idea to prevent panic on the part of an ignorant maid, it's also a good way to make sure that you still own it when you return to your room. There are a lot of people that have access to your room and not all of them are maids.

When you are dealing with police, you are not dealing with supermen or trained attorney types, you are simply dealing with just another cutaway section of American society. You take what you get.

Nothing more, nothing less.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I'm a goin' fishin'

I am going fishing when I get ashore. The fish I will catch is going to be 5 feet 5 1/2 inches long because that is as far as I can spread my arms when someone asks me about the size of the fish I caught. That's a pretty good sized bluegill. If I was taller with longer arms the fish I will catch would be bigger yet.

The other day I posted about my career as an officer in rumor Control.

Today it got back to me that I knocked out 25 chin-ups in as many seconds.

The other day one of the younger guys went past the chin-up bar and knocked out about 20 and made a cocky comment. I replied I'd beat that the next time I felt frisky.

The following day I saw him out on the deck of the tug. He was below us and I just knew he could only see my upper half if I chinned myself, so I put a stepstool below the bar, shouted down to him and he got to see an old man knock out about 25 chin-ups in as many seconds.

I got to see him stand there agape.

Got him with the old stepstool under the chin-up bar trick. I may not be able to keep up with him, but I can still out think him.

Of course he ran his mouth and it didn't take long for it to get back to me.

Word still travels fast out here. Some things never change.

Still, 25 chin-ups in as many seconds in my 60th year is a pretty good rumor to have going around about you.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Saturday, May 7, 2011

On Godwinks and being ready to go right then and there.

An old classmate of mine posted on facebook that a chance encounter with someone led to a long career in whatever it was that she just retired from, which is to say it's nobody's business.

That being said, someone else called chance encounters like that 'Godwinks' which may or may not be a good name for an opportunity that comes along. I'll have to give that some thought.

My career actually began with an unexpected train ride. It was just after Christmas over 20 years ago when I decided I wanted to go and visit my family a day after Christmas. I had just moved to Pittsburgh and had started working as a carpenter until a layoff just before Christmas hit.

Money was a bit tight and I had decided that I was going even if I had to hitchhike. This, of course, bothered Mrs. Pic and we decided that we could afford a train and that I could go to my parents house alone as she had other obligations in Pittsburgh.

The train ride was a hoot. Shortly after I got on I met up with a couple of ConRail guys deadheading and I got to go up in the engine and even drive the train for a bit. 9-11 was well over a decade away and things were pretty lax. The deadheaders got off along the way and I arrived in Philly where I had to change trains. One of the deadheaders had told me about the possibility of ConRail hiring. He gave me a contact to call. I put it in my wallet.

In Philly I clambered aboard a Boston bound train and noticed a group of happy go lucky guys whom I approached. There were three of them and I found out they were part of a tugboat crew. They were having a few and something told me it was time to cast a little bread on the water. I bought a round of drinks out of the few dollars I had in my pocket.

Over the drinks, I mentioned that I was a former fisherman and was out of work. One of the guys there told me that the outfit they were working for was hiring deckhands, but the money was lousy. I said I had no credentials and they replied that if they needed me they would give me a letter of intent to hire.

Simply getting a Merchant Mariner's Document was a dream. At the time it was a Catch-22 situation to get a document. You generally needed one to be hired and to get one you had to have experience. Leave it to the government to run a show like that.

The way many guys got their Z-cards back then was to hang out in a foriegn port and wait until a US flagged ship arrived and hoped it was a crewman short. A captain could hire a US citizen off the beach and when they arrived in the states the would be seaman could take his proof of service to the Coast Guard and be issued an entry level document.

The other way to get a document was to arrive at the Coast Guard REC with a letter of intent to hire. Generally this was nearly impossible because most outfits only hired people with credentials. The shot at getting a letter of intent to hire was a dream come true.

One of the guys, a mate, gave me the phone number of personel and a name of who to talk to. I wrote it down on a matchbook and parked it in my wallet.

We all got off in Boston and went our seperate ways.

A week later I was back in Pittsburgh and called the ConRail number and found out that they were not hiring. I then called the number of the tug and barge outfit and found they were hiring. I spoke with the woman that did the hiring and was told that they would send me an airline ticket for the following morning.

I instantly packed, and the following morning I was on the plane.

At their office I was interviewed and handed a letter of intent and two hours later I was at the Coast Guard REC and was issued a temporary Z-card. It would become permanant as soon as I had accumulated 90 days of sea time. The following day I shipped out and didn't get home for 5 weeks, having worked a single three-week tour and two weeks over to change my rotation to get in sync with the tug crew.

When I got home I called and wrote a number of previous employers for letters of service and they trickled in over the next couple of weeks.

A couple of days before I was to report to work I went to the Coast Guard REC with proof of previous service I had accumulated as a commercial fisherman (where a Z-card was not needed) and they accepted it toward my required 90 days and issued me a permanant document, often then called a hard card. My 90 days also permitted me to take the lifeboatman's test which I took and passed. It was my first endorsement on my Z-card.

I was now a bona-fide Ordinary seaman with a Lifeboatman's endorsement.

More letters from more previous fishing skippers trickled in and with the sea time I was accumulating it was about a year before I had both an Able Seaman (Special) and a Tankerman's endorsement on my Z-Card. Shortly after I sat for a limited Captain's license, endorsed motor steam and sail.

The AB has been since upgraded to Unlimited, any waters.

Now let's look back on this little God wink for a second.

My spouse and I have discussed this a few times over the years and we both agree on a number of things.

First, if she had come with me I would have dedicated my time to her and not met up with either the ConRail guys or the tug crew. In this particular case I was better off traveling alone because I was sort of free to reach out and meet different people.

The other thing is that simply meeting the tug crew really wasn't enough. I had to cast a little bread on the water to get back poached eggs on toast. I did this by breaking the ice and buying a round of drinks. This was action on my part. It paid dividends in the form of getting a phone number of the tug and barge outfit that was hiring.

The next thing that was my responsibility was to make the phone calls. When the ConRail phone call didn't pan out, I called the tug and barge outfit and that is where I scored a shot at employment. Getting on the plane based on nothing more than a phone conversation was a small leap of faith.

It should be carefully noted that I had a backup plan in the form of a few bucks tucked away in case there was a problem. If I did get hired and I found myself on board an unsafe vessel or a vessel full of incompetent drunks, I was to jump ship and get back home as best I could. The money was enough to hire some huckleberry to drive my and my gear to the nearest bus station and to buy a ticket home. I would simply ditch my gear if I had to. It could have been replaced.

My luck was good. The company was professional and reputable. They had an excellent safety record.In addition to that they promoted from within. Everything worked out.

Then again, you have to remember that the guys I had met on the train, while in a pretty good mood and having a small impromptu party seemed to be fairly competent. One had graduated from a maritime academy. He didn't have to work for a third rate outfit and if he was a sample of the company's employees I was probably looking for work in the right place. My instincts told me that.These guys were professionals.

While the God wink was meeting the guys that had just gotten off the tug, the rest of it was on me. Nobody was going to send me a limosine to go and get me a job.

Over the years I have met dozens of people that have had opportunity handed to them and either not recognized it or had not done their part. Most of these are not successful people.

You have to find the opportunity, which is luck, but when you find the opportunity you have to do your part. It isn't going to come to you in a neat little platter or in a pretty little box tied up in a bow. It's going to come in a disguise, and the disguise is one of opportunity. Learn how to spot it.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Friday, May 6, 2011

My short career as a serving commissioned officer in Rumor Control

About fifteen years ago I was a commissioned officer for Rumor Control.

I took the job out of disgust because I was surrounded by people that would hear something going around and didn't have enough sense to check it out. Their whole lives seemed to be based on 'I heard', 'someone said', or things along these lines.

Of course, when I applied, I didn't have to start off as a second lieutenant. I was instantly handed a majority which was considered to be the appropriate entry level rank for a man of my talents.

Now, I had pretty open communication with my port captain and when I heard something going around, I would simply ask him, "What's the story on such and such?"

Generally there was nothing to it or the story I had heard was so twisted that it didn't even resemble what the real story was. Something good in the offing would be twisted into something scary. I recall an upcoming raise that was due and the story I got was to expect layoffs.

A phone call dispelled the layoff rumor AND told me that we were actually getting a raise. It didn't take much. A two minute phone call.

One day I got into an arguement about the rumor mill and told someone that 90% of it is crap. He insisted that he just knew that some thing or another is true. I shook my head and walked off.

Then I sauntered over to another shipmate that was headed out to sea and suggested we start a rumor that we were getting a 10% pay raise and see how fast wildfire really did travel. We agreed that he would let the rumor go at the stroke of noon and I would let him know when it got back to me. That way we would find out how fast the rumor mill worked.

Of course, he started the rumor with the oldest trick in the book. He told the first guy he saw that what he was telling him was a secret and could not be repeated under any circumatances whatsoever. That is guarenteed to get ANYTHING moving.

He was boarding a tug in the Philly area and I was slated for New York harbor. I arrived in New York at 1300 and boarded at 1330. As I boarded one of the offcoming crew officially informed me that he had heard that I should expect a 10% pay CUT.

When I asked him when he heard the story, he told he had heard it about 45 minutes earlier. Not bad. Philly to New York in well under an hour.

Right then and there I knew I had hit pay dirt. I looked at the guy that had earlier insisted that the rumor he had heard about was true. He commented that now things were going to be a whole lot worse with the upcoming pay cut. I told him that the other guy and I had started the pay cut rumor as being a pay RAISE!

He was astonished. I have to give him credit because he learned from that little stunt. He proved to be one of a very few.

One time I bought an inexpensive floral arrangement and brought it into the office and put it on the desk of one of the women that worked there.

With a confused look on her face, she asked me what they were for. I told her that I was putting them on her desk to start scandalous rumors that would go through the fleet faster than a speeding bullet.

Her face lit up and with a big smile, she simply said, "Put them on top of the filing cabinet where everyone can see them." I did.

Rumors ran wild, much to the amusement of everyone that knew what was going on. For years she and I laughed about that.

My all-time favorite rumor was over a sign I had found in my travels. It was a sign that simply said 'notary'.

I hung it on the main hatch and forgot about it for a couple of days and when a shoreside employee boarded he asked me if I would transfer the title to his truck! The two of us in the galley laughed ourselves silly and told the shoreside employee to pass on that in the future all of our paperwork was going to have to be notarized. The rumor went through the fleet like $hit through a goose.

Now, several years ago I had found an old notary stamp at the dump and when I brought the sign on board I brought the stamp. I made duplicate copies of some paperwork and stamped them and left them on the table for visitors to see. Needless to say, someone goofed up and sent one of these into the office and when I got off my port captain held up a copy and asked me what that was all about.

"Oh, yeah," I answered innocently. "You owe me seven dollars and fifty cents. Do I have to fill out a form or something?" The look he got to go with it is that it wasn't going to happen again and he smirked and it ended there.

At that point I seriously thought it would be a good idea to resign my commission, but there was one more rumor left.

At the time I was bringing my sextant to work to brush up on my celestial skills. I was running the coast a lot at the time and would go out on deck and shoot a sun line and plot it. The galley table was generally a pile of plotting sheets and sight reduction tables when we had a little extra time.

My port captain saw me coming to work, noticed the sextant and asked me about it. I told him what it was for and he nodded approvingly. He liked seeing the guys training themselves and showing iniative. Then I gave him a wicked look. "I'm going to start a rumor that the barge guys have to learn celestial so they can tell if they are dragging anchor," I said.

He rolled his eyes and told me that he would brace himself for a bunch of phone calls and complaints if I did that.

I guess some guy overheard the conversation, or actually only a part of it and the rumors started flying.

Anyone that knows anything about celestial navigation knows that is is nowhere near accurate enough to use at an anchorage. I considered myself lucky to get within a couple miles of where we really were. Back in the army I ran a few astronomical abservations using a T-2 theodolite that was mounted on a tripod and had a damned accurate timepiece to back it up and although we were close, I'd have to say that shooting stars or the sun with a hand-held sextant is not going to be very accurate. Cruising sailors today use a sextant as a backup to GPS. A good celestial navigator can get close enough to where he is going to be able to pick out which chart to pull out to use coastal piloting skills to enter a harbor.

In short, the rumor was improbable at best, yet it flew through the company.

My port captain got a number of calls about it. I later heard that several bargees called and demanded to know what was going on. That was no problem as he could quickly dispell the rumor, yet there was something else that happened. A couple of guys, certain that the rumor was true called in belligerently telling him that there was no way that they were going to go to school on their time off and picked a fight with the hapless guy. Over nothing.

What was funny about the whole thing is the way the port captain handled it. The guys that asked him what was going on he simply dispelled the rumor. Those that were belligerent were told that they would be the first to take the class and if they didn't pass it they would either be let go or busted back.

Result: more rumors.

It was then I reported in and resigned my commission in Rumor Control and never looked back. In fact, from then on I tended to be a little more careful about what I said because I then knew how easily things get started. A simple question is often enough to set things off. It doesn't take much.

I had accepted the Rumor Control commission with the best of intentions. I had taken it as an effort to show a few people that they were wasting their time putting any stock in Rumor Control and I'll admit I had a little fun doing it but I had tried to make things a little better by proving that the rumor mill was a lousy source of information.

I had probably done more damage than good.

What I discovered is thet there are people that would rather believe everything they hear that comes down the pike and that making any sort of effort to get the facts would spoil their misery.

Over the years I have had management types tell the entire company that I was working for at the time if they hear something and want it confirmed or denied to simply call, yet few people make the effort. They seem happy being miserable. The concept of finding something out for sure is entirely alien to them and they will go through life clinging to whatever rumor passes by them.

Truth is, the reason I resigned my commission in Rumor Control is simply that I realized that you can't fix stupid.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Another post on shortwave radios


Here's a picture of the radio I built in th grade. It is a Knight Kit Star roamer that had 5 bands from 200 Khz to 30 Mhz.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

Here's a picture of the wiring in the chassis.

By the standards of today it wasn't really a brilliant performer. This was a 4 tube model and mine works well today but one of the capacitors dried up and the set picked up a hum so I had the 3 part capacitor replaced by a man who rebuilds stuff as a hobby. It was actually cheaper than doing it myself as he knew where to get the parts for cheap.

Right now on the new set I am listening to the Voice of Russia which is coming in about 3x5, but it's pretty good entertainment considering.

I get no respect here, though. My shipmate told me that I look like a little WW2 Japanese soldier stuck in a grass hut in the jungle trying to tune in headquarters twenty years after the war was over. Hmmph.

Still, if I can get their address I might send in for a QSL card.

We'll see.

Hey, right now VOR is giving out an interesting recipe for borsht. Huh. Pretty neat, but it doesn't sound too appatizing right now. I'd rather have a hot dog or something.

I wish I had the QSL card collection I had back in my boyhood, My wall looked something like this:

I remember that I sent for a QSL card from Radio Havana once and it took a long time because back then the International Postal system was slow and if I remember I had to get someone post my card from Canada. The QSL card from Radio Havana arrived right smack dab in the middle of the Cuban missile crisis.

My dad was worried about being retreaded back into the military.

He decided to take a walk to the post office and when he opened the PO box, there was the QSL card!

He was a tad afraid that the FBI or someone would think I was some kind of 11 year-old communist off-brand type. My neighbor calmed him down, but not after I caught holy hell.

Years llater when I went for an army security clearance I wondered if it would show up, but it never did.

Back then Radio Havana was a good, old fashioned 'Yankee dog, Imperialist pig' ant-American station, but there's not a whole lot of that around anymore. The only place that you can get that kind of propaganda broadcasting anymore is from the Voice of Korea, the North Korean station. In a way it's too bad because that sort of crap was fun to listen to.

Anyway, here's my post for the day. As I finish it I have China Radio International in the background.

Maybe they'll air a recipe for something better to eat than borsht.