Thursday, July 2, 2015

Hornet Ball 2014

The Muse stayed up too late last night.

Yup, that's right, time for a video.

I may have shown this before, I'll probably show it again.

I have friends who do this flying thing for a living.

I have kids who do the same.

To the men and women of fighter-attack...

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

12 Angry Men

12 Angry Men.  If you've never had the opportunity to see this classic 1957 film, which I haven't, or its excellent 1997 remake, which I have, you need to find the time.  It focuses on 12 jurors tasked with deciding the fate of a young man accused of killing his own father.  The judge opens the movie instructing the jurors before their deliberations as they decide on his guilt or innocence,  that must return a unanimous verdict, reminding them that the man is facing the death penalty.

A decision of tremendous gravity, that has life changing implications, left to a small group of people.


It has an excellent cast, featuring George C. Scott, James Gandolfini, Edward James Olmos, Hume Cronin, William Peterson, and others. You've got quite a few leaders in that group, or at least the characters they've played - General Patton, head of the New Jersey Mob, CO of the Battlestar Galactica, the head of CSI, etc.   Strong actors, used to playing big roles.

 Jack Lemmon as Ensign Pulver    Source
The twelfth man, actually juror number 8, is played by another great- Jack Lemmon.  He's somewhat of the anti-hero as he's a hold out.  Not that he's convinced of the defendant's innocence, or his guilt- (like the others), but he's of a cooler mind.  He wants to slow down and discuss the case after the other 11 immediately vote to convict after beginning deliberations.  Jack Lemmon also played Ens. Pulver in the movie Mr. Roberts, which many Navy types have probably seen.  Henry Fonda played that title character as well as juror #8 in the 1957 version of 12 Angry Men.  Jack Lemmon and Henry Fonda, and I'll add Jimmie Stewart to that group, were very good at playing average Joes who just have a common sense about them, smart, honorable, and unpretentious roles.

I sort of see myself as this type of guy.  I'm not a forceful person that uses my size, strength or sheer volume to assert myself.  I'm better suited for reason, logic and persuasiveness to get my way or convince someone to see things from my point of view

Throughout 12 Angry Men, juror #8 slowly, but surely changes the mind of one juror, then a few more, then over half the jury, by breaking down the arguments against the young man one by one. The men were originally angry with Lemmon's character, believing it to be an open and shut case, but each comes around as #8 discusses some irregularities with the evidence.  He questions the angle of the stab wound- not right for a short man; the witness testimony- an infirm man couldn't have gotten out of bed in time to see the defendant run away, and several other logical fallacies that change the minds of each juror.

One man stood against the rest, not allowing himself to be bullied or swayed by the incorrect, or not well-thought-out arguments, including one who goes off on a racist rant before being told to just shut up and sit down.  

So while I'm usually a calm, cool, and collected  kind of guy, I'm getting kind of angry, unable to use logic, reason, and facts to have people see things my way.  Not that I don't have facts to back up my assertions, but it seems more like others refuse to listen.  

Over the past 7 years, I've lost so much faith in the rule of law in this country, with our elected officials not representing the people who elected them, with their votes changing out of political expediency, and much of it stemming from pressure from a very vocal minority, or at least one fueled by the 24 hour news stations.  I'm disgusted by judges legislating from the bench, which courts being co-opted by those in power and those with agendas that are in opposition to our constitution.


Three years ago, we had the Supremes ruling that under the ACA a penalty is a tax, and that this was legal, despite the requirement in the constitution that all taxes originate in the House.  Then just last week, they topped that momentously unconstitutional decision by declaring the law of the land to be what the framers intended, vice what they passed.  The authors of Obamacare tried to force the states to set up health care exchanges by clearly and unapologetically stating that subsidies would only be available to states that had the exchanges.  The intended effect of this language was that people would be left without health care tax credits, which states wouldn't (supposedly) allow, thus establishing their own. So the court essentially wrote their own law, not sending it back to Congress to fix as they should have.

In 12 Angry Men, the last juror to change his opinion held out because he admittedly felt bad for the murdered father.  This is roughly equivalent to what occurred last week- that the Supreme Court felt bad for the citizens of states without exchanges.  They voted to declare justice for them, even if the law and evidence didn't support it, just as the last juror did.  The dissent declares as much:

"And the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites."
We've also recently seen Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina ordering the Confederate Flag be removed from Statehouse Grounds.  While I can't say I'm disgusted by this particular decision, it's not necessarily the right decision.  Several years ago, probably close to 20, there was certain political official or aide from Washington DC who was forced to resign after he used the term "niggardly."  Not at all a racial slur, it means miserly or stingy, there were opponents who claimed that, despite the correct definition that they weren't originally aware of, he should have known not to use the term because of the demographics of DC.

I will admit, that the Confederate flag, while sometimes co-opted by racists, is now far too well associated with racism and division. That shouldn't prevent a non-racist from displaying it, but it will be forever widely seen as a racist symbol. Just as a rainbow flag has become synonymous with the gay community, a heterosexual wouldn't necessarily display it as just a colorful piece of fabric because of the connection. We would either have to shed the co-opted meaning across the country, accepting peoples different symbolism - a nearly impossible task, or accept that the new meaning is far too divisive to allow it, which they're doing.  It's not right that it is that way, but that's change that we can't undo.

I'm not insensitive to the racism that blacks face in this country, but life is much better here than elsewhere, and much better than it was even 40 or 50 years ago- the opportunities are there, through education, and yes, even affirmative action.

This decision however, while long in the making, came immediately on the heels of a tragic mass murder.  Politicians and leaders of all types, including Navy leaders, have to do something - anything when tragedy, or something that has media interest, strikes.  And in today's 24 hour news cycle, with nearly everyone having the ability to upload HD video instantaneously to YouTube, the bar for what interests the media is set pretty low, and this is a media that has an agenda.  Leaders aren't allowed to be juror #8, calmly rationalizing all the facts before them, weighing heavily the gravity of the situation.  Actually, they really are allowed to take a moment and analyze the evidence, they just don't.  Knee-jerk reactions are the result.

Leaders need to have the wherewithal and strength to sit back and calmly make a decision.  If they do this however, they must also immediately come out with a statement that they are taking some time, lest they be found unsympathetic to the issue, and thereby preempt the critics who will assail a leader for inaction, even if it's just to score headlines.  As a nation, we need to contemplate not only the issue on the table, but the long-term implications of the various decisions available to us, and a true leader does this.  Acting too quickly and making a hasty decision can often be worse for us all, even though the aggrieved party demands action now, and our guilt or compassion towards others helps drive the impatience.  A leader that is driven by polls, white guilt, how something plays in the press, etc., is no leader at all.

Governor Haley made a decision (one that is now being batted around the State Legislature) that was driven by any number of concerns- a desire to rid the state and nation of racism, outrage over a racist and mentally disturbed murderer, and yes- that belief that something, anything- has to be done now.  I'm not saying it's surely the wrong decision, but it's one based on feelings.
Tony Gradel said the recent tragedy at Emanuel AME Church "has nothing to do with that flag up there." "Just because nine people lost their lives in a church in Charleston, which I'm not downplaying at all, still a tragedy, has nothing to do with that flag standing up there," he said. CBS News
I learned a new term recently, Hegelian Dialectic. A manufactured problem elicits a manufactured solution that leaves everyone satisfied and allows the originating issue to simply fall from the spotlight, wholly unresolved. Read about it here.  Not that racism is a manufactured problem, but the flag coming down does little to solve racism.  There will still be an underlying current, or even a bold expression of racism in the U.S., despite political decisions.  I tend to believe that racism is actually perpetuated by both sides, as that helps maintain a divide and an aggrieved base with which politicians can pit one side against the other, but that's for another blog post on some other day.

Robert E. Lee      FreeRepublic

As for the anger-du-jour about all sorts of similar issues, I am not at all in favor of rewriting history because we're angry today. So, no renaming Robert E. Lee Elementary schools, no renaming all sorts of Army bases named after Confederate Generals (Benning, Bragg, Hood, etc.) That's akin to ISIS fighters destroying symbols of pre-Islamic culture, including artifacts from the Assyrian Empire that are over 2000 years old. If you want to rewrite history, we need to go back to the birth of our country and eliminate George Washington as one of our Founding Fathers. He was a horrible racist slave owner after all. We must also cancel the naming of a Carrier John F. Kennedy, as he was an adulterer and against abortion since he was a Catholic. Remove Lindberg from the books too since he was a racist anti-Semite (but apparently that's almost an acceptable form of racism these days).

One of the arguments brought forth in the trial of the young man in 12 Angry Men, is that he was heard arguing with his father the night before, exclaiming  "I'm going to kill you." Juror #8 counters this hyperbole stating that such a phrase cannot always be taken literally (or is it seriously?)

Like when a comedian veers from his standard funny monologue, dramatically declaring a torrent of overemotional woe:
"I honestly have nothing other than just sadness once again that we have to peer into the abyss of the depraved violence that we do to each other and the nexus of a just gaping racial wound that will not heal, yet we pretend doesn't exist. And I’m confident, though, that by acknowledging it, by staring into that and seeing it for what it is, we still won’t do jack s—. Yeah. That’s us."
Yes, the murderer was a horrible racist, but he was also a very mentally unstable individual.  He is not the fault of what Jon Stewart perceives to be some overt wave of racism in this country that hearkens back to slavery.  He was one seriously effed-up individual.  You want to talk about hyperbole?  I will point to so many videos and stories about violent interactions between cops and black citizens.  Are there more white cops than black ones in predominantly-black Ferguson Missouri?  Yes, but it wasn't racism that led to Michael Brown getting shot, it was his own actions charging Officer Wilson after he robbed and assaulted a shop owner.  Hyperbole is the overstating of all these individual issues.  Hegelian Dialectic is the blaming these incidents on racist cops, calling for and achieving their punishment or removal, ignoring the underlying issues or what led to the confrontation in the first place.  Almost seventy percent of all black children grow up in single parent households or aren't even raised by a natural parent. That terrible statistic leaves children without fathers and role models, so they repeat the cycle.  That cycle won't be broken without black men stepping up and taking responsibility for their actions, and women respecting themselves enough to keep the men away in the first place.  Strong families are the only effective preventative measure against a cycle of poverty, crime, drug-use, and child-abandonment.  Taking a flag down won't help, and I'm not convinced that affirmative action is doing much to stem that tide either.

Patriot Post
While I'm clearly stating my position as One Angry Man, the Supreme Court showed themselves to be Five Angry Judges with their second decision last week.  The ones that voted to make Gay Marriage the law of the land, declaring that it is a Constitutional Right, were angry that the rest of the country just wouldn't bow down to the altar of political correctness.  So they again wrote their own law, entirely ignoring the 10th Amendment- that powers not specifically granted to the Federal Government in the constitution are left to the states. There's actually nothing in the Constitution about Gay Marriage, or any marriage for that matter, but that was no matter to the Supremes.  In his dissenting opinion, Justice Roberts wrote:
“Petitioners make strong arguments rooted in social policy and considerations of fairness. … But this Court is not a legislature. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be. … The majority’s decision is an act of will, not legal judgment. The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this Court’s precedent.”
We'll just conveniently ignore that he did the same when he voted in favor of the ACA earlier that week.

The implications of these decisions can be far reaching.  Is this latest decision bad for families?  Studies show that children living in a same-sex household fare worse than traditional ones, but these statistics are routinely lambasted and buried.  Will this decision affect religious liberties?  It already has, but now it's the law of the land, and the angry supporters are relentless in their attempt to make everyone succumb to their beliefs.  Is the gay community feeling less marginalized now?  Yes, but most states already granted all the rights of marriage via civil unions, and only through their vocal declarations of marginalization and victim-hood did they find this unsatisfactory, but we're again talking about feelings.  No matter what anyone's opinion is on gay marriage, we should respect each other as individuals, while also protecting religious freedoms. As for racism, taking a flag down does little- serving mainly as a symbolic gesture, and ignores the root problems.  The ACA ruling alleviates a legislature from getting it right, from writing laws with language that actually define the laws, setting a precedent that the Court can rule on intent, even if that wasn't the intent.  But with both of their decisions last week, the Supremes don't seem to care about second or third order effects.

We now have a progressive court deciding what they want a law to be, vice whether or not it's constitutional.  We have a Congress that hides its actions from the public and buries the truth about a piece of legislation within 20,000 pages of regulations and builds an army of IRS agents to enforce them.  They are supported by a media industry that refuses to do its due diligence when reporting a story, which is followed by proponents of an issue that don't want to know the true facts regarding it, at least if these facts don't support their view.

With all this stacked up against us, how is juror #8- the anti-hero- going to convince others of the gravity of the situation, that a defendant is innocent, that the truth should be heard and considered? How are we going to stand behind a constitution when the interpreters of it, and the the legislators writing laws based on it, are practically working in collusion to ignore it?  

In the movie, the defendant went free.  I'm not so sure about us.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Virgil Xenophon, Paging Virgil Xenophon, Please Pick Up the White Courtesy Phone...

Virgil, please contact me on Guard (oldafsarge at gmail dot com).

It seems that Juvat will be in your AO in August and would like to get together with you.

No doubt so that the two of you can tell tall tales and shoot your watches.

He said something about dinner. I said something about "who's buying."

Seriously, shoot me an e-mail and I'll shoot you back with Juvat's particulars. (That is, his e-mail address.)

All will be held in strict confidentiality.

Unless someone makes me an offer.

Just kidding. Just kidding.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming...

[Hhmm, I wonder what this button does....]


"Repair One Provide..."

SOUTH CHINA SEA (May 30, 2015) Engineman 2nd Class Terrance Gallagher, from Seattle, Wash., conducts repairs to the ship's reverse osmosis water purifier aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89).
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class David Flewellyn)
Sunday night, the end of a nice long weekend, I'm sitting in CIC monitoring the affairs of the world via the blog, other peoples' blogs and the Book of Face and listening to the occasional Tube O' You tune.

Sunday night's favorite was Le Chant de l'Oignon, or, in English, The Onion Song. This blog was almost named Le Chant de l'Oignon rather than the Chant du Départ. Two things prevented that. I couldn't remember the name of the song en français and I didn't want to be confused with The Onion.


What's that? How does the song go? I'm glad you asked.

Lyrics? Sure, I've got those too!

Chant de l'Oignon

J'aime l'oignon frît à l'huile,
J'aime l'oignon quand il est bon,
J'aime l'oignon frît à l'huile,
J'aime l'oignon, j'aime l'oignon. 

Au pas camarade, au pas camarade,
Au pas, au pas, au pas.
Au pas camarade, au pas camarade,
Au pas, au pas, au pas.

Un seul oignon frît à l'huile,
Un seul oignon nous change en lion,
Un seul oignon frît à l'huile
un seul oignon nous change en lion.

Au pas camarade, au pas camarade,
Au pas, au pas, au pas.
Au pas camarade, au pas camarade,
Au pas, au pas, au pas.

Mais pas d'oignons aux Autrichiens, 
Non pas d'oignons à tous ces chiens,
Mais pas d'oignons aux Autrichiens, 
Non pas d'oignons, non pas d'oignons.

Au pas camarade, au pas camarade,
Au pas, au pas, au pas.
Au pas camarade, au pas camarade,
Au pas, au pas, au pas.

Aimons l'oignon frît à l'huile,
Aimons l'oignon car il est bon,
Aimons l'oignon frît à l'huile,
Aimons l'oignon, aimons l'oignon

Yes, I really do like onions fried in oil.


Anyhoo. Sunday night, enjoying myself when the alarm is sounded down in the galley by The Missus Herself. I respond (I am Repair One around the domicile) and sure enough, the old copper tubing coming out of the faucet I replaced 12 years ago is leaking.

I wonder what idiot bent that tubing like that? Oh yeah, that was Your Humble Scribe. A plumber I'm not. Though I can get by in a pinch. (Said pinch I had put in the copper tubing which over time decided to give up its structural integrity.)


Off to the hardware emporium, which is ten miles away and which would close 70 minutes hence. No problem. Off I went.

Bought what I (thought I) needed and returned to the vehicle. After gazing upon the box containing the faucet, I realized that it did not have that squirty-thingie attachment off to the side. No problem, lots of time left.

Went inside and got the faucet with the squirty-thingie attachment.

Upon my return to Chez Sarge, I unpacked the stuff I'd bought and pulled all the crap out from under the sink in order to effect repairs.

Only to discover that I had all the wrong hardware.

Twelve years ago, the replacement faucet I had purchased had water connections which terminated with male half-inch connectors. The water feed lines had nuts permanently attached (unlike politicians) which one could use to attach the lines coming from the faucet.

'Lo and behold, the new hi-tech faucet had two flexible lines with 3/8 inch female ends.


This would not work. Alas the hardware emporium was now shuttered and the employees had all gone home.

I told The Missus Herself that I would take a couple hours off in the morning and get the right stuff to replace Monsieur Le Robinet. So I went back to the computer and monitored the Internet goings-on for a while longer before retiring to sleep the sleep of the just.

Awakening to the dawn, I headed out to the aforementioned hardware emporium. Talked to a somewhat knowledgeable chap who immediately noted that I didn't have the right stuff. (Never was an astronaut though at one time, but ya know, I didn't have it...)

We got the right hardware (and a different faucet, apparently the one I had purchased didn't have a long enough, nor high enough neck, for those giant pots we use to stew eye of newt and the like) and I returned to la maison.

There to discover that the compression fitting I had purchased was a 5/8ths and the copper feed line in the residence is 1/2 inch.


Back to the aforementioned hardware emporium, where the employees were starting to call me by name (or was it "call me names" - I forget) and tell a different employee (also knowledgeable of des affaires plumbing) and show him the end of the copper pipe. Which I had had to cut off to use the compression fitting thingie. (Those who know these things will know what that is, apparently it squeezes onto the pipe forming a water tight seal. I consider it one of The Dark Arts as I don't really grasp how it works. There are times when I am much like the apes encountering the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey.)

So he looks at it and says "Well, that's an odd size. Never seen one of those." I'm guessing that's because he didn't work at the hardware emporium 30-odd years ago when my dwelling was constructed. Apparently by a group of people who cornered the market on discontinued and rare parts and used them all in my house.

I might also make mention that I doubt any of those guys owned a square. There are no real 90 degree corners in my house, they are all 90 degrees plus or minus "close enough."

But eventually we discover that I can use a 1/2 inch compression fitting on the copper pipe, with a 3/8 inch male connector screwed onto that which will then fit the flexible hoses coming off the faucet.

As I'm leaving the hardware chap asks me if I have any "pipe dope." Not knowing what that is, I ask if they carry that sort of thing. He says...

"Teflon plumber's tape, yeah it's over in the next aisle..."

I cut him off, not wishing to appear completely ignorant of the plumbing trade, I told him I did indeed have some of that tape. Why he referred to it as "pipe dope" I have no idea. Perhaps the pipes use it to get high? (Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip your waitress...)

Properly equipped now, I headed home.

I should note that at this time the "couple of hours" in the morning had turned into all morning and a chunk of the afternoon. And the job wasn't done yet.

Notifying my place of employment that I was wrestling with pipes, Teflon tape and compression fittings and did not foresee making it into work at all, I headed for the sink's nether regions.

There everything miraculously came together. Teflon tape was applied to pipe threads, fittings were tightened and nothing was leaking.


"Honey, why are the hot and cold swapped?"


Fittings unscrewed, old tape stripped off, new tape applied, lines swapped and fittings reattached.

No leaks, cold water comes out when commanded and as expected, ditto the hot water.

It seems that the mission has been accomplished.

I guess you could say, "That's what I did on my summer vacation."

An entire day's worth.


Where I spent Monday, it ain't pretty but it works.

Indoor plumbing, one of the great inventions of homo sapiens.
But does it need to be so complicated?


Monday, June 29, 2015

Blogging at 85

So,  There I was....* Headed to Colorado to celebrate my Aunt's 80th Birthday.  Little Juvat (he hates that moniker, but like Tuna said about callsigns, the more you gripe, the harder it sticks) is doing the driving and I'm taking the opportunity to ride in the back seat.  This may be my first time back here since I started driving. 

Anyhow, we're headed to southwest Colorado, to a place outside Dolores called Stoner Ranch.  Now, if that don't set you back....

"Howdy Officer,  what can I do for you?"
"I clocked you at 85 in a 75.  Where you going?"
"Got to get a blog post up.  Sarge is getting nervous."
"Where you coming from?"
"Big State,  Where specifically?"
"Stoner Ranch"
"Outta the car, Longhair!"

Making pretty good time.  4 miles every 3 minutes.  Except....
55MPH on right, 55.001MPH on the left

Got a bit of time to think back here.  Last time I saw my Aunt was when she and my Uncle traveled to our neck of the woods for my Dad's Funeral.  My Uncle (Dad's brother) has since passed on.  It's now down to 3 left in that generation of my famiy and I'm the elder statesman for the next generation.  Having just "celebrated" a zero birthday, that's been on my mind a bit lately.

Thinking about the last time I saw my cousins (4 Boys and a Girl).  Have to believe it was my Grandparent's 50th Anniversary.  Celebrated that out in Tuna's neck of the woods, Escondido in 1979, so it's been a while.  Pretty sure my Aunt is a great-grandma.  Well, I am sure that whether or not her grand children have kids of their own, she's a GREAT Grandma. (Just in case she reads this).

Discovered another benefit to being chauffeured, naps! A little siesta and I'm suddenly 100 miles closer.  Well out of the hill country now and definitely got some "see 'em comin'" vistas.

The Pecos River in all its raging glory
It occurs to me, the last time I actually spent serious time riding was at the Puzzle Palace.  One of the most unique things about the area was slugging.  Traffic in the area was (is, I'm sure) horrible.  HOV lanes helped enormously, but finding 2 additional folks that were going your way at your time was next to impossible.

So, without any Federal Government involvement (I know, hard to believe, right?), people found a way to get extra riders and use the HOV lanes.  The driver would stop by the Pentagon bus station and find the bus that served the route near their destination.  Then starting at the front of the line would proceed down the stating the bus stop he would end up at.  The first two people that had that stop or an earlier one would say so and they'd get a ride. 

One would think this was lunacy, getting in a car with strangers.  As far as I know, there never was a problem.  If you didn't like the looks of the driver, you were under no obligation to ride with him.

There weren't any federal government mandated rules, but there were some generally agreed upon conventions.  First, the only slug initiated conversations were "Good Morning" and "Thank you".  The driver could initiate a conversation if they wanted, but were encouraged not to discus religion or politics.  In DC, not discussing the latter meant it was usually quiet.
Phone conversations by the slug were limited to "On my way home, be there in xxx"
Since the bus stop nearest my home was the closest one to the HOV lane, that made the wife and I an attractive slug option, so we rarely rode the bus home. 

One morning, I'm at the bus stop, by myself, it's raining.  I've got about 10 minutes before the bus is supposed to arrive when a van pulls up.  Guy rolls down the window and asks where I'm headed.


"OK"  Transaction completed.

"Good Morning" I say as I get in.  Quick look around the van and it's only he and I.  There's no other slug pick up point prior to the HOV, but it's not my problem.  Besides the van's windows are tinted and it's still dark.

We're on the HOV making good time when the Driver asks "Where do you work in the Pentagon?"  I tell him and he responds with "Oh so you work for Shmuckatelli?"

"Yes, Sir, but I usually call him General"

He laughs and says "I'd say so".

I say "If you don't mind my asking, where do you work?"

"I'm the senior Senator from Montana."

As I said, slugging was one of the few very interesting aspects of life in DC.

Back in the back seat, we've cleverly managed to arrive in Pecos, home of the Best in the West Rodeo, just in time to meet the Rodeo parade head on.  Our 4 in 3 average speed is taking a quantitative hit.

Lots of Fracking traffic out here.  Take that anyway you'd like.

Arrived safely in Albuquerque.  A Little New Mexican food for Dinner with a very nice Hefeweizen. Or Two.

Expecting a paucity of Internet access, so signing off for now.

Tough view to read a book and have a cup of coffee with, but as's 15 miles to any internet, cell or GPS signal
Woke up Thursday morning in ABQ and did my weather check and discovered some UFOs

Saturday we went to Mesa Verde NP.  WSF's first CO Home!
My Ladies!

Pretty Decent "See 'Um Comin" Views!
But in the's all about Family!

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Old plum tree, surrounded by daisies.
So I've been rather negative the past couple of days, bleh, that's not me. While I do get down from time to time, I can't stay that way. It's just not in me. Life is too short to let stuff bother one for any length of time.

So let's get upbeat today.

As you might be able to tell, I've been out in the yard playing with the camera again. Trying new angles, different perspectives, helps ease my mind.

Old solar lantern. It doesn't work anymore but it looks kind of cool surrounded by those flowers. This sits next to the pond at Chez Sarge.

Beans of some sort, The Missus Herself knows what they are. I just eat them.

While I was out by the garden playing at photographer, the neighbor's chickens came over to see what I was doing.

No we're NOT dinosaurs! Silly human.
Hey, put that fork down!

This one is a troublemaker. She likes to fly over the fence and root in the garden.
Not healthy if The Missus Herself catches her! As chickens go, she's damned clever.

This rock was hidden under a big fir tree in the front yard for many years.
One day, The Missus Herself decreed that the tree interfered with her gardening plans.
So the tree came down. Underneath were these two 200 pound rocks, this is one.
It was a mother bear getting them out back by the pond. I love the texture of it.

A tangle of greenery next to that rock.

While I was outside taking pictures, Sasha, The Alpha Cat, came to the front door to see what "her" humans were up to.

The sound of this waterfall is soothing. Day and night.

Me trying to look thoughtful and wise. Succeeding at neither. I do manage to look old though. Doesn't take much effort!

Flowers, flowers, everywhere. Peaceful.

From inside the front garden, looking to the backyard.
In the foreground is The Missus Herself's latest project.
Some of our fish. Easy Virgil!
One of two water lilies in the pond. There's a big old frog who lives in there. Used to be two.
I did manage to get a couple of photos of the interior of Chez Sarge.

Sasha has the watch!

Another day in Paradise. I thank God for the favor He has shown me.

Stay tuned for Monday. Juvat is blogging from the road. While it's not Kerouac, it's good. Matter of fact, I like it better than Kerouac.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Dans les Hussards

Vive l'Empereur! by Édouard Detaille, 1891.
French 4th Hussars at the Battle of Friedland, 14 June 1807. 
Because of my penchant for all things Napoleonic, I was listening to some of the music from that time period on Ye Olde Tube O'You. 'Twas there that I found this charming little ditty I am about to inflict upon share with you.

For those who don't know, hussars were light cavalrymen who's uniforms were inspired by Hungarian fashions of the 1700s. I've seen references made to "based on the Hungarian national dress" but can't pin that down. Seems reasonable. Just can't confirm it.

I do know that hussars originated in Hungary. They were one of those units that just impressed the Hell out of many opponent.

So they were copied.

The Polish version of hussars were extremely ferocious. Polish soldiers on horseback tend to be that way!

Polish Winged Hussar by Aleksander Orłowski

Anyway, I give you Dans les Hussards, cavalrymen sans peur et sans reproche. (The lyrics are en français, bien sûr...)

Dans les hussards

Le hussard au quartier
Le hussard au quartier
N'a pas besoin de marchepied,
pour engueuler son brigadier...

Ah ! La belle vie que l'on mène
Dans les hussards, dans les hussards.

Ah ! La belle vie que l'on mène
Dans les hussards, dans les hussards.

Le hussard, au manèg'
Le hussard, au manèg'
Malgré la basan' qui l' protèg'
Use plus vit' son dos que son siège

Ah ! la belle vie que l'on mène...
Dans les hussards, dans les hussards.

Ah ! la belle vie que l'on mène...
Dans les hussards, dans les hussards.

Le hussard, en amour
Le hussard, en amour
Va de l'avant comme un tambour
Jamais on n' l'a vu rester court

Ah ! La belle vie que l'on mène...
Dans les hussards, dans les hussards.

Ah ! La belle vie que l'on mène...
Dans les hussards, dans les hussards.

Le hussard, au cercueil
Le hussard, au cercueil
Même après qu'il a tourné lœil
S'écrie encore avec orgueil

Ah ! La belle vie que l'on mène
Dans les hussards, dans les hussards

Ah ! La belle vie que l'on mène
Dans les hussards, dans les hussards

Ah the beautiful life one leads, in the hussars, in the hussars!