Monday, July 31, 2006

Contempt for the foe, 31 July 1943

*PETRARCA, FRANK J.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Medical Detachment, 145th Infantry, 37th Infantry Division. Place and date: At Horseshoe Hill, New Georgia, Solomon Islands, 27 July 1943. Entered service at: Cleveland, Ohio. Birth: Cleveland, Ohio. G.O. No.: 86, 23 December 1943. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty. Pfc. Petrarca advanced with the leading troop element to within 100 yards of the enemy fortifications where mortar and small-arms fire caused a number of casualties. Singling out the most seriously wounded, he worked his way to the aid of Pfc. Scott, Iying within 75 yards of the enemy, whose wounds were so serious that he could not even be moved out of the direct line of fire Pfc Petrarca fearlessly administered first aid to Pfc. Scott and 2 other soldiers and shielded the former until his death. On 29 July 1943, Pfc. Petrarca. during an intense mortar barrage, went to the aid of his sergeant who had been partly buried in a foxhole under the debris of a shell explosion, dug him out, restored him to consciousness and caused his evacuation. On 31 July 1943 and against the warning of a fellow soldier, he went to the aid of a mortar fragment casualty where his path over the crest of a hill exposed him to enemy observation from only 20 yards distance. A target for intense knee mortar and automatic fire, he resolutely worked his way to within 2 yards of his objective where he was mortally wounded by hostile mortar fire. Even on the threshold of death he continued to display valor and contempt for the foe, raising himself to his knees, this intrepid soldier shouted defiance at the enemy, made a last attempt to reach his wounded comrade and fell in glorious death.

........................................................................................
Are we now so PC that we're not even allowed to show contempt for those who
would gladly kill us? Would even the army be allowed to write a medal
citation like this today?

Private Petrarca is honored here for his sacrifice, and also honored with the Medal
of Honor. Follow the link to see the stories of all the heroes.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Lost Blackbird July 30th 1966

I was looking at google smashups linked from the High-tech
Texan website
, and one of the most interesting is the google
map showing locations of all the SR-71 blackbirds with links
to all the current photos, including summaries of all the
SR-71 crashes.

The crash that happened on July 30th 1966:

M-21 tail number 06941 was destroyed 30 Jul 1966 when the D-21 drone it was launching bounced off the inside of the mothership's shockwave and struck 941 near the wing root. Lockheed test pilot Bill Park and Launch Control Officer Ray Torick ejected safely over the Pacific, but Torick drowned when his flight suit took on water.

Sad to see such dry text to describe the death of someone who died
doing their duty for their country.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Short trippin'

I had to zoom up to canada for the last couple of days, yet another
fools errand and a lot of travel for about 16 hours worth of work.
I should have said "that's really not my job to go to the rig" and stayed
home, but the manager there asked me, and I could hear in his voice
that he was on the verge of mentioning that the last time I went there
he paid for my wife to go too. So I went.

8 hours flying to edmonton, 3 hours lost in a hotshot, the driver couldn't
find the rig, 3 hours working then 4 hours sleep on a bed with no sheets
blankets or pillows (when did I become such a pussy?). 12 hours more
work to finish drilling, wait one hour for a car, 2 hours to edmonton...
no room at the inn by the airport, so we rode into edmonton. 3 hours
sleep, then taxi to the airport in time to be two hours early. Whenever
I'm two hours early I'm sure to check in, breeze through customs, immigration
and security in about 4 minutes. (US immigration is in Canada, strange)
Wait 1 hour 56 minutes drinking coffee and eating the worst muffin in the
western hemispere, then 8 hours back to houston, losing another hour to
time travel.

So in 48 hours I spent 16 hours on planes, 6 in cars, 7 sleeping, 15 working.
I got home and slept on the sofa then moved to the bed and made up most
of the lost sleep. I neglected to brush my teeth though during the migration
so I woke up with a taste like a bear's ass in my mouth.

Bleh. I hate my job.

I did get treated to a canadian coworker espousing his views on the middle east:
It's all due to the US support for Israel and Israel surpressing the palestinians.
I didn't feel up to debating, I just asked him if it is his suggested policy that the
Israelis should cut their own throats or not, then suggested we talk
about sports instead.

I used to like to debate, but views with such strongly held stupidity aren't really
debatable. I'd like to think that we are talking map versus coastline, but it is
probably more like religion and we won't find out reality until we are all dead.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Today's military trivia

July 24

North Vietnam Increases Air Defense Capabilities

1965 In the air war, four F-4C Phantom jets escorting a formation of U.S. bombers on a raid over munitions manufacturing facilities at Kang Chi, 55 miles northwest of Hanoi, are fired at from an unknown launching site. It was the first time the enemy had launched antiaircraft missiles at U.S. aircraft.

It's interesting to see that the first time we were fired at it
probably wasn't a big deal. But after dozens of planes shot down
over 8 years it became pretty important. What small seed of the
future is happening now i wonder. Missiles shot at Israel or arms
shipments from Iran to Syria? Or precision weapons to Isreal?

Unfortunately we live in interesting times.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Hero du jour- 23 July

This from today's date during Korean war:

Corporal Tibor Rubin distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism during the period from July 23, 1950, to April 20, 1953, while serving as a rifleman with Company I, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division in the Republic of Korea. While his unit was retreating to the Pusan Perimeter, Corporal Rubin was assigned to stay behind to keep open the vital Taegu-Pusan Road link used by his withdrawing unit. During the ensuing battle, overwhelming numbers of North Korean troops assaulted a hill defended solely by Corporal Rubin. He inflicted a staggering number of casualties on the attacking force during his personal 24-hour battle, single-handedly slowing the enemy advance and allowing the 8th Cavalry Regiment to complete its withdrawal successfully.


Read the rest, the rest is more interesting.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Today in History - Uday and Qusay fear the reaper

On this date in 2003 Saddam's Sons got their turn in front of
the mortician's camera. We can weigh the pluses and minus'
of the Iraq war, and this is definitely a plus. I don't have to
live in a world where these dickhead are copresidents.

As I continue to google this event all I seem to find is the
outrage over showing their bullet ridden corpses.

Friday, July 21, 2006

This day in american military history, no 1

One of my favorite blogs is Free market fairy tales from the UK.
He does a "this day in history" type post almost every day to show the
brilliance of English arms since the middle ages. Usually the post
is something like: "During the Indian Mutiny Sgt Micklewaitstaff continued
leading his 6 soldiers after being wounded 19 times while single-
handidly winning the battle of Dungstinkalotpreshnam, and was
awarded the posthumous victoria cross". I'm usually pretty amazed
by these stories, until I think of the equivalent story in a flashman
book and what really happened.

I thought of trying my hand at this, and post tales of marshal valor
from the west side of the atlantic. Today in history, (July 21st) was
the first battle of bull run, or Mansassas to my fellow southerners.

On July 21, McDowell, turning Beauregard's left, attacked the Confederates near the stone bridge over Bull Run and drove them back to the Henry House Hill. There Confederate resistance, with Gen. Thomas J. Jackson standing like a “stone wall,” checked the Union advance, and the arrival of Gen. E. Kirby Smith's brigade turned the tide against the Union forces. The unseasoned Union volunteers retreated, fleeing along roads jammed by panicked civilians who had turned out in their Sunday finery to watch the battle. The retreat became a rout as the soldiers made for the defenses of Washington, but the equally inexperienced Confederates were in no condition to make an effective pursuit. The South rejoiced at the result, while the North was spurred to greater efforts to win the war.
That's not exactly a glorious day in US military history, but since they
were "our boys" I'll claim it as a victory. General Beauregard was from
louisiana, (I know he lived in New Orleans after the war, he ran the lottery),
and I lived in the E. Kirby Smith dorm for a year at LSU, I just never knew
who he was until just now.

This battle taught the northern soldiers how to run, and made the reputation
of Stonewall Jackson and the Stonewall Brigade.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Tom Clancy effect

HBO is showing "The Hunt for Red October" this afternoon, which
was a fantastic book and not a bad movie at the time. It just came out
about 2 years too late when the Soviet Union was already in mid-collapse.

This movie brought to mind something I thought of earlier in the week.
As soon as the planes hit the wtc and the pentagon on september 11th,
I immediately thought of the Tom Clancy novel "Debt of Honor", in which
a war with japan ended with a 747 crashing into the Capitol building on
purpose. I thought it was interesting that Al Queda likes Tom Clancy
novels.

Now that the war in the middle east is heating up, it reminds me of
the book "Executive Orders", where a war happened after a cabal
including china and iran hatched a plan to take over Saudi Arabia.

Really nothing like what's happening now, except that one side effect
of Korea firing it's missiles last week was an aircraft carrier group moving
from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific, so that we would have 5 in the
Pacific. Call me paranoid, or Clanseyesque, but Korea might have been
a distraction from a bigger plan. How long until we can call the Axis of
evil just the "Axis Powers"?

Broken hockey stick

A link on Jerry Pournelle's mail page leads to a report delivered
to the House committee on Energy and commerce on the study
by Mann et al that purported to show that the 1990's were the
hottest decade in the last 1000 years, and created that 'hockey
stick' graph that is generally used as a prop when they are shouting
"haliburton, oil, global warming, bushhitler"

This report by emminent statisticians (who will now be accused of
being in the pay of oil companies) seems to say that the original paper
is a load of bunk, and was only peer-reviewed in the sense that
a small group of scientists with similar beliefs used the same datasets
over and over to confirm what each of them were saying.

Mann et al., misused certain statistical methods in their studies, which inappropriately produce hockey stick shapes in the temperature history. Wegman’s analysis concludes that Mann’s work cannot support claim that the1990s were the warmest decade of the millennium.

Report: “Our committee believes that the assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade in a millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year in a millennium cannot be supported by the MBH98/99 analysis. As mentioned earlier in our background section, tree ring proxies are typically calibrated to remove low frequency variations. The cycle of Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age that was widely recognized in 1990 has disappeared from the MBH98/99 analyses, thus making possible the hottest decade/hottest year claim. However, the methodology of MBH98/99 suppresses this low frequency information. The paucity of data in the more remote past makes the hottest-in-a-millennium claims essentially unverifiable.”

I don't think this totally disproves global warming or climate change, because
from personal experience I remember it being colder when I was younger.
New Years eve in New Orleans in the 70's was cold and frozen to watch the
neighbors shoot off their spare money on fireworks. Now it hasn't frozen in
New Orleans since the early 90's. So to me it seems warmer.

Also, Mann's pick of 1998 as the hottest year ever agreed with my experience
because I was working in a job that required me to be outside every day
starting in May 1998 and going through 1999. I'd come back into the office,
covered in sweat and salt streaked, send out a few emails then trudge off to
a bar, and I learned that if you want to get really twisted, work yourself to
heat exhaustion then drink a 6 pack of 16 oz beers. bam. cheap drunk,
but it was really hot.

I work in the oil industry, so you might think that I'm obviously in the pay
of the great oil/hal/militaryindustrialbushchimphitler circlejerk. But in reality
I'd like to know the truth. We should be spending our money on studying
what is really happening now, and what might happen. Is my anecdotal
heating just due to heat island effect in the cities that I've lived in? maybe,
but I don't know and I don't think the experts do either.

If it really is getting hotter, but just one or two degrees, then I agree with
bjorn lomberg, there are bigger problems out there that we should spend money
on instead of countries wasting money on Kyoto.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Lomberg speaks

It's always been funny to me how Bjorn Lomberg sounds like one
of the most reasonable and intelligent people, yet he's often excoriated
by enviroweenies as in the pay of big oil. His book the skeptical
environmentalist approaches the global warming problem as an
economic problem, how much does the kyoto approach spend for
achieving what amount of mitigation? It finds kyoto lacking and
suggests our money would be better spent fixing worse problems.

There's a great article in the WSJ opinion journal that includes an
interview with Mr Lomberg and discusses his latest project that
attempts to bring together world leaders to prioritize problems.
Turns out, without the hypsters, global warming tends to be at the
bottom of the list.

Prioritization, cost-effectiveness, efficiency--these are the ultimate in rational thinking. (It strikes me they are the ultimate in "free markets," though Mr. Lomborg studiously avoids that term.) They are also nearly unheard-of concepts among the governments, international bodies and aid groups that oversee good works.

Mr. Lomborg's approach has been to organize events around the globe in which leaders are forced to think in new ways. His task is certainly timely, with groups like the U.N. engaged in debate over "reform," and philanthropists such as Warren Buffett throwing billions at charitable foundations. But, I ask, can the world really become more rational? "It's no use just talking about all the great things you'd like to accomplish--we've got to get there," says Mr. Lomborg.


This kind of approach is what we need to begin to move away from the fuzzy thinking that currently fills the world. not in magic magic land but in the real world how do we solve problems. In the real world we're not feeding at infinitely large government troughs, we need to show value for money. Government should be held to the same standard which I believe will lead to a better overall result.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Hookers at the point

One of the side effects of the Calgary stampede is
the city is full of drunken horny cowboys. My moderately
priced downtown hotel's parking lot is apparently street-
hooker central. I'm high enough up that I can't see if they
are pretty or ugly, but it looks like there is a rotating
crew of 4 to 6 blondes.

I have no problem with hookering (hookerfication, hookerstitution?)
on any moral grounds, but do their johns have to make so much
noise? Horns and the roar of engines, followed by burning rubber
declares to the world that some young guy got his first bj. I have
to fight the urge to switch to granpa simpson voice "keep it down,
you whippersnappers!"

Being high above them in the hotel, I can watch the activities like
it's a giant sim game, "SimCity, the dark side". Miniature car rolls
up, honks their horn (/shake fist "quiet!" /shake fist off)
negotiations happen, roll around the block, dirty deed, and back
again and goodbye with a hug. Repeat. (the repeat part makes it
fairly disgusting) It's better than the TV here, no hbo at all, so I'm
stuck watching the canadian discovery (all global warming, all the time)
channel, or the pimps and hos down below.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Protein wisdom

Jeff over at protein wisdom is dueling with a troll who has
insulted and threatened his child who claims to be a professor
at a western university. I'd say Jeff needs our support, but
he doesn't need much help. With his razor sharp wit he's already
cutting down this troll like she brought a knife to a gun fight.

Best jibe so far: "When I’m done with you, Deb, you’re going to
be an internet verb.".

His site is down now due to a ddos attack, which is ironic; trolls
are using zombie computers to attack.

Updated

well, the verb is Frisch, apparently it really was Deborah Frisch at
the university of Arizona. To be Frisched will be to be hounded
from polite society, at least on the web.

I have no problem with profanity and insults in comments, but
her comments against Jeff Goldstein's son were disgusting and
specific. I think blogging should be like the mafia, leave the family
out of it. Since Frisch broke that code, she should be shunned by
all.

Friday, July 07, 2006

delinking

I tend to click on acidman's site just as a habit.
Two or three times a day is what I used to read there
music, girls with red toe nail polish, the crazy psycho
cunt were all topics for my daily read.

Godspeed acidman!

It's going to be a very meloncholy blogosphere, if all the dozens
of links that we read on a daily basis ever start to die off. i'm
bummed and it was just acidmand's turn. I've got a few dozen
links, and another 100 or so IE bookmarks for blogs that I
read at least weekly...what'll we do when everyone is connected
and people die or have problems. I think in a normal agricultural
life people only knew 20 or 30 people. I wonder if we're meeting
more now, or less.

How will this look in 2o years? different I suppose.

Fire?

The last post was rudely interupted by a fire alarm...I had to
dash down 20 stories thinking, shit, I've got my hotel sorted
for next week and it'll probably burn down, and my laptop too.

False alarm though, but it made me think of all the fire alarms
offshore, where if it's at sunday and 1pm it's obviously a drill,
but if it's 2 am you are highly motivated to go instantly from a
deep sleep to putting on a life vest and carrying your ass to an
escape capsule or the muster area tout suite. All the time not
knowing if the well is blowing out and on fire, or the toolpusher
is having fun jerking our chains.

This can lead to some interesting reflexes, so that a 2 am fire
alarm in a hotel can make me groggily shoot half naked out of
a room, standing around looking for a lifeboat. I did that once
at the holiday inn in New orleans, some poor japanese lady
saw me standing in my underwear and gave me a "gah! my eyes!"
kind of expression, or maybe she said the japanese equivalent for
"gah!". who knows.

Calgary Stampede!

It's stampede week here in calgary, which means two things, that my hotel
has been trying to kick me out and it's parade day. My reservation was
only through wednesday since I was only supposed to be here a couple of
days. A new trick I learned for extending a hotel stay when the entire city
is full, keep asking at the desk and ask a different person every time.
Someone finally said yes and let me stay. Yee hah, the joys of overbooking.

Oh yeah, and I just watched most of the parade through downtown calgary.
It's hard for me to go to a parade, I'm from new orleans and I've probably
seen around 200 parades, but here everyone is shouting ya-hoo, and I have
to resist the urge to shout "show your tits!". Apparently calgary is very
family oriented and would not appreciate the humor. (the horrors of
a canadian jail are to be avoided at all costs)

Anyway, my favorite parts of the parade this morning were the flyovers
by the canadian aerobatic team (the snowbirds?), pretty cool, but get some
real planes, eh. And the punjabi pride float, with the driver's head sticking out
front of the float, with turban leading the way.

Fire alarm! keep blogging or run away?

Saturday, July 01, 2006

*Click

We went to the movies the other night to see the movie
'the breakup', but since the ever wonderful katy mills theater
had a technical hiccup and canceled the movie, we switched
over to see the movie *click with Adam Sandler.

I thought it would be a typical funny but stupid Sandler movie,
and from my wife's expression she thought it would be a stupid
but not funny movie. It turned out to be the best movie I've
seen in a while, and had me surreptitiously wiping away tears,
since I saw so much of my life in the movie. Life, Death and
wasting time as we fast forward through life on autopilot.

How many days have I spent offshore just trying to get time to
pass so i could get back home and drink, then go back offshore
to earn the money to pay for drinking. (1991 - 1999 pretty much
passed in an alchohol/offshore haze.) I often feel like a hippie
stereotype...what happened in 1995?...heh, hum, he her hum.
Since the millenium and I got married things are much better,
but still time is constantly wasted as I travel and work. Or just
zone out watching tv or playing a video game.

I'd say go see that movie, it's got the typical Adam Sandler funny
stuff, plus it's a really good movie. Another good thing to do is not
work in a job that involves going offshore, or working exhorbitant
amounts of time , even if you make a lot of money. Some people can
save money and that's great, but the great majority spend what they
make and end up in a 15 year ride in the offshore time machine...
unfortunately it doesn't work in reverse.

Well, things are looking up now, I'm back in Calgary and my wife
is flying up this morning so we can enjoy lovely alberta for a couple
of days. Carpe diem is my motto now, which is latin for seize the
airline ticket even if it's expensive, time is short.