Monday, August 22, 2016

K-9 Olympic games

Every day, variations of the same.

1. Murphy has a toy. Belle never plays with toys, but if Murphy has one, she'll grab it and run away, trying to get him to chase her. sometimes he does, sometimes not, but she never gives it back either way. She's a bitch.

2. Belle will be standing there, minding her own business, and Murphy will walk up and put his chin on the back of her neck. This is a dominance thing and it sends Belle right over the edge every time. It always leads to two Shepherds up on their hind legs, growling and barking and trying to knock each other down. But no one ever gets bit and he never stops doing it to her in response to her messing with him. (See #1 above)

A minute later, they will be lying happily next to each other.

Every day I get this circus act in my living room...or my kitchen...or my office.

And to be honest, it never ceases to amuse me. They're big furry kids who will never grow up.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Dogs be jammin'

Hanging out with a brass band in Jackson Square.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

River Dunce

Yesterday, because it was not raining here, we went down to the river.

Belle watched the boats.

Murphy joined them.

I found a bottle!

Throw it for me!

Throw it again!


My dog is an idiot.

But as you can tell here, people still love him.

A lady offers to hold Belle while I help Murphy out. I have no intention of going down on those slippery boards to grapple with him so I wait for him to just go to the side of the steps and climb out. (He did.) But before he's even out, the lady asks if she can pet him.

And I did give permission, and when he got out she went over to pet him. And true to form, he shook river water all over her and several other tourists who were sitting on the steps nearby.

That's my Murphy.


The F-18 gate guardian wasn't the only bird observed at Belle Chasse the other day. I found this A-4 Skyhawk there, too.
This one, 147750, is an A-4C that was one of the 100 airframes upgraded to an L version with the addition of the avionics hump.
These versatile little warbirds were used by American and allied forced for a long time. The first ones came into service in 1956 and the last ones were retired from VC-8 in 2003. The Israeli Air Force, the largest foreign operator of the A-4, just retired their last ones in December, 2015. And there are still a few countries using them today along with a host of private operators.
This was the smallest fighter capable of carrying nuclear weapons back in it's day. It was so small that it could be operated from carriers without the need for folding wings. John McCain flew one of these over Vietnam and was shot down in one. And the Blue Angels flew them for a while, too. I saw them perform with these a few times and they could d amazing things that they don't try with the F-18s today. They were seriously maneuverable, which is why they were used as adversary aircraft by TOP GUN and other training units.
I want one of these now. Pity my work car didn't have a trailer hitch.

Friday, August 12, 2016

I was "That guy" today...

And my apologies to the world.

I was leaving a certain Navy base today when I saw this beautiful F-18 gate guardian.

I wanted a pic bad, so when the traffic light brought everyone to a stop, I got my camera phone out, brought up the camera app, rolled down the window (despite the rain) and took a couple of pictures.

Of course, as I was doing this, the traffic light gave the green arrow for the left turn lane that I was in. I was oblivious, of course, until someone behind me in the line of waiting cars honked their horn. I looked up, realized what was going on, and shot forward just as the light went yellow and cycled to red.

I was the only one that made it though--all the people that were behind me had to wait for the next cycle.

I am so sorry, America...For that brief moment in time, I became one of the very obliviots (oblivious idiots) that I routinely curse here. I have shamed and dishonored myself and I feel seriously remorseful.

On the other hand, I got a pretty good pic, don't you think?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Last week-end's coolness.

So this past Sunday, I drove out to Baton Rouge and met up with Displaced Louisiana Guy and his way cool family. Then he, I and his young prodigy son went out to see a WW2 hero--the USS Kidd (DD-661). Ity's a museum ship in the Mississippi River now.
Or it would be if the river was higher. Think this'd set up a bit of vibration?

She's ridin' a bit high.

We boarded starboard side near the aft 5"/38cal guns. These guns could hurl a 55lb. shell a bit over ten miles.
And here's the inside of that turret, with a cut-away gun. The docent on deck said that I couldn't shoot the gun and for some reason went on a long tear about not flipping switches, pushing buttons or going into off-limits spaces. Why us? He's not even old enough to remember the last time I was here and I'm sure I don't even look like my picture from back then any more.

Depth charges! Here's a 300lb. Mk6 charge, designed to sink submarines.

And here's how sailors set the depth at which the charge would (hopefully) explode.

Here's a more modern Mk9 depth charge, which was in general use by war's end. The teardrop shape helped it to sink straighter and faster.

And here's the galley where the ship's cooks fed 330 men.
During combat, this space doubled as an emergency aid station, which is why the floor was painted red--to help camouflage the blood that sailors lost so that they wouldn't see it and go into even worse shock.

Gratuitous shot of the Mississippi River.

Looking up at one of the twin 40mm anti-aircraft guns.
Looking back from the bow at the two forward 5" guns.
Time to go below.
Here's the crews' mess, which doubled as bunk space.
Racks go up at eal time, tables go under racks at bed time.
Privacy and personal space are not things found on these old Fletcher-class cans.
The officers had it a little better, but still three of them had to share rooms like this, which were about the size of the typical home bathroom today.
And the bridge, where the sailors drove the boat from.
Looking forward from the bridge.
Another twin 40MM mount
A pair of twin 40MM guns. While electrically-powered, these guns could also be traversed and elevated manually by cranks and me and Displaced Louisiana Kid played at this for a bit. Pro-tip: Wear an old shirt if you do this. The crank mechanism threw lubricant all over my nice white Springfield Armory shirt. Sigh.
Port side, amidships. Looking forward.
Torpedo tubes. Kidd was never modernized after WW2 and still has all of her 1945-era weapons.
Kidd participated in nearly every significant naval action after her 1943 launch date. She was in the thick of things many times, including April 11, 1945, when she was hit by a Jap kamikaze plane on her starboard side. 38 crewmen were killed and 55 more were wounded. That damage sent her back to America for repairs, and by the time she was fit for battle again, the war was over.

The museum has a Curtis P-40 Kittyhawk outside, too. (I touched it.) It's done up as an AVG Flying Tiger but it's actually a P-40N, which came along after the Tigers had been disbanded.
Still, I want this plane. I would fly the shit out of this plane. And I would reinstall her .50 machine guns too.

And inside, they had this great picture of Greg "Pappy" Boyington. Now there was a man. I've visited his grave at Arlington National Cemetery many times. He's buried right next to Lee Marvin and Joe Louis, both of whom also fought for America.

Then it was back to the Displaced Louisiana House for some of the best meat pies I've ever had. DLG sure can cook, lemme tell ya!

Gotta give DLG's son credit too...all during our ship visit, I asked him what things on the ship were, and he either knew or made damned informed guesses. Smart kid indeed. His folks did well.

Great day with great people and great food. It doesn't get much better.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Happy Birthday, Aaron

Everyone go over to The Shekel and wish Aaron a happy birthday.

Yeah, that's how I feel, too.

On my drive home. Silver guy sitting on a trash can wants to get paid for flipping you off.

Anywhere else, that would seem strange. Welcome to New Orleans.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Hiroshima Day

71 years ago today, we took a decisive step to ending World War Two.

Most of the media no longer brings this day up. Mustn't offend all the "victims", ya know.

But the other day, I had occasion to mention this day's historical significance and...well let us say that it did not go all that well.

The bar that I was in was contemplating a theme party for tonight. They do them weekly but didn't know what to do for tonight. I remembered what day it was and I suggested that they do a "Hiroshima Day" theme. Everyone looked at me all puzzled so I explained what the date meant and said "Just tell everyone to wear something Japanese, come on in and get bombed!"

And once again, I was reminded that I live on a very blue island in the middle of an otherwise wonderfully red state. The wails of anguish could probably be heard on the next block, and...well let's just say that I wasn't the most popular person there after that.

Oh's not like there's a shortage of bars around here.

Anyone got any more hipster repellent? I seem to be out for the moment.

Just another day in New Orleans.

Took the dogs out for a New Orleans-style breakfast this morning.

After a while, we wandered down Frenchmen Street and into the Quarter proper, but it was just so hot that I felt bad having them out.

Then I saw this car, and didn't feel so bad. Someone actually drives this boat around.

Grabbed a muffuletta for lunch from Central Grocery. Yum!
We walked down past Jackson Square where Sachmo SummerFest was going on. Had to sit outside and listen because there was a sign saying that I could not bring guns, marijuana or dogs in. So I hosed them off at the horse trough and grabbed a seat in the shade to eat my delicious round sammich.

Wet Belle...but cooler Belle.

Then it was back home to the air conditioning.

On the way back, I saw this creature and fell madly in love...

Sadly I didn't get her name, number or tag#, but it reminded me again that I love this dysfunctional third-world city. If nothing else, it's seldom boring here.