Sunday, November 08, 2015

Friday night at the Ramada

Appears to be some sort of party night; the hallways are pounding with running feet and shouting kids. I have no idea what the hell of going on but it sure as dammit is noisy.

Meanwhile I've finished my daily work writeup and have an off day tomorrow - rain is forecast for tonight and the excavator doesn't want to slop around in the muck - so I need to find some time to kill, and blogging is as good a time-suck as any.

I don't recall where I found this; researching the Philippine Sea, I suspect.

It must have been a hell of a hot day over Rabaul, and the flak must have been light. Either that or our man was bolder than I would have been. I'd have strapped a steel pot over my crotch, at the very least. War's all very manly, but let's not let it incapacitate you for the manliest sport of all...

The other funny thing that this skyclad air gunner makes me think of is that it seems like an unbreakable rule of military service that the more chickenshit the conflict the more, well, chickenshit there is. I'm not sure whether that term has survived the twenty years since I first heard it, but "chickenshit", in Army terms, meant petty harassment over uniforms and appearance.

Look at the photos of GIs in Iraq or Afghanistan or, well, pretty much anywhere the U.S. Army has deployed in the past fifteen years. Everybody STRACed down tight; chinstraps fastened, Oakleys on, flak vests strapped up.

Then go back and look at the pictures from damn near any Army or Marine unit anywhere in in the world between about 1943 and 1945. Half the time those guys look like hobos who have hit the Army-Navy Store on jumble sale day; blouses un-bloused, helmets or those weird knitted "jeep caps" or just bare-headed, every variation of "uniform" you can think of and some you probably couldn't if you sat down all day with both hands.

I'm not sure how much of this was just the effects of having a gajillion guys in uniform and the near-impossibility of trying to make them all look the same (tho God knows Georgie Patton tried) or whether it had more to do with having more important things to worry about - like getting their asses whipped by truly dangerous enemies - than looking pretty.

I think I found this on one of my friends' Facebook feeds while I was dorking around on the Internet - an occupational hazard of being far from home with nothing else to do. No ulterior motive other than pure enjoyment.
One of the fun things about having older kids other than not having to wipe asses is that they start interacting with you as people rather than just as a sort of parasitical life form that relies on your for food, shelter, and emotional nurture.

My daughter, for example, has developed a truly adorable talent for drawing - which is NOT my doing, by the way; she started sketching well before seeing any of my stuff - and now surprises me with her little cards and cartoons when I go away. She tucks them into my bag, usually early in the morning when she gets up. Here's one from her latest going-away card:

In case the word-balloons are a little difficult to read, the gist is that our two cats are arguing - not an unusual situation - about who is which point some sort of TV moderator-cat shows up and announces that they are in a cuteness contest, which both Drachma and Nitty ignore. I'm not sure which is better, her cat-characters themselves or the whole comic set-up. Either way, she's a clever little Missy, that little Missy.

Saw my first Carson bumper sticker today which just served to remind me of 1) what a remarkable liar that man is, and 2) what an amazingly stupid creature the average American voter is. I mean, c'mon! If you haven't scraped off that damn sticker after the mad doctor has denied evolution, claimed the pyramids were grain silos, stated that he was offered a "scholarship" to West Point (hint; there ain't no such thing), and shown that his understanding of the U.S. fiscal system is about on the level as a milk-cow's understanding of the Nicene Creed you're a goddamn moron and should be trusted with a vote like a Capuchin monkey should be trusted with a live grenade.

Speaking of odd things...

...I have NO idea what this is or why it is. Some sort of 1950's weightlessness test with a cat for a subject? Wing-wiper humor? I got nothin'...but it's a great image.

Another great, if odd, image:

June Haver - born June Stovenour of Rock Island, Illinois - the "Pocket Grable" some time in the Forties. I'm not sure what the hoops for the hoopskirt are all about, but presumably a publicity snap for some sort of costume picture. Very pretty woman, but her story is more interesting than her looks. She seems to have had a very pallid interest in filmmaking, and she when she married Fred MacMurray (yeah, the "My Three Sons" dad guy...) she dropped out altogether.

The MacMurray-Haver menage sounds fascinating. MacMurray was a real red-meat Republican of the Taft variety and both financially brilliant and a guy who sounds kind of neurotic neat-freak and skinflint; June says that "When I married Fred, he was terribly set in his ways. He was a fuss-budget. He hadn't quite progressed to being a lint picker, but he was already an ash-tray emptier, and that's just about as set in his ways as a man can get." Supposedly one of the keys to his wealth was that he never spent anything he didn't have to. The cast and crew of his pictures commented that not only did he typically brown-bag his lunches but that in the spring they would typically contain a colored Easter egg weeks or months after the holiday rather than waste the technicolor henfruit.

Mind you, June's other career option was to become a nun - she was a devout Roman Catholic and had her share of romantic tragedies - and tho she did take vows she left after a couple of months, so maybe MacMurray was easier to get along with than her Heavenly Bridegroom. Maybe. She is said to have made the comment that she had asked her adopted daughters not to write a Mommy Dearest about her, but that “I told them if they wanted to write about their dad, that was OK.”

I'm still going to have to figure out how to kill the day tomorrow between sleeping-in and the Timbers semifinal match tonight. Which reminds me...

There's another Timbers fan - a fella by the name of Diskin - who domes some wonderfully creative things with standard or stock images or old posters to make, well, Timbers Propaganda. Here's an example:

I have no idea where the heck the guy finds the time or the creativity to do this, and it covers everything from workups of old magazine ads, Soviet propaganda posters, commercial images, original work...Diskin's work is a never-failing entertainment for a Timbers fan. I'm linked to his FB page, so I come across whatever his latest effort is when he posts it.

So it was today that I came across this:

The "shake the gates of hell" thing is a Timbers Army song, and Shakes the Skunk there is, well, shaking the gates of hell. This is with the playoff match coming up tonight so, well, because.

But that's not what the entertaining thing was. To me, anyway.

Nope, the fun bit was the original image that Diskin used to adapt this, which is the Distinguishing Unit Insignia (and, yes, it's called a "DUI") for the Oregon State Army Guard Headquarters; HQ STARC.

The original has a beaver (no, duh?) instead of the skunk and the Army reds and golds rather than Timbers greens:

Which, in turn, reminded me of my time assigned to STARC, my last Guard unit and the one I retired out of.

Not that I was actually assigned to STARC proper, that is, the head shed under the flagpole. I was one of the satellite detachments, of which there were a shit-ton. STARC in my time was ginormous, probably something between 300 and 500 bodies altogether, easily larger than any one of the infantry battalions (that were chronically understrength, and moreso after several extended deployments to the Middle East). Apparently this is a common ARNG thing; state headquarters tend to be a repository of warm bodies and not just any warm bodies, either; they are usually pretty senior people in both the officer and noncommissioned officer ranks. The maneuver units might go hungry for bodies, but STARC never starves.

I'm not sure what the situation is now...except that I know that the umbrella Oregon maneuver unit, the 41st Infantry Brigade, is no longer a true brigade; it has been reduced to two infantry battalions and has lost one of the artillery batteries - my old Charlie Battery - from the FA battalion. Whether this is a top-down sort of reorganization, or a recognition that most of the old "traditional" one-weekend-a-month Guardsmen have been driven out by deployments and that there is no way to fully man a three-battalion brigade, I have no idea.

And speaking of the FA battalion, here is the unit crest for that outfit:

I still have the DUIs from that outfit, but I was never able to look at the crest without observing that even though I know that the critter on the top is supposed to be a beaver (the sunset and the beaver are from the old 41st Division/41st Brigade crest) it always looks like a goddamn prairie dog or a gopher to me.

I mean, look at it! No beaver was ever that lanky, they don't stand up like that, either, and that's the saddest little skinny beaver tail I've ever seen. It's a damn gopher, and we're not the damn "Gopher State". Puh-leeze.

So. I'm off to find some other source of entertainment...but you might end up hearing from me sooner than you'd think. It's pretty dull down here in Medford.

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