The Royal Navy and Spiders?

Certain things go hand-in-hand with the Navy. Like: the Navy and the ocean, the Navy and blue, the Navy and beans. . . What does not go with the Navy- spiders:

ROYAL Navy aircraft engineers found a black widow spider.

ROYAL Navy aircraft engineers found a deadly black widow spider stowed away on a helicopter which had returned to the UK from training sessions involving Prince Harry.

Petty Officer (PO) Alex “Scotty” Scott and Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Daryl “Daz” Prichard, of 845 Naval Air Squadron, discovered the eight-legged insect on board a Sea King support helicopter.

The aircraft had returned to Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton, Somerset, from a training exercise in El Centro, California, which had involved Prince Harry.

Operation Care

Navy Lasers

Navy lasers, they are a-coming. (Ignore the first sentence below. There are Sailors in the Navy, but nerds and Sailor-nerds?)

The dream of sailors, nerds and sailor-nerds everywhere is on the verge of coming true, senior Navy technologists swear.  Within four years, they claim they’ll have a working prototype of a laser cannon, ready to place aboard a ship.

And they’re just months away from inviting defense contractors to bid on a contract to build it for them.

The Navy put a test laser firing a (relatively weak) 15-kilowatt beam aboard a decommissioned destroyer. Never before had a laser cannon at sea disabled an enemy vessel. But the Martime Laser Demonstrator cut through the engine above.

“Subsonic cruise missiles, aircraft, fast-moving boats, unmanned aerial vehicles” — Mike Deitchman, who oversees future weapons development for the Office of Naval Research, promises Danger Room that the Navy laser cannons just over the horizon will target them all.

Laser cannons? I love it. Pew pew. Like Star Wars, the Navy’ll be. Minus ewoks, of course.

Hyperrealism in Art

I have avoided art as a topic to blog about recently. It is too off-putting. There is such little evident talent in visual art today, I got tired of looking for it. Good thing too, because good art comes looking for you.

I don’t really grok Paul Cadden’s subjects (the New York scene below is one of his more palatable works), but the man is blessed with an amazing eye and an ability to capture what first appears to be a photograph:

‘Hyperrealism tends to create an emotional, social and cultural impact and differs from photorealism which is far more technical.

‘My inspiration comes from the phrase “to intensify the normal”. I take everyday objects and scenes of people and then create a drawing which carries an emotional impact – it can be quite beautiful.

‘I try to study the internal aspect of the image rather than focusing solely on the external part. I can fall in love with an image – if that doesn’t sound too hippy.’

No, it does not sound too hippie, Paul. I get it. And I am not a hippie. At least, I don’t think I am. (Confession, my hair is dangerously nearing 5/8ths of an inch. I have not had it cut in 17 days! My inner hippie may be expressing itself. . .)

Pieces of Brilliance

This week’s usual pieces of brilliance from the Watcher Council:

Council Winners

The Admiral’s Son Turns His Back on the Fleet

The Admiral’s son has gone and done it. He has effectively pulled a Benedict Arnold on all of us. Not only is David Robinson’s offspring not going to Canoe U, that cuddly little junior-college also known as the USNA, he is going to the enemy, Notre Dame:

Corey Robinson, a 6-foot-4, sure-handed wide receiver at San Antonio Christian High School, has committed to play football at Notre Dame next season, according to multiple reports.

The son of Naval Academy grad and Basketball Hall of Famer David Robinson, Corey had considered following his father’s path to Annapolis, albeit in a different sport.

There is a word for this. Payback. It is coming. The Academy plays Notre Broad every year and it won’t be pretty the next time. Heck, was it not just a couple of years ago the ring-knockers* finally beat the Irish after 43 years of futility? The giant leprechauns of South Bend better bring their A-game.

* For those who believe that ring-knocking (slang term for Academy grads) is a fairy-tale, it happens. LIterally. I was in McGuire’s (with some OSC classmates who were going through the Pensacola aviation pipeline) and some USNA troll tapped on the table with his ring as we walked by. It was obnoxious. Or perhaps, he was just tapping on the table and meant nothing of it?

Forget About that $640 Million Mega Millions Prize

Hey active-duty military folks and those of you who are semi-active, ignore winning that massive $640 Million lottery haul. Here is an easier way to win some dough:

Members of the military community have until 11:59 p.m. Pacific time on Saturday to enter to win a $1,000 prize through the SaveUp program.

You’re eligible if you sign up for SaveUp, a new program launched late last year that provides rewards to those who save and pay down debt. You must sign up through the military page on the website to be eligible for this $1,000 prize, limited to those in the military community.

As per usual, I get my 45 percent finder’s fee, minus a one-time transaction charge.

For Those Who Love Bacon to Death

Is bacon your thing? How about a Bacon Coffin from J&D Foods:

J&D Foods Bacon Coffin

Since it looks like paint, it is both kosher and halal. The price ($3K) however, is not! Hmm, nevermind on the kosher/halal thing. Apparently there is real bacon involved. As I was.

Or is this an April Fool’s Joke?

RIP SGT Dennis Weichel

Simultaneously, this is a heart-warming story and a sad one. An Army Sergeant saved a little girl’s life over in Afghanistan. And then SGT Dennis Weichel died in the process:

Army Sgt. Dennis P. Weichel Jr.

An Army sergeant and father of three from Rhode Island who gave his life to save an Afghan child from being run over by a 16-ton armored fighting vehicle is being flown back to the U.S. and will be buried Monday.

Sgt. Dennis Weichel, 29, died in Afghanistan last week after he dashed into the path of an armored fighting vehicle to scoop up the little girl, who had darted back into the roadway to pick up shell casings, according to the Army. Weichel, a Rhode Island National Guardsman, was riding in the convoy in Laghman Province in eastern Afghanistan when he jumped out to save the girl, who was unhurt.

Where is Hamid Karzai on this one? Will he release an official statement? He better.

Hand Salute: Kris (Thanks for the tip!)

A Texas Navy Gunboat?

Forums are a good place to gather a group of subject matter experts (and folks who may think they are so) together. Here is a picture of the new Texas Department of Public Safety, 36 ft. Patrol/Gunboat at the Homer Garrison Law Enforcement Academy, in Austin:

Texas DPS Patrol Gunboat, Homer Garrison Law Enforcement Academy, in Austin

Designed and built to patrol Falcon Lake . . . The armaments onboard
include 5 – static mounted [2 dual & 1 single] FN M240B 7.62×51 mm NATO
Light machineguns, 2 – Barrett .50 BMG Sniper Rifles, and other assorted
5.56 rifles, 9mm sub machineguns, and grenade launchers.

That is a seriously up-armed little puddle piddler. No water-skking off the back of that!

Yahoo Loves Lists

Yahoo loves lists. If you visit the site, you know all about the stuff they like to rank. Eat this, not that. Ten things to never blog about. (I won’t link there, I’ve broken all of them.)

First up, we have nine things to never say to your boss, like:

“I partied too hard last night — I’m so hung over!” 

“But we’ve always done it this way.” 

I can think of a lot more this list left off. But I won’t. Think of them.

Next list, the number one reason you are not losing weight:

At the coffee shop…

Skip it Starbucks Grande Iced Caramel Macchiato with whipped cream, extra vanilla syrup and caramel (440 calories, 21.5 g fat)
Sip it Starbucks Tall Coffee Frappuccino with skim milk, no whipped cream (160 calories, 0 g fat)
There’s room for treats in every diet, but the added syrup and caramel and whipped cream turn the Macchiato from a small splurge into a calorie and fat overload. Trade it for the Coffee Frappuccino: It has the same craveable qualities. (Creamy texture? Check! Tastes like a milk shake? Yep!) But forgoing the high-cal extras and opting for skim milk trims 280 calories and 21.5 g fat. And it’s still plenty flavorful, so the smaller cup is enough to satisfy your sweet tooth.

I can think of a couple of other number one reasons. Like the ten Dunkin donuts you ate.

Happy 119th, You Old Navy Chiefs!

The Navy Chief is 119 years old today. You know, I work with a couple of them, and they really don’t show their age:

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)(SS/SW) Rick D. West released the following Chief Petty Officer birthday message to the fleet March 28.

“My fellow Chief Petty Officers,

On April 1st, our entire mess will pause to celebrate 119 years of the United States Chief Petty Officer, our honored mess traditions and heritage, and look to our future.

But we’re not just celebrating another year of chiefs serving the Navy; we’re celebrating everything it means to be the chief.

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Rick West congratulates Chief Mass Communication Specialist Tiffini Jones Vanderwyst after the pinning ceremony for the Navy’s newest chief petty officers held at the Washington Navy Yard.

Our anchors are the symbol of a culture and a way of life. Since 1893, Chiefs have been charged with the responsibility of ensuring our Sailors are the best in the world, ready to carry out our Navy’s mission when our nation calls. . .

I am on travel with a bunch of active-duty folks and some retired naval officers. The subject turned to Chiefs (as it sometimes does) and how much we like the salty types who do not coddle Sailors.

Smallest Dog, Largest Cowbell

Beyonce is a singer. But she is also a dog. A Dachshund puppy. Who got some mouth-to-mouth to save her life. And now she is the world’s smallest pooch:

Beyonce, a Dachshund puppy vying for the title of World’s Smallest Dog

This is Beyonce, a female dachshund mix who was born March 8 to a rescue dog that was found abandoned, wandering the streets of San Bernardino, Calif. At birth, she weighed just 1 ounce and could fit into a teaspoon.

Beyonce wasn’t breathing when she was born at the foundation’s farm in El Dorado Hills, Calif. A veterinarian tried to revive her by performing chest compressions. Then he passed her over to Beth Decaprio.

“I blew a couple little breaths in her mouth,” Decaprio says. “And she started to breathe on her own.”

Beyonce was lucky the vet did not have any qualms about the ol’ lip-to-lip.

Enough on tiny dogs. Let’s talk cowbell:

More cowbell! Christopher Walken as Bruce Dickinson on SNL

Taking Christopher’s Walken’s classic “Saturday Night Live” demands literally, residents of northern Vermont are planning to form the “World’s Largest Cowbell Ensemble” next month.

The gathering, slated for April 14 in Burlington, Vt., will be hosted by Ben & Jerry’s and the Water Wheel Foundation, a nonprofit organization launched by local Vermont rock group Phish.

The smallest dog and the largest cowbell ensemble. All in one post. Beyonce and Bruce.