A Comment on Comments

If you do not read the comments here, you are missing out on quite a lot. Take this post (please*), of which the last comment ends thusly:

All without bias, my thoughts on the matter as I sit here in East Yorkshire awaiting sunrise, (which I do on occasion); a pint pot of scalding tea and a fresh bacon sandwich at hand… Life is good.

Life is good, indeed. Now click on the link and read the serious frivolity.

(An obscure allusion to the old take my wife, please. Which may have alluded you.)

The Army Picks a New Camouflage

Once again, the Army (of some-one) is picking a new camouflage. Entries from Kryptek, ADS /Hyperstealth Biotechnology, Brookwood Companies, Crye Precision, and the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center are all in the running. I like the Kryptek camo:

Kryptek Camouflage

It kind of has a Native American thang going on.
Don’t make us go on the warpath. . .

A Measuring Contest Aboard the USS Barry

You ever been in a measuring contest? I have and it most assuredly did not end well for everybody involved.

Almost true story: I am clomping around the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Barry. I see a Petty Officer standing near the 5-inch, 127mm gun. I saunter over chalantly, despite trying for the opposite.

Petty Officer, you mind if I check the calibration of this gun? I ask.

No problem, sir, the Petty Officer replies, making himself scarce. No doubt he is thinking, Calibration? Have we been missing that?

With just me and the gun, I sneaky-sneaky out my Stanley tape measure, the one I store in the camo pocket of my aquaflage. It takes some mighty arithmetic, but I finally come up with the answer.

Lo and behold, the gun is 310 inches long! And all along we’ve been telling the poor thing that it is a mere five-incher.

Luckily for me, a curious Ensign pokes by. He wields a clipboard, which lends him credibility, just like his instructor in Ensign school promised him. (Walk around with a clipboard everywhere, the teacher had said. Even when taking a shower. No one will bother you.)

The Ensign hales with me with the greeting of the day. Good morning, Sir. I always like the sound of a the 5-inch shell, that calibre is just perfect. 

Good morning. I nod almost knowingly.

At seventy pounds, it can really say hello.

I frown and the Ensign makes himself scarce as the best of his class do. I let my tape measure wind up.

Our Navy Moral (Welfare and Recreation) fact of the day: a five-inch shell is not shot from a five-inch barrel. Carry on. . .

(No Ensigns were harmed in the writing of this story and no blogger writing for this blog has ever been afforded the honor to walk the USS Barry gangway.)

Removing Pictures of a Navy Ship

USS Intrepid, not the belowdecks tour

Navy ships that have been turned into museums are fascinating. For me, it is the sense of history and the men who served upon her that pushes my curiosity.

But be forewarned, not all spaces are open to the public as Business Insider found out:

The sections of the World War II-era aircraft carrier USS Intrepid open to the public are painstakingly restored and lovingly maintained.

But restoration is expensive, and vast portions of the ship remain just as they were when the ship left naval service in 1974.

During a recent tour of the ship, we visited parts of the vessel that have been untouched for nearly 40 years.

Ah, but after Business Insider published the pictures, the non-intrepid USS Intrepid folks emailed them back: and asked that we remove all photos of the ship that aren’t included in the public tour.

I guess I don’t blame them. But once published on the internet, there is no such a beast as removed. . .

A Pool Shark

I would say that Billy is a pool shark, but somehow looking at the 18-month-old grizzly bear, shark is not the first animal that comes to mind:

Mark and Dawn Dumas play pool with their real-life teddy bear in the form of 18-month-old grizzly bear Billy near Vancouver, Canada. Animal handler Mark has been teaching Billy a variety of complex behaviours to perform on cue for the silver screen, like pretending to roar and rearing up on his hind legs.

Best Friends

F-35 test pilots Marine Corps Maj. C.R. Clift and Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Burks fly BF-2 and BF-4 during a formation flying qualities test at the Atlantic Test Range on Aug. 22. Testing formation flying qualities provides data on handling characteristics. The F-35B is the variant of the Joint Strike Fighter designed for the Marine Corps, as well as F-35 international partners in the United Kingdom and Italy.

Warrior: Marine Corporal Todd Love

When stationed in DC, I volunteered at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. I would chat with the guys, work to get them video games, books, televisions, xBoxes, Wiis, and the like. I respected them before I became a volunteer and this only increased as I saw how hard they worked to surmount their challenges. Some were fierce in their desire to move on and make a life for themselves. Much like triple amputee Corporal Todd Love: 

Covered in mud, five hours after starting, triple amputee Corporal Todd Love charges to the finish line after competing over ten miles of rugged terrain across 75 obstacles in an event called The Beast.

Having lost both his legs and an arm in Afghanistan in 2010, this weekend Love took to Leesburg, Virginia, in an extreme endurance test called The Spartan Race with his eight-man other comrades of Team X.T.R.E.M.E.

Made up of wounded servicemen and women, the team helped Love scale eight-foot high walls, speed along high-wires, crawl through mud and bound across the ground as they honoured their ongoing mission to raise awareness of the nation’s wounded heroes.

Triple amputee and Marine Corporal Todd Love

The man is wearing a mask, restricting his breathing by 30%. Go get ’em Corporal!

Geoffrey Nunberg Gets to the Heart of the Matter

The study of linguistics usually gets my attention. Sometimes the academic inquiries are arcane wanderings into a language that had all of 500 speakers.

Rather, Berkeley’s Geoffrey Nunberg’s study really gets to the heart of the matter. Or some other anatomy south of the heart. . .