Monthly Archives: November 2015


Arlington National Cemetery

Every year a non-profit organization, Wreaths Across America, decorates graves in Arlington National Cemetery. This year they’ve fallen short of their fund raising goal. You can read about it here.

To donate, follow the link in the article, or the first one given above.



Earlier I had mentioned over on Facebook that the deadline was the 1st of December, new information indicates that the deadline is now the 9th of December. They’re still short, you can read about that at Breitbart, there’s a video as well.

Update II:

The goal has been reached! You can read about it over at Breitbart.
Thanks to all who donated!

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Listen to Lincoln on Thanksgiving President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Thanksgiving Day Proclamation remains meaningful in 2015.

This was in my Facebook ticker this morning. I thought it was a very good article.


“1863. The nation is divided by a bloody civil war pitting father against son and brother against brother. Few people had much for which to be thankful. In the midst of all this, President Abraham Lincoln took the extraordinary step of declaring a national day of Thanksgiving, an annual holiday to observe the blessing the Almighty had seen fit to bestow upon a fractured people.

It was not the first time a call for such a celebration had been issued. The pilgrims who populated the Massachusetts Bay Colony undertook the first of such events after a particularly harsh winter had brought with it nearly unbearable hardships that threatened the survival of all. When Lincoln put pen to paper, he created a tradition honored up to this day.”

The rest is at the link below……………..

Wishes for a Blessed Thanksgiving to all from Missus ORPO and I.

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Filed under History, Uncategorized

The Fastest Manned Flight Ever – 47 Years ago…

Just read this – the story of a white X-15 and the man who flew it.

What a story.

H/T to a friend of mine, a retired Air Force test pilot.


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A Bit Of Historical Speculation

Am enjoying the book Shattered Sword, as recommended by several Lexicans. It is about the Battle of Midway, with many previously unseen Japanese sources.

And I enjoy playing historical “what ifs” – while futile of course (an Army Sgt told me years ago “If a bullfrog had wings he’d fly” – but still, what I find fascinating about history is that frequently there are such profound consequences that turn on one individual.

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All Things Must Pass – Thanks For The Memories


When I saw the sign on their store thanking us for the memories, I was a bit melancholy. They were more than just a record store – they were a place to hang out – spend hours with headphones listening to samples.

The people who worked there were for the most part, characters.  When I was into classical music, there was a woman who worked at my store who was their classical music expert. She’d recommend to me the CD to get with her preferred conductor.  If you liked jazz, there was usually a jazz person. And so on.

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Movie Review On A Cold War Milepost


Photo by me actually and yes, I know this is the trainer version generations removed from the 1960 version

I can remember that week in 1960, when we lost a U2 over the Soviet Union. I was only 10, but remembered  our press releases  stating that the plane had strayed from a weather mission. I can remember a gloating Nikita Khrushchev a few days later  embarrassing the Eisenhower Administration by  proving that it was on an espionage mission.

What the movie Bridge Of Spies revealed to me 53 years later though was the fascinating story of the man who facilitated the trade 2 years later of Gary Powers and Rudolph Abel, the Soviet spy caught in New York.

One is always in danger of being a spoiler and revealing things the viewer would prefer to learn on his own by seeing the movie.

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Seems Appropriate Today

To refer to this post from Hizzoner

The Empty Chair

Tue – December 21, 2004

In the wardroom on board the aircraft carrier from which I recently debarked was a small, round table, with single chair. No one ever sat there, and the reasons, both for the table being there, and for the fact that the chair was always empty, will tell the reader a little bit about who we are as a culture.

The wardroom, of course, is where the officers will dine; morning, noon and evening. It is not only a place to eat – it is also a kind of oasis from the sometimes dreary, often difficult exigencies of the service. A place of social discourse, of momentary relief from the burdens of the day. The only things explicitly forbidden by inviolable tradition in the wardroom are the wearing of a cover or sword by an officer not actually on watch, or conversation which touches upon politics or religion.

But aboard ships which observe the custom, another implicit taboo concerns the empty chair: No matter how crowded the room, no matter who is waiting to be seated, that chair is never moved, never taken.

The table is by the main entrance to the wardroom. You will see it when you enter, and you will see it when you leave. It draws your eyes because it is meant to. And because it draws your eyes it draws your thoughts. And though it will be there every day for as long as you are at sea, you will look at it every time and your eyes will momentarily grow distant as you think for a moment. As you quietly give thanks.

As you remember.

The small, round table is covered with a white linen tablecloth. A single place setting rests there, of fine bone china. A wineglass stands upon the table, inverted, empty. On the dinner plate is a pinch of salt. On the bread plate is a slice of lemon. Besides the plate lies a bible. There is a small vase with a single red rose upon the table. Around the vase is wound a yellow ribbon. There is the empty chair.

We will remember because over the course of our careers, we will have had the opportunity to enjoy many a formal evening of dinner and dancing in the fine company of those with whom we have the honor to serve, and their lovely ladies. And as the night wears on, our faces will in time become flushed with pleasure of each other’s company, with the exertions on the dance floor, with the effects of our libations. But while the feast is still at its best, order will be called to the room – we will be asked to raise our glasses to the empty table, and we will be asked to remember:

– The table is round to show our everlasting concern for those who are missing. The single setting reminds us that every one of them went to their fates alone, that every life was unique.

– The tablecloth is white symbolizing the purity of their motives when they answered the call to duty.

– The single red rose, displayed in a vase, reminds us of the life of each of the missing, and their loved ones who kept the faith.

– The yellow ribbon around the vase symbolizes our continued determination to remember them.

– The slice of lemon reminds us of the bitterness of their fate.

– The salt symbolizes the tears shed by those who loved them

– The bible represents the faith that sustained them.

– The glass is inverted — they cannot share in the toast.

– The chair is empty — they are not here. They are missing.

And we will remember, and we will raise our glasses to those who went before us, and who gave all that they had for us. And a part of the flush in our faces will pale as we remember that nothing worth having ever came without a cost. We will remember that many of our brothers and sisters have paid that cost in blood. We will remember that the reckoning is not over.

We many of us will settle with our families into our holiday season, our Christmas season for those who celebrate it, content in our fortune and prosperity. We will meet old friends with smiles and laughter. We will meet our members of our family with hugs. We will eat well, and exchange gifts and raise our glasses to the year passed in gratitude, and to the year to come with hope. We will sleep the sleep of the protected, secure in our homes, secure in our homeland.

But for many families, there will be an empty chair at the table this year. A place that is not filled.

We should remember.

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Driving with James Dean


You have probably heard of the basic circumstances of James Dean’s accident in September 1955. He was driving west in his Porsche 550 Spyder on CA Hwy 46 when a Ford, driven  by Cal Poly student Donald Turnupseed, turned off eastbound 46 crossing Dean’s westbound lane to go onto Hwy 41. Dean and Turnupseed collided, killing Dean almost immediately.

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It seems periodically there are to me movies out at the theaters that don’t require one to be 16 to enjoy them – and the latest spate for me has been The Martian, Everest, and a documentary produced by Colin Hanks on Tower Records.

Enjoyed the Martian, although people who have read the book have complained that the movie ending isn’t as satisfying as the book. Haven’t seen the Tower Records documentary yet.

Anyway, some years ago I read Into Thin Air, about the 1996 climbing disaster that claimed numerous lives, including expert guide Rob Hall.

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