By Lex, on Wed – August 24, 2005
Two and a half weeks at the salt mines, and by now you’re all probably wondering, “What’s for dinner?” I don’t know, can’t tell you. This forum has its limitations. But enough about you.
It’s a huge place, compared to the old place. In the old place I was a rather large fish in a relatively small pond. I could, all by myself, change stuff. Make decisions. Some of which were Loaded With Consequence. Here? Not so much. Here, captains are a dime a dozen. You can’t swing a dead cat through a full circle without knocking over a raft of O-6’s.
Nice place though – everyone seems friendly and welcoming. I’ve been offered a Blackberry, because I’m so very special. Courtesy of the US Navy. Which when you think about it gentle reader, means courtesy of you. So thank you. Thank you very, very much. My Treo will no doubt be insanely jealous of the Blackberry competition. I’ll do my best to explain to it that it’s not personal, that this is just business. And maybe let Smash hurl it to the ground. For the sake of equal rights, or summat.
Also! I had need (yes, need!) of a USB thumb drive thingie. Like all the other captains had. No sooner did I express my need than one was presented to me: A 1 gigabyte thumb drive. I could lose it in my pocket, if I wasn’t careful. It’s that small.
My first computer had a 20 meg hard drive. I laughed aloud at the absurdly luxurious excess of all that storage space – 20 megabytes! What on earth would ever fill that much room? (Note to younger readers: There was a time before digital cameras, and music and even the world wide web. A time when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and dial-up modems which transferred usenet text messages at 9600 baud were considered racy. Seriously. Not kidding.) Really.
Alignment. It’s all about alignment these days, in your Navy. Eventually, we’ll all of us report directly to the Chief of Naval Operations, and then we’ll be perfectly aligned. And he will be very, very busy. Answering phone calls and such.
Oh, it all makes sense, I guess. Work smarter, not harder, etc. Reduce redundancies. Search for efficiencies. Recapitalize. Still, the graph of energy and intellectual capital being dedicated to how we’re going to look next year, as contrasted to what we’re supposedly getting paid to do right now is rapidly approaching asymptotic levels. And at some level, you need redundancies in a military organization. You don’t want Fireman Timmy to be the only guy who can light the boilers, and then have him go and wreck his motorcycle on the 8, heading to El Cajon. We’re trying to become more businesslike, but businesses hate redundancies. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that we should have enough depth on the bench to take some losses, because eventually someone’s going to try to punch us in the nose again. Twice.
Oh. And I gave a pitch last week: The state of the world, and why I should be put in charge of it. It actually went pretty well, I was roundly congratulated. Nice job. Best yet. Glad to have you on the team. And then, today, a master chief torpedoman dropped off his new torpedo readiness assessment instruction. Said he heard that maybe I should look it over, before it got any higher. It’d be a good idea. ‘Cos I’m all in charge, and everything. Of stuff. Like torpedoes.
Thing is? My knowledge of torpedoes is probably just as fully developed as yours is – I’ve seen ’em on war movies. That’s. About. It.
The fall, she is coming. I feel her in the air. I see her in my rear view mirror. Actually, that’s just the morning dew, but I associate the two. It’s getting cool at night – not quite sweater weather, not yet. But cool. The children are a-flutter with thoughts of school schedules and teachers and back-to-school backpacks. The afternoons? They are warm, and sing of Bombay Sapphire gin, and tonic. But the nights? The nights whisper, “Bourbon.”
And I can’t help thinking of the change of seasons and letting my imagination drift to poor James Lileks, who I’m not sure is going to make it through yet another Minneapolis winter. Guilty secret? I still read him every day – but mostly I start at his screedblog, first. Just in case. Why? Here’s why :
The chickenhawk argument is… unpersuasive. But I’ll make a deal: only people with military experience can discuss matters of national security, and only people who grew up in North Dakota can judge the movie “Fargo.” I know what you’re saying: “Fargo” took place almost entirely in Minnesota. Why are you trying to stifle my dissent?
It may surprise you, but I actually have heard that argument before. The one about WMDs. Also the one about “shifting rationales.” It’s come up from time to time. Consequently they do not leave me open-mouthed in stunned surprise, unable to craft a response. So it’s not the show-stopper you think it is, alas. Everyone always thinks they have some armor-piercing argument the other side has never considered, but that’s rarely the case.
I just, you know. He’s good. Is all. When he gets all screedy.
Project Valour-IT ? Have you heard of it?
You have. Well, that’s good. You’ve probably already thrown something in. Maybe a fin. Prolly something bigger. But! You’ve maybe wondered what it’s worth, really, your donation. Well, read this, from down under. From someone who should know.
* 07-11-2018 Links Gone; no replacements found – Ed.