Category Archives: by lex

Boston Travelogue

By lex, on August 10th, 2010

I have been here before, but it was a depressing space of time ago: I was a lieutenant down at Key West, having completed my first sea tour and working as an adversary pilot. Forward quarter missiles and tactics was my subject matter of expertise, and Raytheon had something new in the works, the development of which it was though I could contribute to, at least from a user’s perspective. I was scarcely 30 years old, and the town has a very different feel today than it did back in 1993.

Or maybe it’s just me.

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By lex, on August 9th, 2010

Durgin Park, she said. You won’t regret it, she said.

Durgin Park – “Established Before You Were Bahn.”


“The special today is the lobstah roll,” the waitress said. Her honor being a lady of certain age. “It comes with beans, fries and cole slor.”

Cole slor?

How could I resist?


In faith, I had never had a lobstah roll before. I didn’t know how to eat it. I asked my neighbors if they were from Bahston, and they said no. “New Hampshah.”

Does one carve it up, or what, I asked, pointing delicately with my fork.

“You pick it up and eat it,” said the patriarch. A look of abiding contempt in his gimlet eye. “Whaa you from?”

Parts else, I was forced to admit.

Try the Indian Pudding, I was told. The waitress set it down, cautioning, “Cahful, it’s haht.”

Which it  had ice cream atop.


“This is lo-cal,” I stated more than asked. “Right?”

“Let’s put it this way, hon: You won’t have no prahblem sleeping.”

“What’s in it?”

“Cahn meal, molasses and brown sugah.”

Right glad am I that this is but a short stay

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Rights and Responsibilities

By lex, on July 17th, 2010

Douglas Murray says that modern day Britain has done a whole lot better job of defining the former than requiring the latter:

“A lot of young Muslims have said to me in recent years, ‘You ask me to integrate, but what are we integrating into? What is Britain, what are British values?’ It’s very hard to tell people to integrate if you don’t tell them what they are integrating into. It’s very hard to tell them to be British if they don’t know and you don’t know what Britishness is. The fact is that we have been very poor in saying what we are and we have also been very poor is saying what we expect people to be. We’ve been very good in stressing what rights people get when they come to Britain and very bad at explaining what responsibilities come with them.”

He also appears to have the drop on the whole multi-culti thing, as well:

“Pluralism or multiracial societies seem to me to be good and desirable things,” he says. “Multicultural societies, where you encourage group differences, seem to me to be a very bad thing.”

For Murray, multiculturalism is a moral vacuum, and “into a moral vacuum always bad things creep.”

The Eton and Oxford educated Murray quotes Saul Bellow in his introduction to The Closing of the American Mind: “When public morality becomes a ghost town, it’s a place into which anyone can ride and declare himself sheriff.”

“Once so-called multicultural societies decided that they didn’t have a locus, that they didn’t have a center of gravity, anyone could ride in and teach the most pernicious things,” Murray expounds. “It didn’t matter. It was just another point of view.”

Divide et impera, Douglas me lad. Dividing the polis into aggrieved victim groups is a classic path to power.

Of course, there’s a world of difference between conquering and Conquering. But in the interim, there’s so much fun to be had. And the muddle-headed multi-culti set might just get lucky.

They might get eaten last.

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Parenting for Pilots

By lex, on July 17th, 2010

Sent along by an occasional reader –

Some of you may have wondered how I disciplined my children to turn out so well. Most people nowadays think  it improper to discipline children, so I  tried other methods to  control my kids when they  had one of ‘those  moments.’

Since I’m a pilot, one that I have found  very effective is for me to just take the child for a flight in the  plane during which I say nothing and give the child the opportunity to  reflect on his or her behavior.

I don’t know whether it’s the steady vibration from the  engines, or just the time away from any distractions such as TV, video games,  computer, iPod, etc.

Either way, my kids usually  calmed down and stop misbehaving after our flight together. I believe  that eye to eye contact during these sessions is an important element in  achieving the desired results.

I’ve included a  photo below of one of my sessions with my son, in case you would like to use  the technique.  It also works well in  cars.



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By lex, on July 3rd, 2010

We inherited the English language from the Mother Country, but Thomas Jefferson decided that one word, at least, should form no part of our political lexicon:


That’s what Thomas Jefferson first wrote in an early draft of the Declaration of Independence to describe the people of the 13 colonies.

But in a moment when history took a sharp turn, Jefferson sought quite methodically to expunge the word, to wipe it out of existence and write over it. Many words were crossed out and replaced in the draft, but only one was obliterated.

Over the smudge, Jefferson then wrote the word “citizens.”

No longer subjects to the crown, the colonists became something different: a people whose allegiance was to one another, not to a faraway monarch.

Nor to regents close at hand, either.

A wise fellow, Jefferson. Would that we had more like him today.

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By lex, on July 2nd, 2010

The new gig – I’ve been at it two years, and still think of it that way – is comparatively ungenerous in the article of paid time off, at least as contrasted to the Navy, which offered 30 days of leave per year and six month cruises to ensure your can’t use much of it. As a consulting gig, PTO is doubly expensive, since 1) you still get paid for it (hence the “paid” bit) and, 2) the company doesn’t get to charge on your hours worked. So it’s fifteen days a year plus federal holidays (10), but the good news is that – unlike the Navy – you only charge against the hours you actually avoid.

For example, if a naval officer wanted to take a Friday off, followed by the upcoming Monday, that’d be charged as four days of leave, since technically you’re never off duty. In the civilian world on the other hand, you’re only charged the 16 hours for Friday and Monday.

This Monday being a holiday, I decided to take Friday off and get a four-dayer. Which I spent flying. And golfing.

Pretty much perfect.

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‘Nother Day at the Airport

By lex, on June 27th, 2010

‘Twas four (!) flights yesterday, for the hours of daylight have become long. The day was hot, the Vargas were airborne. And if we should somehow find our way to the merge, we would not ‘scape a brawl. For now, these hot days, is the flying blood stirring.

Not to mention the profit motive that’s in it, what with all the vacationeers come hither for the Del Mar Fair, the university students to the beaches and the high schoolers all at sixes and sevens with nothing at all to do and too much time to do it in.

The first set were a pair of ’99 grads from the Boat School, now condemned gratified to live as black shoes professional surface warfare officers and eager to taste the forbidden delights of fighter aviation in a 150HP low wing piston aircraft.

From the back seat.

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