Category Archives: Family


By lex, on October 18th, 2005

Don’t much like traveling, truth to tell. Strange in a pilot, I know, but it perhaps explains how I resisted the siren call of easy work and high wages that came with an airline job. Be that as it may, duty called and I got into Norfolk late Sunday, just as the sun was going down. It was good to debark, the flight from coast to coast being a long one, and the head flight attendant aboard my Southwest Airlines flight suffering from an acute excess of personality. This excess manifested itself by her regrettable tendency to spontaneously break out in song on the announcing system, to talk in a rather too excited tone and volume about pedestrian things. Did we know about seat belts, and how they worked? We did. My already advanced tendency towards curmudgeonliness was in no manner mitigated by the fact that no few of my fellow travelers applauded at each of these set pieces. Not sure what they give those Southwest folks for “dietary supplements” in order to get that unique attitude, but I admit to sometimes wondering, if as a result of ingesting these (probably theoretical) performance enhancers, whether they could pass any of the Navy’s more rigorous drug screening tests.

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Domestic Irony

By lex, Mon – July 4, 2005

It was all for the asking, a couple of nights ago. A tangled knot of the great unwashed showed up at our doorstep, full of bluff boisterousness and juvenile humor. That’s right, four teenaged boys. None of whom, it might usefully be pointed out, were related to your humble scribe. We watched a DVD together! And, there was an upside:

As we hunkered in one room, we were joined not just by the lumpen teenaged masses, but by the Biscuit herself, making a charity appearance in the family room. With her actual family. For an extended period of time.

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Friday Musings August 20 2004

By lex, Fri – August 20, 2004


Another week down – ordinarily that would be worth a “woo-hoo!” if not a “yabba-dabba-do.”

But now each passing week brings me and my hardy crew closer to a very busy fall schedule. Oh, it isn’t like we’re going to be strapping on body armor and shouldering rifles in the blazing summer heat – but we will be gone a lot. And, we’ve just received a heroic injection of uncertainty and confusion, just when my ops planners had finished placing the last card upon the precarious house we were building of them.

Plan early, plan twice. Needs of the service.

Good news! SNO got to come home for the weekend, after his first week away. He had a great time, telling me that he’d never packed so much into such a short period of time. Sounds like he did a great job all the way around, and he was very proud of his accomplishments. The butterflies are gone now – and he’s got his own sea stories to tell.

I sat back gratefully, and let him spill it all out – it came out in a tumble, each story reminding him of the next, which in turn reminded him of another. My temptation was to add to the narrative, to compare stories, but I resisted – this is his own time to speak, and mine to listen.

And now there are two of us in the service – I hardly know what to think.

Could eighteen years have passed so fast?



Ah, look at him now…


Taller than I am, fitter than I was and a whole lot better looking than I ever hoped to be. Evolution, I suppose.

You’re maybe wondering about the mustache? That started to turn gray too.

There was a picnic for the parents who could come by, the Biscuit came with her friend – the Biscuit received far more attention from the assembled midshipmen and Marines than a father would have thought entirely appropriate. She didn’t seem to mind the attention.




Supercharged from her experience, she decided that the only thing for it was to go to the mall.

Dunno about you, but I’m really looking forward to the time that the stores start selling jeans that go all the way up to the wearer’s t-shirt again.


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A Good Craic!

By lex, Sun – August 1, 2004

Bryan’s Bar Mitzvah, that is.

Actually, I’m fairly certain that’s not how I should describe it, but my Irish was up, and it truly was a good time.

(Lots o’ pics for the dial-up set)

I just wanted to capture a few thoughts before the sands of time and the vicissitudes of doddering age wash them away. I’ll try to avoid any hint of anthropologizing the Interesting People With Such Very Different Customs that this effort risks, however well-meaning it might otherwise be.

The temple ceremony was fascinating, in mixed English and Hebrew – between the language and the rite there were whispering echoes I felt I should almost comprehend, if only I turned my head just the right way, if only I could catch the cadence of the words. Although no doubt far different than Jerusalem worship 2000 years ago, I had the sense that this would have been a far more familiar environment to my Guy than His church is today.

There was a security guard in the parking lot – I took this in quietly, to turn over and examine later in more detail. Before the temple entrance was the simulacrum of an antique gate – a copy from a temple in old Europe that was.




One of the Torah’s in the temple’s possession had belonged to this 16th century temple. It had been seized and archived by the Nazis for a historical display once their Final Solution had been fully realized. Liberated after the war, it made its way to Carmel Valley, California – becoming yet another unlikely survivor of the Holocaust.


Perhaps I was overcome by the atmosphere because I had my very own miniature Annie Jacobsen moment once inside: A shadow passed outside the window – a large, swarthy man, heavily mustachioed, flitted by the glass. My eyes narrowed for a moment. As he passed by the next window, I saw him for what he evidently was – a Hispanic maintenance worker. Whether my flickering suspicions were prudent in the moment, or merely the workings of an over-active imagination I leave to the reader, with this caveat: I do not think they would have occurred to me, if this vignette had presented itself outside my church.


After a beautiful ceremony, in which a sense of family, tradition and community were as much a part of the atmosphere as the air we breathed, we went to a reception right next door to the temple.


Food, fine company, even dancing – the Biscuit had a blast, events from this point on were tailor-made to her enjoyment.






Even your humble scribe managed to lever his bulk away from the table for bit of that ol’ rug cutting, with his favorite dance partner. No, there will be no pictures of that. But I will show one of the Kat’s dedication to line dancing – the casual observer would have thought precision to be a matter of great import in this exercise.




Our neighbor at the table had come with his family from Israel for the Bar Mitzvah – he’s one of the folks I took around on the Reagan last week. Really enjoyed that visit, was enjoying being off the grid for a time over here – at home, he said, he felt compelled to be on top of the news at all times, always in communication with his family and friends – here he could unplug for a bit.


Life during wartime, I guess.


His daughter went to one of our local malls, and was surprised that each open air place she visited, every crowded store, had something missing: Armed security guards.


SNO, myself and the Kat ran out of gas far sooner than the Hobbit and the Biscuit, who bore the burden of the family honor well after we had made our grateful exit, well fed, well satisfied, well ready for the comfort of our own places of rest.


The last I saw of the Hobbit, heading out the door?




A good craic.

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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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George Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday that acknowledges continued Divine Providence that makes this Nation great.

“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor — and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me ‘to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.'”

“Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be — That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks — for His kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation — for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of His Providence which we experienced in the tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed — for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted — for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which He hath been pleased to confer upon us.

“And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions — to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually — to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed — to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn [sic] kindness onto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord — To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease [sic] of science among them and us — and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best. — Given under my hand at the City of New York, the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.”

I wish all of our readers and their families a blessed Thanksgiving

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To Lex

oncewereHappy Birthday Lex. We miss ya down here.


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