Category Archives: Life

Guest Post: David

By lex, on May 28th, 2011

In honor of this weekend, a former shipmate and respected mentor sent me a note that he authorized me to share. It’s a good one.–

In May of 2001, I was serving on the Navy Staff and, in addition to my regular duties, was part of the rotation of Navy Captains on call for special events. As luck would have it, my number came up to be part of the Navy contingent at the Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington Cemetery on May 28th, 2001.

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29 Years

By lex, on May 26th, 2011

It was 29 years ago today that the sh!t hit the fleet: The USNA Class of 1982 tossed their hats in the air and exchanged a thin gold strip on their shoulder boards for a single fat one (the Marines pinned on a butterbar). As I have mentioned before, that was a very happy ending to an arduous four years. Perhaps it was only me, but when those hats came clattering back down on our upturned heads again, I had a premonition that life going forward would be a different kind of hard.

Those were leaner years, as I was painfully reminded from page 105 of the current issue of Shipmate magazine, the Boat School’s alumni rag.

29 Years

That was a good day.

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The Kindness of Strangers

By lex, on March 2nd, 2011

You’re a pretty savvy crew, I’ll give you that. On slim forensics, many of you have sussed out that your humble scribe may well be at yet another turning point, this one not of his own choosing. And lots of yez have stepped into the breach, offering to help in whatever way you can, or offering your thoughts and prayers if you cannot. I’m very grateful.

Here’s an awkward thing to write about. There are no heroes, and no villains. Just the headwinds facing my chosen follow-on profession, and the risks of joining a small company, one that doesn’t have a lot of depth on the employment bench. The client, quite rightly, is looking to trim headcount. The company, quite rightly, is looking to retain contracted work. And I, all of a sudden, am stuck in the middle, a breadwinner working day to day or week to week, never quite knowing how it’s all going to turn out.

In times like these, it takes your breath away. Your stomach hurts. You’ve trouble sleeping at night, and maintaining your focus on the work. When the truth comes down to you that you’re essentially on waivers, your overwhelming focus turns to finding the next thing. Which may end up looking a lot like the last thing.

No, I don’t guess I’ll get to ever launch off aircraft carriers again, not as the pilot in command of a single seat fighter. Nor have to face the back end of the terror machine again at night when there’s no moon, sideways slanting rain and the deck is pitching. Nor eagerly fling myself at the earth again in wild abandon, bringing death with me in the form of thousand pound bombs. But it might be there’s something that has a cockpit integral to the design, and some class of cargo that needs to be moved from one place to another. This, I know how to do.

To each thing there is a time, and a time to every purpose.

I’ve just got to find mine.

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Just Nuts

By lex, on January 9th, 2011

Six people are dead in Tucson, and a sitting US congresswoman is in critical care after having survived an assassination attempt. This is both a personal tragedy for the families of the victims involved, and a national stain – we’re not long on political assassinations, over here. Getting rid of politicians is what the ballot box is for.

I watched enough of Jared Lee Loughner’s YouTube channel to realize that the kid was just plain nuts. Delusional. Possibly paranoid. Waiting to go off, looking for a reason. Any reason at all might do. Even none.

What are you going to do? Some people are just wired wrong. Drug abuse usually doesn’t help.

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Life

By lex, on December 11th, 2010

In this space I was going to write a thought provoking piece on the role of naval aviation in our country’s national security strategy through 2050. Alternatively, I was going to take a hack at writing something lyrical and beautiful that would have placed you right there in the cockpit with me as something especially moving happened. Failing in those endeavors, I would have put up some plane pr0n for the amusement of the masses, or maybe some almost qualified commentary on the sad, degraded state of our national political discourse. All or any of these things would have been done before 1100, when I arrive at Montgomery Field for the first of my three dogfights today.

But, you know, it’s been daylight savings time for quite some time now, and the afternoon hours darken with irritating eagerness. And the workload has been crushing, like. So I haven’t gotten to do any recreational flying to speak of.

So instead of entertaining you with these my austere gifts, I think I’ll toodle down to Gillespie Field on the moto for to fly the Citabria to Ramona for some tailwheel landing practice before heading down to Montgomery to pick up the paying work and hopefully get her back to Gillespie before the sun goes down.

Life: Sometimes it gets in the way.

 

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Happy Thanksgiving

By lex, on November 25th, 2010

It’s yet early on a Thursday morn, and one that qualifies in this parts as a cool, crackling day. There is no frost on the ground, nor yet do I scent a whiff of woodsmoke and the leaves do not fall. The bobwhites are safe in their coveys, at least from me. Yet we are reminded that it is autumn, and the harvest is mostly in. Our turkey received no pardon, and the Virginia country ham arrived yesterday, perfectly attendant to its duty. Before the day was done it had already been more than a little carved up, for the Kat and I, we do love us some Virginia country ham at this time of the year, sliced paper thin.

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Technology and Value of the American Worker

A very sobering post for which neither the left nor the right have the answer. The author compares Kodak which 20 years ago was a blue chip company to Facebook.

“…At its height, Kodak employed 150,000 people— 60,000 in Rochester alone.

In 1997, Eastman Kodak’s stock price hit an all-time high of $94.75 as the company’s market value soared to $30 Billion. In 2012 when the company filed for bankruptcy, the stock was worth just 78 cents, the company just $145 million.

It was one half of one percent of its value 15 years earlier….. Every day, Facebook users post about 1.5 times more photos than the total photos taken by mankind in a day during the height Kodak’s profitability in 1997. In the world of storing and sharing imagery, things are better now. It’s not close. Nor debatable.” 

The American worker is more productive than ever. But with changing technology, much of that doesn’t matter.

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