Tag Archives: Best of Neptunus Lex

Farewell to all that

Posted by lex, on February 7, 2008

 

The Church of England was a product of the Protestant Reformation, elements of which established the separateness of the secular and religious magisteria. This in turn generated a counter-reformation in the Roman Catholic Church. The creative tension between the two led to an unprecedented eruption of intellectual advances in science, art and humanism culminating in the Renaissance. Secular law had its place in society, with an increasingly liberal social contract developing between the citizen and the state. Religious law more and more became a matter of individual conscience.

Taken together, these influences set the West on a path towards individual rights, democracy and accelerating civilizational progress. We have all profited thereby, not least those who emigrated to the West from more benighted climes.

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Charlie

By lex, on October 29th, 2006

 

When you’re in overhead holding, or proceeding back to the ship for recovery, you check in through Marshal control and on to Tower, where the Air Boss awaits, ruling his airspace. If he wants you to come into the break and land, he’ll call “Charlie” on the radio – it’s the signal to buster into the pattern, break to downwind, configure for the approach – landing checklist complete – and put her down in the spaghetti.

“Charlie” is the radio phonetic for the letter “c.” One piece of apocrypha says that the word “Charlie,” when attached to carrier aviation comes from the signature C-shaped wake of the carrier turning into the wind for recovery. True or not, when the Boss calls “Charlie” on the radio, the next words out of his mouth will be directed to the personnel on the flight deck, and will very often be “Head’s up on the flight deck, turning starboard, heel to port.” At about the same time, the bridge watch will sound one short blast on the ship’s whistle – starboard turn.

Everyone on the flight deck knows what that means: We’re about to get busy. And it’s about to get dangerous.

061025-N-7130B-087

(Click on the pic for hi-res)

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Random notes on fatherhood in the 21st century

By lex, on October 29th, 2006

October draws to a close, and even if there isn’t quite a snap in the Sandy Eggo air, there is still the sense of finality, that summer is well and truly over, that the time has come for some sort of harvest. It can even be a bit cold in the morning – I wore long pants this morning. I did.

In the back yard, the teenagers clean out pumpkins bought expressly for the purpose of seasonal decoration. “Respect” plays on the iPod adapter system, and they smile and chat amongst themselves in a casual way, pleased at the task at hand, deeply pleased with each other’s company, feeling a part of the societal rhythm, a part of something larger than themselves, extending backwards into the dim recesses of national history, another path forward glimmering the way into an unseen future. A future which holds many more such rituals, strands that connect us all one to another in a small but non-trivial and contributive way. These rituals are a part of who we are.

Seen like this, the teenagers themselves seem almost human.

I know. It’s scary.

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Boots on the ground

By lex, on October 25th, 2006

Here’s another view on the war in Iraq, written by a guy who has a bit more credibility than one of those Green Zone reporters Michael Fumento goes on about – a US Army intel sergeant with dusty boots, operating outside the wire in the thick of the fray responds to James Taranto’s column yesterday **, a column in which Taranto unrepentantly repeats his support for the war in Iraq – it might just be the most authentic thing I’ve read this year:

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The red badge of reportage

Posted by lex, on October 25, 2006

Michael Fumento is an embedded reporter working in al Anbar, western Iraq. Indian country. Most of his colleagues – the ones whose daily reporting from within the Green Zone so influences our perspective on the war – are not embedded. Some go so far as to call embeds “jock sniffers.”

Which is a psychologically revealing choice of words, it seems to me.

But Fumento doesn’t take it lying down, penning a hard-edged comparison that will likely get him plucked off of many a J-school Christmas card list:

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Off you go

By lex, on October 17th, 2006

Your humble scribe is on the very throes of disembarking from the warship aboard which he has had the honor to serve, these last cuppla. The ship’s complement performed superbly at the tasks required of them under his stern gaze, and were in every respect a credit to the naval service. Which was nice.

Debriefing success being much the more pleasant exercise than its alternative.

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Left-handed compliments

By lex, on October 11th, 2006

Scene: Naval Medical Clinic, NSA Bahrain. Your correspondent sits on an examination table, enduring the preliminaries required to score some Ambien off of an actual doctor, once the fetching young corpsman finishes asking him whether or not he’s allergic to drugs (no), smokes (no), drinks alchoholic beverages (occasionally – all, right so there’s a lot of occasions) and takes his blood pressure, temperature and pulse. She looks at the screen with wide, innocent eyes, turns to him and says –

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