Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The 18 minute chef

Mrs Blogger is out of town and it is my job to make the dinner. This evening we will be enjoying Perdue Bourbon Chicken, fresh from the bag in the freezer to the oven, Oreida fries and a beverage. My favorite part of the Bourbon Chicken recipe?

Why it's Step 3.

3. Bake on middle oven rack 15 to 17 minutes, or until heated through. Internal temperature should reach 150-170 degrees F.

Like I'm going to take a pocket meat thermometer and check all 35 Bourbon Nuggets.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

How I turned an Aircraft Carrier around.

I was all of 19 and I had been in the US Navy for 2 years before I boarded my first ship, the Aircraft Carrier USS Saratoga. The ship was home ported in Mayport, FL and I was a member of aircraft squadron VAQ 136 in Carrier Air Wing 5 and had been part of the squadron's forward team assigned to get our spaces ready for the rest of the squadron personnel.

The Saratoga was preparing for Mediterranean deployment scheduled for the fall of 1979 and it was now summer.

As part of the work-ups, the ship would regularly hold “man over board” drills where they would throw a dummy called “Oscar” over the side and wait for someone to spot it and call a drill.

Now, I don’t know if it was because I was goofing off a lot or coincidence but I happened to be around a lot when the sailors threw the dummy over the side.

The first time I warned the guys I was working with and before we could even get together the 1MC public address system would blare horns and messages about a “man over board" and same thing happened the second time.

We would gather in the Squadron's ready room, take a head count and report to the ships' bridge that we were all present and accounted for. In the mean time the sea and air rescue helicopters would start to turn on the flight deck as the search began for "Oscar".

The third time however, was a little different.

I was somewhere on the 03 level, just below the flight deck when I saw two guys throw “Oscar” through an opening to the blue Caribbean ocean.

I told the guys I was working with “I saw Oscar again” and they sort of laughed and we all headed to the squadron ready room to await the announcement. I got our 9 or 10 guys together and we are waiting, and waiting, and waiting.

Finally the officer in charge, tells me “You are going to have to call it in” and after some scrambling on procedure we decide that I have to call the bridge and the conversation goes like this:

Bridge: Bridge, USS Saratoga
Me: I saw you throw oscar over the side.
Bridge: What?
Me: I saw you throw Oscar over the side, you know the man overboard dummy.
Bridge: Get up here right away.

Now I should give a little background on what it takes to enter an operating US Navy ship bridge because it is a procedure long in tradition and short in sensibility.

You are to be in full working uniform including a cover or hat. You are to take three steps forward to a particular spot on the bridge and ask “Permission to enter the bridge, sir”. Sort of like “mother may I” but with costumes. The officer of the bridge then grants you permission to enter the bridge.

Needless to say, after 8 days on board the ship, this was a procedure I had only heard about from afar.

So now I have to:
  • Get my hat, since you don’t have a hat at sea.
  • Find the bridge.
  • Play “Mother may I’ and get on the bridge.
The horns blare and the 1MC comes to life: “Man Overboard, Man Overboard!” “This is not a drill”


I can’t find my hat. This is not uncommon if you know me. I regularly can’t find my keys, watch, employee badge, wallet etc. Now, finding something misplaced is normally stressful when you are in a hurry but when 17 billion dollars of US Government hardware is waiting for you to find your hat, it can become unbearable.

I report back to our LT (jg)  “I can’t find my hat”. He asks "who has a hat for him?"
Now given the randomness of the size of people's heads and all the available hat sizes, what is the chance that this hat will actually fit on my head?

The hat is too small.

The captain and the crew of the USS Saratoga are waiting.

I wear the tiny hat.

Next I have to navigate the passage ways of the Saratoga. Not only do I not really know where I am going but now the entire ship is scrambling to get counted. Now there are special traffic rules in place on a ship in an alarm like this. I can’t really remember it now but it is something like “Port forward and Starboard Aft” meaning to get to the stern of the ship, use the Starboard passage ways.

Complications to say the least.

I remember climbing a lot of ladders and the finally I find the bridge and proceed on to the bridge.

I take my three giant steps forward and on my right, out of the corner of my eye I see the captain, sitting in his big James T Kirk chair and behind him I see SH-3 helicopters rotors starting to turn on the flight deck.

Not good.

I mumble “Permission to enter the bridge sir”.

The captain doesn’t say anything, he just waves his hand motioning me forward. I’m thinking “That’s it? I don’t even get a Yes You May?”

The captain asks me “tell me exactly what you saw”.

I can now see that the giant ship is in a great turn.

I start into my story about how I saw the seamen throw Oscar over the side two times before etc etc.

I can see he is not really in story mood so I cut to today.
“I saw men throw Oscar over the side on the 03 level”.

He thinks about it for a minute or two and explains that no drill was planned for today and that perhaps I saw men throwing trash over the side instead of from the stern where they were supposed to.
My small hat and I were dismissed and I went back to the ready room

And that is how I turned an aircraft carrier around.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Klondike Derby

Well it was time once again for the Klondike Derby with our Scout troop. A Klondike is a series of games where the boys get to use their scout skills in a competition. They push a sled from station to station. It's like survivor but no one gets voted off the island.

Now you would expect this sort of event to occur on snow but in this part of the country you can't expect that it will snow on any partiulcar weekend so the chances of a snowy Kolndike are remote. In fact, I have yet to see a Klondike with snow.

It was quite cold though in the morning but the afternoon warmed up nicely. The boys had a great time but I was happy that we didn't camp with dropping temperatures.

They were a bit tired after pushing the sled through the course.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

This is addicting....

I've been lurking on other peoples blogs for a few days now and all I can say is, boy is this addicting. There are some crazy things out there.

Half Nekkid Thursday. HNT. People post pictures of parts of their bodies on their blogs. Usually not like nude, although it can become steamy.

There are a lot of angry angry people out there. like this lady -> http://bornon911.blogspot.com/

There is some funny funny stuff.

For Chewy


Monday, February 20, 2006

Things I have said to my kids Part 1

I Can Fly
Once when my boys were 5 and 3 they where taking a bath together and were fighting in the tub. It hadn't escalated to fists yet but it was getting close.

Having been through this a couple of times I knew that just asking them to stop wasn't going to work and raising my voice was getting less and less attention so I leaned in the tub and told them both:

"Did you know I could fly?"

The fighting stop instantly and you could see the little thought processes kicking in. "You know I've never seen him fly, but......"

They sat there kind of stunned and then finally the older one spoke up.

"But you drive to work"

I told him I drive around the corner and the fly from there. He seemed satisfied with the answer.

When I was a boy...
I told them there were three sexes were I was a boy:
Boys, Girls and Bleemus. I told them if you look really hard in older elementry schools you can still see the boarded up Bleemus lavatory.
Once I forgot what I had called third sex and said there "boys, girls and blivets" and the younger one caught me at it. He said "I thought they were blemuses".

I taught them this joke:
This grasshopper walks into a bar and the bartender says "Hey, we have drink named after you" and the grasshopper says "You have a drink named Steve?"
Which is just hilarious when a 3 year old says it.

Let's ditch your mom
The four of us were at my sisters for a family party. We were leaving so we all headed off to the car, got the kids in their cars seats and Mrs Blogger forgot something in the house so she went back in.
Just joking around, I said "OK Boys, this is our chance, let's get out of here"
They shouted "Noooooo!" in unison.
I said "Why not?"
With out missing a beat one of them said "She puts sun lotion on us and pays the bills".

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Hunting Quayle

Well it looks like the story about Dick Cheney is finally evaporating and fading off to place where forever Sonny Bono skis into trees and Dan Quayle spells potato with an 'e'. But it was fun while it was happening wasn't it?

The Lettermans and Jay Lenos of the world had a field day and even Bill Gates took a "shot" at Cheney.

The real beauty was in the details.

The Vice President of the US decided that it was best for a Texas ranch owner to break the story to the press.

The ranch owner decides the place to tell the story to is the Corpus Christi Caller Times. Like the local fish wrap is the place to break international stories like this. They tried to call Jimmy Olsen of the Daily Planet first.

My favorite detail was that Whittington was hit with "six to 200" pieces of shot. How did they determine this? I figure that there were 200 in the cartridge and they found five and that is how you get 6 to 200.

Did they never hear of X-Rays? Why didn't they x-ray the poor guy and find out that he was shot "near the heart"?

I miss Dan Quayle. One of my favorite Letterman lines is when Al Gore a guest and Letterman leaned in and told him "You know, as a taxpayer and guy that writes jokes for a living, I don't think I'm getting my money's worth out of you".

Vice Presidents are suppose to be a National joke. It just took Cheney 6 years to step up.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Stuck inside after a snow storm.

Well just hanging out after our snowstorm. It looks like we got over a foot on the lawns and maybe 9 inches in the streets. The two boys and I were on a Boy Scout camping trip and Camp Hart in Bucks County. Unheated cabins but we bailed on the trip when we heard over 12 inches of snow were coming.

It seemed like a better and better idea all the time once we got home Saturday night. Thank you Lord for getting us home safely.

Did the shovelling thing this morning and afternoon including a path for the doggies around the pool.

I was thinking over and over about the Rob Bell short film "Dust" that we saw on the Men's weekend two weeks ago. I was distracted by the fact that Rob Bell was telling a story like he was and no one was helping the neighbor shovel.

I wore a pair of boots that belonged to my father-in-law. I put a new pair of laces in them and helped my neighbor shovel her walk. Joe was a righteous man that passed away 2 years ago and I kept remembering his viewing while I was shoveling. A seemingly endless stream of people kept coming in to the church. There was line out the door and down the steps. I kept remembering how impressed I was with that. People I never knew that Joe had helped over the years.

I kept thinking that "Power of Joe's boots is compleing me to do this, it is what he would have done".