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Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Steve Cole muses: Just wondering to himself if he can fill up the blog form without politics.

1. It seems to me that somebody could write a hilarious article for Captain's Log entitled "You know that your captain is Charlie Sheen if ..." Maybe if he glares at the Klingons their facing shields melt?

2. Arsenal is the Arabic word for "House of Manufacture."

3. The radio term "roger" means "received, over" or "I heard that, do you need to tell me anything else?"

4. Three things a military pilot needs when entering a dive: mirrored sunglasses, a big watch, and a bunch of cash. A pretty girl doesn't hurt but there are usually some of them in the dive anyway.

5. I want to go on a vacation to the Top Shot reality TV show firing range. I don't want to "compete" or "vote to eliminate a team member" or any of that stuff. I just want to see the event, practice with the weapon a little (or maybe bring my own rifle and pistol) and then try a few times to see if I can make the shot.

6. On a reality TV show (Pawn Stars) a guy came into the store wanting to sell a World War 2 pilot's leather jacket that mentioned the P-38 lightning fighter. Rick, who owns the store, said "I think that P-38s were only in the Pacific so this jacket is a fake." The customer insisted otherwise, and the expert came in to tell Rick that there were P-38s in Europe. Now, I knew that because long ago I played a lot of the old Avalon Hill game Luftwaffe which had P-38 squadrons (and those were for a long time the only fighters able to reach Berlin). Rick could have just walked over to his computer, gone to Google, entered "P-38" and either "Europe" or "Italy" and found out the truth in a second, without insulting his customer or displaying his own lack of knowledge.

7. Speaking of Pawn Stars, somebody tried to sell them cans of fallout shelter crackers. Back about 1980, the building where I worked hauled up pallets of those things from the basement and told the employees to help themselves. I took six cans home, tried some of the crackers, found them to be just fine, and used them in soup instead of buying new saltines. Then I gave the empty cans to a neighbor who used them in her craft shop to make mailboxes. A friend of mine brought up his truck and took home most of the them (few people wanted them) and spent the next year feeding the crackers to his chickens.

8. Steven Petrick explains that the job of a project executive or military officer is to keep juggling all of the balls he is given until he can figure out how to put some of them down (i.e., avoid having anyone notice he hasn't finished a project until that project is actually finished). Steven Petrick explains that there are several kinds of balls.

If you drop a rubber ball, it bounces without a sound. Nobody notices that you momentarily dropped the ball, and you can get it back into the swirling mass of balls.

If you drop a glass ball, it does not bounce -- it breaks (the project now cannot be completed, and you not only failed to finish it, you ruined things so that whatever opportunity, obligation, or potential it had is lost). Worse, it makes just enough noise for everybody to notice that you screwed up. Some of the glass balls, when broken, release poison gas. In any case, the glass shards are now under your feet and will cause you trouble for a long time.

If you drop a wooden ball, it doesn't break. It makes some noise (a few people notice, maybe not everybody) and it's harder to pick back up (you have to bend down while still juggling other balls), but no real harm is done.

If you drop a ball of putty, it doesn't bounce, it goes flat (you cannot get it back into the swirl without doing some extra work to mold it into shape), but nobody hears it.

If you drop a metal ball, it makes a pretty good noise (lots of people notice that you dropped it), but it doesn't break and you can pick it back up without too much trouble as it does bounce -- a little -- once.

There are other kinds of balls, but I'm out of space in the blog form, so I'll stop here. Jean will be so proud that I did a whole "random thoughts" blog without politics.