Load HEAT- Julie Bowen

Let me give you a little insight into the editorial process here…

Roamy- Have you picked a LH for Monday yet? How about Julie Bowen?

XBrad- Nah, we posted her years ago.

Roamy- You know I made a list of every LH for the first four years, right? I checked, she’s not on the list.

XBrad- “…”

Roamy- “…”

XBrad- **googles a bit**

XBrad- Julie sounds like a fine choice!

I can’t believe I haven’t selected the wholesome hottie before. I just kinda had it in my head that I’ve featured the Modern Family star before.

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Gold Star Mothers

Some clubs are exclusive, and many will go to great lengths to join. Then there are those that are exclusive, and the members would give just about anything to be ineligible.

Today, the last Sunday of September, marks Gold Star Mothers Day, honoring the mothers and families of those servicemembers who have given their lives for our nation.

Honor them, as they have given the best of themselves for us.

H/T: This Ain’t Hell


Roamy roundup

Stars fell on Alabama…and Georgia and Ohio and Indiana. Duck and cover, y’all.

The fireball over Ohio was definitely a meteoroid. Spaceweather.com reported its speed as approximately 51 km/sec (114,000 mph), and space debris doesn’t travel that fast.

Video from Science@NASA on Comet ISON’s flyby of Mars on Tuesday, with a nice explanation of the frostline of the solar system.

The Curiosity rover finds more evidence that Mars once had water.

Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy and NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins joined Karen Nyberg, Luca Parmitano, and Fyodor Yurchikhin onboard the International Space Station. Kotov will eventually take command of ISS for Expedition 38. Three expeditions on ISS and one on Mir adds up to over a year in space for Kotov.

Also joining ISS was Cygnus, the commercial supply vehicle from Orbital Sciences. It docked earlier today after a 48-hour delay due to a software glitch.

Brace Yourself- Garrison is Coming

With the end of the war in Iraq, and with combat operations in Afghanistan slated to wind down, and especially with the impending drawdown, life in the Army is starting to change. 

More and more, troops will find themselves at home station, and with less money for training, they’ll find themselves focusing on the more mundane aspects of soldiering. And increasingly, the Army is turning its focus in discipline and good order. That’s not to say that soldiers haven’t performed magnificently for the last decade plus of war. But new soldiers joining units aren’t going to be immediately deployed to a combat zone. And to achieve unit cohesion and effectiveness, many of the peacetime garrison aspects of soldiering will regain emphasis. Attention to detail is a key skill of soldiering, and unit chains of command, especially Sergeants Major, tend to look to things like uniform standards, and the cleanliness and orderliness of unit areas as key indicators of such.  That link focuses on the Marines, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the Army is going to follow a similar path.

One example is the recently approved revisions to AR670-1, the regulation governing uniforms and appearance. For some reason, the Army has suddenly decided that tattoos on the forearms and lower legs will no longer be permitted. Until recently, the standard was as long as the tats were covered while wearing the dress uniform, and not an extremist tattoo, it was acceptable.

In the Old Army, we referred to these petty inconveniences as “chickenshit.” While every soldier (Marine/Sailor/Airman/Coastie) has their own experiences, things are in some ways not as bad as they used to be. Let me share some of my experiences.

My first unit was a light infantry battalion in Hawaii. It was a unit with very high standards, which, for the most part, was a good thing.

Every morning started with First Call at 0600, when the Charge of Quarters runner would pound on doors waking you up. By 0605, I could expect to  see my Team Leader standing in my door ensuring that I was dressed in PT uniform, and busy making my bed, and that my room was tidy and neat. First formation was at 0630, followed by an hour to 75 minutes of PT and a run. After that, we had until 0900 to shower, change into uniform, clean our rooms and the common areas such as the bathrooms and showers, and with luck, run to the mess hall and enjoy breakfast.

Every day, rooms were expected to be swept, mopped, and buffed. Every day, my Team Leader and Squad Leader were expected to inspect my wall locker. All uniforms were to be neatly hung, with all buttons buttoned, and zippers zipped, hung in a precise order. Undergarments were to be folded or rolled in a specified manner and stored according to a published template. What little space was left could be used for civilian clothing, but it too had to be stored in a (specified) neat and orderly manner.

No members of the opposite sex were allowed into the barracks spaces. Nor was hard alcohol permitted in the barracks, regardless of the age of the drinker. Indeed, while beer was permitted for those of us of legal drinking age (at the time, 18 in Hawaii) no more than one six-pack of beer per person was permitted.

Time has faded some of my  other memories of the inconveniences of living the barracks life and the ravages of a garrison mentality. But rest assured, there are First Sergeants and Sergeants Major aplenty in the force that are eager to embrace every opportunity to bring back as much as possible those prewar artifacts. Indeed, they are eager to impose the strictest possible interpretation of AR670-1 with one curious exception. The strict prohibition upon pressing and starching the Army Combat Uniform will somehow be overlooked. And if they could figure out a way to demand a spit shine on rawhide boots, they’d do that too.

Brace Yourself Garrison is Coming | Sean Bean Game Of Thrones

Notes from the Trip

XBRAD was not the only one who was Oscar Mike this week.  Yours truly made the sojourn again this week to our Nation’s Capital, to help facilitate the Joint Staff J33 Level IV Exercise.   A good event, some interesting discussion, none of which can be shared here.

But here are some random musings from the trip, compiled while working and driving with nobody to talk to.  Except you folks.

The Scenery:

Don’t get me wrong, I love the beach.  Love the sea shore and miss it very much.  But there is nothing more beautiful than driving up I-91 on a bright early Autumn afternoon, with the sun dancing on the mountains and rivers of the Green Mountain State, with the leaves into their turn and splashes of the most amazing and vivid colors imaginable.

I took I-87 to I-84, through Newburgh, NY, into Connecticut.  Eastern NY State is also stunningly beautiful, with the colors there beginning to pop.   That part of the state also is evocative of great age.   I dunno, maybe it was Washington Irving’s stories in school that I hearken back to.   One has to wonder what the Dutch settlers of Fort Orange (present day Albany) and the surrounding Hudson Valley must have thought and felt when they arrived beginning in the 1620s into such a magnificent and seemingly limitless expanse of land.  Their homeland in the Netherlands was marshy coastal plain, mostly pool-table flat, relatively heavily populated, webbed with slow-flowing rivers and streams.  By the early 17th Century, Holland was nearly devoid of trees, as well.   And here were the mountains, surrounding the great, wide, fast-flowing river, with other rivers nestled between the foothills of the Catskills, and the Adirondacks to the north of them.  The plentiful game, the strange native peoples, and the lumber beyond their wildest dreams.   Oak, maple, ash, pine, in abundance that dwarfed the entire of their known world.

The Highways:

It seems the improvements on the Jersey Turnpike, south of Exit 10 at  Perth Amboy anyway, have improved things immensely, and will continue to.  Traffic was heavy at times but always moved at a good clip.  In days of yore, the Pike near Philly (Exit 6) could be at a standstill for hours on end.  Has not been the last half-dozen times through, as new lanes have opened and interchange architecture is being completed.  Oh, and I-84 is almost finished.  It was the Semper Repairus Highway since I was a kid, but except for traffic in Waterbury, wasn’t bad at all.

All is Vanity:

Men, if you are going bald, embrace it, please.  I have yet to see a toupée or a comb-over that cannot be positively identified with the naked eye at half a klick.   Oh, and if you’re grey at 60, you are sposta be.  At least have the good sense not to dye your hair shoe-polish black.   One fella in the diner this morning was otherwise well-dressed, but with the ugliest rug you ever saw, black as the ace of spades, along with the rest of his hair.  He was probably in his early 60s, and in decent shape, with a lovely, pretty wife.  I cannot believe she told him “That looks GREAT, honey!”.   Two booths behind him was a guy with about seven inches of comb-over.  His part was about half an inch above his ear.  C’mon, fellas.

A Note About American Cars:

Yesterday was the six month mark for my American girl.  I have put 12,808 miles on her in those six months.  My repair bill?  $0.   Zilch.  Zip.  Nada.  By this time my German mistress had soaked me for an alternator, a power steering pump, an O2 sensor, and a window motor.  And, in November, I would be treated to a blown engine.

On the way down to DC last week (for the Marine Corps Marathon STAFFEX), it seemed as if almost all the cars broken down on the side of the road were foreign cars.  This, despite the persistent rumor that one cannot buy a reliable American car.  So this time down and back, I counted.  On the way down, there were 27 cars broken down (non-accident) on the side of the road.  22 of the 27 were foreign cars, or 81.5%.   On the way back today, 24 of the 29 were foreign cars, almost 83%.  Now I admit this is a pretty unscientific study, and a limited sample, but with a market share of almost 44%, the US cars seem to have fared better than foreign models.

If that sounds a bit anecdotal for you, keep in mind that my statistical sample is proportionately about nine times greater than that which the Global Warming scientists use for their projections….