Month: November 2012

When did we go to hell in a handbasket?

Going to hell in a handbasket? First of all, what’s a handbasket anyway? We hear, and most of us use, that phrase liberally. What does that mean?  You know, so I’ll move on. I hate, absolutely detest, all of the things that get forwarded in emails that have not been vetted against being an urban legend. I’m sure your mailbox is as full as mine. But some time or another we get a gem. I am going to here repeat the false article and then below it give you the REAL article, to which additions were made. Let me be clear:  I agree with the sentiments in the false version as well as Ben Stein’s original. I’m convinced the world is going to hell in a handbasket — or worse. Interestingly, in church yesterday our adult Bible study group worked on Mark 13:1-37, the so-called “Mark’s Little Apocalypse” passage. I’m not a doomsday predictor and am guessing the Mayans simply ran out of rock upon which to carve the calendar that ends so abruptly. But as a Christian I do believe there is an end-time when Jesus returns — I just don’t know what that looks like.  A working theory I have is that we each have our own Apocalypse (one or more) to work through rather than a universal meltdown. But as the (false) email piece — attributed...

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Aircraft carriers docking at piers

I recently saw a photo of the USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67, formerly CVA-67) coming into the pier in Malta and was reminded of an instance on the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63). Incidentally, the J.F.K. is the last of the Kitty Hawk class of carriers and the last of the conventionally-powered (i.e. oil-fired) carriers. Notice all of the tugboats.  Two of those are probably 1,000 HP, and two are likely 2,000 HP, each. It is a very delicate operation to ease the ship into the pier (not dock!). I was the “tugtalker” on the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63). A civilian harbor pilot takes over the ship when it enters the harbor from the breakwater and he controls all of the tugboats, through the bridge officer acting as the tugtalker with radio comms directly to all tugs. The Pilot issues the commands which I would then relay. Once, coming into San Diego after a Westpac cruise to the Gulf of Tonkin during the Vietnam conflict (I sure thought it was a war), with thousands of family on the pier we were easing into the “camels” — those are the structures that look like docks against which the ship rests, buffering it from the concrete pier. The Pilot was on the bridge with me, the Captain of course, and the rest of the bridge crew. The bridge is way high off...

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