Man In Ranks http://www.maninranks.com The next generation Internet as viewed by a man merely in ranks. Sat, 09 Sep 2017 00:06:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 2006-2007 christopher@maninranks.com (Man In Ranks) christopher@maninranks.com (Man In Ranks) http://www.maninranks.com/wp-content/plugins/podpress/images/powered_by_podpress.jpg Man In Ranks http://www.maninranks.com 144 144 The next generation Internet as viewed by a man merely in ranks. Man In Ranks Man In Ranks christopher@maninranks.com no no From the Department of Disassociated Connections Department http://www.maninranks.com/2017/09/08/from-the-department-of-disassociated-connections-department/ http://www.maninranks.com/2017/09/08/from-the-department-of-disassociated-connections-department/#comments Sat, 09 Sep 2017 00:04:51 +0000 http://www.maninranks.com/?p=4953 My Naval Academy classmates exchanged an email thread tacking from Houston weather to Navy football documentaries to jets bursting from the decks of aircraft carriers with a casual mention of a Public Broadcasting special. The following association occurred in a note to my classmates:

Re Public Television – there has been a cooperative effort between our local Naval Academy alumni chapter and the local PBS affiliate, UNC TV, to promote the upcoming Ken Burns series, The Vietnam War, beginning on 17 September. Curiously, our chapter of 130+ includes numerous veterans of that period – pilots, Marines, F-4 POW with many and varied stories of their experiences. I only consider myself a product of Vietnam when I meet with Blue & Gold reps (Naval Academy recruiters) and the applying hopefuls. We hosted a picnic for the Class of 2021 in June. Amazing were their credentials and the wickets of Getting into Navy (one lass met with a US Senator – surely a sign of acceptance – only to be informed later that she was bested by others. Off to Air Force went she! I didn’t think that senators met with you unless you were a lock for appointment). When I meet these mids, I marvel and often comment that ‘there is no way that I would be accepted today’ and that my appointment – 16 June 1970 via telegram – describes the then prevailing lack of nationwide appeal of a role, job or billet in the military – “if that’s what you want to do” was an often heard rejoinder to my choice of road out of New Orleans.

We’ve mentioned Ruben Torres (ed note: RT was a flamer, boxer, aspiring Marine who bullied all of the new plebes. As the Fates would have it, he flunked out in his senior year and sent into the enlisted ranks. How we plebes cheered when we learned of his ill fate!) and the 6-3 funsters on Plebe Detail before. Plus no air conditioning in the Halls. Somehow, whenever asked “Were You in Vietnam?” I reply immediately in the negative and equally quickly think of Rich Hormel and Dek Pullen. Hormel was a squad leader elsewhere in Hotel Company; Pullen in the 3rd set was one firstie whom I admired for his humor, level headedness and fair sense for playing the Plebe Summer game.That they were both lost in aircraft accidents soon after their own graduations are tragedies that I, for some reason, attribute to the Vietnam War. In those moments of recollection of ‘couldabeen anybody,
I am amazed with the reminder of decisions lightly taken – “Of course, I’ll try Annapolis; got to be better than LSU” sort of illogic. Fate is indeed fickle. Boys making the same decision at nearly the same time amidst similar circumstances. Most meander-through graced by ignorance of consequence; some lost altitude nearly immediately.

https://usnamemorialhall.org/index.php/RICHARD_C._HORMEL,_LTJG,_USN

https://usnamemorialhall.org/index.php/GRANVILLE_D._PULLEN,_CAPT,_USMC

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Blue Pane Studio Delivers Mobile Apps #82 & #83 http://www.maninranks.com/2017/05/09/blue-pane-studio-delivers-mobile-apps-82-83/ http://www.maninranks.com/2017/05/09/blue-pane-studio-delivers-mobile-apps-82-83/#comments Tue, 09 May 2017 15:49:17 +0000 http://www.maninranks.com/?p=4938 Fidtern 2017

Fidtern’s purpose is to connect the approximate 1,000 summer interns moving from web and paper-based community tools.

AS 2017

Event-support app for Raleigh’s annual spring festival featuring 170+ artists and craftspeople.

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À la Recherche du Temps Perdu http://www.maninranks.com/2017/05/07/a-la-recherche-du-temps-perdu/ http://www.maninranks.com/2017/05/07/a-la-recherche-du-temps-perdu/#comments Sun, 07 May 2017 22:18:42 +0000 http://www.maninranks.com/?p=4936 A journalist friend of mine, Kay McFadden, once informed me that published interviews were a kind of cop-out in journalism. Seldom have I read them since.

A newly-trained IBM sales colleague of mine wrote (sic), actually texted, this week sharing her thrill with closing her first deal and wondering how to get it all done = time management. Don’t tell Katherine and here is the text and the texts of our related conversation:

ER One struggle I have had lately though is time management. I feel like I am constantly at events, etc. but I also find myself piling up on enablement courses to actually start enhancing my skills. If you have any advice on that, I will take all! Hahaha

Chris P Time Management. Regardless of the rate and pace of technology, there are only 24 hours in everyone’s day. I read a related book in 1985 when I landed my first sales job with a small local tech company, I read about this book in the Wall Street Journal which was written in 1959.

I purchased it, read it and it is one of the few business books that has survived on my office bookshelf.

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The other The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People is which has become a cottage industry in itself. I met Mr. Covey in the early 90s when he was hawking his methods to any audience of any size.

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I worked from home for 15 years, which I found to be much more productive than any kind of office environment that I witnessed or experienced. I like to have control of my own time. My first rule which I obeyed without fail is that I did not sacrifice my health for my work = diet, rest and exercise are important to me. I made time for all three every day as I’ve seen too many of us ‘throw their bodies at the work’ by sacrificing sleep, cheating on diet and forever postponing exercise. These habits will catch-up with us.

The second rule was that I’ve kept a near daily journal since 1976 when I was 24 years old. This has helped me to clarify my own thinking, helps me to make sense of my world, and at this stage of life, I see how such a habit has strengthened my memory and allowed me to make connections of events, people and ideas over my career.

When I joined IBM in 1999, we watched a Welcome to Blue video with a segment by the CEO, Lou Gerstner. He admonished us that we were going to win in the marketplace, not because we were going to go to every meeting or answer every email, but because we would be guided by doing what is right for the customer.

Ours is a process-heavy company and it is now a difficult period for the company. Hence, lots of hand-rubbing, calls, measurements and reports. You’ve got to keep your eye on what is important to your customers as they must come first.

Finally, my close friend in San Francisco who travels internationally too much is fond of the phrase ‘tyranny of the urgent.’ He likes to ask if it is also important.

What’s your own thinking in this regard?

ER I find myself falling into those exact habits, cheating on my diet/ pushing off exercise because “I have no time” — I like the idea of working from home so that I can fit everything in when I feel, and take a break every once in a while. But I also see the benefits of working from the office, so I get everything done at one time.

I am absolutely going to purchase those books and read through them. Journaling is something I do, but often forget about when I get “too busy”.

I also agree with your friend. I find myself rushing around everyday just trying to get as much done as possible. I think this is a point I need to make to myself as I need to concentrate on the more important things and not just getting everything done in a hurry, or the most ‘urgent’ seeming.

Great advice! Thank you

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Inauguration Day 2017 – A Ceremony of Dignity and Inspiration http://www.maninranks.com/2017/01/21/inauguration-day-2017-a-ceremony-of-dignity-and-inspiration/ http://www.maninranks.com/2017/01/21/inauguration-day-2017-a-ceremony-of-dignity-and-inspiration/#comments Sun, 22 Jan 2017 01:08:04 +0000 http://www.maninranks.com/?p=4865 I observed an orderly transfer of power with only 30 days available for transition between the in-coming and out-going commanders. The former heralded for his leadership style and broad organisational achievements. The latter possessed of an accomplished career; selected with high hopes as an agent of change amidst a challenging and probable chaotic environment. In attending witness were numerous former office holders; family; friends; current and former staff; and visitors. Pressing affairs suspended to celebrate this tribute to and confidence in our nation. The power to destroy nations relinquished and adopted with the simply eloquent and traditional oath of office, i.e.

“I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

The departing commanding officer reports to the senior officer present that ‘he has been properly relieved.’ The new Captain assumes command; the former commanding officer returns to the rank of Commander.

And so proceeded the Change of Command ceremony aboard the USS North Carolina, SSN 777, a nuclear powered submarine stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Commander Gary Montalvo was relieved properly by Commander Matt Lewis on Friday January 20th at 10 a.m. Hawaiian Standard Time.

I wish that you could have seen this occasion. Even though individual achievement was recognized and individuals offered their personal points of view about the recent past and their ideas for the impending future, the occasion with its ceremony celebrated our nation, its purpose and the young men and women who quietly subsume themselves to an intangible and, clearly evident, greater good. The gravity of and the opportunity for the occasion is lost on no one present. Then we celebrated with a hamburger and ice tea buffet: proud to part of the ceremony; proud of our Navy; mindful of the greatness of our nation. Don’t let anyone at any level tell you otherwise.

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North Carolina crew cheering Captain Montalvo’s departure, “Go Tarheels.”

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Commander Montalvo wearing his gifts of good wishes.

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SSN777Club Executive Director (me) with Commanding Officer, Matt Lewis

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Americans Not Forgotten

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Blue Pane Studio Delivers Mobile App #81 for First Night Raleigh Sponsored by Fidelity http://www.maninranks.com/2017/01/06/blue-pane-studio-delivers-mobile-app-81-for-first-night-raleigh-sponsored-by-fidelity/ http://www.maninranks.com/2017/01/06/blue-pane-studio-delivers-mobile-app-81-for-first-night-raleigh-sponsored-by-fidelity/#comments Fri, 06 Jan 2017 23:15:25 +0000 http://www.maninranks.com/?p=4857 FNR 17

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2016 not 1865 http://www.maninranks.com/2016/11/20/its-2016-not-1865-reflections-on-trumpster-clinton-inc/ http://www.maninranks.com/2016/11/20/its-2016-not-1865-reflections-on-trumpster-clinton-inc/#comments Sun, 20 Nov 2016 12:40:18 +0000 http://www.maninranks.com/?p=4846 Executive summary by Jonathan Pie. Please note rough, Brit pub language, but no rougher than a presidential political campaign.

The stunning and also logical outcome of the presidential election coincided with several national anniversaries which modulate for me the Blues raving of apocalyptic certainty versus the Reds we-did-it, game-winning, end-zone Shimmey. It wasn’t only that Donald trumped Hillary. The nation, at nearly every level of government, told that level of government that it wants something done about the way that things are going, being communicated and How who is benefitting. What is to be made of the news industry, whose talents, resources and reputation are devoted to accurate insight of what is going-on, and so completely misidentified the will of the people that they “impartially” observe?

I believe that George Packer had it right in his New Yorker article published on Halloween.

On November 10 the United States Marine Corps celebrated its 241 birthday. Birthday greetings from their Commandant, General Neller, persuade me that there yet remains plenty of institutions valuing self-sacrifice, tradition and commitment to purpose.

On November 11 we celebrated Veterans Day. Before class in the Research Triangle Park, I asked 4 or 5 MBA graduates what does this day celebrate? Yikes! No one knew and the best guess was D-Day. Maybe we should rename it Thank You For Your Service Day which no veteran truly wants to hear because it is interpreted as ‘TYFYS while I was shopping at the mall.’ We haven’t experienced yet The War to End All Wars as was the ambition for the 11.11 at 11 a.m. armistice in 1918. I’m a proponent of national service for every young American. Maybe not military service and surely a ‘larger than the individual’ experience that introduces Blues to Reds, develops marketable skills and demonstrates the wonder of our nation as well as the need to preserve it.

November 19 is a special day for me. The older that I become, the more that I admire Abraham Lincoln. How did he do it?! Those Blues and Grays really did go to war. I’ve tried to memorize his Gettysburg Address delivered on 19 November 1963 and the near concluding segment challenges me.

Maybe it’s useful that I am not yet able to commit the Address to memory as such causes me to read and to re-read its hopeful admonition:

“It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion.”

Now we have an immediate cause of our own. Its necessity may not be the preservation of our nation and it may be a time to nurture a renewed birth of freedom ensuring “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

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Try Again. Fail Again. http://www.maninranks.com/2016/09/22/try-again-fail-again/ http://www.maninranks.com/2016/09/22/try-again-fail-again/#comments Thu, 22 Sep 2016 17:43:06 +0000 http://www.maninranks.com/?p=4833 I admire Stan Wawrinka. Seemingly doomed to be the foil to the magnificent Roger Federer. Like Andy Roddick and David Ferrer, a great tennis player and great in an era of the Olympian players Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and, certainly, Roger. Even when he won the 2008 Olympic Gold medal for Tennis Doubles, the story-line was that he was Federer’s partner.

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I witnessed Stan in full form on the opening round of the US Open in 2009, the year that Del Potro upset Roger in 5 sets including 2 tie-breakers. Roger lost late and Stan lost early; also in 5 sets, also with 2 tie-breakers, also to a South American, Nicolas Lapentti of Equador. Roger defeated on centre court before an audience of 23,000+; Stan defeated on a back court of the BJK Tennis Centre before an audience of several dozen, although the Ecuadorian flag and soccer-style fans out-sung their size. When people ever ask about being at a US Open, I answer with the vignette that ‘you can get so close that I once handed Stan Wawrinka a ball at the short fence in the middle of a match (the Lapentti one).’

His victory over Djokovic in the French Open of 2015 followed by their late 2015 Davis Cup victory versus France – this time he carried Roger with the bad back – certified Stan as a top player and much less of Roger’s hitting partner.

Then came Stan the Man, the indecipherable signature tattoo on his left arm, the ugly shorts and the wonder if he had only partnered with Magnus Norman earlier in his career.

For the third year in a row, he’s won a Grand Slam tournament and now has 3 as does Andy Murray, by the way. Tennis fans are no longer surprised when Stan goes deep in a tournament and no one really expects him to come out on top often. After all, the magnificent four are still around with Murray on the rise, Joker in the driver’s seat, Roger and Rafa waning.

I didn’t believe that Stan would defeat Djokovic on the anniversary of 9/11. Tennis, to me is like all sports, respite from, much less representative of life and the affairs of living. Stan won in 4 sets; Joker wasn’t his normal abnormal self, although he played well enough to win the match. Stan was braver in the end. More confident. More determination. More backhand. Most honest about his nervousness just prior to the match and his conviction to fail better throughout the match.

Roger Cohen of the NY Times reflected on 9/11 in an editorial published on 12 September, the morning after Stan’s victory. He makes a point that we honor one another not by wallowing in the past but by honouring the future of the past. He even says it, “by failing better.” I thought that he had to know what is inscribed on Stan’s left arm although RC does not mention it. But I want to.

We have Stan with another late in his career Grand Slam victory; his credo published on his arm; the 15th anniversary of 9/11 and what that’s done or what we’ve become, if only temporarily, as a result = the choice between a Hillary and a Trump. As Roger Cohen suggests, it’s obvious what we should do. There is no need to wait for anyone.

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The Strength of the Service is the Ship http://www.maninranks.com/2016/07/05/the-strength-of-the-service-is-the-ship/ http://www.maninranks.com/2016/07/05/the-strength-of-the-service-is-the-ship/#comments Tue, 05 Jul 2016 13:25:49 +0000 http://www.maninranks.com/?p=4826 Amidst the thundering rains of this spring, which every bush, tree and weed rooted on our half-acre of taxable property vigorously relishes, we’ve enjoyed several ‘calm after the storm’ evenings and weekends. Trying to take advantage of the spurts of sun, I’ve attempted impromptu BBQs with friends and last-minute tennis matches with the usual partners. So often are the replies “We’ll be or we’re on a cruise.” The destinations seem to reflect the recent popularity of Downton Abbey and its PBS sponsor, Viking Cruise Lines. Plus, our academic community of UNC and Duke MDs and professors likes to vacation in a pattern of life-long learning. There’s no hitting every major league ball park or cruising to Sturgis for my crowd.

I hear of bicycle tours through Provence; palatial barges floating down the Danube; tennis tournaments in Finland; days in Stockholm before days in Saint Petersburg. Every once in a while, someone admits to taking the family to Wilmington for a week at North Carolina’s own shoreline. I guess these guys are not too keen on the Crawleys.

Our local USNA Alumni Chapter hosts 8 monthly luncheons per year in a inconvenient-to-none, convenient-to-none chain restaurant on the outskirts of the Raleigh-Durham airport and off of I-40. It’s not as bad as it sounds and the chow is about the same. We try to get a lot done in 90 minutes, including the guest speaker’s remarks, which leaves little time for lengthy conversations amongst attendees. One gimmick for connecting the group is to poll the audience of their service selections. We have plenty of aviators (I’m always corrected when I, as the MC (more like the class clown), refer to this community as pilots); Marines, both Semper Fi and Sub, are well represented.

I never like asking “How many Surface Warfare Officers are here today?” Surface Warfare! Remember when the training in Newport was referred to as Destroyer School? It’s a Navy; our Navy; The Navy. Why do ships that steam on top of the water and under the stars, America’s Navy, defer in brand-recognition to the other branches of the same service ?

I know that I’m exaggerating and that others can explain the strategic balance of our naval forces better than I so I’ll leave it to them to do this. I’m not stuck on this point because whenever I swap sea stories with the aviators, Marines and nuclear engineers, my ‘liberty in port’ stories are almost always better than their 20,000 leagues under the sea or 20,000 feet in the sky stories. It’s kind of like discussing life in Bancroft Hall before there were female midshipmen (some in the Chapter say before the Academy became the University of Navy, but I won’t go this far because I know that plebe year changed in 1969 before I got to the Yard, very truly yours, English Major Chris). Of course, I never offer such information when I am so exalted by the classes of 1980 and beyond. Actually, I lay it on pretty thick feigning amused amazement, “What! No B-Robes!” “No Tea Fights!” “No Brick Parties (I only saw one and it was pretty lame)!” “No Sock, Jocks and Lock-Box.” Usually, I’ve gone too far on this point, because no one ever knows what a lock-box is.
Now that I think about it, why did anyone ever trust that anything secured in a portable, tin box with a Master combination lock was safe or secure? I realize now the reason that the contents of my lock-box were safe was because I never had anything worth stealing except maybe the lock and the box.

Back to the luncheons and occasions when sea-stories are swapped: I may have been a SWO and I spent 103 consecutive days in Olongapo in 1976 (amongst the numerous drawbacks of a perpetually CASREPed 1200 pound steam plant, including the long lines for penicillin at morning sick call, one highlight was that the Joseph Strauss wardroom won the base softball championship. Another highlight is that the six NROTC 1/c midshipmen who reported aboard for summer training only saw water in one of two ways: a monsoon or crossing the brow into town for an evening of San Miguels and sincere affection from the locals, usually female. One arriving NROTC mid from Tulane University went straight from the Cubi Point Air Field to nightlife Olongapo in his TWLs. As I was the Midshipman Cruise Training Officer, he sent me Christmas cards until he turned 30 years old. I sometimes wonder if he stopped such communication because he expatriated to the PI?!). As a throw-away, I tell the submariners about Korean bar girls, Hong Kong golf, snorkeling in Saipan and the quiet beauty of 20 knots across the Pacific Ocean. I never get around to the dark tales of sea-sickness, tedium, storms, pot-smokers on watch and the endless cycle of gun-decked inspections.

Alas, all of such faux adventures were on deployment, what the Navy calls cruises, i.e. the ship cruises to WestPac on deployment. These sound alert and ready for action even though the long voyage was mundane and the action that the crew was eager to engage was not offered by another navy. I did go on a Navy cruise once and this is the one that I recall whenever one of the local Downton Abbey types informs me of their pending deployment.

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AFS–2 USS Sylvania
I just wanted to go to the Mediterranean. I gave up on my flight school ambition; a summer on a submarine could only be trumped by a summer in Bancroft Hall (which I did after the Med cruise and was put in hack by classmate Lee Culver for my lack of squared-awayness. Fortunately, while in said hack, Murdoch and I met Lori and Leslie in front of the Chapel).
After June Week and our too-brief leave period, 6 USNA midshipmen embarked on this fine fighting refrigerator ship aka combat stores ship. I have zip slash recollection of how we got to the Sylvania, although I recall clearly that the return journey involved a helo hop to the Kennedy, helo hop to a military base in either Spain or Italy and a flight to D.C via a long stop in Iceland, concluding with a bus ride to Bancroft Hall.

Talk about a cruise! The passengers, we Mids, and the officers enjoyed 10 section watch, like on the bridge every other day. The wardroom had its own game table, not rigged for 5 hands of poker but a table where 5 guys played poker and the others at the same table participated in a non-stop game of Risk. There was a television-viewing section in this wardroom. And a dining table that seated 14 or so. I’ll repeat this descriptor several times, “being a refrigerator ship (BARS)”, we had delicious bug juices of several colors plus coffee and ice tea around the clock. BARS meant that we supplied steak, movies and ice cream to the other ships in the Med as well as to anyone in any port who provided a desired or needed service that could be expedited for 10 gallons of ice cream or a couple of cans of the latest films from Hollywood. BARS, we watched movies all night when not on every-other-day watch standing.

BARS we had two twin 3-inch gun pods, one on each side. Our commanding officer was highly reluctant to exercise such armament. I guess because no one would sink a refrigerator ship with such goodies aboard unless they thought that the refrigerator ship might accidentally, in a moment of ill-considered panic, shoot back. BARS, whatever we didn’t have, we sent out for via one of the two MH–60 helos. Such replenishment included members of the crew detained in Naples or still in bed in Majorca when the ship recently set sail without them. BARS, everyone, everywhere was happy to see us. For the years when my children were enthralled by the notion of Santa Claus, questioning where he lived when not distributing gifts to worthy children that singular evening, I replied that he lives on a refrigerator ship because BARS feels like Santa the other 364 days.

BARS was not without its nautical value even though the supply department was the largest department reporting to the commanding officer. Getting this single screw tub underway was an adventure in boating, to say the least. As the executive officer was also the ship’s navigator, actual fixes and plots when underway were the cognizance of a first class quartermaster and a third class boatswain mate, Ken and Jerry, tucked away in a tiny Nav Plot with barely enough room for the radar scope and the navigation table. As part of my midshipman practical factors, filling-out questions in a so-called cruise book, one section addressed fundamentals of navigation so I volunteered as part of the Sea and Anchor Navigation Detail, i.e. hanging with Ken and Jerry.

I would be remiss if I did not comment on the Cruise Book process aboard AFS–2. The six first class mids would gather in the spacious wardroom, play Risk, watch Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson films and solicit seaman-like advice from the ship’s officers, including the aviators. Honestly, all we wanted were the answers to the questions and their signatures of validation. This training usually took place as the various reels of the film were being changed or someone was taking too long with their turn at Risk.
As you might imagine, there is one in every crowd where the weight of the Honor Code distorted one’s thinking, and one mid, being concerned that such BARS gouge-sharing might be considered an honor offense by some not familiar with life Before the Mast, shredded and threw his cruise books into the Mediterranean Sea despite the counseling and protests of his five Midshipman 1/c shipmates. The result of which was that the BARS 5 all aced first class cruise and he of the Deep 6 Cruise Book Conscience received a D for his incomplete effort. Just prior to our graduation, he admitted to me his regret for such impulsive behavior.

Back to Ken and Jerry. There are multiple paths to naval service, both officer and enlisted. QM1 Ken Hoteling’s path was via the Galloping Goose Motorcycle Club. Ken netted-out his recruiting yarn as either “jail or the Navy.”

Indeed, Ken was a man of few words. One underway watch in the early morning out of a busy port, he encouraged Jerry to stop sitting on the chart table and to provide radar bearings useful for navigating. As part of his own underway ritual, Jerry liked to play loudly on his boom box the then popular song by Golden Earring, “Radar Love”, so maybe he didn’t hear Ken’s suggestion. Amidst the sounded-powered phone communication with the officer of the deck, plotting fixes on the navigation chart and, essentially, overwhelmed with the detail and the intensity of moment, Ken found time, after repeating his suggestion to Jerry, to lunge at him with his navigation dividers (that instrument with the two sharp, pointy ends). I’m sure that Jerry would have hopped to his duties faster had not the dividers pinned his dungarees to the surface of the chart table right about where the top of his leg attached to his torso. Jerry freed his dungarees, handed Ken the dividers, simply exclaiming, “Jesus, Ken?!”

I recall vaguely a couple of other Ken Hoteling stories such as the time on liberty where as we enjoyed 5 centavo green beers, Ken struck up a friendship with a table of holidaying Swedish men and women even though Ken spoke no Swedish and the Swedes didn’t speak Ken’s English. The U.N. moment abruptly concluded when Ken called Jerry over to share the fellowship and Jerry detoured to a potted tree to throw-up. I think Ken said something like, “Jesus, Jerry?!”

My other Ken-fable passes on his own description of reporting aboard the Sylvania. Apparently drunk and disorderly. Violently so. Either the Shore Patrol brought him to the ship or the Master at Arms (MAA) greeted him with keen disrespect. Ken describes the route to his berthing compartment and assignment to his rack as being ‘dragged by his heels down a ladder where his head did not miss a rung.’ “And that’s a fact,” Ken’s favorite phrase of validation and emphasis. I never took exception. Confined to the ship for 30 days as his welcome aboard packet, Ken encountered the MAA on one of the upper decks of the Sylvania. Somehow, a tussle ensued where the MAA went over the side. Ken remarked to me that he, the MAA, “was lucky it was the side with the water. And that’s a fact.”

Certainly there are other highlights of BARS such as attending a Mozart concert in the ancient Greek amphitheater near Athens; or the cab ride down the side-walk in 5 o’clock traffic so that two of us could get back to the pier in time to catch the last boat back to the Sylvania. Quite the sensation to view out of the right window tables of people seated outdoors and to simultaneously window-shop on the port side of the taxi.

Our son is stationed in Naples.He’s the PAO. I visited him in late winter. I found ourselves near the section of the port where I recalled the Sunday afternoon that the Sylvania got underway on an emergency basis as Naples suffered a typhoid epidemic and the C.O. did not want his ship quarantined. We left about one dozen crew members ashore as we low-tailed it to the sea. BARS, we sent the helos back for the unmustered crew. Ice cream and steaks for all in joyful reunion.

AFS–2 is gone since 1994. Support ships are now manned by civilian crews. Edges soften with time and memories tend to gravitate to the positive. Of all of the places that I’d like to re-visit or the individuals that I’d like to know about, I have no interest in revisiting or updating or verifying the people and circumstances of that summer on the Sylvania. BARS was plenty. And I’m never, ever going on a cruise. How could Viking, Princess or Disney compete?! And that’s a fact.

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Blue Pane Studio Produces Apps #79 and #80 http://www.maninranks.com/2016/07/05/blue-pane-studio-produces-apps/ http://www.maninranks.com/2016/07/05/blue-pane-studio-produces-apps/#comments Tue, 05 Jul 2016 13:12:35 +0000 http://www.maninranks.com/?p=4816 AS Blog

NCI Sip

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A note to my USNA classmates: sudden recollection of midshipmen sports http://www.maninranks.com/2016/03/19/a-note-to-my-usna-classmates-sudden-recollection-of-midshipmen-sports/ http://www.maninranks.com/2016/03/19/a-note-to-my-usna-classmates-sudden-recollection-of-midshipmen-sports/#comments Sat, 19 Mar 2016 09:03:28 +0000 http://www.maninranks.com/?p=4805 “The meet brought midshipmen and alumni fencers, representing classes ranging from 1960 to 2013, together for competitive matches that tested each other’s wits and skills.”

I read this and wrote to Jay Eads, “Why weren’t we invited.” He replied, “Good question! Maybe they only invited alums that were wealthy as opposed to us natural athletes. I’ve never heard of this.”

PEP, P.E. and Brigade Sports
I’ve played tennis 30+ years which is just about – Grim Reaper Alert – half of our lifetimes. I’ve gotten inconsistently and progressively better for two reasons: at one point it was hard to get worse; and I play a lot because I’ve worked from a home office since the mid-1990s and the tennis club is only two miles away from said home office. Frequently, I skip noon meal formation and bolt for such a workout or declare a Youngster Afternoon to hit the clay (we have 19 clay courts)

Between you and me, I am pretty good for my age. My strokes will not be found in any How To guide and the strength of my game is my Don’t Give Up the Ship attitude….belay my last, the strength of my game is that I run around a lot, outlasting the former really good players who rely on past skill rather than running around a lot.

By now, everyone at our tennis club knows that I’m a USNA grad. I’m only more distinguished by not being either a medical doctor or a university professor, the likes of which comprise 75% of our club’s membership. Because of my USNA novelty and my ‘running around a lot’ style of play, my “talent” is attributed to those days on the Severn where it is presumed that we were trained and nurtured, maybe even injected, Jason Bourne-like, to be more athlete than scholar. Such sweet irony and a reminder to distribution that Vietnam got me into the Academy not my stunningly low SAT scores. At the Academy, I became a much better student than I was in high school while demonstrating 2.0 athletic abilities. Interjection: I was never bested in any P.E. class on the Hospital Point Obstacle Course. All gravy once that I got over the rope-climb.

Whenever a tennis partner connects me with the the Navy or the Naval Academy, I’ve never replied that I was on the 4th Battalion Bowling Team in that first semester of plebe year. Nor do I describe being Paul Brandon’s motley crew on that 420 in the freezing spring waters on the Chesapeake or that I learned handball at USNA with the unexpected in-court-only spooning by Captain ‘call me Chuck on the Court (only)’ Krulak.

My younger son traded his high school lacrosse gear for a set of golf clubs when he went off to State U. Over Christmas, we played a couple of rounds. At 6’5” with modern clubs and single piece balls, he knocks it a long way. He’ll really be good and save plenty of money when he learns to hit them straight regularly. As we meandered from one shot to the next, we talked about the value of learning early in life such a sport as golf. From the library of “Hadn’t Used Those Phrases in 40 Years” presented the expression, Carry-Over Sport. Ya know, golf and tennis, as taught to us in a couple of P.E. classes in preparation for the days not too far off when one realizes that football and basketball would become, first, inconvenient, and, gradually, dangerous. I wonder if Yoga or Ultimate Frisbee is suggested as a C-O-S by the 21st century version of Coach Al Cantello?!

PEP, PE and Brigade Intramurals blurr into one frame now, although I am able still to hear Heinz Lenz and to taste the cotton-mouth of the indoor mile runs.

Baseball was my sport in high school. Played varsity for 3 years. Got cut just before the team headed to the state playoffs because I skipped practice in order to organize the senior prom party at a Bourbon Street Motel. That scheme failed also at the last minute = no baseball trophy and no party. I was ready for a change of scenery right about May 1970. I tried-out for the Plebe baseball team observing that ‘those not recruited to play’ were of a different caste than those so selected. Chopping from that far way ball field with the weird outfield dimensions back to Bancroft doused my field-of-dreams dream. And I wasn’t that good.

I tried golf Plebe Summer. Honor Offense Alert. Sobel and I never played a hole. We came-up with this plan that we’d ride the bus to the golf course, catch some Zs in the woods, arrive back in the Halls in time to miss evening meal formation (such was the bus schedule). Another scheme run-ground as it was hard to hide in the woods a) because other golfers hit their own balls there and b) White Works in July are not an effective camouflage pattern. Never visited the golf course again.

I signed-up for the 4th Batt Bowling Team in the first set of plebe year. Never attended a practice, never rolled a ball, had no clue where the alleys were even. I read in a far-gone USNA-gram that the bowling alleys closed for conversion to something of modern value. First reaction, “now I’ll never be able to return during some important reunion to reminisce wistfully about my first intramural sport that I never played.”

I remember Yorke Warden and Paul Sullivan playing Batt Flag Football. Isn’t that where Max Cranney injured, fatally it turned out, his kidney?! I played a lot of touch football in high school with me as the quarterback. Never tried it at USNA except the time that the 4/c played the 3/c in a game of tackle football on one Sunday afternoon of extreme foul weather. Such a pleasure to tackle John Yencha to the muddy ground!

I just flashed on those several classes of gymnastics in the gym which was actually some deck in a building or hall. Do you remember exercises on the rings, flips on the trampoline and rotations on the horse?! And wasn’t there some exercise for grade on the parallel bars? The average mid is about 100 pounds too large for the sport.

I still grimace in absurd memory of the mile run indoors, those 8 circles of ultimate mental anguish where laps 5 and 6 seemed to repeat themselves in imitation of Greek mythology. I can visualize the morning (my PE classes seemed to always be 3rd period) when classmate Iovanna, despite the collegial urgings of that lieutenant in his SDB, jogged to a walk, a DIW actually, right about mile marker Lap 7. The supervising LT, enraged by Joe’s failure to live-up to any one of our Reef Points published Famous Naval Sayings, discarded his SDB blouse (coat) and began to run around the track threatening that if he caught-up with Midshipman I…. Joe picked-up the pace, finished his mile run in, like the entire P.E period, and went on to the sub-squad.

The unforgettable afternoon that Art Edinger 2/c ran off of the sea wall in pursuit of a fly ball during a 3rd set softball game on Hospital Point. I recall Art as being an OK upperclassman. However, on behalf of the losers in his class that could not be so described, I was thrilled by his misadventure. Too bad Sports Center had not been invented yet. Top 10 for sure.

Don’t cry for me, Annapolis, as my Yard Jock career is not all characterized by poor planning, mis-adventure and drifting-around waiting for evening meal. I signed-up for the Batt Fencing Team in 2/c year, led by Jay Eads who manifested clear signs of his promising political savoir-faire. My weapon was the saber.

Forty-five minutes into an afternoon workout near the handball courts and the boxing rings, Coach Eads appears asking/reminding/insisting, with charm, that I join the scheduled matches topside in the fencing loft. I had forgotten about the match. My opponent was the Sabre Champion, #1 Lancer on the varsity team, A Guy Who Knew What He Was Doing. Unlike foil or epee where one touches the opponent with the point of the weapon, the saber is used in the way that we imagine boarding parties of 18th century pirates to handle their weapons in frantic combat – with fearless slashes and devastating cuts. Argh! Unlike the engagements of the Spanish Main, first one to make five touches on his opponent would win our intramural battle.

This note is much longer than I intended so I’ll give you the 140 character version. I won 5-0. Or maybe it was 5-4. But I did win.

My post-match analysis is that I achieved this intramural fame because I was thoroughly warmed-up. Thank you, speed bag. Plus, LeSaber could not have taken me seriously. Culminating my tres brief fencing career, was the sight of Coach Andre Deladrier, a fencing legend of Olympic experience, who approached Coach Eads to inquire about me. I prefer to believe that his question was in the vein of stunned admiration akin to “who was that masked man/mid.” And he could have said as well, “I’ll fry his ass if I ever see him in the fencing loft again.” Only Jay Eads would have heard this.

746773

Regards,
Chris

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