Adventures Around the Web August 26-September 1, 2017

It’s been an unbelievably crazy week.  Even though I’m nowhere near Hurricane Harvey in Texas, I’ve had to help people at work who are there.  Everything is very chaotic, because the situation is so chaotic.

Erin Kelly and Kevin Green

Crews Cut Steel for the Next Aircraft Carrier Enterprise

The Navy is building a new aircraft carrier.  Enterprise, of course, has special meaning, because of Star Trek.  I remember when NASA renamed the space shuttle Enterprise after a write-in campaign.  It was pretty cool.  This will be the ninth Navy ship named Enterprise.  The first one was in 1775.  Ships named Enterprise have a long history!

**Note if you watch the video and you start getting music halfway through, scroll down and turn off the second video.  It’s set to autoplay.  Most annoying!

Lakshmi Gandi on NPR

History of Snake Oil Salesman

I had to look this up for my GALCOM story.  Pretty interesting site on the history of snake oil salesman.  Most of my knowledge came, unfortunately, from old Westerns like The Big Valley, where the snake oil salesman was conning people into buying fake medicine.  I had no idea the origins were with the Chinese and that it really did work.  Very interesting that the oil had the Omega 3 acids that we need for healing inflammation.

Geert Weggen on Bored Panda

Squirrel Game of Thrones

Virginia has a love-hate relationship with squirrels (mostly hate, actually).  But this is silly and fun.  Who thought a squirrel could ride a dragon?

Christopher Luu on Refinery 29

A Gender Swapped Lord of the Flies Remake Nobody Asked for is Coming

I’m all for getting better roles for women in film–not just “girlfriend of the hero” that’s pretty common.  But gender-swapping like this is ridiculous.  It speaks volumes about the risk adverse problems in Hollywood.  It’s apparently easier to remake a film and swap out the genders then it is to create new material that uses men and women better.

Venable Dance

Word Motivates Change.  Your World Be Motivated

Very powerful video on hope, habits, and how to change the world.  From Roberta Viler.

Navy Not Understanding Women

Uniform changes are always hard for the military personnel.  It was something we wore every day, so a little change could be a big impact.  We got the black beret at tail end of my time in service.  The thing was awful.  The previous hat was cotton and could be tossed in the wash when it got sweaty from work; the new one had to be dry cleaned.  The new one also cost $40–do you know how easy it is to lose a hat?

This particular change the Navy did was bizarre.  They wanted the all the sailors to look alike, so they declared everyone would have one uniform–with the default being the male uniform.

Which means with some women, they will have to be several sizes up and do some major alternations.  And the Navy has a lot of different uniforms–they have the white one we’re used to seeing and its winter black companion; the camo uniform; the work uniform–all with different hats as well.

Not all women have the same shape, so some alterations are always necessary, even with regular clothes.  But changing clothing made for a man’s body to fit for a woman’s body–that’s at least one, maybe two major alterations–on four different uniforms, each with multiple sets.

I spent $25 to have darts put on a shirt so it would fit me better.  That was a minor alteration.  Even though the enlisted get a stipend (Army was clothing allowance), I wouldn’t be surprised if it only covered the cost of buying the uniforms, not on alterations.

It also amazes me that the men are complaining that the women are being treated as special for asking for clothes that fit and don’t require extensive alterations.

Inside the cockpit of the Blue Angels

My father sent this to me.  It’s a camera inside the cockpit of one of the Blue Angels.  Some stunning footage!

View of the Blue Angels

Earlier this year, the Blue Angels were in Washington, DC, and they were doing some aerial photography—so they would be flying overhead.  The first time I heard the jet engines, which were quite distinctive, it hit me that it was them.  By the time I got to the window, they were long gone.

The second time I heard the engines, I moved a lot faster and just saw the tail end of the jets.  They move very fast.

My father sent me this video.  It’s a stunning view of the Blue Angels, taken from inside the cockpit.   Go all the way to the end and check out the names and ages of the pilots.  Not one of the pilots is under the age of 31.  Experience does count.


After this post, I’m going to stop doing posts every day and revert back to a 2-3 times a week.

Navy discontinues its blueberry uniforms

Uniforms are an important part of life for both soldiers and the military.  For the soldiers, it’s what they wear, every day that they report to duty.  For the military, and especially the higher ups, it’s a way to make their mark on the service, and a very visible one, before they retire.

And usually, it’s not for the better.

Navy Discontinues Navy Working Uniform Type I Uniform

Last week, the Navy announced that they would be discontinuing their blue camouflage uniforms, nicknamed “blueberries.”

Trust soldiers to come up with an insulting nickname.

The uniform popped up when all the services were trying to show they were unique by coming up with their own camouflage (blame the Marines.  They started it).  But if you served on a ship, what good would camouflage do?

Needless to say, the uniform wasn’t much liked.  The Army also changed its uniform not too long ago.

The Army excursion into uniform change: the beret

I was still in the Army when the much hated berets were introduced.  It was a hat that never made sense.  The one we originally wore was like a square off ball cap with a brim.  Perfect for doing details and grubby work.  It wasn’t very expensive, and it could be thrown in the wash when the brim got all sweaty.   Also could be folded up and stuck in a pocket.

But beret?

It was wool and had this leather band around the bottom.  Cost a lot for a hat.  Had to be dry cleaned.  Really?  Let’s see, I went to the field and it rained for the entire week.  Then there was Desert Storm where the sweat didn’t just transfer to the hat; it imprinted.  A fussy beret would not have worked.

Somehow, no one thought about anything beyond what it looked like.

How do military personal get the new uniforms?

The military does not make the soldiers rush out and buy the new uniforms, which would be quite a hardship.  There’s a fairly long period where the old uniforms can wear out and be replaced by the new styles.

An interesting bit of trivia:  Despite being in the military for so many years, I cannot spell camouflage!  I had it three times above, and not one was spelled correctly.  It’s a very confusing word!

The Biggest Fear of War

There were lots of things to be afraid of during Desert Storm: Getting gassed, getting hit by a scud, enemy troops—and getting captured.

I watched the very bad Jessica Lynch movie and nearly had a meltdown when the commander of the convoy knew he was lost and kept driving in the same direction anyway, which led to the events that followed. It could have happened to us.  I could see one of our leaders doing that.

But it takes a special of courage to try do something to help yourself even when you are terrified and facing the business end of many rifles.  There was a very public incident where a Navy ship was captured briefly by the Iranians—do to leadership failures, which caused some bad choices.  But the one woman on the mission managed to turn on the beacon while under gunpoint, signaling help.

Courage isn’t racing into a battle foolishly—it’s what you do when you’re scared to death, and you do it anyway.

Monster Ships: Aircraft Carriers

When I went to Hawaii back in the 1980s, there was an aircraft carrier in the harbor. This was pre-military for me, and the first time I’d ever seen a Navy ship that wasn’t part of a museum (a World War II submarine in Wisconsin).

I think it was one of the smaller ones, but I looking up at this enormous ship standing so tall and high and going, “Holy cow!”

This is a video of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, otherwise known as the Big Stick. Watch the size of the sailboats that pass it by.

U.S. Navy Band takes on the oldies

This one’s courtesy of my cousin, Sonya.  The Navy band performed on the steps of the Navy Memorial in Washington, DC, singing some classic oldies.  They look like they’re having a blast!

Navy’s one size fits all on uniforms

When I was in the army, I never much liked the skirt part of the Class A uniform (which was green then).  The reason was pretty basic: If I wore the skirt, I had to wear those god-awful pumps.  My feet are very wide, and anything pointed = bad, bad idea.

Women have always had two parts to the uniform, a pants and low quarters shoes version, and a skirt and pumps version.  Now the Navy is now proposing to make all the uniforms for women look like the ones men wear, to make everyone look equal.  But instead:

“By trying to hide female sailors and Marines in formation by putting them in male uniforms, it suggests that leaders are ashamed of women. Servicemen and women can be equal without having to wear the exact same uniform that, when it comes down to it, was designed for men, not women.”

The bad part is that the upper levels of leadership can’t see this.  Speaks for how much the leadership still can’t relate to having women in the service.  This is why it’s so important that more women get into the upper ranks where these decisions are made.

Women on subs

I grew up watching reruns of Sea Hunt with Lloyd Bridges, and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,  with David Hedison.  I managed David’s website for about 10 years.

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was set on board a futuristic submarine with these awesome front windows so you could see what was going on outside.  The first season started out with spies, which were hot everywhere, and then abruptly the trend died, so they went to science fiction and monsters with the change to color.

And the show lacked women.  The producer, Irwin Allen, thought women were too expensive because their make up took longer, so the show had so few women in the later years you could count them on one hand.  It was a shame, because the Seaview was set up as a private research submarine, and they could have easily added a woman or two to the cast.

But now real submarines are going to have women.  That is something I might have tried.  Aside from being in the wrong service, but still … submarines.


Required submarine reading:

Up Periscope, by Robb White

Some way awesome fan images of the Seaview.   Submarines!