Friday, March 30, 2007

First Time in History?

"Sherman's Neckties"

Railroad ties about to be heated by fire
and then twisted and bent to make them useless

That statement gets thrown around a lot. “The first time in history”; just what the heck is that supposed to mean? The first time in whose history and just how do you know what the history is? Well, the reason I ask this question is because today while searching for a certain “You Tube” that I haven’t been able to locate, I stumbled across a video (that I’m not going to post) with a discussion about the circumstances of the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11 of 2001. The hostess was exclaiming that it was physically impossible for the buildings to have fallen without the help of explosive devices and for the “First time in history fire had melted steel”.

I took a deep breath and thought to myself this must be some type of expert on metallurgy and that everything that I have learned about steel in my whole entire life was a complete lie. I started packing up all my books on metallurgy and my Machinery’s Handbook along with all my scientific instrumentation handbooks and I started to head to the trashcan with all my books. I had determined that this person on TV knew so much about this subject that in order to be taken so seriously by so many that I must be wrong and so were the authors of the books I was about to toss in the trash can.

I then stopped for a moment and I thought again to myself; let me go across the street to my neighbor Jim and have a talk with him maybe he could straighten me out. Jim is a retired welder from the steel mill that many of my neighbors work at not five miles from house. I asked Jim ”how in the heck do they melt steel down at the steel mill Jim?” My neighbor Jim is a very nice fellow and sometimes believes me to be a bit eccentric but we understand each other and are good neighbors and friends. Jim just stood there and looked at me incredulously when I asked him that question about how they melt steel at the steel mill. Jim said they use heat; they melt steel with heat he said. Jim also asked me "are you OK?" Jim seemed like he was a bit worried about me.

I told Jim why I was asking him this question. I said I had heard on a TV show in the morning that “for the first time in history fire had melted steel”. Jim shook his head and told me don’t believe everything you hear on that infernal box and he went back to what he was doing. Jim was welding a piece of steel and as I was walking back across the street to my house I thought to my self yea, Jim is probably right. I shouldn’t believe everything I hear on TV.

The neckties were created in accordance with an explicit order from Sherman in his Atlanta Campaign, dated July 18, 1864:

...twisting the bars when hot. Officers should be instructed that bars simply bent may be used again, but if when red hot they are twisted out of line they cannot be used again. Pile the ties into shape for a bonfire, put the rails across and when red hot in the middle, let a man at each end twist the bar so that its surface becomes spiral.

*Update* See what Popular Mechanics has to say about the statement "for the first time in history fire has melted steel"
Popular Mechanics

Fame is a fickle food

Fame is a fickle food
Upon a shifting plate
Whose table once a
Guest but not
The second time is set.

Whose crumbs the crows inspect
And with ironic caw
Flap past it to the Farmer's Corn--
Men eat of it and die.

Emily Dickinson

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Iranian Question

I have two questions about the Iranians. What are the coordinates of this well? When will everyone be there?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

History Lesson for Senators

This morning I heard United States Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska say that we are are not at war with Islam. Senator Hagel made these remarks during his convuluted speech while explaining his vote in the United States Senate as the only Republican to vote for the surrender of Iraq. Senator Hagel of Nebraska is playing some kind of strange politcal game or Senator Hagel really is ignorant of the facts of actual recorded history. In any case Senator Hagel of Nebraska needs to understand the history of what is actually going on because to say we are not at war with radical Islam is to bury your warped head in the sand and someone ought to tell the Muslims that we are not at war with them because they are making every effort to destroy us.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Keeping them Safe?

An FA/18 Super Hornet cats off flight deck of US carrier somewhere in the Persian Gulf.

I heard Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi say she wants to bring the troops home to keep them safe. I think the Speaker has it all wrong. It's the men and women of the armed service (especially the US Navy ;-) keeping Nancy Pelosi safe so she can be the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Our military isn't trained to be "safe", they're trained to destroy things and win wars to protect our freedom. It always amazes me to listen to the backwards thinking of liberals.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

US Navy Special Boats

Thanks to Litle Bird

Whether it's searching ships for weapons, or inserting Operators on a mission The US Navy Special Boat Units get it done! It's a tough job but they're doing it.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Admiral Lord Nelson

Admiral Lord Nelson_Lemuel Abbott

Today in the news I have read that Sailors and Marines of the British Royal Navy have been taken prisoner by Iranian forces claiming that the British were in violation of Iranian territorial waters. That may or may not be the case but the Iranians could have avoided an escalation of tensions by discussing the matter with the Officer in Charge and directing them out of the disputed area. In a prior incident British Sailors were captured by the Iranians and paraded in front of television cameras and forced to apologize for their mistake. Those types of demands are unacceptable and the Royal Navy Sailors and Marines must resist bowing to the Iranian demands.

Fear not my boys; you have a Prime Minister that is behind you as if Lord Nelson himself was standing there. These ventures sometimes go awry, so go the fortunes of war. So chins up and chests out my boys, serve with honor a dignity my fellows. Help is at hand and you will not be abandoned. The long and honorable tradition of your Navy demands it.

To set the tone on how British sailors ought to conduct themselves Admiral Nelson wrote a letter to Governor Hugh Elliot in 1804 ;”When I am without orders, and unexpected occurences arise, I shall always act as I think the honour and glory of my King and Country demand."

I have visited HMS Victory at the naval base in Portsmouth, England. HMS Victory was Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship and the ship he died aboard while engaging the Franco-Spanish forces in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Admiral Nelson was arguably the best Naval Commander of all time and he understood his place in human history quite clearly. The admiral wrote this prayer before the battle;

"May the Great God, whom I worship, grant to my Country, and for the benefit of Europe in general, a great and glorious Victory; and may no misconduct in anyone tarnish it; and may humanity after Victory be the predominant feature in the British Fleet. For myself, individually, I commit my life to Him who made me, and may His blessing light upon my endeavours for serving my country faithfully. To him I resign myself and the just cause which is entrusted to me to defend.

Amen. Amen. Amen."

This man understood he was a warrior and that warriors may die in battle and one must always be prepared to die. Nelson felt there was nothing more honorable than doing his duty and always being ready to meet his maker.

Even though I am a veteran United States Navy sailor, I have always held those same values that I have learned from men like Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson. I have sailed with and consider my British counterparts to be like brothers and my thoughts and prayers will be with them and their families until the Iranian government frees those gallant and honorable men.

“To-morrow I will do that which will give you
younger gentlemen something to talk about and
something to think about for the rest of your lives.
But I shall not live to know about it myself!”

Admiral Lord Nelson before the Battle Trafalgar 21 October 1805

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Gathering of the Eagles

The Wall

Quiet Vigilance

A Veteran teaching his young charge

Wating in line to pay respect at "The Wall"

A Park Policeman praying and Marie

Machinst's Mate 2nd Class reporting for duty at The Wall

In times of need it has always come down to a dedicated and unassuming group of Americans to keep the republic safe and intact from those that would do it harm. Yesterday in Washington DC I had the honor to be a part of those that are always there to defend and protect in the “Gathering of Eagles”.

My friend Marie and I arrived too late for the morning rally because I had to fight through the ice and snow that had fallen the night before to leave my house. I followed snow plows and salt trucks through the winding roads of western Chester County, Pennsylvania and northern Maryland to emerge onto I-95 just north of Baltimore, Maryland. Once on the cleared interstate highway I continued on my journey to Alexandria Virginia to meet up with my friend Marie.

Marie had driven all the way from Oklahoma City only to run into that same snow and ice storm to drive on the unfamiliar snow and ice covered roads of western Pennsylvania and Maryland the night before to reach the motel in Alexandria, Virginia. I was astounded when Marie had called me from a phone somewhere in Maryland to tell me what she had driven through and was continuing on to Virginia because she did not want to miss this Gathering of Eagles after she had come so far.

After Marie and I sat and talked for a few minutes we left the motel and somehow found the train station at East Church Falls, Virginia, got our passes and rode the train over to the National Mall. We got off at the Smithsonian Institute and walked about a mile in the windy 30 degree weather to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial “The Wall” and when we finally arrived it was about 11:30 am, too late for the rally. The rally wasn’t the whole story though in my eyes. I watched as those that had come there to protect and defend our nation’s monuments from outside agitators, go solemnly about the business of protecting the honor, dignity and great sacrifice that these monuments represent. After the morning pep rally there were no bullhorns directing the masses into artificial and preplanned routes. Those that showed up for the Gathering of Eagles already knew what needed to be done and went about their business with resolute organization.

I couldn’t help overhearing some say that they hope there would be equal coverage on the nightly news reports or the major news publications but I knew as many others that attended knew; there would be no equal coverage. I would be surprised if there was equal coverage because it would be akin to reporting that airliners were landing safely at the airport, it happens every day and it is not news. No, these people are not considered newsworthy but they are the people that keep and defend this republic and they go about it everyday without much recognition. These dignified monuments are erected to remember those that have given their lives to defend this nation and the Gathering of Eagles came Saturday to defend, remember and honor those great efforts and sacrifices.

I just want to thank the organizers of the Gathering of Eagles and those that keep a constant vigilance on our memorials.

Thank you, Jennifer

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Gathering of Eagles

For more information and discussion go to
Marie's Two Cents

Please make plans to be in Washinton DC on March 17th this is much more important than "Green Beer". Yea, you know who I'm talking too!